Matthew 9.35-10.15 | Jesus Sees and Sends
July 13, 2014 Speaker: Sam Ford Series: Matthew | The Mission of the King (Book 2)
Topic: New Testament Passage: Matthew 9:35–10:15
INTRO |SENT on mission
Good morning Restoration Road. Our mission is to live out the Great Commandment as we fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 22.37; 28.19-20).
This commitment requires a conviction that the Great Commission can be accomplished and will be completed. Furthermore, it requires that pastors and churches view themselves not as the end of the mission, but as a means to mobilize and equip people FOR mission through the local church. Ephesians 4.11 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ. Pastors and shepherds are given by God, not to do the ministry, but to equip the sheep to do it. As God saves us by the power of the gospel, believers are gathered into a FAMILY where we grow in the gospel together—taking it deeper into our own hearts as we share it in one another’s lives. But our family is not only a collection of maturing brothers and sisters who love one another; we are a team of ambassadors who are SENT on mission into the world. Genuine faithfulness requires that we both GATHER and SCATTER.
What does this have to do with this passage? Verse 35 is a repeat what the verse before Jesus’ extended Sermon on the Mount. 35 And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. These words basically describe the heart of Jesus mission. Jesus walking. Jesus teaching. Jesus preaching. Jesus Healing. Up to this point, it is Jesus who has done everything. The disciples follow Jesus. Being a follower of Jesus has become their primary identity. They are FIRST disciples and second husbands, fathers, or professionals. All they were has been redefined by who they have become. Everything they do every day from eating, to working, to ministering is now governed by the Lord, Jesus. And for a three year intensive, they are students, servants, roadies, doing their best to control the crowds and learn from Jesus’ example. They learn what it means to be on mission with Jesus by watching what Jesus does and listening to what Jesus says—but all they’ve done is learn about mission. Now it is time for them to BE on mission. No more watching. No more consuming. No more learning.
All disciples must one day become laborers. Jesus did not come to gather admirers or academics; He came to make disciples who would work to complete His mission His way. Jesus reveals the heart of mission, the power of mission, the people of mission, and the way of mission.
Jesus SAW the crowds and had compassion. (THE HEART OF MISSION)
In order to live out our “sent-ness’ as the people of God, we have to see the NEED that is there. We need to see the world the way Jesus does. Jesus, “saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Jesus loves people. When he looks out among the crowd, he is not disgusted by what He sees, he is compassionate. It is difficult for us not to see past the brokenness of a rebellious world full of sin—it is so loud, repulsive, and ubiquitous. Jesus looks at the crowds and sees their HELPLESSNESS before he sees their SINFULNESS. He was moved because he saw that they were harassed, helpless, and lost like sheep without a shepherd. They are a desperate people suffering without any sense of understanding or certainty. Some people are harassed, helpless, and lost because they have believed lies of the world (irreligion). Others are this way because they have believed lies of bad pastors (religion).
Many of us don’t have a love for people because we aren’t close enough to see them. If we see them, and don’t have a love for people, then we don’t have the heart of Christ. We are never aware of needs we don’t see. Most of us avoid the lepers, the paralyzed, the blind, those unclean and marginalized. Though there are many “unclean” people in the world, we only hang out with those who we deem clean. Our primary motivation for mission must be a love for people, not a hatred for sin. Sin is worthy to be hated; but compassion and hope is infinitely more powerful than disgust and futility. Without compromising God’s truth, we must be compassionate before condemning (law is ministry of death and punishment, gospel is ministry of life and reconciliation). FOUNDATION FOR MISSION IS THE HEART OF CHRIST.
Jesus says the HARVEST is plentiful but the LABORERS are few (THE POWER OF MISSION)
They key to The Pharisees saw the common people as a worthless field to be burned. Jesus saw them as a harvest to be reaped. 37 Then he said 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.”
