Accept or Reject. (Jan 10th Sermon)
Pastor Jonathan David Hansen
Jesus comissions and sends out the twelve apostles to preach the gospel and heal those in need among the people of Israel.
Good Morning Connection Church!
As always it is great to be here with you. I’m sure part of it is that I am your pastor, but I love seeing you here to worship God together. The Church is so beautiful. The bride of Christ, the workers of God in this fallen world, the ambassadors of Heaven; what a beautiful sight. And we get to come together and do the one thing that we were made to do! We get to gather together and do the thing that should bring us the most joy. We are gathered together to worship God. This is our divine purpose, our heavenly calling, our reason for existence. We were made to glorify God.
This is the reason that it is a beautiful thing to gather together on the Lord’s Day. This is the day that we dedicate to God. We have six days that are ours but on this day, we dedicate it to the Lord. We come together on the mornings of this day and worship God together.
We have already worshipped through the singing of songs as we are commanded in scripture.
15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
We have also worshipped through the teaching and learning of truths as well as singing praise to God.
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
But now we are going to worship through the reading and preaching of the Word of God as Paul commanded Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:2.
2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
This is what I will attempt to do. With that in mind, will you open with me to Matthew 10:1-15.
As you open there, let’s discuss what we have seen so far in the book of Matthew.
Matthew is the author, but who was Matthew?
Why did Matthew write this account?
What are some things we have learned from Matthew’s account so far?
Matthew has shown something very important about Jesus. He has shown us that Jesus has… What? It starts with an “a.”
Jesus has Authority .
Matthew 10:1–15 ESV
1 And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. 2 The names of the twelve apostles are these: 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 tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. 5 These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, 6 but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. 9 Acquire no gold or silver or copper for your belts, 10 no bag for your journey, or two tunics or sandals or a staff, for the laborer deserves his food. 11 And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it and stay there until you depart. 12 As you enter the house, greet it. 13 And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. 15 Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.
Let’s pray together.
Dear Heavenly Father,
We ask you to work today. Please open hearts and minds to hear your word. Lord, please draw people unto Yourself today through this service and through this, Your Church. If anyone is here that does not know you, draw them to yourself. Save people today, Lord. We ask that you would bring lost people in. We want to see people saved in this Church, Lord. That is our desire. We long for you use this ministry here for the salvation of souls. We want to see the lost of Lead, SD saved. Use us, Lord. Please draw in people who need to hear the Gospel.
For those here who are Christians, Lord we pray that you would sanctify them. Draw them closer to You. We need Your help and we want to grow closer to you. Strengthen Your Church in this time of trial and turmoil in our world. Hold us close to you, oh Lord. I love this church, Lord.
Lord, we ask for our nation. You are our only hope. We need You to move in our nation, Lord. We ask that you would work in Your Church in this nation. Hold Your Church fast to you. Lord, the only hope our nation has is in the Gospel. Because of this we ask that you would put a passion and a boldness in the church. Raise up faithful ministers who will boldly proclaim the gospel.
Father, I ask finally for myself. Make me a minister who will boldly proclaim the gospel. Help me to shepherd Your people well. Help me to preach the Gospel well. Lord, do not let me speak against You or Your Word. Protect my mouth from speaking any lies or anything misleading.
Lord we ask these things in Jesus Holy name. Amen.
As we open this text we see in verse 1 that Jesus gives authority to the twelve apostles.
1. Jesus Gives Authority to the Twelve.
But who are the apostles? Well, Matthew tells us. They were the twelve disciples listed in these verses. But what is an apostle? An apostle is someone who is Directly commissioned by Jesus. That word “directly” is important. We are all commissioned by Jesus to live holy lives, share the gospel, make disciples, and more; however we are not all apostles. Paul makes this clear in 1 Corinthians 12:29
“29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles?”
The clear indication is that we are not all apostles. Paul’s question must be answered in the negative. In greek there is an article before each question he asks here that grammatically requires it to be answered “no.” That is why that word “direct” is so important. Jesus directly commissioned these men to do this work.
