Sermons

Comforting the Twelve

Jan 30, 2022

Comforting the Twelve

Passage: Matthew 10:23-31

Preacher: Jeff Crotts

Series: Matthew: We Need a King

Category: Sunday Morning

Detail

Persevere moving from one town to the next.

  • Where Lord leads, opening and closing doors you minister.
    • Jesus, commissioning Apostles is laying down principles for all believers.
    • In the last days, which are now. 
  • Jesus’ ride along.

 “What is the key to persevering?” Contentment.

Content to be like your Master. Like Jesus.

What contentment cost you.
1. Physical safety (vv. 23-25)

Verse 23 is the beginning of contentment.

  • Contentment builds comfort.
  • Enduring hardship while on the move. 

Learning to fight mindset:

“We get to choose when and where we live while Jesus is clear that we do not.”

Christians sign up for a mission that leads you to where you will be.

Who you will know, whom you talk to.

Where God places you have significance when seen through this lens. 

In a “town,” and “When they persecute you” - “run after” - “pursue” [diwkw].

  • The “town” or “city” “metro” area makes no difference.
    • NOT - Geography determining how you are treated but the message you preach.
    • “What are you supposed do when [persecution] heat applied?” 
  • Simply “flee” which literally run or escape persecution.

“Is this correct, to run?”

  • Examples of persecution in the book of Acts.
    • Like Steven (first martyr) and James.
      • Examples not fleeing.
      • Matthew’s text says to stay on the move.
        • A time to run and to stay.
        • A time to be freed by angels from prison.
        • A time to be lowered (like Paul) by basket behind the Damascus wall (Acts 9:25).

Andre Maurois in Why France Fell tells of a conversation he had with Mr. Winston Churchill, as he then was. There was a time at beginning of the Second World War when England seems strangely inactive and unwilling to action. Churchill said to Maurois: “Have you observed the habits of lobsters?” “No,” answered Maurois to this somewhat surprising question. Churchill went on: “Well, if you have the opportunity, study them. At certain periods in his life the lobster loses his protective shell. At his moment of molting even the bravest crustacean retires into a crevice in the rock and waits patiently until a new carapace has time to grow. As soon as the new armor has grown strong, he sallies out to the crevice, and becomes once more a fighter, lord of the seas…there is a time when inaction is wiser than action, and when to escape was wiser than to attack. 

Jesus, did not die on man’s timetable, crowds tried to force him off a cliff and Jesus moved through.

  • Martyr’s death is only in God’s timing.
    • God’s witness not our own.
    • Not a more sacred death.
    • Laws that could caution us when preaching truth.
    • Called to bravery to face them. 
  • When one door closes, another opens.
    • Measure hill to die on based on opportunity to speak truth.
    • How to best carry-out God’s mission?
    • “I guess this is my plan – in this times”

Several navigating convictions on vaccine requirements; staying employed or not.

  • This might be a curveball but: Whatever your position on the vaccine.
    • Consider how God might best serve in terms of your witness for Christ?
    • Our mission has never been to preserve our country’s freedom.
    • Don’t fight for American Freedom – Fight to Witness for Jesus! 

Deeply respect military sacrifice for our freedoms.

  • Still will ask: “What Paul’s teaching classifies as our highest calling/mission?”
    • Military or secular missions do not counter the Christian’s mission.
      • God’s Word does not teach Passivism.
      • Elevating secular/temporal causes while forgetting people lost to Hell is not allowable. 
  • Counters Paul’s point in 1 Corinthians 9:16ff.
  • Paul’s context - “preach[ing] the gospel” (v. 16).
    • Paul says, “Woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!” (v. 16).
    • Saying, “Put the curse of Hell on me if I do not preach, gospel!” 
  • The gospel was heaven’s money, given him as a stewardship, entrusted, where there was no payoff.
    • Paul gave is “free of charge” – no obligation - “free from all” a “servant to all, that I might win more of them” (v. 19). 
  • Paul was saying, “Not only am I not charging money for preaching Christ; also defer every possible right to preach Christ freely!” 
  • Had the right to make his living on the gospel and deferred mone, while deferring wherever else, to remove barriers to preach Christ.

