Jesus calls all who believe to follow Him in His Kingdom work of helping others know about His gift of salvation. We are told not to keep it to ourselves but to share what God has done in and through us each day of our lives. What once was whispered in secret between The Twelve is now to be shouted from the rooftops to all who need a Savior. What a responsibility! But what a privilege to be given words of power with authority to tell about Jesus, be like Jesus and live for Jesus. What an opportunity to obey in Jesus Name and do what He wants for the glory of God!
Jesus called THEN he equipped his rough and tumble young men who needed to hear what they were up against and how to handle each situation as they told The Way back to God in relationship with Him. Here are the instructions as written by Matthew, one of The Twelve:
Matthew-The Law Fulfilled
Matthew 10, New Living Translation
Jesus Sends Out the Twelve Apostles
10 Jesus called his twelve disciples together and gave them authority to cast out evil spirits and to heal every kind of disease and illness. 2 Here are the names of the twelve apostles:
first, Simon (also called Peter),
then Andrew (Peter’s brother),
James (son of Zebedee),
John (James’s brother),
Matthew (the tax collector),
James (son of Alphaeus),
4 Simon (the zealot),
Judas Iscariot (who later betrayed him).
5 Jesus sent out the twelve apostles with these instructions: “Don’t go to the Gentiles or the Samaritans, 6 but only to the people of Israel—God’s lost sheep. 7 Go and announce to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is near. 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received!
9 “Don’t take any money in your money belts—no gold, silver, or even copper coins. 10 Don’t carry a traveler’s bag with a change of clothes and sandals or even a walking stick. Don’t hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve to be fed.
16 “Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves. 17 But beware! For you will be handed over to the courts and will be flogged with whips in the synagogues. 18 You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell the rulers and other unbelievers about me. 19 When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time. 20 For it is not you who will be speaking—it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
11 “Whenever you enter a city or village, search for a worthy person and stay in his home until you leave town. 12 When you enter the home, give it your blessing. 13 If it turns out to be a worthy home, let your blessing stand; if it is not, take back the blessing. 14 If any household or town refuses to welcome you or listen to your message, shake its dust from your feet as you leave. 15 I tell you the truth, the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah will be better off than such a town on the judgment day.
21 “A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed. 22 And all nations will hate you because you are my followers. But everyone who endures to the end will be saved. 23 When you are persecuted in one town, flee to the next. I tell you the truth, the Son of Man will return before you have reached all the towns of Israel.
24 “Students are not greater than their teacher, and slaves are not greater than their master. 25 Students are to be like their teacher, and slaves are to be like their master. And since I, the master of the household, have been called the prince of demons, the members of my household will be called by even worse names!
26 “But don’t be afraid of those who threaten you. For the time is coming when everything that is covered will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. 27 What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ear, shout from the housetops for all to hear!
28 “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. 30 And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.
32 “Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.
34 “Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword.
35 ‘I have come to set a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
36 Your enemies will be right in your own household!’
37 “If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. 38 If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. 39 If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.
40 “Anyone who receives you receives me, and anyone who receives me receives the Father who sent me. 41 If you receive a prophet as one who speaks for God, you will be given the same reward as a prophet. And if you receive righteous people because of their righteousness, you will be given a reward like theirs. 42 And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded.”
POINTS TO PONDER – FOR US…
- Give as freely as God as given to you. God sent His Son, Jesus to pay the debt of our sins. Jesus gave it “freely” so we could have eternal life but also to share this gift of salvation with others who seek a Savior who can free them of their debt of sin. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, NIV) Begin with who you know (God’s lost sheep of Israel) then later to everyone else because God loves the world. Jesus extended his power and authority to The Twelve. He will give us power to speak His words to those He sends us to tell His Story.
- Travel light. You don’t need a lot of stuff to hinder your walk and distract from the work God has invited you to be and do. You only need what He gives us to go and tell. Accept hospitality of those who will give it because they are extending in response to the Father, too! Don’t rob them of the blessing! Where God guides, He provides.
- Tell the gospel where you are welcome. Jesus will lead us by the power of the Holy Spirit. He will tell us the places to go and tell and He will also tell us the places to leave when the message is shunned. “Don’t beat a dead horse” is an expression I used to hear in my youth which means don’t waste precious time on those who are not ready to hear. Pay attention the leading of His Holy Spirit. We are not to wear ourselves out or waste time with those who refuse to believe for there are others who need and want to hear!
- Be smart, kind and gentle as you tell His Story. Know your audience. Begin with what they know with a point of reference to relate to then extend their knowledge with what you know and how God has shown you His power in your life. We can only take people as far as we have been. Know the Word. Know His message. Know your audience.
- Know your enemy. Evil abounds in the world that is dark. Evil will oppose the Light of Jesus in you. You will be mocked and gossip of your character will be on trial daily as you live for Jesus and tell His Truth. Do all in the Name of Jesus for His glory because we are promised that “God will give you (us) the right words at the right time. For it is not you who will be speaking—it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” Often, Jesus told all who would listen, “I do and say only what the Father tells me”. Who are we to do any less or more than the Father tells us?
- Get used to betrayal. Who knows this better than Jesus? When you give your life to Jesus, unbelievers in your own family will not be thrilled and may even betray you and push out of their lives. Your new life does not relate to their lives so you will become an outcast to them. We are promised, “But everyone who endures to the end will be saved.”
- Persecutions will come but don’t be afraid, “not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.”
- You will be hated. When our goal is to be like Jesus, we can expect to be hated by those who hate Him. Don’t let that stop the us! Jesus tell us, “Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven”. Our hearts are an open book to God. Our lives will reflect and reveal who we acknowledge on earth.
- Love God first. Give His Son and His teaching first place in our hearts. Give up life on earth for eternal life with Him. Jesus IS coming back, you know, to claim His own. All Truth will be revealed, hidden no longer. Our behavior on earth pours out from what our hearts believe. Do we really believe what we say we believe about God really real? Jesus reveals the bottom line of our faith: “If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.” Lose to find.
- “And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded.” –Jesus
All the instructions given to the apostles are readily available and helpful to all who believe and follow Jesus with hearts, minds and souls who are called and willing to be equipped by Him. We are all called to tell His story.
Abba, Father in Heaven,
Hallowed be Your Name. May Your Kingdom come and reign in us and all around us. May Your will be done in every detail of our lives here on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day all you want us to say with how and when to say it. Give us this day what you want us to do and we will do it. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us far from temptations to follow anyone else. Help us to hear your voice above all others. Deliver us from evil. For you hold all power and authority. To you be all glory forevermore.
In Jesus Name, Amen