How to Face Constant Conflict as a Christian (Part 13)

mission

Part 1:

Part 2:

Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message #178

TEXT: Matthew 10:37-42

Today, as we close out this series based on Matthew chapter 10, we can look at the state of the world around us and see that Jesus’ words to His disciples which were passed down to us are more relevant than ever before. It is almost as if they were spoken and written yesterday. We are reminded of verse 23 where Jesus said, “When they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another.” That happened quite literally this past week when the self-proclaimed Islamic State in Iraq told the Christians in the city of Mosul either you will convert to Islam, pay a tax, or be killed. They were persecuted in that city where they have been for nearly 2,000 years, and in order to not deny Jesus Christ and to save their lives and their families, they fled to other cities in Iraq, and according to reports, there is not one Christian left in the city of Mosul today.

That is the kind of world we live in. And the relevance of the Word of God should re-establish in our hearts and minds that it is divinely inspired and is good for yesterday, today, and forever. Therefore, we ought to take heed to it as we read it and hear it preached.

In these final verses of Matthew chapter 10, Jesus addresses three important areas of our Christian life:

1. Let’s look at our supreme love. Jesus says, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.” As you might recall, we looked at this same issue from the Gospel of Luke a few months ago, right before we jumped into Matthew 10. This is a very important issue for us as Christians.

2. Let’s look at the threat of loss. Jesus tells His disciples, “He that findeth his life shall lose it.” What does it mean to find your life and then lose it? Jesus is saying, if all you pursue is success and profits in this material and temporal life, you will eventually lose your life and everything you have worked for altogether. Remember His question, “For what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?”

3. Let’s look at the rewards of eternal life. Jesus tells us, “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” This verse ought to serve as a comfort and encouragement for those who are facing conflict right now as well as for those who have chosen to give up material and temporal success in order to store up treasures in Heaven.

Jesus wants us to have the best of both worlds, but we have to do things His way in order to receive all of the blessings and benefits that He has in store for us. First Corinthians 2:9 says, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” The question for each of us today is not, Do we desire the rewards of Heaven? But, do we love God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ above all else. If we do, we will gladly suffer loss, we will gladly face conflict, we will gladly endure persecution, because we are no longer living for ourselves, but we are living for Him.

MUSICAL SELECTION: “Enter Your Gates” by Stephen B. Steward and “Take Me to the King” by Tamela Mann

How to Face Constant Conflict as a Christian (Part 12)

mission

Part 1:

Part 2:

Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message #177

TEXT: Matthew 10:29-36

Last week, we talked about the issue of fear in the life of the believer. Jesus commanded His disciples not to fear man and only to fear God. Today, as we continue our series on facing conflict as a Christian, we are going to look at three reasons why we should not fear what man can do to us.

1. We should not fear because God cares for us. Jesus says to his disciples, “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.”

What Jesus is telling us is that if God the Father notices even the birds who fall to the ground, surely He takes note of His children who risk their livelihood, their reputation, and sometimes their lives in order to serve Him. When we are being opposed and afflicted by the world and the devil, we will be tempted to feel as though God has forgotten us, as though we are all alone, as though we are risking our lives for nothing. But, Jesus lets us know that even in the midst of the worst circumstances, God knows where we are. He cares for us.

2. We should not fear because God has a test for us. Jesus tells His disciples, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.”

We hear a lot in Christian circles about how Jesus came to bring peace and harmony. Around Christmastime, we sing about the angels who declared, “peace on earth and goodwill toward men.” But Jesus did not come to bring peace among men necassarily; He came to bring peace between men and God.

Jesus’ coming marked the beginning of a new testament, a new dispensation, in which every person born into the world would have to make a choice. God revealed Himself in His Son like He never had before. And, from the point of the resurrection onward, every person has a decision to make — whether they will follow Jesus Christ and enter the Kingdom of God, or follow their own way and live for the world.

3. We should not fear because God has a reward for us. Jesus tells His disciples, “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.”

