Sunday, March 07, 2010

[Matt's Messages] "Sent By Jesus"

“Sent By Jesus”
Certain of Jesus:  The Gospel of Luke
March 7, 2010
Luke 10:1-24

It’s time for another short term missions trip.

Do you remember the last one?

At the beginning of chapter 9, Jesus sent how many disciples out on a short term missions trip?  Flip back one page and you’ll see.  How many? 

Twelve.  The Twelve.  The twelve disciples went on a very short missions trip.

Well, at the beginning of chapter 10, Jesus sends another group out on a short term team.  This one is 6 times bigger than the last one.

Now there are going to be how many missionaries?  72.

And they’re being sent out in 36 pairs on another missions trip. They are going to go before Jesus, kind of like John the Baptist did, and proclaim the coming Kingdom of God.

Now, there are parts of their mission that are like our mission today. Parts of how they are supposed to do their ministry like how we are supposed to do ours today.

There are also parts of how they were supposed to do it then that we aren’t supposed to do now.  Specific instructions that Jesus gave them that aren’t applicable now to us.  We’ll see that as we read it.

But what struck me the most as I read and re-read this passage this week is that they were, just as we are, “Sent by Jesus.”

Jesus had a mission for them.  A dangerous mission.  A high-stakes important mission.

And He has a mission for us.

“Sent by Jesus.”

Only two points this morning. And they’re both one word each.

#1.  GO!

Jesus sends the 72 on a mission.  Chapter 10, verse 1.

“After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them [there is our word: “sent” them] two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.  He told them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”  There is that word again.  “Sent.”

These are very similar words to Matthew chapter 9 where Jesus instructs the disciples to pray for workers for the harvests.  Pray for missionaries.  Pray for people who will be missional.  Pray for workers to go and harvest souls for the Kingdom.

Before, during, and after this short term trip, these 72 missionaries were supposed to pray for more missionaries.  The harvest is plentiful–there are many who will believe, but the workers are few–so we need to pray for more.  V.3

“Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.”

Yikes!  How would you like that mission?

This is a dangerous mission.  Defenseless.  Risky.  Needy.

If God doesn’t go along with them as their a Shepherd, they’ll get torn to pieces.  V.4

“Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.”

They are to travel light.  Dependently.  Relying on God.

And not stop for chit-chat along the way. He’s not saying to be rude to people on the road.  He’s saying that the mission is urgent.  They can’t allow themselves to be distracted.  They’ve got to GO!

Now, these instructions are not the necessarily how we’re supposed to do mission-work today.

We’re not forbidden to go in groups bigger than 2, we’re not forbidden to have purses or wallets or sandals or a change of clothes.  And we’re allowed to talk to people on the way.

But our mission is still dangerous.  And it’s still so important that we can’t get distracted.  And we still have to pray for more workers.

And we still have to GO!

Go.  Do you see yourself as a missionary for the Lord?

Now, some people are vocational missionaries that serve cross-culturally.  Our church supports at least 12 missionary families like that.

But, in very real sense, we are all called to go and be missionaries wherever God has called us.

I think about next week’s Wild Game Dinner.  This is a chance for us ALL to be missionaries. To invite an unsaved friend, relative, or neighbor to come hear the gospel.

Men, who are you bringing to the Wild Game Dinner?

We are sent by Jesus.

The Stakes Are Very High.

In verses 5 through 16, Jesus gives instructions about what his missionaries should do when they hit town. And the stakes are very high.  V.5

“When you enter a house, first say, 'Peace to this house.' [Give it your blessing.  Shalom.] If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you.  Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.  ‘When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you.  Heal the sick who are there and tell them, 'The kingdom of God is near you.'” Stop there for a second.

There are two possibilities when these missionaries hit town.  The first is that they and their message will be received.

They say, “Peace,” and the peace stays.  They are fed because they are working.  They eat whatever is put in front of them.

Back when we are at Moody, we were taught to say to Jesus, “Where you lead me, I will follow.  What you feed me, I will swallow.”  That’s missions!

When they were welcomed, they were to heal the sick and preach this message: “The Kingdom of God is near you.”

Why was that the message?  Who was coming next?  Who were they going before?

The King Himself.

“The Kingdom of God is near you.”  Receive Him!

But what if they reject them?  V.10

“But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 'Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near.'  I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.  ‘Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.  But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you.  And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? [Are you going to Heaven?] No, you will go down to the depths. [Hades.]”

These are strong words.  But they are the cost of rejecting Jesus and His message.

When the missionaries for Jesus hit a town that rejected them, they were to wipe off that town’s dirt from their feet.

And Jesus speaks directly to those northern cities–Korazin, Bethsaida, Capernaum.  Their judgment will be awful.

