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148 - Serpent-Sheep

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin
The Truth Network Radio
June 3, 2023 4:45 pm

148 - Serpent-Sheep

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin

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June 3, 2023 4:45 pm

Episode 148 - Serpent-Sheep (27 May 2023) by A Production of Main Street Church of Brigham City

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You pick up your Bible and wonder, is there more here than meets the eye?

Is there anything here for me? I mean, it's just words printed on paper, right? Well, it may look like just print on a page, but it's more than ink. Join us for the next half hour as we explore God's Word together, as we learn how to explore it on our own, as we ask God to meet us there in its pages.

Welcome to More Than Ink. Hey, today, Jesus is going to send out the apostles to tell about the kingdom. Yeah, so these 12 nobodies think they're going to become somebodies because they get sent out by the famous Jesus. Well, he is going to equip them with the Holy Spirit, but they're not going to be somebody. It's not going to be quite what they thought.

It's going to be costly and uncomfortable. Yeah, we'll hear about that today on More Than Ink. Hey, hey, here we are. You are too. I'm Jim.

And I'm Dorothy. And we're so glad you're with us. We are enjoying, reading through, and kind of chewing on Matthew. And there's some chewable stuff.

There is a lot of chewable stuff. And we're kind of in the middle of Matthew, I would say, and not quite to the halfway point, but close to the halfway point. And we're in this period of time where Jesus is very active in his ministry in Galilee. He's healing. He's teaching.

I mean, he's just very active. Well, at the end of the last chapter, he looked at the people and said, oh, you know, these people are like sheep without a shepherd. They're aimless. Well, and pray to the Lord of the harvest so that they could, that he would send out workers at his harvest. Now, that's going to be important when we come to talk about Shepherd's Den. Yeah, that makes a ton of sense because he's basically saying, you know, I'm working really hard here.

You know, what we could do if we had a lot of people going to a lot of villages at the same time. Yeah, isn't that interesting? Because that speaks to his humanity.

Yeah, it does. One man in one place, even though he could heal at a distance, one identifiable human person. Yes, yes. Doing this ministry. He's man and he's God, but he's saying we need more men. That the model for ministry after the resurrection will be that those who believe him will be sent to carry on the ministry. So he's laying that foundation here. So we turn the page into chapter 10 and guess what he's going to do? He's going to name the 12 apostles.

This makes a little sense. It's interesting because they already had been walking in relationship with him, right? These 12 who were identified as disciples, as learners. So it's two different words here. They got the disciples, the learners, and then he designates them as apostles, sent ones.

Yeah, and we often misunderstand that. We think, well, disciples is one thing, apostles is another. What's your badge say? It says disciple. My badge says apostle.

And it really just is pointing out two different factors of their, I guess, their relationship. But Jesus, a disciple of someone is more than just a student, but someone who actually follows the person who's teaching. You'll go wherever they are, you'll listen to whatever they say, you take everything they say. That's a disciple. It's very much a cognitive.

I'm learning, I'm listening, I'm soaking in from this guy. But an apostle isn't just an office apostle. When you take it apart in Greek, the apo means it's a preposition that wins away, you know, to send off. And the stolos part just means to arrange, make an arrangement for. So this preposition apostelos just means something that by design is set apart to another place.

It's sent someplace else. Okay, so in the in the letter to the Hebrews, Jesus is identified as an apostle, the apostle of our faith, right? But later on in the New Testament, we see that there was an office of apostle, capital A, which was restricted to these 12 men who were eyewitnesses of the ministry of Jesus.

But the ones that Jesus handpicked to be sent out. And I think that's what's important. So and you know, we were just talking the end of chapter nine, we should read it. But the end of chapter nine, he says, it'd be nice if we had some more people to do this, that can be sent out.

That's the app. That's the apostle kind of calling. So I always challenge people to say, you know, someone calls himself an apostle, I asked them, well, where were they sent out to? Because, you know, in our Christian vernacular, apostle is really closer English translated to a missionary. And if a missionary isn't sent out, then they're not being a missionary. So anyway, that's just the distinction. Okay, so he's kind of changing their role here.

Now he's calling the learners. And let's start reading in verse one, chapter 10, chapter 10, he called to him his 12 disciples, and gave them authority over unclean spirits to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. And the names of the 12 apostles, the sent ones, first, Simon, who's called Peter and Andrew, his brother, James, the son of Zebedee, and john, his brother, Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew, the tax collector, James, the son of Alphaeus and Thaddeus, Simon the zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him, right, right. Let's stop there.

