October 24, 2021 Enemies in Your House

Enemies in Your House

October 24, 2021


Last 2 minutes of sermon

Scripture reading: Matthew 10:34-39.


Man must not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. That sentence comes from our Lord’s rebuke to the devil in chapter four. It is so very applicable here in considering our Lord’s teaching in these six short verses. This teaching by our Lord is radical. Because it is, sometimes people will read past it. They will read these verses but not give them much thought because these verses demand a great deal from us. Yet, the teaching of our Lord is not optional. Obedience is not optional. If anyone sees obedience to the Lord as optional this means that they either have not been born again or they have been exposed to heretical teaching.


It is a sad truth that there are those who claim to be followers of Christ who live by bread alone. That is, they live to eat and take care of earthly matters and they neglect the living words of God. It is most often the case that such persons have not been born again. They are just playing church. We must not live by bread alone! Rather, we must live by God’s words…every one of God’s words! (Matthew 4:4)


This means that we must live by these words that we have just read. We must understand our Lord’s teaching and then live by what we have come to know.


“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.[1]


It is easy to think that becoming a Christian will make everything better. Indeed, this is a common idea promoted by some who try to fit it into the gospel. There is no doubt that some things become much better. If one comes to Christ for salvation one experiences true peace because our sins are forgiven. We obtain a sure hope of eternal life. And hope lifts up our spirit. We will become better employees because we wish to put in a good day’s work. One preacher even said that when a man comes to Christ he even treats his pets better. I think that is true. Jesus does make many things better!


But I will tell you what will not be better. Your family life will not be better if you truly follow Jesus. Of course, there is an exception to this truth. If every member of your family is also a disciple of Christ, then your family life will not only be better, it will become fantastic! When a husband and wife, for example, both love the Lord and worship the Lord together, their relationship with one another will become deeper and more enjoyable. They will bicker far less and love each other more. But, it is not always the case that both husband and wife are both followers of Christ. Neither is it always the case that parents and children all follow the Lord. I am not talking about merely making a profession of faith. You must know that there are so many false professions of faith, especially in the so-called Bible Belt. When I mentioned the exception to the truth that there will not be peace in your house, I referred to genuine and committed followers of Christ – true disciples.


Becoming a follower of Christ means that you will experience the sword. That is, you will experience opposition and pain. Jesus said that this opposition and pain would come from one’s own family:


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. 36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.[2]


When a man becomes a Christian and his father is not then he will experience persecution from his father. Likewise, if a father becomes a Christian and his son is not, then the son will often speak despairingly of his father. The situation is the same with mother and daughter. In-laws, too. The opposition will become so intense that your own family member will be an enemy. They are an enemy because they oppose Christ and his kingdom.


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. [3]


What does this mean practically? It means that a family member will try to dissuade you from serving Christ. Sometimes they will demand your time. Other times they simply don’t like the idea of you meeting with the church so often or studying the Scriptures or evangelizing, or any number of other matters of which the Lord has directed us. The temptation for us is to acquiesce to these demands because we either love them and want to please them or we prefer peace in the house and so avoid the very things that Jesus told us to do for the sake of peace. However, this is the very thing that Jesus says we should not do. He came to bring a sword! And, this sword is in the experience of our family life.


We must obey Jesus rather than our family members. This includes husbands and wives:


If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.[4]


See that, in addition to father and mother, he includes “wife.” Of course, husbands are included by implication. We are to hate our wife. We are to hate our husband. This means that we do not literally hate them. Jesus is using hyperbole. In comparison to our love for the Lord Jesus, our affection for our spouse should seem as hatred. Jesus must be first!


When our spouse asks us (or tells us) to miss a meeting of the church we obey Jesus and we meet because that is his will (Psalm 16:3; Mark 10:28-30; John 21:15-17; Acts 2:42-46; 4:32; 5:12, 42; Hebrews 10:23-25; 1 John 2:19; 3:11-13; 16-17). Likewise, if we have an opportunity to render any service to the Lord, we do it despite the objections of our spouse.


