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Jesus' Most Outrageous Sayings - Not Peace, But a Sword - Part 9

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
November 7, 2021 6:00 am

Jesus' Most Outrageous Sayings - Not Peace, But a Sword - Part 9

So What? / Lon Solomon

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You know, at Christmas time every year untold thousands of people go to hear performances of George Frederick Handel's oratorio, the Messiah. And as part of the Messiah, one of the most famous choruses is called, For Unto Us a Son is Born. And in this chorus, Handel strings together a list of biblical titles for the Messiah.

He says, Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Now we want to pick one of these titles today and talk about it because it forms the foundation for one of the most outrageous things that Jesus ever said. Remember that we're in a series entitled, Jesus's Most Outrageous Sayings. We're going through the New Testament and we're picking out 12 of the most outrageous radical things Jesus ever said.

And then we're doing a message on every one of them and asking the question, Well, so what? We've already done eight. We're ready today for number nine. And so if you brought your Bible today, I'd like to ask you to turn with me to Matthew Chapter 10. If you did not bring your Bible today, here in the main auditorium, you'll find a copy of the Bible right under your armrest of your chair. We're going to be on page 688, page 688 of our copy, Matthew Chapter 10 in your copy. And here in Matthew Chapter 10, we find Jesus sending out his disciples.

But before we do that, let me talk to you a minute about this term, the Prince of Peace. You know, Handel got that name for the Messiah right out of Isaiah Chapter 9, verse 6. In fact, throughout the Old Testament, the Bible consistently presents the Messiah as the person who is going to bring true peace to this planet. Micah Chapter 4, verse 3. The Messiah will judge between the nations and settle disputes for the peoples.

They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Now, you may know that this verse is actually written on the wall of the United Nations building in New York.

We call it the United Nothing, but you can call it whatever you want. But the verse is actually written there, but yet it refers to the Messiah. Zechariah Chapter 9, verse 9. Rejoice, O daughter of Zion, behold, your King is coming to you humble and mounted on a donkey.

His rule will be from sea to sea, and He will speak peace to the nations. In fact, this concept of the Messiah, that He would be the Prince of Peace, was the dominant theme of the Messiah at the time of the Lord Jesus Christ. And knowing this helps us appreciate how radical and outrageous what Jesus is about to say here in Matthew Chapter 10 really was and is.

So let's pick up. Here in Matthew 10, Jesus, as I said, is sending His disciples out to go out and preach Him, to preach about Him. And He's warning them here in this chapter about the kind of reception they're going to receive when they go out. Verse 17, Matthew 10. Be on your guard against men, Jesus said, for they will deliver you up to their courts, and they will beat you in their synagogues. Verse 21. Because of Me, Jesus said, brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child.

All men will hate you because of Me. And I'm sure at this point Jesus' disciples must have been a little confused. I'm sure they were thinking, Hey, Jesus, you're the Messiah, right? Well, what happened to all this Prince of Peace, people beating their swords into plowshares, speaking peace to all the nation's stuff. Seeing their confusion, Jesus said one of the most outrageous things He's ever said. Look with me at verse 34.

Jesus said to them, Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace on the earth. You say, What do you mean? Of course you do. Of course you.

I'm going to suppose that. Of course, that's why you came. You are the Prince of Peace. No, Jesus said, I'm sorry. Not in this age.

I'm not. When I come back at the end of this age, Jesus says, when I defeat the forces of the Antichrist at the end of this age, when I establish the Millennial Kingdom at the end of this age, and rule that kingdom personally from Jerusalem, then and only then Jesus says, Well, I function as the Prince of Peace. But in this age, in the meantime, things are not going to be like that. He continues verse 34 continues in this age, Jesus says, I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. In this age, Jesus said, I am going to be a divisive issue in the world. In this age, Jesus says, I am going to be despised by much of the human race. In this age, Jesus said, my followers are going to be hated and abused because of me. Jesus says in this age, if a person decides to follow me, the result will often be not peace in their relationships with people around them, but rather a sword, conflict, hostility, rejection, opposition, verse 35, for I have come to turn a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter in law against her mother in law, verse 36, and a person's enemies will be the members of his own household. You know, it's interesting to me when the Apostle Paul was riding on the road to Damascus, chapter 9, and God knocked him off his horse to the ground.

