THROUGH THE BIBLE IN THREE YEARS

This program of daily Scripture studies is designed to help you in daily honoring God with adoration.

Each day, Monday through Friday, a Scripture with commentary is posted.

We have a great friend in Gary Godard. He has set up an archive page. To view ALL the prior Scripture studies by book and chapter, just clik


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TODAY'S SCRIPTURE STUDY

MATTHEW

CHAPTER 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.

This chapter presents a specific mission for trained disciples. Prior to their departure on the mission, Jesus called them to Him and gave them "power." That power was segmented and specific. The power was segmented in that it included ability to cast out demons and to heal diseases. The power was specific in that it was given to these twelve disciples who are named.

The disciples are listed in several other places (See Mark 3:16-19, Luke 6:14-16, Acts 1:13). They are, for the most part, listed the same way each time. Simon Peter is always listed first. The other "Simon" refers to Simon the zealot. Thaddaeus is also called Lebbaeus, in some texts, and is apparently the same as Judas, the brother of James (See Luke 6:16). Judas Iscariot, is not listed in Acts 1:13 because he was already gone at that time.

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.

Jesus was exhibiting no prejudice when He told the disciples to not spend time with Gentiles or in any city of the samaritans. All one must to do realize that is read John 4, where Jesus went SPECIFICALLY to a Samaritan city, and led a Samaritan woman to salvation. Neither was Jesus practicing exclusivism nor teaching it. For in Acts 1:8 He charged His disciples with WORLDWIDE evangelism, "....and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." (Acts 1:8)

But, at the present time, Jesus wanted concentration upon building the first church from Jews. There are several reasons for that. First, they had been promised a "remnant" which would be saved. Second, they were the "heirs" to the gospel by God's divine decree. Thirdly, they already had a working knowledge of the Bible. And fifth, there were many Jews who were "lost," and would be saved when they heard the gospel.

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. 9 Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, 10 Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat. 11 And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. 12 And when ye come into an house, salute it. 13 And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. 15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.

The focal point of the message the disciples would preach was "The kingdom of heaven is at hand." Messiah had come! Salvation is HERE! Forgiveness is offered! Surrender and receive! This is STILL the focal point of the message of Christianity today!

These first missionary/evangelists were given special power. They were personally commissioned by the Lord Himself. They who are sent are equipped! These were not sent according to their station in life nor their education. They were fishermen, tax-collectors and zealots. No, they were sent according to their personal relationship with Jesus. He was the Commissioner and Ordainer, and He qualified them solely upon their relationship with Him!

They were to express their faith (verse 10). Jesus would be sure that ALL things necessary would be provided for them. There would be no need for money, clothes or protective gear. Jesus Himself would be their Providor.

They were to find people who were "worthy." (vs 11) The word "worthy" is the Greek word axios, which sometimes means deserving, and sometimes means comparable. Those who are worthy are those who will LISTEN! They would KNOW whether someone was receiving them in truth by the fact that "peace" would remain while they were with them. If a person became antagonistic, they were to leave, and peace would "return" to be used elsewhere. It was to these who received them that the disciples would preach. And it was WITH them that the disciples would "abide" or remain while in that town.

When a person became antagonistic, they were not to waste time with them (verse 14). To "shake off the dust of your feet" means to hasten along the journey. It was not a sign of disgust, but rather a sign that speed was important to spread the gospel. And no time should be wasted on argumentative people.

So then, why is the statement made in verse 15? Judgment comes. It will eventually come to EVERYONE! Those who are antagonistic toward the gospel are not to be despised, for we are not to waste even THAT amount of time upon them! They will ordinarily receive their judgment. And it will be a harsh one simply because they would not RECEIVE the gospel!

16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. 17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; 18 And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.

A "sheep" has very little defense against a "wolf!" In our mission to share the gospel, Jesus does not want us spending time thinking of defense. The best defense for sharing truth is believing it! Remember, when you put on the armor of God, there is no cover for the "backside." Never turn your back to the battle. (See Ephesians 6:10-18).

Most Christians do not suffer intense persectution. However, when we do, we are to remember some specific instructions from our Lord.

The wisdom of the "serpent" is to defend against danger by not unnecessarily being exposed to it. The harmlessness of the "dove" is to perform no action which can be interpreted as offensive.

"But beware of men." Be aware of the fact that they WILL treat you unkindly even though you try and be nonoffensive. Almost all of the original disciples were killed in mission work after Jesus was crucified and resurrected.

Anytime we are questioned, or treated with disrespect, we should consider it a "testimony." It is both a testimony to the love of God and against the sinfulness of man.

19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. 20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.

"WHEN!" Not "IF"! It is inevitable that Christians will, at times, be severely treated for sharing the gospel. People do not have to listen. They can turn away. However, some take personal offense, and will "kill the messenger." Even at that, we must "... sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear." (1 Peter 3:15)

Be attentive to God's Word and Spirit. Be focused on Christ. Then, the Holy Spirit of God will place in your mouth the right thing to say.

