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Important Instructions from Jesus Our King (Part 2)

The Gospel of Matthew  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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The Lord wants us to: 1. Be aware of our adversaries (vs. 17-18, 21-22). 2. Count on Him when we have a crisis (vs. 19-20). 3. Know that His salvation is sure (vs. 22). 4. Carry on our work for Christ (vs. 23).

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Important Instructions from Jesus Our King (Part 2)

The Gospel of Matthew

Matthew 10:17-23

Sermon by Rick Crandall

(Prepared February 6, 2022)

MESSAGE:

*In Matthew 10, Jesus was about to send His Apostles out to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. The Lord commanded them to preach that the kingdom of Heaven was at hand. And to confirm this vital message, Jesus gave the Apostles the power to perform mighty miracles in His name.

*The Lord also filled this chapter with important instructions that still apply to His followers today.

1. FIRST IN TODAY'S SCRIPTURE, THE LORD WANTS US TO BE AWARE OF OUR ADVERSARIES.

*Jesus warned us about 3 groups of people who tend to persecute believers: Christ-rejecting religious leaders, ungodly people in government, and hard-hearted relatives.

*In vs. 17-18 Jesus said:

17. "But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues.

18. And you will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles."

*Then down in vs. 21-22, Jesus said:

21. "Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.

22. And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved."

*Jesus never sugar-coated the hate-filled opposition His followers would have in this world. Church tradition tells us how the Apostles were persecuted for Christ, but the Bible goes into detail about the Apostle Paul. Ironically, we first see Paul as a persecutor before we see him persecuted by others.

*Before Paul got saved, Acts 9:1-2 calls him Saul and says:

1. Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest

2. and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.

*Then in Acts 22:4-5, Paul gave this testimony about how he tormented Christians:

4. "I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women,

5. as also the high priest bears me witness, and all the council of the elders, from whom I also received letters to the brethren, and went to Damascus to bring in chains even those who were there to Jerusalem to be punished."

*Paul also gave testimonies about how he had suffered for Jesus. For example, in 2 Corinthians 11:23-27 Paul told how he had been:

23. . . in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often.

24. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one.

25. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep;

26. in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;

27. in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness

*You see, Christians have always had fierce enemies, and we always will until the final victory over evil. So, Christ's warning about persecution here in Matthew 10 is also for us today. In vs. 17, Jesus specifically warned the Apostles about the councils and synagogues led by unbelieving Jews. But persecution of Christians can come from any Christ-rejecting religion.

*Next, in vs. 18, Jesus talked about persecution from ungodly governors and kings. In the whole history of the world, the vast majority of people have lived under the boot of the worst kind of rulers. In 2020, Forbes reported that 260 million Christians live in the top 50 countries where believers face dangerous levels of persecution. I'm talking about places like North Korea, Somalia, Libya, and Pakistan.

*"Open Doors" reported that the number of Christians killed in 2020 went up 60% over the year before. They also reported that anti-Christian governments around the world have used COVID-19 restrictions to persecute God's Church. That's no surprise because we have also seen it here in the United States. (1)

*By God's grace, Christians in America have mostly been spared from persecution by ungodly political leaders. That's because our forefathers were mostly God-fearing Christians, and they exalted God in our founding documents. Listen to these words from our Declaration of Independence:

"IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. . ."

*By God's grace, Christians in the United States are still among the freest people in the world. But our religious liberty is under growing assault from government officials openly hostile to Bible-believing Christians. These enemies of the cross hate us, and they will try to hurt us.

*But in vs. 21, Jesus also talked about the third kind of enemy. These are Christ-haters in our own family. Again, Jesus said, "Brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death."

*Thank God that we live in a place where this kind of treachery is rare. But we shouldn't be surprised when we have spiritual struggles with our children, our spouse, or even with our parents. Also know that the kind of brutality Jesus mentioned in vs. 21 is much more common in Muslim-majority countries like Pakistan.

*"The Voice of the Martyrs" told the story of a young girl they called "Diana." She grew up in a strict Islamic family in Pakistan. Diana's life was pretty typical until she met a girl named Mary who was a Christian. Diana heard the truth of the gospel and trusted in Jesus. When her family learned that she had become a Christian, they repeatedly beat her and insisted she return to Islam. But Diana refused.

*She was then forced to a local canal where her uncle put a pistol to her head and gave her one last chance to return to Islam. Diana replied, "You can kill me if you want. I will not leave Christ."

*It was then that Diana's uncle noticed an extremely poisonous black cobra swimming in the canal. Believing he could escape any prosecution for his niece's death, he threw her into the path of the cobra. He also knew she could not swim, but Diana miraculously escaped from the snake and the canal.

