Sermon for the 4th Sunday after Pentecost

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Note: All Scripture quotations in the sermon are taken from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version, ESV Text Edition: 2016.  Copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.


Sermon Text: Matthew 10:34-42, Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

In the Name of Jesus who does not come to bring peace but a sword and division.  Amen.

The sermon text for the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost is the Gospel reading from Matthew chapter ten.  I repeat the first six verses:

“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.  And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.  Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:34-39)

Those words are strange and jarring.  And Jesus knew it.  You can tell Jesus knew it because He did not say “I have not come to bring peace on earth.”  No, he tells the disciples, “Do not think, do not suppose, do not imagine, I have come to bring peace to the earth.”  He knew this was difficult, strange, jarring.  But it was the truth, and he said it.

The fact is He did not come to bring peace upon the Earth but a sword.  When He came there was division and dissension.  In homes, sons and fathers would turn against each other, mothers and daughter: at home enemies would be in your own household.  There would not be peace, there would be discord.  This was not the purpose for which Jesus came, but this would be the result.  Jesus knew that, Jesus was already experiencing it.

Jesus was sending out His apostles as He spoke these words, telling them the reign of the kingdom of heaven was at hand.  Jesus gives them authority to heal the sick and cast out demons and preach in his name.  And Jesus knew what His disciples would face: some would receive them but others would not.  They would be beaten in their synagogues, they would be brought before courts.  There would be trouble, there would be pain, there would be persecution.  It was going to happen to Jesus and the disciple is not above his master so you should expect this.  That would be the result.

X., today as you are now baptized into Christ’s most Holy Name, trouble may now come your way.  Many of your family members probably don’t agree with your confession of faith in Jesus as God and your Saviour.  You may not be able to ever go home again.  There might be those in your own family who may want to kill you.  You don’t know what the federal judge will rule in your asylum case.  We pray that the judge will let you stay in Canada, but if not, there will be trouble for you.  But in that trouble you and Z. have Jesus Christ your Lord and Saviour with you.  He will never leave you, wherever you go, He goes.  Your situation is a real life example of Jesus’ words, “I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

Jesus came to announce and establish the reign of God above all things.  In a world with corruption and violence, injustice and demon possession, sin and death, God the Father was going to do something about it, something forever and ever about it.  That’s why He sent Jesus.

Jesus’ arrival and ministry would be the end of the world, the end of things how they are.  For some that was good news, for others that was bad news.  So some believed in Jesus as their Lord and Saviour and followed Him and others rejected Him.  Jesus said this rejection would happen to the apostles.

The same happened to Jesus.  There were some who accepted His reign and His words and there were some who rejected Him.  Those who rejected Him crucified Him.  He died as the king of the Jews.  He died with people taunting Him for saying He was the Son of God.  But God the Father raised His Son from the dead.

What Jesus said to the disciples was go to the lost sheep of Israel, not to the Samaritans, not to the Gentiles.  And that’s what the apostles did with the message of the Gospel.  But when Jesus rose from the dead He told the disciples to go out and make disciples of all nations.  That’s what they did and that’s what the people of God have been doing ever since.  That is what the Church has continually been doing.  That’s what you the people of Grace are doing, and we’ll continue to do that together, sharing the Good News of Jesus with family and friends and inviting them here.  That’s our purpose in the kingdom.

The purpose for which Christ was sent out by the Father has not yet been accomplished.  The message is: “The reign of the heavens is at hand.”  The message is: repent, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, keep all that He has commanded you.  Confirmands, that will be your good confession today.  That’s what you will do and that’s what we will all continue to do by God’s grace, confess Christ as Lord and Saviour and keep all that He has commanded us.

And the result is that sometimes there is trouble.  So when Jesus said to His apostles, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth.  I have not come to bring peace, but a sword,” (Mt 10:34) do not think, do not suppose, do not imagine that there will be peace on earth.  There will be trouble.  Maybe some of you have or will experience it in life and have trouble, pain, confusion, maybe even persecution on account of Christ.  I’m not guaranteeing trouble for you personally, but if it does come on account of speaking about Jesus and being a Christian, don’t be surprised.  This of course is not good news.

The good news is this: Jesus promises, “Everyone who endures to the end will be saved.” (Mt 10:22)  Jesus endured.  He was crucified but He did not break His trust in His Heavenly Father and God the Father raised Him from the dead.  That happened to Jesus and that is what God will do for you.  When Jesus first came into the world, there would not be peace, but when Jesus comes back there will be peace forevermore.  The good news is Jesus will return and when He returns there will be peace, all peace and only peace.  No more confusion.  No more trouble.  No more division.  You will live at peace with the Triune God all those who call upon the name of the Lord.

So then, do not think that there will be peace now.  Don’t be caught off guard if trouble happens.  But I promise you in the name of Jesus, that when He comes back there will be peace, there will be joy, there will be contentment for you, all of you who call on Jesus as Lord, all of you who trust in His promises.  There will be peace for you.  In the Name of Jesus Your Lord and Saviour.  Amen.