Ambassadors for the King

Posted: February 27, 2012 in Matthew

Matthew 10:1-15, “Ambassadors for the King”

Have you ever been an ambassador?  Few of us have ever formally served as an ambassador for our nation, but think of it another way.  An ambassador is simply an authorized messenger or representative for someone else.  If you’ve gone on a business trip, you’ve served as an ambassador for your company.  If you’ve represented your family at a reunion, you’ve been an ambassador for your home.  Etc.  In that way, MOST of us have been different kinds of ambassadors at different points in time.  As a believer in Jesus Christ, we’re also called to be ambassadors for our Lord and Savior.

That’s exactly what the Lord Jesus was commissioning the 12 disciples for as Ch 10 begins.  He had shown Himself to be the King – He had taught what it meant to live as a citizen of the kingdom – He had demonstrated His authority to teach of the kingdom – and now, as the King He sends out ambassadors in His name.  Some of the men He chose as His ambassadors were the most unlikely people possible, but there’s wonderful grace here in that it shows exactly what the power of God can do.  Jesus didn’t merely call the 12, He equips them.  They were going out in His name, but they weren’t going out in their own power – they were going out in the power of God for the glory of God.

Matthew 10:1–15 (NKJV)
1 And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease.

  • Jesus had just told the people who followed Him to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest – now there are twelve.
    • If Jesus fulfills the prayer request, then Jesus IS the Lord of the harvest.  Clear demonstration that Jesus acts with the authority of God because Jesus IS God.
  • Why 12?  12 tribes of Israel…there is eschatological significance in this, as seen in the Revelation. (Rev 21:14)  Jesus did not randomly choose 12; He chose them for a purpose and foundation for the Church.  Were there only 12 people who followed Jesus as disciples?  No – there were many who followed Christ.  Yet there were 12 who had a specific role in that they were called out by Christ Jesus.
  • Jesus gave them power. (1) Jesus gave them spiritual power.  They had “power over unclean spirits, to cast them out.”  Just as Jesus frequently threw out demons from the people they possessed, so were the 12 disciples given the same power. (2) Jesus gave them physical power.  They had the same power that Jesus did to heal any type of sickness & disease that they would encounter along the way.
    • Note that this is the same demonstration of power that Jesus had throughout His Galilean ministry.  [Ch 9:35]  So what?  The disciples had a ministry to point people to the Lord Jesus; not to attract attention to themselves.  All of this was done in demonstration of the authority of Jesus Christ.  The disciples were not trying to raise up disciples of their own; they were going out as emissaries of Jesus.  It was all about HIM – His power, His kingdom, His ministry.
  • This particular gift of power had a purpose (as we’ll see in vss 7-8), but there’s a principle here we shouldn’t miss: power to serve God comes from the Lord Jesus.  We see exactly the same principle in play right before Jesus’ ascension.  Acts 1:8, "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." []  The apostles (and all of the followers of Christ) needed power in order to be effective witnesses for Jesus in the world, and that power can only come from God.  We cannot gin up power in ourselves to get the work of the ministry done.  The work of God can only be done by the power of God, and that only comes by the Person of God.

