Matt 10:37                            The Love of Christ, Spurned                                4/14/2013

Š      The Command to Love Him (Matt 10:32-38)

 

 

 

 

#1.                  More Than Father or Mother (Matt 10:37-38, Deut 6:5-7, 5:16)

 

 

 

 

Š      Take Up His Cross (Matt 10:38, Psalm 2:1-3)

 

 

 

 

#2.      Love Growing Cold (Matt 24:12, Isa 46:10-11, Rom 5:5, Rev 2:4, Deut 6:5-7)

 

 

 

 

Š      Loving Christ (1John 4:19, Amos 8:11, 2Tim 4:3-4)

 

 

 

 

#3.                  Where is our Hope? (Eph 1:3-5, Matt 5:6)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Gospel According to Matthew, Matt 10:32 (2X). We are here in the tenth chapter of the Gospel According to Matthew, and as you know, this entire tenth chapter deals with discipleship. What is discipleship? The way this entire chapter describes discipleship is to dedicate our life to Christ and to His cause. What is His cause? His cause is to do battle against Satan, which is actually for our cause. Christ is fighting Satan on our behalf. And when God has saved us we are automatically enlisted into the army of Christ. We are in a war, a spiritual war against the Devil and his angels. How do we fight this spiritual war? We fight it by proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ to anyone in the world who is willing to hear it. And what is the Gospel of Jesus Christ? The Gospel means “the Good News.” It is the Good News that God sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to this earth to make atonement, or to pay the debt that we owe to God for the sins we have committed. And so, the forgiveness of sins through the cross of Christ is the Good News. But what is good news for some spells bad news for others. The title of this sermon is The Love of Christ, Spurned (2X). Does everyone know what that means: “Spurned”? This verb means “to reject with contempt.” Yes, there are people in the world who reject the Gospel of Christ with contempt. And by their actions they show that they hate Christ and they hate the Gospel of Christ.

Š      The Command to Love Him (Matt 10:32-38)

In this chapter the Lord Jesus is sending out His twelve disciples to preach the Gospel as a dry run for the real battle that was begun in Acts chapter 2. We read in Matt 10:32-38,

Matt 10:32, Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.  33  But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.  34  Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.  35  For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.  36  And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.  37  He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.  38  And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.

This is a fearful passage. Verses 32 and 33 speak about confessing who Jesus Christ is and what His Gospel is before men. And woe to us if we will not confess Christ, or if we will be ashamed to confess Christ before men. It means that we deny Him before men, and this means that on the Last Day Christ shall deny us the entrance into Heaven, and we then go to the other place where Satan and his demons are. Verses 34 and 35 tell us that the Lord Jesus Christ did not come to send peace on this earth. Many people think that the Gospel of Christ was designed to bring peace among men, and that the entire Christian religion was designed to make people live peacefully with one another. But that is not so. Our Christian religion is not designed to bring peace between men; it is not designed to improve horizontal relationships, but to improve our vertical relationships with God, to bring reconciliation between God and man. This is the primary goal of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And when we bring the Gospel we must remember to bring the whole counsel of God; in other words we must bring the true Gospel of Christ crucified, and for whom He was crucified, and for what purpose He was crucified. But this message includes the offense of the Gospel, for we must tell people the good news as well as the bad news. The result will be that there are some members in our own household who refuse to believe the offense of the Gospel, and this brings disagreement, and strife, and war among the members of our family. In fact, 400 years ago it was the cause of civil war among the inhabitants of the Netherlands. That is why Christ said that He did not come to send peace on this earth. How serious is this? Verse 36 tells us how serious this is. There is only one Gospel that is the true Gospel which has to be believed in order to bring salvation. If there are two or more variations of that Gospel, then those who believe a watered down gospel are still in the clutches of Satan, for this is how everyone came into the world. If we believe a false gospel we are still unsaved, and people who are in the camp of Satan are the enemies of those who are in the camp of Christ.

Here is the overriding principle: We are commanded to love Christ above all. If we truly love Christ we will believe His words, and we will believe all things written in the Bible, even all things that we do not like, and that includes the bad news. When we become “Born Again” we will be changed in our soul, and in our new nature we love Christ above all. We are not obeying a command to love Christ, but we delight in our new nature to love Him who died for us in our place. This is the life changing transformation we must experience. No commands whatsoever have to be imposed; our second nature is simply to adhere to those things that are pleasing to God. Do we find in our life that we want to do all those things that are pleasing to God? Then this is the sign that Christ has paid for all our sins the penalty that has to be paid, and that we have received the forgiveness of all our sins.

And so, this takes us to verses 37 and 38.

#1.                  More Than Father or Mother (Matt 10:37-38, Deut 6:5-7, 5:16)

Matt 10: 37  He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.  38  And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.

