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DIVIDED BY THE GOSPEL

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord's Day Morning, July 18, 2004
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

"A man's foes shall be they of his own household" (Matthew 10:36).


Dr. J. Vernon McGee said concerning this verse,

Actually, families have been divided by the preaching of the gospel. Also, brothers have been separated. There is a unity of believers, but that very unity makes a division with the unsaved world (Dr. J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983, volume IV, p. 61).

It is often surprising to new Christians that their own relatives oppose them. Those from a Buddhist or Roman Catholic home often find that their relatives begin to say unkind things when they become involved in the life of a Baptist church. Even those from a nominal Christian background sometimes find that this also is true of them. Parents and other relatives may say, "You are getting too involved." They may even say, "You're becoming a fanatic," or "You are getting brainwashed." What are new Christians supposed to do when they hear such things from their parents or relatives?

Fifty years ago my own father said such things to me. Then he told me he would never set foot again in a Baptist church as long as he lived. I continued to love him though - and I am thankful that he did not keep that dreadful promise. Near the end of his life he came with me several times to church, and even prayed the "sinner's prayer" with a preacher friend of mine. I am glad that I was able to tell about that when I conducted his funeral a few months later.

I wanted my unsaved father to know Christ and be happy in the church with me. Thank God we did have several happy times in church together before he died.

There may be some young Christians here today, or some who are considering becoming Christians, who are faced with the disapproval of their parents. I fully understand what you are going through because I experienced it myself. Jesus said,

"A man's foes shall be they of his own household"
    (Matthew 10:36).

Dr. John R. Rice once said, concerning this verse,

A Christian need not always expect outward peace as he serves the Lord. "In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). This world hates Jesus Christ. He is still "despised and rejected of men" (Isaiah 53:3). The opposition and the persecution New Testament Christians faced are normal still. Nominal Christians will not suffer persecution but Spirit-filled, soul-winning Christians who openly oppose sin and urgently plead with sinners to be saved will always be called fanatics, troublemakers, radicals. The world is not essentially changed. The Lord Jesus still requires that we put Him before father, mother, son or daughter, or life itself (Dr. John R. Rice, The Gospel of Matthew, Sword of the Lord, 1980, page 161).

Jesus said,

"A man's foes shall be they of his own household"
    (Matthew 10:36).

Let us think this morning of two ways this verse applies to us.

I. First, those raised in the church often experience
an indirect form of this conflict.

Lost people tend to look at Christians and think they should be perfect. One of the things that hinders second generation church kids from being converted is seeing that their parents are not perfect. They live with them. They see them every day. They see them when they are in a bad mood or not feeling well. They see their parents singing hymns in church - and then they see them arguing at home. There is a conflict in their minds. The Devil comes and says to them, "See, they aren't perfect. Why should you listen to what they say about being converted?"

Every church kid who experiences conversion must go through this temptation. What if your father were Peter? You would know that he denied Christ and ran away the night He was arrested. You would also know that he had been wrong when he stopped eating with the Gentile Christians at Antioch, and Paul

"withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed"
    (Galatians 2:11).

If you were Peter's child, you would be confronted with the fact that he was not perfect.

What if the Apostle Paul was your father? Paul said,

"I was with you in weakness, and in fear and in much trembling" (I Corinthians 2:3).

Dr. J. Vernon McGee said of that verse,

Paul opens his heart and lets us see his inmost thoughts. He makes it very clear that while he was with them he was greatly disturbed. He was "in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling." Little wonder that he could say that God had chosen the weak things of this world. Paul had no exalted conception of himself... Obviously, he never thought of himself as great (ibid., volume V, p. 13).

So, if Paul were your father, you would have seen him "in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling."

It is obvious, from the examples of Peter and Paul, that Christians are still imperfect. If you have seen your parents be as inconsistent as Peter, or as weak and afraid as Paul, then you should not let that stop you from seeking Christ. Paul said,

"I was with you in weakness, and in fear and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God" (I Corinthians 2:3-5).

