Friday, November 22, 2013

Are These Verses Really in the Bible?

Matthew 10:37-39

(37)  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.
(38)  And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
(39)  He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
(I am preaching through Matthew and these are some thoughts from these verses and part of the sermon for this Sunday.  In context, Jesus is giving instructions to the newly selected 12 Apostles as he sends them out.)

Are these verses really in the Bible!?

 Yes, of course they are, but we certainly do not hear much about them, or we hear them being explained away! 

These verses show us what it takes to truly follow Christ.  (The truth of these verses would be one of the keys to the success of the Apostles.) Christ is much more than just fire insurance. He is much more than just help in time of need.  He is much more than just encouragement during heart-ache or loss.  He is much more than just something to think about on Sunday morning for a few hours.  Although much of our preaching focuses on the above aspect of being a Christian, Christ demands much more of us. 

Matthew 10:37-39 begins to show us the true worth of being a follower of Jesus Christ.  These verses demonstrate how very important, and what a great treasure Jesus Christ is to all.  He is so valuable, he is worth more than our parents and more than our children.  He is so valuable, he is worth having to suffer for, and bear shame and reproach.  He is so valuable and important that he is worth losing your life over!  We fail to see this because we fail to see who Christ truly is! This is a result of being too focused on the temporal.  How then could we ever accurately portray Him to the world, or demonstrate the greatness of our God?

We are losing our country because we were not willing to put Christ above all; we were not willing to bear our cross; we were not willing to lose our life.  We were willing to give God our Sundays, but not our children.  We were willing to give God our tithes, but not carry a cross. We were willing to give God 10%, but certainly not 100%.  We had houses to build, cars to buy, careers to build.  All the while our country collapsed from a lack of light or a lack of understanding of the necessity for a fulcrum for morality.  The result ... people began trying to base morality without absolutes or base it on man as the starting point.  Christians were too busy with the things of the world or trying to make Christ acceptable to the world, so as to avoid bearing reproach. (Sadly, many times this was done in the name of evangelism and produced false converts, turning many churches into entertainment houses.)  Much of this was done in the name of, “bridge building”.  The fact is, the real bridge to the world is already built, and it is the Cross.  There is no escaping, it is a reproach to many.  It is the only bridge and the only means of salvation.  

We need Christians willing to give Jesus Christ the priority above all others; we need Christians willing to bear the shame and reproach of following Christ, bearing our cross;  we need to be willing to lose our life.  Then will we began to see true life.  Then we can proclaim “for to me to live is Christ and to die is gain”!

As to the context of the verses, and the fact that 11 of the Apostles obeyed the verses, others saw the importance of Jesus Christ and who He is!  Others saw Christ was important, by the example of the lives of the Apostles.  They saw men who, even though they dearly loved their families, Christ was the priority; they saw men willing to suffer for Him; they saw men willing to lose their life!  Many people wanted to listen to see what could be of so great importance.  Their words and their lives demonstrated the greatness of Christ!  Today we put money, careers, family, entertainment, and comfort well before God.  Then we wonder why we have trouble reaching the world!  Why should they listen?  We actually worship ourselves, money, and pleasure, just like any atheist!  Oh, how others need to see the greatness and value of God, not only in creation, but in our life!

May Christ be our priority, our treasure worth suffering for, and our very life!