2012 4-22 ‘A Mission and a Message’ Luke 9 1-9.

LUKE 9:1-9

I. Introduction
How long will the Church of Jesus Christ remain on this earth? It will remain until the last person whom God, in His sovereign will, has chosen to receive Christ, does so. At that point the Church of Jesus Christ will be complete. Jesus’ bride, the true church, will be ready for the marriage, and He will come for her at the Rapture.

During the Great Tribulation that follows the true church’s home going, she will be in heaven being perfected and prepared to return to earth with Christ at His Second Coming.
*Revelation 19:6-7 (This takes place immediately before the Glorious Appearing.)
6 And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude and as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.
7 “Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.”

Thus the true church shall reign with Him. The true church can only grow in numbers when the gospel is preached without compromising the reality of sin and the need for repentance. It can only grow in the grace and knowledge of its Lord and Savior when His Word is taught without compromising its eternal truths. This is what the true church does. It preaches the gospel and teaches the Bible. It will do so until the Rapture.

But there is another church out there. It’s often called the “Institutional Church.” It will be left behind. It will remain on this earth during the seven-year Tribulation period, and it will still be here at the Second Coming when Jesus returns to judge the world.

What is the institutional church? It is a false church consisting of collections of people who profess to be Christians, but are not. The Apostle Paul tells us they, “…hold to a form of godliness, although they deny its power…avoid such men as these (2 Timothy 3:5).”

The institutional church promotes and teaches false doctrines and the need to uphold the religious traditions and rituals of men rather than simply following the word of God. It tends to look like the real church but it promotes another gospel and another Jesus.

It often consists of some people who, at one point followed Christ, but have now chosen to reject His Word in favor of following their own rules. They’ve altered the gospel and, in the process, they’ve created many “false converts.” As a result, the institutional church is filled with people who don’t know Christ, but are convinced that they do. Those who are truly converted and remain in institutional churches find that the things of this world direct their thinking, set their agendas, and drive their ministries.

Ultimately, such churches fall into one extreme form of man-made religion or the other.
The first extreme is found in legalism. Legalism can be defined as a series of doctrines that teach people that they must “work” their way to Heaven. Such work usually con-sists of things you must do and things you must not do. Legalism says that God allows you into Heaven based on your works. It’s all about what you do for God. As long as the believer stays busy “working for God” he or she will go to Heaven.

The second extreme is found in license (“liberalism”). License can be defined as a series of doctrines that give people complete freedom to do whatever they want. It’s as if you have “a get out of jail free card” when it comes to sinning without eternal consequences, although this is never overtly preached. In this extreme form of religion you are secure for all eternity once you’ve prayed a prayer or said you believe in Jesus.

The great irony is that both extremes of the institutional church include precisely the same errors. They just wear “different clothes.” For example…
• Both extremes promote good works over godly character. (seen in legalism)
• Both extremes tend to praise God more than they obey God. (seen in liberalism)
• Both extremes follow human leaders rather than God’s revealed truth. (seen in both)
• Both extremes exchange freedom in Christ for bondage to Satan. (seen in both)

Why am I saying all of this? I’m saying it because every true Church of Jesus Christ must be wary of the potential for falling away and becoming an institutional church. If you don’t think that can happen to a church like ours, just ask yourself where today’s institutional churches came from. There was a time when virtually all of them were doc-trinally pure and preached the true gospel. What happened? They walked away from sound doctrine and stopped preaching the gospel! It’s no more complicated than that.

In today’s text in Luke Jesus sends the twelve out to preach the gospel. It’s the first time He sends someone out from Himself to tell the truth about how people can be saved. And although the Church of Jesus Christ will not be born until the Lord sends His Spirit at
Pentecost, this is the real beginning of missions and the message of the true gospel.

Listen, if the true gospel does not go forth, there will be no true church beyond the last generation who preaches it. Of course, institutional churches will survive but since they don’t have the true gospel, they have nothing of eternal value to either preach or teach. In the first century some of the new churches in Galatia were in serious danger of becoming “institutional.” Paul warned them and, as usual, he pulled no punches.
6 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel;
7 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you, and want to distort the gospel of Christ.
8 But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gos-pel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed.
9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed.
10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.

May God never need to say anything like that to us here at LBC. The reality is this: You and I have been saved to proclaim God’s truth. This world has no hope without it. It’s for this reason that God’s people, the true church, the Bride of Christ, must not waver from the truth of the gospel and the Word of God. That’s our mission and our message.

