Summary: Throughout history there is always been opposition to Christianity, this sermon deals with some of the ways we can respond to such opposition
49“I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50But I have a baptism to undergo, and what constraint I am under until it is completed! 51Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. 52From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. 53They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
54He said to the crowd: “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘It’s going to rain,’ and it does. 55And when the south wind blows, you say, ‘It’s going to be hot,’ and it is. 56Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?
Do you sometimes wonder why Christianity is rejected?
Why people oppose Christianity?
Why as Christians we face conflict with people?
or even Why at times what you hear from the bible and in worship makes you feel uncomfortable?
One of the most difficult things i had to struggle as a young person is that some my friends throughout life have violently opposed God, Christianity and the church
In a number of places Jesus indicates that being a Christian disciple
That following him will meet with opposition,
And not just from those who are different from you but people close to you
Listen again to verse 53,
They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law
Dealing with opposition is difficult:
And we are attracted to easier way of life,
Not necessarily the better way
So when opposition occurs we are often encouraged to look for an easier route
There is an ancient saying that says, following the path of least resistance will always create a crooked stream and a crooked person
Before I go much further we need to be clear
Christianity is not about opposing things for the sake of it
Or creating conflict for the sake of it
But here Jesus is extremely clear
When you follow me,
when you are in a Christian church community
be aware that you will encounter opposition to following me in and outside the church!!!
Listen to verse 51
51Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.
And this opposition is not just with others
But we will also encounter opposition in ourselves
Consider the following
Who do you think of first, God, others or yourself? Most people say think of yourself first, but is that what scripture says?
Do you ever begrudge someone, something or feel jealous because they have something or some privilege that you don’t?
Do you ever hear yourself saying I will choose to do what I like with my time?
Have you ever felt uncomfortable when reading the bible or hearing a sermon?
Do you look for ways or reasons why you don’t need to help someone?
Do you make an extra effort to associate with members of the congregation, of the parish and of the wider church?
Is forgiving others, central in your life? Does it even rank?
I know of one congregation who had some deep seated problems
and were so committed to forgiveness that when anyone in their congregation OPENLY refused to forgive another,
Holy Communion was not celebrated,
because they felt this was not helpful as there was no communion between the members of the congregation…
Everyday we will be attracted to and encouraged to live in ways that is inconsistent with the life of a Christian disciple.
One of the warnings of scripture both in the new and old testament is to be weary of people who only make you feel good.
Most people would say many of the world’s ways are not bad
But one of the problems is that some people only view Christianity through the eyes of moral living
Christian living is far broader than this
Anything we do or say that does not nourish our relationship with God and other Christians needs to be questioned
There are some similarities between what we experience in the world and the Christian life,
because God’s word has been at work in the lives of many people over the last 2000 years
So the Holy Spirit has had some affect on people
But there are also some major differences
Take a moment to reflect on the differences
The way of Jesus compared to the way of our society and the people you interact with?