You remember the story. And then he sent Ananias, a follower of Christ, to announce to Paul, Paul's call to the ministry. It's interesting to me what God told Ananias to tell Paul first. The first thing that God announced to Paul was not, hey, Paul, guess what?

You're going to write 48% of the New Testament. That's not the first thing Ananias said to him. The first thing Ananias said to Paul is, Paul, guess what?

You're going to start hundreds of churches and lead thousands of people to Christ. Ananias, the first thing out of his mouth was not, hey, Paul, you're going to change the history of the whole Western world, and by the time it's over, churches are going to put little pictures up with you with a little gold halo over your head. That isn't what he said to Paul. What was the first thing Ananias said to Paul on behalf of God?

He said, Acts 9 16, I'm going to show you, Paul, how much you must suffer for my name's sake. Jesus said, here's what I want you to know above everything else, Paul. If you decide to follow me, it's not going to bring peace to your life.

It's going to bring a sword to your life. Now the Bible repeats this message over and over, folks. Jesus himself said, John 16 2, to his disciples, he said, they will throw you out of their synagogues.

In fact, an hour is coming when anyone who kills you, kills one of you, will think that he is doing God a service. Paul said, 2 Timothy chapter 3, he said, Timothy, truly, everyone who wants to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 1 Peter chapter 4, Peter says, do not be surprised at the painful trials you are suffering as though something strange were happening to you. Stand firm, knowing that this same suffering that you're going through as followers of Christ is being experienced by fellow believers throughout the world.

Friends, what's the bottom line here? The bottom line is that in this age, it's going to cost us something to follow Jesus Christ. And Jesus is looking for people in this age who love him enough that they're willing to pay that cost. Look what he goes on to say, Matthew 10 verse 37, 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 anyone who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Now folks, these are hard words.

And they are not words for cowards. That's as far as we're going to go in the passage for right now. It's time for us to ask our most important question. And so is everybody ready for that? Okay, here we go. Nice and loud.

Ready 123. You say line? Yeah. So what say me? So what difference does this make to me? I don't go to synagogue, they're not going to beat me up or throw me out of the synagogue. I don't go there. What difference does any of this make to me?

Well, let's see if we can bring it home to your life, shall we? You know, there's a term that my boys used to use when they were in high school growing up when they in referring to other people, they used to often call somebody a weatherman. Now when they call somebody a weatherman, they were not talking about a meteorologist like Bob Ryan, you understand what I'm saying?

What they meant by the word weatherman was a person who goes whichever way the wind is blowing, a person who waffles, a person who refuses to take a stand, a person who has no authentic convictions and no core beliefs for which they are willing to suffer and even die. Now we all know people like this, don't we? You say sure a lot.

I mean, the US House and Senate are full of them. Well, that's right. You're right.

There you go. And you know, when I was growing up, we didn't call these people weatherman. We call them fence sitters, people who sat on the fence, and they wouldn't go one way or the other. Now, whether you call them a weatherman, or whether you call them a fence sitter, the point is that Jesus doesn't like these kind of people no matter what you call them. And he doesn't want his followers being these kind of people. Listen to what he said.

He wrote the church of Laodicea, a church that existed in South Central Turkey in the time of the Apostle John when he wrote the book of Revelation. And here's what he said to this church, Revelation 3.15. He said, I know your works, that you are neither hot nor cold. You're a fence sitter.

You're a weatherman. So because you are lukewarm, I will spit you out of my mouth. Very strong language. But Jesus wants to communicate something very strongly to us. He wants to communicate. He's not looking for weathermen. He's not looking for fence sitters. He's looking for men and women who are willing to stand up and be counted for him regardless of the cost. He's looking for people who will be loyal to him above everything else in this world, people he can count on in a firefight. Those are the kind of people Jesus is looking for.

I ran into this little, I guess it's a letter, I don't know quite what to call it. It's called the Fellowship of the Unashamed. It was written by a young pastor in Zimbabwe who was later killed for his faith. And I want you to hear what he said. He said, I'm part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made.

