How to Face Constant Conflict as a Christian (Part 13)

How to Face Constant Conflict as a Christian (Part 8)

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Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message #178

TEXT: Matthew 10:37-42

Today, as we close out this series based on Matthew chapter 10, we can look at the state of the world around us and see that Jesus’ words to His disciples which were passed down to us are more relevant than ever before. It is almost as if they were spoken and written yesterday. We are reminded of verse 23 where Jesus said, “When they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another.” That happened quite literally this past week when the self-proclaimed Islamic State in Iraq told the Christians in the city of Mosul either you will convert to Islam, pay a tax, or be killed. They were persecuted in that city where they have been for nearly 2,000 years, and in order to not deny Jesus Christ and to save their lives and their families, they fled to other cities in Iraq, and according to reports, there is not one Christian left in the city of Mosul today.

That is the kind of world we live in. And the relevance of the Word of God should re-establish in our hearts and minds that it is divinely inspired and is good for yesterday, today, and forever. Therefore, we ought to take heed to it as we read it and hear it preached.

In these final verses of Matthew chapter 10, Jesus addresses three important areas of our Christian life:

1. Let’s look at our supreme love. Jesus says, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.” As you might recall, we looked at this same issue from the Gospel of Luke a few months ago, right before we jumped into Matthew 10. This is a very important issue for us as Christians.

2. Let’s look at the threat of loss. Jesus tells His disciples, “He that findeth his life shall lose it.” What does it mean to find your life and then lose it? Jesus is saying, if all you pursue is success and profits in this material and temporal life, you will eventually lose your life and everything you have worked for altogether. Remember His question, “For what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?”

3. Let’s look at the rewards of eternal life. Jesus tells us, “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” This verse ought to serve as a comfort and encouragement for those who are facing conflict right now as well as for those who have chosen to give up material and temporal success in order to store up treasures in Heaven.

Jesus wants us to have the best of both worlds, but we have to do things His way in order to receive all of the blessings and benefits that He has in store for us. First Corinthians 2:9 says, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” The question for each of us today is not, Do we desire the rewards of Heaven? But, do we love God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ above all else. If we do, we will gladly suffer loss, we will gladly face conflict, we will gladly endure persecution, because we are no longer living for ourselves, but we are living for Him.

MUSICAL SELECTION: “Enter Your Gates” by Stephen B. Steward and “Take Me to the King” by Tamela Mann

How to Face Constant Conflict as a Christian (Part 12)

How to Face Constant Conflict as a Christian (Part 8)

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Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message #177

TEXT: Matthew 10:29-36

Last week, we talked about the issue of fear in the life of the believer. Jesus commanded His disciples not to fear man and only to fear God. Today, as we continue our series on facing conflict as a Christian, we are going to look at three reasons why we should not fear what man can do to us.

1. We should not fear because God cares for us. Jesus says to his disciples, “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.”

What Jesus is telling us is that if God the Father notices even the birds who fall to the ground, surely He takes note of His children who risk their livelihood, their reputation, and sometimes their lives in order to serve Him. When we are being opposed and afflicted by the world and the devil, we will be tempted to feel as though God has forgotten us, as though we are all alone, as though we are risking our lives for nothing. But, Jesus lets us know that even in the midst of the worst circumstances, God knows where we are. He cares for us.

2. We should not fear because God has a test for us. Jesus tells His disciples, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.”

We hear a lot in Christian circles about how Jesus came to bring peace and harmony. Around Christmastime, we sing about the angels who declared, “peace on earth and goodwill toward men.” But Jesus did not come to bring peace among men necassarily; He came to bring peace between men and God.

Jesus’ coming marked the beginning of a new testament, a new dispensation, in which every person born into the world would have to make a choice. God revealed Himself in His Son like He never had before. And, from the point of the resurrection onward, every person has a decision to make — whether they will follow Jesus Christ and enter the Kingdom of God, or follow their own way and live for the world.

3. We should not fear because God has a reward for us. Jesus tells His disciples, “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.”

When it comes to loyalty to Jesus Christ, it is a two-way street. Jesus lets us know that if we are bold and selfless enough to stand up for Him on earth, He will stand up for us in Heaven. Whether or not we stand up for Jesus on earth will show what is truly important to us. If we value this world and the approval of men more than Heaven and the approval of God, we will bow every time we are faced with conflict. If, on the other hand, we value the approval of God over the approval of men, we will be like the Hebrew boys and stand for God when the world is bowing all around us.

