Messengers for the Master, Part 1 (Matthew Sermon 35 of 151)
September 22, 2002 | Andrew Davis
We are looking this morning at Matthew 10:1-4, the first of two sermons that I'm planning on these verses. We are talking about messengers for the Master. I want to talk first about a dark time, one of the darkest times in the history of Israel. In the time I have in mind, the Jews have gone through much suffering, much trouble. Long before Hitler, there was Haman, and the story of Haman as recorded in the book of Esther. Haman had orchestrated that the people of Persia, the Medo-Persian people, would have the freedom to kill the Jews, slaughter them indiscriminately, without any fear of reprisal from the government. Haman had a wicked plot in mind, and he managed to trick the King Xerxes into signing a law that could not be broken, because the laws of the Medes and Persians could never be revoked. Once that law was signed in, it was permanent.
Yet courageous Queen Esther stood up under the influence of her uncle, her cousin Mordecai. She managed to expose the plot of Haman, and bring him to ruin. But there was still that death sentence hanging over the Jews and what could be done about that? The Persian Empire is one of the largest the world had ever seen. They didn't have telecommunications, they didn't have the satellites or telephones or the things we have for communication today. In Esther chapter 8, the king established couriers, or heralds, and put them on fast horses and sent them to the ends of his empire, and he gave them the seals of his authority. They went out with his command and with His word and with the law saying that the Jews were allowed to protect themselves from this onslaught that was coming and that if any raised their hand against the Jews that they also would be subject to their reprisal from the Jews. In this way, this was a life-giving message. But it had to reach the ends of the empire, so the heralds were sent out on King's business. In Esther 8:10 and following, "Mordecai," it says, "rode in the name of King Xerxes, sealed the dispatches with the king's signet ring, and sent them by mounted couriers who rode fast horses, bred especially for the king.”
The king's edict granted the Jews in every city the right to assemble and protect themselves to destroy kill and annihilate any armed force of any nationality or province that might attack them and their women and children, and to plunder the property of their enemies. The day appointed for the Jews to do this in all the provinces of Kings Xerxes was the 13th day of the 12th month, the month of Adar. A copy of the text of the edict was to be issued as law in every province and made known to the people of every nationality, so that the Jews would be ready on that day to avenge themselves on their enemies. In Esther 8:14, “The couriers, riding the royal horses, raced out spurred on by the king's command, and the edict was also issued in the citadel of Susa." Those couriers brought a life-saving message for the Jewish people that day.
Apostles as Messengers of the King
In Matthew chapter 10 Jesus establishes heralds to go out on King's business, to bring to a lost and dying world the only message of salvation there is for sinners, the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. He established in effect, ambassadors or heralds, who would go out in his name, with his authority and speak to a lost and dying world. I think it's important for us to see the connection between the end of Matthew 9 and the beginning of Matthew chapter 10. There is no great divide between these two, we're not into a whole new topic here. At the end of Matthew 9, we saw Jesus as King of the Kingdom of Heaven, opening up His heart, showing His compassion for the lost. He saw that they were harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd, and He had compassion on them. He acutely felt their lost-ness. He spoke to his disciples, and said to them. "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few, therefore petition the Lord of the harvest, that he would send out laborers into His harvest field." At the end of Matthew 9 the first thing that Christ calls His disciples to do is to pray and ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers. At the beginning of Matthew 10, He sends out laborers into the harvest field— He sends out the twelve apostles. We see an authoritative herald system set up here, where these twelve men would be given the authority to drive out evil spirits, and to heal every disease and sickness." In verse 2, "These are the names of the twelve apostles." A disciple is a learner, it's somebody who's set himself out to study the teachings of a master, of a teacher. Jesus had many, many disciples, everywhere He went, there were people following Him, listening to his teachings, hanging on every word. There was a huge group of disciples. But now these twelve were selected out. They were called apostles, they were going to be sent out on King's business, they were heralds with the king's authority, with an authoritative message to take to a lost and dying world. They moved from merely learners, disciples, to being apostles.
