What Keeps People from Submitting to Jesus Christ? (Part 2)

6. Love of family - some people love their spouse, parents, or children more than God and can't bear the thought of hurting or angering them by submitting to Christ. A. The first and greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength (Mat 22:36-38). B. Family must take a backseat to God. i. Jesus didn't come to bring peace between families, but division (Mat 10:34-36). ii. Jesus said that he that loves his father or mother, or son or daughter more than Him is not worthy of Him (Mat 10:37). iii. Not only are we not to love family more than Jesus, we are supposed to hate anything in them or ourselves which comes between us and Jesus (Luk 14:26-27). a. Some say that "hate" just means that we are supposed to love Jesus more than family and our love for our family in comparison to our love for Christ would appear to be hate. b. Hate v. - 1. trans. To hold in very strong dislike; to detest; to bear malice to. The opposite of to love. c. Hate is not a lesser degree of love, but rather the opposite of it. d. However it is that we are supposed to hate our family must be reconciled with the following verses which say we are supposed to love them (Mat 19:19; Eph 5:25; Tit 2:4; 1Pe 1:22). e. So how are we to hate our family members? 1) Since hate is the opposite of love, if we find out from the scripture how to love, we will know how to hate. 2) Loving God is keeping His commandments (Joh 14:15,21; 1Jo 5:2-3). 3) Not keeping Jesus' commandments is not loving Him, which is hating Him (Joh 14:24; Luk 19:14). 4) So how do we hate our families? 5) When our parents, husbands, wives, children, brothers or sisters demand things of us that are contrary to God's commandments, either requiring us to do something that God has forbidden, or to not do something that God has required, we must disobey them and not keep their commandments in order to keep God's, which is to not love them and hate them by definition. 6) We ought to obey God rather than men (Act 5:29). 7) This doesn't mean that we are supposed to hate them utterly or entirely, but we must hate that particular part of them that is contrary to Jesus Christ and His word, just like we must hate that same part of ourselves. 8) We are to hate every false way (Psa 119:128) and hate evil (Psa 97:10; Pro 8:13). iv. Consider the following examples of people who loved God more than family: a. Abraham left his family and his homeland at God's command to follow Him (Gen 12:1-4). b. The tribe of Levi was blessed for standing with the LORD instead of family (Deu 33:8-9 c/w Exo 32:25-28). c. Israel was to kill anyone, even their closest family members or friends which enticed them to serve other gods (Deu 13:6-11). d. Gideon destroyed his father's alter of Baal, choosing God over family (Jdg 6:25-27). 1) Gideon's father, Joash, on the other hand chose his son over his god when push came to shove (Jdg 6:28-31). 2) God chided Eli for honoring his sons before God (1Sa 2:29). 3) Blood often runs thicker than water. e. King Asa removed his mother, Maachah from being queen and destroyed her idol (1Ki 15:11-13). f. James and John left their father and their job to follow Jesus (Mar 1:16-20). C. There is a great reward for people who forsake family, houses, and lands for Jesus, the kingdom of God, and the gospel (Mat 19:27,29; Luk 18:28-30; Mar 10:28-30). i. God blesses those who leave their family to follow him and be joined to His people (Rut 1:15-17 c/w Rut 2:10-12). ii. God sets the solitary in families (Psa 68:5-6; Psa 27:10). 7. Fear of ostracization - some people fear being ostracized by family, friends, acquaintances, or coworkers for their faith or church. A. Followers of Christ are persecuted by Christ's enemies. B. This persecution includes: i. Speaking evil of them (1Pe 4:3-4). ii. Reproaching them (1Pe 4:12-14). a. Reproach v. - 1. a. trans. To object or cast up (a thing) to, or bring (up) against, a person as a reproach or fault. b. Reproach n. - 1. A source or cause of disgrace or shame (to a person, etc.); a fact, matter, feature or quality bringing disgrace or discredit upon one. iii. Persecuting and reviling them (Mat 5:10-12). iv. Hating them and excluding them from the company of others (Luk 6:22-23; Act 13:50). v. Beating them (Mat 10:16-17; Act 5:40-41). vi. Putting them in prison (Heb 11:36; Act 12:3-5). vii. Torturing them (Heb 11:37). viii. Killing them (Mat 10:21-22; Joh 16:2; Act 7:54-60; Act 12:1-2). C. There is no shame in suffering as a Christian (1Pe 4:16) - it is rather a blessing (Mat 5:10-12). D. Because of the fear of ostracization or persecution, some people will not confess and commit to following Christ (Joh 12:42-43). i. They fear going against the opinions of the religious leaders of the day (Joh 7:13). ii. They fear being labeled as a heretic and being separated from (Joh 9:22). iii. They fear being made a gazingstock by becoming companions with other Christians (Heb 10:32-33). E. There are many people who are content to believe in Christ (Act 26:27 c/w Act 26:22-23), but they are not willing to publicly commit to Him and become a Christian (Act 26:28).
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