2 Now 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;

  • The terminology changes from “disciple” to “apostle.”  What’s the difference?  We tend to use the terms interchangeably, but they actually have very different meanings.  A disciple is a student – someone mentored by another or apprenticed to learn at someone’s feet.  An apostle is someone who is sent by another as an emissary or ambassador.
    • (Clarke) “It is worthy of notice, that those who were Christ’s apostles were first his disciples; to intimate, that men must be first taught of God, before they be sent of God. Jesus Christ never made an apostle of any man who was not first his scholar or disciple.”  We’ve got to actually be a student of Christ before we can be sent out by Him.
  • Who starts the list?  Simon Peter…likely only called “Simon” at the time – Jesus is the one who gives him the name “Peter” (translated, Cephas).  Although the listings between the different gospel accounts all vary in order somewhat, all begin with Simon Peter & all end with Judas Iscariot.
  • The 1st four listed here were all part of Jesus’ inner circle & were 2 pairs of brothers.  Simon & Andrew, James & John.  Why were these 4 closer to Jesus than the others?  No one truly knows.  They seemed to be the 1st of Jesus’ disciples – but perhaps Jesus simply wanted these four for more personal ministry & discipleship.  All guesses are simply that: guesses.  What we DO know is that just because these four were seemingly closer to Jesus than the others did not guarantee them a “more important” position among the apostles than the others.  James & John specifically asked for a more prominent position (through their mother) & were basically turned down flat.  Simon Peter is often thought of as the pre-eminent apostle, but he was just one voice among many during the early discussions of the church in Jerusalem (James seemed to be the 1st among equals), and at one point he was even publicly chastised by Paul.
    • Too often, it seems that Christians are concerned about rank & importance.  Those things seem to matter a lot to us, but they matter very little to God.  What is one ant compared to another ant when both are put next to a human being?  Likewise – what’s one born-again Christian compared with another born-again Christian when both are compared with Almighty God?  The same penalty was due to their sins – the same blood of Jesus was shed for them both.  God in His sovereignty might have different roles for different believers, but both are equally valuable to our Heavenly Father. The Bible tells us clearly that we are all one in Christ Jesus – that’s what’s important to God; not superficial issues of rank.

3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Cananite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.

  • The rest of the listing goes in somewhat of a random order, though seemingly grouped by 4 each.  We’ve obviously seen Matthew before (listed in other gospel accounts as “Levi”).  James is labeled as the “son of Alphaeus” which distinguishes him from both James the son of Zebedee & James the half-brother of Jesus.  (FYI, “James” is actually “Jacob.”  The English transliterates a later form of Latin; not the Greek directly.)
  • There are some differences between the different listings in the NT accounts.  Bartholemew is thought to be the same as Nathaniel (Jn 1:45).  Lebbaeus/Thaddeus is sometimes known as the “other” Judas (Jn 14:22).  Simon the Cananite is not a Gentile, but otherwise known as Simon the Zealot (Lk 6:15 – the word translated “Cananite” here is an Aramaic word actually referring to the Zealots).  That some of them had more than one name ought not be surprising (most of us have 3: first, middle, and last) – different people would have referred to them in different ways.
  • Of course, Judas Iscariot is the betrayer.  Obviously this fact was not known by any of the apostles or gospel writers until after Judas actually carried out the act of betrayal.  Yet it WAS known in advance by Jesus.  As the All-knowing God in the flesh, there’s no doubt that Jesus knew that Judas would later betray Him to the Pharisees.  Jesus even says as much at the last supper prior to Judas’ treachery.  With all that in mind, don’t miss the incredible act of grace here: Jesus knew of Judas’ future betrayal, and yet Jesus STILL specifically called Judas by name to be one of the 12.  Even Judas Iscariot was personally chosen by Christ Jesus to walk with Him for three years, preach the gospel in His name, cast out the demons, heal the sick – to do everything that each one of the other apostles would do.  Jesus gave Judas the exact same opportunities as everyone else, all the while knowing what would eventually happen. 
  • What amazing grace of our Savior!  That God would know of the sin of Judas, and yet still give him every opportunity to respond to the love and truth of God. … It’s no different with any human soul today.

