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March 5, 2021 7:00 am
For just a moment imagine your own funeral all the people who knew and loved you most gathered around your grade will be the most defining aspect of your life on this earth were they say about you as was said about John Knox that you fear God so much that you never feared any man today on the Bible study our Dr. James Boyce will encourage us to live with old faith and welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically truly bold faith compels us to share the gospel at any cost, even member ridiculed, persecuted and misunderstood.
Let's learn why the Christians mission on this earth requires an eternal perspective, comparing the first three Gospels the synoptic Gospels sometimes raises problems because we can understand why one gospel reports things one way and another gospel reported slightly differently, but sometimes when you make those comparisons find a great deal of help help you understand the passage that's certainly what we have here in Mark and Luke's account of this commissioning of the disciples the material stops in verse 16. Essentially, instead of stopping at this point. Matthew goes on to give us the material that we have in verse 17 to the end material in part is also found in Mark and Luke, but doesn't appear in this commissioning of the 12 that occurs later. Some of it occurs in the final discourses warning the cycles of things that are to come after Jesus Christ is taken back to heaven.
Now it might be a Jesus did speak this to the disciples on this early occasion it wouldn't of been inappropriate would not apply to them at that particular. Some of it would be for the future, but it's far more likely when we compare the Gospels that what Matthew was done there is take material spoken by Jesus. Toward the end of the ministry applying to the witness of his people.
Following his death, resurrection and ascension to heaven and combine it with the earlier material in order to say there is a continuity in other words, just as Jesus sent out the 12 to Israel in these early days, so he does continue to send out his people at all times until he returns again in glory.
And if that's the case what it means is that the second half of the chapter is particularly appropriate for us lessons in the first half we saw that we applied it last week but the second half applies particularly to our times when you compare it is easy to see the differences are three main differences in the verses were going to look at how Jesus speaks of persecutions, even severe persecutions didn't do that in the first half and there's no evidence that the early disciples.
The 12 experienced any persecution until after Jesus death and resurrection, but now there will be an Christians today, testifying to landlord in various parts of the world experience that the second major inference is that in this second half, Jesus sends his disciples to the Gentiles on the first half particularly explicitly permitted said don't go to the Gentiles go to the Jews. I hear the second affixes go to the Gentiles. So what we have here is more in line with the great commission that we find the very end of the gospel were sent into all the world with the gospel to bear witness to every creature.
One third difference were going to touch on it a little bit of a moment and that is said here for the first time in the second half. He speaks of the coming of the Son of Man that usually in Matthew and elsewhere as well.
Refers to the coming of Jesus Christ. The second time, and judgment, and so it apparently looks forward to the end of all times. In other words, what Jesus is anticipating here is a significant and extended time of witness by his people to the world of time which will be characterized by persecution.
In other words, as DA Carson says what he speaking of years of witnessing and suffering church problems. In this section and I will deal with one of them. That's verse 23. Commentators look at that site. Many of them that this is one of the most difficult verses in the New Testament, Jesus says here you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man, might say will. How can that be. Is this referring to the return of Jesus Christ second time in glory or judgments.
That hasn't happened yet. Are we really do think that all these centuries transpired be doing his first coming in a second that the cities of Israel of not been evangelized by the banner now. Besides, not only that, doesn't his instruction in first since he speaking of the 12 that is going to come again in their lifetime. Now that's a bit of a problem with us were thinking about when I come to this sort of thing in my studies. I am always torn between going into it it exhaustively or ignoring it because I know there are people whom it means nothing at all. I'd say just get on to the meet up at get there other people who say just a minute you're passing over the really difficult first year. I've always wondered about that. So when we deal with that particular that as briefly as I can. I want to take my clue from Carson I think is one of the best commentators, and you're going to sink in heart when you hear this, he suggests that there are seven different explanations that have been given this is just a parenthesis in the message. The points are all coming later but let me go quickly through these various explanations you probably heard some of them.
First of all, that the coming of Jesus here refers just to historical coming of Jesus to the 12, following their mission words uninstalling them to do is get going because I want to finish the whole job of going all the cities indelibly before he catches up to what kind of a mundane solution, but it doesn't fit the setting very well chief problem is that he's talking about persecution here. There's no evidence of all the disciples suffered any kind persecution during this period, but also the language is far too solemn for anything like that that just says get going with your work because I got a little teaching to do here myself pretty soon I'll catch up to you. But that's not the way he speaking. This is one of those, verily, verily sayings the NIV always translate that I tell you the truth, but that's what he saying, verily, verily, I tell you the truth you want completed your task until I come. Doesn't seem to fit that kind of Monday situation.
