Matthew 10:37-39 (NAS)

“He who loves his father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me;  and he who loves his son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.   And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.   He who has found his life shall lose it, and he who lost his life for My sake shall find it.”

This is a nerve wrecking statement from the Lord Jesus Christ.   Anyone that hears these statements will be shocked. But this is another paradox that needs sound explanation with warning because many cultic religious leaders will use these verse to manipulate people.   They brain wash their subjects to become fanatics who will most likely cause to end many lives just to follow these false leaders.

If you encounter any leader, whether religious, secular or political, who demands absolute loyalty to follow him, like literally leaving your loved ones behind, leave as fast as you can from him and stay away from that man whoever he is.   Have nothing to do with that leader because that person is a false teacher.   That person is a false leader.   Denounce that man whoever he is.   He will just make a sucker out of you. Even if that leader performs miracles in your midst.

No one can demand absolute loyalty but God alone and if Jesus is not God, then He will not utter such shocking statements.   There are a lot of cultic religious leaders that uses the name of Jesus but say that Jesus is only a man and not God yet they demand absolute loyalty from people.   People get sucked in to their doctrines because most people don’t read the Bible thoroughly, even Christians.

Jesus here is talking about the condition of our hearts.   If we really love Jesus more than we love ourselves or more than we love anything else in this world then everything will fall into its right place in an orderly manner if we give our heart totally to Christ.

The Lord even commanded us to love our enemies, how much more to our immediate family? The Bible says that if you are a Christian and you do not provide or take care of your own family,  you have denied the faith and you are worst than an unbeliever or an infidel. (1st Timothy 5:8)   So Jesus’ statements in Matthew 10:37-39  should never be interpreted literally.   Jesus was talking about the condition of our hearts.

If we really love Jesus Christ with all our hearts loving Him more than anything or anyone in this world then the Divine love that comes from God through the Holy Spirit will overflow in our hearts.   That’s the only time that we can love even the unlovable.

Romans 5:5  “Because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

1 Corinthians 16:22, "If anyone does not love the Lord--a curse be on him." Only truly loving Jesus were we can produce divine love that required in 1 Corinthians 13:4 to 7. How do we love Jesus? John 14:15, "If you love me, you will obey what I command." Luke 6:46,  "Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?"

Only the Lord Jesus Christ can demand absolute and total loyalty and love from us without any competition because He is God.   No one in the whole Bible uttered such strong statements, only Jesus.

When Jesus said,  “You will know them by their fruits”  in Matthew 7:16/20,  He was pointing out to those self-righteous religious leaders.   If we have been a Christian for a long time or have even been involved in the church ministry, even if we have been teaching the Bible,  if there is no love that overflows in our hearts then we should question ourselves.

Do we feel compassion toward to our family in time of their hurts and need?   Or there's no love at all in our heart? In that case, how can you love your enemies when you cannot even love your own family?

Man by nature does not have the capability to give unconditional love towards others because man by nature is evil as the Bible says.   And when man becomes Christian, living for Christ is not that easy.   We have our own cross to bear when we follow Jesus.   Our cross is not other people.   Each one of us has his/her own cross. Greed, selfishness, envy, jealousy, hatred, bad attitudes, fleshly desires, etcetera, etcetera are still in us which we cannot get rid of through our own power. But all these work of the flesh in us will only be replaced by Divine love if we allow God’s love to overflow in our hearts.   It will only overflow if we give our heart to Jesus.

This is how to test ourselves:   if there is no Divine love and compassion that overflow in our hearts toward others especially to our own family then for sure, we don’t truly love the Lord Jesus.   Jesus cannot contradict Himself because He is God. On the other hand, it is futile to love our loved ones more than our love for God because that kind of love will not last.   It is just human love.   But if we love God first and above all, then Divine love through His grace will manifest in our life.

The religious leaders in Jesus’ time were self-righteous, rigid, and legalistic people who claim to be righteous but the hatred in their hearts can be clearly seen.   When Jesus said, “By their fruits you shall know them,”  What He was emphasizing was the fruit of the Holy Spirit, which is the Divine love from God that man cannot produce but only God can give through the Holy Spirit.

In the same way if we Christians still harbor hatred in our hearts towards other people, we are no different from those religious Sadducees and Pharisees whom the Lord pointed out, even if we don’t miss Sunday services and are actively involved in church ministry.

“He who has found his life shall lose it, and he who lost his life for My sake shall find it.”   There are lots of people who have wealth and fame.  Their focus is only in this world.  There is nothing wrong in working for money in an honest way to make a living.  And if you become a millionaire, there is nothing wrong with that too.  What is wrong is that, if our focus is only in this world and in this life, and not in loving the Lord, then we are not worthy to Jesus.  On the contrary, even if we lose everything we own in this world for the sake of Jesus, still we find life in Him. We are the real winners.

Even if we lose our lives for His sake, we still shall find it in Christ.

Sermon by:  Bobby Cabonce




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