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Sunday, October 21, 2018

[Matt's Messages] “What To Expect On Your Mission”

“What To Expect On Your Mission”
Following Jesus - The Gospel of Matthew
October 21, 2018 :: Matthew 10:32-42 

This is our third message from Matthew chapter 10. This chapter is often called the “Mission Discourse” or “Jesus’ Major Teaching on Missions.”

And that’s because it’s a major teaching from Jesus on missions!

At the end of chapter 9, Jesus saw the crowds harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd, and he had compassion on them. And in Matthew chapter 9, verse 38 (which is the reason why many of us are praying every day at 9:38am) Jesus told His disciples to ask the Lord of harvest to send out workers into His harvest field.

And then in chapter 10, He sends out some workers into the harvest field!

He calls 12 men to Himself and then sends out them as apostles, authorized representatives, emissaries, ambassadors, special agents on a special mission for Jesus.

He sends out the Twelve to go on a short term missions trip throughout Israel healing the sick, raising the dead, cleansing the lepers, driving out demons, living on the hospitality of others, and preaching the gospel message, “The kingdom of heaven is near.”

And we noticed the last two times that Jesus seems to be teaching about more than just that first short term missions trip. He seems to also be preparing them for the mission that He’s going to give them at the end of the Gospel of Matthew (which we often call “The Great Commission”) and He seems to be preparing them for what it’s going to be like in the Book of Acts and what it still is like for those of us who are on mission for Jesus today.

He summarized the whole thing in verse 16. Which should be familiar by now.

“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”

Remember the four animals? Sheep, wolves, snakes, doves.

That’s us. Well, aside from wolves. We’re supposed to watch out for them.

But we’re supposed to be trusting and vulnerable like sheep.
Shrewd and wise and strategic like snakes.
And innocent and pure and loving like doves.

As we go out on this mission.

And as we go out on this mission, we are supposed to shout the gospel message from (v.27) the rooftops.

I wouldn’t get on this new roof up here, you might slide off.

But we are supposed to be bold and share the good news about the coming kingdom and the coming King!

It’s a dangerous mission.

We are sent as sheep among wolves.

That’s a dangerous way to go. Sheep among wolves.

But we summarized verses 17 through 31 as saying basically, “Beware, but Don’t be Scared.”

Remember that? Beware, but don’t be scared.

Because we are not sheep our own. We have a good Shepherd.

And He knows us. Even the very hairs of our heads are numbered.

And we are worth more than many sparrows. And He has His eye on every one of them.

I think these last eleven verses are basically a summary of what Jesus wants His disciples to anticipate this mission being like.

What they should expect to happen as they go out on mission for Jesus.

I’m going to title today’s message, “What To Expect On Your Mission.”

Because I think that’s how Jesus is landing this plane. That’s how Jesus is ending the mission discourse–He’s laying out for the disciples what they can expect to happen to them as they go out on His mission both then and, for us, now.

I see three main things, and I’ll tell you right up front, that they aren’t all happy ones.

They are not all positive. In fact, all three of them have difficult parts to them, and one of them is really really hard.

This is fair warning for disciples.

Do you think you want to be a disciple of Jesus?

Do you think you want to follow Jesus and be on mission for Jesus?

I hope so.

But you need to know that it’s not always easy. It’s not just a walk in the park.

And Jesus tells us that. He doesn’t hide the fine print.

He tells it like it is.

Here’s what to expect on your mission.

#1. EXPECT TO BE RECOGNIZED AS JESUS’ OWN.

And this is, I think, the most amazing one of the three.

Expect to be recognized as Jesus’ own.

And that’s by God Himself. Look Matthew chapter 10, verse 32.

“Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.”

That word “acknowledge” could be confusing to some of you.

Because we often use it for a nod of the head.

Yup. I see you. I acknowledge you. You’re over there. Uh huh.

The Old King James uses the word “confess.”

“Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.”

