Summary: A 2 point sermon inspired by Steve Shepherd’s Commitment series sermons.
A newspaper journalist was assigned to Jerusalem and when he got there, he decided to get an apartment overlooking the Wailing Wall. After several weeks of watching out over the wall, he realized that every day, the same old Jewish man would come and spend most of the day praying vigorously at the wall.
The journalist wondered whether there was a publishable story here, so 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: "In the morning I pray for world peace; at lunchtime, I pray for my fellow man. Then in the late afternoon, I pray for the future of this earth."
The journalist asked how long the old man had been doing that, and he told the reporter that he had been doing this for about 25 years. The young journalist was amazed and asked the old Jew how it felt to come here every day and pray so much.
"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 since he was unable to see his prayers being answered, but the old man had commitment. Today, we are going to read where Jesus speaks about true commitment. He is talking about loyalty, allegiance, and dedication.
In MATTHEW 10:34, we read,
“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?”
The point of the text is that if we are truly committed to Christ, we will make some enemies in this world! Some people will not like us because of our faith in Jesus. Some people hate Christ so much, that’s all the reason they need to hate Christians, too.
The people of Jesus’ day crucified Him because they hated Him. Now, if people were willing to do that to the Son of God, what do you think they will be willing to do to us?
Just this past week, I received an email from a missionary in a Muslim country. She said there was a Christian pastor who had been sentenced by a local village tribe to death by stoning. His offense was nothing more than teaching about Jesus.
She went on to report about those three teenaged school girls on their way to school Thursday before last, and two of them had their heads cut off in a ditch by the dirt road, and the third escaped with deep cuts. Their offense? They were Christians in an Islamic nation.
We are very comfortable in America and sometimes we just don’t pay too much attention to what is happening overseas. Let me tell you point blank that there are more people dying today for their belief in Jesus than we are aware of.
And I fear greatly that what is happening over there will be happening here. It may not be for a while yet, but I do think it will come. And when it does, many Christians are going to be caught by surprise and most will not be ready for the spiritual storm that comes with it.
JOHN 15:18-19 states,
“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.” Let me see if I can make it even clearer. The world will hate you simply because it hates Jesus.
People cannot say very many bad things about Billy Graham. I don’t think anyone has ever accused him of wrongdoing - of any kind. But down through the years, Billy Graham has received some very nasty mail. Why? Not because he deserved it, but because he took a stand for Jesus and has lived that stand for all of his adult life. That’s all the reason the world needs to hate him.
MATTHEW 10:35-36 reads,
“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.”
Do you know of anyone who may want to come to church but their parents or spouses will not let them come? Jesus did not purposely want to cause trouble within the household. But if a person makes a strong commitment to Christ, it may well cause trouble in the home.