There is one difference between the opposition of our original family members and our marital family. By our original family I mean parents, grandparents, and siblings. By marital family I mean spouse and children. When we experience fierce opposition from our original family members, it is best to separate yourself from them if you have the means to do so. This is what Jesus did:


And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. 32 And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” 33 And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34 And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.” [5]


Do you know why Jesus’ mother and brothers were calling to him? It is because they thought he was crazy and were trying to get him to stop preaching (Mark 3:21)! What was his reaction? He separated himself from them. This is what a disciple of the Lord should do today when he is opposed by members of his original family. But married couples do not have this option. Even if you are married to a person who is not a Christian you must stay with that person unless they abandon you.


What did Jesus mean by the phrase, “not worthy of me?” He means worthy to follow him. He means simply being a disciple at all! He means just being a true Christian! This is made clear by the parallel passage in Luke:


If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. [6]


The word, “Christian,” is the most common term today to refer to a follower of Christ. But this word only appears one time in the entire Bible as used by another follower of Christ (I Peter 4:16)![7] The most common term used to designate a follower of Christ is “disciple.” Disciple is used over 250 times in the NT! This is God’s preferred word for a follower of Christ.


The terms of discipleship are not terms for a special class of followers. They are for all disciples. You are not a true follower of Christ unless you follow Christ. I can say this in more than one way:


  • You are not a follower of Christ unless you submit to him.
  • You are not a follower of Christ unless you obey him.
  • You have not been born again unless you obey him. (I John 3:9)
  • You are not a child of God unless you practice what Jesus said (I John 3:10).


Some may be thinking, “Then I am not a Christian at all because I still sin.” You may still sin but the question is: what do you do when you sin? If you confess your sin and turn from it then you are forgiven and you press on (I John 1:9; Hebrews 12:4). But if you are aware of sin in your life and you remain in it then you give evidence that you are not a disciple at all.


And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. [8]


First, take note to whom Jesus is speaking. He is not speaking to worldlings. He is not speaking to the lost. He is talking to his disciples – those who have made a decision and a commitment to follow him already. They are just like us, though. They decide things, they commit to things, but do not always understand what is entailed in what they have decided. So, Jesus is going to make it plain to them.


He will repeat these things and even add more in Matthew 16:


Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.

  25      “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

  26      “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

  27      “For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds.[9]


He says, “whoever.” Whoever! There are no exceptions! No exceptions for being under bad teaching. No exception for hearing a watered down gospel. No exception for feeling as if everything is fine. No exception for “knowing” that God loves you. Whoever!


“Whoever wants to be my disciple must…”


The terms of discipleship that our Lord is about to lay down are not optional. He said “must!” Here is one false gospel going around today (there are many!): You can make Jesus your Savior, but not your Lord. You can believe in him as your Savior and then, later, maybe you can make him your Lord. That is not in the Bible and is a damnable gospel. No subjects of a king receive a pardon when they are still in open rebellion against him.


We must deny ourselves to be a disciple of Jesus. Sadly, there are many who take the name of Christ but are still living to satisfy their own desires. Now, the Lord is kind and gentle. That is the way he describes himself (Luke 6:35; Matthew 11:29). Therefore, he will often give us the desires of our hearts. But first we must consider them of no importance and we must subsume them to the Lord’s will. Because we are all a work in progress, we all have desires that do not line up with the Lord’s desires. The goal of sanctification is to be conformed to the image of Christ. The Lord’s desires are becoming our desires. The Lord is working himself into us so that:


  • our mind becomes like his,
  • his thoughts become our thoughts,
  • his loves become ours,
  • and his will becomes our will.


Until that process is completed we must deny ourselves. The first term of discipleship is to deny ourselves.


We must take up our cross to be a disciple of Jesus. What did Jesus mean by “cross?” The cross was the means of execution administered by the Roman government. It was a familiar sight in Israel. Criminals would be required to carry their own cross to their place of death, as Jesus would do when he would be crucified.


The cross represents the suffering that we must undergo. But see that Jesus says that we must take up our cross. Some versions have “pick up their cross.”[1]Our cross is something that we can pick up or leave down. In other words, we can often choose to avoid suffering. Yet, if we follow the path that the Lord has for us, the path of righteousness empowered by His life, then times will come when we must choose to suffer.


