How should the Christian interact with the world? How will the world respond? I can tell you this, don’t expect a celebration and a parade through town. Either loved, hated, or ambivalent, this is what we’ll see.
Jesus, in sending out the twelve disciples in Matthew 10:17-33, had these instructions for them.
The Christian and the Authorities
“Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.“
Do not be naive, and use every opportunity to preach the Gospel. Peter, John, the rest of the Apostles, and Paul are great examples in Acts 4, 5, 24, and 26.
The Holy Spirit will give us the words in high-pressure times. The rest of the time we have to think and choose our words as instructed in Colossians 4:6, ‘Let your conversation always be pleasant and cheerful, flavorful, and enhanced so that you can always know how to answer someone.’
That means preparation.
The Christian and Family
“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death.“
Even family will turn against each other, which is more common in honor/shame cultures all over the world. At the least, they won’t understand their relative’s new life. I run into this one. These days I would rather be home studying and writing or at church serving in a multiple of ministries.
“You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
“The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household!“
Perseverance is a by-product of your faith, Don’t renounce Christ.
Jesus doesn’t demand we die for our faith–though it’s a very real possibility–but to run away and preach another day. We’re not above or better than Jesus; it is enough to be the same as him in dealing with people and life. He’s our perfect example.
The Christian and Truth
“So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One (It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebrews 10:31) who can destroy both soul and body in hell.“
Right will win in the end and the truth will be known. Remember, Jesus is the judge we all face in the end; either as one of his or having rejected him.
Don’t hide what Jesus tells you, has done on the cross, or what he’s done in your life.
The Christian and Death
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.“
If you kill a Christian, they don’t die, they change locations. Either they’re with Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:6-8) or Jesus is with them (Matthew 28:20).
Have you noticed how many sparrows you see flitting around? Yet God is involved in their lives. He is much more involved in mine and your lives. He knows us better than we know ourselves, and we’re valuable to him. John 3:16 and the 139th Psalm tells us how valuable.
The Christian’s Mission
“Whoever acknowledges me before others (But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.Romans 10:8-10), I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.“
It is that cut and dried. Acknowledge that Jesus is Lord, your Lord, before other people, and Jesus tells God that you’re one of his. Then you follow him the rest of your days, free from condemnation (Romans 8:1) and no longer an enemy of God.
Have you experienced any of these verses in action?