God Before Family?

Living Out Our Faith In Jesus Means Making Jesus Supreme In Our Lives.

Dan Franklin
Nov 14, 2021    38m
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What could possibly be wrong with the statement, “Family comes first?” Even if it is not technically in the Bible, it seems to many that only good could come from this belief. It will keep people from being workaholics, and it will remind us that at the end of our lives we won’t wish that we had spent more time at the office. It seems like a safe and clean statement. But the statement, on top of being unbiblical, poses some true threats to us living out our faith in Jesus. First of all, if we place family first, then we can use this to justify all the activities that keep us busy, as they distract us from serving Jesus and his church. Second of all, if we place family first, then we will have a hard time rejecting the values of our extended family if they choose to reject Jesus. Does this mean that Christians care nothing for family? Not at all. But as we look at Jesus’ words in Matthew 10 we get a sobering reminder of where family fits into our commitment to follow Jesus. Video recorded at Upland, California.

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Dan Franklin: [00:00:00] Hey, there. Thanks so much for checking out one of our messages here at Life Bible Fellowship Church. And we know there are two great ways you can connect with us. You can visit our website at LBF.church to learn more about all of our ministries and what we believe. And also, you can subscribe to us on YouTube to make sure that you don't miss one of our future videos.

Dan Franklin: [00:00:18] So we've been going through this series that we're calling strongholds, and strongholds have to do with ideas that get embedded into our lives, embedded into our culture, and become so second nature that we don't even question them, they're part of our grid for understanding reality. And the deal is with some of the strongholds that we've gone over, they're very, very common, they're strongly embedded in our culture. But within the church, within believers, they're probably not as strong, they're ones that we see through and we don't allow it to dictate our lives as much as these lies, or these misunderstandings are dictating our culture.

Dan Franklin: [00:00:55] But there are some of the strongholds that we're talking about in this series that are probably just as commonly held within the church as being held outside of the church. And the stronghold that we're going to be talking about today, I believe fits into that category. It's the stronghold, it's the idea that tells us family comes first. Now, right now, some of you are like, really, this is the one we need to talk about. Like with all the problems in the world, with all the divorce, and all the violence, and all the division, and drunkenness, and all of the addictions, and all of these different things, we need to somehow debunk the seemingly pretty harmless idea that family comes first.

Dan Franklin: [00:01:41] And what I want to say is we need to not only debunk this belief, Paul uses even stronger words in talking about what we do with strongholds, Second Corinthians chapter 10 verse 4 is the verse that we get this whole series from, and the title for this series. Here's what Paul says in Second Corinthians chapter 10 verse four, he says, "The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds." This morning, the goal is not just to debunk the idea that family comes first. Do you know what we're going to look to do? We're going to look to demolish this idea.

Dan Franklin: [00:02:23] And once again, this seems very strange to us. In fact, some of you might even think, well, the reason I started coming to church, the reason I started getting involved is because I wanted to have a better family, I wanted to have more harmony and more guidance into how to handle my family. And that's understandable, and if that's what got you here, praise God that you're involved because of that. But we need to take on this false idea that's wide in our culture, and is certainly alive within the Christian church, that family comes first. Now I'm going to give you a couple of reasons why we need to take on this stronghold.

Dan Franklin: [00:02:56] The first reason is real, real simple, if family comes first, that means family is supreme. Is family supreme? No, quick, easy church question, who is supreme? God is supreme, specifically, we believe that Jesus is supreme. If Jesus is supreme, family cannot be supreme. At Life Bible Fellowship Church we don't believe in white supremacy or black supremacy or male supremacy or female supremacy, we believe in Christ supremacy. Jesus is supreme, He is the Lord, He is at the center of all things. We believe that Jesus is the eternal son of God, that he took on flesh and was born of a virgin, that he lived a perfect, sinless life, revealing the heart of God to us, that he died sacrificially on the cross as a payment for our sins, and that he rose victorious from the grave in a final victory. We believe that he is coming back, that he will be the final Lord and the final King overall. We believe that Jesus is supreme. Can I get an amen? There should be nothing more significant than that. We are gathered as a church, not because we want good family values, but because we believe that Jesus is supreme. We believe that Jesus is the only name under heaven by which we can be saved. You're not saved because you have a good family, you're saved because you've placed your faith, your trust, in Jesus. Family is not supreme because Jesus is supreme.

