Matthew 10: 5-15: The greatest Evangelistic Plan is the one Christ gave!
As you go, preach this message: "The kingdom of heaven is near." Matthew 10:7
This passage gives us the blueprint for missions and evangelism. This mission was in preparation for ?The Great Commission" to come, where His apostles were called to make disciples of all the peoples of the world. The pattern was for them to present Christ to their own people (Matthew 10:5-15), then to others, and, finally, to the entire world, including rulers and kings (Matthew 10:18; 28:18-20).
Jesus called His twelve Disciples to venture out and put into practice all He had taught them. This was their first great mission, and the testing ground for learning, growth, and the practicing of their faith. They were going from the classroom to the field, taking a chance by being without the usual necessities one would normally take on such a journey. Jesus gave them the empowerment, along with key instructions to stay away from certain people groups (This was before the call to go to all peoples in Matthew 28!), to shake the dust off their feet if the people did not listen, and not to pay for anything. All were contrary to what is normally done during a journey and sojourn. They were sent out as commissioned representatives of Christ, just as their title, apostle, meant. They had to learn first-hand what it meant to be an apostle, and what it meant to follow Christ. However, the way they learned to follow Him did not entail just picking up and following. They had to put into practice what they had learned, and then do it. Follow? Yes. But, also do as He instructed.
Jesus calls us to the lost sheep-the people who have lost their way, as in sheep that are lost from their master. God is their Master, and they have strayed from Him. Jesus comes, as the Good Shepherd, to rescue His lost sheep. This was a common Old Testament theme, and referred to people as dumb sheep that go astray very easily, as a lot of real sheep and people do. This passage tells us to go first to the lost sheep of Israel. This meant the message of God's redemption was to go first to Israel. Israel's responsibility then was to proclaim it to the Gentiles, which they did not do very well. Jesus is not discounting the Gentiles, as He already responds to them prior to the Great Commission (Matthew 8:10). Rather, He means that the "heirs to the Kingdom" are to be first. Later, in this passage, Jesus calls His disciples-and us-to reach the Gentiles.
Take a look at these words: "As you go." The apostles (meaning sent ones), were modeling what Jesus had done Himself, and was instructing them to do. This mission was tactual to practical, from conceptual to realistic, from hands-on learning to intentional (seeing it done), and being told all the "ins and outs." They were then commissioned to do it on their own. This is so essential for us because we will not get it right nor have good results at first or, at times, even later. Evangelism takes time and practice. We will not always win, especially when we first start out. Have patience and try to see people as Christ sees them.
This mission was in the parameters of what the Master had instructed. It was not, see if it works, and let me know. Rather, it was putting faith to practice regardless of response or how one was treated. Our reverence is to be to God, regardless of what others think of us. We are called to get busy. We Christians are responsible to proclaim Christ as Lord with whatever means are at our disposal, using our gifts and abilities. But, we are not responsible for how or why people respond to us. It is not our responsibility that they convert, believe, or act in a certain way. We are only responsible for acting in His character and proclaiming His name. Many times, when Christians see that people do not respond as expected, they quit almost as soon as they start. Too many give up too soon, thinking no one is listening or even cares. Truly, most will not listen or care, but that is not our problem. We must break away from the feelings of personal rejection. This will be difficult, but we must do so in order to be effective for the Kingdom.
Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10
The instructions Jesus gave them were that they were to travel light and be totally committed to the mission, as Elijah and John the Baptist had been. Preach, heal, cleanse, and raise. The Disciples were empowered by Christ to perform miracles, as we read in Matthew, chapters eight through nine. For us, it means we should not be so weighed down by our burdens and responsibilities that we have no time to share Him or care for others. The Disciples were empowered to freely give the message of the Gospel without any compensation. To "peddle the Gospel," as to charge money for people to hear it, is a grave insult to God. God will sustain those in His service. Jesus called them and us to trust in God to provide, and not to take comfort in personal possessions. If we become tied down with possessions and worldly concerns, we will miss His call for our participation in His mission. Wealth is not wrong in itself; when it distracts one from His call, it becomes a hindrance, and sometimes, even evil. We have to realize that He will sustain us. That does not necessitate leaving your job to witness full time because you may be being a bad steward; it means to be available and ready without pretext or conditions. God is our provider. We have to realize that when we walk in Him and follow His mission, we need not fear or worry.