And remember, last week we saw in the closing verses of Matthew 9, Jesus looks out at the crowds and has pity on them. His heart broke over the lost sheep of Israel. He then says to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
Now in chapter ten we see Jesus equipping and sending out the workers. He does not morn the lost sheep then move on. Jesus acts. He starts His action to gather the lost sheep by giving authority to the Apostles. It says he gave them authority over unclean spirits, and to heal every disease and affliction. This is incredible. Those twelve men listed there were given the authority to heal the sick and cast out demons.
Remember, Jesus is the one who has this incredible authority. Matthew has gone to painstaking lengths to emphasize the authority of Jesus. I preached four, almost five, sermons on Jesus’ authority because there is so much emphasis put upon it within Matthew. But now Jesus gives authority to the apostles.
Jesus not only has authority, He can give authority to others.
Picture with me a kingdom like those of old, or in fairy tales. In this kingdom there is a local regent who has been given authority over the local farms. He has this authority to rule and govern over the local farms and farmers. He can settle disputes and govern the gathering and taxation of the produce from these farms. When two farmers fight over where their property line ends, the regent looks at the records and makes a decision that those farmers must obey. But that regent cannot give his authority to others.
He is not allowed to say to another, “You take my place and decide these things.” Why not? because the authority is not his to give away. He was given the authority by the king. It is not inherent to him. He cannot give it away.
But the king has every right to give authority to others. He makes men regents and sherifs, executioners, and chefs. The king has total authority over these things because the authority is his. It is his birthright. It is natural to him. This is the difference between the king and this appointed regent. And this is what is so incredible about Jesus.
Not only does Jesus have authority, Jesus has inherent authority. Jesus can give the apostles authority over sickness and demons and more. This says so much about Jesus’ authority. He is not just one with authority, He is the one with ultimate authority! Jesus is not a man doing these things because He is super spiritual or because He has enough faith, or any other reason. Jesus can do these things because He inherently has the ultimate authority to do them. In short, beloved, Jesus is Lord.
The one we serve is Jesus Christ, God incarnate. He is the maker of Heaven and Earth. He is Lord of all.
Then we see Jesus sends out the twelve.
2. Jesus Sends out the Twelve.
Jesus gives the apostles authority and then sends them out. He gives them instructions and sends them out. We see here Jesus does not morn over the lost sheep, command prayer for workers, then move on. Jesus acts. He sends out these workers. He equips them and sends them out.
But before Jesus sends them out, He teaches them. He givens them their marching orders and instructs them. He does not send them out unequipped. He prepares them. Jesus is very detailed in how He sends them out. Let’s look at these instructions.
First, Jesus sends the twelve to Israelites.
a. Jesus Sends the Twelve to Israelites .
Jesus tells the apostles to “go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” Jesus tells them to go to Israel, and here again we see Jesus referencing the Old Testament imagery of Israel as lost sheep.
In Jeremiah 50:6 it says;
6 “My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray, turning them away on the mountains. From mountain to hill they have gone. They have forgotten their fold."
In this verse God is again mourning His people being lost and led astray.
This is such an appropriate image of Jesus’ day isn’t it? The people of Israel are in a helpless state. Oppressed by the Romans and without sound teachers. The Pharisees and Sadducees are the ones who are shepherding the Children of Israel. These are truly poor shepherds. The Sadducees are openly heretical and the pharisees have corrupted God’s word and are teaching a works based gospel.
It is such a terrible thing to have poor shepherds. Shepherds who lead the sheep astray. We must pray for good shepherds to come and teach the sheep of God.
But now, the Good Shepherd has come to Israel. They have been led astray and scattered, but Christ has come. It was God’s plan to send the gospel to the Jews first, and then to the Gentiles like us. This is made clear in scripture in passages like Romans 1:16 that says:
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
And here we see this. Jesus sends the twelve apostles to the Jews.
But Jesus did not just give instructions on where not to and where to go. We see Jesus give them commands on what to do.
b. Jesus Commands the Twelve to...
Jesus commands the twelve to proclaim the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.
