The article below was taken out of Lesson two of the Matthew Discipleship Plan, Part Two, which has not been published yet. However, you may purchase Part One of the Matthew Discipleship Plan (click on discipleship tools) and use it to disciple others in your small group or one-on-one.
5 “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; 6 but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give. (Matthew 10:5-8, NASB)
Even today, Jesus sends out His disciples with the same instructions He gave His first disciples. As I read the above passages, I notice that He gave them a specific mission, a precise message, and a detailed mandate.
1. He gave them a specific mission (Matthew 10:5b-6)
Jesus sent the disciples to their own. He gave them an exact target group to reach. He even told them who not to go to. Most importantly, Jesus told them “to go.”
Do you believe that Jesus has a specific mission for you? Do you know what that is?
Jesus sent the disciples to their fellow Hebrew brethren because of their commonalities. Obviously, they had a better chance of reaching the lost sheep of Israel than people who didn’t speak their language or share in their cultural practices. You too, have a specific target group that you can evangelize. It might be friends at your work or at school. It might be family members, or neighbors, or friends who share the same interests as you. You might be the kind of person that can make conversation with anyone.
The Lord will give you a specific mission, but we are to go. Don’t wait for the details of the mission. Jesus said, “And as you go…,” He will fill in the details and give you the specifics. But go!
2. He gave them a precise message (Matthew 10:7)
Jesus said, “And as you go…,” preach the kingdom of heaven. The word kingdom can mean a “king’s dominion.” The kingdom of heaven or the kingdom of God is the dominion of King Jesus. It is His domain where He is Lord throughout the entire universe.
This was the message that Jesus preached, so the disciples were familiar with the message points. They not only heard it preached, but watched as it was lived out before their very eyes. The Apostle John wrote, “We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life.” (1 John 1:1, NLT)
We too, are to preach the kingdom message. We may live in this world, but we are the people of the kingdom of Christ. We see everything through Christ’s perspective. We hear the voice of King Jesus through His Spirit. We taste His goodness. We touch others as He touches our lips like He did Jeremiah’s (Jeremiah 1:9). As we sacrificially give of ourselves and our possessions to preach this gospel, we are a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, that is well-pleasing to God (Philippians 4:18).
3. He gave them a detailed mandate (Matthew 10:8)
Jesus explicitly commanded His disciples to a four-fold ministry: preach the kingdom of heaven (preaching/teaching), heal the sick and cleanse the lepers (healings), raise the dead (miracles), and cast out deliverance (deliverance). They were sent forth to do good, to be a blessing to the world. This was to be the spirit of the gospel message that they were to preach. They were sent to meet not only the spiritual needs, but the physical needs as well.
How important is it that as we go and share Jesus, we try to meet the physical needs of the people we hope to share the gospel with?
Remember the old saying, “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Jesus commanded them as well as us today to freely give to men as we freely receive from God. The disciples were to totally depend upon God’s provision. Jesus taught them to live each day at a time without worrying about what they would eat, drink, or wear (Matthew 6:25).
“Do not take a bag of things for the trip. Do not take two coats or shoes or a walking stick. A workman should receive his food and what he needs.” (Matthew 10:10)
In 2 Corinthians 5:7, we are told “…to live by faith and not by sight.” Someone once said, “The will of God will never call you where the grace of God cannot keep you.” There is no enterprise that we venture into that God cannot supply. Philippians 4:19 states “And this same God that takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” (NLT)