5 These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. 6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

  • Knowing that today we’re called to go to all of the nations, we might wonder why Jesus specifically told the 12 apostles NOT to go to the way of the nations (the Gentiles).  We need to keep a couple of things in mind:
    • Jesus was speaking to a specific people at a specific time for a specific purpose.  The things that Jesus is telling the 12 apostles is not exactly the same thing that He’s telling us today.  Obviously there are principles that apply to us, but there were certain things that needed to be accomplished at that particular time that don’t necessarily apply today.
    • This instruction was all given PRIOR to Jesus’ crucifixion & resurrection.  Everything changes AFTER those events.  Jesus specifically told the disciples something different later.  AFTER the resurrection, Jesus gave clear instructions to the disciples that they were to go into Jerusalem, all Judea and Samaria, and even to the ends of the earth.  Those are the final instructions we are to follow.
  • The gospel HAD to go to the house of Israel first before it could go out into the rest of the world.  Romans 1:16, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek." []  Jesus is the fulfillment of the Jewish Messianic promises – He’s the fulfillment of the expectation given to Abraham that all the world would be blessed through him.  It was necessary that first Jesus would go unto His own people, and after His own people did not receive Him, then the message would go out into all the world (Jn 1:11).  Paul adopted the same strategy in his own ministry, first preaching in the synagogues, and only after he was rejected there, going among the Gentiles.  God had made a promise to the people of Israel, and that expectation needed to be absolutely fulfilled.
    • God ALWAYS keeps His promises!
  • Why?  Because those sheep were lost & the Good Shepherd was among them.  It’s not that the 12 tribes of Israel could not be found; it’s that these people were the recipients of the covenant of God, and they had lost their way from it.  They were like sheep without a shepherd (Ch 9:36), and Jesus needed to minister to His own.
  • BTW – the word for “sent” is interesting, in that it’s the same root word as “apostle.”  Technically, that’s all an apostle is: someone who is sent.  Obviously there were specific Apostles that had a specific role in laying the foundation for the Church – a role that is not repeated today.  There was also an apostolic role beyond the 12 including men who were sent out to plant churches all over the Roman empire (Barbabas, Apollos, etc.).  Some even argue that today the best equivalent to the basic apostolic role are missionaries sent to plant churches around the world.  Scholars debate much here, but the word itself is simple: one who is sent.
    • On a basic level, we have ALL been sent by our Lord Jesus because we ALL have been included in the Great Commission.  Obviously the office of “apostle” is limited, but the idea of being “sent” is universal to all believers.

7 And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’

  • The apostles are to “go.” Before we get to the “preaching,” we need to understand that the “going”.  The “going” is assumed by Jesus – it’s just something that the apostles are expected to be doing.  There’s no command to “go”; there’s only a command to preach.  The “going” is what happens along the way.  The preaching can’t be accomplished unless the “going” is already taken place.
    • It seems to be the opposite so many times in our culture.  We’re equipped to preach – we’ve been trained, gone to seminars, have tracts & radio programs and all sorts of preparation to actually preach the gospel – yet we haven’t actually “gone.”  We need to walk out of the doors and GO.  The preaching is what we’re to do AS we’re going.
  • The apostles are to “preach.”  They are to proclaim – to herald – to declare the same message that Jesus Himself had been declaring: “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  The time is now – the King is here – the invitation to the kingdom is open, are you ready to respond to the call and command of the King?  That’s the gospel message!  Do you recognize Jesus as the King sent by God, as God Himself in the flesh among us?  Do you recognize your need to be included in the kingdom?  Now is the time to submit yourself to the King – the time of the kingdom of heaven is at hand! 
  • Notice that the preaching comes 1st!  Jesus had already given power to the apostles to work all kinds of miracles & He’s about to give instruction regarding those miracles, but the preaching is what comes first and foremost in the ministry of the apostles.  The power given by Jesus just serves to support what’s being preached.

8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.

  • First was preaching; second is service.  The proclamation of the kingdom of heaven and the authority and presence of the King was to be backed up by acts of power and service.  The King is compassionate, so the compassion of the King was shown through healing miracles.  The King has authority and victory over the devil, so His power over the demons was demonstrated.  The King has the authority to grant life, so His apostles show it through the restoration of life.  So often our attention to our spiritual need is gotten by addressing our physical problems.  Jesus recognized this in His own ministry & He told the 12 apostles to do the same.
  • Notice the progression: healing sick (no limit on the various diseases) – cleansing lepers (major disease akin to death) – raising the dead (no worse physical problem!) – casting out demons (spiritual issues beyond any capability of man to help).  Jesus empowered the apostles to do it all.  (Majority of manuscripts do not include “raising the dead,” though we know this happened on limited occasions in the book of Acts.)
  • So there it is: go & preach & serve in the power of God…and do it all for free.  The gospel is not for sale.
    • It’s still not for sale!  Our salvation is free to us, but it came at the highest of cost to God: the blood of God the Son.  Because He paid it all on our behalf, we have zero claim of which to charge anyone else the marvelous message of the kingdom.
    • How different this is from the way so many supposed “ministers” treat the ministry! They charge for every single aspect of their presence & attempt to use the things of godliness as a means of gain (1 Tim 6:5).  They corrupt the message of Christ for monetary profit.

