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Prayer for Christian Workers

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
March 3, 2021 7:00 am

Prayer for Christian Workers

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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March 3, 2021 7:00 am

Perhaps at some point you’ve attended a missions conference or supported a missions organization. If so, then you’ve been part of a movement and a calling that started thousands of years ago when 12 average guys were sent out with a message that would change the world. Dr. Boice will encourage us all to live out that mission on a daily basis.

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Perhaps at some point, you've attended a missions conference or supported admissions organization. If so, then you've been part of a movement that a calling that started thousands of years ago when 12 average guys were set out with a message that would change the world on this broadcast of the Bible study our Dr. James Boyce will encourage us all to live out that mission on a daily basis. Welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet program with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act likely if you think of missions work is something left up to trained individuals who move overseas to preach God's word, then you're not quite thinking broadly enough. Let's find out with the gospel of Matthew has to tell us about our role in sharing the good news. Our study of the book of Matthew brings us today the subject of missions, I begin by saying that a true church is always a missionary church. Yes, the question why should the followers of Jesus Christ be involved in missions answer as multiple there are at least four reasons. One is a loss condition of the world out of the payment for the condition of those we see around us. The second reason is the great commission of Christ himself. He told us to go in the world and reach the gospel to every creature. Third is the love of God working in us. We do it not just because were told that because God has given us something of his own heart for those that are perishing, and then 1/4 reason a very practical one is the many opportunities for advancing Christ's kingdom.

We say now striking like all of those are in the passage that we have before us in one way or another were at the very end of the ninth chapter of Matthew, beginning with verse 35 and we have an introductory section here teaching that's found in chapter 10 beginning in verse five that chapter so I have a group of verses here. The bridge of the chapters and develop this missionary theme. Now the starting point is the terrible accusation that the Pharisees and the other teachers of the log made against Jesus. I had accused them of doing miraculous things he was doing, by the power of the devil habits just a verse before this verse 34 he casts out demons by the ruler of demons that is he gets his power from the devil. It's interesting to notice how Jesus answers this accusation at this point later on is going to give a reasoned answer is going to explain them three more chapters in chapter 12.

How if he were casting out Satan by Satan's power.

Satan's kingdom would be divided against itself and the kingdom engaged in civil war can't stand it would collapse.

He said obviously I can't be doing it that way, but here he doesn't do that Jesus does here is simply go on about what he has been doing all along is an important lesson for us. I think because we sometimes flare up when we are attacked or criticized and sometimes we have to give reasoned answers to the things that are sent that has its place, but quite often the most effective answer any Christian can have that kind of criticism is simply to go on doing good.

That is, go on doing the very thing that we were given to do before and that's what Jesus did. The text says he went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness.

Again, we can make this connection site trying to give you a setting for these particular versus earlier we have the Pharisees speaking against Jesus are trying to tear them down say what's wrong with them. What we find in these verses is Jesus teaching his followers to speak for him. So the discourse it follows in the 10th chapter you have his instructions for them as they go out with this great missionary task of the world is a very interesting chapter were going to come direct in due course.

It's in two parts first part for the disciples.

As for the immediate mission.

Verses five through 16 of that chapter. Also, a second part which is four days further off, which concerns us, particularly so what we have here is an introduction to this section as Jesus begins to teach them. I want to give you a brief outline for this because it emerges so clearly when the verses we can hardly miss it. First thing we notice is what Jesus was doing at this time. And secondly, we notice what he saw as he moved about among the people. Third, what he instructed his disciples to do and then finally point for the actually talk is pretty easy to follow what Jesus was doing what he saw when he told his disciples to do an action he himself talked about. Let's start with the first with what was Jesus doing at this time. I've already alluded to what he was doing what he had been doing all along.

This is actually emphasizing the striking way. If you read these early chapters carefully, because what you see when you come to Matthew 935 is that it is almost a word for word repetition of Matthew 423 was a deliberate echo early the beginning even before the sermon on the Mount. Matthew 423 says Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.

Now, here in Matthew 935.

The same thing again. Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness. Jesus not only had work to do. He was doing it and it was continuing to do it and I did.

He kept it up into the very end. Now these verses both of them telling us the same thing. Stress three things that Jesus did first thing he taught in their synagogues to point which Jesus always started and is where we have to start over to model our ministry on his people.

He saw things that were harassed hopeless like sheep without a shepherd. And the reason they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd is they didn't know the Bible should have known which I had the Bible, the Old Testament, at least it was available.

I had teachers that were supposed to balance rabbis and the leaders of the synagogue rulers. They were supposed to instruct the people. But the leaders hadn't been doing this and just like today.