The original apostle was Jesus Christ Himself. In the Book of Hebrews 3:1, it says, "Therefore holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess." Jesus was the first apostle. He was sent from heaven above by His heavenly father. He was sent to this world with the message and with the authority of the Father to speak. Now He himself is going to send out these twelve. At the end of the Gospel of John, He says, "As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” The original apostle, Jesus, is sending out these twelve apostles on a mission. The twelve were shaped for the same kind of ministry that Jesus Himself was doing. In Mark 3:13-14, it says, "Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to Him. He appointed twelve designating them apostles, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach."
That word “preach” is very, very important, it is Kerykes in Greek. I don't usually pronounce Greek words, but I want you to see the connection because a Kerykes was a herald, somebody who stood in the King’s place and spoke a message with the king's authority. Jesus sent them out to proclaim in the same way that he had been proclaiming in the name of his father. The Kerykes, the herald, was a man officially commissioned by the king to go out and spread a message loud and clear to people who had not heard it. To accept the Kerykes' message was to accept the message of the king. To reject the herald’s message was to reject the message of the king, and to attack the herald was to attack the king himself. So the apostle was sent out. That's what an apostle is. The Apostle Paul called himself a herald of the gospel, an Apostle, and a teacher in 2nd Timothy, that's exactly the same word. Paul considered himself a herald, but the original herald sent out by Jesus were the twelve.
We see in Christ ministry that it begins with the centrality of proclamation. He sent them out to proclaim a message. Jesus Himself began His ministry by proclamation, by preaching. It says in Matthew 4:17, “From that time on, Jesus began to preach ‘repent for the kingdom of heaven is near.’” He began to proclaim this message, "Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near." Everywhere He went, He proclaimed the same message. Again in Matthew 4:23, "Jesus went throughout Galilee teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness among the people." And so Jesus went out everywhere, teaching and preaching to them, and healing their diseases.
The Strategy of Christ
Centrality of the Gospel
The strategy of Jesus was to make the proclamation of this gospel message, the center of His program for the world. It was the proclamation of the Gospel that was the hope for the lost and dying world. The Apostle Paul in Romans, said, "I am not ashamed of the Gospel because it [the gospel] is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes, first for the Jew, then for the Gentile, for in the gospel, the righteousness of God is revealed, the righteousness that is from faith to faith, just as it is written, the righteous will live by faith." The gospel message is the power of salvation for the lost, and therefore for the advancement of the kingdom of heaven, the proclamation of the Gospel must be central. These twelve are sent out to preach. Paul put it this way later in Romans 10, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Can I stop right now and ask, have you called in the name of the Lord? Have you been saved by trusting in Jesus Christ? Have you heard this Gospel message of Jesus dead on a cross, His blood shed in your place, taking the wrath of God in your place that you might stand in His righteousness on Judgment Day. Have you trusted in Him? Have you called on the name of the Lord?
If so, it is that someone preached to you, someone proclaim that gospel message, listen to Romans 10:13-15, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How then can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent?” The sent ones are the apostles. Someone must be sent out to preach this message. The center of Jesus' program for the world is the proclamation of the Gospel and these apostles were going to do it. He was going to send them out and to the ends of the earth. People would hear of the Lord, and they would call on His name. We see the strategy of Jesus Christ.
Delegation of the Ministry to Others
We also see, secondly, in terms of His strategy, His willingness to delegate this ministry to others. Jesus could easily have done it Himself. He could have gone around century after century being immortal. He could have preached in every town and village. He could have continued to preach and to proclaim, but instead He chose to delegate to human beings the ministry of reconciliation. I've often thought before, given the kind of inefficient job we've done over the last 2000 years, what would it have been like if He had delegated to angels who obey all the way, right away, with a happy spirit. They immediately go out and they preach the Gospel. How long would it take the Angelic host to finish the Great Commission? They would have done it in one generation. Aren't you glad He didn't do that, because you never would have been born because the end would have come immediately. Instead, He's committed to us a ministry of reconciliation, us sinners, us selfish people, us weak people. He committed it to the twelve, they're weak, they are frail, they're sinners, but He delegated to them and now to us the ministry of reconciliation.
In 2 Corinthians 5:18-21, Paul says, "All this is from God who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them, and He has committed to us the message of reconciliation, We are therefore Christ ambassadors, as though God Himself were making His appeal through us, we implore you on God's behalf, be reconciled to God. God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God." So Paul says, "We got it, we got the ministry of reconciliation, it's our job."
