True loves reward

Examine our reward (Matthew 10:34-42). The Jews thought when Messiah came, he would establish a time of world peace. Matthew 10:34~Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword (μάχαιρα machaira). (ESV) (μάχαιρα machaira) is a small sword for cutting, not unlike what a real butcher would use today. This refers to the suffering His followers will experience because of their loyalty to Him. People want to cut Christians apart. Listen to how James says this in James 4:4~You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. (ESV) 

Jesus explains that even family members will be set against each other, as we find enemies in own households (10:35-36). There will always be opponents to the Gospel and, sadly, sometimes they are family members or close friends. Listen to Matthew 13:57~And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.” (NIV)

However, when the choice is Christ or family, Jesus says in Matthew 10:37~Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (ESV) That’s hard, but Jesus is saying He must be number one in our lives. Matthew 10:38~And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. (ESV) Our cross is whatever makes it difficult for us to faithfully follow Christ. Sadly it can oftentimes be the hostility of a family member. This is why it is so vital that before we are married we choose a mate that loves the Lord God with all their hearts.

The Christian life is a paradox. Matthew 10:39~Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (ESV) If you are not familiar with Jim Elliot look him up. I love his story. Jim Elliot was a missionary who in 1956 went to Ecuador. Where he and a small group set out to win the local cannibals to Christ. Though Jim will meet Jesus for his attempt to share the Gospel, many of these will be won to Jesus by his wife. Jim said He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. This means we were freely given the Gospel of Jesus Christ and when we accept it, we cannot lose Jesus, when we’re walking with Him daily, living before the Lord. Moreover, Jim also said, God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with Him. Choose Jesus. 

As our Lord draws our passage to a close, He offers us some very encouraging words. Matthew 10:40~Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. (ESV) Have you received Jesus Christ? How people treat one of Jesus’ followers represents their attitude toward Jesus. Therefore, “The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward.” 

Matthew 10:41~The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. (ESV) A prophet is one who proclaims God’s Word. A righteous person is a devout disciple of Jesus. The word receives means to receive the messenger and the message. What if a follower of Jesus is not a preacher, missionary, or in full-tune ministry? What does Jesus say about His little ones, those who may seem to be insignificant Matthew 10:42~ And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward. (ESV) 

Our Takeaway: God is a Rewarder. No act of kindness toward any follower of Jesus will go without a reward. Those who serve the Lord in the nursery, teach in Sunday school, serve as ushers, greeters, deacons, or whatever capacity, will receive God’s reward for helping His little ones—the seemingly least of His disciples.



Every hair numbered

Matthew 10:27~What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. (NIV) We are to proclaim the Gospel fearlessly and lovingly. However, there is often a price to be paid for taking a stand for Christ. Therefore, Jesus says, do not fear. Matthew 10:28~And do not fear (φοβέω phobeō) those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (ESV) (φοβέω phobeō) fear refers to flight and terror. Whatever the enemies of the Gospel may wish to do, there is one thing they cannot do to us—and that is to kill our souls. 

Our bodies are temporary, our world is transient, but our souls are eternal. So, which is more important, this moment, or eternity? Thus Jesus says, fear God. Proverbs 9:10~The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

(NIV) This fear is the reverential awe for the one who planned, created and implemented His own purpose in our world. (Isaiah 1:17-19) Our love and reverence for God must supersede our fear of persecution, in whatever way it may come. Thus, God warns us about the certainty of persecution, saying Give it the Boot. 2 Timothy 3:12~In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, (NIV) 

No one can escape this if they are in Christ. He continues by reminding His disciples of their value. Matthew 10:29~Are not two sparrows sold for a penny (ἀσσάριον assarion)? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. (ESV) The word (ἀσσάριον assarion) is our version of a penny. At that time a denarius was a day’s wage for the average worker, and a penny would be the pay for about 30 minutes of work. Sparrows were of very little value, and a penny would buy two of them. For those who lived heartily in the last century, two sparrows cost a bag of candy. Yet, God knows when each one of them dies. Matthew 10:31~Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows (ESV).

