I Have Not Come to Bring Peace, but the Sword

Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash

The first thing this morning I got up and prayed that the Lord would speak to me regarding the struggle I have been having as I watch the upheaval in the American government. I know I’m not alone. It seems that all over the internet on Christian sites, people both liberal and conservative are writing and preaching about how their side is “God’s side.” If we have eyes to see, this should show us how much the flesh is still in control of our hearts. Dear saints, our only salvation and hope is in the deep working of the cross within each one of us. Jesus prophesied of these times we are in that are splitting governments, churches and yes, even families.

Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Matt 10:34-39, ESV2011)

This has been quite literal for many of us, sons against fathers, daughters against mothers, daughters-in-law against mothers-in-law. Even our worst enemies being of our own households? Why is this so? Is it because of ethnic or political divisions or is it something much deeper? Have you ever considered that the deeper Christ calls us into HIS kingdom and out of this world by the work of His cross in us, it would put an ever increasing barrier between us and those we love who aren’t there yet?

Many of us just want to live in peace with our families and neighbors. But if that peace is a result of being of the same worldly or even religious mindset, is it the peace that God gives or something so shallow that the slightest assault of the enemy can blow it all apart? Jesus said:

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27, ESV2011)

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, ESV2011)

Yes, in this world we will have tribulation, so we must quit looking to the world and what its leaders can and are doing. It is all of the kosmos, the world system controlled by Satan that is against Christ and wants to displace Him from being our Lord of all. So where will we find that peace? It is only to be found IN Him. As we abide IN Him, we also overcome the world and all its upheaval. The in-working of the cross is our doorway to heavenly peace as it separates us from the world. Once again T. Austin Sparks wrote something that cleared the air for me and I want to share it.

As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died. (Galatians 6:14 NLT)

A truly crucified people are never in danger of the world. It is only when the Cross has not done its work that the world has a place. The world has no place with a crucified man or woman, or a crucified company of believers. The Cross is a great defensive against the world. If you want to keep the world out, put the Cross in its place. If the Cross is truly in its place in fullness, then everything else will come into order. The Cross is the great defensive against the world. The Cross is the great defensive against evil powers. The Cross makes everything safe; it makes everything safe for the Lord.

You see, the Lord wants to commit Himself. He wants to trust Himself to His people, but if the Cross is not there at work, the Lord cannot trust Himself to them. The Lord says, “It is not safe for Me to give Myself there, or I should be involved in their un-crucified condition.” The Cross makes everything safe for the Lord, and the Cross makes everything safe for the Church. If the Cross is really at work in all of us, we can trust one another. It is quite safe to trust yourself to a crucified man or woman. [1]

Another thing happens as we yield to the cross of Christ working in our lives. The deeper it goes, the more unpopular we become with worldly Christians. As Sparks wrote, “It is only when the Cross has not done its work that the world has a place.” Or as Paul wrote, “Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died.” The closer Jesus got to taking up His cross and laying down His life in obedience to the will of His Father, the thinner the crowds that followed Him. He went from being followed by thousands of people singing His praises as their Messiah (who they thought would deliver them from the Romans) down to the twelve disciples, and one of them betrayed Him while the others ran away in total disillusionment.

Sparks wrote, “You see, the Lord wants to commit Himself. He wants to trust Himself to His people, but if the Cross is not there at work, the Lord cannot trust Himself to them.” We read of Jesus dealing with this very thing in the Gospel of John. “But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.” (John 2:24-25, KJ2000). Oh, what is in man! Today we hear all around us of men testifying of men, Trump this and Biden that! Yes, Jesus wants to commit Himself to us and trust us, but that can only be done as much as the cross has done its soul killing work in us. Our soulish political and familial desires keep Him from revealing to us the deep things of His Father’s kingdom and they keep us from walking in the light as He is in the light. Dear saints, may we all learn to embrace the working of His cross in our daily lives and look to Him in all things instead of men as this world unravels.

And he [Saul] said, Who are you, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom you persecute: it is hard for you to kick against the goads. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what will you have me to do? … (Acts 9:5-6, KJ2000)

[1] http://www.austin-sparks.net/english/000434.html

19 comments on “I Have Not Come to Bring Peace, but the Sword

  1. Judi says:

    Thank you, Michael
    That Open Windows by TAS today really rocked me back to reality and wonderfully sets the Cross back in its central place. I went to the website and read the whole message and was glad to see you tying it together to current events 🙂
    Nothing new under the sun…

    Anyway, the scriptures you added to the OW verse are so helpful. I woke up at 4:30 am and needed to spend time in the quiet to hear what the Lord is saying regarding some choices I have before me. Your post is a great help.