Jesus looks out and says, “THE HARVEST IS HUGE” but there are so few people to work it.” The harvest is ready, God’s work is done, but our work is just beginning. But the instruction he gives reveals His believe that the solution does not ultimately rest with me, but with God. He tells his disciples that their task of first important is prayer. As a pastor, it is easy to be confused as to what the key to mission is. What would you say is the key to mission? Good preaching? Good music? Nice building? Effective brand-marketing? Programs? JESUS SAYS IT’S PRAYER. The book of Acts is a record of the church being empowered by the Spirit of God to fulfill the Great Commission. Where there is little prayer there is little mission. We want to see more disciples made and more churches planted. We’ve designed the best program for that…prayer. We are to pray for the glory of God. We are to pray for the power of the Spirit. We are to pray for the direction of the Spirit. We are to pray for the confession of sin. We are to pray for the redemption and blessing of our city. We are to pray for protection against the enemy. We are to pray for the conversion of the lost.
We are to pray BEFORE we plan our mission, pray for wisdom AS WE plan the mission, and pray for HELP when we’re on mission. . The power of mission is prayer. Jesus tells his disciples that their FIRST job is to pray. Our job is to ask God to recruit. Our job is to ask God to equip. Our job is to ask God to send. The temptation for a pastor is to twist this passage to brow-beat his people into serving. We are not to petition God to bring more laborers into the church.—but to send them, FROM the church, into the FIELD. Every Christian needs a farmhouse and a field. And every Christian needs a place to rest and a place to serve. Where is the farmhouse we are sent from? Where is the field we are sent to? As the fields are harvested, more disciples are made, baptized into the church, and sent out on mission again. Acts 13.2-3 2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off. THE POWER OF MISSION IS PRAYER.
Jesus calls DISCIPLES together and gives them authority (THE PEOPLE OF MISSION)
Prayer is a beginning, but it is not an end. 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. The names of the twelve apostles are these… Many of us have abdicated our responsibility to be a “SENT PEOPLE” to pastors, missionaries, or other super-Christians. This group of ragamuffins teaches us three simple truths:
• Jesus sends a family. Jesus did not intend for us to do mission alone. Jesus gathers a small band of brothers who become a team of missionaries. They know each other, they love each other, and they serve together. Like any family, they are organized. In the gospel, and Acts, the lists of disciples always have Peter first Judas and Judas last. It appears as if there are three teams of four, led by Peter, Philip, and James son of Alphaeus. In Mar 6.7, we see that they are sent out two by two. Some were brothers, others good friends.
• Jesus sends a diverse family. God calls some fisherman, a tax collector, and a political zealot. These men could not be any more differently. Matthew the conservative collaborato, and Simon the Zealot, a leftist freedom fighter.
• Jesus sends a dysfunctional family. These guys were real people. God equips the called, he does not call the equipped. Matthew identifies himself as a tax-collector. The mission is exercised by sinners saved by grace, not saints without problems, history, etc.
These guys go from laborers working for a living, to disciples learning from Jesus, to apostles working the fields of salvation. Jesus gives them authority to basically do what He did. TO HAVE FAITH IN THE AUTHORITY OF CHRIST IS TO GO ON MISSION WITH CERTAINTY OF SUCCESS. This is His world. We are not offering a truth option, but THE truth. And Jesus gives the authority to act for Him to regular people. I believe this is not a call for us to explore a gift of healing, rather, to a call for us to pray in the name of Jesus to heal and restore. More importantly, we see that God chooses to entrust his mission to real, unique, men with absolutely no self-confidence. There are some here who are called to serve, some to be elders, some to plant churches, some to go on mission, others to do who knows what for Jesus. 2Corinthians 3. 4,5,6: 4 Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. THE PEOPLE OF MISSION ARE A FAMILY OF SINNERS.
Jesus sends out the 12 with instructions (WAY OF MISSION)
Finally, Jesus sends out the 12 and gives them specific instructions. Though specific to this particular context, there are principles we learn that apply to any of mission. Jesus tells them WHERE to go on mission, WHAT to do, HOW to do it, and what to do when it fails.