When it comes to loyalty to Jesus Christ, it is a two-way street. Jesus lets us know that if we are bold and selfless enough to stand up for Him on earth, He will stand up for us in Heaven. Whether or not we stand up for Jesus on earth will show what is truly important to us. If we value this world and the approval of men more than Heaven and the approval of God, we will bow every time we are faced with conflict. If, on the other hand, we value the approval of God over the approval of men, we will be like the Hebrew boys and stand for God when the world is bowing all around us.

If you want to receive rewards from Jesus Christ, we must remember that God cares for us so that we will not falter in moments of conflict. We should also see each moment of conflict in our lives as a test from God. Will we bow and submit to pressure from the world and the devil, or will we stand up for Christ and the Gospel?

MUSICAL SELECTION: “Favor” by Shirley Caesar and “Victory” by Yolanda Adams

How to Face Constant Conflict as a Christian (Part 11)

mission

Part 1

Part 2

Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message #176

TEXT: Matthew 10:24-28

In this series on facing conflict as a Christian, we are working our way through Matthew chapter 10 in which Jesus gives a series of instructions, admonishments, and advice to his disciples who are about to go out on their own and preach the Gospel. He tells them how to handle conflict as Christians. Today, we are going to look at three commands regarding the aspect of fear in our life as believers.

1. We are commanded to go forth fearlessly. Jesus tells us to “Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.” Who are those whom we should not fear? We have seen from previous verses that Jesus is referring to government and religious leaders who are hostile to the preaching of the Gospel.

2. We are commanded to speak out boldly. In verse 26, Jesus says, “What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.” It could be said that the disciples were undergoing a three-year period of private training with the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus spent a lot of time with His disciples getting them ready to carry on His work once he returned to Heaven. What He tells them in this verse is that even though they are receiving this instruction in private, there will come a day when they will stand on street corners or in revival tents or in storefront churches or on platforms before thousands of people and preach the Gospel.

3. We are commanded to fear God only. Finally, Jesus tells His disciples, “fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” There is a positive and negative aspect to fearing God that is embodied in this verse. The positive aspect implies that we should hold God in holy reverence and respect. The negative aspect implies that it is within God’s power to hurt us far more than any man can hurt us: While man can only hurt us physically, God can destroy us physically and spiritually.

The world may beat us up now, but it will bow before Jesus later. They may ridicule us now, but they will repent before Jesus later. They may criticize us now, but they will cry out to Jesus for mercy later. They may hate us now, but they will humble themselves before Jesus later.

It may seem like the world is winning, but in the end we will be on the winning side. Let us go forth boldly and fearlessly to preach the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ.

MUSICAL SELECTION: “Holy is the Lord” by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir and “God is Good” by Regina Belle

How to Face Constant Conflict as a Christian (Part 6)

harmless-as-doves

Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message #170

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.”

Today, we are going to look at three reasons why Jesus commands us to be “harmless as doves.” Doves are very important in the Biblical narrative. A dove first appears in Genesis chapter 8 when Noah sends out a raven and a dove to see if the waters of the Great Flood had subsided. As you recall, the raven did not come back to the Ark, but the dove did come back because it could not find a place to land. Seven days later, Noah sent out the dove again, and this time it came back with an olive branch in its beak as a token of the dry land that was beginning to reappear. That image of the dove with an olive branch in its beak has become an international symbol of peace.

According to Dr. Joe Temple, “more important than the accepted symbol of peace is the symbol of purity, because that is what the Bible emphasizes — a purity that is emphasized by the dove.” In the Old Testament, under the sacrificial system, a family or person that was too poor to afford a lamb or a bull as an offering to God were able to bring two doves instead. In fact, that is what Mary and Joseph brought to the Temple when they went to present the infant Jesus to God. Additionally, when Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, the Gospels tell us that the Spirit of God descended on Jesus “like a dove.” According to the Biblical Archaeology Society, “Before the cross gained prominence in the fourth century” one of the symbols that Christians used to identify themselves and each other as followers of Christ was the dove.

