A Sword of Division

Matthew 10:34 NASB “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

After Jesus had began His ministry, as the Son of God, the long awaited Messiah, He uttered these above words, as He sent His disciples out to heal and preach, in His Name, to the lost sheep of Israel, as recorded in Matthew 10. And what Jesus was drawing Israel’s attention to, was that His appearance as the Messiah, the Son of Man, facilitated access to the Kingdom of God in heaven, which was now at hand, here on earth, because He was here and because He and He alone was about to open the way, for those who believed and trusted in Him, into the Kingdom of Heaven.

And the acceptance of, or the rejection of, this reality, would as a consequence, thereby cause division, even among family members, between those who accepted Him and those who would reject Him. And with the distinct particulars that Jesus provided in this portion of Scripture, about what would take place, it is not hard to see that His warnings about what would happen, also includes a fore picture of what will happen, before His second return. If you have the time, please read all of Matthew chapter 10.

It’s interesting to note that to His disciples, Jesus gave them His peace (John 14:27), but the reality of His peace, among believers, would still cause division, between those who believe and those who did not believe, and as noted in verse 22 of Matthew 10 “And you will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.” (Emphasis is mine). Revelation 2:10 has a close parallel.

DIVISION

Division, in essence, from my perspective, is a differing of opinion, and that different opinion, can indeed be where one individual accepts and another rejects Jesus, as an example. But it also can include things like value, reverence, concern, contempt, anger, hatred and trust. One person has reverence for and another doesn’t, etc.

One of the dilemmas that I personally have been faced with, for the vast majority of my Christian walk, is whether to draw attention to something that I see as being misrepresented as truth, when in fact, according to the wisdom shown in the Scriptures, or in some cases, factual evidence, the actual truth has been distorted or misrepresented in part or in its entirety. A good case in point is The Passion Bible. I disapprove of its use, how it came to be, the numerous “liberties” that have been taken in various Biblical texts, and a host of other reasons, which you can look at, if you wish, by clicking on the link above.

But identifying a difference of opinion about anything, is one of those things that causes a “what happens next situation”. Many times, we set ourselves up for rejection, by the manner in which we state our observation and specifically how we express our disapproval, to whom we address.

God actually pointed this out to me a number of years ago with an experience that I had, which you can read about here, should you wish to do so. The long and the short of it was that God asked me, “What did you expect him to say?“. One would think that I would have learned the far reaching application of this truth, but apparently such is not always the case.

When we “correct” someone, about something that they are doing, or some decision that they have made, or something that they have expressed an opinion on, that differs from ours, what is it that we are actually indicating to them, whether we realize it or not?

Normally we are telling them that they have made a wrong decision, or a misjudgement, or have come to a mistaken conclusion. What happens next? Normally people take this personally and react accordingly by becoming defensive and justifying their decision. The truth of the matter is that all of us, or at a minimum, the vast majority of us, from my personal experience, have little hesitancy at correcting others, but we do not like to be corrected ourselves. The reason for that is quite simple, when we are being corrected, our judgement, our discernment, our reasoning and our facts are being called into question.

The thing is, we need to confront our own judgement, our own discernment, our own reasoning and our own facts, to ensure that our judgement, discernment, reasoning and facts are Biblically and factually sound and ensure that we are not, as Jesus implored us not to do, being hypocritical. We also need to be clearly able to differentiate between the expressed opinions of the individual, and the individual themselves, that we are addressing, like Jesus did with the Samaritan woman at the well.

IF WE

If we spend the required time to search the Scriptures so that we are conversant with the whole Biblical counsel of God (not just some parts but all parts), if we remind ourselves of our own particular shortcomings before we venture out to correct particular shortcomings observed in others, if we take the time to verify our facts so that we are not guilty of slander, if we are mindful that but for the grace of God, we are no different than the one to whom we are addressing, which admittedly should change our tone, diminish false pride and assist with us speaking in love, and we earnestly seek the guidance of God’s Holy Spirit and obey His leadings, then and only then will our witness be as honest and truthful as we imperfect disciples of Christ can make it.

And what happens next?

In Matthew 10:22 NASB, Jesus says the following: “And you will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.” (Emphasis is mine).

Even then, we will be hated by some, because the long and the short of it is, that some will just hate us because of our association with the name of Jesus Christ. But, if we earnestly, honestly and prayerfully follow the “if we” recommendations, individually and collectively, in stating who Jesus is and why He came and what He achieved, then at least, we have been truthful to Him. And Jesus deserves that, He really does.

Correction is necessary. God does it to us (Hebrews 12:6-7) and God’s Word tells us we are to exercise this requirement, in love, with one another who are in Christ (James 5:19-20). But how you say what you say is also vitally important.

Something to think about.

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!








13 comments

  1. Words of wisdom here, Bruce. Your love for Christ (and the scriptures ) to be represented correctly is certain to be acknowledged and admired. Your awareness of the need with patience with others should also be admired. I’m glad to know you.

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  2. Excellent post, Bruce. I have no problem correcting someone on biblical matters if they are clearly wrong as per the Bible (and of course I can show the individual where he or she is wrong). Tact, of course, is necessary, but if proclaimed Christians assert something which is biblically wrong, that’s on them and the error should not go unchallenged. If they are upset by my correction, that’s something they have to deal with.

    Regarding incurring the unbelieving world’s hatred because of our testimony for Christ, I think that’s a different matter.

    Thanks for the thoughtful post!

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  3. Very pertinent Bruce.
    My morning journal today was about how the world does not like genuine faith. It has substance and is accompanied by a confidence and surety of truth. It’s real. It is given by God who we can only know through his revaluation. Satan’s shell game…with so many people standing in line to be god it will do no good to cut in.
    No the world will not like the followers of the real God or the appearance of a confident unmanipulated uncompromising faith and everyday walk.

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    • Satan’s shell game, and he does not care which shell you pick, just as long as you pick one. Gives a whole new meaning to “smoke and mirrors”. The simplicity of the Gospel is amazing, accompanied with the wonder of His creation. Blessings Gary and thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m concerned about a friend who follows Kenneth Copeland and believes in his teachings. I have not figured out how to approach her. I know I can’t just start correcting her without earning some trust. I have been praying about it for several months. I have also written a letter that I have NOT sent. I don’t think she would be open to correction. Word of Faith people are usually pretty firm in what they believe and think others just don’t understand because they’re “religious”. Great article. Correction isn’t easy. Blessings, Bruce!

    Liked by 2 people

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