Sermons

Cautioning the Twelve, Pt. 2

Jan 23, 2022

Cautioning the Twelve, Pt. 2

Passage: Matthew 10:16-22

Preacher: Jeff Crotts

Series: Matthew: We Need a King

Category: Sunday Morning

Detail

Cautioning the Twelve - vv. 16-25 (pt. 2)

Persevering through the promise of adversity

 

“How bad is it really going to get?”

  • The answer is this bad.
    • Bad for the Apostles.
    • Bad for the early church.
    • Bad for believers still here when things get this bad.

This text uses telescopic fulfillment.

  • Making points w/telescopic applications.
    • Christ directly cautions his 12 Apostles.
      • Also, for the early church.
      • Also, for all in our unprecedented culture.
      • Also, looking future to end times (cf. v. 23 “…before Son of Man comes).

During my lifetime promised persecution more fantasy than reality.

  • While attending LU (post, cold war), Russian students had seen persecution.
    • Church underground.
    • Pastors imprisoned.
    • Students fought glib attitudes.

 

  • Seminary w/ Filipino man pastored underground w/ threat of jail or death (family at risk).
    • Ev/ ShepCon thankful to see him alive.
    • Persecution in Islamic countries.
    • US church, division where believers new war: under a war of attrition.
      • What is worse now than when I began Gospel of Matthew.
      • Parallels of Herod’s persecution.

Calling, Commission comes with real Caution for the 12.

  • Pioneering a mission, the church, called to complete.
    • Every nation reached.
    • Our 21st century version, what they began.

 

  • Their mission models what we called to do.
    • Called to this same cost.
      • Caution is Inspiration.
      • Cost of Discipleship.
        • God’s rescue and faithfulness.
        • No matter how difficult it gets.

 

  • Observing the Apostle’s version makes visible what (to us) is invisible.
    • The spiritual realm.
    • Embracing same battle by faith.
      • We see the effects of the wind (cf. Jn. 3).
      • The Apostles show us precipitation.

 

  • False teachers drum up fake versions of the Spirit.
    • Special effects.
    • New Testament moves believers to see less and trust more!

 

  • Our Bibles give us a lot to still see, for preparation.

 

Let’s go with them on their dangerous mission, to our benefit.

One of the best ways to learn is by doing an internship. On the job training and experience trumps just about all kinds of education. Learn what is coming by going on a ride along.

My oldest daughter, studying criminal justice, for on-the-job training has been going on “Ride-Alongs” with a police officer.

In a boarder city. She has been observing this office pull people over while she remains under clear instruction to stay in the car.

Heightened scenarios happen between the hours of 11:00-3:00 am, pulling over and arresting people with illegal drugs etc., booking at the station.

Thus far, my girl has not been in immediate danger, not permitted to leave the squad car.

Let’s enjoy the same benefit, going on a ride along with the 12, learning by observation

 

How bad will things get?

Three levels of persecution
1. Religious

Jesus builds a bridge between calling the 12 and their commission by calling the Israelites “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” to calling the 12 to act like “sheep.”

“sheep” both times, identification for being vulnerable.

  • The “lost sheep” Israelites, vulnerable to self-deception.
  • The Apostles likewise “sheep,” vulnerable to ambush wolves.
    • Ravenous, dangerous, shedding animals.

ESV  Matthew 7:15 a"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are bravenous wolves.

ESV  Acts 20:29 I aknow that after my departure cfierce wolves will come in among you, bnot sparing the flock;

 

  • Jews were “lost sheep” turn on Messiah and his Apostles, now as wolves.
    • Jesus’ warning.
      • Warning is unique, to avoid the wolves.
        • Preparartion for what to face.
        • Jesus “sending” them to face an adversary.

 

  • Facing this enemy is not a martyr’s mission.
    • Never desiring death.
    • Never “Reckless Bravado.”

 

  • To be “wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (v. 16).
    • Sent by Jesus.
      • Never meant to be put yourself intentionally in harms way.
      • Craving pain as penance.

 

  • Cunning, facing difficult trials.
  • Egyptians depicted serpents as cunning and wise.

ESV  Genesis 3:1 Now athe serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God actually say, 'You1 shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?"

  • Guarding against retaliation.
    • Loving enemies, praying for persecutors.
    • Represented as “innocence” – “innocent as doves” (v. 16).

ESV  Acts 23:1-5 And looking intently at the council, Paul said, "Brothers, aI have lived my life before God in all good conscience up to this day."2 And the high priest aAnanias commanded those who stood by him bto strike him on the mouth.3 Then Paul said to him, "God is going to strike you, you awhitewashed bwall! Are you sitting to judge me according to the law, and yet ccontrary to the law you corder me to be struck?"