And that might work for some of you, but some of you use the word “confess” mainly to admit to wrongdoing. And that’s not what He’s getting at here either.

I think the flipside in verse 33 makes it clear what He’s talking about in verse 32.

“But whoever DISOWNS me before men” or King James “denies me before men, I will disown him before the my Father in heaven.”

So the opposite of “disown” is “own.”

That’s what Jesus means by acknowledge.

It means to claim Jesus as your own.

To claim to belong to Jesus.

To own Jesus as your Savior and your Lord.

To say to the world, “Jesus is mine. I belong to Jesus.”

Do you get it?

That’s our mission, right?

To tell people about Jesus’ saving work and coming kingdom.

So here’s what’s amazing.

When we tell people that we own up to Jesus–we are with Him.

Jesus tells HIS FATHER IN HEAVEN that He owns us–that He is with us!

That’s amazing!!!

I don’t think we can wrap our minds around how astonishing that is.

First off, notice Who Jesus thinks He is! Jesus believes He has a special filial relationship with God. He is God’s own Son.

That’s crazy...unless it’s true.

And because He is God’s Son, whomever He brings to the Father and claims as His own, the Father will also recognize as His own!

You follow that?

Because Jesus is God’s Son, whomever Jesus brings to the Father and claims as His own, the Father will also recognize as His own!

Of course the flipside is also true. Whomever Jesus does not recognize as His own, the Father will also not recognize as His own.

And that’s true of those who disown and deny any connection with Jesus.

Why would you do that?

In a word? Persecution.

Jesus has just told them how hard it’s going to be. They will be dragged before the authorities. They will be flogged. They will be chased from city to city.

They have the authority to preach the gospel and do miracles of the kingdom.

But they don’t have the authority to fight back for that kingdom.

They are sheep among wolves, not wolves among wolves.

And they are going to be tempted to disown and deny any connection with Jesus.

Because if they don’t, it will hurt.

Do you feel that?

We don’t feel it as much in our day in this country. Right now, Christianity still enjoys a good deal of public approval, even a privileged status.

But in many places in the world, if you belong to Jesus and you own it in public, you will pay for it.

And it’s increasingly the case here. And it will probably get worse.

Regardless, we are all tempted to be quiet about Jesus from time to time, and we aren’t even afraid that others are going to hurt us.

We’re just afraid they’re going to laugh at us or make fun of us or think less of us.

So we’re tempted to stay quiet.

But we have a mission. We have a job to do.

It’s our job to tell people about Jesus. We need to own Him. To recognize Him publicly as our Lord and Savior.

Giving testimony.
Getting baptized.
Doing evangelism.
Talking to people about OUR OWN Savior and Lord.

And get this, when we own Jesus before men, Jesus owns us before His Father in heaven.

“Yes, Father, this is one for whom I died. This one is mine. I bought them by my blood. They have trusted in my sacrificial death. They are a sinner. But I have washed them with my blood. You see; they have faith! They are telling people about me. Let me tell You about them.”

It’s wonderful thing to expect as you live your life on mission for Jesus that Jesus is holding up your name to His Father.

We can’t begin to understand how great that is.

Now, some, when they read verse 33 think about the Apostle Peter and what He did.

He disowned Jesus, didn’t he? Three times he denied Him.

And that’s true, He did.

But he didn’t stay there.

He didn’t stay a disowner. He repented and returned to Jesus and asked for His forgiveness, and then he acknowledged Jesus everywhere he went.

So, if you have disowned and denied, don’t stay there.

If you stay there, the other side of verse 33 may become a reality for you forever. “I will disown him before my Father in heaven.” I would hate for that to be said about anybody here.

So don’t stay there. It isn’t safe.

Trust in Jesus.  Take Jesus as your own Savior and Lord.

And tell other people about Him.

Here’s the application of this one.

- Own Jesus As Your Lord.

Run up the flag. Run the flag up the flagpole. “I belong to Jesus.”

