Summary: When we go with the gospel, some will receive it and others will reject it.
Going with the Gospel
Rev. Brian Bill
June 25-26, 2016
On January 23rd of this year, after $1 beer night at a hockey game at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Jake Strotman and his drinking buddies approached a band of Baptist street preachers. Strotman felt like these preachers were “condemning him” so he let them know what he thought of their preaching: “They were telling me I was going to hell…I didn’t understand why they thought they could judge me.”
Screaming and cussing was followed by a lot of pushing and shoving. Strotman somehow ended up at the bottom of a pile, in his words, “eating asphalt.” He pushed himself up with one hand and planted another hand squarely into the face of the bespectacled eye of Joshua Johnson, who had been preaching the word of God. Johnson’s face was bloodied and Strotman was charged with assault.
In late May, Strotman appeared before judge William Mallory. The judge told him that he was looking at 90 days in jail. Strotman sure didn’t want to go to jail: “Anything but jail, thought the self-employed salesman of windows, sidings and doors.”
The judge then turned to the preacher and said, “I’m trying to get to something reasonable here. And I'll be honest with you guys, sometimes in certain places people don’t want to be preached to. You agree with that right?”
Yes, he said, he did.
“I admire the fact that you want to spread the word of God because I’m a religious man, too,” the judge said. “Also, the thing about religion, I think it is kind of personal and for me I don’t try to impose my religious views on other people except for sometimes in this room.”
Have you ever noticed that some people don’t want to be preached to? In our passage for today we’re going to see that Jesus sent out his disciples on a very personal short-term preaching mission. We’re going to learn that when we go with the gospel, some will receive it and others will reject it.
Turn in your Bibles to Mark 6:7-13: “And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts—but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. And he said to them, ‘Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.’ So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.”
Before we dive in, it’s important to note that this passage contains some unique and specific instructions for the twelve disciples as they were sent out on a one-time mission. This short-term mission trip was designed to teach and train as part of their intense internship (similar to the internship Justin Rumley is having this summer). They had heard a lot of preaching from Jesus and now it was time for them to put it into practice. There are at least four reasons why I believe these instructions are not normative for us today.
• They were initially sent only to the Israelites. Matthew 10:5-7: “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
• The next time they are sent out the restriction of no provisions is reversed. We see this in Luke 23:35-36: “And he said to them, ‘When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, ‘Nothing.’ He said to them, ‘But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack…’”
• Later, their mandate is to make disciples “among all the nations” according to Matthew 28:19-20. Acts 1:8 says we’re to start in Jerusalem but not stay there as the gospel is also intended for the “ends of the earth.”
• The early church did not view these initial instructions as normative. Sometimes they ministered in pairs; other times they did not. Paul financed his ministry as a tentmaker. By the way, our newest missionaries were approved on Tuesday night by the deacons. They [I’m leaving their names out for safety reasons] will be targeting an unreached people group of 16 million in India while working at a job as a way to gain credibility and acceptance.
While not prescriptive, we can draw three principles from this passage that have application to our lives today.