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Equipped

Growing in Grace / Doug Agnew
The Truth Network Radio
May 29, 2022 7:00 pm

Equipped

Growing in Grace / Doug Agnew

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May 29, 2022 7:00 pm

Join us as we worship our Triune God- For more information about Grace Church, please visit www.graceharrisburg.org.

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I have your Bibles with you today. Please turn with me to Mark chapter 6, and we're looking at verses 7 through 13 this morning. And he called the twelve, began to send them out by two, gave them authority over the unclean spirits.

He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff, no bread, no bag, no money in their belts, wear sandals, and not put on two tunics. And he said to them, whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. If any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.

So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent, and they cast out many demons and anointed with all many who were sick and healed them. Bow with me as we go to our Lord in prayer. Heavenly Father, we pray for our sick today. We pray for Amelia Turner as she has important tests coming up. Pray for friend Ruisi as she fights cancer.

We pray a prayer of thanks for Nicole Lohse's progress and for Sam and Ali's new son Levi. Lord, the passage before us today reminds us that our calling as Christians is not to a decision but to discipleship. You provided our justification in order to set in process our sanctification. Lord, here at Grace Church we have new converts who are filled with excitement and joy but are in need of spiritual maturing through the Word and through personal experience. We have Christians here who have walked with you for years. They have been given wisdom in the Word. They have been learning to put on the whole armor of God and stand strong against the powers of darkness. There are others who are spiritual fathers who have sweet intimacy with the Father. Their character has been molded into the image of Jesus. We pray that you would use this passage of Scripture today to convict us, to challenge us, to encourage us toward discipleship. Help me to preach today as a dying man to dying people. May Christ be glorified for it is in the precious holy name of Jesus that we pray. Amen.

You may be seated. The twelve disciples have been to school, so to speak. They have been equipped and prepared for the ministry. They have walked side by side with Jesus for months and they have eaten meals with him every day.

They have slept right beside him. They have taken their problems to Jesus and asked questions of Jesus and Jesus was right there day by day, month after month, to be with them to give them guidance and direction. They have heard Jesus preach to the crowds and then after the crowds had left, then Jesus would get them off to the side and he would personally disciple them and explain to them what these parables meant and answer their questions. They have seen Jesus heal.

They have seen Jesus raise people from the dead. They remember Jesus on the boat with them when the hurricane force wind came and the boat looked like it was gonna capsize and it looked like they would certainly all die. And Jesus stood up in the boat and he spoke to the wind and to the sea and said, Hush, be still. And all of a sudden the wind stopped.

The wind obeyed him and the sea became as smooth as glass. They remember not long after this that Jesus went to a man who was a demoniac and he was devastating the city and causing all kinds of problems and his life was falling apart. Jesus cast out the demons and when Jesus did that, the demons left the man, went into a huge herd of pigs and the pigs went berserk, went over a cliff and were drowned in the sea. They have heard God's truth. They have seen God's miracles and they've watched Jesus pray and they have noticed that when Jesus prayed, he prayed in faith. He prayed with biblical hope.

He prayed with a compassionate concern for others and he prayed and it was always worship and it was intimacy with his Father. The scripture tells us that they learned to pray from Jesus. So for months they have been schooled, they have been taught, they have been educated. It's what a disciple is. A disciple is a student. A disciple is a learner. A disciple is a follower.

And what did the disciples know? That they knew that they need to spiritually mature. That they needed to move away from the spiritual baby stage into spiritual adult stage. Kind of interesting in 1 Timothy chapter 3 when Paul has given us the qualifications for being an elder, Paul says one thing I think it's very important.

He says that a novice is not to be an elder. Let me read this to you in verse 6 and 1 Timothy 3. He must not be a recent convert or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Paul had seen this happen way too many times where a person would get saved and he would have all these addictions and and bondages broken in his life and he would just be filled with joy and excitement and he would go out and he'd think, man this is wonderful.

My whole life's changed. And he had this idea that he could answer all the questions and he could solve everybody's problems and everything was going to go great. And then all of a sudden in the midst of all that pride, Satan would attack him and just devastate him. So Paul says don't put your hands too quickly or lay hands too quickly on the new convert. He said let him mature in the faith first before he becomes an elder.

Listen, when God saves a lost person, that new convert will never be more regenerated, will never be more saved, will never be more headed for heaven than he is right there at that point in time. But he is not yet spiritually mature. He is not ready yet for spiritual warfare. He is not gotten the Word of God into his heart in the way that it needs to be yet.