*Sadly, Diana then had to go into hiding from her own family. As a brand-new Christian she learned what it means to suffer for Christ. And she said: "Jesus was crucified for us. Can we not endure some of the same for Him?" (2)

*In vs. 22, Jesus summed up the hard truth of persecution by saying, "You will be hated by all for My name's sake. . ." In other words: We will be hated by all hard-hearted unbelievers for Jesus' sake. Many people will fiercely, even viciously reject our Savior. Don't be surprised about that.

2. THE LORD WANTS US TO BE AWARE OF OUR ADVERSARIES. HE ALSO WANTS US TO COUNT ON HIM WHEN WE HAVE A CRISIS.

*Church: We can always count on Jesus Christ! And the Lord wants us to know that we can keep counting on Him, even when we are going through the hardest times. This great truth comes to light in vs. 19-20, and here Jesus said:

19. "But when they deliver you up, do not worry (or "take no thought" or "don't be anxious") about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak;

20. for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you."

*These verses have astounding good news for us as followers of Jesus Christ!

[1] FIRST, WE CAN COUNT ON THE LORD'S PRESENCE IN OUR LIVES.

*God is not somewhere far off, taking care of His universe, unconcerned about what is going on in your life. He is right here with us, paying close attention to our troubles and concerns.

*In vs. 20 Jesus told the Apostles that when they were hauled before the authorities, they didn't need to worry about what to say, because "It is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you." Jesus said that because He knew that after He rose again from the dead and returned to Heaven, the Holy Spirit of God would come to live in His followers.

*Christians: This means that through the Holy Spirit, God the Father and God the Son are surely ever-present in us! And Hebrews 13:5 tells us that Jesus "Himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.'''

*The Apostle Paul certainly found this great promise to be true. When he wrote his second letter to Timothy, Paul was on trial for his life. Time had just about run out for this faithful missionary. And Paul was basically writing his last will and testament to his younger preacher friend.

*But the Lord was there for Paul! Listen to his testimony in 2 Timothy 4:16-18:

16. At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them.

17. BUT THE LORD STOOD WITH ME AND STRENGTHENED ME, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. And I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.

18. And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!

*The Lord stood with Paul, and He will surely stand with us.

[2] WE CAN COUNT ON GOD'S PRESENCE IN OUR LIVES. WE CAN ALSO COUNT ON HIS GUIDANCE.

*Many times, God has promised to guide His followers. And vs. 19-20 give us one of the most specific examples of God's guidance. Please listen again as Jesus said:

19. "But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak;

20. for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you."

*In other words: God's guidance will be so strong in those situations, that He will put the exact words we need to say in our minds and mouths.

*We must trust that God is able and willing to guide us in every situation. Even when we are under the most extreme pressure, we can count on Him to guide us. And we can trust Him, because He has a perfect plan for our lives. As the Lord says in Jeremiah 29:11, "I know the plans I have for you. . . They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."

*Think back to how God has guided you in the past. I know a lady who has an unusual salvation story. Her name is Sherryl, and she didn't get saved until she was thirty. One day she was at home laying on the couch. And Sherryl was as lost and miserable as she could be.

*Then she changed the channel on the TV, and it landed on a TV preacher. Sherryl was just about to change the channel again, but the preacher said: "There you are, laying on the couch. You are 30 years old, and you are just as miserable as you can be. All you've ever wanted is to be happy. But you will never be happy until you receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior."

*Sherryl got saved right then and there. And that is a wonderful story, but it's not the typical story. Christians, here's how is usually works: God plants a seed of concern about someone we know. Maybe it's someone in our family, or a friend, a neighbor, or someone at work. We get concerned about them, and we begin to pray for them. Somehow, we shine the light and love of Christ before them. Then, as they are willing to listen, we tell them about what God has done in our lives. We invite them to come to church, and they invite Christ into their hearts.

*God has many wonderful ways of guiding His people. And He will surely guide us through the worst crises of life.

3. JESUS WANTS US TO COUNT ON HIM WHEN WE HAVE A CRISIS. HE ALSO WANTS US TO KNOW THAT HIS SALVATION IS SURE.

*Salvation is sure for everyone who trusts in Jesus as their Lord and Savior. As Jesus promised at the end of vs. 22, "He who endures to the end will be saved."

*William MacDonald explained that "taken by itself, this statement could seem to imply that salvation can be earned by steadfast endurance. But we know it cannot mean this because throughout the Scriptures salvation is presented as a free gift of God's grace through faith." For example, Ephesians 2:8-9 tells Christians, "By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast."

*"And when Jesus said, 'He who endures to the end will be saved,' the simplest explanation, is that endurance is the hallmark (or proof) of the genuinely saved. In other words, those who endure to the end in times of persecution show by their perseverance that they are true believers." (3)

*The question in vs. 22 is, "Who is going to endure to the end?" And the answer is, "Everyone who has a personal relationship with Jesus. Everyone who believes in the Lord. Everyone who turns to the Lord, trusts in His crucifixion, trusts in His resurrection, and receives Jesus as their Lord and Savior."

