- Sermon Notes
Intro: Learning the ropes.
Throughout the first 9 chapters of Matthew, we have seen the person, principles and power of Jesus revealed. As He went about His ministry teaching, preaching and healing; many began to follow. Some of those followers would be casual, some simply curious, some calloused and questioning; for some, however, there was a deep response to the call of Jesus, shown in their willingness to walk with the purpose He had proclaimed.
In the end of Matthew chapter 9, we see a shift, from the display of His power, to the purpose He has for His disciples. To not only learn and grow, but to know and go. His disciples go from learning His purpose, to walking with His purpose as they are commissioned to take His message to their world.
Read: Matthew 9:35-10:7
Going through all the towns and villages teaching, preaching, and healing gave Jesus the opportunity to see the multitudes, and He felt compassion for them. Then turned His attention away from the many who were following for various reason, and toward discipling His inner circle of twelve. In order to ensure His gospel message would continue, He would entrust ministry into the hands of people, beginning with the twelve apostles.
As we learn, grow, and know more about Jesus in our lives, the opportunity to share about Jesus is entrusted to those of us who have come to know Him. The disciples were living in times when the world needed to hear the good news, that the Savior Jesus, has come. We too, live in a world in need of hearing the good news. Surely scattered, like a sheep with no shepherd. Just as there was a plentiful harvest in their day, there is in ours.
I.Pursue the Plentiful Harvest
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.”
- Jesus looked at the crowds following Him and likened them to a field ripe for harvest.
- Though they were ready for harvest, the laborers are few.
Illus. No answer.
- In light of their being few laborers, Jesus tells His disciples to beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.
- To beseech is to ask urgently, to intensely do something. Since the harvest is plentiful and laborers few, Jesus’ followers should call upon the Lord, asking Him to send laborers into His harvest.
- The news of Jesus is good news. Many people are not only in need of the good news, but, they are ready to give their lives to Christ if someone would show them how.
- Knowing that there is a plentiful harvest, we are to pray that people would be sent out, that He would use His followers to go and spread the good news.
- There are few, pray that more will come!
- It is possible to pray regularly for a loved one, a neighbor, friend, or co-worker and to let our concern end with our prayer. But when we pray for the Lord to send someone to the harvest, to those who don’t know Him, to His work, and we do that sincerely, we cannot help but become open to being that someone ourselves.
- This is a prayer that we pray, and as we pray it, keeping our ears open to hearing Him say, “You go into the harvest.”
Illus. I must go!
- Jesus saw the crowds He had come in contact with quite differently than the religious leaders of His day.
Illus. What was the harvest?
- Pharisees looked at common people, the lost, as chaff to be disposed of, Jesus saw them as a harvest to be sought and saved. The Pharisees in pride, looked for the destruction of the lost; In love, Jesus died for the salvation of the lost.
Matthew 10:1, Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.
- Jesus’ response to the scattered sheep without a shepherd, to the plentiful harvest with few laborers, was to send out His disciples!
Illus. If not you, then who?
Isaiah 6:8, Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
- The word summoned is an intense term that means to call toward, to call someone to oneself in order to confront them face to face.
- He summoned His disciples to be sent out in order to do the work He Himself had been doing.
- As Jesus called His disciples, He also gave them power to do what He was calling them to do.
- The same principle is true today, whom God calls, God equips. That equipping may not be completely evident before the ministry or work begins, but it will be evident along the way.
1 Thessalonians 5:24, Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.
A.When He calls, trust Him to equip
Matthew 10:2, Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him.
- From Luke 6 we understand that Jesus spent a full night in prayer and when day came, He chose 12 disciples from among those who were following Him.
- In verse one, they are referred to as the twelve disciples, and here, they are called apostles which means, “those that are sent.”
- Prior to being those He sent, they were equipped as disciples, a term which means, “learner.”
- As the list is given, there aren’t many impressive details given. There weren’t many impressive details to share. They don’t seem to be chosen based on resume, talent, or ability – no one stood out.
- They made their lives available to Jesus, however, He called and equipped them despite their backgrounds.
Illus. It used to be different.
Romans 3:10, There is none righteous, not even one.
2 Corinthians 12:9, My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.
- There are three lists in the Bible with all 12 apostles (Mt. 10:2-4, Mk, 3:16-19, Lk. 6:13-16)
- Each list begins with Simon, who Jesus gave the name Peter: He had been a fisherman (4:18), he often said the wrong things at the wrong times. He would often speak first and think later. Jesus changed his name to Peter, in doing so, he changed him from one would was unstable, to “rock.”
- Andrew was Peter’s brother, also a fisherman. He had been a disciple of John the Baptist and accepted John’s testimony that Jesus was the “lamb of God” (John 1:36). Though he introduced Peter to Jesus, he would often be in his brothers’ shadows.
- James and John were brothers and were referred to as the “sons of thunder.” They were also fisherman, we aren’t told why they are called “sons of thunder.” After certain Samaritans would not receive Jesus, they asked Jesus if they should call down fire from heaven and destroy them.
- Phillip had introduced Bartholomew (Nathanel) to Jesus, though He was initially skeptical since Phillip, who was unlearned, suggested Jesus was born in Nazareth.
- Thomas known most often as “doubting Thomas” because he hadn’t yet seen the resurrected Jesus personally (John 20:24-25), and Matthew the tax collector, which shows his former profession taking advantage of people while becoming wealthy personally.
- Not much is known about James (the less) son of Alphaeus, or Thaddeus (Also known as Judas son of James) is otherwise unknown outside of being named as an apostle.
- Simon the Zealot was likely a political activist prior to following Jesus. Zealots were a group trying to overthrow the Roman government.
They would plot actively against Roman oppression.
- With the exception of Judas Iscariot, who was Jesus’ betrayer, all were transformed into great men. Each one of them called, then equipped for how their lives would be used.
- It wasn’t about who they once were, it was about the truth that despite their individual resume, Jesus used them.
Illus. I’ve never played before.
1 Corinthians 1:26-29, For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God.
- Are you feeling insignificant? like your past difficulties, decisions, or lack of experience makes you unqualified?
- Know that Jesus chose fisherman, the unlearned, a tax collector, doubter, one who told Him he would never reject him, and then rejected Him three times prior to realizing what he had just done…Yet continually, we see Jesus continue alongside these unlearned men. After calling them, He equipped them.
- And if you walk with His purpose, answering the call, He alone will equip you.
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.
A.Where He calls, take ownership
Matthew 10:5-7, These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: “Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’
- As the disciples are being sent on this mission to Galilee, Jesus established a priority for them, to go to the “lost sheep of Israel.”
- Jesus was telling His disciples where to start, where to go. Had they begun with the Gentiles and Samaritans, the Jews would not have received them when they returned home.
- The gospel was proclaimed to the Jews first, eventually, the disciples would be told to go to “all the nations” (Matthew 28:19).
- Jesus is telling the disciples where to start. Start at home, begin right where you are. Walk with purpose, His purpose, He starts with who you are and calls you to begin right where you are.
1 Peter 2:9, But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
Illus. Sent into a new territory.
Illus. In Joshua 18, when the Israelites had entered the promised land, the land was divided up to the 12 tribes of Israel. Of the 12, 7 didn’t come forward to received their inheritance.