The First Mission
Read Matthew 10: 1-15
Have you ever gone on a great adventure, such as traveling to a strange place, a missions trip, camping in the wilderness, or a big hike, something you would not normally do? If so, what did it take to motivate you? Now think about this, what would motivate you to do this for the Lord?
Jesus called His twelve Disciples to venture out and put into practice all that He had taught them. This was their first great mission, and the testing ground for learning, growth, and the practicing of their faith. Jesus was calling His followers and the twelve close Disciples to be “clued in” to the Kingdom and given the responsibility to proclaim His truth to the world (Matthew 10; 28:18-20). He chose fishermen who He made into fishers of men (Matt. 4:19; Luke 5:1-11), and a tax collector who He commissioned to collect souls for the Lord. Jesus went after the regular “Joe” on the street, from fishermen to warmongers and Zealots, even to the one who would eventually betray Him–Judas. Consider this: the most hated person in Jewish society, a tax collector who worked for the invading, occupying, hostile oppressors, the Romans, was called out and sent to proclaim His Word!
They were going from the classroom to the field, taking a chance by being without the usual necessities one would normally take on such a journey. Jesus gave them the empowerment, along with some peculiar instructions from our point of view, such as to stay away from certain people groups, to shake the dust off their feet if the people did not listen, and not to pay for anything. All were contrary to what is normally done during a journey and sojourn.
We cannot forget the importance of preparation. The Apostles did not just go and do; they were carefully trained, discipled, and then sent out! These were the men chosen to go and harvest, whom He sends out in the following passages. Jesus perhaps took as much as a year and a half to gather His Disciples. Then, these Disciples were with Him for two and one-half to three and one-half years of close, personal, one-on-one as well as group discipleship, with the Lord of the universe. This was the most incredible opportunity ever given to a man.
They were sent out as commissioned representatives of Christ, just as their title, Apostle, means. They had to learn first-hand what it meant to be an Apostle, and what it meant to follow Christ. However, the way they learned to follow Him did not mean just picking up and following. They had to put into practice what they had learned, and then do it. Follow? Yes. But, also do as He instructed.
This passage also gives us the blueprint for missions and evangelism. This mission was in preparation for “The Great Commission” to come, in which His apostles were called to make disciples of all the peoples of the world.
The pattern was to present Christ to their own people (Matt. 10:5-15), then to others, and, finally, to the entire world, including rulers and kings (Matt. 10:18; 28:18-20).
Jesus calls them to Go first to the lost sheep of Israel: The term, Lost sheep of Israel: Most people naturally think this refers to the lost ten tribes that seemed to disappear after the captivity. But, this was a common OT theme, and referred to people as dumb sheep that go astray very easily, as a lot of real sheep and people do (Isa. 53:6; Jer. 50:6; Ezek. 34:5). Moreover, this actually means the people who have lost their way, as in sheep that are lost from their master. God is their Master, and they have strayed from Him. Jesus comes, as the Good Shepherd, to rescue His lost sheep.
This meant the message of God’s redemption was to go first to Israel. Israel’s responsibility then was to proclaim it to the Gentiles, which they did not do very well (Gen. 12:1-3; Amos 3:2). Jesus is not discounting the Gentiles, as He already responds to them (Matt. 8:10). Rather, He means that the “heirs to the Kingdom” are to be first. Later, in this passage, Jesus calls His disciples–and us–to reach the Gentiles.
As you go: Jesus asks them and us to model what He had done Himself, and was instructing them to do. This mission was practical to tactical, it was hands-on learning, seeing it done, being told all the “ins and outs,” and then being commissioned to do it on their own. This mission was in the parameters of what the Master had instructed. It was not, “See if it works, and let me know.” Rather, it was putting faith to practice, regardless of response, or how one was treated. Our reverence is to be to God, regardless of what others think of us (Phil. 2:12).
We, as Christians, are responsible to proclaim Christ as Lord with whatever means are at our disposal, using our gifts and abilities. But, we are not responsible for how or why people respond to us. It is not our responsibility that they convert, believe, or act in a certain way. We are only responsible for acting in His character and proclaiming His name (Gal. 1:10). Many times, when Christians see that people do not respond as expected, they quit almost as soon as they start. Too many give up too soon, thinking no one is listening or even cares. Truly, most will not listen or care, but that is not our problem. We must break away from the feelings of personal rejection. This will be difficult, but we must do so in order to be effective for the Kingdom.
What we do At Into Thy Word
Into Thy Word Ministries is a small Missions organization with a call upon our hearts to bring discipleship materials to pastors and everyone who needs them here and overseas for free. And we need your help!
