Summary: Christianity is under attack. Things are going to get worse. This sermon deals with that fact.
Bad Times Are Coming For Christians
16 "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.
17But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues.
18You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.
19But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; 20for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.
21Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 22And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.
23When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
24A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.
25It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household!
The title of today's sermon is
"Bad Times Are Coming For Christians."
The Supreme Court has legalized same sex marriage.
Churches with preachers who preach what the Bible says
about homosexuality and marriage
may find themselves in trouble with the government.
Preachers who refuse to perform same-sex marriage
may soon find themselves being sued in court.
Churches could soon lose their tax-exempt status.
We have already reached the stage where conservative Christians
are regarded as the bigots in this politically correct society.
So what should we be doing?
The answer is simple.
We must learn to live as the first century Christians did in Rome.
Bad times are coming, and we'd better get ready.
Look again at words of Jesus in Matthew 10:16, "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves.
That doesn't sound good, does it?
Who wants to be a sheep among the wolves?
It doesn't sound very pleasant.
Notice again how Jesus puts it: "I send you out."
That means Jesus intentionally sends us out among the wolves!
We will find ourselves surrounded by wolves
and they aren't there by accident.
Jesus intended for you to be there,
right in the midst of the wolves.
Now, why would Jesus want that to happen?
Wolves eat sheep.
It's not safe among wolves.
We'd rather stay away from the wolves.
What are we supposed to do when the wolves come after us?
It's not a fair fight.
Sheep don't stand a chance against wolves!
Jesus is sending us out among the wolves!
It sounds like a suicide mission and in a way it is.
It would be nice if Jesus said something like this,
"I am sending you into a dangerous place, but don't worry, at the last second I will deliver you so no harm comes to you."
Now, Jesus can do that and He might do that,
but we have no guarantees that He will.
There is no promise of deliverance connected to this verse.
Remember the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego?
In Daniel Chapter 3 we read about them.
They stood before King Nebuchadnezzar
with the threat of being thrown into the fiery furnace.
What did they say to that King?
"Our God is able to deliver us, but even if he doesn't deliver us, we still won't bow down to the golden image."
Now look again at the last part of Verse 16.
"Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves."
What does that mean?
Jesus means, "I'm sending you out into a very dangerous situation".
Be smart. Be cautious. Pay attention. Don't be naïve.
Don't go up and start taunting the wolves.
The reference to doves applies to our integrity.
Be honest and truthful.
If there's trouble out there,
let it be because the wolves decided to attack you,
not because you did something foolish.
We know that Jesus is the good shepherd.
We know He love us,
but why would He put us in this position?
Why are we sent out as sheep among wolves?"
The rest of today's passage gives us 3 answers to that question.
Answer # 1: We Are Sent Out Among The Wolves That We Might Bear Witness to the Nations.
17But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues. 18You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. 19But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; 20for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.