Dan Franklin: [00:04:32] By the way, next week, the stronghold we're going to talk about is not the idea that family comes first, but the idea that safety comes first. Quick spoiler alert, safety does not come first, because Jesus comes first. Sometimes we even think of, like, really good ideas that come from the Christian faith. We think of something like acceptance, acceptance is not supreme, as if Jesus is only useful because he buys into our cultural idea of acceptance. Even something like Grace is not supreme, as if Jesus is only good because he supports our view of grace. Truth is not supreme, as if the only reason why Jesus is important is because he tells us the truth. Jesus is supreme, he is the center of our message.

Dan Franklin: [00:05:16] In Colossians chapter 1 verse 28, Paul talks about what is the cornerstone, what is the center of the Christian message. And he says, he, speaking of Jesus, he says, "He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ." Now I'm spending a lot of time on this, and here's why, if you are showing up and you're saying the reason I'm involved in church is because I want to get moral guidance, I want to have a strong family, maybe our family was falling apart and we were trying to figure out what to do, and we said Church is a good place to go, once again, you're not wrong and I'm glad that you're here. But if you end up having interaction with this church and what you walk away with is we need you just to have good, solid family values, we need to pray together at the dinner table, we need to guide our kids morally, we need to not get divorced, that's better than the life that you could have had. But you are not safe from hell and condemnation by having good family values, we are saved from hell in condemnation because Jesus is supreme, and we put our faith in him. Family doesn't come first because Jesus is supreme.

Dan Franklin: [00:06:26] Now, here's the other thing to add into this, because you might say with all the strongholds, there's a danger, there's a danger line if we buy into these ideas. And as great as family is, as much as family is a gift from God, and as much as within this church we are promoting the family, and we are promoting that couple's work through their problems and stay together, and that we invest in the lives of our children, and we are talking about all of that, but at the center of this is the danger that family is a great blessing from God, but it's a really terrible place to put your hope. And if you place your hope in the future of an imaginary family that you're going to have one day, that's going to fix your problem, or if you place your hope and the fact that your broken family will someday be united and be brought back together, you'll be placing your hope and sinking sand, you'll be placing your hope in something that's not solid. We want our hope in the solid truth of Jesus.

Dan Franklin: [00:07:24] And so we're going to go through a passage that tells us, from the words of Jesus, that family is not supreme, but that Jesus is supreme over family. And I'll tell you right now, there are two ways that Jesus is going to talk about his supremacy over family in these verses, in Matthew 10:34-39 First, he's going to tell us that he is supreme over our family connections. And second, he is going to tell us that he is supreme over our family culture. Jesus is supreme over our family connections, and Jesus is supreme over our family culture.

Dan Franklin: [00:08:03] And so we start with the idea that Jesus is supreme over our family connections in verses 34 through 36. And here's what this means, what this means is that our faith in Jesus is going to be the number one guide in how connected we are, or aren't, to the family in our lives. Jesus says this starting in verse 24, he says, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword." Does that statement seem a little weird to anyone? Like we're coming up on Christmas in about a month and a half, one of the passages that we'll read is Luke Chapter 2, where the angel appears to the shepherds. And amongst other things, upon the birth of Jesus, the angel says that now there is peace on Earth, there's the promise of peace on Earth coming along with Jesus. If you read the Old Testament prophecies, they are filled with the idea that when the Messiah, when the chosen one, the promised one, comes, he will bring a final peace. And yet, Jesus starts this passage by saying, don't make the mistake of thinking that I came to bring peace.

Dan Franklin: [00:09:18] So we got to just pause and ask the question, what's going on? Which way is it? Is it that Jesus brings peace, or is it that Jesus doesn't bring peace? Does Jesus bring peace? The answer is yes and no. The answer is yes, in the sense that the only hope that we have for final peace, for final rest on this Earth, is Jesus. Jesus will one day return, he will rule in perfect justice, he will rule in perfect harmony, and perfect wisdom, and there will be, at long last, peace on the Earth.

Dan Franklin: [00:09:54] So in a sense, you could say, yeah, Jesus did come to bring peace. But in another sense, the answer is no, Jesus didn't come to bring peace, and that's what he's saying here. What he's saying is that his arrival on the Earth does not instantly bring harmony to the people who respond to him. In fact, he says, I didn't come to bring peace, but I came to bring a sword. And just for the sake of clarification, Jesus is not saying that he has come to lead a violent revolution, and he's not calling us to a violent revolution. Jesus could have done that if he wanted, and he chose not to, he's not calling us to violent revolt, but what he is saying is that there's going to be conflict and there's going to be division because of Jesus.

