““I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished! Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three. Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.””
Luke 12:49-53 NKJV
““Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.”
Matthew 10:34-39 NKJV
I have been heartbroken lately, as I have seen people that I thought to be faithful believers, fall away from the faith. I have seen others drift away, slowly, as they find themselves moving towards other gods. Others have not yet left, but have deemed it unfruitful to walk in the Spirit, and take issue with anyone who seeks to exhort them to deeper christian living.
This morning, I ran into chapter twelve of the book of Luke. I was immediately reminded of the similar passage in Matthew. As I studied, I thought about the ramifications of choosing to follow Jesus. When I became a Christian, I lost many people from my life. For a time, my world became much smaller, as my new values ran headlong into those of the world.
It is said that when Madalyn Murray Ohair read the passage in Matthew, she became so angry that she rejected God and became a hostile athiest. She bristled at the idea that a loving Jesus would come with a sword to divide people.
The truth is, the Gospel is divisive. It separates sinner from saint, the lost from the saved, and determines the eternal destination of all, as those who believe go to heaven amd those who don’t go to hell.
We are living in a world where the emphasis is on creating a global community, where people of diverse cultures become one. Progress toward this goal is moving swiftly. The Pope just finished up a trip to Iraq where he met with his muslim counterparts. That meeting, and many others, are part of what the evil one is doing as he begins to establish his one world religion.
Unlike any other time, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is considered divisive, as it separates those who believe from the rest of the world. By the saving grace of God, we are peculiar, different. Because we are different, we will see our lives torn asunder, as our world wide society goes through a paradigm shift, where what was once moral, is rendered immoral, what was once good is called evil.
“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”
Isaiah 5:20 NKJV
Judgement is coming for those who have disnissed the things of God in favor of the works of darkness.
Brothers and sisters, it is easy to slip over to the darkside, to give into the guiding flow of humanity, as many are moving toward evil. But we must stand fast! We are here as rescuers, people with long hooks seeking to save those who are heading to the steep drop into the sinful abyss that results in damnation.
As we choose to follow Jesus, we will be rejected more and more, and reviled. We will see division in our familes, as mother goes against father, husband against wife, child against parent. We are in perilous times.
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”
II Timothy 3:1-5 NKJV
One of the things that causes me to mourn the most, is the reality that I have lost loved ones. In some cases, I have had to be the one to turn away.
There have been people in my life who were so bent on the lives that they have committed to, that they have demanded that I adjust my moral values to accomodate, or show tolorance. I am struck by their insistence that I be the one to change, and never themselves.
We will lose loved ones. There will be those who will cut off connection over Jesus. As we abide by the biblical definitions of all the institutions of humanity, we will be castigated, rejected, possibly even killed.
In these times it is important to stay focused on the Lord and remember the deep, deep love of Jesus. He is all we need and all we can trust.
If you are one today who is feeling the isolation, who has had loved ones walking away, remember that Jesus is for you. As Paul approached the end of his ministry and his life, he was all but abandoned. Few were with him in those waning days. But he had Jesus!
“But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!”
II Timothy 4:17-18 NKJV
He will stand with you too. Go forth and be bold to share the Good News in a sick and dying world. We are on a rescue mission and time is short.
“I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.”
II Timothy 4:1-2 NKJV
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