Yeah, well, yeah, let's stop right there. Because these are very familiar names to us. By the way, if you're a little confused about the fact that Nathaniel's not on the list, that's because the name of Nathaniel is only used in John's gospel. And John never mentions Bartholomew. So I mean, the good guess is the fact that these are one in the same guy. So well, and we see in that first sentence, Simon, who's called Peter, yeah, right. It was not uncommon to have a formal name and then another name.

Yeah, exactly. In fact, Bartholomew, if you if you cut it apart a little bit more, I mean, it sounds like the son of this guy named Philomeo or whatever like that. So it could be, could be he's being called the son of somebody else when it says Bartholomew. Anyway, so here we have the disciples. Okay, so it stops me short that Judas Iscariot is on this list.

Yes. Because Jesus is giving them authority. Gave them authority. To cast out unclean spirits and to heal every disease and every affliction. And one of the other gospel says, and he sent them also to raise the dead.

Yeah. So, you know, how is it, I'm just putting this question on the table, that Judas was one of these 12 who went out and had this experience functioning in the authority of Jesus. And then later on, did what he did. Yeah, Judas is a quandary to a lot of people. Well, he is to me as well.

He continues to be to me. Yeah. Or a cause of much careful, humble thought. Yeah. Well, and it's and it's wrong for you to think that he has a wool pulled over Jesus's eyes. I mean, Jesus knows what this guy's all about. That's the thing. But that's what's the amazing part of this entire thing is that.

Jesus still entrusted him with his ministry. Yeah. Wow. Yeah.

We don't know much about, for instance, when he gets sent out, his productivity in the field. Right. But I mean, we just don't know. He was one of them. And later on, we see on that night when they Jesus said one of you is going to betray me and they look at each other like, well, who could it possibly be? You're right.

They didn't have a clue. Yeah. Yeah, that's exactly right. So and you know, we look at these names. It's the names just come and go so fast.

They're in the other gospels as well. But when you look over the names and you think about the background of all these guys, you know, there's no person of high status on this list. He doesn't pull people in of great authority that people will listen to because they're people of authority. You know, he doesn't do that. I mean, like, for instance, if Nicodemus had been brought into the fold before this, wouldn't it be cool to have Nicodemus going out and doing this because he's a man of authority? Well, no, actually, Jesus does not want people with those kind of status bars. He wants exactly the opposite. And Paul said this in First Corinthians one.

I'll read it for you. He says, Look, consider your calling brothers. Not many of you were wise according to worldly standards. Not many were powerful. Not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise and God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.

God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not to bring to nothing things that are so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. Well, that's his comments in First Corinthians one. And boy, that's these guys, too. Well, here's the thing. The message is about the king. Yes, yes, exactly.

And that's going to become clear later when we read the next section. He says them, Don't do this. Don't do this. Don't do this.

Don't do this. Like, Oh, stay on target. Yeah, and that's that's really important what you're doing.

You're not doing anything else. I might mention also, here's just something to chew on for a second. The names of the apostles, the 12 names also show up in Revelation.

It's a very interesting thing. I mean, Revelation 21 and the wall of the city. This is the great city that the lovers of God will be in. The wall of the city had 12 foundations and on them were the 12 names of the 12 apostles of the Lamb. So before you just dismiss this as a list of just guys, there's something much larger at work here than meets the eyes.

Something very original. And they by going out and proclaiming the kingdom in that first generation became the doorway. Yeah, well, they actually were the foundations, like he says in Revelation 20, they were the foundations of this eventual city.

And it says that we are the ones who are actually built up into that city. So they were the ones that laid the groundwork. And sure enough, that's exactly what he's going to have the apostles going to do. He's going to send them out because they're apostolos. And they're going to lay the groundwork that's going to spread throughout the entire. Okay, let's get to the instruction.

We spend a lot of time talking about the names. Okay, well, take it verse five. So these 12 Jesus sent out instructing them, go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel and proclaim as you go saying the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Okay, so before I read, remember, that's actually how Jesus opened his ministry back in chapter four.

That's right. The king is here. The kingdom of heaven is at hand. And I went to look it up just to make sure it's exactly the same as this.

There's one extra word. Well, it says repent. Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. And that's really when he says here the kingdom of heaven is at hand. You know, the automatic question that should arise in your mind is, well, where's the king? Where's the king? And what's going to be established?

What's the jurisprudence that's coming down right now? So it kind of should make you shudder a little bit. And when Jesus says repent, he says, look, the kingdom's coming and you're not in when you say repent.

