The Warfare of Our Calling, Part 2

Matthew 10 (cont)

16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. 17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; 18 And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. 19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. 20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.

21 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against [their] parents, and cause them to be put to death. 22 And ye shall be hated of all [men] for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. 23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come. 24 The disciple is not above [his] master, nor the servant above his lord. 25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more [shall they call] them of his household? 

In verses 16-20, the twelve are warned they will be delivered up to the councils of their opposers; therefore, they are to be “wise as serpents” yet “harmless as doves.” What does this mean? Serpents lurk in hiding, tasting, or testing the air with their tongues before they strike. It speaks of discerning what is going on around us, not to do harm, but to bring the love of God and the wisdom of God into the situation. Christians are not to be naïve. You are going to be judged by authorities, both legitimate and illegitimate. Any time someone disagrees with you, they are going to seek out agreement for the accusations they have leveled against your character. When two people agree in opposition against you, that is a council. It might be a church council, formally convened, or simply two people gossiping on the phone. Sooner or later, the news will reach you, because part of what drives critical people demands that you know that they are criticizing you. Do not give in to this fleshly process. Just keep walking in love, without conspiring how you are going to put them in their place. Just know that whatever response is necessary, if any response at all, Jesus will tell you what to say at the time it is necessary to say it. Otherwise, just keep quiet and move on.

In verse 21, we see Jesus preparing the twelve disciples for upheaval in their family lives. Religious mentalities insist that the church is built on the foundation of the family. They seek to build their churches into family hubs of domestic activity and entertainment, but they obviously haven’t read the words of Jesus, informing His followers that following after Christ will inevitably bring difficulty in family relations. Many people stop right here because family unity and agreement is more important to them than gospel truth or commissioning. They don’t want to be hated, and they don’t want to know the pain of betrayal. There have been times in our life that my wife and I have stood alone without one single friend or family member rallying to our cause. To this day, there are family members and even children who haven’t spoken to us or allowed us to see our grandchildren. It is very painful, but the choice is clear: do we put Jesus first, or do we simper and fawn over our children and relatives, dancing to their tune, allowing them to set the agenda for our lives, or continuing on following the Lord as best we know how? Jesus expected these things would happen and therefore instructs and prepares us how to respond, always in love, but maintaining the priorities of your faith and your calling

To Be Continued Next Week
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