On Mission From the Master
March 30, 2014
Topic: Sermon Passage: Matthew 10:1–10:42
“On MISSION For the MASTER”
9:36-38 – what did Jesus do then? After calling His disciples to PRAY for workers, He then called them to BECOME workers.
10:1-4 – this is the first time that Matthew specifically refers to the “twelve disciples,” (v.1), or “twelve apostles” (v.2).
4 of these men were previously introduced to us, in chapter 4: Peter & Andrew, James & John, & Matthew himself in chapter 9.
A list of the 12 apostles is found in 3 other places in the NT:
Acts 1:13 – Every time the apostles are listed, it is always in the same 3 subgroups:
Peter, Andrew, James, & John
Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, & Matthew
James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot and Judas.
We know a LOT about the men in the FIRST group; much LESS about the men in the second group, & almost NOTHING about the third group, except for Judas. Matthew is unique in that he is the only one to introduce them in 6 pairs: vs.2-4.
This may be because they were originally sent-out in PAIRS to do their work.
By not staying in a LARGE group, they MAXIMIZED their ability to reach MORE people. Going in 2’s is still a GOOD strategy.
Think about these 12 men:
They were DIRECTLY TAUGHT by God in the flesh, & lived INSEPARABLY with Him for 3 years.
By this time, they had been under His instruction for about 18 months, but they had been mostly OBSERVORS & LEARNERS. Now their DIRECT involvement would begin.
Some basic observations of the 12:
PETER is always FIRST in any listing of the Apostles, indicating that he was their primary LEADER (notice that Matthew refers to him as “first.”).
Jesus spent MORE TIME with Peter than any of the others.
Aside from Jesus, Peter’s name is mentioned more frequently than ANY OTHER name in the NT.
No other apostle was PRAISED more by Jesus than Peter – but no other was referred to as “SATAN,” either.
ANDREW is remembered as the apostle who was always BRINGING OTHERS to Jesus (includingPeter).
JAMES, son of Zebedee, was the first apostle to be MARTYRED, killed by King Herod (Acts 12:1-2).
JOHN, though, is far more prominent, & he is the author of 5 NT books.
BARTHOLOMEW is apparently the apostle also referred to as Nathanael.
THADDAEUS, also called Lebbaeus elsewhere, may be the JUDE who wrote the NT epistle by that name.
JUDAS is always LAST in every listing of the apostles. “Iscariot” probably refers to the town of Kerioth, in Judah, making Judas the only apostle not from Galilee.
Most of the apostles were not MEMORABLE men, which agrees with the truth that God often CHOOSES those who are seemingly INSIGNIFICANT to serve Him in GREAT ways.
So remember, if Jesus could use THESE men, He can use YOU! But, like them, you must TRUST & OBEY Him.
V.1 – the MIRACLES that the apostles would perform would be their “official credentials,” as they PARALLELED the miracles that Jesus performed in chapters 8-9, & were EXTENSIONS of His ministry.
V.8a – 2 Cor. 12:12: “The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with utmost patience, with signs and wonders and mighty works.”
Beginning in verse 5 is the second of six collections of Jesus’ TEACHING in Matthew, which began with the Sermon on the Mount.
The FIRST section regards the IMMEDIATE mission of the 12 to the JEWS.
The SECOND section goes much further into the FUTURE, when the gospel would be preached to the GENTILES also.
In vs.5-16, Jesus tells the 12:
WHERE they should GO: vs.5-6. This pattern of JEWS FIRST, GENTILES SECOND fits the pattern of both Jesus & Paul.
Rom. 1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”
Since they could not go EVERYWHERE at ONCE, the obvious STARTING-point was there in Galilee, where they already were.
WHAT they should PREACH: v.7.
Leon Morris observed, “It was not their business to work out the solution to contemporary problems, but to sound out the message Jesus was proclaiming.” That’s GOOD advice for TODAY!
This was the message of JOHN the BAPTIST: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (3:2)
This was the message of JESUS: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (4:17b)
Later, Jesus would tell them that “this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (24:14)
HOW they should REGARD their MONEY: v.8b.
EXORCISTS were COMMON then, & some made a GOOD LIVING from it, because people who were DESPERATE were willing to PAY for healing. The apostles could have become extremely WEALTHY by CHARGING for their services!
1 Pet. 5:2: “shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly.”
They were not to WORRY about EXTRA provisions: vs.9-10. LATER, Jesus would CHANGE these instructions. Luke 22:36: “now let the one who has a moneybag to take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword to sell his cloak and buy one.”
There are 3 PRINCIPLES regarding MONEY that Jesus lays out here:
The GOSPEL must be OFFERED FREELY.
God’s PEOPLE should SUPPORT God’s MINISTERS. D.A. Carson: “The church does not pay its ministers; rather, it provides them with resources so that they are able to serve freely.”
MINISTERS need to TRUST GOD for their SUPPORT.
