Matthew chapter 10:26-33 (continued)
“Therefore do not fear them. For nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in darkness, speak in the light. And what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. Do not fear those who kill the body but are not able to kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Therefore do not fear. You are more valuable than many sparrows. ‘Whoever will confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever will deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father who is in heaven’” (Matthew 10:26-33).
Last week we ended our message asking ourselves if we lived lives that were worthy of being persecuted. This may seem like a strange question, but, if you already live like the devil why would he persecute you? He has the best of situations; you are a Christian, saved and going to heaven, but you live so no one will know you are saved, and you certainly are not telling others about Jesus.
The devil may have lost you, but you are doing nothing to help show your friends how to be saved so he is not going to persecute you. He will make sure that you are comfortable and that you lead as many of your friends as possible to hell.
Jesus on the other hand calls us to live lives filled and led by His Holy Spirit. These lives stand up for what is right and run from what is wrong. Your life should set an example of righteous living for your friends to see and follow. You should be the “antibiotic” in the relationship, always cleaning up the bad and helping the good be stronger. So are you we living lives worthy of persecution? Sadly for too many of us the answer is a big fat “NO!”
Do Not Fear, Verse 26
The biggest reason for not living for the Lord is—fear. Fear of loss; maybe our friends will abandon us if we are too ‘goody good.” Fear that we will be called to defend what we believe and we don’t have the biblical knowledge to do it. Fear that we will look like idiots, since everyone knows that Christians are “ignorant.” Fear of embarrassment because we have lived like the devil for so long, that it would be hard to stand for Jesus without looking like a hypocrite. Fear of loss of status or place in your local circle and most often fear of loss of face.
Make no mistake, God will not allow you to go “undercover” for very long. He will make sure that you are put in a place where you either have to openly deny Him or stand for Him. God will not tolerate a lukewarm attitude for long. It is sad how many of us fear everyone and everything but God. Jesus goes on to point this out—that we are not fear those that can kill the body, but to fear Him, who can also kill or destroy the soul.
Why are you not afraid of God? Why are you more afraid of people and even situations rather than God? I will tell you why: Because you don’t read the Bible a lot. People who spend a lot of time in the Scriptures have a healthy fear of God. They understand His majesty and holiness and they see all He does for them and they fear Him.
People who spend time reading the Bible understand that they do not sustain themselves and that their every breath is by the grace of God. When one begins to understand how the Lord takes care of and provides—then it is not a chore to stand for Him. Rather, it become so natural that you have to fight to deny Him.
Do Declare and Do Confess Verses 27 and 29
This is our job as the New Testament church, and as Christians in general. We are called to declare that Jesus is coming again. We are to take the things we learn from the scriptures and we are to make them known to those around us. We are responsible to God and our friends for telling the truth. You cannot honestly say that you believe in hell if there is no desire in your to stop your friends from going there. You are fooling yourself and sadly you are an enemy to the people you call friends.
Last weekend my wife and I and about 30 people went to Toronto to hand out Bibles to people on the streets. Some took the Bibles, but many—actually the vast majority shunned the Bible like it was the plague. One man said loudly that He was Catholic as he refused the Bible. I guess he is not a Bible reading Catholic.
What struck me was the amount of lost people, thousands upon thousands who have either never heard the gospel or have heard it or about it and have rejected it. Out of literally thousands of people between the Pan Am Games and the Blue Jays, maybe a few hundred—a couple thousand at the most, took a Bible from the 30 or so people working the downtown area. I met a handful of people who professed to be Christians and answered correctly when asked, “Do you know Jesus as Savior?’
Some of those thousands may be dead and in hell by now. What are you and I doing to stem the flow of bodies into hell? What we are called to do is “declare” the Word of God to the masses. We are called to tell them that hell is real and heaven is available in Jesus. We are here to call them to repentance. But in order to be effective at this, and by effective I mean actually doing the work of declaring the truth of the Bible—we have to actually believe it. Most of us show by our lack of effort that we don’t
Tell somebody about Jesus, give them a Bible, tract, a hand written note, share a gospel post on Facebook or just invite them to church and introduce them to the preacher. Do something! Declare the Word to others.
Why are you ashamed of the Lord? If you truly believe that Jesus died for your sins and paid the full price for your salvation, why are you ashamed of Him? It is so easy to deny the Lord. Even in Jesus’ earthly ministry there were so may who believed in secret, in John 12:42-43 we see theses verses:
“Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God…”
Whose approval is more important to you today? Is it your friends? Maybe it is your family. May God have mercy on us.
Do Appreciate Your Value, Verses 29-31
Too many see themselves as having no value in the Lord’s kingdom. Nothing could be further from the truth. You and I are precious to the Lord. He knows every detail about you. Have you ever met someone who is passionate about something, maybe about trains, or cars or dolls or is a Star Wars collector?
They can see the value in something that you may not appreciate. They talk about their collection and want to show it to you often. They attend conventions and meetings looking for the next doll or trinket to add to their collection. In and of themselves these objects are worthless, BUT someone with an interest in them has put a value on them.
God has placed a value on you.
He determined that the life of His Son, Jesus Christ, was your value. In and of yourself you are worthless. The devil sees you as worthless. He has no value for you because he does not have a vested interest in you or your well-being.
God on the other hand, formed you in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139: 13-14). God thinks good a precious thoughts about you (Psalm 139: 17-18). He sent His Son to die for us when we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). He feeds us and keeps us clothed (Matthew 6:25-34), and on and on we could go. But we see then that God has invested in us and thus we have value. Value assessed by God, not man. You and I are valuable to God.
It is easy in this world to measure ourselves by the “yard stick” of the world. But you would you be short changing yourself. Why would you settle for the world’s standards when God has placed an eternal value on you? God loves you and He cherishes you. You are so precious to God that even the hairs on your head are numbered.
This is level of intimate love and interest is reserved for something or someone that is precious. You are precious to God; I can’t say it enough to you. We live in a world that has cheapened human life, a world filled with disenfranchised individuals cut-off from family and society. But God wants to include you in His family. He want to call you His own. He has done everything in His power to make that possible.
And, even of you reject Him in this life; He still cares for you here. He still feeds you and your family; He still protects you and your family and He still loves you and yours. God is a good. I pray that you will appreciate all that you are in and to God.
Once you see your value to God you will no longer be afraid of what mere humans think. All that will matter is what God thinks of you. He thinks you are awesome in Jesus.
“Consider how much love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God” (1 John 3:1).