Preparing for a World-Wide Mission: Sharing in the Sufferings of Christ (Matthew 10:16-42)



2013-06-02 Sharing in Christ’s Sufferings | Matthew 10:16-18ff or -42

Preparing for a World-Wide Mission: Sharing in the Sufferings of Christ

  • Up to this point in chapter 10, Jesus has been preparing his disciples for taking the gospel to Israel.
  • The passage today reflects a transition from Jesus’ instructions concerning their pre-resurrection ministry to Israel to his instructions for their post-resurrection ministry beyond Israel to both Jews and Gentiles nations.
  • This conclusion is based on the fact that his disciples never experienced the intense persecution spoken of here before Jesus’ death, but after his resurrection they encountered exactly what is found here.
  • Before the resurrection, only John the Baptist and Jesus suffered such persecutions as these, but after the resurrection, Jesus’ disciples began to receive the same treatment that John and Jesus had previously received.
  • Therefore, for our purposes, this section –vv 16-42 – contains Jesus’ instructions for carrying out, not a localized mission, but a world-wide mission for both the first generation of disciples and for us.
  • The point of this passage is that when Jesus’ disciples of any period embark on a world-wide mission, they, like Jesus before them, are likely to encounter more severe persecution than they have previously experienced. Therefore, they should both expect it and know what to do when it happens.
  • Today we will learn what sufferings to expect, and from whom we should expect them to come.
  • Next time – and that will conclude this series – we will look at how to deal with such persecution when it occurs.
  • These next two weeks are what might be called a missionary primer.
  • If you have been thinking about or intend to go overseas or serve in a cross-cultural setting you would do well to take notice of what to expect and what to do when it happens because this message is as true today as it ever was.
  • In fact, I hope that some of you will say to yourselves, “Wow, I thought doing overseas ministry or inner city ministry would be glamorous, or a great cross-cultural experience or a great travel experience, but now I see that there are real dangers in serving Christ.”
  • And yet that you are challenged to go in spite of what it may cost you because you sense the Lord’s call to do so, and trust that he will provide all that you need as you go.

 

Sermon Text: Matthew 10:16-18, 21-22, 25, 34-36

Please stand if you are able.

“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, 18and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. 21Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, 22 and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 25 It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household. 34 Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.”

Notes and Outline

 

  1. What sufferings to expect, v 16

16 Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.

  • The devil comes to steal and kill and destroy. Satan roams about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.
  • And those who belong to him are like him.
  • (Jn.8:44) 44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning…
  • Jesus calls the enemies of the gospel wolves who would devour helpless sheep if there is no shepherd to protect them.
  • Story of a dog in our sheep pen.
  • In Scripture, wolves are said to be both ravenous (Gen 49:27 NRSV; Mt 7:15) and savage. (Acts 20:29 NRSV).
  • They devour (Gen 49:27), tear (Ezek 22:27) and “destroy” (Jer 5:6 NRSV) their prey, especially helpless sheep (Mt 10:16; Lk 10:3; Jn 10:12; Acts 20:29).
  • In a word they are a force and a fear to be reckoned with.
  • As the innocent one, Christ faced the wolves of his day, he was “like a lamb that was led to the slaughter (Isa 53:7), so also must those disciples he sends as ministers of the gospel face the wolves who would devour us.
  • In other words, as you go, all is not safety and security.
  • There are those who would devour you.
  • Expect it, but remember also that you are in good company with the Savior who has gone before you.
  • First, we’ll see what the wolves will do, then, if we have time, we’ll see who the wolves are.
  • What will they do? What should be expected?
  • Expect to be hated, v 22

22 and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake.

  • As we saw in our readings, those who are loved by Christ are hated by the world. They hated Jesus without a cause, so it is no wonder they hate those who belong to him. But we are not the first to be hated by them.
  • (Jn.15:18-20) “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.
  • Expect to be insulted (or better, maligned), v 25

25 It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.

  • To malign someone is to criticize in a spiteful and false or misleading way; to speak harmful untruths about; speak evil of; slander; or defame someone.
  • Jesus’ enemies did this by claiming that his works were accomplished by the devil.
  • After Jesus healed a demon-possessed man, when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons.” (Mat 12:22-25)
  • They hoped to turn the people against him by calling him a devil whom everyone feared.
  • Some people will try to discredit you, lie about you, or circulate untruths about you in order to distract others from believing the truth of the gospel you are preaching or teaching.
  • Expect to be arrested, beaten and interrogated vv 17-18

17 Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles.