First a reminder of what I do and who we are: Into Thy Word Ministries vision is to provide Christians with the most effective tools and the most effectual means to better understand and apply God’s Word to their lives. Our call is a dedication to teaching people all over the world how to study the Bible in a simple, clear, and concise way! We do this through seminars, missionary efforts of training pastors overseas, church leadership consulting, curriculum development, and our interactive website resources!
Into Thy Word (ITW) was founded in 1988 at Richard’s home church in Pasadena California under Pastor Paul Cedar who is the founder and Director of “Mission America.” ITW was an outgrowth from his seminar on “How to do Inductive Bible Study.” He then was “coerced” by Pastor Paul to step out of his comfort zone to take it overseas to Russia. Since then, he have been writing books, articles, and the rest of us developing the curriculum which have been translated into various languages. There are over 2,500+ ITW associates who personally distribute our Discipleship Tools and Curriculums in over 80 countries through CDs, booklets, and electronically. In 2000 Richard was further challenged by Pastor Paul and Billy Graham to take this ministry fulltime, thus, started ITW’s passionate efforts of training pastors and missionaries fulltime overseas targeting Russia, China, India, and N. Korea! We incorporated (pending 501-3c) as a ministry, with the launch from our interactive website, again at the personal request of Billy Graham. We now do over 70% of our mission and outreach through the Web. Our website is in the top 10 of all Christian websites, we have received numerous awards, we get between 5000 and 8000+ hits a day, and we have over 700 articles of sold Biblical curriculums designed to help people grow in Him! (But we are not a “web ministry;” we are a missions organization, a part of Mission America and we work with the USCWM!)
We believe that the lack of Bible study and Bible knowledge is one of the root causes of the problems that most Christians face, because without this knowledge, they are unable to make healthy and wise decisions. It is also one of the root problems that our churches face. Our churches are riddled with conflict and strife when we are called to be a light in darkness, salt to a flavorless world, and a haven of rest. Yet, we choose to ignore our call and place our focus upon our selfish needs and quests, when it needs to be upon the foot of the cross, Who Christ is, and what He did for us as revealed in His Word.
Because of the aforementioned reasons, we have remained committed to Christ and His call to ‘Into Thy Word Ministries’. We at ‘Into Thy Word’ are committed to teaching people how to find the time for Him, how to be His disciples and how to understand His Word. In so doing, we believe that the church will flourish in power and commitment for our Lord’s glory! Then, we can be the light in darkness and the flavor and rest in the harshness of life. We can be the people of God, so we can do the work of God!
What He Calls us all to Do
The word, Apostle (Apostolos), means emissary, or sent ones, as in Jesus’ commissioned representatives (Matt. 10:40; 15:24; Mark 6:7-13; 30; 9:37; Luke 9:1-6; 48; John 4:34; 5:24, 30, 36-38; 6:38; 1Cor. 1:1; Heb. 3:1). We may not be apostles today, but we are called to be sent. It may not be to Outer Mongolia or some other distant land you have never heard off, but Jesus does call you. The question we have to determine is what and where. It can be here at home partnering with someone already in the field, or maybe He wants you to go. But take comfort, Jesus never, ever will call you where you do not have the desire and the tools to go. But also take heed to make sure you are not fighting Him.
Consider who you are, what you do and what you can offer to the Kingdom. Perhaps you are thinking I can not do missions, it is too scary, but Jesus says you can. Keep in mind that these men that He first called were from very diverse backgrounds. Now you may think I can not do missions, I did not go to seminary, but most of these first Apostles were educated, and some were not that educated. Now you thinking, what I do and what I have leaned could never have an impact? But again consider these first Apostles who Jesus directly called firsthand and personally. There were fishermen, businessmen, a tax collector, and, even possible political revolutionaries, all called to proclaim the Mission– that Christ is Lord! All witnessed firsthand what we hold dear in our hearts and lives only by faith and their testimony.
They were not perfect, and even were in conflict with one another on occasions. However, they did not just think about it, or daydream what could be, or what if. They learned and took their faith to the streets and to their deaths in power and conviction, a model we can do, too.
The Disciples to be “clued in” to the Kingdom and given the responsibility to proclaim His truth to the world, the question is are we clued in too? Do we know His call and if so have we responded to Him? What is in the way? Can it really be that important?
What can you do to better prepare for the mission and call Christ gave you? If you are not sure of your call, please seek out our Spiritual Gifts and talk to you pastor.
