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Matthew 10

March 6th, 2011 by Vic

March 6, 2011

Matthew 10

“Disciples’ Handbook”

Jesus was becoming popular.  If you found yourself becoming popular and you had a large group of people following you how would you organize your group?   How would you start?  You may start by writing a constitution, a handbook, a manual or something to identify the uniqueness and purpose of your group.  You may start by appointing leaders to small groups and developing a hierarchy of accountability.  Would you copy the political structure, the religious structure, the military structure, or the educational structure you were raised with?  What old wineskin would you use?  What incentive would you offer to those who joined your group?

What are your followers thinking and expecting?  Are they hoping that you are the promised Messiah and have authority from God — that there will be wealth, riches, power, popularity, joy, happiness, celebration, wholeness, freedom, and peace?  Isn’t that what the Messiah is supposed to bring?  Our expectations sometimes need to be corrected.

Notice what Jesus does.  Without any policy Manual, briefcase, or backpack, He sends out 12 with authority to tell people the kingdom is near.  He tells them to heal the sick and to raise the dead.  He did not give them any itinerary or ‘how to’ manual.  He did not give them a “Jesus Film”.  He did not give them any rental car or motel reservations.  He gives them 30 minutes of instructions and sends them on their way to do what He has been doing.

They have not preached before.  They have not healed anyone before.  Can you imagine all the questions they had when they left Jesus?  Then when they returned a few weeks later can you imagine how closely they listened to the words of Jesus then?

Matthew has established that Christ has authority over sin, sickness, birth defects, death, and political leaders.  Jesus has been identified as the Messiah, the Son of David, and the Son of God.  Even the demons recognized Him.  Jesus was very popular.

Up to this time the disciples were probably expecting to be part of an earthly kingdom.  They saw the power and authority that Jesus had from God.  They could visualize a war with Rome and any other enemies where Jesus heals the wounded and raises the dead.  With Jesus there would be no dead soldiers.  They were undefeatable.

They were impatiently wondering when Jesus was going to declare His kingship and claim His kingdom.  He had just said to pray for laborers in the harvest.  For the Jews the harvest symbolized judgment.  That must mean He wanted to recruit more soldiers so we can overcome Rome and judge Rome.

But the kind of disciples Jesus wants are ones who see the multitude (9:36) and have compassion rather than condemnation.  Chapter 10 begins the hands on training for the disciples.  They have seen how Jesus lived now they are told to follow in His steps.

10:2 Disciples are apostles.  That means they are like ambassadors or ones sent with the authority of the one sending.  Jesus had authority in Word (chapters 5-7) and deed (chapters 8-9) and now he identifies 12 ambassadors.  He had lots of followers, but only delegated these 12 as apostles or ambassadors.  The number 12 has symbolic meaning.  Not all followers are given special assignments.  Some in this chapter are identified as worthy and are to support those on special assignment.

This is the only time in Matthew that the 12 are called apostles.  We learned in Revelation that the 12 represent all God’s children.  The principles that are true with the 12 can be applied to Matthew’s church or our church.  We are all to walk as Jesus walked.  The disciples are to continue doing what Jesus did.  The disciples are to continue proclaiming and displaying the power of the kingdom.  They are to have complete trust in the heavenly Father.  Ambassadors are functioning properly when they act just like their king would act.

10:5 First Jesus says there are some places you are not suppose to go.  But your training, authority and message qualifies you to go to the lost sheep of Israel.  All Jews despised the Samaritans because they were racially mixed and disloyal to the Law of Moses.  The Gentiles were pagans and outside the scope of God’s promises to Israel.  However God’s grace and mercy is great and the Samaritans and Gentiles would soon receive the overflow of the blessings to Israel.  Jesus said his ministry was to the Jews first.  But there is enough grace to spill over so the Gentiles are also abundantly blessed.

When we get to the end of Matthew’s gospel the disciples are going into all the world.  Their assignment is not limited.  The Holy Spirit can help them preach to all cultures.  The children of God are not just Abrahams physical descendents but the children of God are identified as descendents of Abraham’s faith.

10:7

The lost sheep are the first to hear the announcement of the imminent kingdom.  The kingdom of heaven is the sphere in which God rules.  The Messiah is coming soon.

The disciples are given words to speak and deeds to do.  They are to say and do what John the Baptist and Jesus have been saying and doing.  They have the same message.  God is on the throne.  He is about to establish His kingdom that will defeat satan’s kingdom.

The good news of the kingdom includes healing the sick, raising the dead, cleansing the lepers, and casting out demons.

Don’t charge for preaching the good news.  Don’t plan to get rich.

10:9 You will have to trust God to provide.  Hospitality should be available, but it is not guaranteed.  Learn to rely on God’s provision.  You are not to profit from preaching, but you are worthy of receiving your food.  Expect God to go before you and supply all your needs.

Don’t keep thinking you need more training, a better resume, more security, more books, more supporters and more baggage.  You have everything you need for life and godliness.

These instructions were familiar to a Jew.  The Talmud says, “No one is to go to the Temple Mount with staff, shoes, girdle of money, or dusty feet.”  When a man entered the temple, he was symbolically saying he was leaving all concerns of worldly affairs behind and coming to worship God alone.  Jesus was suggesting that the whole world is the Temple of God.  The man of God must show by his attitude to material things that his first interest is to worship God and not material things.

