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Jesus and His Opposers

(Matthew 12:22-32,38-41)

Lesson 8 -- first quarter 2000
January 23, 2000

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 1999, Christian Light Publications

With Jesus. Sometimes we feel that life's choices are terribly complex. Sometimes we feel that life offers us too many choices. So for the sake of today's lesson, I want to tell you that, in reality and at its very essence, life offers us two choices: with Jesus or against Jesus.

I find this truth to be incredibly practical to the issues of real living. If I consider my life's purpose, choices and focus in light of those two choices, I discover that life is truly less complex than I thought. Is it too radical to say that everything I say, do, think and decide must ultimately be determined by those two choices?

Perhaps we ought to do better at asking ourselves if our words, deeds, thoughts and decisions reveal our choice of Jesus. Will I insist on my rights and my liberty if I am with Jesus? Will I be stubborn, rebellious or haughty if I am with Jesus? Will I indulge in gossip, evil surmisings, slander and railing if I am with Jesus?

Questions like those could go on and on, and I challenge you and your class to ask them. And while you work on that, work on the answers to the questions that follow. What does it mean to be with Jesus? How do I know that I am with Jesus? How can we encourage and help each other to be with Jesus? What practical manifestations accompany those who are with Jesus?

Jesus put it this way: "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad." Not at all difficult to grasp, right?

As I write this, my heart is heavy and my mind burdened with problems between people and within congregations. I have felt like there is plenty of scattering going on, so today's lesson really clicks for me. And it makes me all the more determined to be with Jesus and to gather with Him. Join me? Please do!

Judged by the Ninevites. We live in an evil and adulterous generation, no doubt more so than the scribes and Pharisees of Jesus' day. This makes me wonder if the seeking after a sign plagues our generation just as much. If so (and even if not), it seems to me we need to be on our guard. We do not want any of this to rub off on us!

An evil and adulterous generation that seeks after a sign will not listen to preaching. And it certainly won't obey that preaching. And that is something that could not be said against the inhabitants of ancient Nineveh, despite the fact they were pagan enemies of God's people!

So let's make it real personal again: How much importance do you attach to preaching? How well do you do at listening and following? Does preaching make you repent or react? Your answers will determine whether you, too, will be judged by the Ninevites!

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