Sermon # 21 Series: Matthew
Title: THE APOSTLES CHOSEN, CALLED, AND COMMISSIONED
Text: Matthew 10:1-15
Subject: The First Ordination Sermon
Scripture Reading: Office – B. Daughtery Aud. – B. Poncer
Date: Tuesday Evening – December 6, 1994
Tape: # Q-74
In the last verse of chapter 9, our Lord urged his disciples to pray that the Lord God would send forth laborers into his field to gather in his harvest. Here, in chapter 10, the Lord Jesus demonstrates that he is “the Lord of the harvest” by sending forth his labors into his field to reap his harvest.
Matthew 10 is a chapter of Holy Scripture that ought always be read with peculiar solemnity. In these forty-two verses we have the first ordination sermon ever preached. Those being ordained and set apart for the work of the gospel ministry are the twelve apostles. The ordination preacher is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
The solemn charge here given by Christ to the first gospel preachers of the New Testament era is the charge he gives to all who are sent of God to preach the gospel.
Tonight, I want us to carefully examine the first fifteen verses of this chapter. Every believer, every church, and every man who claims to be or hopes to be a preacher of the gospel ought to be interested in the things recorded in these verses. Here we see The Apostles Chosen, Called, and Commissioned by the Lord Jesus Christ.
NOTE: The apostolic office, as you know, ceased with the calling of the Apostle Paul and the death of the last Apostle, probably John. There are no apostles today in the official sense of that word. However, like the word “angel,” the word “apostle” simply means “messenger.” In that sense, every true gospel preacher is an apostle, a messenger, an ambassador for Christ (II Cor. 5:20), sent from God himself with the message of grace and salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ.
I want to call your attention to five things clearly set before us in these fifteen verses.
I. These Twelve Men Who Were Called To Be Christ’s Apostles, His Messengers, Were First His Disciples – (v.1).
It seems ridiculous that I should have to say so, but in these days when people who claim to worship and serve God both ignore and willfully pervert Holy Scripture, it must be said – The messengers of Christ were all men! No woman has ever been called of God to preach the gospel. The scriptures are abundantly clear.
That may offend some of the dear ladies. But I would rather offend you than offend God. So, in this place we will never consider the possibility of ordaining women to be preachers, or deacons, or missionaries. Enough of that! Let’s look at our text.
A. No man is fit for the work of the gospel ministry who has not experienced God’s saving grace.
We cannot know the hearts of men. Therefore we deal with them upon the basis of their professed faith in Christ. But none are to be put into the gospel ministry who are not followers of Christ.
1. They must be men of proven faithfulness (I Tim. 3:10).
2. They who would be teachers of others must first be learners – No man is apt to teach, or able to teach others, who has not first learned the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.
Illus: We are handling the “sword” of the Spirit!
B. There were twelve men chosen to be apostles.
The number twelve is significant. It has reference to the twelve sons of Jacob, the twelve tribes of Israel. The Church of God is the Israel of God. These twelve apostles are the twelve stars that make up the church’s crown (Rev. 12:1), the twelve foundations of the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:12, 14), typified by the twelve precious stones in Aaron’s breastplate, the twelve loaves on the table of showbread, and the twelve wells of water at Elim.
C. Notice also the inspired listing of their names – (vv. 2-5).
1. There are some apostles of whom we know nothing more than their name – (Bartholomew and Simon the Canaanite) – Some are famous. Some are obscure. But it matters not to them. They are God’s messengers!
2. Peter is mentioned first because he was both the first of the disciples and he rose to be the leader and chief spokesman for the rest.
3. Matthew calls himself the Publican – acknowledging his debt to the grace of God, and puts himself in the list with obscurity, preferring to promote his fellow laborers rather than himself.
II. These Twelve Men Were Called And Commissioned By Christ To Do A Very Great Work – (vv. 1 and 8).
It must not be omitted that one of the twelve was a devil. The Scriptures never hide the fact that Judas was among the original twelve. And we must never forget it. This fact is prominently displayed in the Word of God to teach us never to pin our faith on the sleeve of a man. Not all preachers are believers. Even those who preach the “truth” are not all genuine Christians.
Having acknowledged these things, our text shows us that God’s servants are chosen, called, and commissioned of God to do a great work.
A. The Purpose of The Gospel Ministry is The Healing of Men’s Souls (v. 1).
The design of the gospel was to conquer the world, the flesh, and the devil. Christ gave these men power to cast demons out of men’s bodies, to show that Christ has come to destroy the power of satan and his works. He gave them power to heal all manner of sickness and desease to show that none are beyond the reach of God’s omnipotent grace because the blood of Christ effectually cleanses from all sin (I John 1:7, 9).
Notice This: Moses’ miracles, representing the law, were for destruction and judgment – These miracles of the apostles were all wrought for comfort, edification, and life, portraying the power of the gospel.
1. These miracles were an affirmation of Christ as the Messiah and these men as his messengers (Heb. 1:3).
2. Now that we have the full Revelation of God in Holy Scripture, we need no signs of confirmation – “That which is perfect” has come! We have a “more sure Word of prophecy!”
3. Those who pretend to work miracles, speak in tongues and have a word from God are saying – “Christ is not enough!” “The Bible is not enough!” “Salvation is not enough!” “The Gospel is not enough!”
B. Whatever the work is to which God calls a person, he will give him the power (ability, opportunity, and means) to do it!
“He gave them power” – Christ never called anyone to do anything for him without giving them the power to do it.
C. God’s Messengers, like these twelve Apostles, are sent of God into this world to preach the gospel of his sovereign, saving grace in the Lord Jesus Christ (v. 7).
God’s messengers all have one message to declare. We have been sent of God to preach, and to preach Jesus Christ and him crucified, to preach “The kingdom of heaven is at hand!”
NOTE: It does not matter what satan gets you off on, if he gets you off Christ, he has won the day! – Prophecy – Morality – Politics – The Home, etc.
III. God’s Servants Are Sent To The Lost Sheep of The House of Israel (vv. 5-6).
I know that these two verses must be interpreted literally. The Lord Jesus sent the gospel to the Jews first and then to the Gentiles. He later commands that we go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, saying, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; he that believeth not shall be damned.” But, whether preaching to Jews or to Gentiles, we are sent of God to seek out the lost sheep of the house of Israel – God’s elect! We are on the trail of Christ’s sheep! We are seeking the Lord’s sheep. We’ve got good news for them…
When we find them, these lost sheep will hear the Shepherd’s voice and follow him – These are the house of Israel, the Israel of God!
IV. Those Who Preach The Gospel Are To Live By The Gospel (vv. 8-10).
A. God’s servants are not greedy, covetous men, who seek to enrich themselves.
B. Gospel Preachers are not hirelings – “freely ye have received, freely give!
C. Yet, Those who preach the gospel are to live by the gospel.
V. It Is A Very Dangerous Thing To Despise And Reject The Gospel of God’s Free Grace In Jesus Christ (vv. 11-15).
You do not have to be a murderer, adulterer, fornicator, drunkard, or dope head to ruin your soul and go to hell. All you have to do is go on hearing without believing, listening without repenting, coming to church without coming to Christ, and soon you will find yourself in hell!
We will all be judged according to the light God has given us. You will have to give account to God for the privilege you now enjoy, the privilege of hearing of his great salvation. If you neglect that, if you despise that, if you turn from that, you cannot escape the wrath of God (Heb. 2:1-3).