If you want to receive rewards from Jesus Christ, we must remember that God cares for us so that we will not falter in moments of conflict. We should also see each moment of conflict in our lives as a test from God. Will we bow and submit to pressure from the world and the devil, or will we stand up for Christ and the Gospel?

MUSICAL SELECTION: “Favor” by Shirley Caesar and “Victory” by Yolanda Adams

How to Face Constant Conflict as a Christian (Part 11)

How to Face Constant Conflict as a Christian (Part 8)

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Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message #176

TEXT: Matthew 10:24-28

In this series on facing conflict as a Christian, we are working our way through Matthew chapter 10 in which Jesus gives a series of instructions, admonishments, and advice to his disciples who are about to go out on their own and preach the Gospel. He tells them how to handle conflict as Christians. Today, we are going to look at three commands regarding the aspect of fear in our life as believers.

1. We are commanded to go forth fearlessly. Jesus tells us to “Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.” Who are those whom we should not fear? We have seen from previous verses that Jesus is referring to government and religious leaders who are hostile to the preaching of the Gospel.

2. We are commanded to speak out boldly. In verse 26, Jesus says, “What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.” It could be said that the disciples were undergoing a three-year period of private training with the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus spent a lot of time with His disciples getting them ready to carry on His work once he returned to Heaven. What He tells them in this verse is that even though they are receiving this instruction in private, there will come a day when they will stand on street corners or in revival tents or in storefront churches or on platforms before thousands of people and preach the Gospel.

3. We are commanded to fear God only. Finally, Jesus tells His disciples, “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.” There is a positive and negative aspect to fearing God that is embodied in this verse. The positive aspect implies that we should hold God in holy reverence and respect. The negative aspect implies that it is within God’s power to hurt us far more than any man can hurt us: While man can only hurt us physically, God can destroy us physically and spiritually.

The world may beat us up now, but it will bow before Jesus later. They may ridicule us now, but they will repent before Jesus later. They may criticize us now, but they will cry out to Jesus for mercy later. They may hate us now, but they will humble themselves before Jesus later.

It may seem like the world is winning, but in the end we will be on the winning side. Let us go forth boldly and fearlessly to preach the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ.

MUSICAL SELECTION: “Holy is the Lord” by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir and “God is Good” by Regina Belle

How to Face Constant Conflict as a Christian (Part 10)

How to Face Constant Conflict as a Christian (Part 8)

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Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message #175

TEXT: Matthew 10:23-25

This weekend, Americans celebrated the fourth of July. It was the 238th anniversary of the day America declared her independence from Great Britain. That decision to throw off the yoke of British tyranny and forge from nothing but an idea the form of democracy that we have today, caused no small conflict for the thirteen colonies. Britain, France, Germany, and the Native American tribes were all involved in the American War for Independence. There was tremendous loss of life on both sides, and tremendous economic loss for the colonists. But, as we look back on that War today, Americans agree that it was the right thing to do.

When we look at the American Revolution, we can see it as an image of our story as Christian believers. Each of us were once slaves to the tyranny of sin and Satan. When we saw the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and decided to escape the kingdom of darkness and enter into the marvelous light of salvation, Satan was furious. And, just as the British sent their army to attempt to force the Americans into submission causing a conflict, Satan and his demons are after us as well. The devil wants to make us ineffective in our Christian walk, and the more determined we are to faithfully follow Jesus Christ, the more we will come into conflict with Satan and those who are on his side against God and the mission of the Gospel.

In this series on facing conflict as a Christian, we are working our way through Matthew chapter 10 in which Jesus gives a series of instructions, admonishments, and advice to His disciples who are about to go out on their own and preach the Gospel. He tells them how to handle conflict as Christians. Today, we are going to look at three aspects of Jesus’ instructions in verses 23-25.

1. The first aspect we will consider in the form of a question: fight or flight? In other words, are Christians to avoid conflict at all costs, or are there times when we should stand our ground and face the battle head on? Jesus told His disciples, “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.” Jesus’ advice to His disciples is that if they face persecution in one place, they are to move on to the next, and wherever they go, they should continue preaching the Gospel.

2. Second, let us look at the aspect of shared suffering. Jesus Christ said, “The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?”

