Summary: We try so hard to make the gospel easy to accept, but the way Jesus presented it was bound to be confrontational in a sinful world.
Passage: Matthew 10:34-42
Intro: Sometimes the words of Jesus are so different from the image we constructed that it shocks us.
1. and often we try to soften them, reinterpret them, make them less offensive and more acceptable.
2. but these statements this morning are really clear.
3. and in the context of sending out the disciples to proclaim the gospel, they are especially practical.
4. he has already used a startling image in
5. here, in very specific terms, Jesus tells us why we can expect such resistance as we proclaim what should be viewed as wonderful news.
6. we have to understand this so: 1) we don’t water down the gospel to make it easier to accept, and 2) we aren’t surprised when people reject the gospel and us.
7. so here is the truth about the gospel.
I. The Gospel is Incredibly Confrontational
1. look at this amazing statement in v34
2. what happened to “peace on earth, good will toward men?”
3. God’s purpose toward men is good, but He is at war with the kingdom holding men captive.
4. “did not come to being peace”…with Satan and the system he has devised.
5. Jesus came, rather, to break the chains of deception, to free us from the bonds of sin and death.
6. we are used to sin, have made peace with our captors, are submissive to their murderous purpose for us.
7. we have accepted their substitutes for real life and joy, and have discovered a certain contentment on our way to hell.
8. but Jesus came not to increase our comfort, but to expose the comfortable lie and show us its inevitable end of eternal judgment.
9. He has come not only to show but also to provide an escape
10. it is an offer of forgiveness for sins, but it requires the agreement with God that I am a sinner and in need of rescue.
11. and as with all offers, some will accept it and others will not.
12. but this choice, because it is so confrontational, does not allow for “peaceful coexistence” between God’s truth and Satan’s lies.
13. Satan would not be Satan if he did not mount a strong counterattack to the purposes of God.
14. the closest human relationships will be
impacted by this confrontation, because it is deeper than those relationships.
15. the gospel strikes at the core of our being, because it says that our lives without Christ are rejected in the court that really matters.
16. others may tell us we are OK, but God says we are not.
II. The Gospel Demands Radical Choices.
1. vv37-39 are very powerful.
2. don’t make the mistake of thinking that this is the way we earn our salvation.
3. salvation is a gift, cannot be earned.
4. but this then is the radical change of values, change of priorities that is normal for the follower of Christ.
5. don’t think either than we cannot love our parents or our children
6. it is simply a matter of priorities, of that values that drive our decisions.
Il) up in Minnesota, remember when youth soccer leagues began to play games on Sunday a.m. Christian families forced to make a choice.
7. money, relationships, partnerships, ethics; every decision is made in the context of our new kingdom values.
8. and then there is this statement about “taking up our cross”
9. this was a long time before Christ’s death, but it was a startling picture for the disciples.
10. this is a call to a complete death to self-interests, the kind of decision that Jesus made in the Garden of Gethsemane.
PP Matthew 26:39 (on Garden picture)
11. being part of God’s kingdom means that the selflessness that Jesus manifested in the Garden and on the cross is the norm for His followers.
12. being a follower of Christ means that we will live in radical distinction from the world.
13. this means far more than having shorter hair and longer skirts, not smoking or drinking or swearing.
14. it means that our whole value system will be different, that our lives will reflect a new heart that is soft toward God and lives for the benefit of others and the glory of God.
15. it means that we will accept whatever price there may be to pay while living in this worldly kingdom, but not being a part of it.
16. we will lose friends, we will lose jobs, we will lose money, we will lose lives.
17. but if we try to keep those things, we will lose real life, eternal life.
18. there is a radical decision required, to embrace the unique values of the Christian life, shown to us by Jesus Christ.