How to Face Constant Conflict as a Christian (Part 4)

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Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message #168

TEXT: Matthew 10:16: “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”

We are in a series of messages on the theme of what it means to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ. We are looking at Jesus’ words to His disciples in Matthew 10:16-42 as He sends them out on a missionary journey. Jesus Christ makes it clear that they will face trouble, conflict, and difficulty as they preach that the Kingdom of God has come, and He tells them how to handle the conflict that they will face.

In the first three messages in this series, we looked at the first part of verse 16 where Jesus says, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves…” Today, we are moving on to the second part of this verse where He says, “be ye therefore wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”

When we think of serpents, we most often associate them with evil. The devil appeared to Eve in the Garden of Eden as a serpent, and throughout Scripture, Satan is referred to as a serpent. When we think of serpents, we think of fangs, venom, and the pain that they can cause. We think of the sickening way a serpent kills its prey — by coiling itself around its victim, crushing the life out of it, and then swallowing it whole.

Why, then, does Jesus tell us to be wise as serpents.

1. First, when we are wise as serpents, we are wary of the ways of the world. The word “wise” in this text means intelligent or prudent. When we think of being as wise as a serpent, we are reminded of Genesis 3:1 which says, “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.” The word “subtil” means cunning or clever.

MUSICAL SELECTION: “Thank You” by Walter Hawkins and “I Must Tell Jesus” by The Sensational Nightingales

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