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Summary: We often think of Jesus as being the Prince of Peace. So what did He mean when He said He came to bring a sword?

Let me ask you something… when you think about Jesus, what are some characteristics that come to mind?

PARTICIPATION

(Loving, gentle, kind, forgiving…)

That’s the Jesus most of us think about. That’s the Lord and God we want to know… one who’s compassionate, caring, understanding, generous. And I would say we often think that’s all there is to Jesus. And we forget or ignore that there’s also a very demanding side to Him.

But then we get hit up the side of the head with a passage like we read earlier from Matthew 10. It just doesn’t seem to fit with who we normally think of Jesus to be.

This is our second week in our August series of messages entitled, “You Asked for It.” And I invited you to let me know if there were any passages or topics you wanted discussed here on a Sunday morning. This passage was one of the ones requested. And I can understand why… it can be a confusing passage, especially if you’re just casually reading through the book of Matthew and you come upon it. What was Jesus really saying?

It would appear to say that he came to bring us conflict. It would appear that He’s telling us to hate our families. It would appear that Peace is not something He came to bring.

But how does that fit with the rest of Scripture? You may be familiar with several other passages like:

Isaiah 9:6 (NLT) where Jesus is called the

“…Prince of Peace.”

Luke 2:14 (NLT) where the angels are telling the shepherd about the birth of Jesus and they say…

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to all whom God favours.”

Matthew 5:9 (NLT) where Jesus is speaking and He says

“God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.”

Romans 5:1 (NLT) where Paul writes…

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.

Ephesians 2:14 (NLT) where Paul tells the church in Ephesus…

He has brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and to us Jews who were near.

Romans 12:18 (NLT) where you are instructed to…

Do your part to live in peace with everyone, as much as possible.

But then we hit this passage in Matthew 10 where Jesus says:

Matthew 10:34 (NLT)

“Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! No, I came to bring a sword.”

And then He goes on to talk about turning a man against his father and a daughter against her mother. How do you rectify that with the rest of Scripture? How does it fit with everything we’ve come to know and understand about Jesus? This morning I want to talk about what Jesus was really saying, and what it means for us today. We’re going to look at four notes on living for Jesus. You can use the outlines provided in your Sunrise Update to follow along and fill in the blanks as we go.

Notes on Living for Jesus:

1. Spiritual Peace does not equal social or political peace.

It was a spiritual peace Jesus came to bring. He came to offer forgiveness and a restored relationship with our Creator.

In your notes…

"Jesus came to offer peace with God."

Think back to some of the prophecies of the Old Testament. Remember how they talked about Jesus coming to set up His kingdom? The Jews of the day thought that meant that Jesus was going to come overthrow the Roman government and set up an earthly kingdom. Even His disciples expected Him to do that. But that wasn’t what He was all about. He came to set up a spiritual kingdom, not an earthly one.

And it’s the same way with the Peace He came to bring. He came to offer us peace with God, not with everyone else. He did instruct us to try to live at peace with others as far as it depended on us, but He never promised that we wouldn’t have conflict during this life.

In fact, check this out. We already read from Matthew 5:9;

Matthew 5:9 (NLT)

“God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.”

But check out the next two verses:

Matthew 5:10-11 (NLT)

“God blesses those who are persecuted because they live for God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. God blesses you when you are mocked and persecuted and lied about because you are my followers.”

We are to try to live at peace with others, but we need to stop short of compromising on our faith. Remain true to God, and if your are persecuted because you are a Christian, that’s fine. In fact, the next verse says:

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