Don’t be ashamed of Him. Don’t be afraid to talk about Him.

Don’t be scared to claim Him as your own.

Because as you do, He’s claiming you as His.

Number Two.  What to expect on your mission:

#2. EXPECT TO BE REJECTED BY THE WORLD.

I’d rather by rejected by the world than by the Lord, wouldn’t you?

But it’s still not easy to be rejected by anybody.

That’s why Jesus warns us in advance what it’s going to be like. Verse 34.

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law–a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.'”

That’s a quote from Micah 7:6. Jesus loves the Old Testament and Matthew loves to show it.

But it’s hard.

Jesus hasn’t come to bring peace, He says, but a sword.

Now, I know that He’s not calling them to pick up swords. They are sheep among wolves. They are not to go on attack.

But because of Jesus, they will be attacked.

I know, I know. This is hard one to swallow.

Especially because we know that Jesus DID come to bring peace on earth.

The angels said that at His birth!

He’s the prince of peace.

He just taught us to be peacemakers in the Sermon on the Mount.

And on the night He’s betrayed, He says that He gives His disciples peace.

But that’s not all He brings.

He also brings division.

Because the world (not everyone but so so many, the world) will reject Him.

And if they reject Him, they reject us.

The world gets hostile about Jesus.

The true Jesus.

Sometimes the world gets all excited about a fake version of Jesus that they can use to their own ends.

But when the true Jesus shows up the world starts to squirm.

And give them enough time, and they will get downright hostile.

The peace on earth will come, but it’s not automatic. And it’s...later.

In the short run, Jesus divides families.

“For I have come to turn ‘'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law–a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.'”

I’ve seen it right here in Clearfield County.

Sometimes, our Kids for Christ are handing out water bottles and invitations to Family Bible Night and I’ve seen a dad make his kids return the water bottle, the pencil, and the invitation because he doesn’t want any of that Christian proselytizing.

Imagine if that kid comes to Christ, what it might be like in that home?

This is the worst kind of rejection–at the family level.

But you can see it elsewhere.

At work?
In your neighborhood?
At school?

It is not always popular to be a Christian, to own up to being a follower of Jesus.

Jesus divides people. He just does.

And most of us don’t like to be rejected. We like to be liked.

I mean Facebook and Twitter and Instagram feed off our love of being liked, right?  Look how popular they are.

But Jesus says, if you are on mission for Me, expect a lot of rejection from the world.

So here’s the application.

- Love Jesus More Than Anything.

More than being liked.
More than being comfortable.
More than your own family. Verse 37.

“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me...”

That’s a way of saying, “Isn’t living in line with Me. Isn’t honoring Me. Isn’t living congruently with Me”

It doesn’t mean that we can somehow live in a way that we deserve Jesus.

We can’t. Salvation is all of grace.

But if we have been graced by Jesus, then we will put Him absolutely first.

Let me ask you a trick question about verse 37. Ready?

Can you love both Jesus and your family?

Yes.

I guess it wasn’t a trick question.

Let me ask this one.

Can you love both Jesus and your family equally?

No. Jesus calls us to love Him MORE.

In the Gospel of Luke, He says that the difference should be so great that you could basically say that we hate our families.

Not because we hate our families, but because of how much more we are to love Jesus.

Do you love Jesus that way?

Do you love Jesus MORE than anything?

More than being liked?
More than being comfortable?
More than our families?

More than our very lives? V.38

“...and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

What an astonishing metaphor–to take up your cross and follow Jesus.

This is long before Jesus takes up His own cross, though we can read it in light of that now.

But Jesus said it before He even took up His cross.

Jesus says that we must die to ourselves.
We must go on death march and count ourselves as dead.
To say with our lives that following Jesus is the most important thing.
That we love Jesus more than we love our lives.

Because, paradoxically, ironically, mysteriously...

“Whoever finds his [physical] life [as the most important thing] will lose it, and whoever loses his life [physical life] for [Jesus’] sake will find [eternal life].”