If you are looking for faults and weaknesses in your Christian parents, you will certainly find some. But let me reason with you. How does that excuse you from your need for salvation in Christ?

Instead of examining your Christian parents, you should be examining yourself. That's exactly what the Bible says you should do:

"Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith…"
    (II Corinthians 13:5).

That's what was wrong with Ron Reagan. He was so busy examining his father that he never got around to examining himself! Don't make that mistake!

You see, Reagan's younger son, Ron, set himself up in opposition to his father.

"And a man's foes [enemies] shall be they of his own household" (Matthew 10:36).

Here's how that works - you become the one Jesus is talking about! You become the enemy of your Christian parent. The "man," in the text, is your Christian parent. The "enemy" in his own house is you! That's a pretty horrible position for you to be in - the enemy of your Christian parents!

"And a man's foes [enemies] shall be they of his own household" (Matthew 10:36).

Horrible thought - that you should be the enemy of your Christian parents! Repent and come to Christ or there is no hope for you! You are in a fearful position before God if you are, in your heart, the enemy of your Christian parents.

II. Second, those raised by non-Christian parents
often experience a direct form of this conflict.

Those raised in the church often become the enemies of their own Christian parents. But those raised outside the local church often find that their parents and other relatives are their enemies. Jesus gave a warning in Luke 21:16-17. Let us stand and read these two verses aloud.

"And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake" (Luke 21:16-17).

You may be seated.

"Some of you shall they cause to be put to death." Christ restricts being put to death to "some of you." But he put no restriction on the first half of the verse: "ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends." No restriction there. Why? Because that is the common lot of all who come out of the world to Jesus Christ. Christ makes this very clear in the next verse,

"And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake"
    (Luke 21:17).

Why are non-Christian parents, parents who are Roman Catholics, or Buddhists, or Muslims, or secularists so mean to their own children when they want to become Christians? Jesus gave two answers to this question in John 15:18-21. Please turn there and stand as we read these four verses aloud.

"If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me" (John 15:18-21).

You may be seated.

There are two main reasons why non-Christians in general often act so unkindly toward Christians. The first reason is in verse 19,

"I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you" (John 15:19).

And the second reason is in verse 21,

"But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me" (John 15:21).

Dr. McGee said,

Those who persecute have two problems: they do not know the Father, and they do not want their sins revealed. Jesus Christ turned the light of heaven upon the souls of men. Whenever one turns on the light, things begin to happen. The rats and snakes and bugs and lizards hate the light and they run for cover. They will hate the one who turns on the light, too, by the way. Jesus says, "They hated me without a cause." There is no cause for hate in Jesus. The cause is in the sinful hearts of men…The world will hate you if you are a child of God. This is difficult, especially for young people who want so much to be popular. Let's tell our young people what the Lord says. They are not going to be popular with the world if they are the children of God (McGee, ibid., volume IV, p. 470).

Let us stand and sing number four on the song sheet, "Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken." This was the favorite hymn of Dr. John R. Rice. Sing it out, good and strong.

Jesus, I my cross have taken, All to leave and follow Thee.
Destitute, despised, forsaken, Thou from hence my all shall be.
Perish every fond ambition, All I've sought, and hoped, and known;
Yet how rich is my condition, God and heaven are still my own!
   ("Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken" by Henry F. Lyte, 1793-1847).

(END OF SERMON)

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Matthew 10:32-38.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

"Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken" (by Henry F. Lyte, 1793-1847).

THE OUTLINE OF

DIVIDED BY THE GOSPEL

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

 

"A man's foes shall be they of his own household" (Matthew 10:36).

(John 16:33; Isaiah 53:3)

I.   Those raised in the church often experience an indirect form of this
conflict, Galatians 2:11; I Corinthians 2:3-5; II Corinthians 13:5.

II.  Those raised by non-Christian parents often experience a direct form
of this conflict, Luke 21:16-17; John 15:18-21.

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