Memory Verse: Matthew 10:7-8
As ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give (KJV).
- 0.1 Questions for Application
- 0.2 3. Do Not Be Afraid
- 1 OUR MISSION
- 2 OUR VISION
The words of Christ offer instructions for daily Christian living.
The Lesson Outline
1. Proclaim the Good News
A. Proclamation to the Jews- Matthew 10:1-16
B. Proclamation to the World- Matthew 28:16-20
2. Be on Your Guard
A. Confident in Times
of Trouble- Matthew 10:17-20
B. Cost of Obedience- Matthew 10:21-25
3. Do Not Be Afraid
A. A Bold Proclamation- Matthew 10:26-28
B. In God’s Care- Matthew 10:29-33
At the end of this lesson, students will be able to:
1. Understand Jesus’ instructions on discipleship and grasp what it means to follow them in all circumstances.
2. Be challenged to recognise and accept that Christian discipleship will involve adversity and even persecution.
3. Be encouraged that they can proclaim the gospel boldly.
Introducing the Lesson
Sharing the gospel should not be seen as optional for the Christian. It can be easy to share the way of salvation with someone you love, but it is not always as easy to share the gospel with someone you hardly know or someone who is a stranger.
In this lesson, you will explore how declaring the good news is a part of discipleship, and then be challenged to help others live out that same faith you have come to practice. Such a
life is at the heart of discipleship.
The Holy Scriptures
And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.
Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;
Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus;
Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.
These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:
But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses,
Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.
And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence.
And when ye come into an house, salute it.
And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you.
And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.
Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.
Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;
And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.
But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.
For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.
And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.
And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.
The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.
It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?
Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.
What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.
And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.
Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
Commentary and Application
1. Proclaim the Good News
A. Proclamation to the Jews– Matthew 10:1-16
In Matthew 10:1-16, Jesus gave His disciples instructions on how to use their authority, as well as the purpose of this authority. Miracles were to be performed for a reason: to draw attention to the kingdom of God, and declare that His kingdom is near (verse 7).
In this way, miracles serve to draw individuals toward the opportunity to become citizens of His kingdom.
The purpose of healing, raising people from the dead, and driving out demons is to redirect a person’s focus toward God. The restored health of the individual who receives the miracle is a marvellous benefit as well. But if the kingdom of God is not clearly proclaimed through the miracle, it has not accomplished its true purpose.
Jesus told the disciples to go to the people of lsrael first (verses 5-8).
He sought to give the Jews the opportunity to inherit all that had been promised to them. It was Jesus’ desire that they would repent of their wicked ways and return to Him as a lost sheep would return to its shepherd. Through the working of miracles by the disciples, they would see the truth about Jesus.
A person must not become prideful when God has done a miracle through his or her life, or use the experience to elevate personal status. Just as the believer freely receives the miracle of salvation solely as a result of God’s power and authority, all additional miraculous acts that occur during the ministry of the gospel are entirely the result of God’s intervention, and all praise and recognition must be given to Him.
Verses 9-15 remind us that hospitality toward strangers and travellers was expected within the Jewish culture. If a traveller entered a town and requested a place to stay and a meal, it was common practice for the host to grant the request.
Jesus reminded the disciples to make use of this custom in their work to spread the message of the kingdom of God (verse 11).
Once the disciple entered the home of the host, the disciple was to share the message of God’s kingdom (verses 12-15). Jesus knew some people would not be receptive to this message, even if miracles were performed, and the disciples should not force their message on their hosts. If the hosts received the message, their lives would be transformed.
They would experience the peace that only comes through a right relationship with God. If the hosts rejected the message, the disciples were to walk away, having done what was required of them. They had no more responsibility. Those who rejected the message had made their choice, and they would face the consequences of that decision
Jesus understood that sharing the message of the kingdom of God within the kingdom of this World was dangerous (verse 16). Jesus’ disciples would be persecuted, and some would give their lives. So Jesus told His disciples to use wisdom as they shared the message of the kingdom of God.
*Questions for Application
Why do you think people are often most effective in sharing their salvation stories with others during the first few years after they are saved?
What open doors of opportunity are there in your world where you can proclaim the power of the kingdom of God?
