Summary: Commitment to worship and work.
INTRO.- ILL.- A journalist was assigned to the Jerusalem bureau of his newspaper. He got an apartment overlooking the Wailing Wall. After several weeks he realized that whenever he looked at the wall he saw an old Jewish man praying vigorously.
The journalist wondered whether there was a publishable story here. He went down to the wall, introduced himself and said: "I see that you come every day to the wall. What are you praying for?"
The old man replied: "What am I praying for? In the morning I pray for world peace, then I pray for the brotherhood of man. I go home, have a glass of tea, and I come back to the wall to pray for the eradication of illness and disease from the earth."
The journalist was taken by the old man’s sincerity and persistence. "You mean you have been coming to the wall to pray every day for these things?" The old man nodded.
"How long have you been coming to the wall to pray for these things?"
The old man became reflective and then replied: "How long? Maybe twenty, twenty-five years."
The amazed journalist finally asked: "How does it feel to come and pray every day for over 20 years for these things?"
"How does it feel?" the old man replied. "It feels like I’m talking to a wall."
I am sure that praying at that wall got old, but at least, HE WAS COMMITTED TO DOING IT!
In our text, Matthew 10:34-39, Jesus speaks of true commitment to Him. He is talking about loyalty, allegiance, dedication, etc.
V. 34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.”
On the surface, these words sound bad. We might think, “But I thought Jesus was the prince of peace? Why would He want to bring a sword or fighting?”
The point of the text is that if we are truly committed followers of Christ we will make some enemies in this world! Some people will not like us because of our faith, etc. Some people don’t like good people! They don’t like do-gooders or Christian people of any kind!
After all, did not the people of Jesus’ day crucify Him? And no one was better or did better than Jesus. How then can we expect different treatment in this world?
John 15:18-19 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”
ILL.- From our perspective, no one could say anything bad about Billy Graham. I don’t think anyone has ever accused him of wrongdoing….of any kind. But I suspect that down through the years Billy Graham has received some negative, nasty mail and perhaps even some hate mail. WHY? BECAUSE OF THE STAND HE HAS TAKEN FOR CHRIST ALL HIS LIFE.
Matt. 10:35-36 “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.”
Jesus did not purposely want to cause trouble in any household. Be that father and son, daughter and mother, etc. But if a person makes a strong commitment to Christ it may well cause some trouble or division in the home.
We have heard stories of Orthodox Jews accepting Christ as their Savior and then their whole family would disown them. That does happen in some places and countries. If a person chooses to follow Christ, they may be completely ousted by their family and friends!
Matthew 10:37 “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”
Jesus didn’t say we couldn’t or shouldn’t love our family members. He was just saying that we should love Him most of all! And when you consider everything He has done for us and will do for us, that is not asking too much of us.
True commitment to Christ means that we will love Him most of all and put Him first over all!
ILL.- A missionary society wrote to David Livingstone (missionary to Africa – 1813-1873) and asked, "Have you found a good road to where you are? If so, we want to know how to send other men to join you." Livingstone wrote back, "If you have men who will come only if they know there is a good road, I don’t want them. I want men who will come if there is no road at all." That’s true commitment.