The second explanation is that the coming of Jesus refers to Jesus public identification of himself as the Messiah. After the resurrection is an explanation that goes back a long way in the history of the church is what Chrysostom thought it meant and also Calvin Baeza Lee identified this is a coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost where Jesus came in a special way and manifest himself from the work of evangelism but again it doesn't account for this time of persecution. The third explanation is that the coming of Jesus refers to the same thing.
Matthew is talking about at the end of the gospel is in chapters 24 and 25 which is a coming of Jesus in glory with the holy angels for judgment. That's the most obvious meaning of the verse has the advantage of interpreting the word coming in the same way. Matthew uses it elsewhere that it does create a problem with the words of Israel. How can the cities not of been evangelized by the end times of the problem. I suggested earlier, some commentators said well what you need to do is understand that word Israel as the world what he really means is the world that is what he says and that is the way Matthew uses the word Israel elsewhere explanation is fairly well known to people who have done much theological study of the explanation of Albert Schweitzer Schweitzer was an interesting Bible students and what he said is that Jesus actually expected the end time quickly, so quickly that he didn't expect his disciples to return before the final days came upon them of that of course is that if that's what Jesus meant he was mistaken somehow not the end would come, but it didn't. And if you know Schweitzer's writings, Schweitzer believe that Jesus actually died upon the cross and despair, thinking that God was going to come to vindicate him and inscribe my God, my God, why have you forsaken me actually was a confession of his disillusionment. Not a very appealing solution. The fifth understanding of it is this people link explanations three and four teach that Jesus expected the end of history within a single generation. There are hints of a much longer delay.
I think even in this chapter, but certainly at the end of the gospel and is even more important, Jesus would have been mistaken in this view to dispensation seven. Interesting view. This is the sixth one I see this is a distant second coming. That is when Jesus returns in glory, and in judgment but in their view they link up with an idea of the church age. Being a kind of parenthesis in prophetic history. Jesus is talking about the end but he's talking to that generation that will be there after the age of the church and church is going to be ratcheted up to help, and Jews are going to be left going to be evangelist of them and they're only going to have one generation in order to do the work.
While the problem with that is it is completely out of context here in this chapter, even if it would be true by other measurements and I don't think it is, and that besides it would've been incomprehensible and meaningless to the first disciples as well as to ourselves that we been amazing to do with us had to do with an agent yet to come. Some of explanation is that the coming of the Son of Man refers to his coming in judgment against Israel at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, first glance, it seems rather far-fetched, yet this is the view the DA Carson takes that he has a pretty good defense of acting says the coming of the Son of Man. Verse 23 marks that stage in the coming of the kingdom which the judgment repeatedly for cold falls on the Jews with at the temple cult disappears and the new line necessarily takes two new wineskins. Age of the kingdom comes into its own.
Precisely because so many of the structured foreshadowing was now disappear, I will you do with that so obviously a hard matter to decide. And when you look at the things that others have written. I think for example of Calvin Chrysostom and days of others.
You get the impression that people really don't know what it means very well. They just are making the best judgment they can now Calvin doesn't know what it means simply makes the best judgment he can. I can say I'll make the best judgment I cannot tell you what I think that means I find it hard to see this is referring to the destruction of Jerusalem. Much as I respect DA Carson is a commentator. I think it's far better to see. Verse 23 nearly as stating a general principle, namely that will always have work to do.
When will never get all the places we ought to go before Christ second coming reference to Israel. In this setting.
Obviously refers to the disciples of their work are not going to get all the cities of Israel.
Just as we're not going to get all the world cities in our day, but we should get on with the great commission. Anyway, better get going because the time is short and there is an end and Jesus will return one day. Now that's what I think it's saying and certainly if it does say that it's an application it's very clear for all of us. I get enough of these problems when we do the second half of the chapter. While it has lessons for all of us concerning our witness and let me just take them one at a time. The first thing these verses say they speak the Church's missionary task today is that we can expect opposition far as the disciples were concerned they could expect that in time they be handed over to the local councils and flog in their synagogue were 17 is what happened to Peter and the other apostles in acts five to Paul and five separate occasions, explains how he was beaten for the faith as far as we're concerned. Well, we can expect to be misunderstood.
Certainly I even hated by members of our own family.
Verses 21 3634 and so on, and even to be severely persecuted. That's what verse 18 verse 23 site even to the point of being put to death. 28 Christians are being put to death for their faith. Even today are probably more martyrs of our age in our own lifetime than any similar. In all of church history. Now why should we expect opposition reasons obvious, because that's the way they treated Jesus. Jesus said you shouldn't be expecting to be treated any better than I have been treated. The student is not above his teacher, the head of the house is been called Beelzebub, how much more the members of his household.