...Proclaim the Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand.
The primary message and reason Jesus is sending these twelve apostles out is to declare the good news of the Kingdom of Heaven. They are to proclaim the gospel. Jesus sends these men out to gather the lost sheep.
What a beautiful picture. The King has commissioned twelve Apostles to proclaim that a new kingdom has come. He has empowered them and sent them with a message of hope.
We saw earlier that Jesus has ultimate inherent authority because He is the King. In our last example, He was the King. We see now that the apostles are the regents. Jesus has appointed them to do the work He has given them authority to do.
The chief work Jesus has called these twelve to do is to spread the good news. He has called them to go the Israelites and spread the gospel of the kingdom. This is the first and primary mission. They are to go out and spread the only message that mattered to those who were the first to hear it. The Children of Israel were to be the first to receive this message. They were the ones it was first promised to. They were the physical offspring of Abraham, the physical children of the promise and they were given the first opportunity to become the spiritual and true fulfilment of the promise.
The sharing of the gospel is always the primary mission. Jesus came to save sinners. This is the primary message. This is why Jesus came. And this is beautiful news. If Jesus came only to preform miracles of healing or cleansing of disease, then we would be lost. We may be healthy but we would be hopeless. But because the primary mission of Jesus was to bring the Kingdom of Heaven through the salvation and redemption of souls, we may be sick, but we have hope.
But Jesus also empowered these men to perform the same signs and wonders that He did Himself. He gave them authority to preach the gospel, but also to do four other things. Just as Jesus had done, these twelve were to verify their message of the gospel through signs and wonders.
... Heal the Sick.
Jesus commanded them to heal the sick. They were to heal the sick. Jesus had proven His authority over sickness by healing the Centurion’s servant, Peter’s mother in law, and many more. Jesus has now given the authority to heal the sick to the apostles and has commanded them to exercise it.
... Raise the Dead.
Jesus has also commanded the Apostles to raise the dead. This was one of Jesus’ most recent miracles. Jesus proved His authority over death by raising Jairus’ daughter back to life. Now Jesus is giving this authority to the twelve apostles and commanding them to exercise it. He tells them to raise the dead. This is an imperative command.
... Cleanse the Lepers.
Jesus commanded the apostles to cleanse the lepers. This was one of the most impactful and meaningful healings Jesus has performed up until this point. Jesus healed the leper, removing from him the stain of his uncleanness. Now Jesus is giving authority to and commanding His twelve apostles to do this.
... Cast out Demons.
Jesus finally commanded the apostles to cast out demons. Jesus had on two separate occasions shown His authority over demons. He did so with the two possessed men on the other side of the sea of Galilee, and most recently with the man who was mute in the previous chapter. Jesus is now giving authority to and commanding His twelve apostles to cast out demons.
This is an amazing list of imperatives because without Jesus, these men would be incapable to do any of this. Jesus giving them the authority is what enables them to do this. The twelve have no ability on their own to do these things. They are just men. But the one who has given them authority is not just a man. He is God. He is able to give them power and authority to do the impossible.
But we get an interesting picture of what Jesus has given them authority over. In verse one we see that He gave them authority over unclean spirits and to heal every disease and affliction. Then in the list we see that Jesus has given them over authority to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, and cast out demons. These are commands. In the greek it literally says, “sick, heal; dead, raise; lepers, cleanse; demons, cast out.” But look at that list.
That is almost the full list of what Matthew has labored to show us that Jesus has authority over. Matthew has shown us Jesus’ authority over sickness. He showed us Jesus’ authority over leprosy. He showed us Jesus’ authority demons. He showed us Jesus’ authority over death. It is almost the full list. Blindness can be more than likely lumped in with affliction, but there is still one that is missing. The time when Jesus showed the most authority and showed why it was that He had come.
Does anyone know what this was?
Jesus did not give these twelve the power to forgive sin. This is a key distinction. Jesus gave them the authority to do almost everything else He had done, but He did not give them the authority to forgive sins. This is because only God can forgive sins. This was something that only Jesus can do. Man cannot forgive sins. We can preach the gospel as Jesus commanded these twelve to do, but we cannot call to the heart or forgive sins. I cannot forgive your sins. I can merely point you to the one who can forgive your sins.