This passage has some valuable insights for us today. God will not call us where He will not equip us. Therefore, we can go without fear. If He provides, we are doing right. If not, we need to inquire as to why. This passage also prepares us to not to be in shock when strangers and even family friends no longer accept us, because of Christ. We must be prepared as Jesus prepared His Disciples. We are to go first to the people we know. Then, as we get better, we go to others; and finally to those with whom we may be uncomfortable (Matt. 16:15). If they show no interest, we are to leave them alone while we keep them in prayer for a better time, and for the Spirit to open their hearts. We are not to be nuisances or obtuse to others–even those who are “unworthy.”
Following Jesus means we do not just ask the question of what would Jesus do, but what He will have me do. We know this by following His character and teachings to all parts of our life even when it is inconvenient, or has considerable expense, or goes against our family and society.
If you feel that you could be a part of this plan, any gift that you give would be extremely appreciated. If you feel led to support us, you may give “online” or conventionally by mailing it to the address below. Please make checks out to: Into Thy Word. A one time gift or an ongoing monthly commitment of your choice is greatly needed. Your financial gift will be the tool that God uses to keep this vital ministry going all over the world, but it is your ongoing prayers that will give me the strength, protection, and encouragement I need to be an impact.
By the way, all donations to ITW are tax deductible! In the spirit of our Lord’s love, I thank you for your help. Many people will have a chance to experience the greater love of Jesus because of your support. Please feel free to call or e-mail me anytime for more information or to share your thoughts and prayers. You may also see “About” on our Website for more information, our statement of faith, and how you can better understand His Wor
THANK-YOU for your support!
The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace. Numbers 6:24
Dark blue did not do…. Black part took about 40 min with some add ins and I told the youth how called and special they are….
If you were to go on a short-term missions trip, what fears would you have?
The instructions were that they were to travel light, and be totally committed to the mission, as Elijah and John the Baptist had been.
a. Preach, heal, cleanse, and raise: The Disciples were empowered by Christ to perform miracles, as we read in chapters eight through nine.
b. Freely give: The Disciples were empowered to freely give the message of the Gospel without any compensation. To peddle the Gospel, as to charge money for people to hear it, is a grave insult to God. God will sustain those in His service.
c. Having one cloak meant to not show off wealth or to put off the peasants to whom they were preaching. Also, they were to trust in God to provide, and not to take comfort in personal possessions. If we become tied down with possessions and worldly concerns, we will miss His call for our participation in His mission. Wealth is not wrong in and of itself; when it distracts you from His call, it becomes a hindrance, and sometimes, even evil.
d. Money belt refers to a fold in the garment used as a pocket or pouch to hold stuff. It can also refer to a measuring container to measure what you have (Luke 6:38).
e. Bag for your journey did not refer to luggage, rather, a means to beg for money. The Essenes did similar mission campaigns, and went city to city to visit fellow Essenes. So, they did not need to take any provisions, as they provided for one another. God is our provider. We have to realize that when we walk in Him and follow His mission, we need not fear or worry.
4. Inquire who is worthy: Hospitality was a cultural mandate throughout the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean peoples. However, it was not always practiced (2 Kings 4:8-11).
a. Shake off the dust was a symbol of contempt and piety. A righteous Jew would not allow himself to be contaminated by pagan dust and dirt. Jesus uses this phrase to demonstrate that one should treat unresponsive and unsupportive people as pagans, and as unworthy (Matt. 7:6; Acts 13:42-46).
b. This is an indication that the Gospel is real, and if you do not receive it you will be shaken off in contempt and judgment (Acts 13:51).
c. Sodom was the symbol of the most horrifying judgment ever seen in response to the sins of man having gone way out of control. Sodom rejected God’s messengers, and this was far less than rejecting Christ and His followers (Gen. 19).
Storms Cannot Buffet those in Christ
He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. Matthew 8:26
This passage in Matthew is about relying on God’s power to conquer our fears. To move on in our journey of life, we have to realize He is there and He will empower us. We can sojourn in Him! The Disciples believed and saw some incredible events. But, somehow, what they had observed and participated in firsthand did not create in them an ability to fully trust.
We will see this theme tested within ourselves when the storms of life buffet against us, too. This includes the tempests of frustration, the chaos of stress, the gossip from toxic people, the daily grind of life, wrong choices, people conflict, and, of course, sin. How we deal with this is paramount to our ability to trust God. And, our trust in Christ is paramount for us as we develop healthy relationships. If we prepare to trust in Christ, we will be taken safely across the stormy seas we find ourselves in. If we do not, we may sink.
