Summary: Faith to face your family when they reject your Christian faith.
Faith to Face Family
Text: Hebrews 11:4
I. Since May 10, 2010 Nurta Mohamed Farah has been imprisoned at her home in southern Somalia because she became a Christian, according to Compass News Direct. According to witnesses, Nurta's family keeps the 17-year-old chained to a tree by day and puts her in a small, dark room at night. "When the woman's family found out that she converted to Christianity she was beaten badly but insisted on her new-found religion," a source told Compass News on the condition of anonymity. "Her parents also took her to a doctor who prescribed medication for a 'mental illness' but it had no effect in swaying her from her faith," he said. "There is little the community can do. I have advised our community leaders to keep monitoring her condition but not to meddle for their own safety. We need prayers and human advocacy for such inhuman acts."
II. A young Christian in Myanmar was forced to choose between faith and family recently when her relatives demanded that she recant her faith. On Sept. 19, 2011, 21-year-old Ying was preparing to leave for classes at an underground Christian school when her relatives locked her in the house. They threatened to disown her, beat her and withdraw support — including food — if she continued to attend school or church. In addition, they threatened to send her to a remote village with no known Christians if she did not recant her faith. Instead of giving in to their demands, Ying ran away from home and left her family behind. Ying’s mother died when Ying was young, and her father left her with an aunt and two stepsisters. Although she grew up and lived in a Buddhist family, Ying became interested in Christianity. When she was 20 years old, she overheard an evangelist telling a neighboring family about Christ. Ying approached the evangelist and asked him questions about Christianity. At 20 years old, she became a Christian. (Taken from http://www.persecution.com).
III. It is amazing what some people go through just to be a Christian! What is even more amazing is that many times persecution comes from the ones we love the most, our families. Such was the case with Abel.
A. Do you remember the story of Able? We read about Abel in Gen. 4:2-10
1. Could you imagine what it was like to be him?
2. Scripture tells us that there were only a few people around, Adam and Eve, Abe’s parents and Cain his brother and some unnamed brother and sisters.
3. Able was a keeper of flocks, meaning he was a shepherd.
4. Because of his devotion to the Lord, he offered up the best of his firstborn of his flocks and the Lord was pleased.
5. Yet his brother Cain became anger because the Lord was pleased with Abel’s sacrifice and not his.
6. Could you imagine what it was like to be Able? The Bible does not give specifics. But could you image the looks that Able got from his brother as they past? We could image silence at the dinner table and the coldness that came from every encounter.
7. Slowly this anger takes hold of Cain’s life; the Bible says that Cain’s face was down cast.
a. Anger can do that to you it can change your appearance and your whole outlook on life.
8. God warns Cain to master his anger but he refuses.
9. Could you imagine how Able felt, here he is trying to do his best to please the Lord and his brother does not except it and hates him for it.
10. We read on that Cain’s anger become so intents that he kills Able.
11. So was faith important for Able even when Cain his brother rejected his faith? Did Abel have the faith he needed to face his family?
IV. We see in Luke 4:14-30 that another person of faith was rejected by His family because of his faith. Jesus Christ.
A. Could you imagine what it was like to be Jesus?
B. He read the scriptures as he probably always did and everybody thought that was good.
C. Then he started to preach in verse 23-27
D. The people in synagogue were furious; they got up, drove him out of town, and took him to a hill to through him down.
E. But he walked away.
F. Yes it was a miracle that they did not kill him.
1. But imagine how he felt, aunts, uncles, brothers, and childhood friends all rejected him?
2. It is one thing to have a bad sermon, and disappoint people.
3. It is another thing entirely to preach well and have your family and friends reject you because you are obeying God.
4. So was faith important for Jesus to have when he was rejected by his family and friends?