Dan Franklin: [00:10:36] And he explains that as he goes on and verses 35 and 36, he says, "For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household." And what Jesus seems to be picturing here is, he just sort of gives an example of the household, it's got five members in it. It's got the mom and the dad, it's got the adult son and daughter, and then the son has got married, and so the daughter in law is in the picture, so you've got five members of this household. And as he says and one of the other gospel accounts of this, it's going to turn two against three and three against two, the family is going to be divided because of Jesus. And I just want us to know Jesus definitely takes no joy in these words that he's saying here. Jesus doesn't relish the idea that a father and a son would be at odds at a mother and daughter would be at odds, he doesn't take pleasure in any of this, but he needs to tell us the truth. He needs to warn us that our family connections are going to be impacted by the decisions that we make about Jesus. And the reason that these family connections are going to be impacted by the way that we make decisions about Jesus is because if you treat Jesus as if he is supreme and somebody else isn't treating Jesus as if he is supreme, that's frequently going to bring conflict.

Dan Franklin: [00:12:02] If you don't believe me, I invite you to do something a week and a half from now as you're sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner with all of your extended family. What I invite you to do is right before you're about to start eating, just say, hey, quick pause before we do anything else, I just want to make sure to remind everybody that I believe that Jesus is absolutely supreme. And in the final judgment when we're all judged, the most important thing that's going to happen is the decision that we made about Jesus. That's going to be the difference between life and death, between heaven and hell, between salvation and condemnation, please pass the stuffing. Now, with some of you, you might be thinking I could say all of that and there wouldn't be conflict. And if that's true, thank God that you're in a situation where you have an extended family who is all treating Jesus as supreme, thank God for that. But many of you know, if I said that that would cause chaos, there would be family division if I said that because some family members are treating Jesus as if he is Lord and some family members are not treating Jesus as if he is Lord. Our devotion to Jesus is going to change our family connections forever, because now we're saying that my family connections, my loyalty to those in my family aren't supreme, but my loyalty to Jesus takes precedence over this.

Dan Franklin: [00:13:30] Now, just real quick, before getting into what I'm going to talk about next, I just want to make clear, Jesus is not here trying to get us to pick fights. If you're like me, you do almost everything that you can to avoid the discomfort of conflict. But I know that not everybody is like me. I know that some of you, there's something about the tension and something about the conflict that you're drawn towards, some of you are looking for any excuse to start a fight. I don't understand you at all, but I know that you exist, I know that this is a thing. So some of you might be like, oh, I have no problem with this, I have no problem with bringing this up and stirring it up. Jesus is not here saying that stir it up or start fights or start family conflicts, but what he is saying here is if you treat Jesus as supreme, it is inescapable that you will end up in situations where you have family conflicts. We are not the ones trying to initiate distance, even if we have family members that aren't believers and are living very contrary to what Jesus calls us to live. We are not looking to create the distance, but sometimes the distance is inescapable.

Dan Franklin: [00:14:38] I was reading an article this week by a man named, I'm going to get his pronunciation wrong, but you probably don't know, either, but his name is Afshin Ziafat, and he wrote an article on the Desiring God website, which is connected to John Piper into his ministry. And he told his story, and his story is that Afshin was raised as a Muslim, grew up in a very observant Muslim home. His father was the most important person in his life, and his father was very devout. And as Afshin got into college, he became more and more exposed to the gospel, and by God's grace, while he was in his college years, he came to faith in Jesus. Now, when he came to faith in Jesus, he didn't tell his family. Which he even said in the article, he said, I feel conflicted about this, but at the time I just I didn't want to tell my father, I didn't want to tell my family because I knew of the chaos that it would bring.

Dan Franklin: [00:15:33] But his dad kind of sniffed out that there was something different, there was something odd going on. So eventually he asked Afshin, he said, what's happening? And Afshin said, I've become a Christian. And his father's first response is to say, no, you haven't, he said, you're not a Christian, you're a Muslim. And Afshin said, well, I believe that Jesus is the son of God, and I've put my faith in him for salvation, so by definition, I am a Christian. And the next thing that his father said is, if you're going to be a Christian, you can no longer be my son, and he was disowned on the spot. There's something sobering about the reality of that.