B. Proclamation to the World–Matthew 28:16-20
Prior to His ascension to the right hand of the Father, Jesus gave the disciples what is known as the Great Commission, in Matthew 28:19-20. Prior to that, in verses 16–18, Jesus reaffirmed the authority that the Father had given to Him. The disciples would need to draw on His authority in the future as the Kingdom advanced.
Jesus was clear concerning what He wanted to see accomplished through the use of the authority that He had granted to His disciples. He didn’t tell them simply to lead people into the Kingdom through salvation. He wanted His disciples to be disciple-makers, that is, to teach them the ways and values of the Kingdom.
Verse 19 reminds us that water baptism, a part of being a disciple, was a sign that a person had become aligned with Christ, believing in Him as Saviour. When believers were baptised, they renounced their old lives.
The consequences of this were not always minor. Those who were baptised were often cut off from their families. Water baptism was a very serious matter!
There would have been no doubt in the person’s mind concerning what they were doing.
Water baptism was to be done in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
This baptismal formula is important because it uniquely distinguishes the followers of Jesus, acknowledging the authority of the Father and recognising the Holy Spirit, who guides and empowers believers as they follow Christ.
This formula, then, affirms one’s belief in the triune God.
A key part of proclaiming the Kingdom involves teaching the new convert how to obey what Jesus commanded (verse 20).
When a person loves God, they will love others. Loving others will compel the believer, then, to offer the message of hope and salvation to all who will listen. Loving God and loving others are the hallmarks of citizenship in the kingdom of God.
Questions for Application
Why must we see salvation as a lifetime of discipleship rather than
a momentary commitment at an
Why do you think love is such an important component in Kingdom living?
2. Be on Your Guard
*A. Confident in Times of Trouble–Matthew 10:17-20*
Jesus commanded His disciples to be on their guard (Matthew 10:17-18). He was not commanding them to be defensive, but to be prepared to face difficulty.
There was, of course, an easy way out of persecution. They could simply be quiet, blend in with the crowd, and keep the truth to themselves. But this was unacceptable if they were to stay faithful to their Lord.
Jesus assured the disciples that they would not be alone when they faced persecution for their faith. The “Spirit of your Father” (verse 20) would be with them.
This is the only occurrence of this particular phrase in the New Testament. It is a unique way of referencing the Holy Spirit, and commentators note that it reflects Matthew’s tendency to highlight the intimate nature of the relationship between the Father and His children.
Such intimacy surely would be present in these instances. When they needed their Lord the most, the Spirit would speak through them.
Tough times did come to the disciples. Church history teaches that nearly all of them gave their lives for the cause of Christ.
First-century Christians were persecuted by the Jews and faced interrogation, imprisonment, and even death by the Romans. But just as Jesus promised, the Holy Spirit was with them and the kingdom of God Continued to expand despite opposition.
Christians today should not be surprised when they face persecution for their faith. Following Christ will result in tough times, so we must not be caught off guard. Recalling that the Holy Spirit is with us during tough times will provide comfort and confidence as we faithfully declare God’s kingdom.
Questions for Application
What difficulties have you faced as a result of your faith in Jesus?
How have you prepared yourself to face opposition in the future?
B. Cost of Obedience– Matthew 10:21-25
The challenge of discipleship might bring problems at home as well as out in the world. The message of God’s kingdom may divide families, causing brothers to turn over their brothers to the authorities (Matthew 10:21). This same betrayal may occur between parents and their children. Jesus stated that the love of evil will supersede the love of family members. Jesus indicated there will be no place to hide. Those who reject God’s kingdom hate the citizens of the Kingdom.
Jesus indicated that some who start on the journey of Kingdom life would change course short of the finish line. Verse 22 implies that some would not endure. ln light of Jesus’ words in verses 21-23, this is not surprising. It is hard to stand firm against evil in the face of persecution. But Jesus offers a marvellous assurance: Those who do endure to the end will be saved.
In verses 24-25, Jesus helped His followers understand why they would be treated in such a manner:
They would suffer, just as He suffered, because the student is not greater than the teacher.
The follower of Christ could not expect to be treated better than Christ himself, who suffered accusations leading to death by those who hated Him.