There's something wrong. Well, he's going to unfold that a little bit when he talks about those who receive, right? Those who are worthy, those who receive. Yeah. But same message, though.

Same message. Yes. And it struck me too when it says these 12 Jesus sent out. Well, he had just told them at the end of the previous chapter, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send workers. And here he is functioning as the Lord of the harvest.

He is given the orders and sending them out. Yeah. What do you make of the fact that don't go to the Gentiles? Well, it's not time yet. Yeah.

The time will come. There will come a time when the Gentiles are included, but he's saying go to the Jews first. And Paul says this in his opening words in Romans 1. Because this is the sent one, the messiah sent to the Jews. So he said to the Jew first, but also to the Greek. But in this case, he says go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Which, by the way, is the title he gave to Zacchaeus, the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Anyway, well, let's move on. What else are they supposed to do? And proclaim as you go, saying the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons.

You received without paying, give without pay. Acquire no gold or silver or copper for your belts, no bag for your journey or two tunics or sandals or a staff for the laborer deserves his food. And whatever town or village you enter, find out who's worthy in it and stay there until you depart. As you enter the house, greet it. And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it. But if it's not worthy, let your peace return to you.

And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town. Wow.

There's a lot here. So if you ignore the coming of these apostles and what they say about the kingdom of God, the judgment is going to be worse on you than Sodom and Gomorrah. I mean, that's ramping it up. So go back and look at Sodom and Gomorrah. You can find that in Genesis 19. Because the bottom line here is that Sodom and Gomorrah only had Lot and a pair of angels, right?

Yes. But these people will have the presence of the Messiah, the sent one, God's only son himself. Yeah, exactly. Which is why the judgment will be more severe if they reject the message of this kingdom.

Hey, Israel, your king is coming, the promised king. Right, right. And he'll actually say that when these guys come into your town and speak to you, in a real sense, it's not them speaking. Right.

It's the Holy Spirit. He's going to say that later. He'll say that in just a couple minutes here. So I mean, you really are, if you ignore this, you're ignoring the direct revelation of God in your midst from these guys.

And the judgment is going to be severe. And so when he starts this, he basically tells them, starting in verse eight and through the next couple of verses, that don't go taking a suitcase full of stuff to support yourself. Isn't that interesting? He says, just go, just go.

There's a lot of nots here. Don't do that. Yeah, yeah. It's basically don't do what you'd normally do for a trip. Just go. No bag for your journey. Okay, so these instructions boil down to me to about four or five things that he says not.

You're not selling anything. You're not heaping up anything. You're not to be weighed down by dragging a lot of baggage with you. And not to be worried about provision. That gives you a sense this is an urgent mission. Just get up and go.

Do it now. And that's why he says the laborer deserves his food. What he's saying is go out there and survive basically on what you're given. Just go. Well, okay, so that's going to be part of the picture of determining who is worthy.

Yeah. Because the nation of Israel was expected to show hospitality to strangers. It was a strong cultural. He says, you know, if you find out who's worthy in it and stay there, well, what does that mean? It means those who are worth their weight. Those who are befitting a proper Israelite. And those who are welcoming to not only strangers but welcoming to the truth that the strangers are bringing. Yeah, because he tells us who the not worthy ones are in verse 14. He says if they don't receive you or listen to your words, they're not worthy of the message. There you go.

So it has all to do with their receptivity to the message they bring about the kingdom of God. And if they refuse that, he uses this great image of stomping the dust off your feet, which is a way of saying, you know, I'm leaving your town and not even the dust on the ground is worthy to cling to me. I mean, there's nothing from your town I'm taking with me, not even the dirt.

So I'm stomping off. In fact, it occurs to me, Paul and Barnabas did this in the first missionary journey. They were in one town. Things kind of went south. And so they stomped the dust off their feet.

And it says in the other gospels, it doesn't appear, but it says this is a testimony against them. So this is a public demonstration of I've had enough. I'm going somewhere where they'll listen. I'm shaking you off. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Well, let's move on. 16. Okay. You want to read?

Yeah. Well, a little commentary from Jesus to the guys he's sending out. Behold, I'm sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. So be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men for they will deliver you over to courts and flag you in their synagogues and you'll be dragged before governors and kings for my sake to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. When they deliver you over, don't be anxious how you're going to speak or what you're to say for what you are to say will be given to in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the spirit of your father speaking through you.

Let's just stop there for a second. Yeah. So he's warning them this is not going to be an easy go.

