July 7, 2013 - Matthew 10.1-8

“Simple Instructions”

Matthew 10:1-8

July 7, 2013

 

Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. 2These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him.

5These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, 6but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment. 9Take no gold, or silver, or copper in your belts, 10no bag for your journey, or two tunics, or sandals, or a staff; for laborers deserve their food.

 

Intro:  Following Instructions – Men.  If all else fails, read the instructions.  Putting together Christmas gifts, etc.  Jesus gave instructions to his disciples when he called them.  Text.  They look simple.  Sentence structure is simple.  Imperative – command.  But they give us a small problem I think.  Read verse 8.

 

Right.  Come on.  Can we do those things?  Those are the things that Jesus and the disciples did that we can’t do, right?  Surely he isn’t expecting us to…

 

If I told you to do those things, without letting you know it is a command from scripture, you’d think me pushy, ignorant and impossible to please.  But Jesus did not say, “Do your best, set reachable goals.”  None of that.  So what do we do?  Do we ignore this?  Not unless we want to ignore God.

 

The Kingdom of God is near:  The Kingdom is both physical and spiritual, so we must view our instructions in much the same way.  Holisitc.  Jesus said that we would do greater things than he.  ???

 

Cure the sick:  Humans are weak and feeble.  The Greek word for sickness can also be translated weak.  Restores us to a wholeness.  Healing has long been a mission of the church.  Hospitals, etc.  Medical missionaries.  But even more than that, we can bring the power of God into the lives of those that are the most weak, those that are kept sick by their life without the great Physician.  FBC can be a place of great healing.

 

Raise the dead:  Dead Man Walking.  How often would we hear that if it was said every time a dead person walked by.  People often die a long time before their physical death.  Broken will, abuse, oppression, depression, all these things can kill a person.  Campolo lament.  No Passion.  There are people all around us that are walking through this life dead.  Jesus wants us to change that.  Jesus wants to bring life to dead people.  Jesus wants to bring a reason for living to the cynics, hope to the chronically abused, liberty to the oppressed, and life to the lifeless.  FBC is to be a place where dead people find their life.

 

Cleanse the Lepers:  Who were the lepers?  Outcasts.  Who are our lepers today?  Homeless, AIDS, addicts, refugees, the “uncool”, criminals, the poor: anyone that society refuses to acknowledge.  People are polluted from within and without.  We are to cleanse them – make them clean.  Bathing is an intimate thing.  Sponge bath.  How do you “cleanse” a social outcast?  You get to know them.  You become their friend.  You give them dignity, respect.  Break down the walls of division and embrace them as a child of God.  FBC is to be a place where the lepers are made clean.

 

Cast Out Demons:  OK…saved the best for last.  People are held in the grip of sin.  Jesus comes not only to cancel sin, but also to break the power of cancelled sin.  Jesus brings to us, as people often enslaved by sin, the liberating power of God.

 

Roland H. and Carl Jung.  Started Alcoholics Anonymous.  Breaking the power of cancelled sin is to be something that happens at FBC.

 

Fred Craddock Story about the family that takes in the stray cat.

 ―A family is out for a drive on a Sunday afternoon. It is a pleasant afternoon, and they relax at a leisurely pace down the highway. Suddenly, the two children begin to beat their father in the back: ―Daddy, Daddy, stop the car! There‘s a kitten back there on the side of the road!‖

The father says, ―So there‘s a kitten on the side of the road. We‘re having a drive.‖

―But Daddy, you must stop and pick it up.‖

―I don‘t have to stop and pick it up.‖

―But Daddy, if you don‘t, it will die.‖

―Well then, it will have to die. We don‘t have room for another animal. We have a zoo already at the house. No more animals.‖

―But Daddy, are you going to just let it die?‖

―Be quiet, children; we‘re trying to have a pleasant drive.‖

―We never thought our Daddy would seem so mean and cruel as to let a kitten die.‖

Finally the mother turns to her husband and says, ―Dear, you‘ll have to stop.‖ He turns the car around, returns to the spot, and pulls off to the side of the road. ―You kids stay in the car. I‘ll see about it.‖ He goes out to pick up the little kitten, who is just skin and bones, sore-eyed, and full of fleas. When he reaches down to pick it up, with its last bit of energy the kitten bristles, baring tooth and claw. Hisss! He picks up the kitten by the loose skin at the neck, brings it over to the car, and says, ―Don‘t touch it. It‘s probably got leprosy.‖

Back home they go. When they get to the house the children give the kitten several baths, about a gallon of warm milk, and intercede: ―Can we let it stay in the house just tonight? Tomorrow we‘ll fix it a place in the garage.‖ The father says, ―Sure, take my bedroom; the whole house is already a zoo.‖ They fix a comfortable bed, fit for a pharaoh. Several weeks pass. Then one day the father walks in, feels something rub against his leg, looks down, and there is a cat. He reaches down toward the cat, carefully checking to see that no one is watching. When the cat sees his hand, it does not bare its claws and hiss; instead it arches its back to receive a caress. Is that the same cat? It couldn‘t be the same cat. It‘s not the same as that frightened, hurt, hissing kitten on the side of the road. Of course not, and you know as well as I what makes the difference.‖

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