The people didn't have enough spiritual interest or bride to seek out the truth for themselves exactly what our situation is today in the church is the Bible is not being taught. Quite often, and people us in the churches or outside of them, though they should be concerned with the very survival of their souls don't have enough interest or time or determination to seek these true things out well ask why Jesus was teaching certainly was unfolding the Old Testament to them showing what God was like that where made in the image of God were made for him to worship him. We don't do that were unfulfilled. We don't even know why showing that this is the natural condition of the human race explaining that that is why we need to Savior to rescue us from our Sam bring us back to God. No, that's what Jesus was teaching I wasn't only teaching. He was also preaching text as he was preaching the good news of the kingdom. Preaching is the same thing is teaching. Teaching his instruction has to do with content but preaching has to do with a forceful presentation of that.

The heart and mind of the one I was listening in order that there might be a change on the problems of courses that we have preaching without teaching and at other times we have teaching without preaching. The preaching without teaching you just have a man up there this telling people what they audited. When the people, quite rightly safe. Why should we do that for you right why I should we follow what you say preaching has to be undergirded with teaching. The teaching that preaching is just academic knowledge people have that kind of knowledge they can say oh yes, I went to Sunday school when I was young. I understand what's in the Bible little bit. I can even explain a certain amount of theology, but hasn't change their lives with the churches. We are both good sermons.

We are both why I tried to teach we go through these books of the Bible verse by verse with the same time try to apply it point by point along the way, is what Jesus was doing the work that you support preaching here is Kate Russo and it's the verb associated with the Keryx, which is what a parent of the king did. Harold comes from the king makes a pronouncement it's not just for your general knowledge is because you're expected to do something about it so that's the way preaching should proceed. Then is one more thing. Jesus healed their diseases was were literal diseases. Of course he had the power to heal people over second was one proof that he was the Messiah.

The 11th chapter is going to use that argument when John Baptist senses disciples to Jesus to say are you really the Messiah, the one who should, or should we be looking for somebody else. Jesus said, here's the proof. And he begins to refer to the blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear the data rates good news is preached to the poor.

All of that was proof that he was the Messiah because it was a fulfillment of the prophecies about what the Messiah would do so, no question that he was doing it literally. Matthew is been showing we been starting out in previous weeks is that these physical healings are really only illustrations above far more important healing that has to go on was hesitant with our sin and the fact that we need forgiveness for our sin case of the paralyzed man is made very, very clear because Jesus linked to is that is it easier to say the man your sins are forgiven, arise, take up your bed and walk.

If I say, your sins are forgiven. I would anybody know the sins really are forgiven.

So I'll give you an illustration rice, take up your bed and walk the man Rosie was healed and it was approved the sins of been forgiven because the one who is able to do the miracle is the one was also able to give forgiveness because God is making that point, you say, when we look at Jesus for a model we have Jesus here is the teacher.

Jesus is the preacher. Also, Jesus is the one who heals a great sin, sickness of the soul. We don't have an opportunity go around healing people today are not told to do that.

That's not our commission. God does feel at times we pray for healing me on a right to expect God often intervenes. But that's not our task in the deeper sense.

That's exactly what we do we teach the Bible we preach it in the minds and the hearts of human beings in order that they might repent of their sin.

Trust Christ and be saved. So this is the ministry which Jesus Christ was involved is only the first thing second thing has to do with the need. Jesus saw as he moved round about, and gallantly doing his teaching, preaching, and healing. What he noticed is that the people were like shepherd lists sheep harassed and helpless and superstrong image of the Bible. The Old Testament also in the new go back to the Old Testament, I suppose, perhaps, the first reference of all is in the book of numbers. Numbers 27 tells Moses was once the shepherd himself prayed for a successor turned out to be Joshua so that the people would not be like sheep without a shepherd may perhaps be first of all references but then it goes on from there. In first Kings 2217 Michalak prophet predicted the death of King Ahab at Raymond Gilead saying I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills like sheep without a shepherd. At the same reference and second Chronicles 1816. Ezekiel wrote a whole chapter against the false shepherds of Israel because he said they only take care of themselves. They don't take care of the flock and therefore the sheep are scattered over the whole earth, and no one is looking for them. Most extensive ball perhaps for the latter chapters of Zechariah, which a great minor prophet denounces the wicked shepherds of Israel even predicts their the killing of the good Shepherd who will come, Zechariah 13, seven significant that on the last night before his arrest or Jesus Christ quoted that passage from Zechariah and applied it to himself.

He told his disciples this very night you will all fall away in the economy because it's written strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered all the interesting thing about these Old Testament passages is that in virtually every case the negative with the telling us is what the shepherds of Israel failed to do.

