Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Matthew 10:23 says "I tell you the truth, the Son of Man will return before you have reached all the towns of Israel." Reminds me of that song by the Bee Gees in 1968 "I've Gotta Get a Message to You. Hold on! Hold on!"

Part 16 - Matthew 10:21-42 - GOT TO GET A MESSAGE TO YOU. HOLD ON, HOLD ON!

I recently read of a teenager in Florida in America who fled for her life from her Muslim family after she converted to Christianity. Fathima Rifqa Bary says her family will murder her in what is known as an "HONOUR KILLING" because of her profession of faith in Christ. In Islamic tradition, an honour killing is killing a person who is believed to have brought dishonour upon his or her family. A brother will beat his sister if she becomes a Christian. A father will kill his own children. The United Nations reports about 5,000 such "HONOUR KILLINGS" take place annually around the world, and they can happen in any country.

When Jesus sends out His disciples to preach and heal in Matthew 10:21-22 He says "A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed. And all nations will hate you because you are My followers. But everyone who endures to the end will be saved." (NLT)

God doesn't promise that it will be smooth sailing if you become a Christ follower. Jesus doesn't tell them to stick around and get murdered for their faith. He says "When you are persecuted in one town, flee to the next." (Matthew 10:23 NLT). Christians aren't stupid. I have to know when to run. I am to have courage but that doesn't mean I have to have a death wish!

In Luke 18:28-30 (NLT) "Peter said, "We've left our homes to follow you." "Yes," Jesus replied, "and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, will be repaid many times over in this life, and will have eternal life in the world to come."

Obedience to Christ or obedience to family? Sometimes that question is the difference between life and death for some people today. Fortunately persecution is something that will one day be brought to an end. ENDURANCE is possible for Christians and as horrible as persecution is, eternal life is assured and so it is worth it. Apart from that Philippians 1:29 (NLT) says "For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for Him."

In Australia I don't have to endure the kind of persecution that leaves me in danger of my life but I can still be bypassed, isolated, ridiculed, considered to be strange, and made fun of. I have had people curse me but no death threats as yet.

But it is Matthew 10:23 that disturbs me. It says "I tell you the truth, the Son of Man will return before you have reached all the towns of Israel." What is all this about? Reminds me of that song by the Bee Gees in 1968 "I've Gotta Get a Message to You. Hold on! Hold on!"

The Son of Man will RETURN? From where? What is He saying? Return from the dead? Maybe Jesus is just saying "I'll meet you here when you get back. I'll get back before you." Second Coming perhaps? Did I miss something here because to my knowledge Jesus has not returned again! Then again because of the destruction of Jerusalem, the Jews were not completely reached. Is it talking about disciples throughout time. Is this prophetic of the Tribulational period in the Eschatological timetable? Pardon?

So what is this talking about? He did come again after His resurrection power to the disciples personally. He did come to them in His power on the day of Pentecost. He also came in judgment at the destruction of Jerusalem. He will also come again to judge the world. It seems to me that Jesus is making a prophetic proclamation covering a huge span of time, not a specific period of time. To me, and I could be wrong about this, His return seems to UNFOLD IN VARIOUS STAGES like a scroll until it is fully realised in the Second Coming of Christ.

God bless you Church as you refuse to be afraid "of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10:28 NLT). God bless you as you acknowledge Christ until He returns.

Pastor Ross

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