The Training of The Twelve Mark (Mark Sermon 26)
September 25, 2022 | Andy Davis
The Gospel, Evangelism
Sermon on Mark 6:7-13, where Jesus called, trained, and sent out the twelve apostles to win the world with the good news of the gospel.
- SERMON TRANSCRIPT -
Turn in your Bibles to Mark 6. We are looking this morning at verses 7-13. Clay is one of the most common substances on the surface of the Earth. In its natural form, it is close to worthless. But in the hands of a skillful potter or master artisan, it can take shape and grow and develop into a masterpiece worth thousands of dollars.
One of the greatest potters in the last 100 years was a Japanese craftsman named Shōji Hamada. He specialized in ceramics, used in the traditional Japanese tea ceremony. A simple but elegant teapot crafted by his skillful hands has sold as high as $5,000. Imagine, taking clay from the Earth, putting your skillful hands on it and shaping it to something of that level of value. Perhaps you've seen a master potter at work at his wheel maybe, spinning the wheel with his feet, throwing the wet clay in the center and applying his skillful hands to the wet lump. It rises up off the wheel as if it were being raised from the dead, from an amorphous lump to a certain specified height that he has in mind. As the craftsman continues to apply moisture and skillful pressure, a delicate vessel appears before your eyes.
This process has been used for millennia of human history, and the analogy between God's skillful work on his people and the potter's craftsmanship with clay is ancient as well. That analogy has been around a long time. Through Jeremiah, the prophet, God taught this kind of living parable as in Jeremiah 18, “This is the word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah, ‘Go down to the potter's house, and there, I will give you my message.’ So, I went down to the potter's house, and I saw him working at the wheel, but the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands. So, the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then, the word of the Lord came to me, ‘Oh, house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does declares the Lord? Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you and my hand, oh, house of Israel.’” It's a beautiful picture, isn't it? Of God at work in his people, shaping them for his purposes. So it was with the twelve apostles in the hands of the master, Jesus Christ. They were just wet clay until He shaped them to be leaders of the church whose lives and doctrines would change the history of the world.
Today, we're going to see another major step in the training of the twelve, as Jesus sends them out on their own for the first time to do ministry. It's their first solo flight, a major part of their apprenticeship. It offers for us timeless lessons to all who carry on in their evangelistic work in our own generation. We may well ask, not only why did Jesus train the twelve like this, but why did the Holy Spirit want us to know about it by putting it in Mark's Gospel? Those are both very important questions. For we are all called to this work. We are called on to make disciples of all nations. The church is called to the Great Commission- baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything Christ has commanded. We're called to the Great Commission, and like the twelve, we need to be shaped and molded for this work.
Do you feel it? “Oh, God, work on me. Make me an evangelist. Make me effective in sharing my faith. I want to be shaped. Would you please train me?” Like all of them, we can at some point, feel overwhelmed by this work and feel as the apostle Paul said concerning the ministry of the gospel, "Who is equal to such a task?" You need to feel that. You should not feel, "Hey, I can do this. I got this, this whole evangelism thing." No. Who is equal to such a task? But in the hands of the master potter, we can be shaped and prepared and be used to be instruments for the salvation of people in our generation. This is Christ's strategy to reach the world.
I. Jesus’ Strategy to Reach the World
Jesus, in his brief time on Earth, had a very limited scope to his evangelistic ministry. He said very plainly in Matthew 15:24, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel." That was just while he was on Earth, that's what He was sent to do, but he knew very well that had been planned before the foundation of the world, that he would be the savior of the world. In Isaiah 49:6, God the Father is speaking within the Trinity, to God, the Son, before Jesus was ever incarnate. In Isaiah 49:6, 600 years before the birth of Jesus, God said, "It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth." Jesus, the light for the Gentiles.
To that end, Jesus had always intended to call and train and send out followers into the world as his messengers; it’s part of the plan. This passage represents, as I've said, a major moment in the training of the twelve, the shaping, the preparing of the twelve, and a major turning point in the ministry of Jesus. Up to this point, in the Gospel of Mark, Jesus has been doing everything himself. He's done all the healing. He's done all the driving out of the demons. He's done all the teaching. He has stood in the gap alone with no one joining in because they were not ready. But now, the time has come to prepare the twelve for the role that they're going to play for the rest of their lives. Now this was always his intention, As you remember in Mark 1:16-17, “As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and his brother, Andrew, casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘And I'll make you fishers of men.’” We can come back to that verse, but I'm just saying from the very beginning, this was Jesus' intention.