  • If they can’t run you off or shut you up with their hate or discredit you, they will try to stop you through intimidation and force.
  • The Jews enlisted local law enforcement to accomplish their ends against Jesus.
  • (Jn.18:12) So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound him.
  • (Joh 18:19) The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.
  • (Joh 18:22) When he had said these things, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand,
  • (Joh 19:1) Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him.
  • Paul experienced much the same thing.
  • (2 Co.11:24-25)24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned.
  • (2Co 11:23)…he suffered imprisonments, countless beatings, often near death because of his preaching of the gospel.
  • Expect to be killed, v 21

21 some will deliver those who are proclaiming the gospel over to death… others will have them put to death,

 

  • After Judas’ betrayal, after the soldiers arrested him, after the interrogations and mock trial, after the beatings,
  • finally (Joh 19:16-18) Pontious Pilate delivered him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, 17 and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them.
  • (Jn.19:30) And after several hours of agony, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
  • Many if not most of the first apostles died martyrs’ deaths.
  • Andrew was crucified, suspended on an olive tree, in a town in what is modern day Greece;
  • Bartholomew was crucified with his head downward, and was buried in what is modern day southern Georgia.
  • James, Son of Alphaeus; was stoned to death by the Jews, and was buried beside the temple;
  • James, Son of Zebedee; when preaching in Judea, was beheaded by Herod the tetrarch, and was buried there.
  • Stephen was stoned to death by the Jews. Simon/Peter was crucified by Nero in Rome with his head downward.
  • Philip preached and was crucified with his head downward in what is today eastern Turkey.
  • Thomas was an active missionary in India where he was thrust through in the four members of his body with a pine spear and was buried there.
  • Paul, who said before his death (Act 20:24) 24 But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God, was later beheaded in Rome. (http://www.ichthus.info/Disciples/intro.html)
  • Coat illustration. Story of adopted Aringa people of NW Uganda. Reid and April Satterfield and Eric and Holly Lawrence. Another couple was later killed there.
  • Of these first disciples and of those modern martyrs will one day be said, (Rev 12:11) 11 And they have conquered him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.
  • Sufferings illustrated (as a sword and division)

 

Christ came to give us a spiritual peace – peace with God and fellow believers – not necessarily a temporal peace. As Jesus said, Jn.16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.””

  1. Not peace but a sword, 34

34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.

 

  • 4:12-1312 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
  • The gospel exposes the thoughts and intentions of the heart, and thus sets unbelievers on

edge, to either believe it or attack those who bring it.

 

  1. Not peace but division, 35

35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.

  • Jesus said, Matt.10:37-3937 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

  • We don’t have time to answer whom the sufferings will come, but your outline should give you a pretty good idea.
  1. From whom the sufferings will come
    • From men, v 17, like Judas who delivered Jesus up

17 Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues,

 

  • From men in authority, v 18, like Pontious Pilate and Caiaphas

18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles.

  • From men of every strata of society, v 22, like the soldiers and townspeople and others who watched Jesus die on the cross

22 and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake.

 

  • From one’s own relatives, 21; also 35, 36, like Jesus’ own brothers and sisters who did not believe in him until after his resurrection

21 Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death,

35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.

36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.

  • Of what should we repent and believe?
  • First, we should repent of the notion that when we come to faith in Christ, all our troubles will be solved and we will live a life of ease right here and now.
  • Instead we should believe that all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2 Tim 3:12) and through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts14:22). It is not an easy life God has chosen you to lead, but it is a good life.
  • Second, I think most of us know that following Christ and openly sharing the gospel is not well-received by many people in our society because of their unbelief.
  • However, what we may not know is that the same thing is true in other cultures.
  • So we should repent of the notion that our message is more likely to be accepted if we cross the ocean or if we cross cultural lines.
  • Instead we should believe that some will accept you and your message, but many will reject it, just as they did Jesus and his disciples – wherever they went.
  • Finally, we should believe that there’s great value in sharing in Christ’s sufferings.
  • (1 Pet.4:13-14) 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.
  • 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
  • (2 Co.1:5) 5 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

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