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Loving Jesus More than Family
THURSDAY, JULY 21, 2011
Posted by: Providence Reformed Baptist Church | more..
54,400+ views | 390+ clicks
One of the hardest statements that came from the lips of our Lord Jesus Christ, is recorded in Matthew 10:34-37,
"Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person's enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."
The historic context of these words fall within a larger discourse Jesus was giving His disciples, as He was commissioning them to take the gospel to Israel. From verses 24-42, Jesus set forth the kind of characteristics that will embody His true followers as they carry the gospel into the world. And among the marks of an authentic disciple of Christ, is the willingness to forsake everything, including one's own family if necessary, for Christ's sake.
Our Lord unpacks this kind of sacrifice by first telling us that the coming of His Gospel will render division and estrangement between the nearest relations. While the Gospel certainly proclaims the way of peace between the sinner and God (Rom.5:1-2), yet its presence and preaching create a clear division between those who receive it and those who reject it. Hence, Christ is preparing all His followers for what is the inevitable separation between those who believe in Him and those who don't. In fact, to follow Christ, will bring...a sword that will cut ties in a family with such severity, that "a person's enemies will be those of his own household."
But how could this be? How could sons and fathers, mothers and daughters be set...against each other because of Christ? The answer is really quite simple, but hard to swallow. Our relation to others by blood does not translate into the same relation as the family of God. Unless one is born again with a new nature, they will not love, trust, savor, obey, and follow Christ as their Lord and Redeemer (Jn.1:12-13; 3:1-8). Indeed, as long as they remain unbelievers, they will live in a state of spiritual death, enslaved to sin and Satan (Eph.2:1-3) - despite the fact that we may call them "Mom", "Dad", "brother" or "sister." If we follow Christ and the rest of our family doesn't, then we must not be surprised when we find ourselves set against the rest of our family.
Observing the reality of this kind of division, Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) once said: "The coming of Christ into a house is often the cause of variance between the converted and the unconverted. 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. We are to expect this, and not to be put off by it when it occurs. Animosities on account of [Christ] often excite the fiercest of enmities, and nearness of kin inflames rather than quenches the hostility."
But while we can expect this division between believers and unbelievers who live under the same roof - yet for the believer, Christ must always be first! First in our hearts, minds, affections, and actions. He must be first therefore even over the natural love we have for our family. "Whoever loves father or mother...son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me." Here is the acid test of our claim as Christians: is our commitment and love to Christ so profound and far-reaching, that any relationship that endangers that relationship will be sacrificed? If our parents or siblings are standing in the way of our faithfulness to Christ, will we cut ties with them to serve Christ with greater liberty? What relationship matters more to us?
To quote again from Spurgeon: "We must earnestly beware of making idols of our dearest ones, by loving them more than Jesus. We must never set them near the throne of our King...Father and mother, son and daughter - we would do anything to please them; but, as opposed to Jesus, they stand nowhere, and cannot for an instant be allowed to come in the way of our supreme loyalty to our Lord."
So, what marks does Christ expect to embody His true followers? According to Matthew 10:34-37, we are to be a people whose passion, love, and devotion to Christ surpasses and supersedes every right affection we have for our family. Even if following Christ brings upon us the scorn and disapproval of our family; yet, by God's grace, we will not shrink back from obeying Jesus fully.
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