Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message #169
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 this verse where Jesus says, “I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves.” We saw that:
1. Being a sheep in the midst of wolves means being calm despite the conflict.
2. Being a sheep in the midst of wolves means following Jesus amidst the frenzy of this world
3. Being a sheep in the midst of wolves means being peaceful despite the pain we experience.
Last week, we began looking at the second part of this verse where Jesus says, “be ye therefore wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” We saw that when we are wise as serpents, we are wary of the ways of the world. God’s ways and the world’s ways are different, and, as Christians, we must choose to follow God over the world if we want to live victorious Christian lives.
2. When we are wise as serpents, we are winsome in the way we share the Gospel. Sharing the Gospel is the paramount task of every Christian, and it is one of the most difficult things that we must do. It is difficult because of the opposition we face from the devil, from the world, from our own wicked flesh, and from the flesh of the person we are trying to win to Christ. When we attempt to witness to someone, we must use wisdom in our approach, in our tone, in our attitude, and in our words.
3. When we are wise as serpents, we use wisdom in the midst of persecution and opposition. Jesus Christ tells His disciples to be wise as serpents in the context of preparing them to face persecution and opposition.
Jesus used wisdom when dealing with His detractors. When they frequently tried to trap Him with tricky theological questions, regarding such things as paying taxes to the government, healing on the Sabbath day, or loyalty to Caesar, Jesus answered them wisely in ways that left them astounded, surprised, speechless, and often ashamed of themselves.
The apostles used wisdom not only in how they preached the Gospel, but in how they responded to persecution and opposition as well.
To be wise as a serpent, we must be wary of the wisdom of the world, we must be winsome in the way we share the Gospel, and we must use God’s wisdom as we face constant conflict as Christians.
MUSICAL SELECTION: “Mighty to Save” by Hillsong and “Down at the Cross” by Bart Millard