Dan Franklin: [00:16:15] And we know for most of us, the cost won't be exactly that, the cost won't be instantly being disowned, but the cost is inescapable. Even if it comes in awkward moments when something is brought up and you're not quite sure what to do, or there's sort of a cheap joke that's made at your expense, if it comes at the cost of the idea that you're disinvited to certain things because the family is afraid that you're going to cause conflict because you have different standards, if it's because right now you're trying to work through appropriate boundaries because you have young kids and you have members of the extended family that are living in ways that you don't want to normalize with your kids, there's losses that happen because of our faith in Jesus, and that's inescapable. Jesus doesn't relish this, but he wants to make sure we know that if we follow him, there will be losses when it comes to family. But I also don't want us to miss that, while when we follow Jesus, in some senses we might end up losing family, we also end up gaining a family.

Dan Franklin: [00:17:19] And one of the beautiful things about that article by Afshin is he went on to talk about just the horrific loss of his father disowning him and losing that family, but then the next thing he says is, while I lost a family when I came to faith in Jesus, I also gained a family. And he talks about how God brought a roommate into his life when he was in college, a roommate who was a former Muslim who had come to faith in Jesus, and who had also been disowned by his father, and that roommate became a brother to him. And he talked about how after college, God brought a Christian businessman into his life who ended up financing Afshin's entire graduate school, his entire time through seminary, as a brother in Christ. He talked about men and women who have partnered with him, and prayed with him, and cried with him, and walked with him throughout his life. He lost a family when he came to Jesus, but did he gain a family? He gained a family, he gained brothers and sisters.

Dan Franklin: [00:18:15] And I don't know everybody's story here, but I know that there are some of you who are here without your spouse because you're a believer and your spouse is not. And you want nothing more than to be here with your spouse, and worshipping together, and partnering together, but that's lost for you right now. There are some of you that are probably here without your parents, and you'd love to be here with your parents, you'd love if the whole family was here worshipping Jesus together, but you're the believer in the family and your parents don't believe and you experience that sadness and loss. Or maybe just within your group of friends, you're like I'm the only one, like I love hanging out with them, they're good friends, but I'm the only one who believes, and I would love to have them all here with me, but I don't have that. And there can be great loneliness because of that, and here's what I want you to know, you have a family.

Dan Franklin: [00:19:08] First of all, you have a father because you have been adopted into God's family. But also, this is why, and we certainly are not doing it perfectly here, but why we put so much emphasis on the idea that we need to not just show up on a Sunday morning and think that that's what the church is about, but that we're involved in one another's lives. This is why we have Life Kids, and why we have Exit 83, this is why we have life groups and Bible studies and life care and why we're encouraging you, you're not going to experience the life of the church unless you are involved in the lives of other people.

Dan Franklin: [00:19:42] And I also want to say that some of us are blessed to be in situations where are kind of intact family, our nuclear family, we are all united in following Jesus. Those of us that have that blessing, have a special calling to have our eyes open for our brothers and sisters who don't have that, they need to be especially welcomed into the family of God. In fact, I challenge you in this way, as I said, Thanksgiving is about a week and a half, some of you are traveling, but some of you will probably be here, you're hosting your gathering with your family. Before you finalize your Thanksgiving plans, take a few moments to make sure you pray and think about the people that God has brought into your life, and think of who is not going to have a place to go in Thanksgiving. Let's have our eyes open for the brothers and sisters.

Dan Franklin: [00:20:31] And Don, I know, not to speak for you, but I know the brotherhood you've experienced with the men in Wednesday night as you've joined the family of God, and joined the family of believers, the decades-long friendships that you've had that have sharpened you along the way. We need our church family because, for many of us, we're going to have a cost to our family when we follow Jesus. Jesus lets us know not with joy, but with sober reality, that he is supreme over our family connections.

Dan Franklin: [00:21:08] And as we go on in the following verses, he tells us that he's also supreme over our family culture. And here's what this means, what this means is that Jesus is not only the deciding factor into how our family, how harmonious we are because he's going to be supreme, it also means that the way that we do family is going to be different because we're treating Jesus as supreme. Look in verse 37, Jesus says, “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."