II. Review
As we have come to the end of Luke 8 and the beginning of Luke 9 we have reached a major transition point in Jesus’ life and ministry. Mark fills in a gap for us that Luke leaves out. As Luke 8 ends Jesus heals the woman with the uncontrollable bleeding and raises Jairus’ daughter from the dead. Before we consider the events of Luke 9 we need to take a brief look at Mark’s gospel. There we see that Jesus returned to His hometown of Nazareth one more time. Just as He had been rejected at the start of His ministry (Luke 4:16-30), so now He is rejected again.
Mark 6:3-4, 6a
3 “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses, and Judas, and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?” And they took offense at Him.
4 And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household.”
6a And He wondered (marveled) at their unbelief…

There is no record that Jesus ever returned to Nazareth after this second visit. I believe that in this the Lord illustrates a principle that He taught in the Sermon on the Mount.
Matthew 7:6
6 “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.”

Charles Ryrie – “The disciples were expected to make moral distinctions and not allow those who reject Christ to treat precious things as cheap.”

John MacArthur – “This principle is why Jesus Himself did not do miracles for unbelie-vers…(it) governs how one handles the gospel in the face of those who hate the truth.”

The simple fact is that most will reject your message of the gospel. I do not claim to know when you should no longer witness to someone who continues to ridicule truth and reject the gospel. But such a time can come. When it does, your decision to walk away must be made in fervent prayer and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Only after Jesus’ second rejection by His own family and friends in Nazareth does He call the twelve together and commission them to go out with the gospel.

III. Text
Now as we come to Luke 9 we see that about half of Jesus’ three year ministry is com-plete. During the first eighteen months the Lord “worked alone.” That is to say, that although the disciples were with Him, they were primarily there as observers. But from this point on Jesus would begin to give them what we might call “hands-on experience.” You could say that they were going from being disciples – those who stay to hear and to learn, into apostles – those who go out to preach and to teach.

Today’s passage gives the twelve their first taste of real ministry. They will not be fully empowered until the coming of the Holy Spirit at the birth of the church on the Day of Pentecost. But this is where it begins. This is the first day of the rest of their lives.
*Luke 9:1-9 (Please stand with me in honor of reading God’s Word.)
1 And (Jesus) called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons, and to heal diseases.
2 And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God, and to perform healing.
3 And He said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, neither a staff, nor a bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not even have two tunics apiece.
4 “And whatever house you enter, stay there, and take your leave from there.
5 “And as for those who do not receive you, as you go out from that city, shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them.”
6 And departing, they began going about among the villages, preaching the gospel, and healing everywhere.
7 Now Herod the tetrarch (Antipas) heard of all that was happening; and he was greatly perplexed, because it was said by some that John (the Baptist) had risen from the dead,
8 and by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others, that one of the pro-phets of old had risen again.
9 And Herod said, “I myself had John beheaded; but who is this man about whom I hear such things?” And he kept trying to see Him.

The twelve had been appointed just before Jesus preached His Sermon on the Mount. Now He sends them out on their first “mission.” The importance of their mission can hardly be overstated. While they are away, they will have to repeat the message of Jesus over and over again, and they will no doubt be asked the most probing questions about Him – “Who is He,” and “Why does He do and say the things you tell us about?”

So as Jesus sends them out, He gives them miraculous powers and abilities. While these will be temporary, they will be real. The twelve will do what Jesus has been doing.
*Luke 9:1-2
1 And (Jesus) called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons, and to heal diseases.
2 And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God, and to perform healing.

This special endowment of power and authority that Jesus bestows upon the twelve will last only until they return from this mission. It was only a few months later that the dis-ciples had already lost the ability to do the miracles they performed on that first journey.
We know this because a man came to Jesus and asked Him to cast out a demon from his son. He complained that the disciples had tried but had failed. He said, “And I begged your disciples to cast it out, and they could not (Luke 9:40).”

In v. 2 we see that the disciples had one clear and distinct mission. They were to pro-claim the message of Christ. The message was authenticated by the power to heal and the authority to cast out demons. They had neither the Word of God that you and I have today, nor did they have the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit that the church would receive on Pentecost. Those are the things that authenticate our message today.

What exactly did they preach? It was essentially a two-part message. First, the kingdom of God had come in the Person of Jesus. Second, that kingdom could only be entered by repentance, confession of sin, belief in Jesus, and then by faith alone, receiving Him.
Mark 6:12
12 And they went out and preached that men should repent.