Shaping the Ministers
Thirdly, we see the strategy in that He sends them out while His ministry is yet going on, He sent them out before he died. We know about the Great Commission. Jesus in Matthew 28 meets with them one final time and sends them into all the Earth, making disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, the Holy Spirit. That's after the whole gospel work is completed. He sends them out is true, but He does it even before then, doesn't He? Right in the middle of His ministry. He interrupts His own ministry, and takes time with these twelve and He sends them out because they need to be shaped and they need to be prepared, the vessels need to be shaped by the hands of the master. Jesus wanted to shape these twelve. He wanted to give them opportunities to go out and to fail, and they would fail. There was a time when He was up on the Mount of Transfiguration, and a father brought his son, demon possessed to Him. Jesus was up on the Mount of Transfiguration. The other twelve were still down there, nine of them, and they couldn't do anything for him. Jesus had given them authority to drive out evil spirits, but they couldn't do it, and Jesus said, "Oh unbelieving and perverse generation." He was talking about His apostles. "Oh, unbelieving and perverse generation, How long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me." And He did it. Okay, they would fail, but He wanted opportunity to shape them in their failure, to talk to them, because they came later after that interaction and said, "Why couldn't we drive him out? Why couldn't we drive the demon out?" And Jesus said, "Because you have so little faith." He taught them about faith. He gave them an opportunity, He gave time with them to train them and to shape them.
We also see a strategy in terms of spiritual multiplication. Jesus did not have his eyes just to the twelve, did He? He had His eyes on the whole world, but His strategy was to take these twelve and work with them. He was going to train them so that they also would make disciples and share with these disciples, pouring their lives into them, and so on and so on. It was a strategy of spiritual multiplication. Just as birds, and fish, and beast and human beings multiply physically through this manner, they fill the world with their species. So Jesus also intended the principle of multiplication, spiritual multiplication to work in the advance of the Gospel. He's shaping the apostles and preparing them that they should do the exact same thing for others that were done for them. In the great commission, He says, "Teaching them your disciples to obey everything I have commanded you." It’s a principle of multiplication. The best verses for this that I've ever found is 2 Timothy 2:1-2, Paul speaking to his disciple Timothy, "You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others also." We have one, two, three, four generations in that verse. We have Paul who's been discipling Timothy, who's supposed to entrust his message to reliable men who will be able to teach others also, that's four generations. The beauty is, you don't have to wait as in biological reproduction for a whole maturation process. Those people could immediately be leading people to Christ within a year or two. As a matter of fact, some of the greatest, most effective disciple makers are new Christians. They're so zealous, they're so excited with the Gospel message. It's a shame on us who have been Christians for decades, if we've lost that zeal for evangelism.
It was the strategy of Jesus Christ that there be spiritual multiplication. Do you understand how essential this is? I think it's important for us to revere and respect the works of great evangelist, people like Billy Graham. But you know if Billy Graham began a crusade today and preach to 50,000 people today, and we're able somehow supernaturally to keep it up, and preach to 50,000 people every single day, do you know how long it would take him to get to 6 billion, the present population, it would take 120,000 years. That's what you call an addition ministry. Adding 50,000, adding 50,000 adding 50,000. Meanwhile, of course, they're biologically reproducing, so after 120,000 years, you don't have six billion anymore. I don't know how many you have, but you’re way behind the game. There must be exponential multiplication. What I figured out is, is if each one of you who are listening to me here today led two people to Christ this year, and then led no one else to Christ the rest of your life, and each of those led two people to Christ, the next year, and they led no one else to Christ the rest of their lives, at that rate, it would take 25 years to reach 6 billion people. That's encouraging, isn't it? That's encouraging, that's also convicting isn't it? Because we've taken 2000 years and we're not finished yet.
