Sending Out the Twelve – 1

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See full series: the-teachings-of-jesus-2020-21

Sending Out the Twelve – 1

Sermon by  Thomas Thornhill Jr

Passage: Matthew 10:1-15


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Teachings of Jesus (56)

As we continue our study of the teachings of Jesus, we now come to His interaction with His apostles.  Because of the magnitude of His message on this occasion, we will devote 2 lessons to this topic.


  1. Sending out the Twelve –
    1. The training of the twelve – our text actually begins with Jesus selecting the 12. This was a serious task, as these would be the foundation of the church/kingdom Jesus came to build (Revelation 21:14, Ephesians 2:20).   Luke 6:12 records that before the naming of these ambassadors (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:20) He prayed all night.  Much could be said about their work, but such is not the purpose of this lesson.
    2. Background of our event
      1. Likely, the apostles have been with Jesus for about two years now. I see this event as somewhere toward the beginning of His third year with them.
      2. They have seen much, learned much more and their faith has been strengthened.
      3. He gave them power to perform all sorts of miracles (vs. 1). But it is time to send them out as a precursor to the great commission.
      4. Why did Jesus do this? I believe it was to build up their faith and confidence, and also to give them some understanding as to the work they would be engaged in after His departure.
    3. This is a powerful message with principles that we can apply to the work of reaching the lost. We will go through what Jesus said and make application to today.  Mark 6:7 notes that He sent them out 2 by 2 which is a lesson to consider in going to teach – it is always better to have someone with you as you try and teach the lost.  And in this lesson, we want to focus on some things to consider as we take the gospel to others.
  2. The Message –
    1. Opening instructions –
      1. Go to the lost sheep of Israel (5-6) – the beginning place of their teaching.
        1. This passage is called “the limited commission”. There were many reasons the gospel was to go first to the Jews.
          1. Among them was the fact that they had a “head start” on the truth. It was through them that salvation would come into the world by way of the Messiah.  Note how Paul described them in Romans 9:3-5 – they had great advantage.
          2. As such, your efforts to teach are often easier – they have some understanding to build on – they believed in God, His word, a coming messiah.
        2. Where do you begin your efforts in trying to reach other?
          1. Begin with familiar territory – your family and friends. Those who already know you are the best place to begin.
          2. With most of these you already have familiarity and likely you have things in common.
          3. Spiritually, you may also have things in common that make efforts easier – they believe in God, the Bible, Jesus, etc.
          4. Thus you can approach teaching with a degree of confidence.
    2. As you go, preach, saying “the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (7)
      1. This is the same message John and Jesus began with (Matthew 3:2, 4:17)
      2. But also notice the emphasis here – go. NOT going was not an option in obeying the Lord.  Notice the assumption is that you are going to go.
      3. This reminds us that God wants us to go – cf. Matthew 28:19-20, 1 Peter 3:15, 2 Corinthians 5:11, etc.
      4. Of course, we now preach the gospel of the kingdom of Christ in existence – Colossians 1:13. It was established on Pentecost (Acts 2).  We preach Jesus and God’s plan of salvation.
    3. Freely you have received, freely give (8)
      1. To the apostles, Jesus encouraged them to use their spiritual gifts. They would be the catalyst that backed up their preaching.  Miracles have always been a source of verification as we saw in our last lesson (John 5:36, cf. John 3:1-2, Matthew 9:5-6).  Hebrews 2:4 also bears this out as reason to believe and obey.    THUS, they we told to freely give – GENEROUSLY!
      2. Thought: Our preaching is not without proof. We have emphasized evidences extensively over the past few years.  It is my hope that our faith in God, His word and Jesus are more firmly established now because of these studies.  I know mine is! Romans 1:20 notes that we can know of God by looking at the creation.  Are we ready to give a defense for the hope that is in us? (1 Peter 3:15)
      3. Application: We back up our preaching with our actions.
        1. We know that we do not have miraculous powers today.  They have served their purpose.
        2. But we do have proofs, one of the greatest being our example. Do we live the gospel we preach?  1 Peter 2:11-12 calls for righteous living and honorable conduct as a means to silence the enemy.
        3. Also, are we a people filled with good works? Titus 2:14, Ephesians 2:10.  James 2:14-24 elaborates on this as well – esp. vs. 18, show your faith by your good works.  ONE of the best ways to open doors for teaching is by living a charitable gospel that shows you genuinely care for others.
        4. People want to see the gospel IN you, not just in your words.
        5. Romans 12:6-8 – whatever “gifts” we have, let us use them for His glory. Also 1 Peter 4:11 – whether teaching or ministering, let it be for the glory of God.
    4. Provide neither gold nor silver (9-10) –
      1. Why would Jesus tell His apostles to only take the bare necessities (Note: Mark 6:8 says to carry a staff. The point of our text is not to take extra things)  with them?
