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Step 11: Opposition


Next Steps are designed to help us grow as Christians in two categories: God's Mission and God's Word. 

←Mission→ Look out to the world; look in at our lives. 


Mission Training Psalm 67:3-4 “Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth.”

(The words “peoples” and “nations” refer to every ethnic group in the world.)

The end goal of evangelism is worship—that more and more people would become life-long worshippers of the one true God. God created humans to be worshippers and therefore humans are happiest and most satisfied when we are worshipfully living for God. Therefore, the goal of evangelism is also the joy of all people.

Everyone’s greatest happiness will be found in and only in a loving relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Money, family, success, career, sex, entertainment—these will not bring lasting happiness to anyone. Even though many people do not yet realize it, what their hearts truly need is God. Therefore, the greatest act of love you can do for someone is to introduce them to Jesus Christ. Love your neighbor by seeking their ultimate joy.


Accountability Last time we set a goal to share our testimony with one or more persons from our prayer list. How did that go? Celebrate any victories and encourage one another to keep striving to share Christ's love and gospel with those around you! 


Goals & Prayer: Looking at your prayer list, choose at least one person. How will you share Christ with them in the next two weeks (examples: share your testimony, share the gospel, invite them to church, study First Steps, etc.)? Share the name of the person you choose and the goal you’ve set. Pray for these goals and for one another.


↑Word↓ Look up to God's Word; look down to our lives. 


Gather Together Around God’s Word: Next Steps 11 - Opposition

The Christian life is a battle. The Bible tells us to "fight the good fight of faith" (1 Timothy 6:12). As we strive to love God through obedience to his Word, love others, and shine like lights in the darkness, sharing the gospel with others, we will face opposition.

1. Physical Opposition: Matthew 10:16-39

Matthew 10:16-25 “[16] Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. [17] Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, [18] and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. [19] When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. [20] For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. [21] Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, [22] and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. [23] When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. [24] A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. [25] It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.”
-v. 16 - We have been sent on a mission that we cannot abandon no matter what kind of opposition we face.
-v. 21-22 - In some parts of the world today, Christians face persecution like that described here and worse. Being hated by those around us and rejected from the community (family, social group, society, etc) is a painful form of persecution.
-v. 22 - Regardless of what type of persecution we encounter we must faithfully endure in allegiance to Jesus to the end of our lives in order to be saved.
-v. 24-25 - Jesus, our teacher and master, was hated by men, rejected by his family, and brutally killed. It is not only natural that we his servants would be likewise persecuted, but it is an joyful honor to be identified with Jesus through persecution.

Matthew 10:26-33 “[26] So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. [27] What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. [28] And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. [29] Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. [30] But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. [31] Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. [32] So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, [33] but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.”
-v. 26-28 - Death is not the worst outcome; being destroyed in hell is worse. Christians should not fear death because of the hope of eternal life with God in heaven. Therefore, we should not fear what men can do to us but rather we should fear God and obey him no matter what the earthly consequences may be.
-v. 29-31 - Each of us is valuable and loved by God. God is not ignorant of our trials for his sake but sovereignly guides and protects us, working all things together for our good.
-v. 32-33 - Never be ashamed to identify yourself as a follower of Jesus Christ.

Matthew 10:34-39 “[34] Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. [35] For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. [36] And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. [37] Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. [38] And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. [39] Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
-v. 34-36 - If your family is not Christian, your faith and allegiance to Jesus will probably complicate your relationship with your family members.  This type of opposition can be some of the most difficult opposition that one may face! However, as a Christian you are empowered by the Holy Spirit to be a better family member than you were before you became a Christian--empowered to love and forgive others.
-v. 37-39 - The bottom line is that our ultimate allegiance must be to Jesus. We must love him most and be ready to give up everything--family and even our own life--for him. Only through this total self denial will we find true life.

Discussion: In what ways have you experienced physical opposition for the sake of Jesus?

2. Spiritual Opposition: Ephesians 6:10-20

Ephesians 6:10-12 “[10] Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. [11] Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. [12] For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
-v. 11 - The Bible teaches there exist a spiritual realm and an enemy of God and God's people: the devil and his demons.
-The devil is the accuser and tempter. He strives to steal, kill, and destroy our joy and faith in God (John 10:10). He does this through tempting us to sin (to disobey God) and accusing us (of being unforgiven, worthless, evil, etc.).
-v 12 - Non-Christians—even our persecutors--are not our enemies; the devil is.

Ephesians 6:13-17 “[13] Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. [14] Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, [15] and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. [16] In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; [17] and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…”
-In the battle of the Christian life we must fight and stand firm! 1 Peter 5:8-9 [8] Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. [9] Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
-The battle is spiritual and therefore our battle tactics and defensive strategies must be spiritual. When tempted we should repel the attack by faith. When we sin and feel accused and condemned, we should preach the gospel to ourselves and remember God’s truth, the righteousness and salvation we have by grace. Romans 8:33-34 [33] Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. [34] Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
-We take the fight to the enemy with our only offensive weapon--the Word of God, the Bible.

Ephesians 6:18-20  “... [18] praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, [19] and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, [20] for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”
-For what did Paul ask the Ephesian believers to pray?
May we all stand at the end of our lives and declare with Paul: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." (2 Timothy 4:7).

Discussion: What type of Christian do you want to be in 10 years, 20 years, when you are in your 80’s or 90’s?

Take the step! Be bold for Jesus! 


Fellowship:  How is everyone doing? What was the most significant event in the past two weeks? Is there something heavy upon your heart? Does anyone need prayer?