As he continued to go, as we've been working our way through the Gospel of Mark, in Mark 4, a critical chapter, Jesus is getting them ready for this work. The cycle of parables that he teaches there, the parable of the seed and the different kinds of soils. That was fundamentally about evangelism. Also, the statement about no one lighting a lamp and putting under a bowl instead it's to give light to everyone in the house. In Mark's Gospel, the context of that statement is, “I don't intend for my parables to stay secret. I want everyone in the world to understand them. I want my teachings to shine throughout the world.” Then, the statement about the farmer, planting a seed in the ground and night or day, whether he sleeps or works, the seed sprouts and grows. He does not know how all by itself, the soil produces grain versus stock and the head and the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts a sickle to it, and harvest has come. That's evangelism. But it's putting us in our place saying, "We can't do any of the growth, only God can." We have a role to play. We can plant the seed, we can harvest by bringing people to faith in Christ. It's evangelism.
Also there’s the parable of the mustard seed. He’s setting expectations, things are going to start small, and then, they're going to get bigger and bigger, and bigger and bigger, and more and more glorious. So, it is again and again, it's not just one time, over and over in different cities and different tribes and languages and cultures. It's the work of the gospel, it starts small, it's unimpressive. Then, it gets bigger and bigger and bigger. It's a lasting principle. All of this was getting them ready for evangelism and formations. His handling of the twelve is a timeless paradigm for every generation that followed, getting them ready to do evangelism too. That's the answer.
The second question, why does the Holy Spirit have this in the Gospel of Mark, and also, in Matthew and Luke? Why does he have it in here? Get us ready. But there are some key exceptions. We are not apostles. I'm not an apostle, you're not apostle, so there's going to be some significant differences. We need to understand the difference, but also sit under the lessons as well. Every one of Jesus's true disciples has a role to play in the spread of the gospel to the ends of the Earth. We all have a role to play. Jesus made this very plain. Matthew 12:30, "He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters.” What is gathering with Jesus, if not evangelism in missions?
"Every one of Jesus's true disciples has a role to play in the spread of the gospel to the ends of the Earth. We all have a role to play. Jesus made this very plain. "
If we're not active in evangelism missions, we are scattering. It's one or the other. There's no third option, we’re either gathering with Jesus or we're scattering, one or the other. So, we have role to play. Now, Jesus is doing this gathering through evangelism, through missions, and we need to be active in this. His pattern of training in the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John is timeless.The Bible provides the sufficient answer. We want to know, how do I get ready? What do I need to understand? What's my technique, my approach? All of it, it's in the Bible, but there are some key exceptions. The apostles were unique.
We need to understand the uniqueness of the apostles. They're unique compared to the centuries of followers who would take up the mantle of world evangelization. First of all, they were eyewitnesses of Jesus, eyewitnesses of his life, his death, his resurrection, and we aren't. We've never seen Jesus. Their eyewitness testimony is the foundation of the entire New Testament. All of the 27 books in the New Testament come ultimately from apostolic teaching, and all of the succeeding generations of Christians have based their theology on the teaching ministry of the apostles. But that's not our role. We don't have that role. Their authoritative teaching would therefore, shape the doctrine of the church for all succeeding generations. They were given the power to bind that which was loose. They were given authority that we don't have, doctrinal statements that everyone who followed had to obey. We don't have that role.
Furthermore, in this text, they were given supernatural power to drive out demons and heal every disease and sickness among the people. These were signs that the apostle Paul said mark out an apostle. That clearly implies most disciples didn't have them. If everybody had them, then it wouldn't mark out an apostle as unique. They're unique. None of these things are true of us. We are not the twelve. We are not relevant to the foundation of the church as they were. But having said all that, there are some common aspects of the lives and ministries of the twelve apostles to us, and on these, we're going to focus for this sermon.
There is in general a calling to preach the gospel and win lost people to faith in Christ, and also to warn those who reject the gospel of the grave danger of that rejection. There is a calling to show compassion to the hurting and the suffering of the world. There is a calling to live holy lives above reproach, to be willing to suffer for the gospel and many other details beside. In this way, they are patterns and there are examples for all of us. We're going to walk through that now. For the rest of the sermon, what I'm going to do is, drive from the text the timeless ten lessons lessons that were zeroed in on the apostles. Then, at the end, very briefly, I'm going to run through them again and translate them over to us, so that we can put them into practice.
