Not Peace, But a Sword

 

(Mat 10:32-39 NIV)"Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. {33} But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven. {34} "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. {35} For I have come to turn "'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law-- {36} a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.' {37} "Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; {38} and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. {39} Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

(Mat 10:32-39 NIV)"Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.

*†† (John 14:6 NIV)Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

{33} But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.

*†† (1 John 2:4 NIV)The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

 

{34} "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.

Now this is the heart of what I want to talk about today. Obviously there will be a time of peace at the end of this age. But Jesus says donít suppose I came to bring peace. Whatís that all about.

*†† (Isa 9:6 NIV)For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

*†† (1 Cor 15:25-26 NIV)For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. {26} The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

*†† (Rev 21:4 KJV)And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

The answer is simple. Jesus is not talking about the end of this age but this age itself. That is He is not talking about the time of His return in glory but of the time leading up to His return. The time we have been living in ever since He walked the earth.

 

OK, how about the sword thing? Sword has the meanings of war, struggle, contention, strife, conflict, judgment, and decision. So it seems to be He was using the word in its broader sense not simply as a sharp instrument of death. And that is exactly what we see in the world. Talk, talk, talk of peace but war, war, and more war. In fact sometimes the talk of peace only hides preparations for war.

*†† (Jer 6:14 NIV)They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. 'Peace, peace,' they say, when there is no peace.

Continuing.

{35} For I have come to turn "'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law-- {36} a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.'

Clearly, we are talking about this age and not the age to come. Not only is strife rampant locally, and nationally, and internationally, but in our very homes. Thatís thanks in part to a society that seems to work overtime to destroy families. But letís continue.

{37} "Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; {38} and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

Here is where the rubber meets the road. You mothers, can you walk away from your offspring for Jesus? You fathers, do you have the faith of Abraham? You sons and daughters do you have the faith of Isaac? Fortunately we donít always have to choose. But, we always have to be ready to choose. I mean God knows our hearts. Whether we are force to choose or not God knows what is in our hearts and thatís a pretty good indicator as to how we would choose

*†† (Heb 4:12 NIV)For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

 

Now we see what Jesus is getting at. When we give ourselves to the Lord it must be completely. If we give ourselves to the Lord completely then we can have peace in all circumstances. That is the peace of knowing we are doing right and that the God of righteousness will make us victors. If we donít give ourselves to the Lord completely then we will experience the sword. That is to say, warring within ourselves, struggle, contention, strife, conflict, judgment, and decisions that lead to death.

 

You see in the game of life there are winners and losers; there is victory and defeat. The choices we make will determine the outcome. Joshua was right on the mark.

*†† (Josh 24:14-15 NIV)"Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. {15} But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."

 

There is no room for compromise. There is no middle ground. You canít sit on the fence. You must choose. Choose well.