Preacher: Pastor Ray
Text: Matt 10:1-22
Summary: Jesus models for us what it means to be a Spirit-filled laborer and a Spirit-filled witness. Look to Him and follow in His footsteps.
Happy Pentecost Sunday!
Today we’re going to talk about the Holy Spirit and of course Jesus Christ if you turn with me to Matthew chapter 10.
1 And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. 2 The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. 5 These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, 6 but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. 9 Acquire no gold or silver or copper for your belts, 10 no bag for your journey, or two tunics or sandals or a staff, for the laborer deserves his food. 11 And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it and stay there until you depart. 12 As you enter the house, greet it. 13 And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. 15 Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town. 16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 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. 19 When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. 20 For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 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, 22 and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
Father, we thank you for Pentecost. 50 days after the resurrection, seven Sundays after Easter Sunday, Pentecost came and and the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity, was poured out upon the disciples and the Church was birthed. We rely upon the same Spirit. Lord, we ask You to teach us about the Spirit. Teach us about how the Spirit connects to the Person of Christ. Teach us about the relevance it has for the Church today. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus Name, Amen
As we do on most Sundays, we’re going to focus on the Person of Jesus. Although it is Pentecost Sunday, Jesus is the Spirit-filled worker of God. He is the Spirit-filled, compassionate worker of God sent into the harvest field and He harvested many souls, including all of us.
And Jesus is also the Spirit-filled witness. And He testified before Pontius Pilate. He testified before the Sadducees, the religious leaders, the high priest, before world leaders, before religious leaders. And He endured to the end. And we, too, as His Church must walk in His steps.
35 And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
I’m not sure what you think about this world and about the number of workers there are in this world, or how many missionaries have been sent out in this world. Jesus says, there’s only a few workers. There’s only a few.
And He asks all of us in the Church to pray for workers to be sent out. And why are there few? First of all, when Jesus looks out at the crowds, He has compassion. And for us to be that worker, we need to first have compassion. When you look out at the world, do you envy it? Do you covet it? Do you want more of it? Or do you see as Jesus sees — you have compassion. That without Jesus as their Shepherd, people are helpless. They are harassed. They are directionless. They have no purpose. They don’t know where they’re going.
And we need to have the same view as Jesus had toward the crowds. Before we even talk about what I’m going to talk about today, first, do we have compassion? And Jesus obviously is the first true worker. Throughout the gospels, the disciples and the 72 later on, they’re sent out on certain missions, on certain days. Very rarely are they sent out during the gospels. Most of the time in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, who are seeing doing almost all the work? Jesus Christ.
He is the One who is Spirit-filled, who is filled with compassion. And He goes out into the harvest fields. And on this day in Matthew 10, He calls the 12. And in v1, He gave them authority over unclean spirits — to cast them out — and to heal every disease and every affliction.
See, Pentecost is about power. And you might wonder, how come Hill Community, why are we not sending out more missionaries? Why are we not going to start more ministries in various places? First of all, just as an honest confession, starting with me, we lack power.
Because the first thing you need before going out into this world as a worker is you need power. You need this authority, which comes in the form of the Holy Spirit, who descends and gives us power. And this power is over unclean spirits, over diseases. And these signs validate that you are a part of the kingdom of heaven.
Because when you go and you cast out a demon, or you heal the sick, you proclaim the kingdom of heaven is near, is at hand. Because in heaven, there is no sickness. In heaven, there is no unclean spirit. In heaven, there is no lack. And so when you come as a representative with the authority given by Jesus because you’ve been filled with the Holy Spirit’s presence and power, you are declaring through your words and through your actions that the kingdom of heaven has come.
And we look first and foremost to Jesus. He is The Worker — Spirit-filled, filled with compassion. And when He comes, there is no sickness. Sickness is healed in His presence. Demons are cast out in His presence because He is powerful.
It’s not enough just to have power. You also have to receive instructions. Jesus gives instructions to the 12. v5 — He says, go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Not only do we need power, we also need direction. Jesus will tell us the destination or the target audience.
We can’t just go out anywhere. We can’t just randomly go somewhere. We have to go where Jesus tells us to go. Not only do we need power. We need instructions from Jesus. He will tell us where to go. We are waiting for the power. And we’re waiting for the instructions of where to go and who to minister to.
The message is simply, proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is at hand. And you are demonstrating this truth. The same way that Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2, Paul did not just come with words. He’s coming with a demonstration of the Spirit and power. That is what we do when God sends us out with the authority of Jesus, which is the Holy Spirit. A demonstration of the Spirit and power.
And until the power comes and until the specific instruction comes of where to go who to minister to, we don’t have to do anything in a sense. We are freed because we’re just waiting.
But there is some preparation before we get to this moment where the power comes and the instructions come. There is some preparation. If you read in second half of v8…
8 …You received without paying; give without pay. 9 Acquire no gold or silver or copper for your belts, 10 no bag for your journey, or two tunics or sandals or a staff, for the laborer deserves his food.
See, our preparation is how we handle money. That is the preparation. When we go out into the mission field, what are we going with? Absolutely nothing. I want to do missions this way. I actually want to do church this way. Where Jesus gives us the power. And Jesus gives us a target.
