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Text: Matt. 10:34-39
Title:  "Are You Worthy of Christ?"
Subj: Loving, taking up your cross, following, living for Christ

Intro: The Bible says, "That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God” Col. 1:10

I wonder if I were to ask you what decisions you have made concerning your walk with Jesus Christ for __________ what you would answer?  It doesn't matter if you have been saved since you were 5 years old, or whether you received Jesus Christ last week--what decisions for Christ likeness are now directing your path?  It may or may not surprise you, but Christ makes strong demands on those that are His disciples and that your millennial duties and your heavenly rewards will be based on your obedience to those demands!

The Bible says, "That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God"
Matthew, the first book of the N.T is the unfolding of the person, the words, the work, and wonder of Jesus Christ.  So far Matt. has unfolded the birth of Christ, the public ministry of Christ, the words of Christ, the works of Christ, and then, by chapt. 10, the demands of Christ.  In other words, it is a very short runway from salvation to discipleship, and then to full airborne commitment, at which time Christ expects you to be up and flying solo!

The Bible says, "That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God”
In Matt. chapt 10 Jesus sends forth the 12 newly chosen disciples to fly solo.  But in flying solo, He tells them where to go and not go, what to take, where to abide, what to beware of, how to react, what to say, how to handle persecution, what perspective to have, what to fear and what not to fear, and what priorities to keep straight.  Then, after Jesus has revealed His demands and directions, He calls His disciples to a full and complete decision on who they will follow.

Our text for today is one of those pivotal, gut-wrenching, life-altering texts in the Bible.  In it, Jesus Christ makes unheard of demands on the lives of those who would be called His disciples.  You see, Christianity is not a fool's sport , but a total yielding of self to the demands and commands of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Text: Matt. 10:34-39 -- "Are You Worthy of Christ?" -- prayer

I. Don't Be Confused About Why Christ Came

A. Don't Depend on What YOU Think!

Note:  The Disciples knew from the O.T. that God would send the Messiah as an earthly King to set up His earthly kingdom.  They assumed that the Christ would overthrow the Roman government, and restore the Nation of Israel to its previous prominence.  But they were wrong in their thinking; which made them wrong in their conclusions, and therefore they were wrong in their actions!

Many believers live the Christian life the same way--based upon what THEY think.  They go where THEY want to go, do what THEY want to do, they attend the church THEY choose and go when and if THEY choose, they run with those THEY choose, and they marry who THEY please.  If this is your idea of Christianity, you are just as wrong as the disciples!  And YOUR wrong thinking will lead to wrong conclusions and, ultimately wrong actions.  So, do not depend on what YOU think, but what the Word of God teaches!

B. So Why Did Jesus Come
1. Christ DID NOT come to Send Peace on This Earth (v34a)
a. "Peace" = is the absence of conflict.

Note: Christ did not bring the absence of conflict, which the human heart longs after, but the sword of division, which the human heart does not long after. We know salvation brings inner peace, but that is not what Jesus is talking about here.  The disciples thought He came to bring societal peace, but He didn't!  Perhaps you thought that all your relationships would be great once you accepted Christ, but they aren't!  Why, because Jesus did not come to bring peace in human relationships, but a sword of division!  Salvation brings inner peace and makes you whole, but it divides everything else into the kingdom of Light and the kingdom of darkness.

C. Christ DID Come to Send the Sword (v34b)
 1. "Sword" = This is not the long, battle saber of warfare, but the short knife used to cut the throats of sacrificial animals.  Receiving Christ does not bring all out war, but when you apply the sacrificial knife to your own throat (surrender/death to self), it causes a manner of life which brings division! 

“And that He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again."
  2 Cor. 5:15
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living
[throat-slit] sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."  Romans 12:1
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me."
  Galatians 2:20

D. Christ DID come to bring variance (v35-36)
1. This "sword," this sacrifice of your life for Christ's life brings variance ("divide in two, disunite") between near & dear relationships, to the extent that your foe's ("those who hate you inwardly and/or are hostile to you outwardly") will be of your own household (family/ friends/peers).

I. Don't Be Confused About Why Christ came

Note: Christ defines the quality/destiny of your life in terms of your relationship to Him.  He uses the term, "worthy of Me."

The question is....

A. Do You Want To Be Worthy?
1. "Worthiness" = of equal value or like worth. (From this we get our modern def:  1) deserving admiration  2) deserving honor/respect  3) of great value  4) Satisfying the requirement)
a. "Worthiness": of equal value, like worth to Christ?  This seems like an unattainable standard, yet notice what Jesus said in v24-25
1) You cannot be above the Lord, but you can be like the Lord, and it is enough! 

Note: The question is not "can you be worthy?", but do you "want to?"!  Is this not a worthy goal to be found worthy of Christ?  Remember that being saved makes you accepted before God, but that does not mean your activities are necessarily acceptable before God!  The highest calling, the greatest destiny of the Christian is to be so much like Christ that the Father can say of you that you are of equal value or of like worth to His Son!  That YOU are worthy of Him!  You must make a decision--Do YOU want to be found worthy of Him?

