Summary: The battles in life make us long for peace, but peace at what price? Jesus prepares us for life’s battles with his promises. So battle on, dear Christian. Parts: A. Though bombarded by conflict and loss. B. Braced with God’s gracious promises.
Text: Matthew 10:34-42
Theme: Battle Your Heart to Keep Jesus First
A. Though bombarded by conflict and loss
B. Braced with God’s gracious promises
Season: Pentecost 6a
Date: August 16, 2009
Web page: www.caughtbyjesus.net/sermons/Battle-Your-Heart-to-Keep-Jesus-First-Matthew10_34-42.html
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Word from God through which the Holy Spirit points us to Jesus is Matthew 10
"[Jesus said,] "Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I came to divide a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A man’s enemies will be his own family members.
""Whoever loves father or mother above me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter above me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not receive his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life because of me will find it.
""Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the prophet’s name will receive a prophet’s reward. Whoever welcomes a righteous man in the righteous man’s name will receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever give one of these little ones even just a cup of cold water in a disciple’s name, truly I say to you, he will certainly not lose his reward."" (Matthew 10:34-42)
Dear friends in Christ, fellow saints washed clean in the blood of our risen Savior:
There could have been peace instead of war in 1939. Great Britain and France could have just let Hitler have Poland. That had worked the year before when they let Hitler have part of Czechoslovakia, and British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain returned from Munich declaring "peace for our time."
There could have been peace instead of war in December 1941 if the United States had just let Japan do what they pleased, instead of labeling December 7 as "a date which will live in infamy." So what if they bombed Pearl Harbor?
World War II could have been avoided if the rest of the world would have let Hitler and the Empire of Japan keep on taking as much as they wanted. There could have been peace. But not the kind of peace we would want to live under.
"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword" (Matthew 10:34 NIV), Jesus said. For Jesus wages total war against the prince of this world, the enemy far worse than any Hitler or Kamikaze pilot. And you, dear friends, are on the front lines of this war. You could find a kind of peace by appeasing the prince of this world and surrendering to him. Or you could keep on following Jesus, though it is a daily battle of conflict and lose. Yet the distant triumph-song of heavenly peace rings out from the empty Easter tomb. So battle on, dear Christians, battle on. Battle your heart to keep Jesus first. That’s our theme, our military cadence, today. Battle your heart to keep Jesus first.
A. Though bombarded by conflict and loss
1. Why does placing Jesus before family cause conflict?
In this battle you are bombarded by conflict and loss. That’s part one. Jesus puts it all out in front of us. He’s not like a recruiter who paints a rosy picture of national honor, military glory, and exciting world travel to get you to sign up.
Jesus has told his disciples that they will face persecution and now he explains why. "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ’a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law -- a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household’" (Matthew 10:34-36 NIV).
The world can tolerate many different religions, but it cannot tolerate Jesus and his followers. They are enemies. Why? Because Jesus condemns the world’s power. Because he claims to be the only Savior. Because anyone outside of Jesus is lost and damned. You see, all other religions give some credit to the power of humanity. But the Christian faith confesses: "I cannot by my own thinking or choosing believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to him" (Luther’s Small Catechism, The Third Article). The world wants the different religions working together recognizing that each one has contributions to make. But the Christian faith confesses Jesus alone as the only Savior, without any help from anyone else. And those two truths together, namely, that we’re powerless to save ourselves and that only Jesus saves, means that those who do not believe in Jesus are lost. The world will not put up with that kind of exclusiveness. So the world hates Jesus and his followers