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2007-02-25_Sent Ones_Matthew 10.1-15_SL

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Sent Ones

   Matthew 10:1-15   |   Shaun LePage   |   February 25, 2007

I.       Introduction

A.    As Christians in 2007 A.D., we are beneficiaries—blessed by the wisdom, experience and legacy of more than two millennia of great men and women who have walked with Christ before us. In 1159, English Bishop, John of Salisbury, wrote, “…We are like dwarves on the shoulders of giants, so that we can see more than they, and things at a greater distance, not by virtue of any sharpness of sight on our part, or any physical distinction, but because we are carried high and raised up by their giant size.” There are no greater giants—except for Christ Himself—than the twelve men chosen by Jesus to be Apostles.

B.    The Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 2 that “the household of God (the Church) was built on the foundation of the apostles…” Christ, of course, was the Cornerstone who chose twelve ordinary men to live anything but ordinary lives.

C.    Mt Review: In chapters 1-10, Jesus presented to Israel as King! Chs 1-4: King’s credentials; Chs 5-7: King’s teaching; Chs 8-10: King’s power—meant to authenticate Jesus and apostles.

D.    Chapter 10—2nd major discourse in Mt | One of the greatest chapters in the Bible for disciples.

II.     Body—Matthew 10:1-15 (obvious connection with final verses of chapter 9!!)

A.    The authority of the twelve. (v.1)

1.     “Summoned His twelve disciples”—lit., “called”. Significant decision | These Jews contrasted with the nation (22:1-3). “Twelve” apostles sent to Israel (twelve tribes; Mt 19:28). Ac 1—added Matthias.

2.     “Gave them authority”—Jesus’ authority was established (esp., 9:6-8); now His sent-ones | “cast out…heal” just as Jesus had done (8-9).

B.    The names of the twelve. (vs.2-4)

1.     “disciples” (learners) now “apostles” (sent ones) |

2.     “the names” | Listed 4 times—Peter always first, Judas always last; First 4 were fishermen, 2 sets of brothers; Philip brought people to Jesus (Nathaniel, Greeks); Bartholomew also known as Nathaniel; “Doubting” Thomas—confession end of John; Matthew “tax collector” (self-description); James, son of Alphaeus, also called “James The Less” (Mark tells us Matthew was also the “son of Alphaeus”; Thaddaeus also known as Judas, son of James (changed name after Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus?) “not Iscariot” in John 14; Simon the Zealot (probably part of a sect known for keeping the Law with great “zeal”); Judas Iscariot (“from Kerioth”) a.k.a., “the one who betrayed Him”. Sets of 2; “sent out” (v.5)

C.     The instructions of the twelve. (vs.5-15)

1.     Stay in Israel. (vs.5-6) Why? King being presented; After rejection: Mt 28:18-20; Ac 1:8; Gentiles and Samaritans included in due time. Different commission | “lost sheep” not derogatory. Remember 9:36? Solution? Send messengers—“Choose Shepherd-King?”  

2.     Preach the kingdom. (vs.7) Like Jesus (4:17) and John the Baptist (3:2), “the kingdom is at hand” | Summary of rich message! Be saved (Col 1:13); Be righteous (Ro 14:17); Be ready (Mt 25:31—the physical, visible, thousand-year reign of Christ on earth) | our message is “the kingdom is at hand” but also “the King has come!”

3.     Perform miracles. (vs.8) Like Jesus—miracles authenticated message/messengers | probably also illustrating the wisdom of shared ministry—but after about 1½ years!

4.     Travel light. (vs.9-10) “Belt” was for money—they were not to take travel money; “bag” was for food—not to take rations; “coats…sandals”—not to take a change of clothes; “staff”—not to take a tool for protection | Simply put, the Apostles were to trust God to take care of them—it was God’s idea that ministers of the Gospel earn their living from those to whom they minister; the idea was established here.

5.     Evaluate the response. (vs.11-15) The Apostles were to “stay with…greet…bless” those who were “worthy”; take back the blessing from those “not worthy” | Who was “not worthy”? “Whoever does not receive (them) nor heed (their) words” | “Dust”—very cultural; Jews in that day typically would shake the dust off shoes after walking on a road to a Gentile village—communicated same idea as Pilate’s washing hands | “Judgment” promised (worse than Sodom and Gomorrah!) for those who did not “receive” Apostles’ message. Don’t forget that these instructions came from the same Jesus of 9:36—“compassion”! 

D.    Rest of chapter, Jesus speaks beyond this short-term mission—next week!

III.   Closing: Principles (This commission was only for the twelve, but there are principles in it for us)

A.    The apostles were extraordinary. List communicates specialness—specifically named | others are called “apostles” but these held a unique office. See Eph 2:20; Jud 17; 1 Jn 4:6 | Ac 2:42. Devote yourself to their teaching.

B.    The apostles were ordinary. There was nothing special about any one of these men. Most were common nobodies. Some were even outcasts. Rise above mediocrity. (Read MacArthur, Twelve Ordinary Men, pgs. XII-XIII). How do we rise above mediocrity? We follow Jesus. We obey Him. We trust Him. It’s that simple—this is what makes a life meaningful and significant.

C.    The apostles were called. Going from disciple to apostle seems significant—from learner/follower to missionary. You are called as well: Never trusted Christ? Called to believe (“day of judgment”; Acts 17:30-31). Disciple? Called to “take hold” (1 Tim 6:12). Answer the call.

D.    The apostles were sent. This was just the first time. Their second set of instructions were different—they are now ours (“all nations...uttermost part”). Eleven obeyed. One betrayed. | Jesus was “The Apostle” (Heb 3:1); we are “apostles” (Great Commission “obey all that I commanded”—someone came to you, now…) | You go too! Two great principles: 1) Trust God to provide and protect; 2) focus on the receptive, not on hostile (Mt 7:6; Ac 13:46). 2007 goals—YCTI evangelism training next Saturday!  

E.     “We are like dwarves on the shoulders of giants.” Perhaps it would be more accurate to say, “We are dwarves on the shoulders of dwarves”. We are not that different. And our calling is not that different. What makes any of us extraordinary…what will make any of our lives extraordinary…is that which we have in common with the Apostles: our Lord—Jesus the Christ; and our response to His calling and the mission He has given us.  

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