Should we be any different. We belong to cases. After all, the more like him more. Our experience will be his third good results thing Jesus says areas of persecution will drive us from one place to another not received here you go somewhere else they persecute you here. You have opportunity, go to where the gospel is received.
This is what happened in the early days of certainly what actually counts after Stephen was killed the first martyr, the disciples and others scattered from Jerusalem into the area around about Judea and Samaria tells about it and asked 81 than this scattering eventually accompanied by persecutions, but the disciples before governors and kings think of governors like Felix and Festus and things like King Herod Agrippa the first of the grip of the second acts gives an account of this testimony of the early disciples before these earthly rulers and we should count it a privilege when we have an opportunity to do that, we might say at that point when we think of opposition than we think of the great of this world we be intimidated by that. How can we were just normal people hope to stand before all the impressive powers of the world. Jesus is well aware of that.
So he tells his disciples not to worry about it because the Holy Spirit will give them the words to say when they have the opportunity verses 19 and 20. When they arrest you. Don't worry about what to say or how to say at that time you will be given what to say for it will not be you speaking, but the spirit of your father speaking through you should say before I pass on to the next point that those are words to martyrs, not preachers. Preachers should give attention to what they say they should study amazing also give attention to how they say it but that's an encouragement so we should expect upper position now.
Secondly, in spite of the opposition we shouldn't be afraid. As we pursue our work. This is the point most emphasized in these verses and you'll see it because the words don't be afraid or repeated three times you have it there versus 2628 and 31 asked the question. Well, why shouldn't we be afraid, and as is often the case with that kind of a repetition you get a different reason. Each time three reasons altogether by Jesus says we shouldn't be afraid.
First of all, the truth will triumph the final judgment. Those who have been Christ disciples and faithful witnesses will be vindicated and wicked people will be exposed for what they really are. This theme appears again toward the end of the gospel in the 25th chapter where Christ's faithful disciples receive this commendation. Jesus says to them, well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord, you been faithful in the few things make you in charge of many things, and that same chapter toward the end he says those who have done good for the sake of others. I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me so if that's the case, says Jesus, the disciples should be bold in their testimony may be the truth will be slandered here. Of course it well. People don't love the truth may be that witness will be misunderstood. Yes of course it well Jesus own testimony was misunderstood and he was cited, but in the end before the bar of God in judgment. The truth will be known and if that's the case, then we need to be bold in our witness now Jesus tells them the things I'm telling you now in secret that is privately that at that moment, they didn't even understand because it had a lot to do with his death and resurrection. They wouldn't understand it until later unless he says of that day in the future – these things all be proclaimed, so proclaim them. Interesting point of application here for preachers and teachers of the Bible.
Three points, you're going to proclaim what Jesus Christ is told you, you have to listen to Jesus first one to listen and speak for Jesus until they hear what you said.
Secondly, we must speak only what we've heard from Jesus about something that comes out of our own minds and imaginations. That's why we do Bible teaching is want to be controlled by the word of God is given. So we speak what he has for us and then third, we must speak these words, even if our speaking of them gains hatred from the world so we have to do that we have to remind ourselves of that again and again some of you will know the name of Yolanda Murray was one of the greatest figures in the English Reformation and in those days to speak the true gospel if you spoke at in public places particular people or the great was dangerous. Latimer was a preacher to the king and had to preach before King Henry VIII.
On one occasion he's preaching something is afraid the king would like so now the story of Latimer.
He stands on the Pope but he's about to say something that he knows the king will not like. And he says this East has a little dialogue with himself. He says Latimer Latimer. Be careful what you say.
The king's share pauses when he says Latimer Latimer. Be careful what you say, the King of Kings is here say that's it exactly the reason we're afraid to speak for Jesus, as it were not thinking that Jesus is present or if we we don't think of it really is the King of Kings.
This is what gave such great boldness to John Locke's know they said when they buried Knox here lies one who feared God so much that he never feared the face of any man. Let's first reason why we shouldn't be afraid. The second is this the soul matters more than the body of the worst all the rulers of this world can do is kill us. That's only the body that's involved, they can damage soul. So Jesus says in verse 28. Don't be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in hell. That is God one else, such as transcendent eternal perspective gave boldness to Martin Luther that he was able to stand and single-A. It would seem one man before the mighty powers of his day. You certainly have the power to kill a Manhattan. Many of his predecessors, burning them at the stake. Luther, knowing the answer to God that his soul was in the hands of God and the worst they could do is kill the body, said here I stand I can do no other God help me, a man when he later had the opportunity to put some of that in diverse comments to him that we sing so often.