He wants us to be fearless because we’re not bound by money. Do you see many churches doing missions or local ministry this way? Or do you see churches doing things very safely. Like I am going to raise money, I’m going to have the whole trip paid for in advance. And I already know who I’m going to be meeting on the other side. They already have their established ministry. I’m just going to show up to these events. It’s very safe. Very predictable.
And you can come back and you will have a testimony. I did this, this, and this it was a success. I want to do church and missions Jesus’ way. Literally the way Jesus tells us. Where we don’t have a mission fund. Because we are trusting the Lord to supply our needs. We’re not saying, I know a pastor there, and therefore, I’m going to go there and just piggyback off of that ministry and feel good about myself coming back.
That I will go with just a plane ticket in my hand that the Lord paid for somehow. I’m gonna go to some foreign land. And the Lord gave me a country and a city. That’s all I have to go on. That’s all I know. Maybe He gives further instructions to minister to college students. And I’m just going to be walking from place to place, from campus to campus, from house to house.
And when you meet someone, they welcome you to their home. Jesus explains further what is happening in Luke 10. You are to declare peace over that house and if there is a son or a daughter or a person of peace, they will receive the peace. Your peace will rest upon that house. They will welcome you in. Your wages are the food and the drink and the lodging that they provide in exchange for you proclaiming the kingdom and showing the kingdom through the healing and the casting out of demons.
That’s how Jesus says to do missions. And it is not safe. It is requires absolute trust in God to do missions or local ministry this way. And maybe after a week, a month, a year, all you have to show for it is there was one house that welcomed you in. And you stayed there the whole time and you ministered to one household. And your physical needs were supplied and in exchange you gave them spiritual food.
And maybe all that you did was to win one soul because Jesus told you to go to that town, that city, that country.
I hope all of us want to be this type of worker who does supernatural works in Jesus Name, who proclaims the kingdom, who trusts in our Heavenly Father to supply our needs through persons of peace who welcome us in. I want us to be this type of worker. Our preparation is our handling of money. Because if we cannot trust God with our money in terms of our living here, do you think we will trust God with our money as we go in His Name? No.
Those who struggle with money here, that’s why they have so much of a safety net when they do missions abroad. If we trust the Lord with our money here day to day, then we will be qualified to be this type of worker who will trust Him to supply our needs as we go. And Jesus is our model. He is The perfect Worker. A Spirit-filled worker, filled with compassion, who trusted in His Heavenly Father to supply all of His needs. And so He went wherever the Father sent Him.
Not only is Jesus our example in terms of the kind of worker we are to become, He is also our example in terms of how He handled persecution. And that’s the other half of this chapter.
16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 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.
It says, “to bear witness” and that’s an unfortunate translation because when we do missions or we witness, we think it’s the same thing. We think, I am going to missions. I am going to witness. We speak in this way as if witnessing is a verb. Here, it’s a noun. It’s not, I will do witnessing. It’s a noun. You are the witness. You are not going out and sharing your testimony. Your life is the testimony.
Jesus has been so filled by the Spirit that He is the witness in the midst of persecution. When you are pushed into a corner and your life is on the line because you’re under severe persecution, the Holy Spirit’s job is to help you to become the witness, the testimony. You’re not witnessing. You’re not bearing witness. You are the witness.
And we may think, well, I’m not prepared. I wouldn’t know what to say. Or how to say it. Exactly. That’s exactly right. We don’t know what to say. We don’t know if we will be ready. We don’t know if we will be brave or cowardly. That’s why the Spirit comes.
We don’t have to worry. The Spirit will come and He will give you the words to say. Even how you say what you say, the Spirit will help you. The steadfastness, the courage, the manner in which you testify, the Spirit will help you. And in terms of the what — what am I going to say — the Spirit will give you the words.
And if we look at Jesus, how did he end His life? Before Pontius Pilate, before the high priest, Caiaphas, before the crowd, how was He a witness? He was a witness in terms of how He restrained himself, how He spoke — with self-control and conviction. And what He spoke. He was Spirit-filled. He was a witness to the world leaders. He was a witness to the religious leaders.
And when we’re filled with the Spirit, we will be His witnesses and we will persevere and endure to the end even if it costs us our lives.
We need to prepare to be a worker and a witness. If you don’t have compassion, pray for compassion. If you don’t trust the Lord with your finances, you need to to to ask the Lord to train you up in your finances. Otherwise, you will not be the kind of worker He’s looking for.
How do you prepare to be this type of a witness when you’re about to be killed?
26 “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.
The preparation to be this kind of a witness comes down to who you fear the most. Who do you fear the most? If you fear man, if you live for the praise of man, if you see the crowd and you don’t have compassion but instead you covet and you envy, then in the end, when you’re about to be killed, you’ll be so afraid, chances are, you will deny Christ. Because your ill-prepared. That’s the natural outcome of a life that’s lived under the fear of man.
