Friday, December 17, 2021

Not peace, but a sword


Image: Remnants of an AD fifth century Roman iron sword, found in a soldier's grave in Greece. 

Devotion taken from last Sunday's sermon on Matthew 10:32-39.

Think not that I come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword (Matthew 10:34).

Knowing Christ can cause all kinds of problems in your life. Knowing Christ can really tear to pieces what had been a tranquil and peaceful life. Before coming to Christ you didn’t worry about your sin. You didn’t worry about how you lived. You didn’t worry about how you treated others. You didn’t worry about pleasing God. Then you meet Christ, and he begins to change everything.

When we were in London at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, I sat in a doctrine class taught by assistant Pastor Ibrahim. After the class he was telling me how he had come from Mali, in Africa. He said, As a Muslim, I used to burn the Word of God. Then, he continued, the Word of God burned a hole in my heart. He was converted and called to the ministry, and it disrupted and threatened his whole life, so that eventually he had to leave behind his homeland.

Maybe your experience will not be that dramatic, but every true Christian worth his salt will experience times when the sword falls upon his life, because of his knowing Christ.

Christ calls special attention to the tensions that can arise in one’s family (vv. 35). If you become a believer and your family members are unbelievers, they may oppose you. Earlier Christ had prophesied that the apostles would suffer persecution even to death from their family members (see v. 21).

Christ caps off the teaching in v. 36. Noting that for the cause of Christ the very ones who should bring us the most comfort and security, our own household, may well become our foes and our enemies, opposing us in our obedience to Christ.

Spurgeon commented on this passage: “The coming of Christ into a house is often the cause of variance.... The more loving the Christian is, the more he may be opposed: love creates a tender zeal for the salvation of friends, and that very zeal frequently calls forth resentment.” He added, “Even if our house becomes a den of lions to us, we must stand up for the Lord."

In salvation, Christ does indeed bring us “peace with God” (Romans 5:1). In the midst of our day-to-day lives, he also grants us “peace that passeth understanding” (Philippians 4:7). And yet he also brings a sword.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

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