Madras, now called Chennai, is the most visited city in India. It is considered the best city in India and is characterized by both wealth and safety. The Anglican Bishop of that city was visiting the kingdom of Travancore about a hundred years ago. Travancore was located in the Southwestern tip of India. He was there introduced to a little slave girl called “The Child Apostle.” She had won this title by the zeal with which she talked of Christ to others. Her quiet, steady persistence in this had won several converts to Christ. But she had suffered persecution at the hands of Hindus too brutal to relate. When she was introduced to the Bishop, her face, neck and arms were disfigured and scarred by stripes and blows. As he looked at her, the good man’s eyes filled, and he said, “My child, how could you bear this?”

She looked up at him in surprise and said, “Don’t you like to suffer for Christ, sir?”


Do not the life and words of this little girl put us to shame? They should also remind us that our children, even at young ages, can be resolute and committed to the Lord Jesus. It is a sad report that there are Christians to day who do their best to avoid suffering. They will not miss a meal to serve Christ in outreach or some other work for him. They will not forego their laundry day or their shopping day to do a work for Christ. What a shame!


This little girl suffered because she talked to others about Christ. She was willing to suffer beatings and whippings for her sharing the gospel. Some of us are not even willing to experience just a little embarrassment for sharing the gospel. What a shame this is!


Sometimes we will suffer for simply choosing to do the right thing. We must be willing to take up such a cross. This is our calling. At the same time, almost all suffering is temporary. The Lord grants relief and comfort in his time.


The second term of discipleship is to take up our cross.


Then Jesus says, “… and follow me.” This is the third term of discipleship. We must follow Jesus to be a disciple of Jesus.


Unless we first commit to denying ourselves and to picking up and carrying our cross, we will be unable to follow him. Oh, we may follow him for a while when everything is fine and dandy. But when trouble comes, we stop following.



Once we know what Christ’s will is, then we follow it. We obey Jesus. If a preacher is being faithful to what the Bible actually teaches (for all the words of the Bible are the words of Christ if spoken by his representatives), this means that we follow the words of preachers and teachers. When I am listening to a teacher at a conference (I try to go to at least one per year, more often two), I get excited when I learn something new. When I learn a new aspect of the Lord’s will, I am excited to follow. I am glad to carry it our in my life!


Something is wrong when a person who claims to be a Christian reads something in their Bible, recognizes that they are not living that way, and then does nothing about it! Something is wrong when a Christian hears a preacher or teacher, recognizes that they are not living the way they have heard, and then does nothing about it. The apostle James condemns this as being a hearer of the word only. I tell you, there are many hearers-of-the-word-only!


This is not following Jesus! In order to be his disciple, we  must actually follow him! You are what you do, not what you say! (Thank you, Dr. Laura!) This is the third term of discipleship: to actually follow Jesus.


Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. [10]


Here, by “finding his life,” Jesus simply means taking care of your own interests. By “losing his life,” our Lord means putting our own interests below those of Jesus. This ought to be alarming to many of those who think they are disciples! Do you not know church-goers who are always looking out for their own interests and comfort? What did Jesus say? He said that those who live that way will lose their soul! (The word “life” here is actually “soul.”) Those who live for the Lord will “find their soul,” that is, they will gain the transformation and life of their soul that each one of us needs. This begins to happen in this life but will be consummated in the next age for the overcomers.


 Jesus laid out the cost of discipleship:


  • To be a disciple means that we deny ourselves. Our first consideration should not be, “What can I get from this?” but “What will Jesus gain from this?” As our souls become more conformed to that of our Lord, we will not have to deny ourselves so often because the Lord’s desires become ours. In the meantime, we deny ourselves!
  • To be a disciple means that we take up our cross. We choose the path of suffering for the sake of the Kingdom of God.
  • To be a disciple we follow Jesus. This means we change the way we live to conform to what we learn in God’s precious word.



Today is the day and the time is now to assess our discipleship.




[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 10:34). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 10:35–36). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[3] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 10:37). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[4] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Lk 14:26). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[5] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mk 3:31–35). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[6] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Lk 14:26–33). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[7] It is used only a total of three times. The other two times it is used by those who were not of the faith.

[8] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 10:38). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[9] New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Mt 16:24–27). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

[10] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 10:39). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.