ESV  1 Corinthians 9:22 aTo the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. bI have become all things to all people, that cby all means I might save some. (1Co 9:22 ESV)

God is Savior while we are God’s instrument to save.

  • In Paul’s case, saving is deferring.
    • As stronger or weaker brother, you absorb what you would not choose.
    • As weaker or stronger brother, you abstain where you would otherwise do freely. 
  • Every situation will be unique.
    • Someone’s conscience will act differently per circumstances and individual.
    • Christ’s mission will inform and influence your conscience.

Go from “town to town” because you will not exhaust “all the towns of Israel” – “before the Son of Man comes” (v. 23).

  • I take this, two ways.
    • In the immediate, many Jewish-filled towns surrounding Galilee for the Apostles to preach to, so be strategic.
      • Jesus’ mission to culminate at the Cross.
      • They, to be busy preaching until then. 
  • Also, a clear principle of preaching Christ to the lost, as you move about, until Christ returns.

“Have you never stirred anything up in your workplace?”

Does anyone there know you are a believer at all?

You should and they should.

Provision comes through your job but ultimately comes from the Lord.

Preach and preach on the move until Jesus returns.

You say this is crazy talk?

  • How: Jesus answers Doubting: “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master” (v. 24).
    • Jesus asks, “Are you better than the teacher?”
      • Are you not a “servant” [doulos] and is “a servant above his master?” (v. 24).
      • Obviously not.
      • “Expect to do our mission differently than Jesus?” 
  • Jesus’ mission was on the move, so why shouldn’t we be content to do the same?

 Contentment. Contentment. Contentment! 

What else do you stand to lose? 

2. Personal reputation (vv. 25-27)

Verse 25 brings the capstone.

  • “It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master” (v. 25).
    • “It is enough!”
    • Sufficient to be like Jesus, not entitled for better treatment. 

“What will this treatment be?” Being “maligned” (v. 25).

  • “Shocked when people make stuff up about you?”
    • Unless otherwise prepared.
      • “What level will they call you things?”
      • You are from Satan, even more than they felt they say against Jesus.
        • You are the epitome of evil.
        • You are the origin of evil.
        • You are the source/problem with everything going wrong. 
  • As Christ’s pupil and slave, so what can you do to your persecutors? 
  • Social justice movement [SJW] is denies Christ’s premise.
    • Christians say this treatment is out of play for your life.
      • Jesus says, be content, bc/He guarantees mistreatment.
      • Will be called the worst of the worst.
    • Social justice movement teaches, by the nature of who you are, based on background, ethnicity or status, deserve equal or better treatment by others and that when you do not, you are the clear victim of oppression.
      • The truth is we will be victims of oppression - that part is true and real.
        • Why? For Christian’s oppression should be based in Gospel – Giving!

ESV  Acts 5:41 Then they left the presence of the council, arejoicing that they were counted worthy bto suffer dishonor for cthe name. (Act 5:41 ESV)

  • Fighting for good treatment warranted if this world was all there is.
  • Jesus casts a Bigger vision.

 Verse 26 brings us into the second reason for comfort.

  • Content to do Christ’s mission no matter BAD treatment because of God’s judgment.
    • The outcry for justice is what people say, but do they really want justice?
      • Question: “What is Just?”
        • Sin offends God.
        • God is Holy. 
  • We do not want justice. 
  • True justice for this world is eternal hell. 
  • We deserve hell but receive grace. 

“Why not be Afraid of accusers?” (v. 27)

  • The Lord is their judge, justice served by him not you.
    • They may accuse you in secret.
    • But will all be uncovered in the end. 
  • What they do by stealth, is met with boldness.
    • Method of private slander; not hinder you from speaking out.
    • They whisper in secret, but I boldly speak truth.
      • They bring bodily harm.
      • Christ says, so what?