Yet, we will fight this notion of trust. We will think, hey, I do not need anybody—not even God; I can do this on my own. I held to this mantra for years. I did not have the power to overcome my loneliness, even as no human has control over the elements of matter in the universe, or even one another. We cannot say to the storm be gone and have it be gone. We also cannot say, be gone all you dysfunctional and bad people, because we may shoo ourselves away, too. We may think we are able to do things because we can, through technology, manipulate our environment and control people. Who knows; we may even one day be able to control the weather. But, ultimately, only God has real and total control, whether it is weather or people. In this passage, Jesus is defiantly demonstrating His Godhood by taking control of creation. We have to learn that He is indeed in control, and we can and must allow Him control over us.
In verse 23 Matthew tells us, the disciples followed Him. It is one thing to believe in something, and quite another to trust, and even more to obey an idea, plan, or cause. To follow Christ requires all three. We have to follow, we have to trust, and we have to obey. Each one follows the other and each one requires the other. We have to understand, put it into practice, and then trust in Him so we can continue. We need to receive His free gift of grace, for which we do nothing to obtain; at the same time, faith is required in order to receive it.
To help our faith and relationship with Christ and others to grow, and for Him to work in our lives, especially to touch others, we also have to be willing to trust and obey Christ as Lord over all things—including our lives and relationships. We see a common theme in the Gospels—that hearing the Word is not enough; we have to obey it. Mark records Jesus saying, let us cross to the other side (Mark 4:35-41). We have to allow Jesus to take us places in our faith we can never go or experience on our own. He helps make risk and trust happen, and this will help unlock the prison of seclusion in which we place ourselves.
Without warning, a furious storm came… as without warning, we, too, will face all kinds of troubles and opportunities. They always seem to come out of the blue without any advice, notice, or clue. The Sea of Galilee, where this passage takes place, is 13 miles long and eight miles wide, and is located in a basin 700 feet below sea level, making it one of the lowest points on earth. Mountains surround it, and at its southern end is a deep, cliff-lined valley.
Cool air from the Mediterranean is drawn down through the narrow mountain passes, and collides with the hot, humid air of Galilee lying over the lake. Thus, the size and shape of this area creates a vortex effect with weather patterns, so that sudden, violent storms come up without warning. A person in a boat would not see them coming until it was too late, because they are hidden behind the mountains. We usually do not see all the convergences to what lies ahead for us in life; we do not see the mountains and the climate conditions. Even if we do, we will still go through the storm. But, we can see our Lord leading us though it safely!
Most first century fisherman stayed close to the shore at Capernaum. This was where it was safe, even though most of the fish were out further. For them, it was, perhaps, a good method for remaining safe. A small fishing boat and a typical fisherman who only stayed close to shore would be unprepared for such a storm. It would easily capsize the small boat, killing all aboard. This explains the fear the disciples had. But, in our faith and relationships, playing it safe will only leave us at the shallow end. If we just focus on our fear, we will not take the risks. You will not be able to develop the depth unless you go into the depth, deep calls to deep (Psalm 42:7). We have to be willing to take the risk and go out, even though the storms are lurking. The disciples showed some faith by being willing to go across the sea to the other side at Jesus’ request.
One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. Luke 8:22
Let Jesus take you to the other side! Or else, you will stay close to the shore of your comfort in the Christian life, and never take risks or exercise real, impacting faith. To pursue the Christian life and make an impact, we may be required to venture where we may not want to go. But, we only do this by His leading, and only move by His empowerment. We merely trust and obey. This is also the pattern for life. We do not see what is ahead. We do not see how our choices, sin, and events may collide, causing sudden and violent storms of stress, chaos, strife, pain, and suffering. If real faith is shown when the storms come, what would your faith show now? Storms are a part of our lives in a fallen world. At any one moment, you are in a storm, you just got out of a storm, or you are headed into a storm. So, are you prepared?
Realize that relationships take risks. People will hurt us. However, we can move on and grow deeper with one another when He is there, guiding. We can do this because our faith is in Christ, not our situation or in people. The key is to let Jesus take you to the other side. If not, you will remain in the shallow end of life and forsake your maturity and spiritual growth; this will cause isolation and loneliness that will only build into bitterness and lament.
Jesus was sleeping. This gives us a picture of Jesus’ humanity, as He must have been so totally exhausted from all of the crowds converging at Him, He fell asleep. Sometimes, we feel Jesus is asleep as life overwhelms us. But, rest assured; He is still there, caring for and carrying us. Even if He is asleep (He is not), and our troubles keep multiplying (and they will at times), we are still safe when we remain in the boat—in Him! Jesus was relaxed during the storm, a picture of faith for us to emulate. We can rest under His cover, and still be tranquil, composed and free from stress.
I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8