“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore, be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. 17 But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues. 18 You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. 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.
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. 23 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. 24 A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household! 26 Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.”
We live in dangerous times. It is becoming more and more dangerous to be a free thinker, and especially if you are a free thinker and a Christian, the dangers are mounting. In the chapter that this text is taken from, Jesus selects his 12 apostles and sends them out to the people of Israel to tell them the Good News, the Gospel, the Messiah has come. But Jesus does not send them out blindly and unprepared. He warns them that the vast majority of the people they are going to are wolves; they normally kill sheep. But in this case, it is the sheep’s job to rescue the wolves from an eternity in Hell. It is the sheep’s job to tell the wolf how to be a sheep. It is the sheep’s job to tell the wolf about the salvation that takes it from being the predator to being the prey.
Wow, what a daunting task! When we get that, it can help us to understand why it takes a work of the Holy Spirit to transform someone. All we do is tell the truth; the Holy Spirit helps them see it. If He does not, then the Gospel sounds like nonsense. What person in their right mind wants to be the sheep when they can be the wolf? Only the Holy Spirit can make this make sense.
We live in a difficult time where truth is very subjective, or at least people say that – ‘What is true for you may not be true for me.’ They are convinced that they have their own truth and that we all have to accept it. This conditioning started a long time ago. The idea of questioning clearly stated truths, as Satan did in the Garden with Eve, has laid the foundation to where we can hear what we know to be a lie, and we say nothing. Maybe that is their truth, even if we know it is a lie, and we base our lives on people’s feelings rather than truth. Then we get mad at the truth-tellers; they are mean, and they don’t really love like Jesus, we say.
Yet Jesus was the bluntest truth-teller to ever walk the planet. He confronted truth over feelings all the time and stated the truth no matter who was offended, even His own disciples. He taught them that truth was more important than life and wealth; it was more important than fame and freedom. Truth is important because God is truth; He is the absolute standard of truth, and if we tolerate lies, we put man’s word ahead of God’s.
Romans 3:4-8 “Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: ‘That You may be justified in Your words, and may overcome when You are judged.’ 5 But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unjust who inflicts wrath? (I speak as a man.) 6 Certainly not! For then how will God judge the world? 7 For if the truth of God has increased through my lie to His glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner? 8 And why not say, ‘Let us do evil that good may come’? —as we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation is just.”
When we get to this in the book of Romans, Paul is a seasoned missionary; he has encountered false religion and false logic everywhere. He has to come to grips with the falsehoods of the Pharisaical life he was living when Jesus met him. When Jesus met him, Paul was a wolf going to kill the sheep, Jesus’ sheep. But when he met Jesus, he stopped being a wolf and became a sheep. He then spent the rest of his life being chased by wolves, his former peers and others. But Paul never regretted being a sheep. Paul was adamant that God’s words were and are true and that any of man’s words that contradict God’s words are lies.
In the past 18 months or so, we have seen how easy it is for lies to take hold of the whole world. Let me deal with a few things. COVID is a real disease; no one in their right mind questions that. We are learning more and more that there is a good chance it was man-made, a sad state of affairs; but as they say, ‘it is what it is.’ We have had very, very conflicting messages about the disease, the treatments, the vaccines, and the effect of these vaccines. We have had conflicting messages about the wearing of masks and even distancing.
I have a dear friend that will not let his son go into another person’s home. Apparently, the disease does not go out; it is a homebody. We have been encouraged, then bribed, and now threatened about the vaccines, and there are serious conflicting reports about the protection that they give. Over the past 18 months, these conflicting reports have caused serious economic issues; our governments have used the COVID mess to spend like a drunken sailor on shore leave. They have amassed debts that our great-grandchildren will be paying. The ruling elite have grown richer and the masses poorer by far. We bankrupted ‘mom and pop’ stores and grew the profits of the mega-stores. This was deliberate and calculated. They need dependent people whose only relief is from the government.
Over the past 18 months, truth has been censored, and anyone who dares asks what or why or how is dangerous and trying to kill everyone. We are not. People are dying both with and without COVID, both with and without the vaccines, and we are not allowed to ask any questions. Let me be clear; if you want to get the vaccine, then do so. I will take you to the place to get one or two, or the booster shot or shots. But no one should be forced to take a vaccine that is highly suspect as to its ability to work. But what I want to really get at is the idea of truth.
Jesus warned the men he sent out that truth would be the dividing factor in their lives. The truth would cause serious division in their lives and, in particular, their families. Their enemies will be right in their own homes.
Matthew 10:21-22 “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.”
When people have become accustomed to living by lies, and the lies are not allowed to be challenged, like the ‘fact’ checkers and all the trouble people get in for asking logical questions, then people begin to turn on each other. In this pandemic, I have seen families destroyed, neighbors have called the police on their fellow neighbors, and friends have been separated. Churches have split over meeting or not meeting, masks or no mask, singing or no singing.
What a mess! But we can see how easy and how quickly people will turn on each other. People will shame you and call the authorities on you. Your own people, and they do it in the name of safety – ‘We are just trying the keep everyone safe. If you don’t want to do it for yourself, then do it for the children, do it for the elderly, find an excuse, but just follow along and obey. Stop thinking, stop asking questions, and stop making obvious observations.’
Once again, if you want to follow along, I will not bug you. I wear a mask so as not to cause too much panic in the people around me. Most of the people I hang out with do the same. They are not convinced of the validity of the masks; it is just easier to wear one than being confronted by hysterical people, and it has happened to me more than once.
What we have learned is that it does not take much for your loved ones in both your human and spiritual families to turn on you if you don’t follow suit. Now, as we get closer and closer to the return of Jesus, the idea of truth will become more and more fluid, and the idea that Jesus is the Only Way will become hated more and more. Soon, as Jesus said, the most dangerous people in your lives and mine will be in our home and church families.
Sadly, we are seeing an exodus from the truth of God. Many Christian ‘celebrities’ are wishy-washy about the whole transgendered issues, the homosexual issues, and many other areas where the Bible makes clear statements. They are making it harder and harder to state the truth. It is not loving to tell lies. It is hateful. Love requires the truth. But we are being told that love requires us to lie, tolerate lies, and be a party to lies. Jesus would have been hated and killed; oh wait, that is just what happened, and He tells us at the end of our text that we should expect the same treatment if we speak the truth.
Lastly, we can see how they will get the whole world to take the mark of the beast. NO, the COVID vaccine is not the mark, but we can see the framework. People are so desperate to get back to ‘normal,’ they will do anything, including taking a vaccine that has a lot of questions around it. By the time people get to Revelation 13, and they are hungry, thirsty, and desperate, they will gladly take the mark so they can buy and sell. But the truth people, those that know Jesus, will say no, normal is not worth the lie, and there will be a line drawn in the sand. The government will threaten death or take the mark. We are not there yet, but we can see how it can be done.
The world is setting up for the return of Jesus. The framework is in place for the Messiah to return and rule the world from Jerusalem. Are you ready? Are you saved? Have you trusted Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection and your only salvation? God will not accept anyone who is not saved by Jesus. That is the truth.
God bless you,
Dr. Sean Gooding
Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church
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