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The Disciples Task-Mt. 10_5-15

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The Disciples Task

Matthew 10:5-15

A baby camel asked his mother, “Mom, why do I have these huge three-toed feet?” His mother replied, “Well, son, your toes help you stay on top of the soft sand when we trek across the desert.” A few minutes later the baby camel asked, “Mom, why do I have these long eyelashes?” His mother replied, “Well, son, your eyelashes help keep the sand out of your eyes on our trips through the desert.” A few minutes later the baby camel asked, “Mom, why do I have these great big humps on my back?” His mother, who was getting a little impatient with her son, replied, “Well, son, your humps store water for our long treks across the desert, so you can go without drinking for long periods of time.” “That’s great, Mom,” the baby camel said. “We have huge feet to stop us from sinking, long eyelashes to keep sand out of our eyes, and humps to store water. But...Mom?” “Yes, son?” “Why are we in the zoo?”

·        Every believer has been designed to carry out a mission: The Disciples Task.  Just like the first disciples called by Jesus to a mission, we are called by Jesus. Not to be hidden in our churches but out their carrying out our task.

·        Mt. 10:5-15 is the account of Jesus sending out his newly picked disciples on a mission.

·        It is important to note when studying this passage that the exact commission is not addressed to us.  We are not told to go to Israel, perform healings and cast out demons, take only one pair of sandals and dust off our feet if they don’t like what we say.

·        In studying the Bible it is important to understand the context of the Scripture.  This passage is not a direct command to us, but it is because there are principles that apply directly to us.

·        Today we want to look closer at this call Jesus made to his twelve disciples and how that relates to us.


1.      Preach and Teach the Truth. (v. 7)

As you go, announce this: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near. 

·        When Jesus tells his disciples what to do he begins by telling them what to say.

·        Proclaiming the Kingdom of God was Christ’s own message (Mt. 4:17)

From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near!”

·        The Kingdom of God that was preached by John the Baptist and Jesus is referring to the presence of God through relationship.

·        Relationship comes through reconciliation and that only through repentance.

·        The O.T. speaks of the Kingdom of God being found in the presence of God, but when the people would sin and would be sent into exile it is said that the kingdom departed.

·        Preaching the Kingdom of God is an invitation to people to come and become citizen of that kingdom.

·        The Kingdom of God is a present reality through restored relationship with God and a future promise because it will find completion in future glory

·        In essence for Jesus to tell his disciples to preach the Kingdom of Heaven is to tell them to share the message of the Gospel.

·        When Jesus is declaring that the kingdom is near he is saying that it is all around.  It is found in the presence of God-at that time in Christ and now in the Holy Spirit. (Lk. 17:21)

no one will say,  ‘Look here!’ or ‘There!’ For you see, the kingdom of God is among you.”

·        Later as the apostles would continue the work of Christ they would maintain this message (Acts 3:19)

Therefore repent and turn back, that your sins may be wiped out so that seasons of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,

·        The message for us today is no different.  Jesus proclaimed it, passed it on to his disciples as their primary message and commissioned the church to preach the same. (Mt. 28:19)

Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations,

Some people have called the Wachau Valley in Austria the most beautiful place on earth. There the wide Danube River is forced between mountain ranges so that it becomes narrow and deep and swift. There are places where the sound of a ship's horn, after a delay of exactly three seconds, comes back exactly one octave higher.  The words of Jesus are echoed from generation to generation. One sound dies out only to be repeated by another voice, another generation. Each is harmonious with the one that has gone before, so that the gospel produces one lovely chord of grace and hope.

2.  Demonstrate the Power of God. (v. 8)

Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those with skin diseases, drive out demons.  You have received free of charge; give free of charge.

·        We must understand the context of this verse.  This command is specified for the disciples.  We make an error if we presume that this is a command for us.

·        God has not said that these types of things cannot happen today, but we must be cautious.  Certain groups within Christianity have taken liberties that they should not take.

·        This verse contains four imperatives or commands.  These commands are subordinate to the command to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom. They were not to take center stage.

·        They were used by Jesus and also the disciples as the sign for coming of the kingdom. (Acts 2:22) (Mk. 16:20)

“Men of Israel, listen to these words: This Jesus the Nazarene was a man pointed out to you by God with miracles, wonders, and signs that God did among you through Him, just as you yourselves know.  And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word by the accompanying signs.

·        The disciples continued the work of Christ throughout the apostolic ministry.  Miracles continued but less frequently than the Gospels for the verification of Christ’s message. (Acts 8:5-6)

Philip went down to a city in Samaria and preached the Messiah to them.  The crowds paid attention with one mind to what Philip said, as they heard and saw the signs he was performing.

·        You may notice though as you survey the whole of the New Testament that the occurrence of miracles decreases as the Apostles are martyred and the message of the Gospel is spread.  The book of James written early on encourages people to seek miraculous healing (James 5: 14-15). 1 Timothy 5:23 (written much later) has Paul encouraging Timothy to take a little wine for his ailments.

·        The message for us today becomes somewhat metaphorical.  Miracles can still happen but we are called to seek a life of demonstrating the power through our lives not through signs and wonders.  (Jn. 13:34-35)

I give you a new commandment: love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

The proof of Christianity is not a book but a life. The power of Christianity is not a creed but a Christian character; and wherever you see life that has been transformed by the grace of God, you see a witness to the resurrection of Jesus.   William M. Woodfin

3.      Rely on God Completely.  (v. 8b-10)

You have received free of charge; give free of charge. Don’t take along gold, silver, or copper for your money-belts.  Don’t take a traveling bag for the road, or an extra shirt, sandals, or a walking stick, for the worker is worthy of his food.