9 Provide neither gold nor silver nor copper in your money belts, 10 nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs; for a worker is worthy of his food.

  • The gospel was not for sale, but it wasn’t left to the independently wealthy, either.  To go from town to town freely giving the message and healing the sick without cost obviously would have been an expensive prospect.  Yet Jesus tells the apostles not to take a bunch of traveling cash or other provisions with them – in fact, He tells them not to take anything at all!  No money of any sort (ranging from the highest to the lowest) – no suitcases – no spare clothing – not even any extra walking sticks…the apostles were basically expected to hear the words of Jesus and then go walk out with the clothes on their backs & what they had on their persons.
  • So were the disciples to go and starve?  No – they were supposed to let the people they ministered to provide for their meals and needs along the way.  “A worker is worthy of his food.”  As the 12 labored for the Lord, those who received the message with gladness would gladly support them along the way. Paul would later refer to the same principle (and likely these very words of Jesus) when writing to Timothy about the work of the ministry.  1 Timothy 5:17–18, "(17) Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. (18) For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”" []  The idea is that the person who is doing the work of the ministry is actually working.  The Scripture would not apply to someone with the title of an elder that attempts to skate by on the backs of the church or use a title to obligate people into supporting him.  Those who work/labor doing what God has called and equipped them to do are the ones to be supported.
  • Question: is Jesus contradicting Himself here?  In verse 8, He tells the apostles to do all of this for free; in verse 9, Jesus tells the apostles to let the people feed them.  This isn’t a contradiction at all – in fact, it’s the same principle in place.  The apostles had freely received from the Lord & were to freely give to others.  Now the people who would hear the message had the opportunity to freely give as well.  There was not a tax or a fee laid upon the people for receiving the gospel of the kingdom, but there was an opportunity for them to respond practically in thanks for what they had received.  Just like the apostles had freely received & freely given, the hearers would freely receive & freely give.
    • Our giving is supposed to be just that: a gift!  Are there principles given to us in the Scriptures about generous, proportional, regular giving of our money to the Lord?  Of course…God loves us enough to give us solid instruction on the matter, without leaving us in the dark on how to do it.  Yet our financial giving as Christians ought never be viewed of as a tax or a fee or some sort of legalistic obligation imposed upon us.  Giving our financial offerings to the Lord in worship is not something we’re forced to do; it’s something we get to do – and there’s a crucial difference between the two!
    • The NT is clear about the fact that our financial giving is supposed to be a joyful act of worship unto to the Lord. 2 Corinthians 9:6–8, "(6) But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. (7) So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. (8) And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work." []
  • What’s the principle being taught to the apostles?  Ultimately, the Lord is our provider.  Jesus forbade them from taking extra money and extra provisions during this journey because He wanted them to see with their own eyes how God would personally provide for them along the way through the generous giving and hospitality of the people.  Does this mean that the apostles were never to take any money with them at any time, or that Paul and other later church planters were wrong to ever take any provisions with them?  No, not at all.  At some points in his journeys, Paul worked a 2nd job for his own food…at other times, he relied on the gifts of the church.  At one point while he was in jail, he even asked Timothy to bring him an extra cloak for warmth (as opposed to leaving a 2nd tunic behind).  Even later in Jesus’ ministry, prior to His crucifixion He told the apostles that it was now time to take up a money bag & other provisions (Luke 22:36).  It’s godly wisdom to take clothes with you when heading on a trip – even a mission trip.  Jesus is not telling the apostles to set aside wisdom, He’s simply giving them a very practical experiment in trusting the Lord as their provider.
    • Our God loves to provide!  That’s even one of His names in the Scripture: Jehovah Jireh – the LORD who provides.

11 “Now whatever city or town you enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and stay there till you go out.

