Matthew, Chapter 10
Matt. 10:1 "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. 2 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; 3
Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son
of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the
Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him."
There were more than twelve disciples, but according to Luke, Jesus
called the twelve out of the disciples: Lk. 6:13 "And when it was day,
he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also
he named apostles." The gift of the apostles is one of the four gifts of
the gospel ministry that Jesus gave: Eph. 4:11 "And he gave some,
apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors
and teachers." The apostles as well as all the gospel ministers are
first disciples. One must be a disciple before he can be a gospel
preacher. Jesus told Peter and Andrew, "Follow me, and I will make you
fishers of men." A disciple is a follower of Jesus. Peter and Andrew had
to first follow Jesus before they could be fishers of men.
The Lord calls his ministers, just as he called the apostles. True
gospel preachers do not take this upon themselves; they are called to
the work of the Lord. Paul affirmed his calling to be an apostle: Rom.
1:1 "Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated
unto the gospel of God." Many today think to take upon themselves the
work of the gospel ministry and even go to school to become educated,
yet not being called of God they cannot be God's true gospel ministers.
They were given gifts of the Lord. They had these gifts only because the
Lord gave them these gifts. Spiritual gifts come from the Lord, and the
Lord gives to his people spiritual gifts according to his will: 1 Cor.
12:11 "But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing
to every man severally as he will." The apostles were given gifts of
healing and of casting out unclean spirits.
Briefly some of the peculiarities of the twelve apostles are these:
1. There were at least four that were fishers by trade: Peter, Andrew,
James, and John.
2. One was a tax collector: Matthew.
3. One doubted: Thomas.
4. One betrayed the Lord: Judas Iscariot.
5. One was a Canaanite: Simon the Canaanite. Though all twelve were
Jews, yet Simon was also of the descendants of Canaan of the tribes that
Israel was to cast out of the land of Canaan. The Canaanites had dark
Matt. 10:5 "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: 6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
The Lord directs the labors of the gospel ministry. The church does not
send gospel ministers to their labors. Thus mission boards are totally
unscriptural. The following scriptures show the Holy Spirit directing
the labors and places of the gospel ministers:
1. Acts 16:6 "Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region
of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in
Asia, 7 After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia:
but the Spirit suffered them not. 8 And they passing by Mysia came down
to Troas. 9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a
man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and
help us. 10 And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured
to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us
for to preach the gospel unto them."
2. Acts 20:28 "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the
flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed
the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood."
3. Acts 10:17 "Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which
he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius
had made inquiry for Simon's house, and stood before the gate, 18 And
called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged
there. 19 While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him,
Behold, three men seek thee. 20 Arise therefore, and get thee down, and
go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them."
4. Luke 10:1 "After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also,
and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place,
whither he himself would come."
The gospel ministers are sent at the Lord's direction and are to go as
the Lord directs them.
The Lord's direction to the apostles was very specific. They were not to
go in the way of the Gentiles. They were not to go into any city of the
Samaritans. They were to go only to the lost sheep of the house of
Israel. It is not that the lord did not have a people amongst the
Gentiles or among the Samaritans. He had many people amongst the
Gentiles and amongst the Samaritans and later he would send the ministry
to preach to them. However, at this time they were not to go there.
Next, the Lord sent them to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. He
did not send them to any of the goats of Israel. Sheep are a symbol of
the children of God. Goats are a symbol of those who are not children of
God. God does not send his ministers to preach to goats, but only to
sheep. A lost sheep is not a dead sheep. A lost sheep has life, but he
is away from his owner. When he is in his owner's fold, he is not lost.
A lost sheep still belongs to his owner, even though he is lost. Many of
God's children are currently away from the fold (church). They are still
children of God and the glory world will still be their home, but they
are lost to the fellowship, care, and comfort of the church.
Matt. 10:7, 8
Matt. 10:7 "And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at
hand. 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out
devils: freely ye have received, freely give."
John came preaching and saying "repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at
hand." Jesus came preaching "repent for the kingdom of heaven is at
hand." Now the Lord sent the apostles out saying, "The kingdom of heaven
is at hand." How can people actually preach and believe that the kingdom
of heaven is yet in the future. To be at hand, means that it is near by
and close. The Lord said, "The law and the prophets were until John:
since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth
into it." Men were pressing into the kingdom of heaven when John
preached. Men were pressing into the kingdom of heaven when Christ
preached. Men were pressing into the kingdom of heaven when the apostles
preached. Today, men are pressing into the kingdom of heaven when God's
ministry preaches. This kingdom is not the glory world, but is the
church kingdom Christ established here on earth. This church kingdom was
at hand and the apostles were to tell the people that it was at hand and
that they were to press into it.
As a sign of the new order of worship being established, the Lord gave
the apostles sign gifts. These gifts were not to continue forever, but
were a sign of the beginning of the Kingdom of heaven. Paul spoke of
these gifts as being the signs of an apostle. They were to heal the
sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, and to cast out devils. The
Lord gave them these gifts. They had no ability to do these things,
except that the Lord gave them the ability.
When the Lord gives us something, we are to use it for the purpose that
it is given. The Lord freely gave the apostles these gifts, and they
were to freely give of these gifts. There was no charge system in place.
They were not to charge for the gifts that God gave them. Likewise, we
who have been entrusted with the gospel today are not to charge for
preaching the gospel. We have freely received. We are to freely give.
Paul said in Acts 20:33 "I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or
apparel. 34 Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered
unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. 35 I have showed you
all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to
remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to
give than to receive." Paul provided for his own necessities and for
them that were with him. He told the elders of the church at Ephesus,
that by so laboring they ought to support the weak and remember the
words of the Lord Jesus, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." A
preacher that covets silver and gold or a salary for preaching is not
fit for the Kingdom of heaven.