    Yes, “the Cross makes everything safe for the Lord and…for the church”

    In the same message that you shared, TAS ended the meditation with these words:
    “ Now I close this morning by emphasizing that the Cross is not a doctrine to be taught. It is not a subject to be preached. Of course, it will be taught, and it will be preached. But in the first place, it is not a subject to be taught. It is not just a doctrine. The Cross is power. The Cross is an experience. The Cross is an event in our lives. The Cross is a crisis. The Cross is a revolution. The Cross is an earthquake. There was an earthquake when Jesus was crucified. If the Cross comes into our life, there will be an earthquake. Everything will be shaken, everything will be overturned. The Cross is an earthquake. It is something tremendous. The Cross is not just a theory, not just a doctrine: THE CROSS GOVERNS EVERYTHING. Well, that is our message about the centrality and universality of the Cross.

    The Lord grant that we shall all be crucified men and women. The assemblies to which we belong – may they be crucified assemblies. The Lord grant that His whole Church may see and view the meaning of the Cross.”
    AMEN!

    We have a kingdom which can not be shaken and a King Who can not die again and Who certainly can not be voted out of His office or His universe.

    We stand another day closer to seeing Him! Judi

    Liked by 4 people

    • Michael says:

      Thanks, Judi, for your reply and including what else TAS had to say about the cross in that it is not just a teaching or a sermon, but a cataclysmic event in our lives that changes everything for the better as it brings our old natural wills to naught. I am glad that this article was what you needed to hear as you sought what the Lord would have you do.

      Maranatha! Even so, Lord Jesus, come.

      Like

  2. Patricia Lelión says:

    Hermoso mensaje Michael, gracias por transmitirlo. Esta mañana al despertarme el Señor tenía esta palabra en mi corazón y al leer el devocional de Austin y tu enseñanza, esta palabra fue confirmada. Gloria a nuestro Dios.

    Un abrazo gigante.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Patricia wrote,

      Beautiful message Michael, thank you for passing it on. This morning when I woke up the Lord had this word in my heart and when I read Austin’s devotional and your teaching, this word was confirmed. Glory to our God.
      A giant hug.

      Patricia, It is good to hear from you and that God used me to confirm what He is saying to you. That is always a blessing to hear when that happens with one of His saints. May He keep you always under His mighty wings in His peace,
      Michael

      Like

  3. Fred Thoren says:

    I am probably more worldly than I should be. However, I have noticed a great division in my own family. My brothers and I have had major disagreements on many things and a few of those being biblical. This has resulted in both my brothers blocking me on Facebook. Although there was an odd thing that happened with that. One of them somehow got back on my friend’s list and I am unsure how but when he and his wife were mocking me and being very hypocritical I blocked them. I still love both very much but as God pointed out I need to wipe my feet of them both.

    Like

    • Michael says:

      Fred, it is good to hear from you again. All I feel led to say after reading your comment is that we need to be sure that it is the cross of Jesus that is dividing us from our families and not our own flesh and pride.

      Like

  4. That has been a very good read, Michael.

    During the last months I have experienced a lot of trouble with relatives and church Christians, so I know about this effect of Jesus’ sword that both divides or unites depending on the spirits that it meets. We cannot follow and obey Jesus Christ while submitting to those whom we love at the same time when the latter ask for our disobedience, right? 🙄 We won’t lie, we won’t cheat, and we won’t broaden our ‘narrow view’ as it is a narrow path we are on, always trying to be in step with Him who leads us. As for us, we should seek peace with everyone, yes, but never by leaving the law that has been written on our hearts behind.

    Indeed, we find everlasting peace only IN Christ by constantly abiding in Him as you said above, my brother. As God shows no partiality toward anyone, it is not ours to show partiality regarding any leader, either. God has no favorites as there is now neither Greek nor Jew, neither male nor female, neither American nor European, neither African nor Australian, that means, IN Christ all are ONE! T. Austin Sparks said,

    “It is a shame to see how many Christians despise other Christian ‘nationals’, especially if those others have come from a ‘heathen’ nation. It all amounts to whether the fundamental reality is there implanted, and then as to whether we trust the Holy Spirit in one another; or whether we are all the time trying to do the Holy Spirit’s work. It is wonderful how the Apostles cast their converts and their churches upon the Lord.

    Now it is this other, heavenly, Divine, Factor – “Christ in you” – one indivisible Person – who constitutes the Body. “Henceforth know we no man after the flesh”. Why? Because “one died for all, therefore all died in him”. We know quite well that the universality of Christ is a reality in every true child of God, for we instantly have something in common with such whatever their nationality, even if we have never met before. It is only when we get on to man’s side of things and leave the Lord that dividedness comes in.

    In all love, yet in all faithfulness we venture to say that no one who has really had a revelation of the Body of Christ could remain officially or spiritually on positive national, international, racial, denominational, or other ground, if that ground represents a division amongst the people of God. The only possible position for such is that of openness, fellowship, and ministry to “all saints”.”

    https://www.austin-sparks.net/english/books/004593.html

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Susanne, you wrote, “We cannot follow and obey Jesus Christ while submitting to those whom we love at the same time when the latter ask for our disobedience, right?”

