Mission from God

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Mark 6:6-13,30 (Jesus Sends Out the Twelve)

INTRODUCTION: You may be wondering why we’re skipping from verse 13 to verse 30. Well, this is another one of Mark’s sandwich stories where he begins one story, jumps into another, and then finishes off the first story later. In this case he begins with Jesus sending out the Twelve in verses 6-13, then moves on to the death of John the Baptist in verses 14-29, and then completes the story of the Twelve in verse 30. We are going to deal with these two stories separately, so we will look at the sending of the Twelve this week, and the death of John the Baptist next week. (Read and pray.)

You are on a mission from God. That’s right, you are on a mission from God. No, this is not one of those “Mission Impossible” scenarios – “Your mission should you choose to accept it …” complete with self-destructing envelope. For one thing, you already accepted this mission when you accepted Christ. It is one of the reasons Jesus called you to follow him. It is part of being a Christian. And then also, it is not an impossible mission, but one that is completely possible, especially with God on your side. What is your mission? To glorify God by sharing the gospel.

You may recognize that as one of the four C’s from our church mission statement:

The mission of Agawam Church of the Bible is to glorify God by worshiping Him (Celebration), loving our neighbor (Community), sharing the gospel (Communication), and growing in Christ-likeness (Cultivation).

This is not an optional mission for the church or for those who belong to the church, but it is one of the key reasons why we exist as a church. And so if you are not sharing the gospel with other people, then you are not fulfilling your mission.

Our passage this morning relates the mission of the Twelve as Jesus sent them out to share the gospel. There are three principles I would like us to look at from their mission that also apply to us today, as we too are called to share the gospel as we have opportunity.

I. You have authority from Christ to share the gospel (verses 6-7)

The first principle is this: you have authority from Christ to share the gospel. Sometimes people ask, “What right do you have to share the gospel?” The answer is you have every right, because you have authority from Christ. Look at verses 6-7:

Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits. (Mark 6:6-7)

We have already seen that Jesus had authority to preach and teach the gospel. This authority was conferred upon him from heaven at his baptism and confirmed on earth by the people who heard him speak. Mark 1:22 – “The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority.”

    A. The message comes from Christ (6)

You have authority from Christ to share the gospel because Jesus had authority, and the message you share comes from Christ. Mark says that “Jesus went around teaching from village to village.” Jesus came preaching and teaching the good news of the kingdom of God. The good news was that God’s kingdom was near and had indeed arrived in his person.

Now when Jesus taught about the kingdom, obviously he had not yet died for sin and risen again from the dead. But he taught that these things would happen, and now that they have happened, that becomes the core message of the gospel that we share with people today. You are separated from God because of your sin, but God sent his Son to die for sin and to make a way back to God. Jesus died for sin at the cross, and then he rose again triumphant over death. Whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life.

When you share the gospel with someone, you are not just sharing your thoughts or opinions on the matter. The message you share comes directly from Christ himself and thus has authority.

    B. You are sent as Christ’s representative (7)

But it’s not just the message that has authority. You have authority to share it because you are sent as Christ’s representative. Remember when Jesus first called his disciples to follow him? What did he say? He said, “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mark 1:17)

Well, what Jesus promised back in Mark 1 becomes a reality here in Mark 6. Jesus calls the Twelve to him, and he sends them out. The word translated “sent” here specifically means “to send as one’s representative.” It implies that the person sent goes with the full authority of the one sending him.

This is further emphasized by Jesus sending his disciples out two by two. There are many practical reasons for sending missionaries out two by two, including teamwork, encouragement, accountability and support. But it also affirms the authority of the sender. In the Old Testament two witnesses were required to affirm the truth of a matter, and sending the disciples out two by two affirmed the truthfulness of the message that they were commanded to deliver.

And then of course Mark comes right out and tells us that Jesus gave the Twelve authority over evil spirits. This was a delegated authority, and it seems it was a temporary engifting intended to demonstrate the truth of their message – that God’s kingdom was near, as evidenced by the overpowering of Satan’s kingdom.

The twelve disciples had a unique mission with a unique authority for their day, but the principle remains for us today. The message you share is Christ’s message, and Christ sends you forth with that message as his personal representative. You have authority from Christ to share the gospel.

II. You have sufficiency in Christ to share the gospel (verses 8-13)

Some people after grasping the first point might say, “Okay, I understand that I have the right or the authority to share the gospel with others. But I still can’t do it. I’m no good at it. I don’t know what to say. Why should people believe me anyways?” That is the question of sufficiency, which leads us right into our second point: you have sufficiency in Christ to share the gospel.

    A. You don’t need anything extra to share the gospel (8-9)

What do I mean by that? First of all, you don’t need anything extra to share the gospel. Look at verses 8-9:

These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff — no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra tunic. (Mark 6:8-9)

The disciples didn’t have to do any fund raising before they went on their mission. They didn’t need to bring extra food or money or clothing. No bread, no bag, no extra tunic. This was what we would call a shoestring operation, except that they were all wearing sandals. Basically they went off on this mission with nothing but the gospel and a walking stick.

You don’t need anything extra to share the gospel. Sure, it is great to have a large evangelism budget, and the ability to purchase materials and put on community events and all that. And if we have the money, we should put our money and resources towards the expansion of God’s kingdom. But it is not essential. Evangelism is one person telling another person about Jesus. You don’t need money to talk to people about God. You have sufficiency in Christ.

This is one of the truths of Scripture that sparked the great revival of missions in the 1800’s. People went forth with a minimum of funds trusting God to provide their needs. Indeed most missionaries today still work on a faith support basis. They trust God to provide for their needs through the faithful giving of churches. For example, the missionaries we support don’t have any contract with us. We could drop all their support tomorrow with no legal repercussions. They are trusting that we and other churches will continue to provide their support so they can continue the work of spreading the gospel in other lands.

