Who ya’ gonna fear, God or People?
(God’s upside down Good Life – Persecution?)

Mathew 10:16-42

SETTING: Last week everything was peaches and cream. Thus far, Jesus’ ministry had been successful
and very popular. People were amazed at what Jesus was doing: healing the sick, cleansing lepers, casting out demons,
and even raising the dead. His disciples might have thought that this kind of success would continue indefinitely. He sent
the disciples out But . . . But they also heard “the rest of the story” before they went. And this is “the rest of the story.”
Jesus did speak not just about that moment in time but about future generations right up to now.
SUBJECT: Living The Good Life, finding opportunity, in a hostile world. (Know the path/Walk the path/when trouble
comes/Trust the Path)
Persecution – Raise your hand if you’re excited to talk about persecution? NO. We feel it’s too challenging; it doesn’t
seem relevant for us. In America, we have a Christian heritage and freedom of religion. This section must be for Muslim
countries, or North Korea? BUT – persecution is like a virus – it comes in waves and moves around over time.
News Flash: Canadian legislation, which went into effect Jan. 8, 2022, after being fast-tracked through the Canadian
Parliament in December without extensive debate, describes as a "myth" the belief that heterosexuality and cisgender
identity are preferable. Counseling that does not align with such a worldview now carries a potential five-year jail
sentence. Critics claim the language of the bill is overly broad and could even encompass private conversations.

Our Opportunity

My soap box – We are living through a major transition: Christendom is defined as “a culture in which
Christianity is the officially endorsed religion of the state or in which Christian sentimentality (morals, values,
traditions, etc.) plays a major role in the shaping of that culture,”
We are in an increasingly Post-Christendom culture. This change brings new challenges, but also The Opportunity
to really be different – salt, light, a city on a hill – showing the world what it’s like to live in God’s Kingdom – How
to Live the Good Life!
Will it eventually be physical persecution? IDK. I hope it will just be a period of time where we can easily differentiate
what it means it be a Jesus follower, to live The Good Life.
What do you think? We’ll see. Does this scare you or excite you? Maybe both.

TABLE TALK: I realize this may new information to think about, but I have confidence in your ability to think quickly
about this. What excites you to think about living as a Christian in a changing culture where Christian values no longer
rule the day in society, morals, values, laws, etc.? A chance to really be different, “beautiful and believable” – to change
a family, a school, a city . . . . . What scares you? Laws!!!! Or government acting with no laws.

Wolves on the Prowl, Snakes and Doves

16 “Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves. 
1) Why are wolves dangerous? What does it mean to be shrewd (in a good way?) Why is it good to be harmless?
Wolves and predators and scavengers. Predator – An animal that naturally preys on others. Human – a person or group
that ruthlessly exploits others.
Shrewd – having sharp powers of judgment; astute. In a good way = “wills the good”
Harmless – not able or likely to cause harm. You are safe around them – but we judge by looks – Gordon.

Religious & Political Leaders

17 But beware! For you will be handed over to the courts and will be flogged with whips in the synagogues. 18 You will
stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell the rulers
and other unbelievers about me. 19 When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will
give you the right words at the right time. 20 For it is not you who will be speaking—it will be the Spirit of your Father
speaking through you. This is both for that day and the future, including now. Did you notice “in the synagogues?”
2) Where is this happening today? Rounding out the top 10, following North Korea and Afghanistan, are Somalia
(No. 3), Sudan (No. 4), Pakistan (No. 5), Eritrea (No. 6), Libya (No. 7), Iraq (No. 8), Yemen (No. 9), and Iran
(No. 10).
Encouragement: Matthew 5:10 God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is

Family & Society

21 “A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their
parents and cause them to be killed. 22 And all nations will hate you because you are my followers. But everyone who
endures to the end will be saved. 23 When you are persecuted in one town, flee to the next. I tell you the truth, the Son of
Man will return before you have reached all the towns of Israel.
3) Where is this happening today?
Every day, 8 Christians worldwide are killed because of their faith.
Every week, 182 churches or Christian buildings are attacked.
And every month, 309 Christians are imprisoned unjustly.
The listed nations comprise 260 million Christians suffering high to severe levels of persecution, up from 245 million in
last year’s list.
Another 50 million could be added from the 23 nations that fall just outside the top 50—such as Mexico, Chad, and the
Democratic Republic of the Congo—for a ratio of 1 in 8 Christians worldwide facing persecution.
Encouragement: Matthew 5:10 God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is