*Jesus wants us to know that His salvation is sure, so John 3:36 says, "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.'' In John 6:47 Jesus said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life."

*And in John 10:27-29 Jesus said:

27. "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.

28. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.

29. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand."

*Here Jesus gives us 4 sure promises about His gift of eternal life:

-"I give them eternal life."

-"They shall never perish."

-"Neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand."

-"And no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand."

*That's 4 sure promises in 2 short verses! And Christians, we are forever safe in the Hands of God. Fred Musser reminds us in a testimony he heard from his pastor, Bro. Temple. The old preacher told Fred this story a few days before Fred left home to prepare for the ministry.

*Bro. Temple said, "When my son was small, we often walked together out through the fields and neighboring pasture behind the parsonage. At first the little fellow would hold onto my little finger. But he found that when he stepped into a hoof-print or stumbled over something, his grip would fail and down he'd go in the dust or snow.

*Not giving it much thought, my mind on other matters, I'd stop, and he'd get up, brush himself off, and grab my little finger again, gripping a little harder this time.

*Needless to say, this occurred frequently, until one day as he was brushing himself off, he looked at me and said, 'Daddy?' I replied, 'Yes, Son, what is it?' He said, 'I think if you would hold my hand, I wouldn't fall.'"

*Pastor Temple then turned to Fred, and with a tear in his eye, he said, "You know, he still stumbled many times after that, but he never hit the ground. Now, as you walk with God, don't try to hold on to Him, let Him hold on to you. You may stumble but He'll never let you fall." (4)

*Christians: Our confidence is not in our grip. It's in our Heavenly Father's grip. Our confidence is not in ourselves. Our confidence is in God! We can safely put our lives in His Hands, because He is the best Father of all.

4. JESUS WANTS US TO KNOW THAT HIS SALVATION IS SURE. HE ALSO WANTS US TO CARRY ON OUR WORK FOR CHRIST.

*This is a key instruction for us from vs. 23, where Jesus said, "But when they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes."

*One good question in vs. 23 is who Jesus meant when He said, "YOU will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes?" If He meant the original 12 disciples, then we would have missed the second coming of Christ, and of course, we haven't.

*No. Here the Lord expands His teaching to cover all of His followers, all of His witnesses. And Jesus is saying that as long as we are in this world there will be more work for us to do. There will be more people for us to reach. And we must do all we can for Jesus while we can.

*Melvin Newland gave this great testimony about his dad: "I think of my father who was still going strong even after he retired. His ministries were always pioneer-type ministries that didn't pay very much. He served on two foreign mission fields. He started 5 Christian colleges and established at least 36 churches that I know of.

*He wore clothes that probably should have been given to Goodwill, and sometimes he traveled with an old suitcase held together by a belt. Often money was in very short supply, but he always stayed the course.

*He had a motto in his office that read, 'You can get anything done, if you don't care who gets the credit.' And in the very last sermon he preached before his death, -- at the dedication of a new church building, -- he challenged us with these words: 'IF YOU'RE EVER GOING TO DO ANYTHING FOR GOD, DO IT NOW!'" (5)

CONCLUSION:

*May God help us to follow that great example, and all of these instructions from our Lord. Jesus wants us to be aware of our adversaries, count on Him when we have a crisis, know that His salvation is sure, and carry on our work for Christ.

*Let's ask the Lord to help as we go back to God in prayer.

(1) Sources:

-"Persecuted Christians Are Not Given Much Hope In 2020" by Ewelina U. Ochab - Feb 18, 2020 - https://www.forbes.com/sites/ewelinaochab/2020/02/18/persecuted-christians-are-not-given-much-hope-in-2020/?sh=7f74af646889

-"60% rise in Christians killed worldwide in 2020: Open Doors report" by Jackson Elliott, Christian Post Reporter - Thursday, January 14, 2021 - https://www.christianpost.com/news/open-doors-finds-60-rise-in-christians-killed-worldwide-in-2020.html

(2) "A Pakistani Teenage Christian Barely Escapes Death at the Hands of Her Own Family!" - Source: Cross walk email 08292006

(3) Adapted from BELIEVER'S BIBLE COMMENTARY by William MacDonald - Edited by Arthur Farstad - Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Copyright 1995, 1992, 1990, 1989 by William MacDonald - "The Mission to Israel" - Matthew 10:5-33 - Downloaded to e-Sword by Rick Meyers - Copyright 2000-2019

(4) Fred Musser, "The Tabernacle" from James S. Hewett, "Illustrations Unlimited" - Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988 - p. 244 - Source: "Bible Illustrator for Windows" - Topic: Love - Subtopic: Of God - Index: 2206 - Date: 7/1996.777 - Title: I Know Who Holds Tomorrow

(5) SermonCentral sermon "Run the Race" by Melvin Newland - Hebrews 12:1-3

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