      2. While not stated, I believe His intent was to build up their faith. To show them that God CAN and will provide.    To show them that God was with them, both in good and bad times.
        1. Remember Matthew 6:33.  Psalm 23:1-3
        2. Also note Luke 9:10 which describes them returning. And Luke 22:35 where Jesus will refer back to this reminding them to trust Him.
      3. Also, we are told in the text they needed to work for their food – another principle we cannot ignore.
        1. Passages like 2 Thessalonians 3:10, 1 Thessalonians 4:11, Ephesians 4:28 bear this out.  Add to these numerous passages about laziness and the sloth.
        2. The apostles, on this mission, needed to realize they were not going on vacation. They had work to do and they needed to put forth the effort – do their part.
        3. Why would this be important?
          1. Note that the gospel clearly gives authority for supporting those who preach the gospel – 1 Corinthians 9:4-9, Galatians 6:6-7, 1 Timothy 5:17-18 – even elders can be supported as needed.
          2. HOWEVER, such must make sure that they are not “in it for the money”.
          3. By working as they went the apostles showed that their preaching was not self-serving.
          4. And that is something Paul GREATLY emphasized – 1 Corinthians 9:12, after emphasizing the right to be supported by the gospel Paul said he did not do that in order to remove accusations. We find the same in 2 Thessalonians 3:7-9 where Paul noted they labored lest they be a burden and as examples.
        4. In this we are reminded that while the gospel is freely provided, it is not without cost to us. We have to do our part.   And that has ALWAYS been the case with God.
      4. Do you trust Him? Here is the point for us in all this – do we have genuine faith.  Do we trust Him as we do the work we are able to do?
    5. Worthy and unworthy households (11-15)
      1. Jesus gives further instructions as they enter a town. Inquire who is worthy and stay there.  Grant your peace to that home, but if they are unworthy – remove your peace and move on. Harsh judgment awaits those who reject them.
      2. Likely, the idea of worthiness was associated with accepting the gospel.
        1. As they taught, it would become quickly evident who was interested in truth and who was hostile to it. Stay with those who are receptive to truth.
        2. You do NOT want to stay or associate with those who are determined to destroy the faith or YOUR faith. NOR do you want to imply that those who reject the gospel are ok – they are NOT!  2 John 9-11.  Presenting the message is difficult enough without deliberately putting yourself in “the lion’s den”.
        3. If they are worthy let your peace come upon them – peace was an important greeting to the Jews. The Hebrew “Shalom” was not just a greeting, but also a blessing.   Do not lose that in this passage.
        4. If they were not worthy – that is, they declared themselves unworthy by rejecting the message – let your peace return to you. Jesus even said, “Shake the dust off your feet” – this was a symbolic act that Jews understood.  When traveling, as they returned home, leaving “heathen” territory, they would literally shake the dust off their feet to imply, “I am through with that place”.   It was also a visible act that when witnessed made it clear they had rejected the message being taught.  Therefore, they “judged themselves unworthy” (cf. Acts 13:46).
        5. The warning, “It will be more tolerable for Sodom… – indicates that God will NOT take lightly the rejection of His gospel OR those who proclaim that message. Such ought to be a source of comfort to us.
      3. This DOES present a message of being selective. With experience, judgment typically becomes better and more acute.  You can more quickly determine who is receptive and whether to move on or not.  Recall the message of Jesus about judging in Matthew 7:6 – do not cast your pearl before swine.   John7:24 calls for us to “judge with righteous judgment rather than appearance.  BUT we do have to make judgment.    IF people are interested, teach.  But if not, move on.
      4. Also, Do not take rejection personally. One of the hindrances to sharing the gospel with others is fear of rejection.  It is a legitimate concern, but we CANNOT let that keep us from doing what we ought to be doing.
        1. Jesus would emphasize this often. In fact, as we continue to examine this message, we see Jesus dealing with that concept more than once (next week).
        2. He noted that if one rejected them, they were also rejecting Jesus – Luke 10:16, John 13:20, etc.   Paul would also note this in 1 Thessalonians 4:8, Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.
        3. NOW, rejection can be discouraging, especially after you have put forth great effort, OR it is a loved one, but we CANNOT let that keep us from moving on.
        4. The apostles in our text were told to “move on” and go to the next town (vs. 23).
        5. Let God be the judge – He will right the wrongs.  He will take vengeance – Romans 12:18-21, 2 Thessalonians 1:5-8, etc.

And thus, we see the teaching of Jesus to His apostles as He sends them out to strengthen them.  We will continue this study in our next lesson.  BUT we can also see how this passage has many applications for us today.  Like the apostles, we are all called upon to seek and save the lost – whether by example or in teaching.  Sharing the gospel with others is the only way God has provided for us to save souls.  AND the future of the Lord’s church depends upon our willingness to each do our part.  What about you?  Are you doing all that you can in this area?  Think about it!