1. WHERE TO GO IN MISSION: Jesus tells his disciples to go the lost sheep of Israel. Jesus came for Israel. In Matthew 15, He will tells a woman, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” His instruction emphasizes His messianic mission, namely, He is the savior, the King that Israel is looking for. And while His rule will bless the world, it comes through the Jews. Salvation and judgment came to JEW first, then the Gentile. Knowing this, there are a few principles we learn. First, mission is moving. We need to GO. The word "go" reminds us that building a community of believers has a purpose-it is a means to an end, not the end in itself. We are a sent people with something to do for God. Secondly, we see that Jesus limited his mission. He didn’t have to. But he narrowed His focus to where he could be most effective. We have to know the field we are in. Go to who you know.
2. WHAT TO DO ON MISSION: Jesus did not come to gather admirers or academics; He did not come for fans, He came to make followers who would work to complete His mission His way. And what is his way? First, it is a ministry of preaching. He instructs his disciples to tell people about the Kingdom of heaven—the gospel. We are to preach the news of what Jesus has done. And we are to call people to repent and believe. You don’t have to have every answer. To you don’t have to know every verse. You need only ask, “Do you know Jesus?” Then tell them the gospel (SEE 1Corinthians 15.3-8) Proclamation is how God has chosen to save people. But Jesus didn’t only preach. He also healed and helped. We must do more than talk. We must touch people, help people, and meet real needs.
3. HOW TO DO MISSION: Jesus says to give without receiving payment. The disciples are explicitly warned not to make money even slightly a goal of mission. Go for a good God, not the good things you might get. Disciples cannot always help it if they awaken gratitude, but they can seek to avoid COMMERCIAL entanglements…they can say NO. Jesus is not happy when his mission is colored green. When things are too impressive. BE MODEST. BE SIMPLE. BE GRATEFUL. BE GENEROUS. Do not seek to profit. A well-to-do missionary is an offense to the gospel.
4. WITH WHOM TO DO MISSION: Jesus also tells his disciples to do mission with those who are worthy. By worthy, he means receptive. Share Jesus with those who are ready to listen because they are seeking or because you have a relationship with them. In other words, be discerning who you share with. Don’t look for the most impressive opportunity, but the least impressive and closest one. Where are doors already open? Family? Work? Friends? Neighbors?
5. HOW TO HANDLE REJECTION: Jesus says not everyone will receive what you have to say. Some will reject you. Relax. You are not the judge and you are not the savior; you are the mailman. Jesus seems to give permission to leave those who reject you. The harvest is plentiful. Sometimes we need to stop wasting so much time and energy on a few weeds. That doesn’t mean we don’t hope, love, or pray for them, but that we entrust them to Jesus. Shake the dust off of your feet, stop arguing, lecturing, stop pleading, and remember the eternal perspective—God is the judge, not you. God saves, not you. They are not rejecting them, they are rejecting Jesus.
He came to make disciples who would work to complete His mission His way. The first thing we need to do is pray for people to respond to this. Jesus tells them to pray for MORE men to go; men in addition to themselves not in place of them. Reformer Martin Luther had a friend who felt about the Christian faith as he did. The friend was also a monk. They came to an agreement. Luther would go down into the dust and heat of the battle for reformation in the world; the friend would stay in the monastery and uphold Luther’s hand in prayer. So they began the way. Then one night, the friend had a dream. He saw a vast field of corn as big as the world; and one solitary man was seeking to reap it—and impossible and heart breaking task. Then he caught a glimpse of the reaper’s face; and the reaper was Martin Luther. “I must leave my prayers” he said, “and get to work”. And so he left the comfort of his monastic solitude and entered the battlefield.
There are only two types of people in this room—those who need to be converted to Jesus or those who need to be converted to mission; those who need to believe they are a lost people; and those who need to believe they are a sent people. I don’t know where you are sent to, but the church is here to equip you to fulfill the ministry you have received form the Lord. Restoration Road Church, please pray. The first thing we Jesus wants us all to do is pray. But that is not the last thing he wants us to do.
More in Matthew | The Mission of the King (Book 2)
September 28, 2014Matthew 13.53-14.12 | Saved by rejection
September 21, 2014Matthew 13.31-33, 44-46, 51-52 | What the Kingdom does to us
September 14, 2014Matthew 13.24-30, 34-43, 47-50 | Weeds in the Church