But there is something else that I want to touch on in this passage. I made the statement that Jesus and the apostles were verifying their message through signs and wonders. I said this for a very specific reason. The works these apostles did confirmed that their message was from God. They were laying a foundation. I bring this up because I think in reading these acounts we can get the idea that these things were normative. As we read these things, we can get in our head that the working of miracles was normal and a rather common occurrence within the time and early church. But this misses the point. These things were not normative, they were incredibly rare and abnormal. That is what made them so incredible and that is what makes them so incredible now.
These things were spectacular shows of God’s authority and power. There is a reason people marveled and were in shock whenever miracles happened. We must be careful not to read these things as normal because it is just not true.
But reading these things as normative can also be dangerous in another way. If we read these things and walk away with the idea that this just normal life for the follower of Christ, we can fall into deep despair. We can ask ourselves, “what is wrong with me?” “I don’t heal people I touch. Is something wrong with me?” And then there are people who will use this passage and passages like it to feed into this idea. They will make statements about how if we just had more faith, then we would heal those we touch, or raise the dead. They present this idea that this passage is a command for all Christians and that it is our lack of faith that keeps us from being able to do these supernatural things.
Beloved, this is not true. Jesus here is commissioning the twelve to do these things. He is giving this authority to and commanding “Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him” to do these things. While there are clear applications for us in this passage, it is not directly aimed at us. We are not commanded to go out without our wallets when we go share the gospel. But these men, in this occasion were.
Jesus was giving these men extraordinary power to perform signs to prove the message of the gospel. Matthew Henry puts it this way, “When he sent them to preach the same doctrine that he had preached, he empowered them to confirm it, by the same divine seals, which could never be set to a lie. This is not necessary now the kingdom of God is come; to call for miracles now is to lay again the foundation when the building is reared. The point being settled, and the doctrine of Christ sufficiently attested, by the miracles which Christ and his apostles wrought, it is tempting God to ask for more signs.”
Interestingly enough, during the protestant reformation, the Catholic church demanded signs and wonders from the reformers to verify their doctrine. The reformers considered this and answered back that because they were preaching the same exact message that Jesus and the apostles had preached, they did not need to perform signs and wonders to attest to it. They said that the signs of Jesus and the apostles who preached the same message were sufficient to attest to the gospel.
So do not be discouraged. We preach the same message that Jesus and the apostles preached.
But I want to be very clear. This is not to say that we do not believe that God still heals people. Clearly God heals people. And if you are here and you need healing, I would ask you to come so that we can pray for you for healing. James commands us to do this in James 5:14
14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.
So if you are here and you are sick, we believe God can heal you and we want to pray with you and for you. But we do not believe that we have to perform works like this to verify the gospel message.
But if we see anything in this text that is blatantly true today, as well as then, it is Jesus’ warning that people will accept or reject the gospel.
People Will Accept or Reject the Gospel.
Look with me again at verses 11-15.
11 And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it and stay there until you depart. 12 As you enter the house, greet it. 13 And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. 15 Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.
Jesus here uses the terms worthy not worthy. Jesus uses these terms to describe those who accept and reject the gospel that the apostles are presenting. Jesus tells them that if they are to great the house and if that house is “worthy” let their peace come upon it. If it is not “worthy” they are to let their peace return to them.
This may be confusing to us, but in the culture it would have made sense to them. It is like the shaking the dust of your feet when you leave. This was a cultural thing. In essence, Jesus is telling them not to worry when they are rejected for the gospel message. When they are rejected they are to let their peace return to them and shake the dust off their feet.
In our day we would say “let it roll off you like water off a ducks back.” Or, we would encourage people to say “It’s no skin off my nose.” or we may sing “Hakuna Matata.” I mean, It means no worries, for the rest of your days.
But in essence this is what it appears that Jesus is telling these twelve, only Jesus includes a rather dire warning for those who reject the gospel. Jesus says that it would be better for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgement then for those that reject the gospel.