Next, Jesus tells them:
WHAT they should EXPECT: vs.11-15. REJECTING an APOSTOLIC message would be WORSE than the sin of Sodom & Gomorrah, because the GOSPEL MESSAGE was made MUCH CLEARER.
The CHARACTER they should show: v.16. 3 IMAGES stand out:
SHEEP among WOLVES. As POWERFUL as the apostles were, they would SUFFER.
WISE as SERPENTS
INNOCENT as DOVES – Craig Blomberg observed, “We often invert the two, proving to be as guilty as serpents and as stupid as doves!”
In this section, there are 3 key DIFFERENCES from the first part:
There will be SEVERE PERSECUTION (vs.17, 21-23).
There would be a WITNESS to the GENTILES (v.18).
There would be the RETURN of CHRIST (v.23).
What must TODAY’S followers of Christ to understand?
We are to EXPECT OPPOSITION: vs.17-20.
Christians are to be INNOCENT, but not NAÏVE.
Even when Christians are not WELL-EDUCATED, or when their very LIVES are on the line, we need not FEAR INTERROGATION.
This does not mean to avoid careful STUDY when preparing to teach or preach! But it does remind us that, EDUCATED or not, PREPARED or not, without the HOLY SPIRIT, NOTHING is accomplished.
Christ wants us to be BRAVE, but not FOOLISH! We are to ESCAPE PERSECUTION whenever possible: vs.22-23.
Vs.24-25 – John MacArthur: “A disciple who is genuinely a disciple learns from his teacher, and a slave who is genuinely a slave obeys his master.”
John 15:18-19: “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, therefore the world hates you.”
To become a DISCIPLE of Christ is to be LIKE Christ, and to be TREATED LIKE Christ.
We are NOT to be AFRAID: vs.26, 28, 31. God has no “secret service.” PUBLIC confession of Christ is EVIDENCE of TRUE salvation. Why should Christians not be afraid?
Because TRUTH will TRIUMPH in the end: vs.26-27. The PRESENT JUDGMENT of MAN doesn’t FRIGHTEN us, because we are living in light of the FUTURE judgment of GOD.
At the JUDGMENT, WICKEDNESS will be shown for what it is, & RIGHTEOUSNESS will be shown for what it is.
Because the SOUL is MORE PRECIOUS than the BODY: v.28. Warren Wiersbe: “The fear of God is the fear that cancels fear.” We are not AFRAID of MAN, but we are IN AWE of GOD.
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still;
His kingdom is forever.
Because GOD is SOVEREIGN: vs.29-31. James Montgomery Boice: “Nothing will happen to us that is not fully known by God and ordered by God for his own glory and ultimately for our good and the good of others.”
We must CONFESS Christ OPENLY. In order to truly FOLLOW Christ, we must VALUE Him MORE:
Than the JUDGMENT of this WORLD: vs.32-33.
Than the LOVE of our FAMILY: vs.34-37.
From a HUMAN point of view, following the RIGHT way can be LONELY. It is IMPOSSIBLE to know how people will REACT to the GOSPEL, so DIVISION & OPPOSITION may arise where LEAST EXPECTED: v.21.
V.36 – “enemies” is not TOO STRONG a word here. The FAMILY, the most FUNDAMENTAL UNIT, will be DIVIDED by LOYALTY to Christ!
No one other than GOD HIMSELF has the right to DEMAND a love that is HIGHER than our love for our PARENTS or CHILDREN.
Martin Luther: “If our gospel were received in peace, it would not be the true gospel.”
Jesus KNEW what it was like to experience MISUNDERSTANDING in the FAMILY; His own family thought that He was DERANGED. So He is not asking FROM US anything that He did not KNOW HIMSELF.
We cannot ESCAPE CONFLICT, unless we either LEAVE this WORLD or DENY Christ.
Than LIFE ITSELF: vs.38-39. (verse 39: the most FREQUENTLY QUOTED phrase of Jesus.)
We have only TWO CHOICES: SPARE your life, or SACRIFICE your life. There is NO MIDDLE GROUND.
We will NOT LACK REWARDS: vs.40-42.
In 3 different ways, Jesus is saying that those who RECEIVE His FOLLOWERS, because of what they STAND FOR, will in turn be RECEIVED by GOD.
V.42 – He is not speaking here of SMALL SERVICE to a GREAT PERSON, but SMALL SERVICE to a SMALL PERSON.
EVERY Christian’s TESTIMONY is IMPORTANT!
These words were spoken by our Lord 2,000 years ago, & it is because those who HEARD those words were OBEDIENT to Christ that the GOSPEL of salvation has been carried AROUND the WORLD.
2 closing REALITIES to keep in mind:
WE are to be OBEDIENT in sharing that SAME GOSPEL TODAY.
That same gospel has been DECLARED to you today!
BELIEVE that gospel, & you will be SAVED.
REJECT that gospel, & you will PERISH FOREVER.
Be WILLING, then:
To DECLARE the gospel;
To BELIEVE the gospel.