4 Those who stood by said, "Would you revile aGod's high priest?"5 And Paul said, a"I did not know, brothers, that he was the high priest, for it is written, b'You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.'"

 

The expectation is to be delivered over (v. 17).

  • Technical term for prisoner handing over prisoner.
    • Less about avoiding persecution.
    • More about being ready to embrace it.

Jesus demands dangerous discipleship. The church gives a wide road message, lead there by false promises.

“Beware of men” meaning they are the one’s whom you will face.

  • Lacking resources will not be your enemy but the “men” (v. 17).
    • Barclay: “Men are agents as demonic hosts.”
    • Though we love them; we assume the role of strategists.
    • Being warned “Beware of men!” (v. 17).

These 12 Jews are going to be “delivered over” just like Jesus would be “delivered over” by Judas Iscariot (one of the 12!).

  • Jews delivering their own over to religious courts to be “flogged in their synagogues.”
  • Fossilized Orthodoxy [Barclay].

Until AD 70, Rome allowed synagogues to adjudicate legal matters.

  • Again, in the end times.
  • Paul was flogged 5 times.

ESV  2 Corinthians 11:24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the aforty lashes less one.

 

ESV  Deuteronomy 25:3 aForty stripes may be given him, but not more, lest, if one should go on to beat him with more stripes than these, your brother be degraded in your sight.

 

  • They would degrade
  • History records religions mockery - singing Psalms while delivering beatings.

ESV  Revelation 11:3-8 And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for a1,260 days, bclothed in sackcloth." 4 These are athe two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth.5 And if anyone would harm them, afire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes. If anyone would harm them, bthis is how he is doomed to be killed.6 They have the power ato shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and bto strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire.7 And when they have finished their testimony, athe beast that rises from bthe bottomless pit1 cwill make war on them and conquer them and kill them,8 and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that symbolically1 is called aSodom and bEgypt, where their Lord was crucified.

 

ESV  Revelation 17:5-6 And on her forehead was written a name of amystery: b"Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth's abominations." 6 And I saw the woman, drunk awith the blood of the saints, the blood of bthe martyrs of Jesus.1 When I saw her, I marveled greatly.

 2. Government

Verse 18 has you “dragged before governors and kings” just like Jesus was.

  • From being beaten in religious centers to the Gentile/government courts.
    • Appealing for acquittal.
    • Second form of witness.

 

  • Like Jesus facing Pharisees, then Herod then Pilate.

 

  • Governors were Roman Procurators: Pilate, Felix, Festus.

 

  • Kings were Agrippa’s and Herod’s.

 

  • Paul before Felix and Paul before Agrippa and Paul brought to Rome to face Caesar.

[cff. Acts 18:12-17; 25:10-12]

 

What is Christ’s motivation for this kind of public display?

  • The words “for my sake” give us a clue.
    • What the 12 would face multiplies Christ’s witness on earth.
    • “…for my sake” means going to danger as an extension of Christ.
      • What Jesus faced they face.
      • Happening again to replicate.

The “witness” of the 12 moving from homes of “the lost sheep of Israel” (v. 6) to the religious centers to the secular Roman courts.

From private to public witness.

Through public suffering.

“Was witness for or against Gentiles?” “Jesus opening the door for the Gentiles?”- Yes and Both!

Someone’s public witness is pure when losing everything while giving it away.

  • Suffering answers motive for their witness.
  • Losing nothing and while gaining everything exposes motive.

This moves us to the next verse which brings up a surprising question.

“When giving a public witness what is your chief concern?”

  • Reputation? Physical suffering? Losing your life?

Verse 19 captures what I believe deep down most fear?

  • The fear of failing in the moment of truth.
    • Denying the faith for the sake of yourself.
      • Your reputation, physical safety, family safety, losing your life, losing security.
      • Being beaten and worn down, where you flinch.
      • You say you do not believe, reject the faith, deny the faith.

 

  • Peter denying Christ three times.
    • Deeper than fear of public speaking.
    • Failing your theology exam.

 

  • Moment stripped bare while on earth.
    • All on the line for what you believe.
      • What matters most?
      • The question you raise is, “Will I choke?”

 

The phrase used in the military: “There are worse things that can happen to your than dying.” Going AWOL [absent without leave].

Choking on the mission for self-protection. Being ignoble. Denying the faith. Remember that there are so many things that take place when suffering. Physical safety, physical harm, death, wealth and even your secular identity will be threatened.

So many are bound and determined to guard their personal freedoms. Desire has become a common idol that God never promised to us.

God never promised a persecution free life and a government run be Christians. Romans 13 promises governing authorities are instituted by God and that they bring the sword to exact justice.