I'm a disciple of his. I won't look back, let up, slow down, back away or be still. My past is redeemed. My present makes sense. My future is secure. I'm finished and done with low living, sight walking, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, worldly talking, cheap living and dwarfed goals. I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits or popularity. I don't have to be right or first or tops or recognized or praised or regarded or rewarded. I now live by faith. I lean on his presence. I walk by patience. I am uplifted by prayer and I labor with power. By the way, you can get a copy of this back at the tech booth if you want it before you leave. Now friends, this is a young man who has crossed over the fence.

This is a young man who is through with being a weatherman. And friends, this, if you claim to know Jesus Christ in a real impersonal way, this is where God wants you to be and where He wants me to be. Now I have found in my 35 years of being a believer that there are three very common fences that people tend to get hung up on. Three very common fences where people get part way over and then they have trouble getting over the rest of the way. And so I want to talk to you about those in closing because I suspect that if you're sitting on a fence here today in terms of your commitment to Christ, it's probably one of these three fences.

We want you off the fence but let's identify what they are first. The first fence that people tend to get hung up on is the fence that Jesus talks about right here in Matthew chapter 10, the fence of family ties. What did Jesus say here? Matthew 10 verse 35. He said, For I have come to turn a man against his father and a daughter against her mother and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and a person's enemies will be the members of their own household because of their faith in me. There is evidence throughout the New Testament that when a Jewish person embraced Jesus, when they openly confessed Jesus as their Messiah in the first century, that the people's members, the members of their own family became their worst enemies.

Well, you know, things have not changed much over the last two thousand years, even in today's world. When a person chooses to follow Jesus Christ, there is often a huge price to pay in a person's family. Jewish parents still hold funerals for children who give their life to Christ and pronounce them dead.

That still happens today. In Muslim families, often it's people's own brothers and sisters and moms and dads who turn them into the authorities when they confess Christ. In Jehovah Witnesses homes, very often when you decide to leave the witnesses and go become an evangelical, it's your members of your own family who take the lead in pronouncing you anathema, never speaking to you again. Husbands many times walk out on wives when those wives come to Christ and get serious about their walk for Christ, and vice versa. Boyfriends often break up with girlfriends when that girl comes to Christ and says, I'm not having sex with you anymore.

It breaks things up very often. And parents will often say to children who decide God is calling them to serve Him, they will often say, well, look, I'm not going to be a part of you throwing your life away. If you want to go be a missionary somewhere, then you're going to do it without any financial support or help from me. I want no part of it.

You're on your own, Buster. Jesus said, when you embrace me, it is liable to cause real trouble in your family. And many of us here know exactly what I'm talking about, because you've been through it. Now, what did Jesus say about this? He said, let's remind ourselves, he who loves father or mother or son or daughter, or husband or wife or boyfriend or girlfriend more than me, is not worthy of me.

Jesus says, I want you off that fence and over it. You know, you may not know the name Rabbi Leopold Cohen. Rabbi Leopold Cohen, I just read his autobiography last week. I want to tell you a little bit about this dear man of God. He was an Orthodox rabbi in Hungary in the late 1800s. And he developed an insatiable hunger to know who the Messiah was. He went to an older rabbi in Hungary and asked, do you know who the Messiah is? And the rabbi said, I don't.

But if you go to America, I bet somebody there could tell you. And so he left his wife and his four children and he came to America. And to make a long story short, he bumped into a man on the streets of New York City, who handed him a Hebrew New Testament, he read it and gave his life to Christ.

Now, when when he gave his life to Christ, and he wrote home and told everybody he had found the Messiah, his family immediately branded him as an apostate and as a traitor. First of all, the extended family refused to let his wife and children leave Hungary and come to New York to join him. Then one uncle actually hired a detective to tail his wife and make sure she didn't sneak out of the country. Finally, some of his friends were able to sneak her and the four children out and get them to New York. When they got to New York, Rabbi Cohen's extended family tried to hire people to kidnap them and take them all back to Hungary. And when all of this failed, every one of his relatives got together and wrote him a letter with a black ribbon in it and told him that the black ribbon represented their mourning him as dead. And as far as they were concerned, he was dead.

Don't ever call them, talk to them or contact them again for the rest of his life. So Rabbi Cohen found himself in New York City familyless, penniless, and friendless, but he had a passion for Jewish people to bring them to Christ. And so he opened a little storefront in Brooklyn, you see it on the screen, where he began preaching Jesus to Jewish people. Now he lived a hard life.