Wow. Is this something new? No, this is not something new. We find in Deut 6:5-7 these words,

Deut 6:5  “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.  6  And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:  7  And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”

On the other hand we read in the Ten Commandments, “Honor thy father and thy mother.”

Deut 5:16 “ Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.”                    Is there a difference between loving God and loving our father and mother?

Most certainly there is. We must love God above all, but we must honor our father and mother. Do we see the difference between love and honor? In our depraved mind we have turned these priorities around all the time; but that was wrong. The Lord reminds us of these corrections in Matt 10:37. We must love God and Christ above all. Why did we need these corrections? I can think of two reasons: First, the Lord is reminding us that we have not been reading our Bible regularly, and we have not been applying the words that we read to our daily life. Secondly, we are living in the end times where we are bombarded with priorities as if the affairs of this world are more important than the worship of the Lord and our love of God and His Word. Our love for our spouse, and for our father and mother, and for our children, and for anyone else in this world, should never have priority over our love for God. Our family members are touching our life only on this earth, but God we have for eternity.

So, think about this when a birthday party of a family member is interfering with our Sunday worship. Why do we worship on Sunday? It is because we love the Lord and we love to hear His Word. You may claim to love the Lord at the birthday party, but the evidence proves the other way. Think about this when you have on your calendar an appointment with the Lord, for example in Bible Study. Is there anything on earth that will be more important than to have fellowship with the One you love? Is there anything on earth worthwhile that will bump the Lord off your appointment schedule? Is your son or your daughter annoyed by your pressing need to worship the God whom you love, and will you change your schedule just so that you may please them? No! That is a misplaced priority. If they are annoyed by it, that is their problem; but our love for Christ must be of greater importance. In this day and age we are drawn from all sides to be more ecumenical, and to allow other religions to take a greater share of our time. Is this what God wants from us? What does this do to our social life?

Š      Take Up His Cross (Matt 10:38, Psalm 2:1-3)

It ruins our social life; that is what we think it does. That is why the Lord reminds us in Matt 10:38,

Matt 10:38, “And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.”

It is a fearful thing to hear these words from the Lord on the Last Day: You are not worthy of Me! And why would He say that? Christ would say this because the evidence reveals that we have loved someone else more than Him. If we conservatively hold on to what we have, we are going to be out of touch with the rest of the world. But what are we striving for? Are we striving to be conformable to this world, or are we striving to please the Lord? We cannot have it both ways. The peer pressures are great to conform to this world. And those peer pressures are changing this world very fast. Let me give you a few examples: When I came in this country in 1960 children prayed in schools, and today they are forbidden to pray in schools; on Sunday almost everyone was in church, and today it is a minority of the Christians who still go to church; on Sunday all the stores in the entire country were closed, except Times Square in New York which was a Jewish enclave, and today all the stores are open and people are even coerced to work on Sunday; in 1960 atheists were a rare breed, and today more than 50% of the country are atheists; in 1960 most people believed that the earth was created in six days, whereas today the impossible theory of evolution is believed by the majority of the population; in 1960 homosexuals were driven underground, whereas today if you do not believe that gay is OK you are labeled as a bigot or a hypocrite. In 1960 abortions were a rare occurrence, whereas today there are at least two million abortions every year. The innocents are slaughtered faster than during the holocaust in Nazi-Germany. In all these things people have made decisions based on their own knowledge; but no one has asked, “What does God say about all these things?” God says of all these things that they are a manifestation of what He has prophesied thousands of years ago in Psalm 2. Please turn in your Bibles to Psalm 2:1 (2X). What we read here in Psalm 2 is developing before our eyes. People have discovered they can rebel against God, and God will not retaliate, at least not now. You see, God does not penalize us for our sins in this world. That was the mistake of Job’s friends. The penalty for our sins is meted out in the life hereafter. Psalm 2:1-3,

Psalm 2:1 ¶  Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?  2  The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,  3  Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.

You see, people are eager to break their allegiance to God. They will no longer serve Him; they will no longer obey His commandments; they will no longer be bothered with worshipping Him. They will experiment with moving further and further away from Him. Their love for Him has waxed cold. They will experiment with alcohol, and drugs, and free sex, and they want to see how far they can stretch the tolerance of God. They want their fun now, in this world, and who cares about later. All this is a result of people not willing to take up their cross, because they really do not love Christ. People are very concerned about their social life in this present world, and they are willing to exchange the religion they have held on for so long for a freer life in the here and now. You see, the faith of their forefathers no longer appeals to them. They are willing to experiment with new lifestyles, and with new forms of sex, and with new philosophies of life. This is the attitude of the younger generation.