II. Timeless Lessons on Evangelism from the Twelve
Number one, prepared by Jesus, verse 7, the calling of the twelve to him. Before Jesus could send them out, He had to call them to him, and this is bigger than just one day. He didn’t said, "Hey, everybody, come and listen to me." It was bigger than that. He's calling them to follow him through repentance and faith. They had to be disciples of Christ. All of their mission for Christ flows out of their relationship with Christ.In Mark 3:14 says, "He appointed twelve, designating them apostles that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach." Do you see the two step? Be with him, go out and preach. Jesus is going to state it even more emphatically in John’s Gospel the night before he was crucified, with this beautiful image in John 15:5, "I am the vine, you are the branches, whoever abides in me and I in him, he, it is that bears much fruit. For apart from me, you can do nothing." You want to be fruitful evangelistically? You have to abide in Jesus by faith in Jesus. Everything they will do in their mission, they will do because they first saw him do it. Everything they will teach in their mission, they will teach because they first heard him say it. We see in the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the stages of their preparation. It didn't happen all at once. Jesus is getting them ready.
First, their initial faith in Christ, "I had to follow Jesus.” I think perhaps the best account of that is in John's Gospel. In John 1:35-37, John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus, himself had disciples. He had people who followed him, who were learning from him. Two of those disciples heard John say, when they saw Jesus passing by, "Behold, the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world." They heard him say that, the second time they'd heard it. When the two disciples heard John say this, they follow Jesus. There's clear indication that these are two of the twelve. We don't know who they are, but probably John was one of them. First they were following John the Baptist, now, they're following Jesus. Jesus saw them following. This is the beginning of the whole conversation. Jesus turned around, and Jesus' first words in John's gospel, "What do you want?" It's anti-climactic. John's Gospel, "What do you want?" It's just these two disciples following Jesus. They said, "Rabbi, where are you staying?" He said, "Come and see,” and they spent time with him. It was just simply, time. Stunning to think such a filtered, edited, carefully chosen gospel this fourth gospel is, but that account made it in there because I think that was John's first time with Jesus, and there's no way he's cutting that out. “You asked me what was my first time listening to Jesus' talk, sitting with him spending time? It was just a simple time. We had a meal together. We just had some time together.” Then, as we've already noted, He called them to make a significant sacrifice to leave their jobs.
In Mark 1:16-20, as Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and his brother, Andrew, casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “'Come follow me,’" Jesus said, “'And I will make you to become fishers of men.’" At once, they left their nets and followed him. When he had gone a little farther, he saw James's son of Zebedee and his brother, John, in a boat preparing their nets without delay. He called them and he left their father Zebedee in the boat with a hired men and followed him.”They had to leave their family. They had to leave their jobs and do something different. I would say parenthetic, the number one reason we don't evangelize is, we don't make time for it. We don't make sacrifices for it. We're busy with our lives. We're busy with our jobs. We're busy with what we're doing. I’m just asking you to think about what that's going to look like when Jesus asked you about it on judgment day. Do you think that's going to wash on Judgment Day? “Hey, we were too busy to share our faith. We're too busy to make the changes that the sacrifice needed.” They followed him.
Then, they are all the time with him, and they're listening to the general training that He gives to all the crowds. They're listening, they hear Jesus' words day-after-day. They hear what he says. They observe his miracles. They see all the way that He interacted with people. They saw the glory of Christ in everyday life situations. They saw his demeanors, characters, love, and just the way he dealt with people. They're learning.
Then came that time when the twelve themselves were identified out of the larger mass of disciples. Disciples are just followers, there was a big group of them. But then, one night Jesus goes off on a mountain. He spends all night praying, comes back down and calls all of the disciples that were there to him and chose out of them twelve. In Mark 3 He called them apostles, which means “sent ones,” like ambassadors. They haven't been sent anywhere yet. That's in our text today and then beyond. But that's what they're going to be. They're going to be the “sent ones.” Then He gives them more and more specialized training. He focuses on them. He's got his inner circle, the twelve are the inner circle. Then, there's the inner, inner circle, which is Peter, James, and John. He gave even more time to them, He's focusing on them. They got all of these special instructions. Mark 4:34, "He did not say anything to them, the crowd without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything." It was insider information. He's giving them specialized training.