3. The final aspect of Jesus’ discourse that we will look at today is the privilege of servanthood. Jesus said, “It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord.” When we suffer for Christ, we share in the work of Christ. There is great comfort in knowing that we are walking in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. We can not only sing, in the words of the old hymn, “Brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod,” but we can sing, “Brothers, we are treading where Christ himself has trod.”

George Bernard Shaw has a piece of advice that is often quoted. He said, “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” When it comes to living the Christian life, however, it is far better to follow the path that has already been blazed by Jesus Christ. If you try to blaze your own trail as a Christian, you will inevitably wind up ineffective as a believer. No Christian can succeed apart from Christ. We must follow His path. It is a path marked by blood, sweat, and tears; a path on which a major destination is a cross of wood, a crown of thorns, and a cruel, painful death. It is a path that leads to a grave — but, thank God, that is only temporary. The path of Christ ultimately ends in glory!

It ends in glory, not only for Jesus, but for us. If Jesus conquered death, then we will conquer death. If Jesus rose from the grave, then we will rise from the grave. If Jesus ascended from this earth when He had finished His course and entered the glory of Heaven to be with his father, when we finish our course on this earth, we will ascend and enter the glory of Heaven. If Jesus faced conflict in this world and overcame, we can face conflict as Christians in this world and overcome. Because, “Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.”

MUSICAL SELECTION: “But God” by Isaac Carree; “King of Heaven” by Hillsong United

How to Face Constant Conflict as a Christian (Part 9)

How to Face Constant Conflict as a Christian (Part 8)

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Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message #174

TEXT: Matthew 10:17-22

What if I told you this morning that loving Jesus Christ more than you love anything else could cause you to lose your spouse, cause you to lose your job, and cause your children to hate you. Or cause you to lose your life. Of course, you would think that that is unreasonable. However, in our text for today, we see that such things are to be anticipated for the person who is truly committed to following Christ.

I hate to be the person to tell you this, but if things continue the way they are going in America, I truly believe that there are going to be some Christians who are going to die because of their faith and therefore, their stance against the abomination of homosexuality, homosexual marriage, and the homosexual agenda. That is how demonic this movement is. I know it sounds far fetched but I truly believe that I could die for preaching against this sin. Please remember what I told you from Christian history, the saints did not die just because of their belief in Christ, they died because their belief in Christ had so dramatically changed their lives, and they would not go along to get along with the world.

In this series on facing conflict as a Christian, we are exploring Jesus’ admonishment to His disciples just before He sent them out on their first missionary journey. Jesus tells them plainly that living the Christian life is not a bed of roses. It is not all fun and games. Instead, for those who are really serious about following Jesus, it will often mean a life of pain, suffering, and heartache. In light of our passage of Scripture today, I want us to consider three topics that are of importance when we are facing conflict as a Christian.

1. Devotion to Christ. Jesus tells His disciples that they will be arrested, jailed, and put on trial “for my sake,” that is for the sake of Jesus Christ. Last week, we touched a little bit on the idea that we ought to keep in mind that the difficulties we face in this life because of our Christian faith are all because of Jesus Christ and what He did for us on the cross. If we are truly devoted to Him, we should not shy away from suffering on His behalf because He already suffered for us.

2. We’ve talked about devotion to Christ. Now, let’s talk about division in life. Notice Jesus’ words: “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.” I told you that loving Jesus supremely could cause some very unpleasant things to happen in your life. Here Jesus tells us that our own family members will turn against us on account of our devotion to Christ.

3. Finally, today, let’s look at determination amidst the strife. Verse 22 of our passage states, “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” This is the point that separated the men from the boys. Who will persevere through the persecution? And who will fall by the wayside? Who will continue pressing on faithfully for Jesus? And who will turn aside in order to please a wife, or a husband, a parent, or a sibling? Who will lose money, favor, and prominence for the cause of Christ? And who will compromise what he says he believes in order to keep a job or maintain some kind of status?

A true Christian will continue on in the faith no matter what comes his way. God’s true children never lose their faith. They are always brought safely to their heavenly home, because it is Jesus who guarantees their salvation. If you are facing conflict because of your faith, it is not because you are doing something wrong as a Christian, but rather because you are doing something right. Jesus lets us know plainly that the Christian life is not easy.

MUSICAL SELECTION: “Lay It Down” by Troy Sneed and “Higher” by Regina Belle

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