Dan Franklin: [00:21:49] Now, real quick, first of all in that phrase, we might get caught on that phrase, not worthy of me. Is anybody here, raise your hand, anybody here worthy of Jesus? You are like that's a weird...Nobody's worthy, nobody's worthy of his grace, nobody's worthy of his love, none of us are worthy of Jesus. But here's what Jesus is talking about here, and John Nolan in his commentary talks about this idea, the word worthy that's being used here is more akin to the idea of him saying, you are not yet prepared to be his disciple unless you love him more than father or mother, more than wife or husband, more than son or daughter. He must be supreme in your life, otherwise, you're not worthy in the sense that you're not prepared to put your faith in him. Jesus is following on what he said earlier by saying he is going to divide families, not because that's the end game, but because that's what's going to happen when one person treats Jesus as supreme and another treats Jesus as if he's dispensable. We're divided from family members because we love Jesus more than we love them.0

Dan Franklin: [00:22:54] For our Thanksgiving, for this year, for the Franklin family, we're going to be heading out to visit some extended family in Atlanta. Now we're Dodger fans in our family, the Atlanta crew is Braves fans, and you may know that this year the Braves beat the Dodgers in the playoffs, and then went on to win the World Series. Now, don't forget last year the Dodgers beat the Braves and won the World Series, I just want to remind everybody that that happened. But we're going to go, we're going to be Dodger fans and they're going to be Braves fans. Let me just ask you real quick, how worried do you think we are that we are going to have a major conflict over this at Thanksgiving? Some of you are like, ah...No, we are not worried at all, it's not a blip on the screen. We're not worried about it at all, because we have the teams that we root for, but every single one of us would say, you are far more important to me than just the baseball team that I cheer for, that is not going to divide our family. And here's the deal, if you said to members of your extended family, hey, sure, I'm a Christian, but you are far more important to me than Jesus, all the family conflict would go away. Very few people are going to be upset with you because you have a private religious experience. But when Jesus is supreme in your life, it will cause problems because you're going to be living differently. There's going to be jokes that you used to laugh at, that you don't laugh at anymore because you're like, I can't really get on board with that. There are going to be ways that you parent your kids that are going to be very, very different, and that's going to cause some awkwardness. It's going to change the things that you watch, it's going to change the things that you drink, it's going to change the way that you conduct yourself, it's going to change all kinds of things about you. When Jesus is supreme, that's when the conflict comes.

Dan Franklin: [00:24:47] And Jesus follows up on this statement about us needing to love him more, by showing that this all comes in the greater context of the fact that if we're going to follow Jesus, we need to be willing to lose at all. Because he says, in verse 38, "Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me." Is not ready to be his disciple, which just means this, if we're going to follow Jesus, we need to be ready to leave everyone and everything behind to follow him. And some of what's left behind is going to be family relationships, not because we want to leave that behind, but because that will be part of the cost of following Jesus.

Dan Franklin: [00:25:29] Now, an important point of clarification here, Jesus is not saying when we put our faith in him, we abandon our family. He's not saying, well, he is more important, so abandon your wife, abandon your children, abandon your husbands, just leave everybody behind, that's not what he's saying at all. In fact, in the truest sense, when you're following Jesus, you are going to be more devoted to the good of your family through Jesus. The Apostle Paul, in Ephesians chapter 5, he calls husbands to love their wives. And what he doesn't say is, love your wife to the degree that you find her to be lovable. He says, love your wife as a reflection of how Jesus loves his people. And so if you say, you know what, first and foremost is not my devotion to my wife, first and foremost is my devotion to Jesus, here's what Jesus calls me to do, you are going to be a greater husband because your love for your wife is not going to be based on her behavior, it's going to be based on Jesus calling for you. In Ephesians 5, God calls wives to submit to and respect their husbands. And what he doesn't say is submit to and respect your husbands to the degree that you find them to be respectable or smart. He says, submit to and respect your husbands as a reflection of how we, as God's people, respect and submit to him. You're not responding that way to your husband because your husband is worthy of it, you're responding that way because you're ultimately devoted to Jesus, and that's his calling for you.

Dan Franklin: [00:27:04] Parents are called to devote themselves to their children and raise them up in the fear and the instruction of the Lord, not just to try to make our kids images of ourselves that reflect well on us. Children are called to submit to their parents, to obey their parents, not because their parents are always doing all of the right things, but because it's a way to honor God through honoring our parents. We will have a more harmonious life if everybody in the family is doing this, holy smokes the joy and the harmony that can be had if we all do this. God is not calling you to be less devoted to your family, God is calling you to be rightly devoted to your family because your devotion to them comes not through them, but through Him, as the one who’s supreme. We end up having a greater devotion to our family because we die to ourselves so that we can love them.

