often surprises Christians to discover that they are going to have trouble in
their lives simply because they are a Christian. We will attempt to correct
that misimpression in this lesson.
not above his Teacher
"A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his
master. "It is enough for the disciple that he become like his
teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the
house Beelzebul, how much more will they
malign the members of his household! "Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing
concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.
(Mat 10:24-26 NASB)
Lordship of Christ
is the natural characteristic of most human beings that they have someone they
admire, someone they follow. It’s clearly seen in young boys, in whose minds
they see themselves as being their hero. Years ago this was understood; sports
figures were seen as role models; good sportsmanship was a display of good character.
But we may observe a few points along the way:
picks their hero from the second string. Pick wisely, for you will soon
be following his lifestyle.
is no sense being a disciple if you are not obedient to the discipline.
You may want to be the next great quarterback; if you do, practice.
a disciple changes you. Hopefully, for the better.
you see now what the lordship of Christ is about, disciple? If you claim Him
as Lord, you have picked well. Follow through in obedience, and rejoice in the
changes in yourself.
household of Christ
refers to His disciples here as His “household.” In other words, they are
family to Him. I’m sure you know how family loyalty works – or at least should
work – offend my kids, offend me. It’s the same view from the outside; to
offend my kids assaults me – and you already know you can bank on that.
kind of insult do we bear? Look at it here: they accuse Christ of being in
league with the Devil. Of course, we view this as being “then,” not “now.”
This view is incorrect. Want proof? Go to your favorite web search engine and
look for two words: “sinister” and “Christianity.” You will quickly find two
kinds of sites dominate the search results. The first are sites berating the
Christians for even thinking there is any kind of conspiracy against them.
(After all, if we’d just turn into liberals …) The second are sites which will
provide all the evidence you need for just such a conspiracy.
truth is that if we name the Name, we will share the blame. Sadly, many
Christians are indignant when this happens. Why would they pick on innocent,
charitable little old me? You bear the Name, that’s why. Don’t be indignant
about it; accept it for what it is.
antidote to fear
of us, of course, are neither indignant nor resigned – but afraid. Do you see
that word, “Therefore?” The natural reaction to those who can lock you up,
beat you and steal all your money is to be afraid. But lets put this in
perspective: How much more greatly should we fear God? We are indeed between
two fears, and we should know which of the two is more powerful.
conspiracies are easy to accuse, hard to prove. Christ therefore warns us
against them – and gives us the antidote. Life is just temporary anyway; but
the Day is coming when all will be known. We need to look at it just that way;
when we do, holy boldness is given to speak the word.
you in darkness
"What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what
you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the
housetops. "Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to
kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in
hell. "Are not two sparrows sold for a
cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your
Father. "But the very hairs of your head
are all numbered. "So do not fear; you are
more valuable than many sparrows. "Therefore
everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father
who is in heaven. "But whoever denies Me
before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.
(Mat 10:27-33 NASB)
in the light
the darkness – especially in the darkness of evil – Christ will speak to you. Even
though the times are evil, His presence, His Word are there to guide. But this
is to be no secret; rather, public knowledge. Likewise, if He gives you a
whispered word, you are to share it publicly.
in the light.” Are we only to speak in daylight hours? I think not. Speaking
in the light can mean two other things:
It means that we
should speak openly and publicly
It means that we
should speak in an open and revealing way. Not our sin but Christ’s salvation
is our message.
course, when you do, you will be threatened as well as reviled. When that
happens, remember that your Lord conquered death. His early disciples reviled
death, considering it of no consequence except as an honor to be martyred for
the faith. The result of that faith is the church today. As ever, the blood
of martyrs is the seed of the church.
significant – but well known
is much, when God is in it. Did you really think that He is ignoring you as
you go about your appointed tasks? Perhaps He is testing you instead,
tempering you for your next appointment.
think not? Consider his infinite patience in dealing with you. Long after
humankind would have thrown up their hands in despair, God still is working
with you, because of His great love. A day is like a thousand years; His ways
are not our ways. But count on it: He knows your name, your thought, who you
are right down to the number of hairs on your head.
are familiar with the expression “put your money where your mouth is.” But
here we have “put your mouth where your treasure is.” We so often hear that
faith without works is dead – but so is faith without commitment. Why would He
demand such a thing?
it is to train us in boldness of speech.
also brings us to greater love, for to speak for Christ is to care for
others – and with this commitment your love for others will grow.
if this is the glory you get during persecution, how much greater will be
your reward when He comes again?
peace, but a sword
"Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did
not come to bring peace, but a sword. "For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A
DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW; and A MAN'S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD. "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not
worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of
Me. "And he who does not take his cross and
follow after Me is not worthy of Me. "He
who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake
will find it. "He who receives you receives
Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. "He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet
shall receive a prophet's reward; and he who receives a righteous man in the
name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. "And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of
these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he
shall not lose his reward."
(Mat 10:34-42 NASB)
death and destruction caused by war are always grievous. But of all types of
war, a civil war provides the greatest grief, for in civil war brothers shoot
brothers. What, then, motivates a man to take up arms against his own father
the American Civil Way. Why was it fought?
some, it was a crusade against slavery. Most of these were found in the
churches, for it was the church that carried on the campaign against
slavery. For them, it was a matter of Divine will.
others, particularly in the South, they saw themselves as protecting their
homeland against the invaders from the North.
others had no quarrel with slavery – but saw the Union as the great test
of liberty and self-government. It was a sacred trust, handed down from
the Founding Fathers.
matter is simple: they loved their families, but loved “the cause” even more.
It is the same today. The command of Christ is that I love my wife and
children. But if one were to decide to be a homosexual…
example of Christ in this is plain. Wherever He went, His mere presence
obliged a split between evil and good. The low class sinner welcomed Him for
His offer of salvation; the pious legalist rejected Him for exactly that.
power of paradox
is the hub; our other obligations of love are the spokes in the wheel. He does
not explain why the paradox exists; He simply says it does.
for family, note the exception “more than me.” Love of family is
commanded – when it does not go against the call of Christ. That’s a
measure of just how serious the call of Christ truly is.
are to take up the Cross – to bear the burdens He says His disciples will
bear, like it or not. Stop grumbling, accept the suffering so that you
may also share His joy.
the principle of paradox applies to our entire life. If you become
enamored of this world, getting yourself well adjusted into it, then
Christ will become a nuisance. He is best dealt with by decorating a
corner of your home in religious motif – and then congratulating yourself
as you “have it all.” In fact, you have traded Someone for nothing.
mixture is clear: if you want the blessing, bear the burden. Your mother
told you to do it the hard way – and she was right!
you, receives Me
we spoke of “Love me, love my kids?” The reverse is true, also: “Love my
children, love Me.” It is the boundless, overflowing love of Christ that tells
us here of his system of rewards.
you receive a prophet in your home – simply because he is one, not for
what you expect to gain? (This is “in the name of” a prophet.) if you so
acknowledge him and uphold him, then Christ will reward you like He will
reward the prophet.
I don’t know any prophets. Fine. Do you know any righteous people?
I don’t have the money to entertain such people. Fine. Even something so
small as a cup of water in the name of one of His disciples, given to one
so insignificant as a child, will bring its reward.
it is. The call of Christ will cost you everything you have and everything you
are or could be. It is a life of constant persecution and trouble, requiring
boldness and the overcoming of fear. It is the demanding life; it is also the
rewarding life – eternal.