24 “Students  are not greater than their teacher, and slaves are not greater than their master. 25 Students are to be like their
teacher, and slaves are to be like their master. And since I, the master of the household, have been called the prince of
demons, the members of my household will be called by even worse names!
4) Have you endured slander? How hard was that?
Encouragement: Jesus was slandered, too.
Matthew 5:11 “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil
things against you because you are my followers. 12 Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in
heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.

Truth Wins

26 “But don’t be afraid of those who threaten you. For the time is coming when everything that is covered will be
revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. 27 What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when
daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ear, shout from the housetops for all to hear!
5) Have you been threatened by people saying false things about you? How hard was that?
Encouragement: Jesus was threatened, too, because of false truths.
Matthew 5:11 “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil
things against you because you are my followers.

God Wins

28 “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy
both soul and body in hell.  
6) Is this encouraging? Explain.
Encouragement, IF you truly believe you are safe in God’s Kingdom.

Isaiah 41:10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help
you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

God Values You!

29 What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your
Father knowing it. 30 And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to
God than a whole flock of sparrows.
7) What does this say about you and God?
His power to love you is greater than all of the evil in the world.
Psalms 139:14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full

Who ya’ gonna fear, God or People?

32 “Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33But
everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.
Psalms 27:1-2 The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

Getting Real: Do you love Jesus more than anything or anyone?

(get a reader)

34 “Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword. 35 ‘I have come to set
a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 Your enemies
will be right in your own household!’ 37 “If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of
being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. 38 If you refuse to take
up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. 39 If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you
give up your life for me, you will find it.
Jesus is quoting Micah. 6:6-8 How ist should be. Ch 7 How it is.
Tough words? This isn’t about getting “lined up” with God, being OK with God.
Perspective: It’s about being in a deep forever relationship with the most, trustworthy, most loving, the strongest, the
most patient, most famous �� person in the history of mankind, and before and into eternity.
When we look at what Jesus offers us that way, which is the right way to look at it, it makes total sense.

There Will Be Rewards!
(get a reader)

40 “Anyone who receives you receives me, and anyone who receives me receives the Father who sent me. 41 If you
receive a prophet as one who speaks for God, you will be given the same reward as a prophet. And if you receive
righteous people because of their righteousness, you will be given a reward like theirs. 42 And if you give even a cup of
cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded.”
This is “big picture” about how the world is and what can happen and what is happening, but it’s also about daily
decisions. Will I live in God’s Kingdom? It’s the best place to live (the Good Life.)
Know the Path/Walk the Path/when trouble comes/Trust the Path
Here’s how David talked about living the good life with all it’s threats and difficult circumstances. He doesn’t use the
words Kingdom of God, but he talks about it.
Psalms 27: Get readers POWERPOINT
1-3 4-6 7-12 13-14 Thomas


1 The LORD is my light and my salvation—
whom then shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When the wicked advance against me

to devour me,
it is my enemies and my foes
who will stumble and fall.
3 Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then I will be confident.
4 One thing I ask from the LORD,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple.
5 For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling,
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
and set me high upon a rock.
6 Then my head will be exalted
above the enemies who surround me.
At his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy.
I will sing and make music to the LORD.
7 Hear my voice when I call, LORD,
be merciful to me and answer me.

8 My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”
Your face, LORD, I will seek.
9 Do not hide your face from me,
do not turn your servant away in anger,
you have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me,
God my Savior.

10 Though my father and mother forsake me,
the LORD will receive me.
11 Teach me your way, LORD,
lead me in a straight path
because of my oppressors.
12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
for false witnesses rise up against me,
spouting malicious accusations.
13 I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.