Are we men and women of God or mice? Do we stand for what is right or do we let the world push us around and tell us to be quiet about our faith?


Let’s learn to be courageous disciples.


Let’s examine Matthew 10:24-39 and how to stand up against opposition to our faith like insults, martyrdom and even family opposition.

Matthew 10:24-25 Insults as Compliments

In Matthew 10:24-25, Jesus coached his first students, saying If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub [more accurately Beelzebul], how much more will they call those of his household!” Have we ever been insulted for our faith? Do we let disrespect make us angry? Jesus said that for the Christian an insult can actually be a compliment. Next time that we are insulted, let’s analyze why. Was it because we are a Christian? Hateful put-downs can be a litmus test of genuine Christianity in our lives. If so, take the slander as a wonderful compliment. Receive such verbal abuse as unwitting praise. Use it to be encouraged.

Matthew 10:26 Do not Fear Insults

In Matthew 10:26 Jesus had spoken of Christians being slandered like He was. He was called Beelzebul (meaning lord of dung). Have we been bullied into silence? Jesus encouraged us, “Therefore do not fear them.” When people insult us are we tempted to take matters into our own hands and get revenge? What about anonymous deeds done in the dark? Let’s remember, “do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19; Deuteronomy 32:35) Let’s also remember, “there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.”

Matthew 10:27 Preach on the Housetops

In Matthew 10:27 Jesus explained what He meant when He said not to fear those who insult us for our faith. Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops.” In some parts of the world Christians are severely persecuted. Even in free countries Christians can be threatened by politics, harassed by a corrupt boss or criticized by others for their beliefs. Even church leaders can coerce people into violating their conscience. Jesus told his first disciples to do just the opposite of what bullies want, by shouting their faith from the rooftops for all to hear.

Matthew 10:28-31 Do not Fear Martyrdom

If we should ever have to pay the ultimate price for our faith, Jesus encourages us in Matthew 10:28-31, “do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.” Some people hate Christians. Jesus reassured his first students that even murderous persecutors could not touch their souls. So, where is God when Christians are persecuted and murdered? Jesus comforted us by saying, “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

Matthew 10:32-33 Openly Confess Christ

In Matthew 10:32-33 Jesus encourages us that, “whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.” Fear robs us of life’s fullness. Bullies are basically cowards. Often times they will run from bold people who refuse to be terrorized. Even in the worst case scenario, where we are threatened with our lives for shouting Christ for all to hear, the most anyone can do is take our physical lives but not our eternity with God. Jesus wants us to acknowledge Him openly before others. Let’s not be the Christian who hides their faith. Let’s openly admit our faith in Christ before others.

Matthew 10:34-37 Family Opposition

Jesus explained that faith sometimes divides families. He warned his first students in Matthew 10:34-37 that they would have enemies right within their own families. Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.” Family opposition is part of the journey. It was in faith that God allowed our first parents to choose an opposing way of life, and it is in faith that we allow dearly beloved family members to choose a way of life that conflicts with everything we stand for. If we follow Jesus, family conflict with those who do not is inevitable.

Matthew 10:38-39 The Cost of Discipleship

Is Matthew 10:38-39 too strong for us? Sugar-coated sermons are for baby Christians. Jesus said, he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.” We are at war against corruption and greed. Are we willing to be different, giving instead of taking, dying to selfishness, admitting that we cannot solve even our own problems, that only God can save us? Are we willing to sacrifice for others or are we too selfish to make a better world? Do we believe what Jesus said, He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it?”

Romans 12:17-21 Repay No Evil

How ought we react to hatred? Romans 12:17-21 says, “Repay no one evil for evil.” How are we to live among those who hate us? “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” What about revenge? “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves.” We are to give place for the wrath of God. Vengeance is not ours, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. What do we do with enemies? Proverbs 25:21-22 says, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink… heap coals of fire on his head.” We are to “overcome evil with good.”


Are we men and women of God or mice? Do we stand for what is right or do we let the world push us around and tell us to be quiet about our faith? Jesus wants us not to fear, to speak, to shout from the housetops, confess Him, love Him first and give our lives to Him.