Shepherds were false self and negligent only when we come to the New Testament that we find the positive side of the image in here. It applies as you well know, to Jesus Christ, perhaps the best example of Christ's words about himself recorded in John 10 he talks there about men who pretended to be shepherds but aren't robbers and thieves and all that sort of thing.

Jesus then talks about himself. He says I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away and the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. Man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I good shepherd. I know my sheep and my sheep know me just as my father knows me and I know the father and I lay down my life for the sheep.

I have other sheep that are not of this sheep that I was bring them also like to listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd was happening in Jesus day is that the religious leaders of the people were burdening the people with theological and legal niceties were spending all their time telling them what they had to do to keep the Sabbath in the proper fast somewhat close they were supposed to wear and in their pies and while they were doing this they were actually looking down on them despising them because they hadn't attained to the same level of righteousness in regard to this kind of legalistic obedience that they had themselves actually call them Yamaha RX. It meant the people of the land that is dirty. People didn't even wear clean underwear and Jesus quite, by contrast, regarded them as helpless sheep that needed to shepherd is a harvest needed to be gathered in now. Jesus had been going around among the people preaching the gospel. Healing their diseases. He was moved with compassion because he saw that they were like sheep without a shepherd. He was aware of the work to be done was a great harvest to be reaped but there was a problem. Problem was, this harvest was great.

The laborers are few. So the third thing.

These verses teach us is a Jesus gave his disciples something to do about it.

What they were to do was pray is what he says harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few asked the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers in the harvest field that's a command for ourselves to course were to take it seriously first step in any true church becoming a missionary church were to pray at something Jesus told us to know where to pray that God would raise up laborers great missionary task. People need to hear the gospel when we notice this text carefully.

We soon see that is not just numbers that are involved.

Jesus is never been impressed with numbers and we chose 12 disciples, one of them turned out to be a traitor numbers. It's the kind of people are involved, what are the kind of people were to pray for people that God sends the people of God's choice of who they are, were not in the business of recruiting people. I want to know over here to go to Africa. I want to know where to go to South America on five over here to go somewhere else on our business but were to pray and ask God to send them out laying upon their hearts that they might actually feel called to this work to see if God doesn't send them they may respond to the missionary appeal in the lab. They won't stick it out.

The going gets hard as it does the opposition arises. Is it well workers like this tend to get discouraged and go home back one way we can know the workers who are really sent by God, is that they don't abandon the harvest shrink from the battle regard give us a kind of leader today, especially in our day, when the battle lines are poorly drawn people want peace more than they want truths popularity more than approval. Jesus Christ now at this point we might think that we really exhausted. The passage for all, Jesus is been doing the work and seeing the neediest oldest a price that we pray as end of it right or can you do what you pray. Significantly, that's not what the passage ends because after having told his disciples to pray. The next thing Jesus does is send them out to do the very thing for which there. Pray is as you pray to God to send out workers in the field and then he says now feels out there. I want you to go and be the workers so we can get off that easily say what we just pray for our missionaries and know God in his own time raises them up. Yes, this means I'm every Christian has this task was briefing for Christ says in the next chapter. So we called the 12 disciples and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and heal every disease and sickness same sort of thing that he had been doing.

This is the first time in Matthew's Gospel that Matthew mentions the 12 does it twice.

Verse one. He talks about the 12 disciples in verse two he talks about the 12 apostles was already introduced some of them earlier in the fourth chapter. He introduced four of the two brothers he spoke about Peter and Andrew first and James and John and Jesus called them and then in the ninth chapter he told about his own call so five of them up and mentioned seriously.

Jesus is about to send them out officially on this first great missionary enterprise and at this point. Matthew just collects the names of all the 12 mentioned at other places in the New Testament, Mark, Luke, also the first chapter of acts, but Matthew's unique ear and that is the only one to introduce the 12 apostles in six pairs is that we designate Peter and Andrew, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew promise in Matthew, James, and Thaddeus and Simon Judas. It may reflect the fact that according to Mark the 12 were originally set out by two Matthew doesn't say that here, but this may be the original way they went, just think briefly about the and then will wrap this all up.

Who were these 12 apostles. Well first of all, Simon is called Peter and his brother Andrew peters always placed first in the list of apostles, which must reflect the fact that he was a true leader wasn't their master only had one master that master was Christ. The was what is called a premium polymerase first among equals.