So what does he need? He needs training in the Word. He needs time with Jesus. He needs guidance from godly teachers and he needs intimacy with his Heavenly Father. That's exactly what Jesus did for the disciples. He trained them, he taught them, and then he allowed them to watch as he ministered to others.

That's what happens when one is discipling another. Chip Sloan had led me to Christ back in my senior year in college, and about three days after my conversion I went to Chip and I said, Chip, we ought to go out witnessing. And Chip said, you sure you're ready?

I said, yeah I'm ready. And so I went to the Baptist bookstore over in Greenville, South Carolina, and I got a book on how to witness called Salvation Plain and Simple. Theology was horrible, but I didn't know what theology was anyway.

But it did have some good points. One of them was that you're to memorize certain scriptures to help you with a gospel presentation. And so I memorized seven scriptures real quickly.

John 3 16, John 1 12, Romans 3 23, Romans 6 23, Romans 5 8, Ephesians 2 8 and 9, and Luke chapter 13 verse 3. Saturday morning we decided that we would go out to a community that was close to the church, North Anderson Baptist, where Chip was a member and where I was going. And so we went out to an old farm community. And there was a house that we went to first, had a big fence around this old farmhouse. We stopped out, we had prayer first, then we walked over to the gate, we started to open the gate, and around from the corner came a Rottweiler. And I admit this dog was huge. And he came barking, he was growling, his teeth were baring, and he hit that gate. I thought the whole fence was gonna go over. I'm sure that dog thought, well here's my next meal.

I mean we were we were shaking. I said, Chip, I think we need to try another house, not this one. And Chip said, now let's pray about it.

And so we prayed, and Chip did. And Chip said, Lord, we'd like to witness at this house, and if we get an opportunity to. He said, but before we get in there, you got to do something about this dog. And all of a sudden, that dog yelped, he jumped up about a foot in the air, and he took off to the side yard, and he hid behind a tree.

I am being absolutely honest with you. Chip says, well I guess the Lord wants us to witness. We opened the gate, we started walking in, and we was walking in step by step, watching that dog. We finally got up to the porch, we knocked on the door. An old farmer came to the door, and he looked at us and said, how'd y'all get in here?

We said, we went through the gate. He said, where's my dog? He said, there he is over there behind that tree. He said, well what do you want? I said, I got saved this week, I want to talk to you about Jesus. He said, all right, come on in.

And we went in, and we sat down in the living room. Chip shared his testimony with him, and then I shared those verses that I had just memorized. And then I shared with him about my recent conversion, and I told him, and then Chip began to share with him more verses, and then Chip said, okay. He said, sir, would you be willing to repent of your sins and to trust Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? For what he did for you on the cross of Calvary, and how he had power in his resurrection, would you trust him?

The old man started crying. He said, I've been living here for 60 years, nobody's ever talked to me about Jesus. And he said, yes, I'm ready. He got down on his knees, we got down on our knees with him, and he began to just cry out to the Lord for forgiveness, begging the Lord to save him, repenting of his sins, and submitting his life to the lordship of Jesus Christ.

When he got finished, there was this great joy in his face. We all stood up, we hugged each other, and Chip said, we go to North Anderson Baptist Church. Would you like to go to church with us tomorrow? And he said, I'll be there. Well, we got to church the next day, he was already there. And the preacher, David Wilson, was there that morning, and he preached a powerful sermon. He gave an invitation, and the first one to walk down that aisle was that old farmer. He made his profession of faith public. Two weeks later, I was baptized at that church by David Wilson, and he was baptized as well.

Three years later, that man became a deacon in that church. You know, when I walked away from that house that day, I was strutting with pride. I walked away from that house, I said, man, this is easy.

This is good. I said, man, we're gonna see all kind of people come to Christ. Tuesday of that next week, we had an economics class. There's a guy in the class I knew fairly well. I said, man, I'm gonna share my testimony with him.

I went over there, started sharing my testimony with him. That guy called me, Vile Names. He said all kind of junk about me.

He said, don't you ever talk to me again. I thought, my goodness. Two days later after that, I went to the library. There's a library worker, and I started to talk to him about the Lord. He started throwing all these evolution questions at me. I had no idea how to answer them, and then he said, you just keep your mouth shut and leave me alone.