Dan Franklin: [00:28:01] But what this also means is that our devotion to our family isn't based on saying, well, I'm just going to make sure everybody in my family gets what they want. We as parents, we're just going to make sure that our kids are always happy with exactly what's going on. The as a husband, I'm just going to make sure my wife's always happy with everything. As a wife, I'm going to make sure my husband is always happy. It means that Jesus transforms our culture where if he's supreme, we are collaborating together and saying, how can we live with making Jesus as supreme.

Dan Franklin: [00:28:28] And this is where some of the rubber meets the road with how the family first idea can be so deceptive to us, that in American culture, we can trick ourselves into thinking family first means that I revolve my life in exhausting myself to get kids to every activity under the sun, and that's how I know I've placed family first. Let me just rattle off some signs that will help you know that you've fallen into family first and that Jesus is not supreme over your family. If you have time for sports, but not time for church, Jesus is not supreme over your family culture. If you have time for movies and family games together, but you don't have time for Scripture and prayer together, Jesus is not supreme over your family culture. If you have time for athletic training, and academic training, and preparation for college, but you don't have any time for training in godliness and preparation for walking into godly life, then Jesus is not supreme over your family culture. We need to not fool ourselves as if Jesus is some means to an end, well, I get in with Jesus, and then I find out how to be a good husband, and a good wife, and a good child, and a good friend, and all of these sorts of things, Jesus is supreme and that transforms our family culture.

Dan Franklin: [00:29:54] And by the way, speaking specifically to parents in here right now, if we treat Jesus, if our kids see us treating Jesus as if he's somebody that we treat as important when everything else in our life aligns and it's convenient for us, don't be surprised that your kids grow up thinking Jesus is not all that important. And later on in life, when they're not very devoted to him, don't simply blame them saying that you raise them in the church. We want our families to reflect the absolute supremacy of Jesus in all things.

Dan Franklin: [00:30:29] And so if I can just give a strong pastoral suggestion, especially to families, and especially to parents right now. Here's the strong suggestion, it's that first of all, you sit down, you know, we're like six weeks until the end of the year, it's a good time we're already all rethinking our priorities, and rethinking how we want to order our lives, and order our families. So take some time to ask this question, ask the question, "What are our biggest family priorities right now?". Not what are all the things that kids want to do? What are all the things we want to do? What are Jesus's biggest priorities for our family, that if he is supreme, that he'd want for our family? And once you've looked at some of those things, and you've determined, you know, he wants us to be more prayerful, and he wants us to be confessing sin, he wants us to be combating things, he wants us to be serving together, he wants us to be worshipping together. Once you've discovered some of those things, then you need to follow it up with two questions, and the two questions are these. Number one, what needs to be added to your family routine so that you're fulfilling that? And what needs to be sacrificed so that you have space to fulfill that? And frankly, what might need to be sacrificed, in part, is a bunch of beloved family activities that are hard to let go of, and that are not bad or sinful, but they're getting in the way of Jesus being at the center of your family.

Dan Franklin: [00:31:58] You know, there's one more verse in this passage that I want to make sure we don't miss, it's verse 39, and it's an important one. Jesus caps off this passage by saying, "Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it." You've got to love statements like this that Jesus makes, these paradoxical statements. They're all through the gospels, you know, the humble will be exalted, and the exalted will be humble. The first will be last, and the last will be first. If you find your life, you'll lose it, if you lose your life, you'll find it.

