Messages from Pastor Raddatz

June 28, 2020 Mount Olive Lutheran Church, Houston TX

Other readings for the day: Jeremiah 28:5-9, Romans 7:1-13, Psalm 119:153-160

Matthew 10:34-42, Life Shaped by The Cross (The Cruciformed Life)

Main Idea:  You have been crucified with Christ and now you live a life empowered by the risen Christ!

Today we hear more about following Jesus from Jesus.  This week is about what he expects.  (Last week, vv. 21-33 was about warnings as to what we should expect from others.)  This week Jesus bundles his importance, in relation to our families, our life and how we should treat enemies.  It like the deal you can get from your cable or internet provider if you “BUNDLE” your services together.  When you bundle you get a deal, which usually means a reduced price.  Jesus reminds us of the real price or real cost of following him.  He bundles us in the comfort of his sacrifice for us on the cross. He was sacrificed as our substitute.

  • Jesus is more important than the members of our ownfamily, Micah 7:6

Micah 7:6, For a son dishonors his father, a daughter rises up against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies are the members of his own household.   NIV

For the Jews, it was generally believed that there would be great sufferings before the end, and that the Messiah would lead his people in a triumphant war, followed by a time of peace. Jesus assures his listeners that the promised era of peace is yet some time off and goes on to explain the nature of the current sufferings and conflict.

To make one’s parents more important than Jesus is to make “gods” of them.Are you more concerned about “fitting in” the crowd or “pleasing” Jesus? – Harold Buls

Division in the family is not the purpose of Jesus, but often it is the result.  If a child makes their parents more important than God, then they can become a God.  Also, if a parent request ultimate devotion from a child they might be trying to put themselves in the place of God.  A spouse should not be more important than God. This is where the first and the fourth commandments play a role.  Commandment one: HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME.  Commandment four: HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER.  I think that it can help our understanding to remember Luther’s explanation to these commandments.  He begins each explanation with the words, “We should fear and love and trust in God above all things that we …”  God is above all and more important than all.  He is more important than our spouse or our boss.  Pleasing God above all other people is the goal of following Jesus.

  • Jesus is the most important person to the believer, Deut. 6:4-5

Deut. 6:4-5 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” NIV

Christ does bring peace, not as the world gives, but it is not the force of compromise with evil, but of conquest over wrong, over Satan, the triumph of the cross. Meanwhile there will be inevitably division in families, in communities, in states. It is no namby-pamby sentimentalism that Christ preaches, no peace at any price. The Cross is Christ’s answer to the devil’s offer of compromise in world dominion. For Christ, the kingdom of God is virile righteousness, not mere emotionalism.  This could be the cross for some Christ followers to bear.  The cross is central because it brings peace.  Peace is ours because Jesus bore all our sin and selfishness on the cross.

Jesus carried our cross.  He carried our shame and our guilt.  Through his suffering and death our sin is removed from us and he gives us peace.  Because he carried our sin to the cross, we can face conflict and dissension to those who do not follow Jesus. 

What is our cross?  It could be anything that happens to us because we are following Jesus.  It could be anything that drives us to the cross.Every minister of Christ, or professor of his name, has "his" own cross, his own particular afflictions, appointed by God, and laid on him by Christ, and which he should cheerfully take up, and patiently bear, for his sake.

You may have heard this story about a man who was worried.  A sick man turned to his doctor, as he was leaving the room after paying a visit, and said, "Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what lies on the other side." Very quietly the doctor said, "I don't know." "You don't know?" the man said.


"You, a Christian man, do not know what is on the other side?"


The doctor was holding the handle of the door, on the other side of which came a sound of scratching and whining. As he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room and leaped on him with an eager show of gladness.


Turning to the patient, the doctor said, "Did you notice my dog? He's never been in this room before. He didn't know what was inside. He knew nothing except that his master was here, and when the door opened, he sprang in without fear."


"I know little of what is on the other side of death," the doctor continued, "but I do know one thing: I know my Master is there, and that is enough. And when the door opens, I shall pass through with no fear, but with gladness." –Unknown


Physical life may be saved by denying Jesus, but eternal life will be lost.  Note that Jesus does not say that we take up our cross by ourselves, but he says that when we take up our cross, we go “after” him–Bul’s Notes.  Jesus helps us carry our cross becausehe carries us.


  • Through Jesus we receive “real” life

Now we get to this passage where Jesus says we will find life is we lose our own.  This passage was part of our monthly Bible passage memory for 2014.  Matthew 10:39, “IF YOU CLING TO YOUR LIFE YOU WILL LOSE IT, BUT IF YOU GIVE IT UP FOR ME, YOU WILL FIND IT” (NLT) 

Maya Angelou (Author), is quoted as saying, “People will not remember the words you used or the speeches you made.  People will remember how you made them feel”.  (my paraphrase)

The only thing that will last is what you do for people.” Chi Chi Rodriguez(retired pro golfer) In ten or twenty years they will not remember what trophies you won.  They will forget your accomplishments, but what will last is what you do for people.

  • Jesus’ messengers can take any shape and have low or high status, Hebrews 13:2

Hebrews 13:2, “Don't forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!” NLT

Jesus tells the disciples, “You can recognize true followers of Jesus when they welcome you because you are sent by Jesus.”   Sometimes the prophets can be the people who appear the lowest and the most helpless by the world’s standards.  Anyone can give them “a cup of cold water”.  Many who are sent by God are rejected by others, but as brothers and sisters in Christ we are called to be “hospitable”. 

Jesus bundles his message together about MISSION.  Our purpose is that we are united to Christ and sent by Christ.  We are forgiven by Christ and sent by Christ. We are constantly bundled in his pierced hands.  We are held close to his pierced side. Our reward may not be seen in this life.  Our reward is eternal life.  May we serve others in simple ways and be hospitable to others.  Amen.

John Raddatz, Vacancy Pastor

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