Secular government largely run by unbelievers to police society.

Governments that that dismiss God, still do that. Other times while it is peaceful, we enjoy policy we can stand behind and other times we cannot.

Verse 18 says, government will unjustly persecute believers.

  • Face this reality and focus on what matters.
  • Guarding our witness to carry our Christ’s commission.  

The LORD promises they will not falter - NT bears this out.

  • After Peter’s 3 denials (Satanically driven “being sifted like wheat”) along with the
    • After Apostles
    • After Judas’
    • After Christ’s
    • After the pouring out of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
      • Apostles were strong.
        • Stood the test under massive duress and this first commission
          • Test’s prepared for later tests.
          • The Holy Spirit made them strong to speak.
            • Testify and preach and ultimately under the Spirit’s inspiration.
            • Through them our record of Scripture (27 New Testament books), the complete canon.

I grew up asking this question in the 70’s when we watched the end times, “left behind” films and wondered what I would do or say in that moment. The resolution I came to, and I think anyone needs to come to is what Christ gives as comfort.

 “…do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say” (v. 19).

Do not fret over what your state of mind will be – “your how” “your state of mind” “your manner” or “what you are to say” – “your content” “your recall” – why?

“…for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour” (v. 19).

God will give the grace you need in that very moment. This is the comfort. With the measure of public suffering you are bearing, their will always be commensurate grace.

 

Never excuse for lazy Bible study. 

 

People on outside wonder how people endure otherwise unbearable suffering; the answer is, God makes up the difference.

I asked a man I respect if he would deny the faith to save his wife. Surprisingly, he said he would at first - then reestablish his faith once his wife was safe. He did not then understand, grace.

“How did you raise that your special needs child?” Grace. How did you face your next day when person was taken from you? Grace. It is always God’s grace.

The concern of v. 19 is to “not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say.”

  • It has been said that someone’s greatest fear is public speaking.
    • It is curious to me that out of all the things to be anxious over – like physical punishment etc. Jesus’ chief concern is you know you will have an answer.
      • Not knowing what to say.
      • Jesus’ comfort is the Spirit – Jesus will providentially give “what you are to say” (v. 19) – it “will be given to you in that hour” (v. 19).

[Appl] When heat comes, Jesus promises, you will know what to say – you will not be left in the dark as to why you are there – why you are suffering – and how you should answer what is happening to you – you instead, you will have what you are supposed to say.

Verse 20 “For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you” (v. 20).

  • The ministry of the Holy Spirit – what has been compared to the Spirit’s work of inspiration as some of the 12 were the ones inspired to write Holy Scripture.
    • Obviously, we know from the record of Acts and the New Testament that “…the Spirit of your Father speaking through [them]”

 

  • (v. 20) was not some other voice than the Apostles.
    • “The apostles were not like demoniacs, having wills violated by a demon.”
    • “His mind and heart operated freely.”

NT writers penned Scripture under Spirit’s inspiration, personalities and realities were intact. The Spirit superintended what they wrote but with exacting precision.

Same confidence they had going into hostile territory. Again, Christ’s warning was not to keep them from danger but to comfort them as they proceed forward. Into and through the storm, not around it. Still, what a comfort to know that no matter how the heat, they would not fail.

 “How does this apply?”

Holy Spirit provides by providence brings specific passages to mind explaining what is happening to us.

  • What going through; why and how he is using trials to refine.
    • Hard circumstances to set the table to give the Gospel to a loved one.
    • Protecting you from making a wrong decision, and the list goes on.

 

  • Remember that we are in the ride-along.

 

Seeing Peter or Steven preaching, later, Paul defending the faith, remember the Spirit’s ministry is divinely inspired.

 

  • What they said, models our mindset.
    • Real life explanations for why things were happening to them and around them in view of redemptive history.
    • We should do the same.    
 3. Family

Verse 21 is a far worse trial than religious and government persecution.

  • Persecution from family.
    • The worst of betrayal.
    • Your own flesh turning on you.
      • For your faith!
        • Dead to them.
        • Violent and vitriolic.

 

  • The Bible’s nightmares for following Jesus.

 

  • On Zoom call with TMF, TMS pastors across the globe and Dr. MacArthur was speaking to the new law in Canada [C4] prohibiting Conversion Therapy.

 

  • My Zoom window quick/synced with JMac, so it was, “Hi Jeff from AK!”
    • Implications to “conversion therapy” laws are broader than the church.
    • Encompassing secular counseling but is certain to pressure the local church.
      • James Coates, Alberta Canada, threatening Jail.
      • Steve Viar’s church (Faith Church) in Lafyette, Indiana.
        • City Council passing laws to charge $1000 a day if they counsel according to the Word of God against homosexual sin.
        • Especially with children.

