Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message #175
TEXT: Matthew 10:23-25
This weekend, Americans celebrated the fourth of July. It was the 238th anniversary of the day America declared her independence from Great Britain. That decision to throw off the yoke of British tyranny and forge from nothing but an idea the form of democracy that we have today, caused no small conflict for the thirteen colonies. Britain, France, Germany, and the Native American tribes were all involved in the American War for Independence. There was tremendous loss of life on both sides, and tremendous economic loss for the colonists. But, as we look back on that War today, Americans agree that it was the right thing to do.
When we look at the American Revolution, we can see it as an image of our story as Christian believers. Each of us were once slaves to the tyranny of sin and Satan. When we saw the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and decided to escape the kingdom of darkness and enter into the marvelous light of salvation, Satan was furious. And, just as the British sent their army to attempt to force the Americans into submission causing a conflict, Satan and his demons are after us as well. The devil wants to make us ineffective in our Christian walk, and the more determined we are to faithfully follow Jesus Christ, the more we will come into conflict with Satan and those who are on his side against God and the mission of the Gospel.
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 aspects of Jesus’ instructions in verses 23-25.
1. The first aspect we will consider in the form of a question: fight or flight? In other words, are Christians to avoid conflict at all costs, or are there times when we should stand our ground and face the battle head on? Jesus told His disciples, “But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another; for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.” Jesus’ advice to His disciples is that if they face persecution in one place, they are to move on to the next, and wherever they go, they should continue preaching the Gospel.
2. Second, let us look at the aspect of shared suffering. Jesus Christ said, “The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?”
3. The final aspect of Jesus’ discourse that we will look at today is the privilege of servanthood. Jesus said, “It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord.” When we suffer for Christ, we share in the work of Christ. There is great comfort in knowing that we are walking in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. We can not only sing, in the words of the old hymn, “Brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod,” but we can sing, “Brothers, we are treading where Christ himself has trod.”
George Bernard Shaw has a piece of advice that is often quoted. He said, “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” When it comes to living the Christian life, however, it is far better to follow the path that has already been blazed by Jesus Christ. If you try to blaze your own trail as a Christian, you will inevitably wind up ineffective as a believer. No Christian can succeed apart from Christ. We must follow His path. It is a path marked by blood, sweat, and tears; a path on which a major destination is a cross of wood, a crown of thorns, and a cruel, painful death. It is a path that leads to a grave — but, thank God, that is only temporary. The path of Christ ultimately ends in glory!
It ends in glory, not only for Jesus, but for us. If Jesus conquered death, then we will conquer death. If Jesus rose from the grave, then we will rise from the grave. If Jesus ascended from this earth when He had finished His course and entered the glory of Heaven to be with his father, when we finish our course on this earth, we will ascend and enter the glory of Heaven. If Jesus faced conflict in this world and overcame, we can face conflict as Christians in this world and overcome. Because, “Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.”
MUSICAL SELECTION: “But God” by Isaac Carree; “King of Heaven” by Hillsong United