He lived on less than $1,000 a year. Many times his family went to bed hungry. His children were often beat up by other Jewish children in the neighborhood for their faith in Christ. Nonetheless, that storefront mission turned into the American Board of Missions to the Jews. Folks, you need to understand that every Jewish mission that exists in America today evolved from the American Board of Missions to the Jews and that little storefront that he started in 1894. Jews for Jesus, Friends of Israel, chosen people, they all came from Rabbi Leopold Cohen's work. You need to understand that Rabbi Cohen's example is what convinced Gentiles here in America that Jewish people could actually be reached. Before Rabbi Cohen, Gentiles didn't think any Jewish person could be reached for Christ. To put it another way, virtually every Jewish believer alive in the world today, all 60,000 of us on the human level have Rabbi Leopold Cohen to thank for our salvation.

But here's my point. There would have been no storefront mission. There would have been no American Board of Missions to the Jews. There would have been no Jews for Jesus. There would have been no Gentile Christians reaching out to Jewish people had Rabbi Leopold Cohen loved his father and his mother and his brothers and his sisters more than he loved Christ. But he didn't thank God.

He didn't. And friends, sometimes saying yes to Jesus Christ means saying no to family and Jesus is looking for people who are willing to go over this fence. If you're here today and you're a follower of Christ, he wants you to be one of the people who go over that fence.

Fence number two that often hangs people up is the sense of creature comforts. Luke chapter 9 verse 57, and as they were walking along the road a man said to Jesus, Lord, I will follow you wherever you go. Jesus said, Really? Okay. Well foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but I don't have a single place to lay my head.

Jesus said, Really? You want to follow me wherever I'm going to go? Well, I just need to tell you something, son, it's going to cost you in terms of your creature comforts. You know, let me tell you where I'm going. I'm going to Jerusalem. That's where I'm going. And I'm not going there to stay at the Hilton and ride on air conditioned tourist buses and eat gourmet meals and walk the Via Dolorosa taking pictures with my Nikon. That's not why I'm going there. I'm going to Jerusalem to go to the cross.

Do you understand that? And in the meantime, I don't even have a place to lay my head. I don't even have a place to call home. I have no fancy clothes to wear and no fancy meals to eat. You follow me, Jesus says to this guy, and it's going to cost you something in terms of your creature comforts.

Well, this is the second fence that a lot of people get hung up on, my friends. Their question is, what's it going to cost me in terms of creature comfort to follow Jesus Christ? And I'm here to tell you it's going to cost you something in this age. Maybe it'll cost you lower grades in school because you can't cheat like everybody else in the class. Maybe it's going to cost you loss of your social status with your friends because you're outspoken about your faith for Christ. Maybe it's going to cost you a big business deal because you're not able to lie and misrepresent the facts because you're a follower of Christ and the deal gets lost.

Maybe it's going to cost you money in your pocket because you got to tell the truth on your 1040s. Maybe it's going to cost you driving an old car and wearing old suits and sitting on old furniture and using old golf clubs and walking on old carpet because you've committed yourself to giving sacrificially to the work of Christ here on this earth. Maybe it's going to cost you leisure time and sleep because you're dedicated to serving Christ with your life. Folks, listen, Jesus is not against us enjoying the good things of this life.

Don't you ever believe that? So long as, so long as when He asks us to put Him ahead of those things, we are willing to do so without hesitation. These are the people that Jesus is looking for. People who love Him more than they love stuff. People who are willing to go over the fence of their creature comforts to serve Him and walk with Him. And if you're a follower of Christ here today, this is the kind of person Jesus wants you to be.

Third and finally, fence number three is the fence of our personal independence. Acts 17, when Paul showed up in Thessalonica, here's what the people in that town said. They said, these men who have turned the world upside down have come here now. They are defying Caesar's decree.

How? Look, by saying there is another king, one called Jesus. These people understood perfectly what Paul was preaching. He was preaching that Caesar is not king of this world. Jesus is king of this world.

And friends, not only is Jesus king of the world, but He's king of every single person's life in this world. Now we as Americans don't cotton very well to kings ruling over us and telling us what to do. We as Americans, in fact, don't cotton very well to anybody telling us what to do. We like to be our own bosses. We like to determine our own destinies. We like to set our own boundaries and we like to do what we feel like doing.