  • Jesus had instructed the 12 disciples on the work of the ministry & their provision in the ministry…now He instructs them on their reception during the ministry.  This goes hand-in-hand with how the apostles were to be provided for along the way.  As they went from place to place, if they were welcome in the town, then they weren’t to spend each night at a different house constantly setting up a new place to stay.  God had provided for them in that city, and they were to trust God’s provision for them the whole time they were there.
    • Culturally, we need to understand that there weren’t an abundance of hotels & motels from town to town…it’s not like the apostles could just stay at the local “La Quinta/Motel 6” or whatever.  Inns were not always abundant, and it was a cultural norm for travelers to be received by the hospitality of the community.  The apostles would simply abide by the same practices as the rest of the culture, only with the understanding that they weren’t just “passing through” – they had work to do while they were there, and God would be providing for them along the way.
    • Notice that Jesus never lists out a timeframe for how long the apostles were to stay in each town.  They were to be in the same house the entire time they were there, but we don’t know how long that was supposed to be.  Apparently, as time went on in the early church, there were some false teachers and prophets that attempted to take advantage of Christians in this area, and the leaders of the church gave guidelines for how long to expect someone to stay in a house.  A true prophet or evangelist the Lord would be doing the work of the ministry & moving on; not lazily hanging about expecting people to feed, clothe, and shelter them for weeks on end. (Didache Ch 11 – 3 days or more was a false prophet.)
  • The question this all hinges upon in Jesus’ statement is: who would have been considered “worthy”?  This seems to be a key concept in what Jesus taught about here – He uses the word 4 times in 4 verses.  The worker is “worthy” of his food (vs. 10) – the apostles were to inquire who was “worthy” (vs 11) – the household was “worthy” or “not worthy” (vs. 13).  What does it mean to be worthy?  In classical Greek, the definition is clear: (Kittel) “bringing up the other beam of the scales – bringing into equilibrium, and therefore ‘equivalent.’”  This is easy to think of when we consider the apostles as workers – they needed to labor hard to be worthy of the food they would receive.  Yet what about the people with which they shared the gospel?  How could they be considered “worthy” in the gospel work?  Obviously no one is “worthy” to hear the gospel at all – the gospel message is a message of grace (which by definition means that we’re not worthy to be given it at all!).  But notice that the worthy household is not the household that hears the gospel (because some households would hear it and reject it) – the worthy household is the house that would hear it and gladly receive it.
    • Who qualifies today?  The person who is submitted to the Lord Jesus Christ.

12 And when you go into a household, greet it. 13 If the household is worthy, let your peace come upon it. But if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you.

  • How were the apostles to learn of the worthiness of a household?  By greeting it.  If the family received them, great!  If not, then the apostles had their answer.
  • What did Jesus mean by the apostles letting their “peace” come upon them or return to them?  Simply a reference to their blessing.  They were to greet hospitality with hospitality in return.  If hospitality was not received, they weren’t to sweat it either.

14 And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. 15 Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!

  • Not only were the apostles not to extend their peace to a house that rejected them, they were to go so far as to shake off the dust of their feet & leave them entirely.  Basically, they were to treat them as a Gentile city.  The town would have rejected the news about the Jewish Messiah, so the apostles would leave knowing that they had done all they could do.
  • Christians can get so concerned about rejection.  There will be times in which people gladly hear and receive the gospel of Christ – and there will be times they reject it.  That’s simply a fact that Jesus told us to expect.  (And yet, we still act so surprised when it happens!)  How are Christians to handle rejection?  Are we to weep & wail & take it personally?  No.  Just shake the dust off your feet & move on. 
  • Notice what the apostles were called to do & not called to do.  They were called to go & preach & serve & give out their peace/blessing – they were not called to force people to be saved & to convert.  Faith is never something that can be forced – no one can be “sold” into the kingdom, no one can be “made” to convert.  Individuals must willingly respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ, or they will not be saved.  That’s the way it was with us – that’s the way it is with every man, woman, and child.  Here’s the point: WE cannot save anyone; God does that.  We are not called to save – we are called to warn.
  • There is a warning!  Those who rejected the gospel of the kingdom were subject to judgment.  What kind of judgment?  Harsh & terrible judgment.  Jesus used a picture from the OT that would have been absolutely clear in the reality of the wrath of God: Sodom & Gomorrah. (Gen 19)  Why would it be worse for the city rejecting the gospel than for Sodom?  Sodom’s judgment lasted a day; those who reject the gospel will be judged for eternity.  Sodom and Gomorrah had rejected the righteousness of God; the cities that rejected the apostles rejected God Himself!  Terrible judgment would await.
    • Beware that you do not reject the gospel of Jesus Christ!  We need to know that God loves us deeply & has demonstrated that love through Jesus.  We need to know of the compassion of Christ that He has upon those who are lost.  We need to know of the goodness of God who desires for all of His creation to be saved.  Yet we dare not be blind to the reality of judgment and punishing wrath that will be reserved for those who reject the gospel of grace.  The very reason we need to be saved is because our lifetime of rebellion and sin against God has laid up an infinite amount of charges against us.  We’ve not just broken God’s law once or twice – the amount has been incalculable, and in our hearts we had usurped the position that is only allowed for our Maker and Lord.  Every single one of us is already doomed for an eternity of punishment unless Someone intervenes – and the only Someone who can has already done so: the Lord Jesus Christ.  In the gospel, we warned of the wrath that is to come & we’re told of the provision that’s already been made for us.  Yet to reject that provision is to head straight towards that wrath.  Don’t ignore the warning!  God would save you from that fate, but you’ve got to respond to His warning.