 ESV  Matthew 10:28 And ado not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him bwho can destroy both soul and body in hell.1 (Mat 10:28 ESV)

 3. Practical mindset (27-31)

“Why be bold?”

  • Because everything is being done in view of another realm, an eternal realm.
    • God’s justice is eternal.
      • All will answer to this One, for heaven or hell.
        • To consider hell as a real place of eternal hopelessness is such an incomprehensible activity.
        • Convinced rebellious people are sliding into this forever existence is terrifying. 
  • This kind of terror is the level Jesus tells us to think about. 
  • “Who is Lord of hell, none other than Christ?”
    • Our commissioner of this mission is Christ.
      • He sends missionaries into dangerous territory.
        • While quick to remind that he who is Judge.
        • No victim/crusade.

 Do not fear someone who can strike your face, fear the One who will punish with terrifying torment, body, and soul with unquenchable fire, forever.

“How can it be that the One whom we place our eternal souls into the hands is the same One whom authorizes hell?”

  • This is God.

John Calvin commenting on Isaiah’s well-known verse:

ESV  Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. (Isa 55:8 ESV)

John Calvin: “There is nothing that troubles our consciences more, than when we think that God is like ourselves.”

Yes, an enemy can bring you harm, but this has promised limitations, limited in time and measurable events.

  • God’s comfort comes when we see his love as immeasurable as his wrath.
    • God has your life in his hands.

“Fear not” your accusers and do not wrongfully “fear” God.

We “fear” or reverence God in all his justice and dominance, by faith. 

  • Our God loves us down to the last detail (v. 29).
    • Creator God, shines through the details of his Creation. 

Birds cannot conceptualize so why do they exist?

To squawk for food?

A bird hops, so we see God’s minute concern for us.

A bird is fed to teach that God feeds.

A bird sings to tell us God sings and hears your singing. 

  • Birds sour, not for human-like pleasure but to show us God’s pleasure! 
  • He cares for you in view of eternity and down to the minute detail. 
  • Down to “even the hairs of your head are all numbered” (v. 30).

This is how detailed his plan of persecution is for you. 

Mark Zukerberg’s plan to take over our minds with what he calls the Meta-world.

  • A world of holograms to someday view all of life through these glasses.
    • An alternate reality that is made up of 1’s and 0’s.
    • A world where you will see art on your wall, what you paid for, that is not there, but is, through your glasses. 
  • A two-world universe, imagine.

There are worldly agendas meant to strip you from the mission.

“How does this measure with how the Bible measures reality?”

  • Two-world false reality with what the Bible describes as a true two-world reality.

ESV  Ephesians 6:12 For awe do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against bthe rulers, against the authorities, against cthe cosmic powers over dthis present darkness, against ethe spiritual forces of evil fin the heavenly places.

 (Eph 6:12 ESV)

I wrote a blog on this called: Meta Reality…Really?

I wanted to take a moment and share something my twenty-year-old son, Logan brought up to me over Christmas break. He attends The Master’s University and his favorite econ professor had been addressing Mark Zuckerberg’s Nuevo proposal, Meta.

Meta is meant to be his larger umbrella company with Facebook and Instagram as subsidiaries. It is important to say upfront, I do not know any more about this new virtual reality than you do if you watch his quick YouTube announcement Everything Facebook revealed about the Metaverse in 11 minutes - YouTube.

So, though I am no expert on VR, I will issue this caution blog as a subject Christians need to pay attention to and be wary of especially with tech growing on this scale, sophistication and marketability creating more and more believable false realities. Mixing true reality with false reality is always a dangerous concoction for the mind and consequently to the soul.

Bible language would say, “what fellowship has light with darkness?” (cf. 2 Cor. 6:14). By quoting Paul’s warning to Corinth, I am not saying all VR or all media for that matter is sin. Much of media is just that a medium or bridge for information to travel through. An internet or highway for messages from one place to another.