Because of God’s unfathomable love, he numbers even our hairs. How many of you have a locket of hair from your baby’s first hair cut? Some have pictures and certificates of all this stuff and you thought you were paying attention to the details. Listen to God’s attention in Matthew 10:30~But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. (ESV) God knows every detail about us, what we are going through, even the persecution we suffer standing for Him. Students, He knows the homework question you skipped, God knows what we have omitted in our responses, He knows everything. When we revere God and believe in His sovereignty and omniscience, there is never a need to fear. In God’s hands, we are presently and eternally safe and secure. Why would we ever want to leave? Grasp the promise of Proverbs 18:10~The name of the LORD is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. (NIV)

Jesus emphasizes the importance of taking a stand Matthew 10:32~So everyone who acknowledges (ὁμολογέω homologeō) me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, (ESV) The word (ὁμολογέω homologeō) acknowledge, confess it means to agree or speak the same thing. In this verse, it means declaring allegiance to Christ. Just believing Jesus lived, died, and rose again is not enough. Why? According to James 2:19~You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that-and shudder. (NIV) 

However, demons don’t declare their allegiance to Christ. Remember Romans 10 says to become believers, we must acknowledge Him, by believing in our hearts and receive Jesus as Lord and Savior by confession. To confess Jesus before men, means we identify with Him as Lord and Savior, that we are a part of His people, the church, His bride. The first step in affirming and confessing before men is to be publicly baptized. Christ Jesus next warns of the alternative, denying. Matthew 10:33~but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven. (ESV) This means if someone fails to take a stand for Him, Jesus will deny that person before His Father. Do you want to be like Jesus Christ? Then we’re going to come into the Line of Fire: where Slander is Levied, where we must Give Fear the Boot.
 
Today, bravely share your faith with someone God has laid upon your heart.


Prologue, And God…the Cost of Sin Genesis 3:8-24

After Adam and Eve violate God’s command, we see sin has an extremely high cost. The Cost of Sin requires two actions: No and _____________. 1) No_____________(3:8-13) Genesis 2:17~but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die. (NIV) Death is coming, B/c Adam & Eve ate the_____________fruit, yet they do not die an immediate physical death. So what separates us from God? _____________ Spiritual death never means annihilation rather it means _____________ or to be separated from God. Isaiah 59:2~But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. (NIV) When you have sinned what was your response? Fear or Faith (circle one) When God calls to us He already knows our spiritual condition and He desires repentance. Genesis 3:10-11~And he (_____________) said, I heard the sound of you in the garden, & I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself. He said, Who told you that you were naked? Notice the questions God asks are designed to bring confession and repentance. Where are you? Why are you afraid? Who told you that? One thing God hates is the game. In regards to sin, there’s only one person to blame—and that is the _____________ game. In Genesis 3 Adam and Eve give birth to_____________, for all of humanity. 

2) Consider on the _____________ (3:14-24) Notice God never asks the serpent any questions just curses him. Genesis 3:14~The Lord God said to the serpent, because you have done this, cursed are you above all …on your belly you shall go…(ESV) According to John 8:44, the father of lies would have just told lies, because there is_____________truth in him. In Genesis 3:15 we find the    Biblical prophecy. It is about the Messiah, Jesus. In Romans 16:19-20 Paul tells us to be excellent in _____________ and_____________of evil as the God of peace will soon crush Satan. 1 John 3:8~The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, B/c the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. (NIV) So why did Jesus have to come to earth? To_____________the devil’s works. Now the Evil One, Satan seemed to gain victory at Jesus’ death, that is until His Glorious_____________! For the woman’s part in creating sin, she receives_____________in childbirth as well as male domination and the exploitation of women, all as a_____________of sin, and not God’s design. (Genesis 3:16) Ephesians 5:25 commands husbands to _____________ their wives and wives, according to Ephesians 5:22 are too_____________. (ὑποτάσσω hypotassō) is a voluntary attitude of yielding, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden. As God fashions the first clothes, I can only imagine Adam and Eve’s horror they witness the shedding of_____________blood to cover their own nakedness, brought by sin. 1 Peter 1:19~but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. (NIV) Jesus died for you so let’s Take A Step: ___________________________________________________________________________________________