·        The disciples are commissioned by Jesus to share the Gospel as a free gift.  They were not to try to sell it in order to have their needs met.

·        They are not to take extra provisions-they are to be totally committed with complete reliance on the provisions supplied through God.

·        Jesus has modeled this already for his disciples. (Mt. 8:20)

Jesus told him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.”

·        We find out later that this means of ministry worked.  They went out and God provided for all their needs (Lk. 22:35)

He also said to them, “When I sent you out without money-bag, traveling bag, or sandals, did you lack anything?”  “Not a thing,” they said.

·        In this same text we see that he now gives them a new command to take provisions but it is all in the context of his message to his disciples to rely on God for everything.  He makes this clear in his own ministry. (Mt. 6:33-34)

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.  Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

·        The message for us is the same thing as Christ gave to the disciples.  We are to rely completely on God for all our needs.

·        For ministry this means not holding back because we don’t know how we will be looked after.

The people who jest about faith don't realize how big a part it plays in everyday affairs. It takes faith to get married because marriage vows are basically promises. It takes faith to send children off to school. It takes faith to get a prescription filled. It takes faith to eat in a restaurant, deposit money in a bank, sign a contract, drive on the highway, or get on an airplane or an elevator. Faith isn't some kind of religious experience for the elite; it's the glue that helps hold people's lives together.  But remember, faith is only as good as its object. If we trust people, we get what people can do; if we trust money, we get what money can do; if we trust ourselves, we get what we can do; if we trust God, we get what God can do.

   -- Warren Wiersbe

4.                                          Minister Unapologetically.  (v. 11-15)

“When you enter any town or village, find out who is worthy, and stay there until you leave. Greet a household when you enter it, and if the household is worthy, let your peace be on it. But if it is unworthy, let your peace return to you.  If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that house or town.  I assure you: It will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town. 

·        The disciples were to go to places that were worthy.  This word worthy which has the idea of having merit or value.

·        This worthiness is defined by v. 14:  if people will welcome you or listen to your words.

·        The criteria for their ministry was the people’s receptivity.  They have to be open to what you have to offer and if so leave your peace. This does not mean it had to be a home of believers but simply one that was open to their ministry.

·        Peace in a general way has the idea of being content or calm, but in the context of theses verses and others in the New Testament it has the idea of Peace with God: that is the Gospel which brings reconciliation. (2 Cor. 5:18)

·        If the people were not receptive they were to leave, but it was to be done in such a way that sent a message.

·        The message is that they have rejected the message of God and they were now on their own, they had decided to be self-sufficient and would reap the reward for it.

·        This can be seen in the disciples future ministry when they attempt to bring the Gospel to people.  When they are receptive the Good news is delivered but when the people are hostile they move on. (Acts 18:6)

But when they resisted and blasphemed, he shook out his clothes and told them, “Your blood is on your own heads

·        In the end such places are left without the deliverance of God, just as Sodom and Gomorrah was devastated.  Paul reminds us of the place each believer has because of the work of Christ and the message of the Gospel. (Rom. 9:29)

And just as Isaiah predicted: If the Lord of Hosts had not left us a seed, we would have become like Sodom, and we would have been made like Gomorrah.

·        For us this means that we will not always face receptive hearts in fact we will be rejected more times than not.  Our task is to bring a message not make them accept it.  Our responsibility ends with the message.  Acceptance of the message is purely Gods domain. (Phil. 1:29)

For it has been given to you on Christ’s behalf not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for Him

Someone asked Roger Staubach, former quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, about football injuries. "How do you keep on keeping on if you're playing professional football?"  Roger said something important: "If you're not playing hurt, you're not playing football."  It's exactly the same way with the Christian faith. If you're not living it hurt, you're probably not living the Christian faith.

Conclusion

·        Every believer has been called.  Each of us has been called no matter what type of person we are because God wants to use every person.

·        We have been a witness to the fact that Jesus preached reconciliation with God, he demonstrated signs to validate his words, he depended completely on his heavenly Father and he was faithful even though he was rejected.

·        The disciples continued this task; they preached, they demonstrated signs to validate their message, they depended completely and they were faithful despite rejection.

·        We are called to continue the work of the disciples:

·        We are to share the good news of Christ-but you say, “I’m not a preacher.”  You can share the message of Christ through kindness, consistent Christian living, serving others and becoming equipped to share Christ.

·        We are to demonstrate the power of God-but you say, “I can’t perform miracles.” God has called us to validate the message of Christ through the miracle of our transformed life.  He has called us to pray and live in such a way that calls for God to act through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.

·        We are to rely completely on God to provide our needs-but you say, “this world is too complicated to live that way.”  When we dedicate ourselves to the Disciples Task, the so called needs of the world will not seem so important.  He will take care of us and give us the time to carry out his call.

·        We are to minister unapologetically-but you say, “I don’t think I can handle the ridicule.”  It is not up to us to handle it in our own power.  God will provide the resilience so that we can carry on.  It is not easy but we are reassured by the knowledge that we are honoring God.

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