And now, practical apprenticeship, this trial mission. I can just say to you directly, you can't learn evangelism in a classroom alone, studying techniques. You can't do it here. You can do some things, you can learn some things that you can say, questions to ask, memorize the gospel outline. You can do all that, but you got to go out. You got to go out and try it. You got to learn by doing. That's what's happening here, He's sending them out. Then, the final commissioning after his death, after his resurrection, 40 days of training, and then He ascends to heaven. His final words, the Great Commission, and all four gospels have a different version of the great commission. Mark's version is Mark 16:15-16, “He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel, the good news to all creation. Whoever believes in his baptized will be saved. But whoever does not believe will be condemned.’" That's the Great Commission, “sent out,” and they would be empowered by the Holy Spirit [ Acts]. Acts 1:8, "You'll receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, to the ends of the Earth." Without the Spirit's power, we cannot be witnesses. The spirit is given to do this work in us and through us.
So, step-by-step like a master craft, Jesus is shaping and training and preparing them for this work, then He sends them out. Verse 7, "Calling the twelve to him, He sent them out.” He sent them out physically. This is essentially Jesus' plan, as I just said. The world will not come to the gospel. The gospel has to go to the world. We have to bring it out. We will not reach Durham by hoping Durham comes here. Some will. I assume, every week, including today that God has brought some people here that are as yet unconverted. I assume that, and I preach the gospel. But the overwhelming majority of people that we're going to reach with the gospel, we will have to go out to where they are. We'll have to go out and find them, talk to them. So, he sent out. He sends them for this apprenticeship.
Thirdly, preach the gospel. You may be saying,”Pastor, that's not in the text." It's not. It's not in Mark, but it's in Matthew and Luke. I believe there's a division of labor with the Gospels. Mark had his job to do, Matthew had his, Luke had his. I'm good with using them all. Now, I don't have time to preach four Gospels week after week after week. Some of you wondering, when are we ever going to start picking up the pace? And Mark, we're only in chapter 6. We're going to go however much pace we go, but I'm going to occasionally reach out to Matthew and Luke, and I'm going to tell you, these guys were sent out to preach the gospel. They were sent out to preach the gospel. It's pretty clear from Mark 16:15-16, which we already quoted. Jesus makes it very plain there. "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. “Preach the gospel, preach the message of salvation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved. Whoever does not believe will be condemned." This was preaching a message for the purpose of saving lost people from their sins and from judgment from God. That's what they're being sent out to preach.This is the good news of the gospel. Sinners can be forgiven. They can be reconciled to God by simple faith in Jesus. Repenting of their sins, turning away from their corruptions and their wickedness, turning to God, receiving from him, forgiveness all of all their sins past, present and future by faith in Christ.
That's the same message Jesus was preaching day-after-day. Mark 1:15, "The time has come. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the gospel." He did that every day. He's sending them out to do the same thing. Now, essential to that is the good news He said to the paralytic. You remember the guy that was carried by his four friends, lowered down through the roof, lowered down right in front of Jesus? "When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralyzed man, "Take heart, son, your sins are forgiven. Then He did the miracle to prove that He had the authority, the right to forgive sins. We're going out to proclaim that Jesus has the right to forgive people's sins. That was it.
Now, of course, it goes without saying, this message wouldn't be complete until Jesus actually, died on the cross, shed his blood on the cross, and then rose again in space and time, in history. I don't know that they preached the same message at this point that they would later preach after Jesus had ascended. They could from the prophetic scripture, but it could be, they were just doing some of what John the Baptist was doing, calling people to repent and trust in the one who is coming. But the final message would be written in the blood of Jesus. 1 Corinthians 2:2, Paul said, “I resolved to know nothing while I was with you, except Jesus Christ and him crucified." So, that message would be consummated and completed once Jesus had actually, died and risen again. Again, 1 Corinthians 15, "For what I received, I passed on to you as of first importance, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures that He was buried, and the third day, raised from the dead." And according to scriptures, that's the gospel message.
At this point, the twelve are not prepared to preach that in the same way they would later. But they were sent out to preach good news, and we should do it joyfully, shouldn't we? Isaiah 52:7, "How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring glad tidings, who proclaim salvation." What a wonderful work we have to do. However, nervous you feel when you're doing evangelism, don't let us show in your face. You've got good news to tell. So, be happy. Be evidently filled with hope. Give people a sense you're excited about your future. You should be. Your future, if you're a Christian, your future is bright. Now, you're going to heaven. You're going to a glorious place. You should be filled with hope. You should be filled with so much hope, people ask you to give a reason for the hope that you have. So, just be happy. It's good news.
