Lesson 178-March 17, 2019: “Priority Relationship”

Lesson 178-March 17, 2019

Lesson: “Priority Relationship”

Scripture: Matthew 10: 34-37

Lesson Goal: To understand no relationship in this life should come before or take priority over our rela- tionship with Jesus Christ.

Introduction: Please begin todays lesson by reading Romans 1:16. Paul writes, (confesses), that he is not ashamed of the gospel, (the Good News, message of salvation of Christ). Please read Pauls’ words in II Timo- thy 1:8 and 1:12. As we read these verses what are some common threads that weave these verses together?

Question: Have you ever been ashamed of Jesus or the gospel of Jesus Christ?

We concluded last weeks lesson by looking at our open and public confession of Jesus Christ. Before we move into todays text and todays lesson let’s read verses 32 and 33 again. I would like to offer something for your consideration, meditation, and reflection. Most of us as followers of Jesus have never faced the situation that Peter faced in the courtyard. Please read Matthew 26:69-74. We have never had our faith challenged in such a direct way where the only option is to confess Christ or to deny Christ.

But could there be other ways, some perhaps very subtle, in which we have an opportunity to confess Him but we ultimately deny Him? What about when someone we are following on social media uses ungodly language or uses language and words that we know do not represent us well as a follower of Jesus Christ and we “like” what has been stated? When we like such materials does it give an indication of who we are really following? What about the times when our social circle (may even be the church crowd) tracks down the road of gossip or belittling others, do we just listen, smile, and add our comments or do we have the courage to at least get up

and walk away from it? Be careful who you follow!! What about those occasions when the conversation begins to shift toward making fun of someone? Do we become an unholy participant in the conversation? Do we remain silent (a silent follower of Jesus) while some of our circle whispers hurtful and harmful things about someone outside the circle? We may see this kind of stuff as no big deal but it is a good barometer on where we are in our walk with Christ.

There are many ways to deny Jesus Christ other than standing by a fire in the courtyard!!! Please read Matthew 10:34-39.

(v34) Stuart Weber writes “Jesus wanted His followers fully prepared for the difficulty they would face be- cause of their loyalty to Him, so He addressed a possible misconception. In Matthew 5:9, Jesus pronounced the “peacemaker” blessed. But here He announced that His mission on earth would cause not peace, but hos- tility (use of word sword to represent this hostility) even between the closest of family members (10:21). He was not saying that He would intentionally divide families, but He was saying that loyalty to Him would cause some of His followers to be hated by their families, because of the disbelief of other family members.”

Question: How did Jesus personally experience this kind of rejection?

Question: Have you as a follower of Jesus ever faced rejection, ridicule, or hostility by family members be- cause of your open, unashamed witness for Jesus Christ?

The Jews believed that when the Messiah came He would usher in a time of peace. Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem did not announce or inaugurate such a day. In fact, Jesus birth, life, ministry, and certainly His claims would force people to make a choice. That choice would force them to accept truth or reject truth. They must choose to accept Jesus and who He claimed to be or reject Jesus and His claims.

As a result of having to make a decision and choice concerning Jesus, conflict, disagreement, and division would often arise even in the closest relationships. The greatest question of all of life is the question: What do I do concerning Jesus? All of life and eternity hinges on that question.

Question: What have you done concerning Jesus? There are only two options, you either accept Him or re- ject Him. You either confess Him or deny Him.

(vv35-36) Jesus quotes from the Old Testament book of Micah (7:6). Verses 35 and 36 make reference back to verse 21 and now Jesus quotes from Micah the Prophet. Micah spoke of a time when such things would happen.

The word “against” is from the word “dixazo” which means “to cut apart, to cut into, to render asunder. This is the only time this word is used in the New Testament. The meaning denoted a complete and often perma- nent separation.

(v37) John MacArthur offers some very practical words on these verses: “Sometimes the rift between believ- ers and nonbelieving relatives is lifelong and irreconcilable. Yet a true disciple must be willing to pay that price. The gospels report at least two would –be disciples who did not accept Jesus’ call to follow Him be- cause they were unwilling to sacrifice their family ties. One wanted to wait for His inheritance before follow- ing the Lord, and the other wanted to delay obedience until he settled everything with his family. Of such half -hearted, divided commitment Jesus said ‘No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back is fit for the Kingdom of God’ Luke (9:57’62). Husbands or wives will sometimes not come to Christ because of fear of separation from their spouses. Children will sometimes not come because of possibly offending their par- ents and vice versa. Such fears are often ungrounded, because one member of a family coming to Christ some- times leads to a whole family being converted. But the conversion of one member often leads instead to bitter- ness and permanent disruption of family relationships. No one can be sure in advance what other peoples reac- tions to his/her conversion will be, not even the reactions of his own family.”

We must remember the cost that some believers paid as a result of following Jesus. In the early church often- times when a Jew responded in faith to Jesus they were excommunicated from the synagogue and often ostra- cized from their families. The same may happen today when a Muslim or Hindu accepts Jesus Christ and fol- lows Him. The road is very difficult for some because family members may become foes and enemies to the follower of Jesus Christ.

Question: What may it cost you to be a follower of Jesus Christ?

Question: Where does Jesus fit/rank in your relationships?

Question: Where does Jesus fit/rank in your priorities?

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