I called up an old drinking buddy of mine from high school and told him what had happened to me. He said, Doug, if that's what you want for your life, hey, that's fine. He said, it's not what I want, so just leave me alone. And I went back to Chip, and I said, Chip, what in the world is happening?

I thought this was easy. And Chip looked at me, said, Doug, you're a new convert. You are a new convert, and Jesus is showing you your need to be discipled. He said, you need to learn how to do spiritual warfare. He said, you need to be proficient in the Word of God. He said, Doug, you need to grow up spiritually. I tell you, I got the pride kicked right out of me that week, and I came to understand this.

I was not equipped, and I was not ready to face this world. Well, in Mark chapter 6, the disciples have been equipped, and they are now being sent out. I got six points that I want to share with you today. Number one, the disciples summoned.

Look with me at 7a. And he called the twelve, and he began to send them out two by two. Why two by two? Why send them out in pairs?

I think there are several reasons. Number one, I think they did it for protection. There were a lot of robbers and thieves on those roads, and if there was just one, it'd be very easy to overcome.

If there were two, it'd be a whole lot tougher. Second, they did it for a fellowship and companionship. They would walk together, they would talk, they would make plans about where they were going to witness and how they'd pray together. But I think more than anything else is point three, and that is that they needed a verifiable witness. In Deuteronomy 19 verse 15, it says a single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he is committed.

Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established. As Jesus said in Luke 13 three, except you repent, you shall all likewise perish. Listen, disciples of Christ don't just invite people to church.

What do they do? They call people to repentance and faith. They give them hope. They use verses like 2 Corinthians 5 17, therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation.

Old things are passed away, behold all things are become new. I look at the progressive woke church movement that's going on in America today, and their purpose is not to bring people to repentance and faith. Their purpose is to water down the gospel and to compromise it with sin. Their purpose is to make sin palatable, to tell people that radical repentance is not really necessary, and a genuine heart change is not really even possible. Now what do I mean when I accuse the woke church of believing that genuine heart change is not possible? They say that a homosexual is born that way, and that is his identity, and that it cannot be changed. That's who he is.

Wow. So what about everybody else? What about the drunkard who God saves and then breaks the sin of alcoholism in his life? What about the drug addict who gets saved and God breaks the bondage of drugs on his life? What about the thief who gets saved and God breaks the sin of stealing from his life? What about the adulterer who gets saved and all of a sudden God works it out in his life that he becomes faithful to his wife?

What about that? But God has no power to change the sin of the homosexual. He's left in his sin because it's just okay and that that's his identity. Baloney.

Baloney. Folks, that's a lie right straight from the from the pit of hell. We need to understand that God's power can set anyone and everyone free. Listen, God did not call the church to cuddle an ungodly culture. And the Woke Church in America may be pleasing the culture, rest assured of this, it's not pleasing God.

And it's not helping the condemned sinner. The message of the disciples when they went out, well it was a message that said this, Jesus Christ is Lord. He is Lord over demons, he is Lord over sin, he is Lord over death, he is Lord over hell, and he is calling you to repent. That's the summons that Jesus gave to his disciples, the twelve. Go and tell. And the message of go and tell was repentance. Alright, point two. The disciples empowered.

Look at 7b. And he gave them authority over the unclean spirits. The word authority is a Greek word exousia.

We translate it most of the time as power. So Jesus gave the disciples power with his name to back up that power. And they were going to preach, they were going to teach, they were going to cast out demons, they were going to heal the sick, they were going to raise the dead. In other words, they were going to do exactly what Jesus did. And people would marvel at their power just like they marveled at Jesus' power. It was an authentication ministry, and this was the message of that authentication. When people looked and they saw the ministry of the disciples, what did they think?

They thought this. This is proof, this is evidence, this is absolutely assurance that Jesus Christ is who he said he was. He is the Son of God. He is the King of Kings. He is the Lord of Lords. He is the way, the truth, and the life. And the only hope of salvation is through him. In the book of Hebrews, we are told of this very thing. Hebrews 2 verse 3 and 4. How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord. It was attested to us by those who heard.

While God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. So here's the question. Why aren't we doing those things that the disciples did today? Why can't I heal the sick and raise the dead? Why can't I take five loaves and two fish and feed 5,000 people?