What are each one of you doing for the advance of the kingdom? Do you have someone you've led to Christ? Are you discipling somebody? Men, are you discipling some young man? Women, are you discipling a young woman you're working with? Have you had a chance to lead somebody to Christ? Are you doing your part in the advance of the kingdom of heaven? Coleman, in his great book, Master Plan of Evangelism, sought to determine Christ's strategy for reaching the world. It was simply this; He was going to take a small number of people and work with them, shape them, pour his life into them, and then send them out to do the same. Coleman looks at four things. Number one, men were his method. Secondly, He required obedience. Thirdly, He showed them how to live. Fourthly, he expected results back from them. Multiplication ministry. I think the principles are still the same.
The Unique Role of the Apostles
Fifthly, we see in Christ's strategy, the unique role of the apostles. The apostles, the twelve were unique people in history. We are not them and they are not us. We are different. In some respects, we're identical. We're sinners, we're human beings. But in some respects, they are very different. They are the twelve chosen specifically by Jesus for a role that we do not have. They were first and foremost, eye witnesses of Jesus' ministry. Mark 3:13-14, "Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to Him those He wanted and they came to Him and He appointed twelve, designating them apostles that they might be with Him." That they might be with Him, that they might watch the way He ate, the way He prayed and ask would questions of Him and interact and take Him off to the side and say, "What did you mean when you said this?" The apostles were eye witnesses.
In 1John 1:1, John, one of the apostles, said this, "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at, and our hands have touched, this we proclaim to you concerning the Word of life." That is the essence of the apostolic ministry. We were there, we saw it, we touched it. Thomas had the privilege of actually putting His fingers into Christ's wounds if he had wanted to. I don't think he did it actually, I think once Jesus was standing right in front of him, he fell on his face and said, "My Lord and my God," but Jesus was giving him that privilege because he was one of the twelve. He's not giving that opportunity to you, but He gave it to the twelve that they would be His eye witnesses and would proclaim to the world what they saw, heard and touched, and their interactions with Him. This eye witness testimony would be the basis of the salvation of the world. What do I mean by that? They were called out to report and to write down and record for future generations what they did with Jesus. Let me ask you a question: What would you know about Jesus Christ, His life, His ministry, His character, His death, His resurrection- What would you know apart from the witness of Scripture? The answer is nothing. That's where the apostles put their permanent eyewitness record so that we might read about it generations later. On the basis of that witness, the Gospel extends to the ends of the earth. They were, in effect, to be like little camcorders, video recorders, just taking it in, just watching and listening, not having a clue what it meant, but just there taking it in. Remember the foot washing? Jesus who was stopped by Peter who said, "Are you going to wash my feet?" , said, "You do not understand now, what I'm doing, but later, you will understand." That's true of so much of their interactions with Jesus. They didn't get it, they didn't understand but they were there at least. Later on the Holy Spirit would call to their mind the things He said, the things that He did, and that witness would be the foundation of your faith.
Even Luke, who wrote his Gospel, got his Gospel record from eye witnesses. Listen to Luke 1:1, "Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eye witnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good, also to me, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught." You have, brothers and sisters in Christ, a sure foundation to your faith and it is the eye witnesses, the eyewitness testimony of the apostles who are there. Jesus When Peter told Jesus at Caesarea Philippi, “You are the Christ, the Son of God." Jesus said, "I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not overthrow it." So people say, "Well, the rock is Peter's testimony." I don't think so. I think the rock is Peter's ministry along with the other apostles. The Apostle Paul says in Ephesians 2:19-20, “The church is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone."
The apostles and prophets testify to Jesus and they speak today, don't they? You pick up Matthew and you're reading an eye witness account. You pick up Luke, you're doing the same. John, the same. You have Christ ministered directly to you by eye witnesses. Jesus also gave them authority, it says, to work miracles. Look again at Matthew 10:1, "He called His twelve disciples to Him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits, and to heal every disease and sickness." These were open demonstrations of the power of Jesus Christ working through ordinary men, through ordinary fishermen, in some cases, or a tax collector. It filled them with a stamp of authority, a stamp of approval. In Acts 2:43, it says, "Everyone was filled with awe and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles." What an exciting thing it was for them. Do you remember when they came back after they've driven out some demons? They said, "Master, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” They were thrilled. Wouldn't you love to do a miracle? Wouldn't that be exciting? The twelve were given that authority and Jesus said, "I tell you, don't rejoice that you can do miracles, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven." Jesus said it's better to be saved than to do a miracle. If you're a child of God, this morning, you have that great joy.