So what does it mean for us as Christians to be as harmless as doves as we face conflict?

1. Being as “harmless as doves” means being pure in our spirit and heart. Purity in the New Testament means to be undefiled by the world — not to engage in activities that will give rise to a root of ungodliness in our hearts. Ephesians 5, likening the church’s relationship with Christ to the relationship between a husband and a wife, tells us that we are to be ‘sanctified and cleansed with the washing of water by the word, That Jesus might present us to himself as a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.’

2. Being as “harmless as doves” means being pure in our lifestyle and actions. The dove is one of the most harmless and innocent creatures. It does not use its talons to hurt or its beak to attack other creatures. According to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, innocence in the Bible means “the absence of the guilt of disloyalty to God.” Being innocent in our lifestyle also means being blameless before man — being without guile or the willingness to deceive. As Christians, we should make it our goal to live in such a way that no man can accuse us of wrongdoing.

3. Being as “harmless as doves” means being pure in that we are meek in our attitude and responses. According to the Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, meekness is closely tied to gentleness or humility. Now, meekness does not mean weakness or resignation to events. In Numbers 12:3, Moses is described as “very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.” Yet, Moses, empowered by the spirit of God, stood up to the king of Egypt — the leader of the most powerful nation on earth at that time in history.

Being as “harmless as doves” means being pure in our spirit and heart, being pure in our lifestyle and actions, and being pure in that we are meek in our attitude and responses.

Jesus’ commands for us to be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves” are not contradictory. In this world which is hostile to the Gospel and to those who follow Jesus Christ, the wisdom, discernment, and ingenuity of the serpent is crucial for us to navigate the traps and pitfalls that are set for us by the devil and the devil’s people. The meekness, innocence, and purity of the dove is essential as we seek to be good representatives of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world.

MUSICAL SELECTION: “You Alone”, by the Arkansas Gospel Mass Choir and “Thank You For All You’ve Done” by Beverly Crawford

How to Face Constant Conflict as a Christian (Part 5)

seroent-dove

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

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

seroent-dove

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

How to Face Constant Conflict as a Christian (Part 3)

"Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves..."
“Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves…”

Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message #166

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. In this series, 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. The first thing He says is, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves…”

In our first message, we saw that being a sheep in the midst of wolves means being calm despite the conflict. When we are faced with conflict, a Christian should still have peace in his heart and mind because our peace is found in God, not in our circumstances.

Secondly, we learned that being a sheep in the midst of wolves means following Jesus amidst the frenzy of this world. The broad way of the world is lined by all kinds of attractions, distractions, and temptations. The devil will use the cares of this world to get us to falter in our walk with Christ. But, as sheep, we only follow one leader, and that is the Great Shepherd, Jesus Christ.

Third, today, we see that being a sheep in the midst of wolves means being peaceful despite the pain. Jesus said, “I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves.” Let me put it simply — wolves bite. As Christians living in a world that seems to be growing increasingly hostile to Christianity, we must be prepared to face pain. Christians in Egypt, North Korea, China, Nigeria, Pakistan, Iran and other places around the globe face physical pain each day because they have decided to follow Christ.

Our passage, which we will study in further detail in upcoming messages, goes on to show us that the “wolves”will take the “sheep”to court, whip them, drag them before governors, have parents and children put to death, hate them, persecute them, slander them, and kill them. As John Piper says, “It is clear that when Jesus says he is sending us as sheep in the midst of wolves, he means that we will be treated the way wolves treat sheep.” Already in this country, Christians are being taken to court for standing up for Christian beliefs such as marriage as defined in the Bible.

Listen to these words from Charles Spurgeon: “The weapons of Christians are that they are weaponless. They are to be prudent, discreet, ‘wise as serpents’but they are to be loving, peaceful, ‘harmless as doves.’The Christian missionary will need to be wary, to avoid receiving harm; but he must be of a guileless mind, that he do no harm. We are called to be martyrs, not maniacs; we are to be simple-hearted, but we are not to be simpletons.”

