Summary: From Jesus’ words to the apostles in Matthew 10.
Lessons from the First Missionaries
January 15, 2006
Well, after Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years, we’re finally getting back to our walk through the gospel of Matthew.
We’ve gotten through 9 chapters, and have covered a lot of ground, including the Sermon on the Mount, and looked at some specific ways to live for and reflect Jesus in our world.
Today, as we start in chapter 10, we get a look at the very first missionaries sent out by Jesus. I’d like you to take your Bible and turn to Matthew chapter 10. If you’re using the Bibles in the seats, this is on page 688.
Anyone here ever have any "on the job training?" You know, where you learn what the job is all about and how to do it, while you’re actually doing it?
I can think of some real dangerous jobs where that wouldn’t work real well.
Things like, "nitroglycerin transportation," or "underwater submarine repairing." Or maybe "radioactive material disposal."
But in many cases, OJT is a good thing, and Jesus decides to use that here as we open chapter 10.
He’s spent some time with them, they’ve seen him work and heard him teach, and they’ve got an idea of what this "kingdom of God" thing is all about, at least generally.
So now Jesus sends them out to kinda test their wings, and give them a taste of what they’ll be doing after he’s gone.
He gives them a basic message - ’The kingdom of heaven is near.’ And tells them where to go and how to share the message with.
But before we get too far into the message, I want to take just a moment to make a special point about this passage:
Special point: Be careful what you pray for! Remember how chapter 9 ended?
Jesus was expressing his concern for the crowds, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd, and Jesus says -
"The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field."
Jesus tells them to pray for workers, and then what does he do? He makes them the answer to that prayer.
And in doing that, he gives them some instructions, and from those instructions, we find a number of principles.
Today we’re going to look at four of these, from verses 1-10, and over the next couple weeks we’ll be looking at some more.
But for today, let’s take a look at four principles we can find from Jesus sending out these twelve guys, okay?
The first principle we learn is to...
1. Take the authority Jesus has given you.
He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.
2 These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
The word "apostle" means, "sent one," and not just in the sense of going on behalf of someone, but actually in the sense of acting on the full authority of the one doing the sending.
These guys were sent out on the full authority of Jesus himself.
Two types of authority here:
* Authority over spiritual enemies.
* Authority over illness.
Today we also have another authority from Christ:
* Authority to take the message.
"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
If you are a follower of Christ, you have the authority of Christ.
But it’s important to keep a couple things in mind:
First, when God gives authority, he gives the ability to fulfill that authority.
I think many of us have been in positions where we had the "authority" or the title, but little or no actual power to do anything with it.
They’re told to do something, but are never given the power to make decisions or spend money to do the task. And then when the boss asks them why it’s not done, the frustration comes to a head.
Ever been there? It’s really frustrating.
So you can imagine how things would have gone for these apostles if Jesus had said to take authority in these areas without giving them the backing they needed to do what Jesus had told them to do. But God doesn’t operate that way.