Sending Out the Twelve – 3

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

Sending Out the Twelve – 3

Sermon by  Thomas Thornhill Jr

Passage: Matthew 10:24-42


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Teachings of Jesus (57)

As we continue our study of the teachings of Jesus, we are currently examining the “limited commission” where Jesus sent out the twelve, in what was likely, preparation for their work after Jesus ascended back to heaven.   We know that while gone they met with good success and were provided for (Luke 9:10, 22:35).  This was a message designed to build up their faith and confidence.  Our focus has been to note what Jesus instructed them to do and make application from an evangelistic standpoint.  There are many lessons to learn from this message of Jesus that we too can apply.


  1. Prepare to be like your Lord – be humble – you are not above your teacher (24-25)
    1. We concluded our last study by noting they would be rejected and even persecuted, but God would be with them. And similarly, we too WILL face rejection, sometimes by those close to us, and you may face persecutions (2 Timothy 3:12).
    2. Here Jesus gives a lesson in humility. He notes, “Do not be surprised at this!
      1. A disciple is not above his teacher or master.
      2. Jesus reminds them of what He has endured up to this point.  Earlier they said he cast out demons by Beelzebub (Matthew 9:34) and after this warning, Matthew 12:22 it is repeated at which time Jesus declares them irredeemable, because of their blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.
        Jesus had endured many things already, and He would face even worse.
        The disciples had seen some of these things.
    3. A message for us – be humble in dealing with others.
      • Humility is a must in dealing with others.
        1. Romans 12:3 notes that we are not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought to
        2. Ephesians 4:1-2 – walk worthy of your calling – with all lowliness and gentleness, with long suffering, bearing with one another in love.
        3. Titus 3:2 calls for us to show all humility to all men
      • Point 1 – you do NOT know it all and you are NOT better than anyone else. If you are to have hope with another – you need to know your place and standing.  Paul, in his greatness, acknowledged this – 1 Timothy 1:15 – he was the chiefest of sinners.   Always keep that in mind in dealing with others.
      • Point 2 – Don’t be surprised when you are rejected and persecuted
        1. The world is NOT a friend of God, as we have noted in previous lessons. And many want to stop you, even so-called brethren whom you expose for their errors and ungodliness.
        2. 1 Peter 4:12-13- Peter also makes an interesting observation – we rejoice in that we can partake in His suffering (a taste of what He endured).
          1. Acts 5:41, having been beaten, the apostles would leave the council, “rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.”
          2. Romans 8:16-17 declares we are heirs with God – if we suffer with Him…
  2. Do not fear them (26-33)
    1. As they are to go, Jesus tries to encourage His apostles to not be fearful. His message was, “It will be ok”.  He noted several things:
      1. Nothing would be hidden in the end.  God sees what is happening.
      2. Their job was to proclaim the message – and to do so openly. Regardless of the audience
      3. Vs. 28 gives a reason – man can only do so much to you. Consider what God can do if you reject Him!
      4. Furthermore, as Jesus noted, God knows how to take care of us and to sustain us.
      5. Jesus then notes in vs. 32-33 that whoever confesses Him, He will confess…BUT whoever denies Him…
    2. Another needed quality in sharing God’s word with others is courage. This is NOT an easy thing to do, especially in a hostile environment OR one that is uncertain.  And the same reasoning applies:
      1. God knows what is happening. He sees it all – He knows what man is doing to the godly and He IS taking notes! That is why we have passages like:
        1. 2 Thessalonians 1:5-9 – He will repay with tribulation…
        2. Romans 12:17-21 – He will avenge in His time.
        3. 1 Corinthians 4:5 God will bring to light the hidden things of darkness.
      2. Proclaim the message openly (27) – again, that is our responsibility. Matthew 5:15 – put your light on a lampstand
      3. Do not fear man, but rather fear God who can destroy both body and soul in hell (28) – it is important to understand that God will not only hold us accountable for what we do that is wrong, but also for what we do NOT do that is right – James 4:17, Revelation 21:8
      4. God knows your worth (29-31). The creation was made for us – to sustain us, not us for the creation (Genesis 1:28-29 – Hebrews 2:5-8).  He also taught that clearly in the sermon on the Mount – Matthew 6:25-26.
      5. Confessing Christ (32-33) – this is an oft quoted verse in dealing with the plan of salvation. And while such is appropriate, we must understand this is NOT its only (or perhaps primary) intended meaning.