Scriptures & References


Sheep & Harvesting


What do tending sheep and harvesting crops have to do with church?


Let’s look at some farm lessons that apply directly to the local church.


Let’s look at two agricultural metaphors for the church’s work in Matthew 9:35-10:8.

Matthew 9:35-36 Shepherdless Sheep

In Matthew 9:35-36 Jesus saw a crowd and was “moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.” One common word for a church leader is pastor, meaning a shepherd. In Old Testament Israel, the ideal national leader was pictured as a shepherd who feeds and cares for his sheep. When shepherds do not feed and care for the sheep, they become ἐσκυλμένοι καὶ ἐρριμμένοι (Nestle Greek), “harassed and helpless” (NIV), “distressed and dispirited” (NASB), “weary and scattered” (NKJV). Jesus saw people burdened by their shepherds with vain traditions and doctrines, weighed down in ignorance, neglected and scattered abroad without care and attention.

Matthew 9:37-38 Bountiful Harvest

In Matthew 9:37-38 Jesus used a familiar metaphor for the Great Commission of a harvest, using that now famous line, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” A bumper crop and a scarcity of field workers is familiar to farmers. Jesus encourages us to pray the Lord would “send out laborers into His harvest.” The sense is rather forceful in this context, meaning “to drive out” workers into the fields, or to “thrust out, force them out, as from urgent necessity.”1 Jesus calls us to a compelling mission. Perhaps one of the major problems of the Church is that we don’t see this as so important.
1Vincent's Word Studies. Marvin Richardson Vincent. 1886

Matthew 10:1-4 Twelve Disciples

Why were there 12 disciples? Does it remind us of the 12 Patriarchs of the 12 tribes of Israel and the 12 gates through which we may enter New Jerusalem in Revelation 21. He called them apostles. Apostle means an envoy or “one who is sent.” In Matthew 10:1-4, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease.” By doing so, Jesus gave them a little of the power that He revealed during His earthly ministry. As the 12 Patriarchs were the Fathers of Israel, so these men were to be the Fathers of the Church.

Matthew 10:5-8 Mission Trip

Unlike the Great Commission, the disciples’ short-term missionary trip in Matthew 10:5-8 was only “to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” We read in Romans 1:16, “the Jew first and also for the Greek.” Some commentators suggest, they were not yet spiritually mature enough to look beyond their national borders. How were “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” lost? Were they not being led “in the paths of righteousness” (Psalm 23)? Was it because “Their [national and religious] shepherds have led them astray” (Jeremiah 50:6)? Had they “gone astray like a lost sheep” (Psalm 119:176)? Have our modern day shepherds been misleading us?

Who is Lost?

Who is lost in our community? Just look around. Who does not go to church? Who has an unkempt lawn and no friends? Who has loads of money but no true friends? Who is an addict? Who is depressed and suicidal? Who is a foreigner far from home and feeling abandoned and unwanted? Who believes that life is all about the materialistic gods of this world? Who has ruined their lives and their family because of sexual immorality? Who drives through town like they have murder on their hearts? Who is deceived into thinking that theft is an appropriate way to live? The lost are everywhere and they are our assignment.

Revelation 14:14-20 Final Harvest

In Revelation 14:14-20 “the Son of Man” is ready for harvest. In verse 16 we read He, “thrust in His sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped.” Then a heavenly angel prepares for the grape harvest. He “threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.” Grape juice was called the blood of the grape and the terrible bloodshed may picture the final battle between good and evil, pictured by Armageddon, the Valley of Megiddo (Revelation 16:12-16; Joel 3:13). The Parable of the Wheat and Tares (Matthew 13:36-43) shows the righteous and unrighteous growing together until harvest. May we be among the righteous!
Urgent tasks in the church are still to care for and seek lost sheep and be enthusiastic workers in bringing into the kingdom of our dear Lord the harvest of lost souls. Let’s not be lazy Christians, but care for and seek out the lost in or communities.



Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Vincent's Word Studies. Marvin Richardson Vincent. 1886

Into all the World


Among the notable sayings of Jesus are the Great Commandments and the Great Commission.


Let’s look at the Great Commission that Jesus gave to His Church.


Let’s explore this in Matthew 28:16-20.

Matthew 28:19 Go

In Matthew 28:19 the first verb in the Great Commission is to go. This is not the Great Suggestion, but a commission. It would be easier just to stay at home and not go. It would be more convenient not to make that phone call or be involved in a difficult world, but we are not given that option. Our job is the saving of souls. Every Christian has this same commission, to go, make disciples of all nations, baptize them, and teach them all that we have learned from Christ.  These four specific verbs to go, make, baptize and teach are the responsibility of every Christian, not just pastors.

Matthew 28:19 Make

In Matthew 28:19 the disciples were told to “make.” Christianity is not an insular religion, but one of action and we are commissioned to “make disciples of all nations.” Disciples are pupils, scholars, trained, instructed. The word nations means more than national boundaries alone would imply. It includes the idea of different races and peoples of different customs. By use of the word all, it means that nobody is left out. We may not have opportunity to personally cross cultural lines with the Gospel, but we can pray for those who do. In a world that needs the Gospel, God challenges us to a level of thought beyond worldly nationalism.

Matthew 28:19 Baptize Who

In Matthew 28:19 we learn that Jesus expected His disciples to make disciples and be “baptizing them.” Discipleship includes baptism. Baptism does not finish instruction. It begins it. On three separate occasions in the New Testament whole households were baptized (1 Corinthians 1:16; Acts 11:13-14; Acts 16:15, 31, 33). Logic would dictate that at least one of those households contained children. As a child was circumcised in the Old Testament so may they be baptized in the New Testament (Colossians 2:11-12). As entire families of ancient Israel were baptized into Moses in the Red Sea, so children may be baptized today (1 Corinthians 10:1-4).

Matthew 28:19 Baptize How

Does baptism mean only immersion? In the Bible it can mean wash (Mark 7:4; Luke 11:38; Acts 22:16), Israel passing through the Red Sea (1 Corinthians 10:1-4), and Jesus’ suffering and crucifixion (Mark 10:38). When Jesus and the Ethiopian eunuch were baptized, they came up out of, or up away from the water. That could be ankle-deep water and coming up a bank. This does not prove immersion (Matthew 3:16, Mark 1:10 & Acts 8:38-39). Was the baptism of fire pictured in tongues of fire on the head (Acts 2)? The mode is not as important as the act of baptism (Acts 2:38).

Matthew 28:19 The Trinity in 60 Seconds

God is one. Matthew 28:19 says that Father, Son and Holy Spirit have one “name.” Jesus prayed to the Father. God is not three Gods but one, indivisible and yet three persons. Jesus calls God’s angels His, judges the world, is the resurrection, the life, is the Word which was God, and is Lord meaning God in the Old Testament. The Holy Spirit is a person. He makes decisions, teaches, guides, makes the things of Jesus known, convicts the world of sin, can be grieved, blasphemed, possesses a rational mind, can be lied to, resisted and we can have fellowship with Him. God is three and one — a mystery.

Matthew 28:20 Teach What

In Matthew 28:20 Jesus gave His disciples the educational curriculum that He expected them to teach. True Christians have always followed this advice down through the ages. Jesus said they should be, “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.” Some try to extend this to the Old Testament and church traditions. Those things have some relevance, but the main thing is the main thing. Jesus specifically said that I have taught YOU. All healthy mainstream churches preach the whole Bible, but their focus is on the Gospels, where most of Jesus’ teachings are located. Healthy preaching covers the Bible and includes a Gospel lesson every week.