Dan Franklin: [00:32:32] This is a profound statement on its own but especially connected to what he's already said. Here's what I imagine when Jesus says that statement, sometimes you're watching a movie, and there comes a moment for the hero in the movie where they end up like right on the edge of this cliff. And they're on the edge of this cliff because they've had to run up to it because they're being chased by some wild animals who are looking to come and consume them, and they find themselves right up on the edge of the cliff, and they're looking down below and there's like running water and it's a long way down. And you know, they're in this moment where they've got to choose, am I going to stay and am I going to face the beast, or am I going to jump down and hope that I survive the fall? That's the image that Jesus is painting here, that when he says if you find your life, you'll lose it. What he's saying is, if you look at that jump and you say, no way am I doing that, I'll stay here. What's going to happen? You are going to be consumed by the beasts. But if you say, you know, I'm not sure what's going to happen, I'm not sure how this is all going to turn out, and it's going to kind of feel like throwing my life away, but I'm going to take the risk and I'm going to jump down. I'm in essence, going to be losing my life, hoping that I end up saving it, that's the only shot you've got. What Jesus is saying here is if you cling to the things in this world, if you are so desperate to hold on to your life here, you will miss out on eternal life. But if you come up to that moment, if you come up to the edge of that cliff, and you realize that the lies of the world are bearing down on you and they're coming to consume you, and it looks really scary and it looks really frightening, but you look down and you say, well, I could take my chances with Jesus. I'm not sure how it's all going to turn out, but I could decide to trust him, I could decide to leave everything behind, as scary as that feels, and I could decide that I'm going to take the step of faith and trust that he will catch me, trust that his reward is greater than anything else that I would lose, and that's when we lose our life in order to find it, that's when we take the jump, and we find out that Jesus catches us in all his power.

Dan Franklin: [00:34:41] In fact, here's the image that I love, that's when we jump and land in that water, and we end up finding out it is the water of life, we end up finding out that it's the living water that we never would have experienced. The joy of the Holy Spirit, the joy of God's presence with us and guidance for us, and power in us, the saving work of Jesus, who is able to more than make up for every loss that we've had along the way, even if part of that loss has to do with losing or disrupting family relationships.

Dan Franklin: [00:35:17] Sometimes Jesus is going to call us to simply embrace the fact that we have conflict in our family, and that we know that we could fix it if we just deprioritize Jesus, but we choose to stand strong and trust that he'll make up for that. Jesus, sometimes, is going to cost some of you to remain single for a season of time, or maybe for a long season of time, because the person you're dating or the person that you're engaged to, is not treating Jesus as supreme and because it would be foolish to link your life with that kind of disparity. And it's going to be sad, and it's going to feel like a loss, and it's going to be a loss, but you are going to trust that Jesus can more than make up for that loss.

Dan Franklin: [00:35:59] God's going to call some of you to change your standard of living because you're going to decide, all right, we're going to have a season of time where mom is going to stay home instead of working, and instead of trying to maximize our earning income, because we want to prioritize God's priorities for our family.

Dan Franklin: [00:36:14] And for some of you, God's calling for you is simply going to be that you're going to have to sacrifice some beloved family activities. And by the way, if you're a parent and your kids are mad at you about this, you've got to withstand their wrath, you've got to decide that following Jesus' priorities is better than having the pleasure of your children in that moment.

Dan Franklin: [00:36:36] God is going to call some of us to do that, there are going to be losses along the way, but are you willing to trust Jesus? Are you willing to trust that that water down there is living water? Are you going to be willing to trust that his reward is greater than anything that we lose along the way? Are you going to be willing to say as great as family is, and as much of a blessing as it is, it's a great blessing but a bad god, and we're going to choose to treat not family as supreme, but Jesus as supreme, and trust that his reward will outweigh everything else? One day every knee is going to bow to Jesus, and in that moment, there will be no sacrifice that we made for Jesus that we will ever regret making.

Dan Franklin: [00:37:19] Let me pray for us right now. Father, thank you so much that you call us to real life, and thank you that you expose the idols that we have, even when our idols are a great blessing, like the blessing of family, and marriage, and children, and harmony within the home. Father, help us to be people who rightly reflect you within our families, but who don't make family first, who make Jesus first. Father, we pray that we would reflect you in such a profound way that our family cultures would change, that we would stand out from the world. Father, we pray that we would be people who would welcome in with joy and gladness, those who have lost family members along the way and can be joined into this church family. We pray that Jesus is honored in all that we do. And Father, I pray most of all, give us the courage to trust that your reward is greater than anything that we will lose along the way. We pray in the name of our great supreme Lord Jesus. Amen. Amen.

Dan Franklin: [00:38:31] As we close, you can see there's going to be some folks on either side of the stage who would love to pray with you as a response to this. God bless you, thank you for being here, have a wonderful rest of your Sunday.



Recorded in Upland, California.
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Life Bible Fellowship Church
2426 N Euclid Ave
Upland, California 91786
(909) 981-4848