But they went out and they called for repentance. Look at verse 12, "They went out and preached that people should repent." Essential to the good news is the bad news. The bad news is, we have sinned against the king of the universe. We are law breakers. We have broken God's laws, the 10 Commandments, we’ve broken all of them. If you know what to look for, we've broken them all multiple times. We have broken the two great commandments. We have not loved God. We have not loved others. We are law breakers, and the wages of sin is death, and we deserve to die. Not just physically, but eternally. We are under great danger because of this. People must turn from sin. John the Baptist preached repentance. Jesus Christ preached repentance. The twelve apostles preached that people should repent. This is the very thing that enraged a lot of people. People don't want to hear that bad news. They don't want to hear that they're going to be condemned to hell if they don't repent. But these twelve did not go out and tickle people's ears with a fluffy message. They told them to flee the wrath to come and that the king of the ages, the king of the universe, the holy God that gave us these laws is willing to forgive through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. But they have to repent.
Fifth, they were paired up. Verse 7, "Calling the twelve to him, He sent them out two by two." There is such wisdom to this, isn't there? I mean, evangelism is hard. Isn't it nice to have the fellowship of a partner who, after someone trashes you and treats you badly, you can walk off together and talk to each other and say, "That was rough. You good brother? I'm good. How about you? I'm good. Let's pray for him.” When you're alone, it's easier to get picked off by Satan, who will get you discouraged, will get you down. So He sends them off two-by-two. Also, there's a legal aspect to this. Every matter is established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. So, we're going out as witnesses together to say, "Hey, this is true. These things that we're saying is true."
Next, we see the power to heal, verse 7. He sent them out two-by-two and gave them authority over evil spirits. Again, Matthew gives us the fuller account. 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.” Mark doesn't tell us that, but it is true. It wasn't just exorcisms they were sent out to do. They went out and did this comprehensive healing ministry like Jesus had been doing. It's corroborated by verse 13 in our account,"They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them." So, there it is. They were doing this healing ministry. Jesus is conferring on the apostles, supernatural power, similar to his own. These miraculous powers, as I said, establish the unique authority, of the apostles to preach the word. It established their authority to drive out demons who are gripping people, holding people in their dark grip. They had the power to break that grip. Evangelism is fundamentally a rescue effort from Satan's dark kingdom into the kingdom of light, and they had the power to do that, to break Satan's power, demon's power, the authority of Jesus Christ.
"Evangelism is fundamentally a rescue effort from Satan's dark kingdom into the kingdom of light."
These healings also give a picture of Jesus's compassion. Jesus cared about people who are hurting. When we go out and evangelized, we need to find out what sin is doing in people's lives. How is sin breaking your world apart? What is sin doing in your marriage? What is sin doing in your family? What is sin doing to you? What patterns of addiction? I'm not saying we're going to necessarily ask, "Come on out with it, what are your addictions?" Maybe you can have that conversation, but just knowing that they're getting crushed and trampled by Satan and by sin, just know that sin is hurting them. Jesus had compassion for people. You have compassion for people that are harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd. The present-day church is not called to do this apostolic healing. I'm not getting into all that today, friends. You want to hear my sermons in 1 Corinthians on sign gifts, go over there. What I'm saying is, pretty clearly, we're not called on to do apostolic healings like they did. It's a unique moment in time. But these apostolic healings in every case anyway, pointed to the real healing, which is referred to in Luke 5, “It's not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I've not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." Every sinner that repents has been spiritually healed. Do you see that? It's a healing work Jesus has done in their souls. So, this is a picture of that healing.