Matthew 28:20 What Unites Christians

Is there common ground that unites all Christians worldwide? The logia, the sayings of Christ are the thing upon which Christians agree. Christians are divided over many lesser issues, doctrines and human traditions. Yet, Jesus commanded that his disciples teach what? He charged them with teaching what he taught them. That is what unites us. Whether we are Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant, we believe in what Christ taught. So, Jesus seems to be teaching us a priority in the Bible, the words He taught those disciples. When we focus on what Jesus taught, other issues seem to fade into the background. We actually find common ground that wonderfully unites us all.


There are four verbs in this passage: to go, make, baptize and teach. This is a commission given to every Christian. It overrides all our traditions, all our reasoning around it and all our experiences which contradict it. If we want our church to grow, we will be about our Father’s business. We don’t do it alone. Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus is with us forever.



Rivers of Living Water


How should we live in the world? Are we to live stagnant, isolated lives?


Let’s understand how Christians live like rivers of flowing water.


We will examine John 7:37-39 and Jesus’ instructions on being rivers of living waters.

John 7:37 If Anyone Thirsts

In John 7:37 Jesus said, “If anyone thirsts...” The benefits of water far outweigh artificial and addictive sugar-laden drinks. The benefits of true religion far outweigh counterfeits. According to WebMD, water keeps us slimmer, boosts energy and lowers stress due to dehydration, builds muscle tone and prevents cramps, reduces wrinkles from the inside, aids regularity and reduces kidney stones. It truly satisfies. In a parched land, thirst was well-known. God promised Israel living water (Proverbs 18:4; Isaiah 58:11), like water for a thirsty land (Isaiah 44:3), water without price (Isaiah 55:1), a powerful symbol of life. As water truly satisfies physically, belief in Jesus satisfies forever.

John 7:37 Come to Me and Drink

In John 7:37 Jesus stood on the last day of the Festival of Tabernacles and announced, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.” The Feast of Tabernacles, is an autumn festival (Leviticus 23:33-36) commemorated since the Exodus with small booths made from leafy boughs. In Jesus’ day the High Priest went from the Temple to the Pool of Siloam and filled a container with water. He re-entered the Temple through the Water Gate. Along with a wine offering, he poured the water onto the base of the altar. The water symbolized the Holy Spirit poured out upon people as it flowed down the Temple steps into the outer courts.

John 7:38 Rivers of Living Water

In John 7:38 Jesus said, He who believes in Me... out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” A rule of desert survival is not to drink stagnant water, but to look for a source of running water, sometimes called “living water.” To drink from the living water that Jesus gives, only requires belief in Jesus. The Holy Spirit flows from God to us and and we are satisfied. Christianity is not a selfish religion practiced in isolation from others. What we have received from God ought not to stay within us, but should flow out of us like living water, rather than staying still and becoming stagnant.

John 7:38 Living Water in the OT

Jesus’ words that “out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” comes from the Old Testament. Psalm 1 says that those who delight in God’s law are like trees planted by rivers of water. Ezekiel 47:1-12 describes water flowing from the altar in the Temple in Jerusalem and making the desert to the south productive. The Apostles often used allegorical interpretations of the Old Testament. Allegory helps us understand the Holy Spirit flowing from heavenly Jerusalem into and out of Christians as a blessing to others around them. Does the Holy Spirit flow from us to others? Do we love our neighbors and thereby quench their spiritual thirst?

John 7:39 The Holy Spirit Flows

When Jesus said that out of our hearts would flow living water, John 7:39 says, this He spoke concerning the Spirit.” As the Holy Spirit flows like rivers of living water from within, a very important spiritual gift is evident. The Holy Spirit gives many gifts to believers, and first in 1 Corinthians 12 is wisdom. Proverbs 18:4 speaks of the mouth being deep waters and a very important gift of the Holy Spirit is emphasized, The wellspring of wisdom is a flowing brook.” It is in wisdom that the Gospel must be preached and in wisdom that Christians will gently lead their non-Christian neighbors to salvation in the Lord.


The Holy Spirit is like rivers of living water, meant to flow into us from heaven and out to the world. We are not to live aloof from the world. We are to live in the world but not be of the world. Let’s live like flowing streams in a spiritual desert, filled with life and bringing life to all around us through the Holy Spirit.