 

  • Non-licensed counselors (for free).

 

  • Anytime the issue of “conversion” (Bible term) or “converting” others from sin is called illegal, we need to pay attention.
    • Clarity on biblical manhood and womanhood are the fabric of family and culture.
    • Secular culture knowingly or not is attacking God’s blueprint for holiness.
      • Children targeted in secular schools and the barrage of media are being brainwashed.
        • But for the church.
        • Family Bible Interventions.

 

  • The core issue is whether the church will continue to call homosexuality sin! (cf. Rom. 1:18ff)

 

  • To give the grace of the Gospel and hope from being ensnared by sin.

 

  • AGC is committed to the sufficiency and authority of Scripture in pulpit, church life, and in biblical counseling, so this matters here.
    • Word ministry, contending for souls, using straight-up Bible to course correct perversion takes brave conviction.

 

  • “Why is preserving this kind of ministry is important?”
    • Not government reform.
      • To save Conversion Therapy – No!
      • To save people from going to Hell – Yes!

 

  • “What saves people from Hell?” - “Conversion.”

Our message? Covert to Jesus and be saved or do not and be lost.

A clear message that often drives a deep wedge in the family.     

 

  • No higher stakes than a “Brother…delivering [a brother] over to death.”
    • So severe, base, difficult to imagine.
      • “Imagine things could not get worse.”
        • Digression worsens.
          • A father delivering his child?
          • Children who “…will rise against parents and have them put to death?”

ESV  1 Timothy 1:9 understanding this, that the alaw is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, (1Ti 1:9 ESV)

 

  • Bloody dystopian, apocalyptic scene.
    • Modern day, hear of families of Islam where children flee for safety.
      • Converted while away, permanently banished or killed.
      • Jesus sugar-coats nothing!

Verse 22 Brings this to the core and condition for a faithful believer.

  • “…and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake” (v. 22).
    • To “be hated by all” meaning all kinds of people.
    • And, “hated” by many people.  
      • Apostle’s kinsmen.
        • Jews delivering over, Jesus.
        • Jews delivering over, Jesus’ missionaries.
          • To religious leaders of synagogue.
          • Gentile rulers, oppressive Roman Gov.
          • Now family members.

 

  • Categories that make up the world.

This of course is a ride along, remember? Safe from this, in the car, behind the bulletproof glass.

 “What does this mean for us?”

If they hate Christ, they will hate his Body.

We do not know the extent we will be called to face.

Still, promised persecution.

We (like Apostles) go as sent ones “who have gone out for the sake of the name” (3 John 7).

“What is the goal of this level of promised adversity?”

  • Boil it all down with a word, perseverance.
    • Perseverance is the antonym for “quitting.”
      • Quitting (in this context) is denying the faith.
      • Denying Christ.

 

  • Verse 22 summarizes the goal of the mission.

“…But the one who endures to the end will be saved” (v. 22).

  • Not folding while undergoing the severe fire of persecution.

“What does the term “saved” mean?”

  • Salvation is never earned by what you do.
    • By grace.
    • By the opposite of doing.

 

  • Salvation is always proven by what we do.
    • We do and keep doing because we are truly saved.
      • Enduring or persevering.
      • Simple “enduring” is also not “denying” the faith.

 

  • This may be your best version of being a witness.

“What about Peter’s denials?”

  • “Did these denials disqualify his salvation?”
    • Beauty of knowing the whole story.
      • Peter denied the Lord 3x and then repented.
        • When tested later, he stood strong.
        • Did not deny the Lord.

 

  • His faith tested and he stumbled.
    • But his faith was real, so he repented.
    • And was strengthened.

 

  • Often it is not how someone begins but how one ends that matters most.

If you are saved, you will endure, ultimately.

  • “Endure” is upomovn – to bear up under.
    • Job was not perfect.
      • He doubted and despaired but the end of his story, some 42 chapters deep is one of enduring faith.

 

  • David fell and suffered for it for over a year.
    • David repented and David persevered.

 

  • Peter’s doubting and any other believer experience seasons.

 

  • But doubting or any other sin is never assessed in isolation.
    • Persevering keeps a pulse.
    • Beating on its own, to heaven.

 

  • When life-support is shut down, you’re still alive.

 “What is our response supposed to be when the Gospel is rejected?”

  • Keep moving.

 Never seek persecution.

Being cautioned never means quit.

  • This is Jesus’ method to prepare believers to persevere.

 We will persevere, enduring by the Spirit.

 

  • Jesus’ Caution – The Cost of Discipleship is our Inspiration to Persevere!

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