You're going to be pushed back a lot. Well, and they should have actually already seen some evidence of that, right? Because Jesus was receiving a lot of pushback from the religious authorities at this point in his ministry and it was only going to get worse. Yeah. And if their message, you know, the kingdom of God is the same as Jesus' message and this is what's happening to Jesus, take the same message, probably get the same response.

Okay. So Jesus had not yet been flogged in the synagogue. Right.

He had not yet been dragged into court. So, you know, there's kind of a sense in which this is specific instruction to them from the Lord of the harvest, but it's also, it's very far reaching. It projects way down the centuries. Yeah, exactly.

Yeah, exactly. And even in the near term when you get in the book of Acts, you see Paul and Barnabas and those guys, they're doing this. They're standing in front of kings.

They're standing in front of governors and they're doing this very thing. And it's for his sake, for Jesus' sake. If they had just denied who Jesus was and didn't have a message about Jesus as the king of this kingdom, they wouldn't be standing in front of kings. But it's because of Jesus that they're bearing witness. And he says there before them and the Gentiles. So there he's including that eventually the Gentiles are part of that picture. Well, and he had already taken them into Gentile territory at least once. According to Matthew's gospel and according to the other gospels more often than that. Yeah.

So, you know, it was not, but this specific sending out was to Israel. Yeah. And I think for them as they heard the fact that they're going to stand in front of kings, they're probably thinking, hey, I'm a fisherman. What am I going to say? You know, how am I supposed to carry myself? And immediately anticipating that reaction, he says, don't worry about it, verse 19 and 20. Don't worry about it. The Holy Spirit will give you exactly what to say in the moment.

Exactly what to say. Which is a fascinating idea because I imagine that was pretty new to them. I think so. Because, you know, in the Old Testament you had, you know, the prophets were the ones who spoke. The prophets were a limited number. They had the Holy Spirit, but they're thinking we're going to, that's going to happen for us too.

The Holy Spirit is going to give us words. Yeah. Wow. That's fascinating.

And then he goes on in 21 and he talks about, you know, what it's going to be like, the climate of the time. Look, brother will deliver brother over death, over to death, the father and the father's child and children will rise against parents and have them put to death and you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

Okay, stop there. Yeah. Because that is definitely looking down the centuries. Oh, quite so. And yes, the apostles experienced that somewhat in their ministries. But it struck me that that phrase, the one who endures to the end will be saved, that shows up again toward the end of Matthew's Gospel when he's talking about the end of all things before the judgment comes. Everything, the apocalypse, yeah.

And it's a constant theme in the letters to the churches in Revelation. Yeah. Endurance to the end. Yeah.

To be brought out of the tight space. Yeah. And your salvation proclaimed. Yeah, it's really an encouragement to persevere. Because what he's just saying, it's going to be a tough girl. It's going to be hard. It's going to be a tough girl. And it's going to be the people you love.

Right. So persevere, even though they persecute you. So when they persecute you, this is 23, when they persecute you in one town, well, flee to the next. For truly I say to you, you will not have gone through all the town of Israel before the Son of Man comes. Wow, it means you got to keep moving.

If they reject you, go to the next one and you're still going to run out of time. Once you start on this journey, keep going. Just keep going.

Because there's always another town. Yeah, just keep going. Just keep going. Well, 24 is his final statement about why they're being treated like this.

You want to read that for us? So a disciple is not above his teacher, a servant, nor a servant above his master. It's enough for the disciple to be like his teacher and the servant like his master. If they've called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household?

Yeah, yeah. So here's the deal. At the opening of this chapter, he called them disciples, which means people who listen to every word, they hang on everything you say and you follow them. And if he is sending you out as apostles, as apostolos, if he's sending you out, then he's sending you out because you're carrying a message. We know the message.

The kingdom of God is near. So if this is all true and he's sending you out because he wants you to duplicate his message in other places, well, you're the servant. I'm the master. The way they treat me is the way they treat you. So it is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher and for the servant like his master.

So here's the thing. If they call the master of the house Beelzebub. Which they had just done. They had just done. He's casting out demons by the king of demons.

That's right. The blasphemy. So if they call me the devil is what he's saying, well, they're going to do the same for you. They're going to malign you guys as well. This is just what's going to happen.

He's telling them the ugly truth. Yeah. Right?

And making sure that they know what they're signing up for. With both eyes open. Right. I've given you authority. I've given you the power. I'm giving you the words and I'm telling you to go.

But it's not going to be easy. And you know, Jesus said this same thing way toward the end of his ministry in John, John 15, 18. If the world hates you, you know that it's hated me before it hated you.