Next. We see purity from possessions, verses 8-10. These were his instructions, "Take nothing for the journey except to staff. No bread, no bag, no money for your belts. Wear sandals, but not an extra tunic. Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town." Jesus is calling them to a radical trust, relying on God to meet their needs. We tend to be anxious about our lives, what we'll eat or drink and about our bodies, what we'll wear. We are so worried about us. The apostles were sent out in a radical display of God to meet their needs. No extra equipment, no bread, no bag, no money, no extra tunic. It was a life of simplicity. Freedom from materialism. They're not bringing any money, and they're not going to charge any money for the healings. Do you know how much money they could have made? When you think about it, think about that woman with the bleeding problem and she'd spent everything she had and she didn't get better. Imagine having the power of God to heal every disease and sickness and say, "That'll be a denarius." Do you think people would've paid? Oh, you better believe they would've paid. But Jesus said in Matthew 10:8, "Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give." You're not to charge anything for your healings. They're modeling Christian contentment. They're modeling a lifestyle of simplicity. They're not at in for the money, they’re not charlatans, they’re not frauds. 2 Corinthians 2:17, Paul said, "Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit." We're not in it for the money. "But we speak in Christ with sincerity as men sent from God. We don't want your money. We want you to be saved and go to heaven. We want your fellowship for all eternity. That's what we want. We don't want your money.”
What is this one house rule? If you go in a village or a town and somebody takes you in, stay there until you leave that town. What's this one house rule? How would it feel for your host family? If you once said, "By the way, there's a nice villa right on the sea. And they've invited us. We're going to be there the rest of the time." It's like, look, that's not why you're there. When you find a place, that'll put you up, stay there. At the end of the day, eat a meal with them and go to bed. The next day, do it again. And guess what? In Matthew 10:42, he says, "That the people that do that for you, that put you up and feed you and do all that support ministry stuff, will get the same reward you get." How about that? That's a good deal. The support enabling ministries are equally rewardable as the upfront preaching ministries. That's an incredibly important principle, it’s very important. Is Jesus permanently calling his messengers to a lifestyle of poverty, as in the style of medieval monastic orders that took vows of poverty? No, He is not. He's not calling them to that aestheticism. Later in Luke 22:35-36, Jesus asked them, "When I sent you without a purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything? Nothing, they answered." But He said, "But now, if you have a purse, take it. If you have a purse this time, take it." Interesting. “If you have a bag, take it”, so different orders next time. This was just for the first time.
Now, the international mission board of the Southern Baptist Convention sends out teams to cities to make commitments. They make commitments then IMB makes commitments to care for their needs, materially, financially. The average cost to send a unit, an individual missionary with the IMB is $60,000 a year. For a couple $120,000 a year, and beyond that it's health insurance, travel, medical emergencies, different things like that. That's the money. So, no, we do not believe that we're called to a lifetime of begging literally on the streets. You find a way to get on a transatlantic ship somewhere down in the cargo hold, you end up somewhere in Singapore. And then, you sleep on a park bench and start begging while you preach the gospel. No, that's not the pattern. I think those medieval monks that took those vows of poverty were misreading scripture.But I think the idea of a simple lifestyle and not in it for the money that is a timeless principle.
Then He gives power to warn. Look at verse 11, "If any place will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave is a testimony against them." The Jews would do this. They'd go over into pagan lands. When they came back from Samaria, they came back from Moab or whatever, they'd do the “shaking the dust” stuff. In effect, saying, “May the dust of paganism be cleansed from my body. I'm not in any way linked with all their wickedness.” But here's the thing, these apostles are being sent to whom? To Jews. And if they will not welcome you, and if they will not listen to your words, treat them like pagans. Say, "You're outsiders. If you will not listen to the message of the Messiah, I'm going to shake the dust off of me.”
It's also a warning of coming judgment of the wrath of God, because it says in Matthew 10:15," I tell you the truth. It will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town." It is true that I believe judgment on Judgment Day is proportional to the amount of biblical knowledge that people had and rejected it. The more biblical knowledge they have and reject it, the worse it will be for them on Judgment Day. Therefore, be warned those of you that are growing up in Christian families and have Christian parents, but are as yet unconverted. The worst place to go to hell is from a good Christian family, because you have had the gospel lived out in front of you. Again, Mark 16:15-16, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned." Condemned means sent to eternal conscious, torment and hell. That's what we're saved from. That's the gospel. We have a responsibility to tell people the truth. We have to let them know it's not okay to reject this message. May God give us grace to do that.
So, what happened? Their obedience led to fruitfulness. The disciples obeyed and God blessed with amazing results. Verse 13, “They drove up many demons, anointed many sick people with oil and healed them." We don't have the full records of their works here, but later, we have the Acts of the Apostles, and we have a fuller record of some of their stories, and we have people being won. We have churches being planted. We're getting the whole story. I want to know what all eleven of the good apostles did, and all the ways God used them, not just from tradition or from even church history. I want the whole thing. I want all the details. These guys were getting groomed and prepared and trained and sent out.