If places that were judged in the Old Testament–Tyre, Sidon, Sodom–had had the miracles of Jesus performed in them, they would have repented.  But Korazin, Bethsaid, and Capernaum did have those miracles. They had the King Himself among them, and they rejected Him.

And here are the stakes.  V.16

“He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

The Stakes Are Very High!

Here is why our mission is so important.

If people listen to us when we proclaim the Kingdom and its King, then they are listening to the King Himself.

But if they reject us and our message, they reject the King and the King’s Father, as well.

Those are very high stakes.

Did you notice the message in verse 11 was the same as the message in verse 9?

Whether or not we who are sent by Jesus are received or rejected, we have the same message!

“The Kingdom of God is near.”

Now, in verse 9, they said, “The Kingdom of God is near you.”  It is for those who receive the message.

But in verse 11 it is, only, “The Kingdom of God is near.”  It’s near, and they are missing it if they reject the King.

But the Kingdom comes no matter what.  And that’s our message.

The Stakes are Life and Death forever.

Eternal life and eternal damnation!

Judgment.  Being lifted to the skies or going down to the depths.

The stakes don’t get any higher.

That’s why we have to GO!

When was the last time you shared the gospel with someone?

Everyone around us is going either to up or down.

Those are stakes.

And we’ve got the life changing message.

We have to GO.

The 72 missionaries sent by Jesus went.  And they came back very very excited.  V.17

“The seventy-two returned with joy and said, ‘Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.’”

They were pumped. They had a great missions experience. They found success! Yes!

Even the demons submitted in Jesus’ name.

Why is that significant?  Well, if you remember, last week, they’d had some trouble with getting demons to submit.

But they were doing it in Jesus’ name and saw sweet success.  Yes!  V.18

“He replied, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.  I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”

I think Jesus means that, as they were ministering, Jesus saw Satan’s downfall.  I think that’s what it means.

And He promises them protection and power over Satan and his army, while in Jesus’ service...for now.

And then, surprisingly, Jesus turns an unexpected corner.

He wants to talk about their joy.  V.17 says that they are full of joy.

And Jesus wants them to be full of joy, but He tells them to be careful how they rejoice. 

By the way, that’s #2 of two.

#2.  REJOICE!  V.20

“However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.’”

“However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.’”

“I’m glad you are successful in ministry.  I want your mission to go well.  I’ll take care of you on your mission.  Even as a lamb among wolves.  Even among snakes and scorpions and the devil!”

“But don’t get caught up in mission success or failure.  Rejoice that you are known in Heaven.”

“Rejoice that you are belong to Me and My Father.”

That’s what Jesus is saying.

“However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.’”

You are very very blessed!

We have every reason to be thankful. Every reason.

That’s the point of Jesus’ prayer in verses 21 and 22.

“At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit [Jesus rejoices!], said, ‘I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned [so called “sophiscates”], and revealed them to little children [the humble, the simple, the trusting]. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.  All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.’”

Do you know Jesus?

You are so blessed!

Not everyone does.  And some of the people whom you think should know Jesus, don’t!  The wise and learned of this world?

If anyone should know God, it should be Reverend So and So.

No.  No one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.  And who is that?  To little children.  To humble.  To the simple. To the trusting.  To those with faith.

Do you know Jesus?  That’s something to rejoice about!

We are very very blesed.

Jesus says so. Look at verse 23.

“Then he turned to his disciples and said privately, ‘Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.  For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.’”

We are very blessed!

The whole Old Testament–prophets and kings–predicted Jesus.

And we know Him.

We are very blessed.

This last week, I have come to understand how very blessed I am.

I’ve been blessed with a lot of health.
I’ve been blessed with a great wife–who is very hard to live without!
I’ve been blessed with some great kids that I love very much.
I’ve been blessed with some great friends who have been there for me in the last two weeks.  Friends came out of the woodwork to show love to me.
I’ve been blessed with a great church family that has taken great care of me and my
kids this week.

I’m a very blessed man.

But all of those blessings and all of the blessings of success in ministry and all of blessings that I have ever received or ever will...

...pale in comparison to this blessing.

My name is written in heaven.
I know the Son.
He has chosen to reveal Himself to me.
I know the Father.
The Son has chosen to reveal Himself to me.
I see what kings and prophets longed to see.
I am privileged beyond understanding.

Because I know Jesus.

And I rejoice in Him!

Do you know Jesus?


You Are Very Blessed.

Messages So Far In this Series:

Certain of Jesus
The Back-Story of Jesus
The Birth of Jesus
Jesus - A Very Special Child
Preparing the Way for Jesus
Jesus Is the Son of God
Jesus in Galilee
Jesus and the Sinners
Jesus Brings Real Joy and Rest
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part One
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part Two
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part Three
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part Four
Amazing Jesus
Disappointed with Jesus
Loving Jesus Much
Jesus' Real Family
Jesus Is Lord
Who Is Jesus?
Following Jesus