John 1:12-13
12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become child-ren of God, even to those who believe in His name
13 who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

You and I have precisely the same message today. That is why the true church exists. And that is also why the institutional church, no matter how large, popular, or influential it may become, has no eternal power whatsoever. While today’s institutional church preaches messages of social responsibility, political activism, philanthropy, good works, and its own brand of morality, the true church preaches the gospel of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ in alone. It’s all we’ve got!

There is another important point to take from Luke 9:1-2. Matthew’s gospel specifically names the twelve so that the Jews (to whom it is written) will know exactly who they are.
Matthew 10:5-6
5 These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them, saying, “Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans;
6 but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Now let’s be clear. The gospel is not just for Jews. If it were, you and I wouldn’t be here. But Israel was (and remains) God’s chosen people. Jesus came to them as their Messiah. It was God’s plan for Israel that they be given the first opportunity to receive Him. The gospel of the kingdom had to be preached to them before it could go out to the nations (the Gentiles). Paul makes that abundantly clear in the opening verses of Romans.
Romans 1:16
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salva-tion to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

And so the disciples do not go to the Gentiles, they don’t even go to the Samaritans (Jews who have intermarried with Gentiles), they go solely to “the house of Israel.” Only after the vast majority of Jews have rejected Jesus and participated in His murder, does He give the Great Commission, under which the true church operates today. “Go and make disci-ples of all the nations…(Matthew 28:19a).”

Look again at Luke 9:1-2. The power and authority the disciples were given included complete and total control over the demons and even over death itself. In Matthew’s account of Jesus’ instructions to the twelve, the ability to raise the dead is given to them. Jesus tells them, “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers (and) cast out demons (Matthew 10:8).”

The ability to perform such miracles is often referred to as having “sign” or “signifying” gifts. Performing these miracles was a sign that what the disciples were saying was true. Today there are those who claim to possess these gifts of healings and miracles. But they do not possess them. This is not because God cannot grant them. It is because they are no longer needed. We have the written Word of God today. It confirms truth.

Such miracles as the disciples were empowered to perform faded from the scene as the NT was written and completed. The Apostle Paul is proof of this. In the latter years of his ministry, Paul, who had earlier performed numerous miracles and healings, was una-ble to heal either Timothy or Trophimus. He finally advised Timothy to, “…use a little wine for your stomach and your frequent ailments (1 Timothy 5:23).” And, “…Trophimus I left sick at Miletus (2 Timothy 4:20).” (back to Luke 9)

*Luke 9:3
3 And He said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, neither a staff, nor a bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not even have two tunics apiece.”

Matthew says the twelve are told to take no money, no bag, no extra clothing or sandals, and only one staff. The point is not that Jesus expects them to be destitute but that He wants them to go out trusting God to provide for all their needs. By not taking provisions they would have the advantage of traveling lightly, and without taking a bag they would not be tempted to accumulate provisions along the way. They were to learn that each day would take care of itself.
Isn’t that exactly what God taught the Israelites when they wandered in the desert? He gave fresh manna each day. It could not be accumulated for the next day because over-night it would breed worms and spoil. So sometime after their mission was completed the Lord asked the disciples if they had to “go without” during their journey.
Luke 22:35
35 (Jesus) said to them, “When I sent you out without purse and bag and san- dals, you did not lack anything, did you?” And they said, “No, nothing.”

They had learned their lesson. But then, establishing the pattern for their future ministry, as well as for ours, He told them this:
Luke 22:36
36 “But now, let him who has a purse take it along, likewise also a bag, and let him who has no sword sell his robe and buy one.”

With regard to the Christian workers’ needs, Matthew adds the statement that, “…the worker is worthy of his support (Matthew 10:10b).”
*Luke 9:4
4 “And whatever house you enter, stay there, and take your leave from there.”

The idea is that they were not to stay in the inns, which were often nothing more than brothels. Furthermore, they were not to move from house to house collecting an offering everywhere they went, as this was a common practice among the false teachers of the day. On the contrary, the disciples were to distinguish themselves from the false teachers by staying in one home for the duration of their visit to a particular city. In doing so they would be afforded the opportunity to minister anywhere they were made welcome.

Can you see how this relates to Matthew 10:10 where it says, “…the worker is worthy of his support.”? This is a practical lesson about mutual service for all of us. (Beakleys)
*Luke 9:5
5 “And as for those who do not receive you, as you go out from that city, shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them.”

