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Summary: Christ encourages his disciples not to fear persecution.

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Matthew 10:24-39

“The Messiah’s Messengers and Our Mission”

By: Rev. Kenneth Emerson Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News, VA

Believers are often persecuted.

We are bypassed, shunned, withdrawn from, isolated, talked about, ridiculed, mocked, considered strange,

and joked about.

Our Gospel lesson for this morning is a great encouragement to all of us who face persecution.

Christ said 3 times: “Do not be afraid.”

He encouraged His disciples not to fear persecution.

As a matter of fact, we must expect persecution, because Jesus Himself was persecuted....

.... “A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.”

Whatever caused people to persecute Jesus Christ....well, the same thing should be in us!

Is it?

It better be....

...and if it is not....

....it is time to reassess our relationship with Jesus Christ....

....Are we following in His footsteps?....

....are we proclaiming the good news?....

....are we acknowledging Jesus Christ before other human beings?....

....have we lost our former lives for the sake of Christ?

Some years ago Japan took over Korea.

Many of the leading Christians were bitterly persecuted.

Some were imprisoned in Japanese jails.

Those who weren’t persecuted felt that they were somehow lacking in their Christianity.

A native Methodist went to a missionary and said, “There must be something wrong with us Methodists. I

fear that we are not living as godly as we ought to live. There are 37 Presbyterians in jail and only one Methodist!

Does not the Lord count us worthy to suffer shame for His name?”

Imagine!

We are called by God’s very own Son, the Master and Lord of the Universe---this is the highest privilege

imaginable!

Therefore it is a very high privilege to suffer for Him.

As the Bible says in 1st Timothy: “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be

persecuted.”

One day John Wesley--the founder of Methodism-- preached to a great throng in an outdoor meeting.

He pleaded with the unsaved to flee from the wrath to come.

Later, Wesely said, “Many of the people acted like beasts and did their best to disturb the meeting.

They tried to drive a herd of cows into the crowd, but without success.

Then they began to throw stones--showers of them.

One of them struck me between the eyes.

I wiped away the blood, and went right on, declaring that God has given to them that believe, ‘not the

spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.’

By the spirit which is now appeared...I saw what a blessing it is when it is given us, even in the lowest

degree, to suffer for His name’s sake!”

Jesus tells us: “What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim

from the roofs.”

My friends, the message must be preached!!!

And the message is urgent--it is to be proclaimed loud and clear for all to hear!

We are living in very desparate times....

....the end may very well be near.....

.....and those who perish without the saving grace of Jesus Christ will be condemned to hell!

If we believe this....we will proclaim this!!!

Jesus has given all of us--not just the paid clergy--for paid, ordained, or not--we are all ministers of

the Gospel....

...Christ has given all of us the great commission to “Go into all the world and preach the good news

to all creation.”

And there are many people who do this....there are many missionaries who we support financially to do

this.....but if we expect to be able to just pay somebody else to do what all of us as Christians are commanded

to do.....we are coping out---we are fooling ourselves....we are self-diluded!

Take a look around our neighborhoods....how many of our neighbors know Christ and attend a Solid

Christian Church?...

...or any church at all?

Look at the street corners of our city....look at the violence....look at the unhappy faces....look at the

spiritual deprevity....

.... “Go...and tell the people the full message of this new life.”

How many of us have Parkview bumper stickers on our cars?

How many of us have put up door hangers?

How many of us have handed out invitation cards?

How many of us have shared our faith in Christ Christ?

My friends....it’s the least we can do!!!

“Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.”

Are we ashamed of the Gospel of Christ?

Are we ashamed that we are aligned under the Creator of this universe...rather than the destroyer of this

universe?

“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can

destroy both soul and body in hell.”

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