And when we say that you have sufficiency in Christ to share the gospel, we are not just talking about money. You are sufficient in every way. Sure it’s good to get some training and to learn as much as we can about the Bible and our faith so that we can help others with their questions about God. But you are ready and qualified to share the gospel with other people the same day you come to Christ yourself. Why? Because if you know enough about Christ to trust Christ for salvation, then you know enough to share about Christ with somebody else. Plus you have the Holy Spirit in you as your guide, and it is the Holy Spirit who confirms the truth of the gospel to other people’s hearts anyways, not any extensive knowledge on our parts or fancy arguments.

    B. People’s rejection is part of the plan (10-11)

Someone might ask, “But what if people don’t respond when I share the gospel? Am I doing something wrong?” Actually people’s rejection is part of the plan. Look at verses 10-11:

Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them. (Mark 6:10-11)

Jesus knew that not everyone would accept the disciples’ message, and so he gave them specific instructions on what to do. When they entered a town, they were to seek hospitality, a home base from which to launch operations. Once they found a place willing to host them, they were to stay there until they left the town. Perhaps this kept them from looking around for a better option and helped them to focus on the task at hand.

If the people in a town did not welcome or listen to them, they were to shake the dust off their feet when they left. This was a sign of warning or judgment against the town, almost as if to say, “God’s judgment is coming on this place, and when it does, hey, I don’t even want any of the dust of your town clinging to my feet.”

Not everyone you share the gospel with will receive the gospel. That’s okay. God still wants you to share the gospel with them anyways. You don’t have to shake your sneakers at them (they probably wouldn’t know what you were doing anyways), although it may be appropriate to leave them with a word of warning. “Your sins have separated you from God. There will be a day of judgment. Only Christ can save you.” Don’t be discouraged when not everyone responds positively to the gospel. People’s rejection is part of the plan.

    C. Trust God to do mighty things (12-13)

But at the same time, don’t expect everyone to respond negatively to the gospel. Trust God to do mighty things when you step out in faith. Look at verses 12-13:

They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them. (Mark 6:12-13)

Can you imagine how the disciples must have felt? Here they were, just ordinary people – fishermen, tradesmen, tax collectors – and they were out preaching the gospel, driving out demons, healing people who were sick! Sure, not everyone accepted their message, but God was doing mighty things through them, and they were participating in the advancement of God’s kingdom.

There is nothing more thrilling than to share the good news of Jesus Christ with someone and seeing that person respond. What could be more exciting than knowing that God has used you to touch someone’s life for all of eternity? Nothing can compare with that! You think you get a thrill out of extreme sports? It’s nothing like extreme witnessing! Pray for people, pray for opportunities, share Christ boldly, and trust God to do mighty things.

III. You are accountable to Christ to share the gospel (verse 30)

1) You have authority from Christ to share the gospel. 2) You have sufficiency in Christ to share the gospel. And then finally, 3) You are accountable to Christ to share the gospel. Remember this is one of Mark’s sandwich stories, so we have to jump ahead to verse 30 to get to the end of the story.

The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. (Mark 6:30)

Jesus didn’t just send the disciples out and leave it at that. They came back to him and reported to him all they had done and taught. They were accountable to Christ for their words and their actions, and it is the same way with you. There are two things I particularly want you to grasp here.

    A. You have been entrusted with the gospel.

First of all, you have been entrusted with the gospel. This is no small thing. The gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. (Romans 1:16) This is far more important than being entrusted with a major project at work. This is even more important than being entrusted with life-saving medicine to bring to a quarantined village. The medicine may restore people for this life, but the gospel restores people for all of eternity. You have been entrusted with the gospel, and as the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 4:2: “It is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.”

    B. You will give an account to Christ one day.

And that is the second point here. Just as the disciples went back and reported to Christ all that they had said and done, so you will give an account to Christ one day. You will stand before Christ and give an account of how you handled this precious gospel that was entrusted to your care.

Do you remember the parable of the talents in Matthew 25? A man goes on a journey and before he leaves, he calls his servants to him and entrusts his property to them. Then after a period of time he returns to settle accounts with them.

There are many applications of the parable, but the primary meaning pertains to the gospel. Jesus is the man who has gone on the journey. Before he left he gave us his commission to go into all the world and to make disciples, teaching them to obey everything he has commanded. One day he will return and we will have to give an account to him. What did we do with the gospel he entrusted to us? Did we share it freely with others, or did we keep it to ourselves? What will you say to Christ on that day?

CONCLUSION: In conclusion: You have authority from Christ to share the gospel. You have sufficiency in Christ to share the gospel. You are accountable to Christ to share the gospel. That means you have the right, the resources, and the responsibility to share the gospel.

So how are you doing with this? Are you sharing the gospel with people? Are you planting the seeds? Are you pointing people to God and Christ throughout the week?

I recently ran across a website called “Tell Someone Today” (http://tellsomeonetoday.blogspot.com) where a pastoral intern from Texas is chronicling his daily attempts, successes and failures at sharing the gospel with others. It is a neat site, not only because of the pastor’s honesty but also as a reminder of how simple it is to say a word for Christ throughout the day and how responsive people can be to the gospel. If you like to go on the internet, I encourage you to check it out.

I believe this is an area where we really need to grow as a church. We need to spend more time talking about it, praying about it, encouraging each other, and then doing it – being more intentional in sharing the gospel. You have authority from Christ. You have sufficiency in Christ. You are accountable to Christ. You have the right, the resources, and the responsibility to share the gospel. You and I are on a mission from God. We need to fulfill our mission.

© Ray Fowler

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By Ray Fowler. © Ray Fowler. Website: http://www.rayfowler.org

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