21 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. 22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

The most disturbing of all persecutions is from the family! Such persecution is particularly heartbreaking for the disciple.

However, when it occurs, we are not to cease testifying to the Truth of Christ. The last part of verse 22 is a statement of fact which might be stated in this manner: "The saved will endure to the end." When one is truly saved, he/she will not be able to deny Christ as Lord of all. He/she WILL ENDURE by faith through mission and ministry. Even under the most intense persecution, he/she will still not be able to deny Jesus!

This does not mean that disciples are to prefer or seek martyrdom! See the following instructions.

23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.

When one place become too harsh, the "flee" to another! Keep moving and sharing the gospel. Here, Jesus points to the "end goal." Keeping their focus upon the "end goal" will keep purpose in life. It will not be long before Christ will come again!

24 The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. 25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? 26 Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. 27 What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. 28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

If the world has hated the REAL TRUTH, then they will also hate the messengers of Truth. Disciples should not anticipate being treated better than our Lord and Master Jesus.

But "fear" of that treatment would drive us inward and keep us from ministry and mission! Therefore, Jesus says "fear NOT!" We, as Christians must remember that "... perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love." (1 John 4:18) We must constantly share the Good News publicly, for it is demanding to be told within our hearts!

Again, Christ points to the "end goal." At the end, there is release to the "servant," and eternal punishment to the denier! Those who have authority in the world to take the live of a Christian are not to be "feared." It is Christ, Who must be feared. For He has power to both take life, and exact etneral punishment upon those who deny Him. See verses 32-33.

29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

A "sparrow" is a very common bird. Yet it has WORTH! You, my dear Christian, have the "very hairs of your head" numbered! God has valued your "worth" with the life of Christ!! You are of GREAT WORTH!

32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

"Confess"/"Deny." Two opposites. One thing I believe is important here is the tense of the verbs.

"Shall confess" is in the perfect present tense (English). That means CONSTANTLY! He who confesses Christ is owned by Christ. He who is constantly confessing Christ is constantly being owned by Christ!

"Shall deny" is also in the perfect present tense (English). He who lives a life denying Christ as Lord of his life, is NOT owned by Christ! And it does not matter if that person has once made a public confession of faith, been dunked and put on a church roll!

It is impossible to genuinely surrender to Christ as Lord without constantly confessing the same! Life with Christ is not meant to be lived privately. That's why it is important to make a public confession of our faith in Him. This confession "signs" a contract with Him.

And once we have made a public confession of faith in Christ, we will have a public profession of faith in Him. It is not just a one-time act, it is a continued work. The REASON it is a continued work, is because at the point of genuine contract, Christ SEALS the believer in faith by His Holy Spirit (see Ephesians 1:13). At the point of genuine confession of Christ, the Holy Spirit begins a work of constant profession of Christ in the believer's life.

Jesus puts the two (confession and profession) together as one continual act. Then Paul reiterates the same thought (See Romans 10:9-10).

34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36 And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. 37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.

Based on the former statement, considering the work of God's Holy Spirit in believers, spiritual peace will not be attained by man in this world! How can there be peace when there is a constant conflict between Truth and evil?

My friend, you will not continually profess Christ as Lord of all and Lord of you without making enemies! And some of those enemies will be in your own household! It is not ALWAYS so, but sometimes it is true.

However, the saved shall endure to the end! Our allegiance to Christ is greater even than our allegiance to family!

This is indeed a heavy "cross" to bear! But he that has truly given his life to Christ will bear that burden!

That's why the next statement is really important!

39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

To "find" life that is pleasing and satisfying to self, is to worship self more than Christ. This is the context of sin. The middle letter in sin is "I." Pleasing self has been the greatest idol of man since Adam and Eve.

But to "lose" one's life IN Christ exhibits genuine worship of Him and results in internal and eternal joy! The person who puts Christ at the center of his life, and makes Christ's purposes his purposes will find internal joy in pleasing the Master. And the end of that joy is eternal life with Christ!

40 He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. 41 He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. 42 And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.

When a person receives the "message" of Christ, from you the messenger, then that person actually receives Christ! The message of Truth leads to Truth Himself!

People receive "rewards" when they receive someone. For instance, receiving a prophet means the prophet will probably pray for the person. But to receive a messenger of Christ, is to receive Christ Himself!! What a great reward that is!

Doing ministry has its rewards. Sharing even a cup of water brings its reward. And sharing the "Water of Life" (Jesus) has the greatest of rewards - to see someone come to know Christ as Lord and Savior!

Are you sharing the message?
That's part of your profession of faith!

PLEASE CONTINUE WITH US IN BIBLE STUDY TOMORROW.