Instructions for Christian Living
- Proclaim the Good News (Matthew 10:1-16; 28:16-20)
- Be On Your Guard (Matthew 10:17-25)
- Do Not Be Afraid (Matthew 10:26-33)
A. Proclaim the Good News
a. instructions for the twelve's mission
Key Scripture (Matthew 10:1-16): Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.
2 These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
5 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy,[a] drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.
9 “Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts— 10 no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff, for the worker is worth his keep. 11 Whatever town or village you enter, search there for some worthy person and stay at their house until you leave. 12 As you enter the home, give it your greeting. 13 If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. 14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. 15 Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.
16 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.
Q: What does Matthew 10:9-10 suggest about monetary compensation for pastors and other church ministry leaders?
Q: In that the ministry of the Twelve was to be a reflection of Jesus' ministry, what does this suggest our ministry should be as followers of Jesus?
b. instructions for the church's mission
Key Scripture (Matthew 28:16-20): Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Q: In what way does the Great Commission Jesus gave to the Church (Matthew 28:18-20), differ from the original commission He gave to the Twelve (Matthew 10:5-6)? Why is this important?
Q: As you see it, in what ways does the Church go about the work of making disciples for Jesus Christ in all the nations of the world? What do you see as your part in this?
response to the word
For man, speaking to another person about one's faith in Christ is difficult, and even terrifying. However, Christ has commissioned all believers in Him to participate in making more disciples. Thankfully, Christ has provided the Church with spiritually gifted people to help believers grow up in Christ, and to equip them to share their faith with others. Also, Christ has promised to be with us in the work of fulfilling the Great Commission. Knowing this should relieve some of the fear of testifying of one's faith in Christ. Every believer in Christ does have a testimony about his or her faith in Christ, and that testimony needs to be heard.
2. Be On Your Guard
a. prepare for persecution
Key Scripture (Matthew 10:17-23): Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. 18 On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
21 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 22 You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 23 When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
Q: Do you expect to face opposition, hostility, or persecution for being a disciple of Jesus? If so, what have you done, or are you doing, to prepare yourself for this?
Q: Is it meaningful, to you that Jesus said the Holy Spirit will give His disciples words to answer their adversaries? What assurance or help do you find from this?
b. share in jesus' persecution
Key Scripture (Matthew 10:24-25): “The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household!
Q: What are your thoughts when you are opposed, mistreated, or persecuted for being a disciple of Jesus? Do you rejoice over suffering for His name? See Acts 5:41.
Q: The Apostle Paul endured much persecution for being a disciple of Jesus. Read how he characterized his suffering for Christ (Philippians 3:10). What are your thoughts about this?
Response to the word
There are some who identify themselves as Christians, who teach that if a believer in Christ has any kind of suffering, including persecution for being a disciple of Jesus Christ, it is an evidence of insufficient faith. In contrast to this, Jesus made it abundantly clear that those who identify with Him will suffer from the opposition of the world to Christ, the Gospel, and those who follow Christ. NO amount of faith can elevate us above Jesus Christ, who is our Master, because, as He said, "The disciple is not above his Master" (Matthew 10:24). Suffering for Christ is a sign of genuine faith in, and identity with, Jesus Christ, not of insufficient faith.
3. Do Not Be Afraid
a. fear god, not people
Key Scripture (Matthew 10:26-31): “So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. 28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.[a] 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Q: Seeing that the fear of people causes many to say and do things they ought not say and do, why is it extremely important as Christians, that we fear God more than we fear people?
Q: Considering all Jesus said about why we should not fear people who oppose our faith in Him (Matthew 10:26-31), does this make you more willing to stand up for Christ? Explain.
b. Regarding confessing christ
Key Scripture (Matthew 10:32-33): “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.
Q: What does it mean to you to know that, if you confess Christ in the fast of opposition, hostility, or persecution for His sake, He will also confess you before GOd the Father?
Q: What are your thoughts about why one's confession or denial of Jesus Christ before others is the ultimate test of a person's allegiance to Him?
response to the word
It is easy to be afraid of what others may think about us if we confess being a Christian. However, as Jesus stated, there is one who is infinitely greater and more important that people, whom we should fear. That one is God, who has the power to destroy both soul and body in hell. This should move us to have a deep, reverent fear of God, being always mindful that He is more powerful than any person, or the combined sum total of all humans. If we genuinely believe in God, and love Him, we have no reason to be afraid of Him, but we will have reverent fear of Him. If we are faithful followers of Jesus, the gift of God to us is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. In contrast to that, denial of Christ deprives us of eternal life.
On Your Own...
Two Early Church Leaders Named James
The brothers James and John were early disciples of Jesus, whom He later called to be Apostles. It is well-known among Christians that Peter, James, and John were three close confidants of Jesus from among the Twelve Apostles.
James was the older brother of John, the two sons of a man named Zebedee, but John is the better known of the two brothers because he wrote one of the Four Gospels, three Letters to Christians, and The Revelation, all in the New Testament.
The Apostle Peter was the chief spokesman for the Apostles after Jesus' ascension (Acts 1:15-26), and on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-40). And, it appears that Peter was the leader in the earliest days of the church at Jerusalem and in Judea. (Acts 5:3-11; 8:13; 9:23-43; 11:1-4).
It is not until we come to come to Acts 12:1-2, that it becomes apparent that James the Apostle was the leader of the church in Jerusalem, beginning we known not how soon after AD 30, but definitely concluding with his martyrdom at the hands of Herod Agrippa I, in AD 44, the year Herod died (Acts 12:20-23).
After the death of James the Apostle, James, the oldes of the four half-brothers of Jesus (Mark 6:3), became the leader of the early church at Jerusalem (Acts 15:13-21; and 21:17-18). This is amazing, because Jesus' half-brothers did not believe in Him during His public ministry (John 7:1-5). However, they were present with the disciples of Jesus after His ascension (Acts 1:14), showing they became believers in Jesus after His resurrection.
James, the brother of Jesus, wrote the Letter of James in the New Testament (probably before AD 50), and presided over the early church in Jerusalem until AD 62, when he was thrown from a pinacle of the temple in Jerusalem and beaten to death on the street below by enemies of the Christians. Thus, James the Apostle, and James the brother of Jesus, were both leaders of the early church in Jerusalem, and both were martyrs for Christ.
Daily Bible Readings
Monday: Peter Proclaims the Good News
Tuesday: Philip Proclaims the Good News
Wednesday: Saul (Paul) Proclaims the Good News
Thursday: Instructions for Peace
Friday: Instructions for Contentment
Saturday: Paul's Charge to Timothy