Thursday, June 30, 2011

Worthy Of The Name


Matthew 10: 34-42

Story & Lessons

You may be puzzled by the statement of the Lord Jesus recorded in verse 34: How could the Prince of Peace who blesses peacemakers bring division rather than peace?

It is because many people hate Christ and His gospel.

A Christian may find that his own family members become his greatest enemies as long as he remains faithful to Christ.

When faced with such pressure, should a believer turn back from following Christ?

No! Our supreme allegiance must be to our Savior who loves us and who gave Himself for us!

Some Christians alienate their families through lack of wisdom and a neglect of duties at home. This should not be!

When a person becomes a Christian, they should become a better husband, better wife, better son or daughter than they were before their conversion.

Jesus said,"He who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me."

Taking up the cross means making difficult choices which may lead to suffering, shame and persecution for Christ and His kingdom.

It means letting go of pride so that we are not ashamed of Jesus.

It means denying ourselves and submitting to the Lordship of Christ.

If Jesus is not Lord of all in our life, He is not Lord at all!

It may appear that we are losing our life with all its freedom and joys, but this is not true.

Self-denial does not bring misery, but great liberation and joy as we follow the Lord.

The world may despise us and any work that we do in Christ's name but the Lord never forgets what we do for Him.

He sees us and He will reward us for seemingly insignificant acts of love and service.

Have we taken up our cross to follow Christ?

If we have not, we are not worthy of the name Christian!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Do Not Fear


Matthew 10: 27-33

Story & Lessons

The Lord Jesus Christ encouraged the disciples to preach openly the things that they had heard from Him.

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The Lord Jesus Christ also warned them that they would face fierce opposition.

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Three times He reassured them with the words, "Do not fear" (26,28, 31).

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It is only natural that we should be afraid when we are confronted with hatred and persecution.

Those who hate the gospel may take our lives!

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But we must not fear the wicked men.

They are not able to harm our souls!

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We must rather fear God who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell.

A Christless eternity is truly dreadful!

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Our fear of God is not one of craven dread.

It is an attitude of reverence, awe, and love towards Him.

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We should not fear men when our heavenly Father lovingly cares for us.

He is sovereign over all people including the wicked and also over all of our circumstances.

No sparrow can fall to the ground apart from God's sovereign will.

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We are much more precious to God.

Sparrows are purchased with very little money (29).

We were brought at tremendous cost, even the precious blood of Christ.

Reflections

The fear of men keeps us from confessing the Lord Jesus Christ.

Would we remain silent when the ungodly blaspheme His name?

Would we be ashamed of our precious Savior who loves us?

Do we confess with our mouth the Lord Jesus?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Persecution and Perseverance


Matthew 10: 16-26

Story & Lessons

The Lord Jesus left His disciples under no illusion about the cost of following Him.

There were weak and frail, but He chooses to use those whom the world considers weak.

"Behold, I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves." (16)

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Like the disciples, we too go as sheep among wolves.

We too face opposition and all kinds of danger.

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We need plenty of wisdom, discernment, common sense and gentleness.

"Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves" (16).

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Jesus warns us that we will be hated by all kinds of people for His sake.

Persecution will come from those who are religious, from the state, and even more hurtful and distressing, from within our own families.

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The Holy Spirit is with us and will help us and we do not need to fear those who hate us.

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Christ's disciples must follow His example and live out His teaching; like Him they will be accused of belonging to Satan.

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We must not be daunted by persecution and our Master encourages us not to fear the enemies of the gospel.

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When early Christians were forced to flee from one city, they went to another and spread the gospel.

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If Christians were attacked and imprisoned where you live, would you stand up and be counted?

Would you refuse to deny the Lord Jesus who died to save you from your sins?

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The gospel must first be preached in all the world before the end comes.

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Persecution will come in every age.

But we must continue to follow him and persevere in our work for Him.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Preach The Word


Matthew 10: 1-15

Story & Lessons

The disciples had spent much time learning from the Lord Jesus.

They had seen all that He had done.

The Lord Jesus had urged them to pray that God would send out laborers into His harvest.

He now sends them out to preach, to heal the sick, and to cast out demons.

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The names of the disciples are given.

The last being Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.

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The disciples were sent out in pairs.

They were to restrict their ministry to the Jews.

Their message was to be the same as the message of Jesus.

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The Lord Jesus said, "Freely you have received, freely give."

We too have received salvation with all its blessings.

We owed it to God to freely give ourselves in His service.

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The disciples were to have a simple and sacrificial lifestyle.

There were to look to traditional hospitality for their provision.

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The Lord Jesus told the disciples that when a house or city rejected them and their message, they should shake off the dust from their feet.

This refers to the Jewish custom of shaking the dust from their sandals and clothes before re-entering the Holy Land after passing through Gentile territory.

This was to avoid ceremonial uncleanness.

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By shaking the dust from their feet, the disciples were giving a symbolic warning that God would surely punish those Jews who rejected the gospel.

They were unclean and were no better than Gentiles.

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Are you rejecting Christ?

Beware!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Labor For The Lord


Matthew 9: 35-38

Story & Lessons

The fame of the Lord Jesus Christ spread because of His teaching and His miracles and He continued to heal every kind of sickness and disease.

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The Lord Jesus Christ looked on the multitudes with great compassion.

They were like scattered sheep without a shepherd.

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The problem was that their teachers were blind leaders of the blind.

The hungry sheep were not being fed!

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Reflections

The situation is the same today.

How do we look at the challenge that faces us?

Do we despair at the confusion around us and the indifference to the gospel?

Or do we see a plentiful harvest?

Do we feel compassion for the lost?

Do we long for them to know our precious Saviour?

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Jesus said, "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few".

Are we praying that the Lord of the harvest will send out laborers into His harvest?

Are we prepared to labor for God?