When we face the pain of persecution, how do we respond? If we are to be true followers of Jesus Christ, we must choose to be peaceful in the midst of pain. This means not trying to “get back” or “get even” with our enemies. We should leave everything in God’s hands and let him fight our battles.

One of the reasons why sheep need shepherds is for protection. As I mentioned earlier, sheep have no natural defense mechanisms. The only thing they can do when faced with danger is run, and sometimes they don’t even do that. The shepherd, however, has a rod and a staff. The shepherd uses the rod to drive off predators and keep the sheep safe. A smart sheep will understand this and will stay close to the shepherd, letting the shepherd deal with the wolves.

If you try to take things into your own hands, if you try to avoid the pain of persecution and conflict in your own strength, you will quickly find out that you are not equipped to handle the wolves on your own. So, let me encourage you to just be at peace and let the Shepherd handle the wolves.

Are you following Jesus Christ today? If so, then you have been sent out as a sheep in the midst of wolves. I want to encourage you to be calm despite the conflict, to follow Jesus amidst the frenzy, and to remain peaceful despite the pain.

How to Face Constant Conflict as a Christian (Part 2)

"Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves..."
“Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves…”

Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message #166

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.”

On last Sunday, we began a new series that continues the theme of what it means to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ. In this series, 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 to them that they will face trouble, conflict, and difficulty, and then He tells them how to handle the conflict that they will face. The first thing He says is, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves…”

What did Jesus mean when He called us sheep? First of all, we saw last week that being a sheep in the midst of wolves means being calm despite the conflict. When we are faced with conflict, the response of the Christian should be to have peace in the midst of the storm because our peace is found in God, not in our circumstances.

Today, the second thing we notice is that being a sheep in the midst of wolves means following Jesus amidst the frenzy. Jesus said, “I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves.” As I mentioned before, sheep are followers. At first, that may sound like a bad thing, but it is not. There is nothing wrong with a sheep being a follower as long as he is following the right leader. Who is the leader that we should follow? Our leader is the Great Shepherd — Jesus Christ Himself.

Being a follower of Jesus Christ means conforming our lives to His life — not only in words, but in actions. Our fast-paced world can be a very confusing place. If you are not careful, you can be sucked in by opportunities and attractions that will lead you off the straight and narrow path. This world can be likened to Vanity Fair in Pilgrim’s Progress. John Bunyan wrote, “At this fair are all such merchandise sold as houses, lands, trades, places, honors, preferments, titles, countries, kingdoms, lusts, pleasures; and delights of all sorts.” There is nothing the devil would like to do more than get Christians sidetracked by entertainment, pleasure, and easy living — which are just wolves dressed up to look harmless, but that bite nonetheless.

Amidst the frenzy of our crazy world, amidst the cries and howls of the wolves of this world, Jesus Christ calls us to faithfully follow Him, and to humbly and unquestioningly obey His will for our lives. A sheep sent out amidst the wolves is not on his own. Rather, he has the best guide on the journey of life. He has the Good Shepherd who will lead him through the valley of the shadow of death to the place of still water.

There is a famous prayer written by a monk named Thomas Merton which embodies the spirit of the following lamb. It says, “My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end… Lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”

No matter what kind of persecution, hatred, harassment, or slander you face because of your Christian faith, always remain committed to following Jesus Christ. No matter how attractive the world’s path may seem, no matter how carefree those who reject Christ may appear to be, no matter how hectic a day may become, be a sheep who follows the Good Shepherd.

MUSICAL SELECTION: “When I Rose This Morning” by the Mississippi Mass Choir and “The Storm is Passing Over” by John P. Kee

How to Face Constant Conflict as a Christian (Part 1)

"Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves..."
“Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves…”

Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message #165

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.”

On the last Sunday before the beginning of Easter week, you might recall that we finished a series of messages titled, “Are You a True Disciple?” In that series, we looked at Luke 14, and asked ourselves if we are willing to become true disciples of Jesus Christ. We saw some hindrances that those who set out to be true disciples will face — namely the pull of the crowd, the pull of family ties, and the pull of self. We also looked at what it means to take up our cross and follow Jesus Christ.