That's right. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. But because you're not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

Yes. If they hated me, they'll hate you. If they persecute me, they'll persecute you. If they listen to your word, they're listening to my word.

But if they reject my word, they'll reject yours. Yeah. And you ask yourself then as you're listening to this, well, is this really all worth it? I mean, really?

Is this really worth it? Well, you know, at the end of verse 15, he was saying that if they actually repent and they go with the program of the kingdom of God, they will actually avoid the kind of judgment that Sodom and Gomorrah will go under. So you're in a life-saving mission here, even though they're going to fight you the whole way. You're in a life-saving mission.

And that was Jesus called him in his dream himself. He was on a life-saving mission for his entire life. But it was not going to be an easy thing. It was a slog for him. And eventually, because it was so contentious, it got him killed.

So I mean, here's the fascinating irony of the entire thing. For us who are called by Jesus to be lights in a world, we're lights in a dark place. But you would think that lights in a dark place would be welcome, but you're going to be fought. You're going to be fought.

Even within a family, even within a family, a brother will deliver a brother and a father his child, and the children will turn their parents in and be put to death. Well, he's going to keep talking about this in the next chapter. Totally.

Becoming like a sword to divide people. Yeah, yeah. This is tough. This is a hard section in the words of Jesus. When we think about being identified with Jesus is costly, and it's uncomfortable. But Paul talks a whole lot about it, knowing him in his suffering, suffering with him as a recurring theme in the rest of the New Testament. Right. And that suffering was worth it because it bought the salvation of so many. Suffering not because we're idiots and behaving like jerks, but because we are identified with the true name of Jesus in the world.

The darkness does not like the light. Yeah. Wasn't that Peter that said, if you suffer because you did something stupid, that's one thing. Right.

Yeah, that's 1 Peter. Yeah, but suffering for the sake of who Christ is, that's a whole different thing. Because he suffered too.

You're suffering, right. So in a real sense, they're persecuting Jesus. They're not persecuting you.

Right. And in the same way in the Old Testament when the prophets were persecuted, they weren't really persecuting the prophets. They were persecuting the word the prophets were bringing. And they beat them up, and the message was not well received.

Well, and here's the thing, the message of the prophets was uniformly, the Old Testament prophets was basically repent. Repent. There it is again.

Quit going the way you're going and turn and go another way. Yeah, yeah, exactly. You know, a lot of us talk about being made more and more like Jesus in this process of following him. And that excites us to a certain degree.

I mean, it does a lot, in fact. But he's trying to remind us right here that there is another side of us that's harder to kind of swallow. If you're made, if you're made to look more and more like me, you'll be made to look more and more like the sufferings that I went through. Right. And that's just going to be part and parcel of it. I mean, again, in Romans 8, Paul said, you know, for those whom he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his son in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

Well, conformed to the image of his son. I don't mind looking more and more like Jesus, but I'm not real wild about the idea of suffering. Well, it's not purposeless suffering. Yes, it is suffering for a purpose. And there is a reward.

Yes. And Jesus is going to talk about that in the next section that we'll read next week. Or in an amazing statement in the book of Hebrews, you know, for the joy set before him, right, endured the cross. So no one wants to be crucified, but for the joy of what that's going to accomplish, you set that before you. Yeah.

And that just changes everything. So they're on a mission to change the lives of people and turn people back to the Lord. But it would be normal for them at this point, at this point as we stop the chapter right here, and we'll come back next week, for them to be fearful. So he's going to start the next part in this chapter 10 by saying, you know, you don't really have to fear them. Yeah, so don't be afraid of them.

And then he's going to give you some specifics why. Yeah, exactly. So listen, I think most people don't understand, but even at this very moment in time, and persecution of Christians around the world is is rife.

It's it's in many places, and you just don't hear about it very much. The message of the cross is going to people cause people to resist the kingdom of God. Anyway, we are so out of time. I'm Jim, and I'm Dorothy, and we're delighted you joined with us. Come back with us next time. Read the rest of chapter 10. And we'll see what Jesus does to allay their fears. So we'll see you next week on More Than Ink. There are many more episodes of this broadcast to be found at our website, morethanink.org. And while you're there, take a moment to drop us a note. Remember, the Bible is God's love letter to you. Pick it up and read it for yourself, and you will discover that the words printed there are indeed more than ink. Oh, that's not what you want. Where are we going? This has been a production of Main Street Church of Rhythm City.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-03 18:46:51 / 2023-06-03 18:59:35 / 13

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