#2.      Love Growing Cold (Matt 24:12, Isa 46:10-11, Rom 5:5, Rev 2:4, Deut 6:5-7)

Did the Lord Jesus not warn us that these days would come? Please turn in your Bibles to the Gospel of Matthew, Matt 24:12 (2X). This is a long chapter. Today I will use only one verse in this chapter. I would like to show you that all the dreadful conditions that we are seeing today in this world and in the church are really the result of God the Holy Spirit preparing the world for Judgment Day.

Matt 24:12, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”

This is how God operates: God uses the sins of mankind to accomplish the course of history that He has determined in His counsel before the foundation of the world. God is not the author of sin. But God will set the stage, and God will use the sins of mankind to bring to pass what He intended to bring to pass. God says in Isa 46:11, “Yea, I have spoken it, I will bring it to pass, I have purposed it, I will also do it.” First of all, God has given us His love through Jesus Christ, whom He has given us for a sin-offering on the cross in AD 33. Secondly God has given us His love by giving us a regenerated soul at the time we were Born Again. Thirdly God has given us His love by giving us the hope of eternal life in the New Heaven and the New Earth. And then we read in Rom 5:5,

Rom 5:5  And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts. What will we do with this love of God that was given to us? Normally we will be very grateful for it. But near the end of time we see that the gratitude of people will diminish, and then we can see the working of God the Holy Spirit as Matt 24:12 describes: “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many for Christ shall wax cold. They have spurned the love of Christ. Because iniquity shall be multiplied, people’s interest in the cause of Christ shall diminish. Their love for Christ will wax cold. They are no longer willing to take up their cross and follow Christ, for their interest is in the here and now, and no longer in the life hereafter. O yes, their diminished love for Christ will take them to a new life without Christ, and to a religion without Christ. Not all the people will have this that their love shall wax cold, for the Lord has revealed to us that there will be a remnant which will endure to the end. But it will be a characteristic of the end times that a majority in the church will forget their love for Christ. How serious is that? It is a very serious matter. It is a drastic turn-around from the religion that was taught us from the beginning, which we have read in Deut 6:5-7.

Please turn to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Rev 2:4 (2X). This letter was written to the church at Ephesus. The apostle Paul has long labored among the saints at Ephesus, and the apostle John has labored for three years at Ephesus, and so it was no wonder that the Ephesians were very much aware what the doctrines of the church were. And when we read the beginning of this letter to the Ephesians the Lord Jesus commended them for being so very watchful for the true doctrines of the church. But then He said to them in Rev 2:4-5, 

Rev 2:4-5, “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.  5  Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.”

The word somewhat in verse 4 is in Italics; it was not in the original Greek text. It was inserted by

the translators. In other words: this is not a minor defect in you. It is a major defect as indicated by verse 5, for if you do not repent of this sin I will come and remove your candlestick out of its place, which means that you are then ranked among the apostates and idolaters in the church. And thus the words “Thou hast left thy first love” tell us of the seriousness of their sin. What was their sin? Their sin was that they had spurned their love for Christ. It reminds us again of the words of Deut 6:5-7,

Deut 6:5-7  “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.  6  And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:  7  And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”

Š      Loving Christ (1John 4:19, Amos 8:11, 2Tim 4:3-4)

Indeed, loving God and Christ is an absolute requirement within the Gospel of Christ. When God the Holy Spirit has made us Born Again He will have changed our soul so that we are eager to love the Lord Jesus Christ for who He is and for what He has done to give us the forgiveness of our sins. What are the manifestations that we have forgotten the love for the Lord Jesus Christ? Look around you and see that the attendance in the church has dropped off sharply. This is a phenomenon that has occurred in all the Christian churches. Why has this occurred? You see, people have been criticizing the church for the doctrines the church holds, and that is a good thing. We should always be on our guard for false doctrines. And they have discovered that there is no express command in the Bible to go to church on Sunday. Only the denomination that is an accursed idolatry has ordained that staying away from church on Sunday is a mortal sin. But the Bible does command to love Christ and love the brethren. How do we do that? We come together as a congregation and love one another as Christ has commanded us. We do this because we love Him. But when our love for Him waxes cold we stay away from church on Sunday, claiming that we can worship the Lord anywhere. But the real issue is not our attendance in church, but our love for Christ and our love for the brethren. You see, people will twist the Scriptures to accommodate their own pleasures, rather than do those things that are pleasing in the sight of God. The love for Christ is spurned. The gift of God through the atonement of Christ is treated with contempt. He who gave His only begotten Son for the salvation of many is forgotten. Christ, who loved us and gave all that He had, even His life, and even suffered for our sins the equivalent of an eternity in Hell, is treated with indifference. His sacrifice is treated with contempt. They say, “How is it possible that Christ suffered the equivalent of an eternity in Hell.” They forget that He is God the Son who became incarnate in the man Christ Jesus. For this reason He is fully God, and as God nothing is impossible for Him. But in order to satisfy the righteousness of God He had to pay the equivalent of what we would have to pay for our sins, which is an eternity in Hell. And He finished this payment in His soul while hanging on the cross.

