“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. (Matthew 10:34)
And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:38-39)
Time to make decision – The words and teachings of Jesus make us choose, and we have to decide which way we wanted to go. Choosing the way of Jesus is the way into the kingdom of God.
Since the days of John the Baptist and Jesus, the kingdom of God have been preached forth and we need to be reminded Jesus is the key and the entrance into the kingdom of God. In fact there is no other way except through Jesus to enter the kingdom of God.
When Jesus preached people are confronted to make decision – inconvenient decisions.
When Jesus preached, people had to choose between His teaching and the doctrine of the Pharisees and scribes. Now that’s hard truth – for they learned the laws of Moses, the way of Judaism and every other traditions handed down by the Pharisees, but they did recognized something different about Jesus.
For those who heard Jesus they realized the doctrines of the Pharisees and scribes have been “scratching on the surfaces”, but when Jesus preached they felt convicted deep in their hearts and souls. Being confronted by Jesus they find no hiding places for their hidden agendas, it’s time to walk the truth or go against Jesus. It’s like people were awakening to the reality that God was standing right in front of them talking to them!
The very fact that Jesus could demand such clear cut decision from us is that Jesus is preaching from within the kingdom of God, calling people to enter. By comparison the Pharisees and scribes themselves were not even sure about the kingdom of God, so how could they lead people into the kingdom of God is they are not in it themselves.
That “sword” Jesus talked about was indeed referring to His words, His teaching, and His commandments which actually represented the will of God Almighty. It is the will of God that man and women are to enter the kingdom of God through Jesus.
That “sword” Jesus talked about cut deep into our souls and exposed to us our hidden darkness which astray us away from the kingdom of God. As part of the human race we had been walking in our own darkness for way too long, we’ve got so many things hidden in our hearts we’ve lost sense of our identity and vision till we receive Jesus into our hearts. Thus when Jesus appeared, the light of God was shining so bright people were awakening to their sins and ungodliness.
That “sword” Jesus talked about cut through deceptions and reveals the truth.
Now in our time and generation – this year 2015 – we are still confronted with the same decision making, but perhaps with more complications, more confusion and more distractions.
Since the days of the Early Christians recorded in the Book of Acts, the Gospel has been preached all over the world. Churches have been established to the extent we now have a long list of academic based Bible Schools which people never even dream of in the days of Acts, plus varieties of denominations.
Like the days of Jesus when the disciples had to choose between the Pharisees and Jesus, believers today have to choose between Jesus, academic doctrines and denominations, and in particular when human leaderships failed to follow Jesus as according to the way of the cross.
In Matthew 10:38-39, Jesus specifically mentioned about the “cross” and “follow Him”, and that message have clear references to our human will.
Our human will and desire can be that decisive moment if we enter the kingdom of God or not. God have provided the salvation plan for us through Jesus, but if our human will refused then we are left to our own darkness and judgement.
To briefly summarize the Gospel message and what was explained in the Epistles, that “cross” is about denying our will for the sake of embracing God’s will, in particular when our will comes into conflict with God’s will.
The “sword”, the words of Jesus becomes a “check and balance” of our human will and desire and we can see for ourselves if we are true disciples and followers of Jesus.
The “sword”, the words of Jesus becomes a standard of judgement for us. Are we doing things to please God or just to make people happy?
The “sword”, the words of Jesus creates division due to variances in human will and desire.
Jesus Himself made it very clear – if we seek approval from Him we need to do things His ways and that will caused us to be “divided” and “separated”. In fact such “division” and “separation” is meant to ensure we stay on that right path with Jesus.
To take up that “cross” and “follow Jesus”, is to pick up our identity in Christ, to walk in the ways of God’s will, to be true sons and daughters of God Almighty as Jesus is The Son of God.
In our society today, at this very moment in our own circumstances, one of the greatest “division” among believers had to be the U.S ruling on same-sex marriages and various responses from Christians and denominational leaderships.
It is time for us to make our choices and decision; people will be divided and separated. It will be a test of our wisdom and obedient to follow Jesus’ teachings and examples. And as the days draw nearer to the return of Jesus, we will see more division, more separations. Question is “do we truly love Jesus all the way or something else?”
Godly division can be an indication God is setting His house in order before Jesus return. And in the midst of such division, how do we ensure if we are on the right path into the kingdom of God?
Remember the key, the entrance into the kingdom of God. If only we keep our focus on Jesus, His teaching, His commandments, His will and His examples, yes we know we are on the right path into the kingdom of God.
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. (Matthew 6:24)
God knows our hearts, Jesus knows what hinder us.
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