If a person desired to take part in the ministry of the miraculous, he or she would also have to embrace the consequences that come with such a ministry. Jesus was persecuted for the message of the kingdom of God.
Disciples of Jesus Would, and will, be persecuted for faithfully declaring that message as well.
Although it seems like a contradiction, believers will often go to areas of the world that have yet to hear the gospel, despite certain persecution.
As the Spirit moves in the hearts of peôple, they develop boldness to trust God and overcome fear.
Questions for Application
Why do you think some parts of the world suffer worse persecution than other parts?
What can we, as people who suffer less than many, learn from the suffering and response of others ?
How do you think believers in safer countries today would respond in the face of
3. Do Not Be Afraid
*A. A Bold Proclamation– Matthew 10:26-28*
Jesus’ command not to be afraid in the face of persecution goes against all human instincts.
Jesus instructed the disciples to demonstrate their courage by being bold in their proclamation of the
Up until that point, the proclamation of the Kingdom had been somewhat limited.
Much of what Jesus had taught, He had taught to His closest followers, His disciples.
But now it was time for them to move forward and proclaim these words to the world without restraint, in broad daylight and loudly from the roof tops (Matthew 10:26-27).
The life of Jesus was a demonstration of the fact that God loves the whole world. But the world would only come to know this if the truths of God, taught throughout the ministry of His Son, were shared with the world.
Verse 28 is interesting. Fear can prevent people from doing the right thing.
The enemy of the Kingdom seeks to intimidate God’s people with threats that they may even lose their lives. Jesus turned this around by citing an important biblical principle.
The people of God should neither fear men nor the enemy of their souls.
The worst that might happen is the loss of life. But Scripture calls us to instead fear God (cf., 2 Corinthians 7:1).
That is, we acknowledge God as Creator and Lord, and revere Him for the power and authority He holds over us, today for all eternity.
How unwise it would be to focus on earthly enemies rather
than our Almighty God.
Questions for Application
How do you react to the thought that you might be required to suffer greatly for your faith?
Why can even a committed Christian struggle to follow Christ consistently?
B. In God’s Care– Matthew 10:29-33
Jesus reassured the disciples that God cared for them by reminding them that He cares for every part of His creation, even that which seems insignificant (Matthew 10:29-30).
Likewise, God cares so intimately that He knows the number of hairs on a person’s head-a seemingly trivial point, and one that is difficult to ascertain.
If God is concerned about birds and hair counts surely the believer can have confidence in His care for them.
Believers need not live in fear because they know that God loves them and values their lives (verse 31).
God’s care does not guarantee a life without trial, but a life of joy and peace, even, in times of trouble.
Jesus then gave an important reminder: Believers would face real temptations to deny that they are His followers.
Those who are willing to
acknowledge themselves as followers of Christ will be acknowledged to the Father as His followers (verse 32).
But those who deny Him will also be denied before the Father (verse 33). This does not mean that we forfeit salvation if we stumble in faith, for Peter was restored after denying Christ three times (see Luke 22:54-62; John 21:7-19).
Rather, it reminds us of a stark choice that we must make.
Will we join in solidarity to our Lord, or will we divide our allegiance between the Lord and men, depending upon the situation? Let us, as His disciples, choose to stand boldly for Christ.
*Questions for Application*
How can a believer overcome fear when faced with opposition?
What are some ways God has shown His care for you?
Call to Discipleship
God desires all people to enter the kingdom of God, for He does not wish for any to perish (2 Peter 3:8-10).
Yet in our role in reaching them, we must also keep two things in mind.
First, God has called us to be disciples.
We must ourselves be lifelong learners, growing in relationship to Christ.
This equips us to be faithful to Christ. Second, we must be committed to the lifelong task of discipleship, helping people find Christ.
We need to invest time and resources to help them become faithful followers of Christ in a difficult world.
Ministry in Action
Develop a testimony script of your salvation or another miracle that you have experienced in your life, to help you better share your testimony when the opportunity arises.
Look for opportunities this week to share Christ with someone.
Pray that God will empower you to stand strong and bold for Him when you are tempted to avoid trouble by concealing your relationship with Christ.
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