LISTEN: How to Face Constant Conflict as a Christian (Part 1) (Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message with Daniel Whyte III)

Daniel Whyte III
Daniel Whyte III

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Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message #165

TEXT: Matthew 10:16: “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”

On the last Sunday before the beginning of Easter week, you might recall that we finished a series of messages titled, “Are You a True Disciple?” In that series, we looked at Luke 14, and asked ourselves if we are willing to become true disciples of Jesus Christ. We saw some hindrances that those who set out to be true disciples will face — namely the pull of the crowd, the pull of family ties, and the pull of self. We also looked at what it means to take up our cross and follow Jesus Christ.

Today, we are beginning a new series that continues the theme of what it means to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ. And one of the things that a true disciple will experience is conflict. Yes, as a Christian, you will have conflict, difficulty, tension, and misunderstanding as you attempt to serve the Lord. If you thought that Christianity was a bed of roses, I’m sorry to disappoint you. In Matthew 10:16-42, which we will be studying throughout this series, Jesus Christ makes it clear to His disciples that they will have trouble. G.K. Chesterton famously said, “Jesus promised his disciples three things—that they would be completely fearless, absurdly happy, and in constant trouble.”

In Matthew 10, Jesus Christ is commissioning His twelve disciples. He is sending them on a missionary journey to proclaim the coming of the kingdom of God to the Jewish people of Palestine. They have been with Him for a while, and watched Him preach, now it is time for them to step out on their own and preach themselves. As they prepare to do this, Jesus gives them (and us) a head’s-up on what they will face. He tells them that they will face conflict, and He tells them how to deal with conflict — how to live in the midst of it. Today, we are looking at His words, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves…”

Jesus says you and I are sheep in the midst of wolves. Now, most of us would not like to be compared to sheep. Sheep are not the most intelligent of animals: their eyesight is bad; their hearing is bad; if they fall down on their backs, they can’t get up; they are followers; they have a tendency to wander off and get lost; and they have no natural defense mechanisms like claws, sharp teeth, horns, camouflage, or poison, thus making them easy prey. Yet, God in His wisdom, chose to use young sheep — lambs — as a symbol of salvation, forgiveness, and atonement in both the Old and New Testament. When John saw Jesus coming to be baptized, he did not say, “Behold, the lion of God” referring to the king of beasts, or “Behold, the eagle of God” referring to the king of birds, or “Behold, the stallion of God” referring to a strong, fast, beautiful creature. No! He said, “Behold, the lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.” And, here, Jesus compares us to sheep. So, what does it mean to be sheep in the midst of wolves?

Being a sheep in the midst of wolves means being calm despite the conflict.

Jesus said, “I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves.” We must always remember that it is Jesus who does the sending. He has called us and appointed us to be His ambassadors in the world. Charles Spurgeon said, “It would be foolhardy to go if Jesus did not say, ‘I send you.’ When Jesus sends forth sheep, they may go fearlessly into the very ‘midst of wolves.’”

When a government sends troops into hostile territory, the military will set up supply lines by which to take care of the needs of the troops. The troops are in the midst of conflict, yet they can remain calm because they know that the people who sent them into the conflict are backing them up with food, supplies, and medical expertise.

When we look at the trial of Jesus Christ, we see a perfect example of someone who is calm despite the conflict raging around Him. The Jewish religious leaders spit on Him, beat Him, and threw false accusations at Him. The Roman soldiers stripped Him, whipped Him, and pressed a crown of thorns on His head. People passed by the cross mocking Him and criticizing Him. Yet, the Bible tells us that Jesus never lashed out verbally or physically. He was calm throughout the whole ordeal.

How do you respond to conflict? Do you become frantic and hysterical? Do you become depressed and negative? Do you forget that God is in control?

When we are faced with conflict — and we will be, because Jesus said, “In this world, ye shall have tribulation” — the response of the Christian should be peace in the midst of the storm. If false accusations are brought against you, don’t respond negatively. Understand that Jesus warned you such things would happen. There are wolves in the world who hate Jesus, who hate the Gospel, and who will do anything they can to hinder the Gospel and make life difficult for believers.

Someone once said, “Safety consists not in the absence of danger but in the presence of God.” Instead of focusing on the conflict that you face because of your faith, focus on God who is above the storm that you are facing. God is always peaceful. Nothing ruffles God’s feathers. Nothing gets under His skin. Nothing surprises God. You can always find peace in Him.

Being a sheep in the midst of wolves means being calm despite the conflict.

MUSICAL SELECTION: “Awesome” by Charles Jenkins and Fellowship Chicago and “Nobody Greater” by Vashawn Mitchell

Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in twenty-three foreign countries. He is the author of thirty-four books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts, The Prayer Motivator Devotional and the Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report and the Second Coming Watch Update. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, and a Master’s degree in Religion from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for twenty-five years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.

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