Always at our reformed theology conferences. He had the words like goods and kindred go, this mortal life so the body they may kill God's truth. Abide is still his kingdom is forever deed is that kind of a perspective that will transform life of the Christian and embolden his or her testimony and the third thing. Third reason why we shouldn't be afraid. Is this God is sovereign, he rules. Therefore, nothing is ever going to happen to us, whether for good or ill as we might think of it, or the world might think about hasn't been previously determined by God. And because God is good is always for good in the eternal perspective it's for his glory for our good and for the good of others. That's why Jesus says in verse 31.
Remember that you're worth more than many sparrows.
And God cares for them something. What it means that a Christian world in life you think is the world dies but I think is a Christian when you begin to think is a Christian then your life is different than your testimony strengthened. Now we go on looking at the various points. These last verses focus on the person's relationship to Jesus, but they do it in two ways had to do with the disciple himself whether he or she remains faithful to Jesus or not and and secondly they had to do with people who either receive or reject the testimony.
Let's take the disciple first. Jesus says here is that the person wants to be his disciple and follow him.
Must value him more than number one a favorable judgment by this world's rulers. Whoever acknowledges me before man. I will acknowledge him before my father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my father in heaven. You must value Jesus before the love of his own family. Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me in anyone… Son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me and was value Jesus more than even life itself because he says in anyone. It does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. There can never be a higher demand or a more exalted calling out all these verses is the necessity of deciding for Christ and remaining faithful to Christ of the very educated just drift along, says Jesus and expect that in the end everything turn out all right as you drift along it won't turn out all right. He's already talked about that and what we call the sermon on the Mount. That's the broad path that leads to destruction, so that you want to turn out all right.
You have to decide for them now and you have to stay with them. You have to be faithful failed to decide for Christ is to be against him and his parish find a way no an extraordinary set of teachings about that.
Is this man Jesus of Nazareth, saying that the issues of life and death have and how this life and all eternity hinge on the person's relationship to him. Any mere man daresay that well-known nearby." Mere man is either crazy or he's deliberately deceptive. He's lying in order to gain the following Jesus is crazy. Well Norman, of course, just like you would do anybody else was crazy of these deceptive exposes deceit. You have an obligation to do that because he's deceived a lot of people is not crazy is not the deceiver is exactly who he said he is is the son of God and the Savior because he is the son of God, you better believe them and obey him only safe thing to do and it's what he demands your eternal destiny hangs up on what you do and that brings us to the very last paragraph we get another positive note here, and it's the second of these two relationships I mentioned earlier.
What is surprising about these last sentences is that they speak of spiritual rewards and it does it in the sequence so descending progression. Look how it works. First of all, the one who receives Jesus receives the one who sent him letters of you believe in Jesus you receive God the father. Second, the one who receives Jesus profits because they are prophets.
That is because they speak the truth about Jesus live a spiritual reward because the popular spokesman will lead them to Jesus.
Third one a receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will be in the same position as a righteous man will do exactly the same thing and then finally want to receives even the lease of Christ's disciples will be rewarded also and in the same way you see what you have there you have the witness of Jesus Christ himself.
The witness of the prophets, you have the witness of righteous men and women. And finally, you have even the least of the disciples's way of saying you say that every Christian's testimony is important testimony of a person just like you and me is as valuable in the hands of God is the testimony of the 12 apostles in the critical matter in every case now as then, is a person's relationship to Jesus Christ. These words were spoken about 2000 years ago and it's because of them and in obedience to them that the disciples of Jesus Christ of taken the gospel to the world. Why is become a worldwide religion is because some of these words I'm speaking the gospel to you now so it's in the name of Jesus Christ that I do it in Christ's name and by his power.
I say believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. Christ's name and by the same authority I say reject Jesus Christ and you will perish forever. I don't know how to make it any clearer than her father recommence into your hands the fruits of our efforts this day that these words from the lips of Jesus Christ as they are taught by the power of your spirit might penetrate many human hearts, bringing repentance of sin faith in Jesus Christ. New life and deeds.
The testimony that follows, to the praise of the glory of Jesus Christ is in his name that we ask you a listening to Bible study hour with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview. Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of reformed theologians from decades and even centuries gone by. We seek to provide Christian teaching that will equip believers to understand and meet the challenges and opportunities of our time and place.
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