Pastor Mark Kielar: “An Honest Warning of the True Cost (& Benefits) of being a follower of Christ.”
The MESSAGE” Jesus used to “INSPIRE” the disciples:
I am sending you out like sheep among wolves!
Be on your guard (against men!)
All men will hate you! (Because of me!).
But he who stands firm to the end will be saved.
A student is not above his teacher (They will call you Beelzebub too!).
Do not be afraid! Do not be afraid! Do not be afraid! (3X)
Whoever acknowledges Me, I will acknowledge them!
Whoever disowns Me, I will disown them!
It will all come out (in the end) so just boldly proclaim publically what I tell you privately!
(Nothing will happen to you that’s not supposed to).
Do not suppose I have come to bring peace (to the earth). (I did not!) (I bring a sword)
Deny yourself … take up your cross … and follow Me.
Because whoever loses his life (for My sake) will find it!
[But whoever tries to find it (apart from Me and My ways)] will lose it!
And remember!: He who receives (or rejects) you … receives (or rejects Me)!
A Resolution for Ministry
Keep about the work that God has given you, do not flinch because the lion roars; do not stop to stone the devil’s dogs; do not fool away your time chasing the devil’s rabbits. Do your work. Let liars lie, let councils resolve, let the devil do his worst: but see to it that nothing hinders you from fulfilling the work that God has given you to do!
He has not commanded you to get rich. He has never bidden you to defend your character. He has not set you at work to contradict falsehood about yourself which Satan and his servants may start to peddle. If you do those things you will do nothing else; you will be at work for yourself and not for the Lord.
Keep at your work. Let your aim be as steady as a star. You may be assaulted, wronged, insulted, slandered, wounded, and rejected. (You will not be the first!). But see to it with steadfast determination, with unfaltering zeal, that you pursue the great purpose of your life until you too can say: “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do …”.
─ Reprinted from The Reformer, January/February 2003.
John Flavel: Look into the dispositions and lives of your flock, and see what a work there is for you to do. First, it is not one sin that you must help them against, but thousands; their name is Legion, for they are many! It is not one weed that must be pulled up, but the field is overspread with them. Secondly, how hard is it to prevail against any one of them! How hard is it to teach a human being to be willing to be poor, and despised, and destroyed here (on earth) for Christ; to deny themselves, and displease the flesh; to forgive an enemy; to love those that hate us; to watch against temptations; to avoid occasions (and even appearances) of evil; to believe in a crucified Savior; to rejoice in tribulation; to trust upon a bare word of promise, to make God their chief delight and love, and to have their hearts in heaven, while they live on earth! I think none of this is easy; yet all of this must be learned … (or they are undone forever)! If you do not help your children to learn a trade, or a (business), they cannot live in the world; but if they be destitute of these things, they shall not live in heaven! They that cannot do the things above mentioned, will perish for ever, “for without holiness none shall see God” (Heb 12:14). Oh that the Lord would make all you that are pastors sensible what a work and charge doth lie upon you!