Finally, accountability. Jesus is the one who sends us. They go back to Jesus. Look at verse 30 of Mark 6, "The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught.” Here's the thing, Judgment Day is coming. 2 Corinthians 5, probably the most intensive chapter on evangelism in the New Testament, different details. But one of the things Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5, “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ that each one may receive what is due him for the things done in the body, whether good or bad.” We're going to give Jesus an account. Does that include all of the evangelistic encounters He set up for us ahead of time? God gives us things ready for us to share the gospel, will He ask us about that? Will He talk to us about opportunities we had in Durham to win the loss? Yes, He will, accountability.
III. The Lessons Translated To Us
Those are the ten lessons. Let's finish by applying them quickly to ourselves. First of all, prepared by Jesus. First of all, recognize that if you are a disciple of Jesus Christ,He is calling you first to himself, not to evangelism. You're not saved by your evangelism. You're saved by faith in Christ. So, come to Christ, repent of your sins, trust in him for the forgiveness of your sins. And then, feel that love relationship, have that testimony of the spirit inside your heart, that you are a child of God, regardless of how well you do in evangelism. Come to Christ, draw near to Christ, and then let your evangelism flow out of abiding in him. It's the best way. The only way really, to do evangelism.
Secondly, sent out by Jesus. Ask Christ to send you out in his name, to win lost people, understand that you must be active in gathering scattered centers. Say to him, "Here am I, send me somewhere today.” You know what you're going to find? You're going to find that you are going there, anyway. Tomorrow morning, you're going to get in your car and go somewhere probably. Jesus is a sending you somewhere. You likely to interact with some people when you get there. So, wait a minute, pastor, are you talking everywhere? Yeah. Gas station. Sure. Supermarket? Yeah, why not. Taking your garbage out to the street and you see your neighbor taking his garbage out to the street? Sure. God send me, send me.
Thirdly, preach the gospel. When you go to lost people, preach the timeless unchanging gospel. The good news of forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus Christ. We have the completed message now. We're not wondering, we know Christ has actually died. He shed his blood in the cross, so that guilt, our guilt would be a tone for. Preach that gospel, preach Christ resurrected. Fourthly, call people to repent. Be bold to do this. Use the law, use the 10 Commandments and the two great commandments. Everything you need to bring people to repentance is in there. Study the law and apply it. Call them to repent.
Fifthly, paired up. Don't be a lone ranger, evangelists. I mean, some of the stuff we're going to do alone. But find somebody that can hold you accountable and say, "Hey, let's go out. Let's go do some things. Let's take some face steps. Let's find some opportunities to share the gospel." Hey, church, let's do this together. What do you say? Let's reach Durham together. Let's find ways for us to share the gospel together.”
Six, power to heal. What am I going to say about this one? Come to the healing class, Tuesday evening and I'll give you apostolic healing powers. That is not happening. No, but remember what I said, two things, first of all, a display of Christ's compassion to the way that sin has crushed people. Can we do that? Yes, we can do that. We can find ways that sin is hurting people's bodies and their lives, and let's step in and find ways to minister. Secondly, the real healing is still spiritual. It's not the healthy who need a doctor, it's the sick. “I've not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
Seventh, purity from possessions. Ask the Lord to show you the way your materialistic lifestyle or materialistic ambitions and desires are hindering your evangelistic life. Say, "Lord, show it to me." How am I orchestrating my life primarily for money and not for winning lost people? Show it to me. I think it probably is the single greatest practical difficulty our church has when it comes to evangelism. Number eight, power to warn. Tell people the truth about hell. Tell people the truth about eternal conscious torment and the penalty of damnation. Don't be afraid to do it. Tell the truth to them. Number nine, obedience, leading to fruitfulness. Move out, do something that God calls you to do, act. Be bold and see what God will do, how He can use you.
Then, finally, meditate on your accountability to Jesus. Picture yourself, giving Jesus an account for everything that you've done in the body, whether good or bad. First, Baptist church, let's be faithful to this call. Close with me in prayer. Lord, we thank you for the time we've had to walk through this text and learn its principles. Pray that you would take our hearts now and mold and shape them like a potter. Lord shape us as seems best to you, shape us as you will, so that we can be maximally fruitful for your gospel. Pray in Jesus' name. Amen.