**Apologies for the recording of this message. We’ve had a little problem with the sound. Praying to get it fixed soon! **
Matthew 10:9-25, March 15, 2020
Further Instructions & Persecution Will Come
Review: 10:1-8 The Twelve Sent. The twelve are sent out with instructions that provide insight into the calling we have received as ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. To see how they apply let’s look at Ephesians 4:11-12a. You are the saints who are the ministers of the Gospel. I am not THE MINISTER, we are the ministers. My job, my ministry is to equip you as ministers. We are all called to do the work of the ministry – sharing the Gospel. Just as Jesus gave the disciples authority to act God gives us authority to act in His Word. Authority in the Greek means the power to act. Wherever you are called to minister, God will give you the power to act. Look what Jesus did with His twelve, He did not just send them out to perform all sorts of miracles without first giving them authority.
Caution: We are not called to function in our individual ministries in the power of the flesh or what we think is best, but in the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus gave this message to His disciples after His resurrection – wait until after I leave and the Holy Spirit will come to you and give you power to act in Acts1:8. Note the difference here between Matthew 10:5 and Acts 1:8 where the twelve were sent first and foremost only to the Jews. The message of salvation was first to the Jews and then to the rest of the world. Then we have the end of verse 8 Freely you have received; freely give. We should be giving freely, not for some form of profit.
9-10 No Extras. Leave trade, business, and worldly needs behind; trust God to meet your needs including though the people to whom they would preach the gospel thus being worthy of the food and shelter they would receive.
11-13 Peace/Shalom. Let the peace or happiness which you seek or for which you pray in such as “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house’ but if If the family is unwilling to receive you; if they show themselves unfriendly to you and your message then let let your peace return to you – This is a Hebrew mode of saying that the peace you bring shall not come upon it.
14-15 Not Welcome & Judgment. Jews thought the land of Israel so holy, that when they came home from any heathen country they stopped at the borders, and shook the dust of it from their feet, that the holy land might not be polluted with it. Towns that refused the gospel would be judged worse than Sodom and Gomorrah.
16-20 Be Prepared for Persecution. Jesus warned His disciples that they would face persecution as they went out with only their faith for protection as they went as sheep among wolves. Being vulnerable they were not to defend themselves – they were sheep. Instead they were to remain harmless as doves not retaliating, but be wise as serpents.
There are days when I really do not know what I will say to you. Oh I have my outline and often times I actually use it, but even then what I end up saying had nothing to do with my plan, but has to do with the Holy Spirit leads me to say. You don’t even have to be on trial for your faith and the Holy Spirit will provide you with the words to speak or lead you to be quiet, just as He will when any one of you ministers to another.
21-23 Persecution is Coming. The first thing I want you to notice in these three verses is that Jesus dos not say If you get persecuted, but instead When you get persecuted. Persecution is coming. It will happen and when it does, what will you do? It happened then and it is happening now, in North Korea, in China, in India, in Nigeria, even in Canada, and even in the United States. Christian persecution is defined as any hostility experienced as a result of identification with Christ or as a Christian. Compared to what our brothers and sisters in Christ suffer in many other countries what we face in the United States and Canada is relatively mild, but it still exists. We need to expect it and plan to live with it while identifying with Jesus to the end of our time in this life.
-Jesus said Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by everyone because of Me. Christian were at times put to death, stoned to death. Stephen was stoned to death while Saul (soon to be Paul) held the cloaks of those stoning him. Even when one was not stoned, they were ostracized and were treated as if they were dead. The saying ‘You are dead to me’ was taken more literally in Jewish society as those who followed Christ would often see their families holding a funeral for them as they became dead to them. To follow Jesus the Christ was no small matter and Jesus wanted His followers to be aware of the cost and of the reward as the one who endures to the end will be saved. In 2019 death was the result for 150,000 believers, 12,500 per month, over 400 per day. The persecution of our brothers and sisters is very real.
-Jesus had an instruction for His disciples when they ran into persecution, When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next. Here Jesus is clearly telling His disciples it was wrong for them seek out persecution. If they ended up in a location where they were being persecuted, they were not to remain there, but to literally flee to another town.
-Jesus concludes His instructions by saying for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. Guzik sates [I]t is better to see His “coming” in this passage as His coming in judgment upon Judea in AD 70 which did happen before the gospel came to every city in Israel. And further, This is the fulfillment of the day of judgment warned of in Matthew 10:15. In many ways, the judgment poured out by God upon Judea through the Roman armies in AD 70 was worse than the judgment that came upon Sodom and Gomorrah. -It was an incredible judgment on Israel. It was not until 1948 AD, one thousand eight hundred and seventy eight years later, that Israel was once again a nation.