The apostles had the unique ability to do miracles as the Apostle Paul says,in 2 Corinthians 12:12, "The things that mark an apostle, signs, wonders, and miracles were done among you with great perseverance." Signs, wonders, and miracles marked an apostle, with their authority. Now, Jesus made no mistakes when he selected all twelve of them. He chose them and He gave them authority. He made no mistakes. It was no mistake that He chose twelve men. Women had an important part of His ministry, no question about it, supported Him financially, they sat at His feet and learned, indispensable to the advancement of the kingdom, but there is no disagreement between the Apostle Paul and Jesus on the issue of gender and authority. Jesus chose twelve men for the sake of their authority, and He gave them authority or power to drive out evil spirits, and to lead the church. In Acts 16:4, it says, "As they traveled about from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey." There were leaders set up in the early church with authority.
How Jesus Chose the Apostles
The selections of Christ, as I said, were not done of His own accord. They were not done in any way that would lead to error. He chose these men, they were flawed, they were sinful and one of them was a rebel. One of them was a traitor, one of them was a devil. Jesus said in John chapter 6, "Have I not chosen you the twelve , and yet one of you is a devil." What process did Jesus go through in order to select them? First of all, understand, Jesus, as an apostle of the Father, did nothing on His own. He went out only in the authority of the Father. He said, "I do nothing, I say nothing on my own accord, but only with the authority of the Father." He spent all night in Luke chapter 6:12-13 in prayer. "Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them whom He also designated apostles; Simon, whom He named Peter, his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James, Son of Alphaeus, Simon, who was called the Zealot, Judas, son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor." Now, they did not choose to be apostles. Jesus, after spending all night in prayer, went and chose them out. This was done of His own sovereign will. It was by His choice. He said very plainly in John 15:16, "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, fruit that will last." He didn't seek any advice from a PR firm. He didn't ask who would be a good selection. He asked His heavenly Father and His Father told him, and these twelve were selected.
I want to make a few general observations about them. First of all, in Mark 6:7, it says that, "Jesus called the twelve to Him and He sent them out two by two, and gave them authority over evil spirits." They were paired up for the purpose of witnessing. Look at the list in verses 2-4. First, it says, “Simon, who is called Peter and his brother Andrew, James, son of Zebedee, and his brother John, Phillip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the tax collector, James, Son of Alphaeus and Thaddeus, Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Him." Why am I emphasizing the “and”? I think that they were paired up exactly this way. He sent them out by two because in this world in which we live, heralds of the King of the Kingdom of Heaven are not well-treated. They are almost universally rejected. The ones that don't reject, go to heaven, but the rest are rejected. So He sent them out two by two, so that they can encourage one another, they can pray for each other, they're not alone. There's a human side here, so that they could be together and strengthen each other in the ministry. Also, according to the Jewish law, witness must come in at least twos. Deuteronomy 19:15, "A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses." So if they're going to go out and witness for Jesus, it's not just one individual person, but two of us are standing here proclaiming that this Jesus is Messiah.
Also, we see the strategy of Jesus in calling out an inner circle. This may seem exclusivistic to you. Did He love the twelve more than the rest of the disciples? No, not at all. But He still did call out that inner circle and He bestowed blessings on them, that He did not bestow on the others. They were His inner circle. In Mark 6:30-32, "The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to Him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not have a chance to eat, He said to them, ‘Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place and rest.’” Listen to that. Come with Me by yourselves. That's a special privilege that those twelve enjoyed that the crowd did not, time alone with Jesus. Not only that but He gave them special instruction in His teaching. Mark 4:10-12, "When He was alone, the twelve and the others around Him asked Him about the parables and He told them, 'The secrets of the kingdom of God have been given to you. But on those on the outside they get it in parables'." Then He would just explain all the parables, He'd lay it out for them. He gave them special tutoring sessions, in prophecy and in parables.