That's why people drive the speed they do on the beltway, because they don't care what the speed limit is. They want to do what they want to do. And I'm afraid I'm one of them sometimes.

But anyway, that's the point. That's who we are. Now listen, Jesus is looking for people who are willing to go over the fence of their personal independence. Jesus is looking for people who are willing to crown Him as the king of their life, period. And what does it mean to crown Jesus as the king of your life? It means that you and I seek to live every single area of our lives in obedience to the Word of God, in obedience to what God tells us in the Bible, not in obedience to what we feel like doing.

We give up that personal independence and we submit ourselves to the kingship of Jesus Christ over our life and our behavior. Now this applies to every area of our life, to our sex lives, our dating habits, our attitudes, our language. It applies to our thought life and our business ethics and what we watch on television and the movies we order in hotel rooms. It applies to the way we treat our spouses and the way we treat our children. It applies to the way we talk about other people and the way we spend our money and whether we forgive people from our heart. Now we may not always get it right, but people who are under the kingship of Christ are always trying to get it right to the best of their ability.

This is a huge fence that people get caught up on. The decision that God is number one in our life, the decision that how He tells us to live in the Bible is the authority for our life, not the way we feel and not what we want to do. And if you're here today and you're a follower of Christ, this is a fence God wants you going over, the fence of your personal independence.

And so let's summarize. What have we learned today? Well, we've learned that in this age, Jesus said He is not the Prince of Peace. We've learned that in this age, Jesus said following Him is often going to bring a sword into our life, not peace. It's often going to bring conflict.

It's often going to bring opposition and rejection and hostility into our life. And we've learned that in this age, there's a cost to following Jesus Christ and that Jesus is looking for people who love Him enough that they're willing to go over the fences and pay that cost. What are the fences that we've talked about? Fence number one is the fence of family ties, loving Jesus more than we love our family if it comes to that. Jesus is looking second of all for people to go over the fence of creature comfort, people who love Jesus more than they love stuff. And third, the fence of our personal independence, Jesus is looking for people who love Him more than they love doing what they feel like doing. And I'm here today to challenge you to be this kind of person.

I'm here today to challenge you to be a person of conviction and a person of courage and a person of commitment. I'm here to challenge you today to come out of the murky shadowlands of churchianity to go over these three fences once and for all in your life and to become a true disciple of Jesus Christ. I call on you to be this kind of person because, friends, these are the kind of people God can use. These are the kind of people that God can make a difference in the world with. He can't do it with people who live in the shadowlands of churchianity, but He can use it with disciples.

He can use them. And so my challenge to you today is come out of the shadows of churchianity and live in the light. Live in the light as an unashamed follower of Christ. And if you're hung up on one of these three fences, then I'm here to call on you today to go over it today and say, Lord, I'm over it and I'm staying over it because I'm going to put you first in my life. Let's pray together.

With our heads bowed and our eyes closed, if you need a moment to talk to God about one of these three fences or something else, why don't you take it and you talk to Him and ask for His help right now. Lord Jesus, we're reminded in John chapter 6 where Jesus said some very hard things and demanding things that the Bible tells us many people who followed Him went away and followed Him no longer. And the Bible says then He turned to the disciples, Peter, James, John, and said, Will you leave me also? And Peter said, Lord, where shall we go? You are the one who has the words of eternal life. Lord Jesus, remind us today that many times you have hard things to say to us, things that are demanding.

And yet you expect us as your disciples to say what Peter said, Lord, where else would we dare go? We're yours. I pray today that that would be our response, that we would hear what you've said and that we would rise to the challenge and say, Yes, Lord, we will pay the cost like Rabbi Cohen did. We will pay the cost because you are first in our life. And we love you more than our family. We love you more than stuff. And we love you more than we even love getting our own way.

Lord, challenge us to be those kind of people. And for folks who told you today that they're going over a fence that they've been hung up on, honor that and help them. God used us in this town to make a difference for Christ. Make us part of the fellowship of the unashamed. And we pray these things in Jesus name. God's people said, Amen. Thanks for being here today. Bless you guys.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-11 17:19:09 / 2023-06-11 17:30:51 / 12

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