Conclusion:
Jesus called His disciples – equipped His disciples – commanded His disciples – provided for His disciples – and prepared His disciples.  As He called the 12, He changed His students into His ambassadors (not that they ever stopped being students), and prepared them for the work of the ministry that lay ahead.  What Jesus did specifically for the 12, He also does the same for us in principle.

  • Have you been called?  Obviously Jesus was calling the 12 to a specific task – He calls other men to the work of the ministry – but He calls ALL of us to follow & serve Him.  Have you heeded the call of your King?  (1) Have you heeded the call of salvation?  (2) Have you submitted yourself to serve as your King has called you to serve?  In your family – among your workplace – in the local church…
  • Have you been equipped?  Jesus empowered the 12 for the work of the ministry.  Jesus also empowers us today.  We may not be given the same gifts, but we can be sure that every Christian HAS been gifted by the Holy Spirit for the work that we’ve been given to do.  Do you rely on the power of God for the work of God, or have you been attempting to do it in your own power?
  • Have you been commanded?  Jesus gave the 12 a specific task, and there’s no doubt that we’ve also been given a specific task.  Ours is not limited to the lost sheep of Israel, but the lost sheep all over the world.  The Great Commission IS our task.  Our King has given us a command, and as we go, we are to preach the gospel & serve in love.
  • Have you been provided for & providing for others?  The 12 had freely received & they were to freely give.  We can do no less.  We have freely received of the grace of our Lord Jesus – our Heavenly Father provides for our every need.  We can trust Him for His provision.  And as we’re trusting, we can give out freely in worship & joy as we seek His glory and His pleasure.
  • Have you been prepared?  Jesus left no doubt that though some would receive the message, some would reject it.  He’ll say much more about this rejection later in Ch 10.  We need to be prepared for the same fact.  Some WILL reject – but that isn’t left to us.  That’s not something we ought to be surprised at.  Our commission is simply to preach & to warn & to tell of the goodness of God shown through Jesus Christ the King.  Let that be your aim & leave the rest to God.

In short, the apostles had received the call of Jesus & were sent by Jesus.  Our role in the work of the kingdom of heaven might be different, but the principle is exactly the same.  Christian, have you answered the call of your King?  We’ve not been saved to sit on the sidelines; we’ve been saved with the purpose of participating in what our Lord has called us to do.  Some of you have been sitting long enough – be challenged today to seek your Lord & follow His voice!

Others of you have heard the gospel message many times, but never heeded it at all.  You’ve heard the warning & ignored it, or understood Christ as the King but have been deaf to the implications.  Don’t do it again this morning.  Hear & respond!  The King has come & the kingdom of heaven is at hand.  The time is NOW – respond to the call and the love of the King & submit yourself into His loving hands.  Believe that Jesus really is God in the flesh who died for your sin upon the cross & rose from the grave – turn away from your past sins to follow Christ, asking His forgiveness – surrender your life to Jesus for Him to be your Lord, Master, and King.  He WILL save you.  He loves you and has already made provision on your behalf – but you must respond to His call.

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