But even within that inner circle, there was an inner, inner circle, wasn't there? There was Peter, James, and John. At key times in Jesus' life, He pulls them out even from the twelve and spent special time with them. He was alone with the three of them and Jairus' parents, when He raised Jairus' daughter from the dead. Mark 5:37, "He did not let anyone follow Him, except Peter, James and John, the brother of James." The inner circle was there when He raised that little girl from the dead, and they watched. Then there was the time in the Mount of Transfiguration. He went up on the mountain and He took back that earthly, fleshly costume that He was wearing, and showed just a little bit of His glorious, heavenly glory. He shone, He radiated light. Was it the full amount? You tell me? Peter, James and John survived. You remember what God said to Moses? “No one can see me and live.” So the full glory, even then, was held back, but He showed them part of His glory. Peter, John and James. They're up there by themselves. They were alone with Christ praying in the garden of Gethsemane. They went to a place called Gethsemane and Jesus said to his disciples, "Sit here while I pray." He took Peter, James, and John, by themselves and went off and prayed and He began to be sorrowful and troubled, and He said, "Stay here and keep watch with Me. My soul is overwhelmed to the point of death.” They were His inner, inner circle. We see the workings of Christ, His sovereign will, choosing as He wills, working in the way He does and yet, His eyes are on the whole world, aren't they? He's pouring into these three. He's pouring into the twelve. He's teaching every day the disciples, He's getting the world ready because when He looked at the crowds, He saw that they were harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd, and He wanted laborers for the harvest field.
Now what kind of application can we take from this? Well, first of all, I just want to speak to you who have never trusted in Christ. I love what Scott said earlier, I never heard that before, you know that God is your creator but you haven't accepted Him yet as your Savior, as your King. I urge you today, don't let today go by without trusting in Jesus Christ personally, for salvation. In effect, the apostles have passed on this ministry to the next generation and on and on, and I stand, to some degree in their place, not in the same way, but proclaiming the same message, the same Gospel message. The only message that there is for salvation, that you would trust in Jesus today. That you will not go to bed tonight, you're not even going to leave this place today without believing in Jesus for your salvation.
But if you've already trusted in Christ, first of all, I want you to notice, prayer is not enough to reach the world. In Matthew 9, He gives prayer first, but in Matthew 10, He sends them out. How can you pray daily for laborers for the harvest field, and not be willing to go yourself and witness to your neighbor, co-worker, hall mate, relative, or lost friend. You have to be willing to go. Second of all, we've talked about Christ's Master Plan of Evangelism, and that's intensive disciple-making. It's not enough, folks, to make converts, is it? That's not enough, that's not going to make it. If you want to have the principle of multiplication, we need to make disciples, we need to train them and teach them and prepare them, and work with them as Jesus did with the twelve.
Are you involved in that process? Are you being prepared? Do you have a sense that you’re getting ready for something great? And if so, are you discipling somebody? Have you lead somebody to Christ, are you involved? I challenge you, this is Jesus' way. Are you part of the plan? I also want you to marvel, just marvel with me for a moment at Christ's sovereignty. He's getting it done through us. Isn’t that incredible? It's like He says, "Satan, I want you to see what I can do. It's not going to be me, and it's not going to be the angels, it's going to be them and Me working through them. And I'm going to be kicking you from generation to generation, through people just like these. I'm going to build my church and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it."
I want to finish with a story that I read from S. D. Gordon, “Quiet Talks on Service”. It was an imaginary account of Christ returning to Heaven after His ascension, and it really just spoke to me. The angel Gabriel greeted Him and said, "Master, you died for sinners all over the world, didn't You?" To which the Lord replied, "Yes." "Well, you must have suffered much," the angel said. Christ again answered, "Yes." Gabriel continued, "Do they know? Do they all know about it? Do they know that You died for them?" The Lord answered, "No, only a handful in Palestine know about it, so far." Gabriel asked, "What is your plan for telling the rest of the world about your saving death?" Jesus responded, "Well, I asked Peter and James, and John, and Andrew, and a number of others, that they would make it their full business of their lives to take this message to the ends of the earth. And that they would train others, and eventually, one after the other, would do their ministry, and it would reach the far corners of the earth." Gabriel asked, "But suppose Peter fails and suppose, after a while, John doesn't tell anyone. And what if James or Andrew are ashamed or afraid, then what?" Jesus answered, "I have no other plans." Will He fail? No, His power is sufficient for us, for His strength is made perfect in weakness, but we must obey we must do our part.