Summary: This is the 2nd part of message begun previous week. This sermon comforts believers with assurance that God is working things together for their good and instructs them on how to respond to unjust attacks from other people.
pt. 2 Matt. 10:29-31
Last weeki we introduced our text in Mark 10:29-31.
“So Jesus answered and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel's, 30 who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time -- houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions -- and in the age to come, eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first."ii
The context of that passage is the story of the Rich Young Ruler. In verse 17 he runs to Jesus, bows before him, and asks the most important question anyone can ask: “… what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" I trust that everyone here has not only asked that question, but gotten an answer to it. If not, make sure you get an answer. “… what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" He refers to Jesus as “Good Teacher….” Jesus responds with a question, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.” Are you recognizing Me for who I am? Are you perceiving me as a nice teacher or do you see more than that? Do you see me as the God who can give you eternal life? In verse 19 Jesus continues His answer, “You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery-- murder—steal--bear false witness-- defraud,' 'Honor your father and your mother.'" The young man replied, "Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth." Verse 21 “Jesus--looked at him w/ love” (Love urged pinpoint the key to unlocking his heart.) "One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me."iii
In spite of his initial exuberance for kingdom (running to Jesus) he allowed “one thing” to keep him out of purposes of God for his life. He was a very nice guy; he took care of his parents. He did not violate others’ property, rights, or wives. Yet he would not turn loose of one thing. Verse 22 says Jesus’ word made him “sad” and he “went away sorrowful.”iv In verse 23 Jesus said, "How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!" “…how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God.” It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. “Then Peter began to say to Him,” (in verse 28) "See, we have left all and followed You."
That brings us to our text, a passage that assures us that personal sacrifices made for the cause of Christ are not in vain and will be rewarded. “So Jesus answered and said, ‘Assuredly there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel's, 30 who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time --houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions -- and in the age to come, eternal life.”
I expect two things in the days ahead: (1) an increase in the Spirit of glory resting on the followers of Jesus and (2) more persecution from the world in response to that anointing. We need to know how to handle the persecution. We need to know how to respond to unjust treatment. I
I want to share with you four keys to responding right. This is not exhaustive, but it is something that I have found helpful.
I. See the persecution as a test to pass and as an opportunity to grow.
The way you view the event will affect the way you respond. If you see the attack as a personal threat and a battle to win in the flesh, you will probably not handle yourself very well. You will probably become defensive and spend most of your energy justifying yourself. Even worse, you may spend energy retaliating and gossiping. To respond right, you need some preparation because self-survival is the default response.
View the incident as a test that God wants you to pass, so He can promote you to the next level. “Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you in due time.”v Life is a series of important tests that prepare you for graduation day. Graduation day is the Day of the Lord, the day you stand before Him at the Judgement Seat of Christ. How many have been to a graduation ceremony. In that ceremony there are various levels of recognition. Everyone graduating gets recognized and gets a certificate or degree. But some receive special honor. Some graduate cum laude (with honor). That honor usually goes to those in about the upper 20%. On their tests they performed well. Another group graduate magna cum laude (with great honor) usually the upper 10% or so. Then a few graduate summa cum laude (with highest honor) which is the top 4 or 5%). There were a lot of tests and preparation for tests that went into these final evaluations. When you and I stand at the Judgement Seat of Christ, His evaluation of how we did will be perfectly accurate. And He will reward each of us justly.