Here's the answer. I am a disciple, but I am NOT an apostle with a large age. What does that mean? Well, the apostles ended with the death of John the son of Zebedee, the brother of James. He lived to be an old man, but when he died, the apostolic age ended. When he wrote the book of Revelation, the last book in the canon, and he wrote his last word, amen, then the canon was closed completely. Folks, we have a new apostolic authority today, and our apostolic authority is the Word of God, and the Word of God can be trusted just like we can trust God himself. Folks, we don't need apostles today because we have the closed canon of Scripture, the infallible, inerrant Word of God. That takes us to point three, the disciples instructed.

Look at verses 8 through 9. He charged them to take nothing for their journey except to staff, no bread, no bag, no money in their belts, but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. This reminds me a little of the instruction that was given to the children of Israel before they ate the Passover meal, before they left Egypt.

In Exodus chapter 12 verse 11, the Scripture says, "...in this manner you shall eat it with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, your staff in your hand, and you shall eat it in haste, it is the Lord's Passover." In other words, don't hinder things by carrying too much stuff. Don't burden yourself with things that you really don't need. That extra stuff will weigh you down and cause an unnecessary burden.

Jesus told the disciples the same thing. He said, you don't need to take a closet full of three-piece suits. Just wear a tunic and wear a belt, take your staff.

The staffs were walking, climbing up a hill, beating off a robber if that happened to come. He said, that's all you need. Don't be overburdened with stuff.

John MacArthur explained it this way. He said, Jesus insisted on this level of austerity in order to teach the twelve the vital importance of trusting in God's faithfulness and seeing Him provide. They needed to know from first-hand experience the truth of Jesus' words from the Sermon on the Mount.

Do not worry then, saying, what will we eat or what will we drink or what will we wear for clothing? For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things, for your Heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you. As they preach the message of the kingdom, they confidently depend on God to supply their needs.

It should be noted that these stringent stipulations were only temporary. They did not represent a permanent vow of poverty, as Jesus himself later made clear. I think this is a warning to the prosperity gospel teachers that Christianity is not all about money. It's not all about stuff. It's not all about the worldly trinkets that we can buy. It's not about trying to develop a life that's filled with just luxury and ease. Christianity is about glorifying Christ.

It's about trusting Christ not only for our eternal salvation, but learning how to trust Him on a day-by-day basis. My uncle Percy Bellah was a missionary to Brazil. He was there for 45 years. When he reached age 70, they had a rule within their mission organization that when you reach 70, you had to retire. So he had to retire at age 7, didn't want to, but he had to, and he had absolutely no retirement money. They moved back. They went to Fayetteville, North Carolina, not knowing what they were going to do, and when they got there, Columbia Bible College gave him a call and said, we're getting ready to start a Bible College extension in Fayetteville, and we would like for you to be our professor of missions.

Would you do it? He did and was there for several decades, or two decades, and not only that, but on Sunday mornings, he'd get invited to churches all over North and South Carolina to fill the pulpit and had that great opportunity to preach everywhere. I thought of him when I read this passage this week. He never worried about where his next dollar would come from. He would be faithful in serving Jesus and just trust Jesus to provide.

When he had to move back to Fayetteville and he didn't know what he was going to do, I asked him about it and said, what are you going to do and how are you going to make it? And he said, Philippians chapter 4 verse 19, for my God shall supply all your need according to his riches and glory through Christ Jesus. He never gave a second thought as to how we would make it financially, and I think that in itself was a powerful witness. Point four, the disciples ordered to be content. Look at verse 10. And he said to them, whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. Jesus tells the disciples, you will have extraordinary power.

Do not use it for personal gain. So he said, if you go into a house and you're going to stay there for a week, don't change houses and go to somewhere else. Now, why did he say that? Because the false prophets would do that. They would get out, they'd preach a very exciting sermon.

The rich people get excited about it. They say, hey, come on, don't stay with those poor folks over there. Come over and stay with us. And we've got better accommodations. And as for suppertime, you'll be eating lobster and steak instead of liver, mush, and pork and beans.

So come over and stay with us. Jesus said to the disciples, don't you dare do that. He said, stay in one place, be content, be appreciative, be grateful.

Show respect for the family that you first went to. I want to share three quick scriptures with you that back up what Jesus is saying about being content. I want to share two books with you real quickly about contentment that I really encourage you to read. They're by two Puritans.

The first one is by Thomas Watson. The book is called The Art of Divine Contentment. My wife has read that book, I think, ten times. You say, why doesn't he need to read it ten times?

You lived with me, you'd understand. Secondly, Jeremiah Burrow's book, and this is a great one too, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment. Great, great books. All right, three quick scriptures. First, the words of Jesus, Matthew 6, 31 through 33.