The Lord’s final instruction may at first seem strange but the symbolism involved is rich in truth. Shaking the dust off their feet is a picture of a broken relationship and divine displeasure with those who have rejected the gospel. God’s holy Word has been offered to these people. By their rejection of His Word and His offer of salvation, they have also rejected the Person of Christ. Unless they repent, the possibility of any future relation-ship with God will be irreparably severed. Matthew describes it this way:
Matthew 10:14-16a (Jesus speaking)
14 “And whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake off the dust of your feet.
15 “Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city.
16a “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves…”
And there is one other hard truth here. When the message is rejected, the messenger is nearly always rejected as well. And sometimes the messenger suffers and is afflicted.
2 Thessalonians 1:6-9a
6 For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you,
7 and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire,
8 dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
9a And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction…

*Luke 9:6
6 And departing, they began going about among the villages, preaching the gospel, and healing everywhere.

Back in v. 2 Jesus told the disciples to “proclaim the kingdom of God.” Matthew says, “…preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ (Matthew 10:7).” Mark says, “And they went out and preached that men should repent (Mark 6:12).” Here in Luke 9:6 they go out, “…preaching the gospel.”

Mark and Luke uses the term “kingdom of God” because their intended audiences do not understand the word “heaven” as do the Jews. Matthew, with the Jews as his primary audience, uses the term “kingdom of heaven.” But they refer to the same thing.

These three things – the gospel, repentance, and the kingdom – are inseparable. Not one of them can exist without the other. Listen please. This is yet another concrete illustra-tion of why a gospel without repentance is, to quote the Apostle Paul in Galatians 1, “…a different gospel…another gospel…(and) a gospel contrary to that which (Paul had) preached.” It is not the true gospel at all, and those who preach such an incomplete and false gospel are to be, again quoting Paul in Galatians 1, are to be “anathĕma.” The word literally means, “eternally destroyed in hell.”

This reluctance (and often outright refusal) to preach repentance is one of the great curses of the modern institutional church. It helps to explain why there are so many false converts and why there are so many churches filled with so many unbelievers.
*Luke 9:7-9
7 Now Herod the tetrarch (Antipas) heard of all that was happening; and he was greatly perplexed, because it was said by some that John (the Baptist) had risen from the dead,
8 and by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others, that one of the pro-phets of old had risen again.
9 And Herod said, “I myself had John beheaded; but who is this man about whom I hear such things?” And he kept trying to see Him.

The preaching of the true gospel always causes a stir, doesn’t it? In vv. 7-9 we see that this stir reached all the way into Herod’s palace. Herod, like many unbelievers, seems to have had a guilty conscience. When Luke says Herod “was perplexed,” he is saying that the man was shaken beyond measure. While John the Baptist was alive he had told Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife (Mark 6:18).” So because of John’s convicting preaching about Herod’s sin of adultery with Herodias, and his lust for her daughter, Salome, Herod had John beheaded.

Herod thinks he’s heard the last of someone proclaiming that he’s a sinner who needs to repent. But now there is One Man who has sent twelve more out there proclaiming the same thing. Has John the Baptist risen from the dead? What about Elijah? Has he come back? Or has one of the old prophets like Moses or Jeremiah returned? No, this new one is Jesus of Nazareth. You can almost hear Herod thinking, “Oh no, not another one!”

So in v. 9 the stage is set. Herod has already killed John. He says, “I myself had John beheaded; but who is this man about whom I hear such things?” He really wanted to see Jesus. Eventually, that meeting would take place.

IV. Conclusion
Herod asks the right question, doesn’t he? “Who is this man?” As Jeff often says, “There are two questions that everyone must one day answer. The first is, ‘What is this book? The second is, ‘Who is Jesus?’” Again, Herod asks the right question, but the problem is that it comes from a heart filled with hatred toward God.

Look, your answer to the question, “Who is Jesus?” will ultimately determine your eter-nal destiny. Will it be heaven or will it be hell? Tragically, most people never really hear the question. Just as tragically, many of those who do hear it are led to believe that all that need to do is believe in the historic Jesus. There is no call for confession of sins and no call for repentance. They are told, “Just believe and everything will be fine.”

But, “Just believe,” is half of the gospel. It is half of the truth. Therefore it is another gospel, a different gospel. It has never saved anyone and it never will. “Believing in Jesus,” if repentance and faith in His finished work do not accompany that belief, merely elevate a person to the level of demons. After all, they believe in Jesus, don’t they?

If you and I are to honor Christ we must tell the whole truth and preach the true gospel. We must do it with boldness mixed with compassion. (“…speaking the truth in love… [Ephesians 4:15].) May God grant us the power and authority to do so, just as Jesus did with the twelve when He sent them to preach the gospel, repentance, and the kingdom that is coming soon.

~ Pray ~