Of course, the Holy Spirit can come and give you unusual power to overcome. But there is a great chance, if you’ve been living your life fearing man, worrying about people’s approval, worrying about what people think of you, chances are, in this final moment of persecution, the Spirit will give you an opportunity to acknowledge Christ before men and you will take the exit. And you will deny Christ.
Conversely, if you fear God, because He is the only Judge, He is the only One who can send you into hell or save you to heaven, if you fear Him, then all the other fears become so minuscule because your fear of God is so great. Then, chances are, when you’re pushed to choose — acknowledge Christ or deny Christ — you will choose to be a witness. The actual Greek word for “witness” is where we get the English word, “martyr.”
If you are faced with a choice of whether or not to be a witness who is martyred, because you fear God and you’ve proved over the years that you don’t fear man, chances are, in that final moment, you will acknowledge Christ. And the Spirit Himself will give you the words to testify about Christ. And even the how, the manner in which you say, it will be so forceful, so confident, so joyful. Like Stephen, the first martyr, he testified by giving a whole sermon. He didn’t prepare for it. No, the words are just coming out of his mouth supernaturally.
The Spirit gives us the words and the conviction behind the words so that we acknowledge Christ when most people would deny Him and take the easy way out.
We need the Spirit’s help for power to be a worker and for courage to be a witness during persecution. And Jesus is a shining example of both. Because He is Spirit-filled, He is the worker who is on display throughout the gospels. He has compassion. He has authority over unclean spirits, over diseases. And Jesus says to His Church, all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. And this authority is available to us.
And when the time is right, the authority will be given. We should not try to do missions until the authority comes. We shouldn’t try to go to a country just because it’s on a list of unreached people groups until Jesus tells us to go to that place. And we must overcome our fear of man and the Spirit will help us.
If we fear God more than we fear man, in that final moment, the Spirit will tip the scales in our favor and He will give us the words. And He will give us the conviction behind those words. We will be given the supernatural ability to testify about Jesus while we’re being martyred. The Spirit’s job is to help us in these areas — to give us courage to testify and to give us power to be a worker.
Father, we pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into the harvest fields because we know and we agree with you that there are so many people who do not know their Shepherd. And they are harassed and helpless and directionless and lost. We’re asking you on this day, Pentecost Sunday, to send out workers into the harvest.
The same way that You were Spirit-filled and You had authority from on high and You went out to the harvest and You saved many souls — You brought the kingdom to them, You cast out demons and healed the sick — we look to You, Jesus. He is our example.
At the right time, may You send Your Spirit to us. You sent Your Spirit, Your authority, and this authority is made available to the Church. The Spirit was given on specific moments to accomplish specific tasks. We should not assume that we can just go out in our own authority. Or our own power and do things. It will not go very far. We’re waiting for authority through the power of the Spirit. We’re waiting for instructions on where to go and who to go to.
When it’s time, we want to follow You and go from house to house, from person to person until we find a person of peace. And when we meet that person, we’re going to stay with that person the whole time until You release us. We’re going to minister and you’re going to supply all of our physical needs through this person of peace. This is how we’re supposed to trust You.
Father, help us to prepare. Before we receive this authority, we want to be prepared in terms of our finances. Lord, we want to trust You with our daily provisions so that when You call us on an adventure, we will trust You.
We don’t want to go out there while being annoyed at the crowds, or irritated by the crowds. We want to have compassion on them. You want us to have empathy so that we feel how lost they are without you, Lord Jesus.
Prepare us. There will come a day when You will send us out. For now, we submit to your training.
Father, also, the Spirit that comes during persecution when we have an opportunity to be a witness, while we might be martyred, we pray that we would be able to testify and acknowledge Jesus before men.
Father, the preparation for this is overcoming our fears. We fear you, Heavenly father, because You are the only Person who can send us to heaven or hell. You are the final Judge and Arbiter of our souls. So we fear You.
We don’t fear man. The worst thing a man can do to us is kill us. But the moment we die, we are with you. What is there to fear, Lord? What can men do to us? They can look down on us. They can ridicule us, even kill us. That’s the worst thing. There’s nothing to fear. Give us that kind of perspective, Lord.
Send Your Spirit. Give us more courage to acknowledge Jesus even in small ways now. To proclaim what you’ve whispered to us on the rooftops. Father, we want to acknowledge Jesus before men. Even if it causes us to lose friends, even if our family members disown us, we want to proclaim fearlessly the words that You’ve given to us. We want to prepare for that final moment when we will have to choose whether to acknowledge Jesus or deny Him.
Help us, Lord. We want to prepare today. We fear you, Lord. We fear you, Heavenly Father, more than we fear man, woman, father, mother, child, co-worker, sibling. We fear You and You alone, Heavenly Father.
Father, we look to You, Lord Jesus. As we partake in the Lord’s Supper, even on Pentecost Sunday, we are always looking to Jesus. It’s always about Jesus. And so thank you, Lord, for teaching us.
Jesus is the Spirit-filled worker. He is the Spirit-filled witness. He is the Spirit-filled martyr. He is the one we look to. Thank you, Lord. We pray that You nourish us and minister to us as we partake in Your Supper, remembering Your death, burial, resurrection and ascension. In Jesus Name, Amen