        1. In context, Jesus is emphasizing our continued need to confess Him – Jesus is dealing with one whose life confesses Him BOTH in word and action.
        2. The Greek expression, “confesses Me” includes the Greek preposition, ἐν, (en) which mean “in”. Jesus is saying, “Whoever confesses in Me before men…”  This would point toward it being a way of life that continues well beyond our acknowledgement in becoming Christians.
        3. Also contextually, as Jesus deals with BOTH the speaker and receiver and what they might face, it points toward this begin more than pre-baptism confession.
        4. The antithesis – “whoever denies Me…” also points toward this. This is MORE than words, it is a commitment.
  3. The Division of His message (34-39)
    1. Confessing Him is further emphasized as Jesus returns to potential family betrayal.
    2. He came to bring a sword (not peace) –
      1. That is interesting considering the message of peace Jesus brought.
        1. Isaiah 9:6-7 described Him as “the Prince of Peace.”
        2. Ephesians 2:14 calls Christ “our peace” who has united us and broken down the wall of separation (Jew & Gentile).
        3. Luke 1:79 – As the work of John the Baptist was announced – Jesus would be “the way of peace”
        4. John 14:27 – to His disciples on the night of His betrayal, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you.”
        5. Acts 10:36 – the apostles preached peace thought Jesus Christ, as Peter began his message to Cornelius and his household
        6. In Him, we find peace with God, mankind, one another as brethren and even ourselves.
      2. So how can He be NOT bringing peace but a sword?
        1. Sadly, the answer lies in the reality that many (actually most) are not interested in His peace.
        2. Because His peace – with God, within ourselves and with others – requires tremendous self-sacrifice and living a self-controlled life.
        3. God and Jesus (AND this ought to include us) – do NOT want division and enmity, but sadly most don’t care what God wants – and thus they declare war against Him and anyone who stands with Him.
      3. His message will divide households – and this is as true today as it was back then.
        1. He is preparing His apostles for the ugliness they were going to see (at least later on in greater intensity).
        2. He is likely quoting from Micah 7:6, a message in the 700’s BC to both Israel and Judah warning of their unfaithfulness and judgment to come. Jesus was living in times similar to what that chapter described, and sadly it is still true today.
      4. True commitment (37-39) –
        1. This is the point Jesus is driving home – following Him requires TRUE commitment!
        2. This would be necessary to endure what one might face. And it would be necessary to ensure the future of His kingdom/church.
        3. We fully understand that God expects full compliance from us in all that we do. He expects us to be “zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14), to crucify the flesh (Galatians 2:20), and live putting Him first.  Such is the POINT of His text.
        4. NOTE: Luke 14:26 finds even strong language as Jesus calls for us to “hate” anyone who stands in our way.  The obvious point – which was designed to get attention – was about priorities.  The idea was to love others less than Him.  One who loves Him WILL love His family, even sacrificially and when they hate Him.  BUT, he will NOT let others keep him/her from serving God.
        5. Take up his cross – observation – the first mention of the cross as recorded in the NT. Jesus has alluded to His death, but here the cross is mentioned.  They would have understood well the suffering associated with that torturous means of execution.  The point again – are we willing to do our part – even to the point of suffering (and if needed – death) for Him?  Consider Revelation 2:10
        6. He who finds his life… – here Jesus is again noting that God is watching. He knows what you are willing to give up for Him and if you draw back from Him.  He will reward accordingly.
        7. These types of qualities will help us overcome our fears and obstacles in trying to reach others.
  4. God is watching how you are treated (40-42)
    1. Again, we have already addressed the premise of these verses.
    2. We can take great comfort knowing that God is watching. He is watching you and others.  A day of justification will come – 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9
    3. He who accepts the one teaching truth and righteousness will be so viewed by God
    4. Even a cup of cold water will not go unnoticed (42). Jesus will later allude to such things in Matthew 25:37 & 42 as we find the character of our judgment and that of others.

And thus we can see this message of Jesus to His apostles.  It was an encouragement to go.  And in the process they would more greatly appreciate their purpose and commission.  We too are blessed to be children of God – and we know that God wants us to share that with others.  Is concern for others a part of our faith in Him?  Think about it!