As you enter the home, give it your greeting. If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. Matthew 10: 12-13
Then, Jesus says, "shake off the dust," a symbol of contempt and piety. A righteous Jew would not allow himself to be contaminated by pagan dust and dirt. Jesus uses this phrase to demonstrate that one should treat unresponsive and unsupportive people as pagans, and as unworthy (Matthew 7:6; Acts 13:42-46). This is an indication that the Gospel is real, and if you do not receive it, you will be shaken off in contempt and judgment. In addition, these are the passages that tell us we. are. not. responsible. for. the. results!
This passage in Matthew 10 has some valuable insights for us today. God will not call us where He will not equip us. Therefore, we can go without fear. If He provides, we are doing it right. If not, we need to inquire as to why not. This passage also prepares us not to be shocked when strangers and even family friends no longer accept us because of Christ. We must be prepared as Jesus prepared His disciples. We are to go first to the people we know. Then, as we get better, we go to others. Finally, we go to those with whom we may be uncomfortable. If they show no interest, we are to leave them alone while we keep them in prayer, and wait for a better time for the Spirit to open their hearts. We are not to be a nuisance or obtuse to others-even those who are "unworthy."
Jesus did not rally people to a cause, nor did He invoke us to political and materialistic agendas. He mainly draws Himself to us so we can know Him and make Him known. To be His disciple means having personal, passionate devotion that contains the humbleness to surrender our will to Him and the boldness to proclaim Him. The response will be our love and gratitude, glued with the faith to make it real, powered by the Holy Spirit so it is impacting us and flowing to others around us. How devoted are you to our Lord?
I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. Galatians 1:11-12
By our obedience in faith, we may suffer rejection, temptations, trouble, persecution, and/or condemnation from the world. It may seem our foundation has shifted by that constant beating, but He will remain steadfast in us when we remain steadfast in our faith! Keep your faith real, valuable, and practical, and on His solid Rock. He will not leave you nor forsake you, so, let Him be the Rock-solid foundation of your life.
If we just live our lives with the attitude of how things affect ?me? and not "others," then we are living with the devil, and not with God! We need to be careful what we do with our faith-how we express it and how we govern it. We cannot just expect our encounters from the past to sustain us in the future; we must always be reaching and searching His truth and stretching for Him. Only our growth in Him will allow the Spirit to nudge us forward and keep us connected and relevant in the lives of others. Never settle for the "pew," or be satisfied with your level of faith, for if you do, you will stagnate and never grow further. If you do not continue your spiritual growth, you will not be able to reach out and effectively model what God has expressed to you. Allow Him to complete you, to compel you, to empower you, and, when necessary, to dispel you out of your complacency!
Questions to Ponder
1. If you were to go on a short-term mission trip, what fears would you have? If you have been on one, what fears did you have? How do you feel about those fears now?
2. God is our Provider. We have to realize that when we walk in Him and follow His mission, we need not fear or worry. So, why do you worry? How does worry counter your witness to others?
3. How do you think the disciples felt as they ventured out, for the first time, to practice their faith?
4. If people show no interest for the Gospel, you are to keep prying. How can you do this without being a nuisance or obtuse to others?
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened." Matthew 7:7-8
Some passages to consider: Matthew 7:6-8; 10: 1-15; Luke 14:26-27; 33; Acts 13:42-46; Romans 5:5; 10:5-21; Philippians 2:12
© 2006, Richard J. Krejcir, Ph.D. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership, www.churchleadership.org