This is just another way of talking about repentance and faith.

Turning away from sin, and self and Satan and turning to Jesus for true and lasting life.

Jesus is calling us to love Him more than anything including our very lives.

Because you know what?

Jesus loved us more than keeping His own life.

What are you tempted to love more than Jesus?

In your heart right now, hold it to Jesus and give it to Him.

Repent and turn. And give it up to Him.

You’ll have to do it again.

But do it.

Tell Jesus that you want to love Him more than anything.

More than your very life.

Because that how He loved you.

One last one and then we’re done.

What to expect on your mission.

#3. TO BE RECEIVED AND BE REWARDED.

It would be enough to just be recognized by Jesus, wouldn’t it?

But it goes deeper and more wonderful. Verse 40.

“He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me.”

That is AMAZING!

Not everyone is going to reject us when we live out this mission.

Some people are going to receive us and receive our gospel message.

And Jesus says that when they receive US, they receive Him.

You get that?

When you share the gospel with somebody, and they say, “I believe it. I am so glad you told me that. I receive you...” they are really saying, “I receive Jesus!”

Because we are intimately connected!

We’re are just that close!

You and Jesus are One!

And get this. Look at verse 40 again. “He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me.”

You aren’t just recognized by the Father. You are vitally connected to Him.

So that if someone receives you, they are receiving HIM!

What a privilege that is!

We are emissaries of the King.
We are ambassadors of King Jesus.

And we are the ambassadors of His Father.

If they receive us, they are receiving HIM.

Jesus elaborates in verse 41.

“Anyone who receives a prophet [one who speaks for God] because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man's reward. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones [the least of the disciples] because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.”

You see how liberal Jesus is with the rewards?

He’s handing them out left and right.

If you should get a reward for living righteously or speaking God’s words or just for following Jesus, you’ll get it.

And you’ll get it just for receiving someone who should get it.

And supporting someone who should get it.

This is a great reason to support missions and missionaries.

When someone on that back wall gives out the gospel to someone who receives it in faith, they get rewarded and they get rewarded, and WE get rewarded for supporting them.

Little old us!

This is a great reason to support missions and missionaries and to live on mission ourselves.

And to help each other to live on mission together.

Application?

- Live for Jesus’ Reward.

He obviously wants us to, or He wouldn’t talk about it so much.

This could take so many forms.

Preaching the gospel from the rooftops.
Owning up to belonging to Jesus in our spheres of influence.
Giving money to overseas missions.
Filling a little shoebox with gifts for the needy around the world.

Every one of those shoeboxes gets a gospel message embedded in it and given to children who need the hope of the gospel.

“...if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.”

I don’t know about you, but I want all of the rewards that Jesus wants to give me.

I don’t want to miss any of them.

It would be enough to just be recognized as belonging to Jesus in the eyes of His father.

But He has more for us.

If we will trust Jesus and love Jesus more than anything and serve Jesus and receive and support those others who belong to Jesus and are on mission for Jesus, then we will be rewarded beyond what we can understand and imagine.

That’s what we can expect on this mission that Jesus has for us today.

***

Previous Messages in This Series:01. The Genealogy of Jesus
02. The Birth of Jesus Christ
03. The Search for Jesus Christ
04. The Baptism of Jesus
05. The Temptation of Jesus
06. Following Jesus
07. Jesus' Sermon on the Mount
08. The Good Life (Part One)
09. The Good Life (Part Two)
10. You Are The...
11. Jesus and the First 2/3 of the Bible
12. But I Tell You
13. But I Tell You (2)
14. But I Tell You (3)
15. In Secret
16. Choose Wisely
17. Seek First His Kingdom
18. Generous
19. These Words of Mine
20. When He Saw the Crowds
21. When He Came Down from the Mountainside
22. Follow Me
23. Our Greatest Problem
24. Who Does He Think He Is?
25. Special Agents
26. Sheep Among Wolves

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