- Sermon Notes
Sent with Authority
So far in the book of Matthew we have seen that God has sent His Son into the world that the world might believe in Him; and in believing, have life in His name.
One of the best summaries of what God was doing through his Son Jesus is found in Matthew 9:35-36 where Matthew wrote that Jesus was going about the cities and villages healing every kind of disease and sickness. And seeing the multitudes, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and downcast like sheep without a shepherd.
God sees the condition of the world and He alone is doing something about it. He sent His Son so that we might be reconciled to God, have hope in this world, have everlasting life, and have the fullness of joy that comes from a relationship to God even now.
But the scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will have everlasting life.” And so that we might believe, God has demonstrated His great love for us in this, “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
We also see that God has demonstrated the authority of God in His Son, Jesus Christ. He talked with authority about the transformation of the heart in Matthew chapters 5-7. He demonstrated the authority of God when Jesus healed a leper, when He rebuked the wind and the sea when the disciples were about to perish in the storm. He demonstrated the authority of God over the spiritual realm when he cast out a legion of demons in a man in the area of the Gadarenes. He demonstrated the authority of God to forgive sins when He declared that forgiveness and then healed a man who was a paralytic.
Then, He said to His disciples in Matthew 9:37-38, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”
In chapter 10, Jesus gathered his 12 disciples and sent them out to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. This is an amazing part of the gospel of Matthew and there are many lessons that apply to us personally as we study through these verses.
I. God Does Radical Transformation
- We've been talking about God demonstrating His authority in Jesus Christ in many different ways.
- But in this chapter we’re going to see the Lord send out His disciples with His authority.
- This is really an amazing thing when you stop to realize who these guys were when Jesus first called them. Matthew gives us a list of their names and we’ll go through that list a few moments.
A. Discipleship comes first
- In verse two, we read for the first time that the twelve are called Apostles, which simply means, “one who is sent.”
- But before they are called apostles, they are first called disciples in verse one. And that's an important point for us to understand. Before God will send them out, they must first become disciples, which means, “one who is being taught.”
- It means more than simply being a student. I can take one class at PCC and be called a student, but a disciple of Christ is someone who lives to according to the teachings of Jesus.
- It requires a heart of humility so that we can recognize that we need to be taught, that we need to be transformed. We also need a heart that is teachable; that desires the instructions of the Lord.
Psalm 32:8-11 God instructs in the way we should go
- God wants to send us to make a difference in other people's lives, but before we can lead, we must first learn to follow. If we try to instruct others too quickly, we may be of no help at all.
Illus – Can you imagine what it would have been like if Peter or James and John the “sons of thunder” had been sent out too early?
1 Timothy 5:22, Do not lay hands upon anyone too hastily and thereby share responsibility for the sins of others;
Illus – When Matthew was first called to follow Jesus, he called all his sinner friends to come and meet Jesus. He didn't presume to instruct them, for him it was simple, they just needed to meet Jesus.
B. Not many wise, not many noble
- When you look at the list of apostles in verse 2 and know who they were when they were first called and then realize who they became, it's a story of radical transformation.
- The truth is that we need radical transformation.
Illus - One of the criticisms that the world likes to level against Christianity is that it is a crutch for the weak. The underlying assumption behind that accusation is that if you were just stronger you wouldn't need to be a Christian.
My problem is not just weakness; it's death. I don't need a crutch, I need a new heart. I need something much more radical than just a crutch to lean on, I need a heart transplant.
Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?”
Ezekiel 36:26, “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from within you and give you a heart of flesh.”
- Then, when you see who Jesus called, you realize that there weren't any notables amongst them. As we know, Matthew was a tax collector, several of them were fishermen.
1 Corinthians 1:26-29 God has chosen the foolish things
- When you see who these guys were, you see is radical transformation.
- The list of 12 always begins with Peter.
He is the one with the foot shaped mouth.
He was a fisherman and knew how to cuss.
He tried to correct Jesus to which Jesus said to him, “Get behind me Satan.”
He was clumsy with the sword and took off a man’s ear; then Jesus had to put it back.
Later, he denied the Lord three times.
But this is also the same one of whom Jesus said, “Your name will now be called Peter, which means, ‘Rock.’”
- James and John were brothers and called, “Sons of thunder.”
At one point when they were traveling through a village in Samaria, the folks there wouldn't receive Jesus because he was traveling toward Jerusalem. James and John wanted to call down fire from heaven.
Luke 9:55-56, But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what kind of spirit you are of; for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them.”
- Matthew was a tax collector.
- Simon the Zealot was a Zealot. These were revolutionaries who were patriots and Zionists who plotted actively against the Roman oppression. Can you imagine how Simon the Zealot would have felt about Matthew the tax collector?
- With the exception of Judas Iscariot, these men were radically transformed into a great men of God and God has used them to make a difference throughout the world.
- They were called in the frailty of human weakness, but their strength was in being with Jesus.
Illus - You can study and get sophisticated degrees and received many letters after your name, but unless you've been with Jesus, there can be little godly change.
Acts 4:13, Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.
II. Authority is His to Give
- In verse 1, it says that He gave them authority over unclean spirits, and to heal every kind of disease and sickness.
- So we begin by understanding that authority is His to give.
Matthew 28:18-19, Jesus spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…”
A. This authority He gave specifically to them
- This authority that Jesus gave to the apostles on this mission was specific to this group of men.
- This is clear from the instruction only to go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
- What we also see in scripture is that God gives His authority to accomplish His purpose. Here, he wants Israel to know that the kingdom of heaven is at hand and gives signs to verify.
- He is also preparing them to have a place of authority in the kingdom of heaven.
Ephesians 2:19-20, You are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone.
Revelation 21:14, And the wall of the city had twelve foundations stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
- When we think about the authority of Jesus and consider the authority that He gave to his apostles, it also causes us to desire to understand the authority of God in our lives as well.
- We may not have the title Apostle in the sense that these 12 did, but we do understand that we are called of God and sent of God to make a difference in this world by proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ.
- And the greatest key to understanding authority in the believer's life is found in the principle that we have authority when we are under authority.
Matthew 8:8-9 A Roman Centurion understood authority
- To be under authority means that we respond to his instruction and direction and desire in us.
Luke 6:46, “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”
- What Jesus taught was certainly radical, but it's also extremely powerful.
Matthew 20:25-26, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you…”
- For example, if we act arrogantly or puffed up or have a critical heart or a divisive spirit, then we are not under Christ’s authority because He wouldn't ask us to do this.
- God's authority is also given to accomplish God's purpose. It is not given for our own personal agenda.
Illus - At one point Jesus said, “If you have faith you can say to this mountain, ‘Be cast into the sea.’” But unless God wants that mountain moves, that mountain’s not going anywhere. But if He wanted it moved, He would give the authority. He gives authority according to his purpose.
Illus - There is a case in the news recently of a Navy Seal who is accused of taking weapons without authority. He went out from under authority and therefore no longer has authority.
- From verse 16 we begin to realize that it's absolutely necessary that we be under the authority of God for truly we are sent out as sheep in the midst of wolves. We must also therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.
- And this is the very process of change in us that God was doing in the disciples.
Philippians 1:6, He who has begun a good work in you will be faithful to complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
Matthew 10:1-23 NASB