The Weekend Word
Persecution Will Come
16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.
- We don’t go, we are sent – those who go without being sent are false.
- I wonder how many seminary graduation speeches use this discourse as their theme – or ask
- “Tell me again how I can be a part of this ministry, or be a sheep amongst the wolves?”
17 Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues,
- The identity of the wolves – MEN!
- Beware of men – do not trust men. We are never told to trust men – but to trust God only.
18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles.
- You can’t say they weren’t warned
- The captivity & punishment are for a God purpose.
- How about Daniel in the lion’s den or the 3 friends in the fiery furnace?
- How about the Apostles to come (1st century) – how about us?
19 When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour.
- I have always said that if I were to die a martyr’s death it would be God who gives me the strength at the end to do it.
- Until then, I am a big chicken and on the run.
20 For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
- Think of some martyrs and their dying words.
- Look at Stephen in Acts 7
- See Acts 4:5-12 – Peter in this very situation.
- The Holy Spirit filled Peter with what to say.
21 Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death,
- How is this for a motivational speech?
- Christianity’s marketing motto should read “the Christian Church – come suffer with Jesus.”
- Jesus said he would bring this division – see v. 34-37
- Even though God formed the family to be the center of the community – the belief in Christ will break a family apart.
22 and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
- Not hated for you – but because of Jesus.
- If you are hated for yourself, you are doing it wrong.
23 When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
- There are plenty of places to do ministry – flee – don’t hang around and fight.
24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.
- A disciple = a student
- You think you can do this on your own? You need to be dependent on Jesus.
25 It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household?
- How do we see this today? If they thought Jesus was from the devil, what do they think of us his followers?
- In an effort to quash religion, Christians are now called haters, we have become a danger to America – we are not diverse enough, we are too restrictive.
- But the irony of all of this is who have become the tyrannical ones?
- Who are the intolerant ones by redefinition?
- What does it mean to tolerate? Agree with? Affirm? Or put up with?
- Do we tolerate people we agree with? No – because we agree with them.
- We tolerate those we do not agree with – but we agree not to kill each other.
Have No Fear
26 “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.
- So – have no fear. What is to fear after you face murder, mayhem, death & destruction?
- Don’t worry – be happy.
27 What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.
- To proclaim the gospel is to do it boldly
- How are we to stand against today’s society / culture?
- When the government threatens to take away tax exempt status – or when people demand same sex marriage in our churches?
28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
- Who is this who can destroy both Soul & Body?
- Jesus or Satan?
- Who is the only one who can judge?
- Rev 14 – we see where the damned are tortured in the presence of Holy Angels and Christ.
29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.
30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.
31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
- Because of how Jesus was treated, and how he was accused, Jesus is now preparing his disciples for the worst by giving them his best.
- Armed by Jesus with his triple armor v. 26 – v. 28 – v.31
- Do not be afraid.
- These apostles are members of the household of Christ & they bare the reproaches of Christ —
- So they will also share in his vindication and his victory.
- We are all more valuable than any other part of creation.
- How much are you worth? The life of the Son.
32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven,
- By their testimony, their witness, by putting themselves in harm’s way.
- Even under great persecution.
33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.
- Does this include those who give up the faith?