Therefore, do not be anxious, saying, what shall we eat, or what shall we drink, or what shall we wear? For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God in His righteousness, all these things, will be added to you. Then Paul's words, 1 Timothy 6, 6 through 10. But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.

It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains. Paul again, Philippians 4, 11 through 13. Not that I'm speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, I know how to abound. In every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance in need.

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Point five, the disciples ordered to exercise discernment. That's in verse 11. If any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them. Now Jewish people had a custom when they went off to a foreign pagan land. They come back from that trip and they cross over the border into Israel.

They would take their foot and they would shake the the dust off of their feet right there at the border. What they were saying was, we've been in a place where the people are pagans. They don't know God. They are idolaters.

They are worldly. They don't love the Lord. They don't love the things of the Lord and we are symbolically telling the world that we reject that, that it's not right, that it's not good. Jesus used that to tell them this. He said, if you share the gospel, if you bring about this message of repentance and they hear what you say, they understand what you say, and they reject it, then shake off the dust off your sandals and keep right on going. This is the same thing that Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew when he said, do not give what is holy to dogs and don't cast your pearls before swine. In Matthew chapter 10, Jesus gives us a little more insight when he says, it will be more tolerable for the residents of Sodom and Gomorrah in that last day. It will be more tolerable for them than it will be for those who heard the gospel, who understood the gospel, who were convicted by the gospel and turned from it.

Let me give you a few verses where Jesus is teaching us about the stiff neckness against the gospel. In Matthew chapter 7, Jesus said, not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. But in that last day many will come to me saying, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not cast out demons in your name? Did we not do many wonderful works in your name? And Jesus will say to them, depart from me, you workers of iniquity.

I never knew you. In Hebrews chapter 10 verse 29 says, how much worse punishment do you think will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified and has outraged the spirit of grace. What about people that are in our family? People that we love and care for. People who know the gospel, who have heard the gospel, and they reject it blatantly. I think sometimes you reach the point where you need to to be less vocal with them and spend more time in prayer for them, but don't ever give up on them.

Don't ever give up until they breathe their last breath. Point six, the disciples' responsibility, verses 12 through 13. So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent and they cast out many demons anointed with all many who were sick and healed them. What did the disciples do? They did exactly what Jesus told them to do. They went out and they preached a message of repentance. And when they did that, they didn't avoid it, they did not water it down, they did not compromise it. They were very, very serious in talking to people about sin.

They shared with those they went to. Sin is not a joy-giver, it is a joy-killer. And it is sin that separates a sinful man from a holy God.

And only what Jesus did on the cross can take it away and destroy it forever and ever. Let me tell you what else Jesus taught these disciples. He taught them about brokenness. He taught them how a true disciple of God would be broken in spirit. We throw broken things away. God doesn't use anything until it is broken.

And you know when somebody's broken, part of that brokenness is reaching the point where you repay evil with good. William McDonald shared an illustration that I read and I cried, but he said that there was an Indian man who was riding his elephant through the streets of Bombay. He had in his hand a thick steel goad and he would hit the elephant with it and he would stick the elephant with it and then all of a sudden he dropped it and the goad fell down. Clank! Huge clank down on the road.

The elephant reached over with his trunk and picked it up and then held it up to his master. Folks, that's what we're to do. We are not just to get revenge, but we are to give back good when there's evil been done to us. I wanted to read you one quick illustration and I'll close. Oswald Sanders tells this story. He was preaching in his church and after his sermon, one of his deacons stood up and this is what the deacon said, God has been speaking to me this evening. He said, most of you people know me and I want to make a confession. When I'm with you in public, I'm always jovial and cheery in the life of the party, but when I'm at home, I'm a different person. I have been a street angel and a home devil. I have been bad tempered.

I have given my wife and family a bad time. I've asked God to forgive me and to make me in private more like what I try to appear to be in public. That deacon understood the need to be equipped.

Let's pray. Heavenly Father, today we've received the challenge to refuse to accept spiritual mediocrity. This has been a calling to genuinely follow Jesus.

Help us Lord that we might realize that hearing a sermon is not enough. We have a deep calling to follow Jesus. Give us the heart to do it well. Give us a bulldog stick-to-it-ness. Help us to love you enough to obey your commands. For it is in the precious and holy name of Jesus that we pray. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-12 00:26:39 / 2023-04-12 00:39:30 / 13

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