I. Don't Be Confused About Why Christ came
II. Christ Calls You To Make A Decision

(v37-38) (These are standards by which you can judge yourself on a daily basis!)
A. Standard #1
: What is the Object of Your Love (v37) (What commands your love?)
1. What is love?
a. Eros (self-centered selfish love, activity of your flesh)
1) It is doing something for your own pleasure, without consideration of the other person (lust love)
b. Phileo (other-centered/selfless love, activity of your soul)
1) It is having the same goals, going in the same direction as another person (friendship/marriage love)
c. Agape (self-sacrificing love, activity of your spirit or better, the Holy Spirit)
3) It is love for another who is unlovable.  It is the sacrifice of yourself for another who is unappreciative.  It is God's love

Note:  The word "love" here is phileo.  Our context shows that your family/ friends/peers are against your living for Christ.  They don't mind--too much--if you are "silently saved," as long as you don't change your (their) manner of life. 
Jesus says, "If you love desire to go in the same direction, have same goals as your family/friends/ peers, more than you love desire to go in the same direction, have same goals as Me, you are not worthy of Me."  Jesus is calling on the disciples, just like He is calling on you, to make a decision about your direction/destiny.  Notice that Jesus uses the nearest, dearest relationships, that most of us have to test our love.  Here is the division of v35! 

2. Where is the Depository of Your Love?
a. Father or mother = (speaks of) submission and/or obedience
1) The questions that Jesus asks, “Who are you going to be in submission and/or obedience to?”
a) Jesus is our example

“For I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me.”
John 6:38
b) As to His parents (turn to Lk. 2:45-50)
b. Son or daughter = provision and/or protection
1) Who are you going to be more concerned about?  Will it be personal concerns, protecting self, family, job, etc. or will it be Christ concerns --the kingdom of God?
a) Jesus is our example, and is more concerned about us than we are about our sons/daughters

“Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.”
Matt 10:31

Do you want to be found worthy?--then what is the object of your love?

#1: What is the Object of Your Love 
B.  Standard #2
: What is the Depth of Your Commitment (v38a)
1. Taking ("take up, carry away": willing acceptance) of your cross
2. Jesus is our example as He contemplated the Cross 

Note: To Jesus, Calvary's Cross and all it represented = the thing that Jesus' humanity most feared. 
This was the place Jesus Christ forsook every divine attachment, as He experienced separation from His eternal Father. 
This was the place Jesus Christ forsook every heavenly attachment, as He became sin itself
This was the place Jesus Christ forsook every earthly attachment, sacrificing Himself in the place of sinful man.  In the garden, before the crucifixion, He cried: “Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from Me: nevertheless not My will, but Thine, be done.  And being in an agony He prayed more earnestly: and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” Luke 22:42,44.  But we are not called to take up His cross but our cross.

3. Your cross (and yours alone)

Note:  What is your cross?  It is the thing that your humanity (flesh/mind/spirit) most fears; the things in your life you most fear losing.  Perhaps your cross is the loss of those near and dear. Perhaps it is a repudiation of self, including relationships, possessions, earthly positions and plans.  What is it in your life that is keeping or hindering your sacrificial service for Christ?  It is either something/someone you love, or something/someone you fear.  Jesus says that if you don't take up YOUR cross, you are not worthy. Do you want to be found worthy?--then what is the depth of your commitment?

#1: What is the Object of Your Love
#2: What is the Depth of Your Commitment

Standard #3: What is the Direction of Your Travel (v38b)
1. "Followeth" = to be a follower, to follow one, go with or after Him
a. Two choices
1) Following family/friends/peers, living in the world
2) Following Christ.  Following His manner of life, going where He would go, speaking to those He would speak to, doing the will of the Father.  It is a life of obedience to Christ--in every area.

“If any man serve Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall also My servant be: if any man serve Me, him will My Father honour.”
 John 12:26
a) And so we are brought back to love (phileo), and worthiness (My Father honour).

Note: There are the 3 standards by which God determines whether or not you and I are "worthy of Christ," or of like value or equal worth.  You can ask yourself these questions every night as you pillow your head.  1. What was the object of my love today?  2. What was the depth of my commitment today (did I willingly accept my cross for following Christ?)?  3. What was the direction of my travel today?

Based on your choices:

(Here is clear direction from One who knows the end from the beginning!)

A. The Finding of YOUR Life = The Losing of YOUR Life
1. "Finding" = 1) to find, as without seeking, meet with, light upon 2) to find as by search, to find out, discover

Note: The lifelong determination to find yourself, whether by accident or on purpose, in materialism, power, position, education, and self-centeredness will result in the loss of all your possessions and the disillusionment of your soul, culminating in the loss of eternal rewards at the judgment seat of Christ.  The cry of too many Christians is, "if only I had..."  Do you wonder if you fall into this category?  There is a simple test.  What defines your life?  And, what do others think of when they hear your name

B. The Losing of Your Life (for His sake) = The Finding of Your Life
1. "Loseth" = to destroy utterly, to lose utterly, the subject being the sufferer ruin, loss.
"But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ”  Philip. 3:7-8

Note: You, who lose your life in Christ, who set aside your life, and live for "His sake," will find life in all its fullness, a sense of destiny in all its glory, and a reward in heaven beyond your wildest dreams.
“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."
  John 10:10

Note: Some of you here this morning do not have life!  You are alive, but you have no life.  In fact the Bible says that you are dwelling under a sentence of death or eternal separation from God, not because of God, but because you have willing broken His laws and rejected His Son.  You are guilty, deserving eternal damnation!  But Christ has willingly paid your fine, and served your sentence on the cross, but His death is not applied to your account until you repent of your sins (change your mind about sin and God), and place your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to save you.  Will you do it?

Concl:  Christian, Christ calls for a decision!  Who will it be?  Do you phileo someone, something more than Christ?  Is something or someone keeping you from following Christ as you ought?  Or are you willing to make ________ the year when you are found to be worthy of Christ?  Are you willing to love Him, accept your cross, follow Him, and gain your life? 

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