So he has a position of leadership. He and his brother Andrew were fishermen that came from the SATA probably were followers of John the Baptist before Jesus called them. Jesus gave Simon the name Cephas, which is the Aramaic equivalent of the word Peter. It means rock told more about Peter in the New Testament than about any of the other apostles for Andrew is not nearly as prominent on his outspokenness is impetuous brother quiet one, but is important. Every time we see them is bringing somebody to Jesus. So is rightly paired with Peter the second sent James a son of Zebedee and his brother John, now these are also brothers. I like the first two brothers that were also fishermen. Her father was Zebedee in the family was wealthy enough to employ other workers were told about the first chapter of Mark and probably also able to help support Jesus and his disciples would probably Zebedee's wife who did this, she seems to have been called Salome he was ambitious for her son's future role in Jesus kingdom and she didn't hesitate to ask. On one occasion that they might have the two most important places a good Jewish mother was concerned that her sons get on professionally got a rebuke from Jesus as today, but at any rate, this was James, and John seems to have been rather vehement personalities because Jesus on one occasion called them by journeys which sons of thunder on occasionally wanted to call down fire and destroy the Samaritan city. Jesus said you don't understand the spirit you are all yet you got a lot to learn and they did.

They did learn James is probably the older he was the first martyr under Herod.

John was one live the longest lived a long long time is mentioned throughout the New Testament is the author of five of the New Testament books Gospel of John for second and third John the letters in the book of Revelation.

That's an interesting combination listener hears John to live longer than any of the others, presumably died on Patmos at an advanced stage of theirs, his brother James I of the martyrs first one to die.young reminds us that God's ways are not our ways. He takes two brothers, one dies early. One last a long time and is all in the hands of God were not to tell God how is to do his work. Philip and Bartholomew Phillips, a Greek name.

It means a lover of horses. It was from SATA like Peter and Andrew Bartholomew is an Aramaic name. It means a son of Tomei seems to be the same person as Nathaniel Daniel came from canines not mentioned much but Jesus did call attention to him, once saying that it is an Israelite, in whom there is no guile bad testimony, Thomas and Matthew the tax collector. Thomas is also called didymus. John's gospel means a twin appears only in John is called doubting Thomas because of his unwillingness to believe in the resurrection mentally at evidence for its sometimes is looked down on for that, but he was also courageous. On occasion he said to the others, let's follow Jesus up to Jerusalem, even if we have to die there with them. What gloomy may be pessimistic realistically because Jesus didn't die.

Some forget the Thomases great profession of faith is what John the apostle uses a climax to his gospel because when he does see Jesus in his resurrected form. He falls at his feet and says my Lord and my God. And that's the climax of the great fourth gospel, Matthew here describes himself as the tax collector. The others do it. He's probably calling attention himself to this dishonorable business.

He was in before Jesus called them it's a testimony to God's grace I got James a son of Althea's and Thaddeus words of Althea's her linked here to this James to distinguish them from the other one James son of Zebedee we don't know much about them. Thaddeus, probably to be identified with June. Many of these men had more than one name Thaddeus means the beloved in the Simon the zealot and Judas Iscariot to betrayed him first of these names is actually Simon the Canaanite medium which is an Aramaic word for zealot zealots were political party they wanted to drive out the Romans, sometimes by violence, many of them would be what we would call terrorists today and so here's another man is identified by an epithet in terms of his past to get Jesus called Batman follow them as well and the last of every one of these lists is Judas the disciple who betrayed him. He was the treasurer of the band, but he wasn't honest he stole from the common person objected to Mary's use of her valuable perfume to anoint Jesus when he finally betrayed him and committed suicide. Sad moments in these early days. Well, what about those men. What strikes us immediately about them as soon as we study a little bit to find out what we can about each one from the New Testament, is how widely diverse they were. And yet, successful.

Jesus wasn't molding them into an influential band that he used to change the world profoundly pervasively and forever read a quotation from William Hendrickson about these 12 men.

We cannot fail to be impressed with the majesty of the Savior whose drawing power and comparable wisdom and matchless love are so astounding they was able to gather around himself and unite in the one family man entirely different times even opposite with different backgrounds and temperaments included in this little band was Peter.

The optimist, but also Thomas the pessimist, Simon, the one time zealot hating taxes, eager to overthrow the Roman government but also Matthew who had voluntarily offered his tax collecting services to the same Roman government. Peter, John, Matthew destined to become renowned through their writings, but also James Laster remains obscure must fulfill its mission very very different man point of that course is that if Jesus use people like this, Jesus can use you don't forget what they did. I believe that money spoke to them to repent of their sin, follow them and they obeyed him when he said go into all the world with the gospel.

Father, we thank you that we had time to study this important passage of Matthew today and were thankful for the way in which it speaks to us right where we are something of a bygone age concerning people are dead for us today, you have exactly the same task and face exactly the same kind of world depend upon exactly the same Savior in the power of the gospel further blesses we try to be obedient and bring honor.

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