We want to love Him for what He has done for us. We want to love Him for who He is, and for His love for us. “We love Him because He first loved us,” (1John 4:19) and that is one of the signs that God has sent His Holy Spirit upon us to change us in our soul. But not everyone in the church has received this love of God. As we approach the end of time there are fewer and fewer people who truly love the Lord. As a result there will be fewer and fewer people who will attend church and lend a listening ear to sermons and to the words of the Gospel. What will be the result of this neglect? Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of Amos, Amos 8:11 (2X). God has told us what the conditions will be near the end of time. Initially it will be just a little neglect as manifested in a lesser attendance in church, or a lesser attendance in Bible Studies, or a following of where the children are most comfortable, or outings on Sundays arranged by the employer, and so on. This neglect of loving the Lord has consequences. When people are neglecting the Lord, He will also neglect them in learning the truths of the Gospel, and He will withhold His Holy Spirit. We read in Amos 8:11-12,

Amos 8:11-12,  Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:

12  And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.

This passage is pointing to conditions near the end of time. There will not be a famine of Bibles, and there will not be a famine of sermons to be learned through the Internet, but there will be a famine of hearing the words of the Lord. People will hear the preacher, but they will not understand, for God the Holy Spirit shall withhold the information from them. In addition, the number of preachers who will be preaching a false gospel will be greatly increased, which means that there will be a great deal of confusion about which the true Gospel is. God is giving the people what they asked for all along, and now they have their wishes. The Lord says to them in 2Tim 4:3-4,

2Tim 4:3-4, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;  4  And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”

Yes, this will be the result from neglecting Christ. And so, will there be any hope for us?

#3.      Where is our Hope? (Eph 1:3-5, Matt 5:6)

Will there be any hope for the people of God? Indeed there is. But where does our hope lie? Our hope does not lie in the direction where we normally would seek it. Our hope is in the Lord. Our hope is not in being obedient to the commandments or the ordinances of the Lord. Our hope is a gift from God the Holy Spirit. Our hope is not obtained by faithfully attending church, or by faithfully living the Christian life. But our hope was given to us a long time ago, before the foundation of the world. Let me try to explain this.

Before the foundation of the world God chose certain people to become children of God through the atonement of Jesus Christ on the cross in AD 33 (Eph 1:3-5). These are the same people who will in the course of time receive faith as a gift of God the Holy Spirit. These people are called the elect of God. What God has begun God will also finish, and these elect of God will receive from God the Holy Spirit the perseverance of the saints; they will not fall away into apostacy. That is guaranteed. And so, the elect of God shall receive a newborn spirit that thirsts for righteousness. “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matt 5:6). Blessed are those who long for more and more of the spirit filled life. The mark of a healthy spiritual life is an intense thirst for God, and a deep, passionate yearning for a fuller, and a richer, and a more satisfying communion with Christ Himself. The best thing in us is never what we now are, nor what we have reached already, but a longing for what is yet higher and holier. And so, if you sense that you have been saved, or if you sense that you have been “Born Again”, and that you believe the whole Bible from cover to cover, then you can be assured that it was God who gave you that faith. If you believe the entire chapter of Romans 9, or Ephesians 1, or John 6, you can be assured that God gave you the desire to believe these chapters. It means then that you cannot lose your salvation, for if God has begun a good work in you, He will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ, for it is guaranteed that you will not turn away your ears from the truth, and you shall not believe the fables from the Devil.

And so, when you see the great apostacy in the church, and when you see a great homosexual movement in the world, and when you see Christ is being mocked in the world, and when you see that the Gospel of Christ is treated with contempt by the people of the world, do not be dismayed but rejoice, for the Lord is coming soon. And when He comes He will take you in the rapture and you will have glory forever. This is the promise of God to His elect children. This is where our hope lies.

We cannot achieve this goal by striving to be good, and by striving to become a child of God, for no one can earn his salvation. No one can be saved or receive the grace of God by obeying a command. It must be given to us freely. The gift of God is so infinitely great that it cannot be earned or deserved. It must be received freely, and it is God who must make the decision whom to give it to. But you can be assured that He will not give this great gift to people who are nice, and kind, and full of good works, for this great gift cannot be earned or deserved. Instead, those who have received this great gift shall be humble, and shall admit that they deserve to be cast into Hell for the great sins that they have committed. God loves sinners, for only when we can see that we are sinners can we be saved. That is why we must be humble as a little child, only trusting that God will make a decision that is just, and holy, and righteous in His sight.

AMEN.                  Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.