That said, this agenda ramps things up for me as certainly more than a new product for classic video gamers. Zuckerberg and contemporaries will no doubt promise the allurement of convenience and attractiveness with the blink of your eye or wave of your hand to create, manipulate, and control your own personal Nuevo VR hybrid world. In other words, the agenda is to not only to change your world as you know it but to change you as you experience it.

Yes, your physical realm is still there but by simply wearing Zuckerberg’s glasses, you see another realm. Examples of this would be instead of holding your cell phone, you reach down and touch your wrist and pop goes a hologram with all your information hovering there. Or, instead of buying a physical painting for your physical wall, you buy a hologram “picture” to see on your wall by wearing VR specs.

Weird right? I’m hoping that’s how you’re feeling.

By the way, you will have rights over your VR painting comprised of all those zeroes and ones that no one else can have. It’s all yours…right? I fear these early gadgets are the lighter end of what is coming right around the corner, the gateway drug of sorts to get us all in the Matrix.

Anytime good well-meaning people (all fit with sin natures) are given perceived control over their world, virtual or real, they will move away from God and toward being anti-God.

Satan is called “the god of this age” the “prince of the power of the air.” So, it follows that the deeper immersed we are into his world the more susceptible we are to setting ourselves adrift from true reality. A dreamlike confusion where there is now no hardline between truth and error, light and darkness, good and evil, law and lawlessness, Christ and Belial. My encouragement is to immerse yourself in true reality instead of virtual reality.

What is true reality? There is only one true source that takes us to true reality and that is Holy Scripture. God’s Word tells us what is real, looking at life through the lens of the Bible tells us everything we can possibly know this side heaven, about what is happening to us.

Think about how you can answer the profound questions of life with complete confidence. Who am I? How did I get here? What am I supposed to love and hate? What am I supposed to do? How are people born? Where do people go when they die.? Body is here but soul goes elsewhere. Even a Sunday school level Bible education gives you credible answers to these; what most liberal PhD scholars blather about trying to say something cogent on these, you can spit out with a fair amount of ease.

Seriously. But this clarity is what Satan wants to snatch away from you. If he can blur your vision take you where you do not want to go; changing your surroundings to change you. Make no mistake, the Bible is clear that there are two realms: inner man and outer man, flesh and spirit, heaven and hell, earth and the unseen angelic real.

The Bible repeatedly makes the point that there are two realms, but one reality and the Bible is the only place (at present) where we can see both. Our media is Holy, inspired, perfect Scripture and when we read it by faith, we see both. We see hearts. We see what is temporal and eternal. We see our Savior and love him (cff. 2 Cor. 2:14-16; 2 Cor. 4:1-6; Eph. 1:15-23; Col. 3:1-4).

Allow me to spin this around on you to bring in a simple but sobering application. Not only do we by faith, see God now, but we also know by faith that God sees us now. In today’s world of the world-wide-web everyone feels empowered access to anything they want in and instant at their whim. Something so public and vast, as large as someone’s imagination can take them.

At the same time people as never before believe they can access this monster in complete isolation and solitude. Viewing small and large backlit screens and perhaps heretofore, inside enclosed lenses. As private as someone may feel, all this activity is very public before God who sees and knows everything. He is right there, inside of the screen projected within your imagination and he is Judge.

Matthew 10 again and one of the verses says, “…nothing is covered that will not be revealed or hidden that will not be known” (Matt. 10:26). In judgment, God will one day rip off the band-aid and expose all of what is there before a watching world. Scary, right?

Well, yes but for grace, right? We want to live Coram Deo, before the face of God, meaning we, be grace desire God’s loving accountability in our lives because he is our Shepherd who sees us through all of life’s challenges. Move toward inspired Scripture to keep clear on reality, reality God has made for us to enjoy. 

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