Matthew, Chapter 10

Matt. 10:1-4

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 skin.

Matt. 10:5, 6

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.