10:11

A worthy person is the one who provides hospitality to the disciples.  Be content with your housing and your provisions.  Don’t shop around for the best accommodations.  Your presence in the home will bring blessing to that home.  If the home does not provide your basic needs, leave and the blessing on the home will leave with you.  What applies to the home applies to the town.

10:14 You will not be welcomed in every home and village.  Some cities are very religious, but not interested in truth.  Those who reject the gift of God that you offer them will suffer a catastrophic judgment because they are rejecting a very costly gift.  To reject the message of Jesus has some very grave consequences.  Just before Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed they failed to give hospitality to the messengers of God.

You ambassadors are being sent like sheep among wolves.  You will be vulnerable.  You will be in a hostile environment.  You will not be all-powerful.  The authority you have will not change wolves’ appetites.  You must be crafty as serpents and innocent as doves.  You will need discernment.  Be discerning and innocent.  Innocence without discernment is naiveté.  Discernment can become manipulation and cheap cunning without simplicity and innocence.  Doves are easily caught.

10:17

The opposition extends to governors and kings which suggests Jesus is referring to a time beyond this present assignment for the disciples.  They will be harassed and persecuted, not because of who they are, but because of the message they proclaim.  The disciples assume there is absolute truth.  They assume words can have meaning.  Like our culture today, the Jews and Romans were intolerant of those who did not worship tolerance.

The opposition may even come from your own families.  When people fear discussing ideas and beliefs, they start attacking the person.

Jesus warned of dangers but promised the help of the Spirit.  When you are arrested, don’t worry about what to say.  The Spirit of God will speak through you.

It seems that Jesus words extend beyond the disciples here.  Now the teaching applies to us also.  The one who stands firm to the end will be saved.  Christians have been burned, beheaded, crucified, impaled, drowned, starved, racked, etc. not because of anything they did, but simply for proclaiming Jesus as Lord of all.

10:23 You won’t finish your task in a short time.  Don’t hang around if you see trouble coming.  You don’t have to be a martyr.  God will judge your opposition.  Your goal is to be faithful.  You will not preach in every city.

The “coming” is the judgment that Jesus brings on the Jews that culminated in the sacking of Jerusalem.  The 12 will not be able to visit all the Jewish cities before the Fall of Jerusalem and the elimination of the sacrificial system.  Judgment comes like Matt Dillon coming in the saloon doors during a big brawl and saying, “This all ends now.”  There was more to follow, but judgment had begun.

Jesus was born a King.  The kingdom of God was at hand.  When He ascended into heaven He was seated on the throne.  The kingdom of God had come.  The kingdom of God still comes on earth every time believers allow Him to rule in their hearts.  Judgment comes when unbelievers reject Jesus.  The resurrection gave Jesus all authority (28:18).  The temple disappears and new wineskins are required (9:16).

Persecution seems to be part of God’s plan to get you to move to other cities.  It is a paradox that a message of God’s love, joy, salvation, and forgiveness will bring suffering and death to the messengers.

10:24 Don’t be surprised when you suffer.  You will be like your teacher.  Criticism and opposition begin to escalate in the next chapter.  The disciples did not yet realize how much Jesus would suffer.  Jesus has already been called a devil and now he warns the disciples that suffering is unavoidable.

10:26, 28, 31 Do not fear.  Three times we are told not to fear.  Remember that God has the final word.  What you do not understand now will be made clear after the resurrection.  The truth will come out in the end so keep proclaiming the truth.

How do you handle fear?  Recognize it as a valid emotion based on the facts you have.  Fear can be caused by a lack of information. It may be caused by intimidation?  Maybe you feel inferior?  Is death the end of reality or the beginning?  Is God in control or are you in control?  Can God be trusted?  Are you a child of God?  Fear God not man.

10:32 Don’t be ashamed of the gospel.  It is the power of God unto salvation.  There is no placard on the church wall that says “Safety First”.

10:34 The Prince of Peace has come to a hostile world.  The gospel brings peace to the righteous but judgment to the wicked.  The gospel is a message of peace, but man’s response varies.  The common belief was that the messiah would bring political peace and material prosperity.

10:37 The world tells us to find ourselves, but Jesus says we must deny ourselves and die to our selfishness.  We are told to love one another but we must love God supremely.

Jesus’ family rejected Him till after the resurrection.

The cross we bear is not a physical defect or a mental handicap, but a radical obedience, self-denial, and godly love.

It is popular to say, “This is my life.  I’m going to live it.  I deserve a break today.  I’m going to seize the day.”  But Jesus calls us to lose our life in Him so we can say it is not longer me living, but Christ in me.  That is the way to abundant life and radical living.

10:40-42 When you are faithful God blesses you and amazingly those who help you in your ministry also receive your blessing from God too.  God has promised to bless those who obey Him and walk in His will and way.  And also the one who blesses the minister is himself blessed.

You can receive a reward by practicing hospitality.  You can receive a blessing by helping a righteous man’s ministry.

It may be helping a child of any age.  If someone is faithfully following God, we can receive a blessing by helping him even with a cup of cold water.

The Handbook on Discipleship tells you:

Who you are

Where you can go

What to expect

Why you need to go

When your task is completed

It gives you some contingency plans

It gives you a model

It offers a challenge and a reward

Be Christlike in this wicked world.

Follow the example of Jesus.

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One Response to “Matthew 10”

  1. Philip Shields sermons…

    […]Matthew 10 | Evangelical Community Chapel Molalla, Oregon Area Church in the Community of Liberal[…]…

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