TEXT: Matthew 10:16-23
16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;
18 And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.
19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.
20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.
21 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.
22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.
K.P. Yohannan said, “No one wants to be disliked, hated or misunderstood—especially by family, friends and loved ones. But this is often exactly the price to be paid by anyone seriously wanting to follow Jesus into a life of servanthood.”
Last week, we began looking at the persecution that Jesus warned the disciples they would face. We saw how they would be forced to testify in front of government officials by people who did not like their preaching of the Gospel message. Jesus told them not to worry about what they would say before these officials, because the Holy Spirit would speak through them what God wanted.
We now turn our attention to verse 21, where Jesus continues to describe the persecution they will face. Not only will they be persecuted by strangers, but they will be persecuted by family members. Not only will they have to testify before magistrates, they will be put to death by those who should be closest to them.
By way of introduction to this passage, John Gill wrote in his exposition on the Bible. “Christ having fortified the minds of his disciples by the foregoing promises of divine influence and assistance, proceeds to open more largely and particularly the sorrows, troubles, and afflictions they must expect would attend the faithful ministration of his Gospel; as, that the true followers of Christ should not only be persecuted and betrayed, and delivered up into the hands of the civil magistrate, by persons that were strangers to them; but even by their nearest relations, brethren, whom the nearness of blood, should oblige to the tenderest regards to each other, to the securing of property and preserving of life: these should deliver up those that were so nearly related to them in the bonds of consanguinity, into the hands of persecuting men in power, in order to be put to death; than which scarce anything can be more barbarous and unnatural.”
This is one of those “hard sayings” of Jesus that many people do not want to face up to. It is inconceivable to many that the familial bonds should be broken over this matter. But such is the opposition of those sinful man to the Gospel. In the book of Romans, Paul talked about how that the carnal mind, or unsaved mind, is enmity against God. The spirit of the flesh that still dwells within unbelieving family members is naturally at odds with the Holy Spirit that dwells within their Christian relatives, and the same spirit that brought the disciples before judges would also divide families.
One way to view this persecution from family members is as a Hatfield-McCoy style feud between two families who cannot be reconciled. When we accept Christ as Saviour, we become children of God. However, if someone is not saved, their father is the devil. The spiritual families of God and Satan are diametrically opposed to each other on this earth. The devil will not tolerate us spreading the Gospel in a world that he is the prince of.
We as Christians must come to terms with the fact that we are inherently opposed to the world because of our stance on the word of God. When we faithfully serve God and spread His message, our relationships will be damaged. This opposition extends even to family members who have not accepted Christ as their Saviour. However, we should continue to treat them with Christ-like love, remembering that the devil is using them to attack us because of our witness for Christ.
Daniel S. Warner wrote:
O ye pilgrims, sing an exhortation,
Let its music sound within your heart;
Life or death, or storm of persecution,
Never, never from the Lord depart.
If we truly love the dear Redeemer,
Meekly suffer with Him loss and shame;
If we say that He abideth in us,
As He walked, so we should walk the same.
Oh, by all the sacred bliss of heaven,
And by all the love we owe to God,
Keep the solemn charge the Lord has given,
Watch and pray, and live beneath the blood.
Now, if you are with us today and you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to show you how you can place your faith and trust in Him for Salvation from sin and Hell.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the Cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please email me at [email protected] and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.