Richard Baxter: Oh, the burden that lieth upon me! The conscientious parents, that know the preciousness of their children’s souls, and the constant pains required to their godly education, cry out, Oh! the burden! The conscientious minister, above all, when he reads his charge (2 Tim iv. 1) and views his pattern, (Mark iii 20, 21) & c:; Acts xx. 18, 31;) when he hath tried awhile what it is to study and pray, and preach, according to the weight and excellency of the work; to go from house to house, and from neighbor to neighbor, and to beseech them night and day with tears, and, after all, to be hated and persecuted for so doing, no wonder if he cry out, Oh the burden! And be ready to turn away with Jonah; and , with Jeremiah; to say, “I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name; for his word is a reproach to us, and a derision daily; but God hath made His word like a fire shut up in my bones and heart, that I am weary of holding it in! Indeed, I cannot”!! Jer. xx. 8, 9. How long may we study and labour before one soul is brought clear over to Christ! And when it is done, how soon do the snares of sensuality or error entangle them! How many receive the doctrine of delusion before they have time to be built up in the truth! And when heresies must of necessity arise, how few of them do appear approved! The first new, strange apparition of light doth so amaze them, they think they are in the third heaven, when they are but newly passed from the suburbs of hell; and are presently as confident as if they knew all things, when they have not half light enough to acquaint them with their ignorance; but, after then or twenty years’ study, they become usually of the same judgment with those they despised! And seldom doth a minister live to see the ripeness of his people; but one soweth and planteth, another watereth, and a third reapeth and receiveth the increase. Yet were all this duty delightful, had we but a true proportion of strength. But, to inform the old, ignorant sinner, to convince the stubborn and worldly wise, to persuade a willful, resolved wretch, to prick a stony heart to the quick, to make a rock to weep and tremble, to set forth Christ according to our necessity and his excellency, to comfort the soul whom God dejected, to clear up dark and difficult truths, to oppose with convincing arguments all gainsayers, to credit the gospel with exemplary conversations, when multitudes do but watch for our halting; oh! who is sufficient for these things? So that every relation, stage, age, hath variety of duty: every conscientious Christian cries out, Oh the burden! or, Oh my weakness that makes it so burdensome! But our remaining rest will ease us of the burden. Then will that be sound doctrine, which now is false, that the law hath no more to do with us; that it becomes not a Christian to beg for pardon, seeing all his sins are perfectly pardoned already; that we need not fast, nor mourn, nor weep, nor repent; and that a sorrowful countenance beseems not a Christian: then will all these become truths.
. .: The COSTS of following Christ
. .: The BENEFITS of following Christ
. .: Our APPLICATIONS
16 I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.
17 “Be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues. 18 On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they arrest you,
do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 22 All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 23 When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes. 24 “A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebub, how much more the members of his household! 26 “So do not be afraid of them. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. 28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. 32 “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven. 34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law– 36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ 37 “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 40 “He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me. 41 Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward. 42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.”
What is OUR Application(s) from this passage?
[Verse 16b] – “Be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves”!
[Verse 17] – “Be on your guard against men”!
[Verse 19] – “Do not worry”!
[Verse 22b] – “Stand firm to the end”!
[Verse 23] – “When you are persecuted in one place … flee to another”!
[From Verse 26 to Verse 31] – [3X!] “Do not be afraid”! … “Do not be afraid”! … “Do not be afraid”!
[Verse 28] – “Do not be afraid of [men!] (who can only kill the body, but cannot kill the soul!).
Rather be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Hell”!
[Verse 32] – “Acknowledge Christ before men”.
[Verse 37] – “LOVE Christ”
[Verse 38] – “Take up your cross and follow Christ”
[Verse 39] – “LOSE YOUR LIFE” … (FOR JESUS’ SAKE!)
* SELF-EXAMINE! → Am I living like this?? (Like 1-11)?
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
We do not hear much preaching today of sinners needing to count the cost of salvation and repenting of sin in confessing the lordship of Christ … or of coming to Him humbly, devoid of pride and self-trust, hungering and thirsting for righteousness … or of entering the narrow gate and walking the narrow road of righteousness. Rarely are Christians called to take up their crosses and follow Christ in moving out into the world as sheep led to the slaughter. The popular appeal is to ease, comfort, riches, advancement, and ambition-and the church often uses that kind of enticement to motivate unbelievers to trust in Christ and to motivate believers to follow Him! But Jesus makes no such offer! To the disciple He promises hardship, suffering, and death!
To present the gospel dishonestly and misleadingly is to be unfaithful to the Lord, and to those to whom we present it. Because of false promises, many unredeemed people remain on the broad road that leads to destruction … (while being under the delusion they are on the road to life)! Many believers are confirmed in spiritual mediocrity and unfruitfulness … (thinking their health, wealth, and material success is the certain mark of divine approval)! Still other believers are disillusioned and embittered … (because their lives of obedience, faithfulness, and sacrifice for Christ have not been materially rewarded)!
Godly lives are not marked by continual suffering and hardship inflicted on them by the unbelieving world. Neither the life of Jesus nor the lives of the apostles were characterized by uninterrupted hardship and persecution. But faithfulness to God guarantees that at some times and to some degree Satan and his world system will exact a price for it. And Jesus did not send His followers out into that world system … without warning them about the demands and costs! − John MacArthur