Friday, February 29, 2008

We Have Been Warned

There are many who think that the Gospel will be accepted by many in the World. But, Christ said clearly that many will not only reject it, they will oppose it. They will persecute those who teach it. They will harass and betray them. They will put them in prison and even execute them. That is what Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 10: 24 -25,

Matthew 10: 24 The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.
Matthew 10: 25 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?

There are only two responses to the Gospel: accept by Faith or reject it. The good news of salvation causes us to make a decision: Either for or against Christ. There is no neutral position. He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” Matthew 12:30. This is why Christ tells His disciples in Matthew 10:34 – 37

Matthew 10: 34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
Matthew 10: 35 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.
Matthew 10: 36 And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.
Matthew 10: 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.

Jesus said to the disciples that families will split in two over the Gospel. Where there was once unity now there is dissension. Some will accept it some will not. Those who reject it will eventually oppose it. Luke 12:49 – 53 repeats a similar thought. Here Jesus says that He comes to bring fire and division. It was not that it was His intention to do this. But, it would be a result of the work of spreading the gospel. And, the disciples should be ready for this. Sister White says about this text, “"The Saviour bade His disciples not to hope that the world's enmity to the gospel would be overcome, and that after a time its opposition would cease.” This is the same point some scholars make in the following quote,

"Jesus here dispels the mistaken opinion that some of the disciples apparently had, that the message they were to bear would result in nothing but harmony. They were not to be surprised, in their house-to-house work ..., if differences arose as a result of their ministry. . . . When a [person] accepts Christ his closest friends often turn out to be [the] most bitter and relentless enemies. This is often true, not only in heathen lands, but also in Christian lands and among professed Christians who practice a form of religion but know little if anything of its power to transform the life." The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, pp. 379, 380.

The Lord said this to the disciples and us, so we would not be discouraged. This is perhaps why He repeatedly encouraged His disciples with words as such as found in Matthew 10,

Matthew 10: 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.
Matthew 10: 20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.

Christ adds on verse 22 that “…he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” He finishes chapter 10 with this passage,

Matthew 10: 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
Matthew 10: 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Matthew 10: 31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

Yes, there will be troublesome times but do not be discouraged. Christ will “not leave you comfortless: I will come to you,” “and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (John 14:18; Matthew 28:20).