Division and conflict?
Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus
Welcome and thank you for joining us this day in our worship of, and dedication to, the Lord.
Today we face one of Jesus’s stronger instructions to His followers (that includes us). He said to his disciples: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three.
The question for us is how do we deal with this? How does this make sense for us who work very hard to walk Jesus’ gospel path?
We could start by reading Jesus’ message backward. He says there will be division and conflict, so let’s be all about that. Let’s foment division and conflict especially by being self-righteous and judgy. See someone, especially a family member, doing something inconsistent with Jesus’ teaching – let them know all about it, how wrong they are, and in the process send both them and us to hell.
No, that makes no sense. Factually that is inconsistent with Jesus’ gospel way just as much as any other sin is.
Perhaps we should start by just accepting every sin, or at least looking the other way. Well, it doesn’t really matter, does it? Everyone is free to just be themselves. Live and let live. Anyway, I don’t want anyone to dislike me.
No, that makes no sense. Factually that is also inconsistent with Jesus’ gospel way just as much as any other sin is. It is just another kind of division and conflict.
Jesus does not want us to be indifferent or generators of conflict. The lesson from Jeremiah and from Jesus is that our agreement with God’s truth may cause us to suffer. We need to accept that fact and be willing to offer ourselves if called upon to do so.
The writer to the Hebrews gives us the solution – the key to how we are to live the gospel life.
We are to look to the great cloud of witnesses, both those like today’s martyrs in the Middle East and Africa, particularly right now in Nigeria, as well as those who came before us. Model their lives and their all for Christ.
We are to set aside sin, freeing ourselves therefrom with the help and guidance of the Church.
Willingness to witness and walking away from sin we are to be people who persevere, look constantly to Jesus, and live out His gospel way, unashamed, uncompromising, and resolute recalling He sees all we do.