Jesus Christ gave a very strong and straightforward warning. When his disciples ventured across the land to spread the gospels he told them who they should associate with and what to do if they were not accepted. He also told them of the consequence of that person or city that rejected the word of God. It is familiar passage with a severe warning that is most often overlooked. It should also serve as a wake-up call to this nation and its every increasing number or laws passed that prohibit and restrict God’s word.
Jesus and the Warning
“And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. And when ye come into an house, salute it. And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you.
And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.” (Matthew 10:11-15)
Whatever town, city or house a disciple went to they were to find out who was a man of God. They were not to go where ever or with whoever would accept them. Who one associates with must be known and known to be of the Lord.
“Go not from house to house” (Luke 10:7). Who we associate with has an effect on us and on other people. It is part of the human condition that we take on the personality and characteristics of whom we companion with and the environment in which we frequent. People, places and things have a tendency to “rub off” on to folks.
In addition, scripture is quite clear to, “Abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22). Anything or anyone that gives the appearance of unrighteousness needs to be off our list of associations. Remember, we are to always uplift and edify the other person. We can’t do that if we invalidate ourselves by giving a bad impression or present God in a possible bad light. Our job is to remove stumbling blocks to God for other people not to be a stumbling block for them.
“And when ye come into an house, salute it” According to John Calvin the salute is, “a kind of opening to a conversation.” Adam Clarke adds that the salute was an actual saying of, ““Peace be to this house”. The peace being mentioned or more to the point being offered was the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the tranquility of soul which comes as a natural by-product of receiving Christ into your heart. That’s one heck of conversation starter! And it serves a purpose. It is to see if this person truly is a man of God, a disciple of Christ, one who truly has the best interest of spreading the gospels at heart.
“And whosoever shall not receive you” It should be very evident now that when a man of God, speaks the word of God and is not received by someone or a by a city as to why. Samuel confronted the same situation. “And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them” (1 samuel 8:7).
This becomes a test of our faith. No one likes to be rejected. Everyone wants to be liked. Are we willing to take up the cross of Christ and expose ourselves to the world and bear witness to Jesus? Are we willing to be rejected by a man, a house, a city, the world? Or are we going to do what is so prevalent today and back down. Are we going to try to change and/or soften the message to make it more agreeable to more people? Which will take priority? Being liked always or being in Christ always?
“shake off the dust of your feet” This is more than an expression but rather something that was literally done. It was a show of contempt, ridding oneself of the soiled and defiled ground that the unrighteous walk on. This refers back to what was mentioned earlier about how who and what we associate with has a tendency to “stick” to us.
It is also good to leave any negative, unproductive and ungodly occurrence or person behind us. We should never tote along bad experiences that have no other function than to fester and grow within us. Shaking the dust off of our feet should bring new context to the following verse from Hebrews.
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
“more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment” This should be a wake-up call for every person, city and nation. Often times we use Sodom and Gomorrha as the very definition of sin. Here we have Jesus Christ saying it would be more bearable for those two cities in God’s final judgment than it would be for those who reject a righteous man. Rejecting a righteous man is rejecting righteousness which is rejecting God.
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance”(Psalm 33:12).
“Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).
It must be understood. This severe consequence of judgment is reserved for those who reject the Godly and God’s word. This makes no mention of conversion. America needs to wake up to this fact as laws and legislation are ever increasing that bar and prohibit His word and servants.
We are to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. We are to work with the willing. Those who reject the man of God and the complete word of God are rejecting God himself. We all need to be cognizant of those who do whether it is a person, a house, a business, a government or a nation. The warning Jesus gave to those that reject God is clear.
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