Today, we are beginning a new series that continues the theme of what it means to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ. And one of the things that a true disciple will experience is conflict. Yes, as a Christian, you will have conflict, difficulty, tension, and misunderstanding as you attempt to serve the Lord. If you thought that Christianity was a bed of roses, I’m sorry to disappoint you. In Matthew 10:16-42, which we will be studying throughout this series, Jesus Christ makes it clear to His disciples that they will have trouble. G.K. Chesterton famously said, “Jesus promised his disciples three things—that they would be completely fearless, absurdly happy, and in constant trouble.”

In Matthew 10, Jesus Christ is commissioning His twelve disciples. He is sending them on a missionary journey to proclaim the coming of the kingdom of God to the Jewish people of Palestine. They have been with Him for a while, and watched Him preach, now it is time for them to step out on their own and preach themselves. As they prepare to do this, Jesus gives them (and us) a head’s-up on what they will face. He tells them that they will face conflict, and He tells them how to deal with conflict — how to live in the midst of it. Today, we are looking at His words, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves…”

Jesus says you and I are sheep in the midst of wolves. Now, most of us would not like to be compared to sheep. Sheep are not the most intelligent of animals: their eyesight is bad; their hearing is bad; if they fall down on their backs, they can’t get up; they are followers; they have a tendency to wander off and get lost; and they have no natural defense mechanisms like claws, sharp teeth, horns, camouflage, or poison, thus making them easy prey. Yet, God in His wisdom, chose to use young sheep — lambs — as a symbol of salvation, forgiveness, and atonement in both the Old and New Testament. When John saw Jesus coming to be baptized, he did not say, “Behold, the lion of God” referring to the king of beasts, or “Behold, the eagle of God” referring to the king of birds, or “Behold, the stallion of God” referring to a strong, fast, beautiful creature. No! He said, “Behold, the lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.” And, here, Jesus compares us to sheep. So, what does it mean to be sheep in the midst of wolves?

Being a sheep in the midst of wolves means being calm despite the conflict.

Jesus said, “I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves.” We must always remember that it is Jesus who does the sending. He has called us and appointed us to be His ambassadors in the world. Charles Spurgeon said, “It would be foolhardy to go if Jesus did not say, ‘I send you.’ When Jesus sends forth sheep, they may go fearlessly into the very ‘midst of wolves.’”

When we look at the trial of Jesus Christ, we see a perfect example of someone who is calm despite the conflict raging around Him. The Jewish religious leaders spit on Him, beat Him, and threw false accusations at Him. The Roman soldiers stripped Him, whipped Him, and pressed a crown of thorns on His head. People passed by the cross mocking Him and criticizing Him. Yet, the Bible tells us that Jesus never lashed out verbally or physically. He was calm throughout the whole ordeal.

How do you respond to conflict? Do you become frantic and hysterical? Do you become depressed and negative? Do you forget that God is in control?

When we are faced with conflict — and we will be, because Jesus said, “In this world, ye shall have tribulation” — the response of the Christian should be peace in the midst of the storm. If false accusations are brought against you, don’t respond negatively. Understand that Jesus warned you such things would happen. There are wolves in the world who hate Jesus, who hate the Gospel, and who will do anything they can to hinder the Gospel and make life difficult for believers.

Someone once said, “Safety consists not in the absence of danger but in the presence of God.” Instead of focusing on the conflict that you face because of your faith, focus on God who is above the storm that you are facing. God is always peaceful. Nothing ruffles God’s feathers. Nothing gets under His skin. Nothing surprises God. You can always find peace in Him.

Being a sheep in the midst of wolves means being calm despite the conflict.

MUSICAL SELECTION: “Awesome” by Charles Jenkins and Fellowship Chicago and “Nobody Greater” by Vashawn Mitchell