      No, my sister, we can’t. Once when Jesus was teaching in a house that was filled to capacity someone came to Him and said, “Sir, your mother and brothers and sisters are outside wanting to see you.” Well, the “Christian thing” for Him to do was to show His mother and family honor and stop what the Father was doing through Him and go out to meet them. BUT that was not how Jesus thought or acted. He made it clear that Ho only did the works He saw His Father doing and our heavenly Father is of a higher authority than our parents and family if we truly are in HIS kingdom.

      As for partiality toward on nationality or another, one race or another, one politician or another, even one gender or another… This is not what Jesus came to instill in us, quite to the contrary. He came to tear down the dividing wall between Jew and Gentile, slave and free, male and female that there might be a new creation, ONE NEW MAN IN CHRIST.

      Thank you, dear sister, for this very timely reminder. ⭐ May the cross continue to work ever deeper in our hearts,

      Michael

      Liked by 3 people

  5. […] I Have Not Come to Bring Peace, but the Sword — A Wilderness Voice […]

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Scarlett says:

    I am now a full fledged member of the “crazy Christian mom club who’s son and daughter-in-law are embarrassed, offended, and no longer communicating for the last year”, and I’m not even a serious political animal on anyone’s bandwagon. I actually know little or nothing about politics. So, I guess your post entitles me to at least make a passing comment about why I am now “banned” from polite worldly society.
    My familial dilemma first began when I joined Face Book several years ago. My son soon told me a story that was supposed to keep me sitting down and shutting up, (it didn’t)….he said his wife, being the high powered exec that she was, who had the job of hiring and firing, had the recent opportunity to hire a fine, well qualified young woman for an important position, but unfortunately, when my DIL checked out her Face Book page, this young woman was making the -mistake- of posting Christian messages about her love for Jesus. So…my DIL was not able to hire her for that reason.
    So, apparently, what I was supposed to understand by that, is that I would make myself unpopular by posting anything about Jesus. However, it sort of backfired on my son, and in response I told him that back in the day….not so many years ago, employers were begging to hire honest, Christian employees with integrity,,,but boy, obviously, things have really changed!
    And…sad to say, Michael, as we know, they have, in the Christian world, in government, and in the world at large. Indeed Jesus knew what was in man, and if we’re smart, we will as well, and touch not the unclean thing. Just leave it alone……….Jesus will take care of it in His due time.
    For me, I will admit to still commenting on things that I think are wrong, on occasion, and I probably shouldn’t…knowing that it’s just the “world” and passing away, and my home isn’t here anyway.

    Shalom……….

    Liked by 3 people

  7. dimple says:

    Timely post, Michael. Just yesterday I was reflecting on the number of endings God has had me live through in my life. I had to admit to Him that I don’t like it. He is always in charge, and I know it, but my flesh doesn’t always like it. Then I read this post, and the insightful comments, and I see that He is working in me. I must submit to Him, always.

    Yes, dividing, revealing, separating, shaking.

    Joh_18:36a  Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight…

    Liked by 3 people

    • Michael says:

      Yes, my Idaho sister, I know what you mean. As we follow Christ He takes us through a deep “house cleaning” that seems to never end and we have to “end” many connections that we had with the world, for me politics was one of them. But the hardest one was the confusion I faced when I tried to follow Him and worldly church leadership at the same time. These man made systems were usurping my relationship with Him as well and it required more “ending” if I was to go on. Like it says in Hebrews,

      “…let us go on unto maturity; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.” (Heb 6:1-2, KJ2000)

      I am praying that He shows us more each day those things that must be left behind if we are to continue to “go on” with Him.

      Thanks for sharing your heart and walk with us,
      Michael.

      Liked by 3 people

  8. Dick says:

    Michael, just recently discovered your Blog and have read numerous articles. In short, they have provided a breath of fresh air, and ministry of hope, and a profound encouragement in my wilderness journey. For me certainly a Wilderness Voice. About 10 years ago I came out of the Institutional Church system, that mechanical ventilator that one plugs into each Sunday that does everything for you. It was a part of me for over 60 years. My reasons for leaving are very similar to the stories many others can attest to so I will not elaborate but now at 76 I see the carnage and lack of fruitfulness the years the locust has eaten. Not to blame the system for years of rebellion for my rap sheet is quite extensive. I like David and many others finally saw that my sins were against Him and Him only! This aspect, true repentance was the first lesson I learned in the wilderness, but the closeness of a relationship with Him escapes me. I can’t truly say I have an inward witness of His I dwelling Presence. So I’m “out of, but not into, “ if that makes any sense. I can say without reservation I am desperate for Him and Him alone but there remains a wall of brass. Many “mediators” say take the Spirit by faith others offer an extensive “to do” list which can be summarized as just try harder. Satan of course doesn’t miss this opportunity to have me question my salvation either because of my past, my poor efforts, or my age. I can say without reservations the wilderness is an actual place of extreme loneliness an vulnerability to the attacks of the enemy. I know the reality and experience of all these things except for the REALITY of His Presence. So, I finding hope through your Blog not as a mediator so much but as one who points to the only ONE who can help. Blessings

    Liked by 3 people

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