For those of you who don’t know, Sodom and Gomorrah were cities that God wiped off the face of the earth for their immorality, particularly their sexual immorality. These people were so corrupt that God burned them off the face of the earth with fire and brimstone. And Jesus said that it is better for them than for those who reject the gospel.
This is a very powerful statement. This is not something that is just lightly said. Jesus is pronouncing extreme judgement on the people who reject the message of the Kingdom. It doesn’t matter that these people are from Israel. The wrath of God is completely destructive and vehement fire. There are no words to describe it except perhaps hell. The wrath of God is hell. This wrath that is equated to an unquenchable fire, or weeping and gnashing of teeth, is what awaits those who reject Jesus. This fate is worse than if God unleashed fire from heaven and burned them to ashes where they stood.
This is not a light statement. this is not an easy thing. But Jesus says this. Perhaps when you hear this you are offended. Perhaps you say, “That’s not very Christlike to say that those who reject Christ will burn in hell.” Well, if you are thinking that, then I have bad news for you. Jesus did say that. Jesus did mean that. And even if you object to it and hate it, it is true.
The greatest sin is to break the greatest command. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Failure to do this is the greatest of sins. Rejection of Christ is the ultimate failure to love Him. Those who reject Christ are bearing the full judgement of God’s wrath. That was true in Jesus’ day and it is true today.
Today, there are those who will accept the gospel and those will reject it. Those who accept it are forgiven of their sins, they are adopted and children of God, and they will spend all eternity in glorious, beautiful, heaven with Jesus Christ. Those who reject it are still in their sins, they are not children of God, and they will spend all eternity in horrifying, agonizing, burning hell separated from the love of God.
What one are you? Are you here and rejecting Christ? Are you here and still lost in your sins? If you are, please repent. Turn away from your sins and trust in Christ for forgiveness. He dies the death you deserve. He drank the full cup of God’s wrath. If you will place your faith in Him, you will be forgiven of your sins and be made a child of God.
For those of you who are children of God, how often do you think about the fact that those around you who are not saved will spend eternity in hell? How little do you care for them? They are lost and when they die, they will spend eternity in a real hell. Do you ever think of this? Do you ever consider the weight of the gospel message? I would wager you seldom you. All of you here, I call you to repent of this. I call you to beg God to forgive you for hating your neighbors. We withhold from them the most important message in the universe. We refrain from sharing with them the only message that can save them. God have mercy on us for our closed lips.
Here is how we are going to close out today. I am going to give an altar call. That means that I am going to ask us collectively a few questions. I am going to ask if anyone here needs to surrender their lives to Christ. This means that you have never been saved. Scripture says that if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. If you have not done this, then you have not been saved and you need to be!
Next I will ask if anyone here is saved and needs to be baptized. Scripture teaches that the first step of being saved is being baptized. If you are here and you are saved, but have not been, you need to obey Christ’s command. Do not refuse to be baptized please.
Finally I will ask if anyone needs to repent of sin. If you are here are living in sin, this is an opportunity to confess sins and pray together. Are you here and need to confess not sharing the gospel? This is a time to do this.
During this time, you can either stay where you are and speak to everyone, or if you would rather, you can come to the front and just talk to me. There is no need to be embarrassed or scared. We as a church long to grow together and long to see each other grow. Likely the enemy will try to make you scared, but you do not need to be afraid.
After this time where we give opportunity to come and pray, we are going to together pray for two things. We will together pray for boldness to share the message of the Gospel, and we will pray for the opportunities to share the gospel. We need to pray this because even though this particular commissioning in scripture was directly for the Apostles, we know that we also have a mission to share the good news of Jesus. We know that we are commanded to go and make disciples. We are to share the good news. And we live in an area that is in desperate need of the hope that is only found in Jesus Christ.
Is anyone here who needs to be saved?
Is anyone here who needs to be baptized?
Is anyone here who needs to repent?
Let’s pray for boldness and opportunities to share the gospel.
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