According to Matthew, the Great Commission is not about proclaiming the gospel around the world. That is part of the larger picture, but here Jesus sends the Church into the whole world to "make disciples."
In Matthew 10, the mission of The Twelve was merely to proclaim the gospel to the towns in the region of Galilee. If a town would not listen, they simply moved on to the next one. The strategy and method of the Great Commission is very different. Now, Christians are called by Lord Jesus to be Christian everywhere we go. At times this will involve sharing the facts of the gospel of Jesus. At all times it involves demonstrating the rule of God in our lives as we conform to Jesus rather than to the nations and world in which we live.
In this way, being disciples is how Jesus through us will make disciples who will also follow him.
Recording notes: Due to technical difficulties, only the last portion of the sermon was recorded. So, the description above offers more of an introduction than usual, so that the recording makes sense (hopefully!). Also, there is a one minute portion of the sermon recording where we watched a YouTube video. When that time comes, simply click on the picture above to play the video. You will want to pause the audio of the sermon while you do that.
Jesus' "Parable of the Sower" (Matt 13:18) is famous. Since the day he first told that story, images of the four types of "soil" have been considered over and over again. As Matthew presents it to us, the Parable of the Sower is the beginning of Jesus' practice of teaching the crowds only in parables. When we consider this aspect of the narrative, we gain strategic understanding for engaging our own time with the word of God.
Jesus warns the twelve apostles about the persecution they will suffer because of Jesus' name. We can relate to some extent to the pressure they felt to compromise or deny faith in Jesus' name. In this passage, Jesus teaches four habits to help us be effective as his disciples. Following this way we can overcome the pressures of persecution.
Jesus sees crowds of people coming to him. He says this is a "harvest." Jesus sees the crowds as "sheep without a shepherd." In this way, Jesus reveals to us a crucial element of reaching people with the good news.
Mercy is at the heart of everything Jesus did. This was on display when Jesus called Matthew, the tax collector, to be a disciple. Many other sinners came to Jesus, too, and found his mercy.
Christians share Jesus' work of redeeming by human touch and restoring by cleansing word.
The word of God is powerful. It makes things happen. Paul testifies that the simple, unadorned message of the cross of Jesus reveals both the righteousness and the wrath of God. At the same time, it reveals those who are perishing and those who are saved. Christians can trust the word of God to do the work of God as we reach out to save the lost in the world today.
"Essential Workers" in the Age of COVID-19 include--perhaps especially--nurses, doctors, and other medical workers. They are the ones willing to touch the diseased and disgusting things going on in our bodies to heal them.
Likewise, Jesus teaches, in this passage, that the heart is the source of all darkness and spiritual disease that we might deal with in life. Disciples follow Jesus in being willing to touch these places, to heal them. Disciples of Jesus are those whose hearts are cleansed by his blood. Now we can go into all the world bringing that healing to others.
Mark gives an account of Jesus sending the twelve disciples out on their first mission. They do everything just like Jesus did: they preached the gospel, cast out demons, healed diseases, and utterly relied upon God to provide everything for their work and journey. They enjoyed success this time, but Mark divides his account of this story with the story of John the Baptist's beheading by King Herod. We take from this the warning that discipleship on Jesus' path is to follow him on the way to the cross. But there is no more blessed way to be than to be just like Jesus.
Jesus compassionately heals a leper from his dread disease. On closer inspection, though, we learn that Jesus was angry for several important reasons. By his example, then, we gain some important insights about how to respond constructively when we get angry.