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Not What We Signed Up For
September 18, 2016
Remember that in the last several sermons we have been talking about who will follow Jesus. Will you follow Him through a storm? Will you follow Him when He has no place to lay His head? Will you follow Him when they run Him out of town?
Many of us think that following Jesus is the way to happiness and smooth sailing. And no doubt, there is indeed a tremendous amount of blessing in following Jesus. He promises to take care of us and He does. But His care does not protect us from trouble. It is, in fact, His will that we encounter trouble. Some of this trouble is quite severe.
Jesus has gathered a handful of disciples. They recognize that He is a great man going to high places. This appeals to them and they immediately begin to follow Jesus. But Jesus constantly surprises them. He goes places and says things that do not meet their expectations. Still, they recognize His authority, the power of His Words and the great miracles that He does, and so they follow.
In this chapter, they begin to receive some of His authority. This is what they hoped for. They are being promoted to work in the coming kingdom, even with authority over spirits and sicknesses. This is appealing and yet Jesus surprises them again. Their work and authority is going to be questioned. They will have some level of success but not without suffering and persecution. What they thought would be their ascension to the right hand of Jesus turns out to be their humiliation. And this is just how Jesus would have it.
And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.
Jesus is beginning to pass on His work to His disciples. They power to cast out unclean spirits and to heal all sorts of sicknesses and diseases.
2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3 Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.
Jesus is into nepotism. Peter and his brother Andrew. James and his brother John. And to make the nepotism worse, 1/3 of Jesus’s disciples were in business together. Peter and Andrew and James and John all worked for their fathers who were partners in the fishing industry.
Phillip and Bartholomew
Thomas and Matthew the Publican. Matthew mentions himself as a publican, which is a derogatory term to the Jews. It is as if he is proud of it now that Jesus has called him.
James and Thaddaeus.
Simon the Canaanite
Judas Iscariot, who now carries the words, the one who betrayed Him.
Matt. 10:5 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:
Jesus sends His disciples only to the lost sheep of Israel. Since that is the case, you would think that He is sending them into friendly territory instead of hostile territory. However, that is not what happens. In fact, the disciples receive a much better reception into enemy territory than they do into friendly territory.
This later also proves to be true of the ministry of Saint Paul. Wherever he goes, he is received. But then the Jews show up and stir up the crowds against him.
6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
You would think that lost sheep would be pleased to be found. Some are but many will not be helped. Jesus looked at His people as sheep without a shepherd. He is the chief shepherd and now commissions His undershepherds to the work.
7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
What is the kingdom of heaven? Is it a kingdom in the heavens? Jesus says in the Lord’s prayer, Thy Kingdom Come, Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. The kingdom of Heaven is God’s will done on earth. Jesus is inaugurating that kingdom. That is the message of the gospel. The kingdom of heaven has come to Earth. Jesus is the King of that Kingdom and all men everywhere must worship Him as the King.
8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
The proof of Jesus’s authority and of apostolic authority was these miracles.
These are the same things that Jesus did and so when His disciples do these same things, we know that they are sent from God.
9 Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, 10 Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.
Jesus is the Great King and He can and will provide for all those that He sends out to do the work of the kingdom. The worker is worthy of his wages. These ministers are providing benefits to the sheep and should be remunerated accordingly. They are to be given food, drink, clothing and shelter.
11 And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. 12 And when ye come into an house, salute it. 13 And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you.
God’s people are everywhere. Those who receive the sent ones belong to the Lord. Furthermore, they are glad to serve God by serving His ministers.
The peace of God is to remain on those who serve God’s ministers. But if they will not, then they will not keep His peace.
14 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. 15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.
Jesus does not expect His disciples to plead with or prounounce any blessing on those who will not hear them. Just the opposite. They are to shake off the dust of their feet as a judgment against them. It is a sign of the curse they have brought upon themselves.
To reject Jesus and His disciples is worse than the debaucheries of Sodom and Gomorrha.
Matt. 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
What, we go out among wolves? Jesus, this is not what we signed up for. Surely, Your people will respond to Your as the King and will gladly join our cause. But Jesus reminds them that their trouble is just beginning and it is beginning within the house of Israel.
Wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Christians should know what is in the heart of man. Christians understand the sinful nature and are therefore quick to receive forgiveness and to strive to walk according the power of the Holy Spirit. We know the subtlety of men’s devices. Thus, we should protect ourselves from them. Be wise! But don’t be like them. Do not begin to use worldly means. The end does not justify the means. Be like innocent doves.
17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;
Beware of men. YOU be like innocent doves. But devlish men will be like crafty serpeents. They will seek to catch you in your words. They will seek bodily harm against you. They will spread lies and rumors about you. They will you falsely accuse you on the account of serving Jesus. Do not be surprised by this, for men are sinners and the chief sin is that of envy. It is a powerful sin that drives men even to murder.
18 And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.
How is this a testimony against governors and kings? Because these Christians are innocent as doves. They are accused of wickedness but cannot be proved to be wicked. However, the lack of proof does not halt the powers of injustice. If they cannot contrive proofs, they will gladly conspire punishments without proofs. Thus, they become judges of their own wickedness.
It is also true that to be brought before governors and kings is to testify to them. Through the ages, many rules have submitted themselves to the Lord Jesus Christ and this has been peace to God’s people and a benefit to that ruler’s kingdom.
19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. 20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. 21 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.
These disciples are to exhibit great faith. They were to go out without money and minister the deeds of God while relying on the people of God to support them.
However, they were going to generate a great deal of opposition. And when that happens, Jesus reminds them to exhibit the same kind of faith in God and reliance upon His Holy Spirit.
Brother delivering up brother is nothing new. That is the old way that Jesus has come to crush. It should not surprise His disciples or us that the devil still works that way. Those who resist the will of Jesus will find themselves at odds with the brothers and sisters of Christ as well as their own brothers and sisters.
Envy is the driving sin in this brother to brother clash. Do not be envious of your brother or sister. Envy kills gratitude and provokes enmity, hatred and eventually murder.
22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.
Jesus, we signed up to be loved by all for Your name’s sake. What do you mean that we will be hated by all?
As the light shines brighter and brighter to a full day, there will be more of those who love you for Jesus’s sake. But the worldly minded will always hate you for Jesus’s sake. Get that in your mind now.
How are the worldly minded? Generally speaking, they are the sophisticated, the well educated, the well-healed, the rich, those in the know. These people hate the simple unsophisticated faith in Jesus Christ. Always have, always will.
Let us not seek their praise but rather the praise of God, the praise of Jesus. Those who lose their life for Christ’s sake will find life.