GOSPEL OF MARK – ROBBY GALLATY – Program 15
By: Dr. Robby Gallaty
|By: Pastor Robby Gallaty; ©2010|
|Jesus sent the disciples out two by two so they could encourage each other as they ministered for the gospel.|
The Deployment of the Disciples
We are systematically, expositionally walking through the book of Mark and the title this morning is this: The Deployment of the Disciples. If you have your Bibles, turn with me to Mark 6:6. This morning I want to identify four questions for us to consider in order to be effective in our mission for the Lord Jesus Christ. Four questions that we will consider on your outline in order for you and I to be effective in our mission for the Lord Jesus Christ. Class is out and it’s time to go to work. Mark 6:6. “And he marveled because of their unbelief. And he went about among the villages teaching.”
Now we remember what happened right before. Jesus goes to his hometown, the people that he came to preach to and teach to rejected him. So he went out into the villages teaching. Verse 7: “And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts—but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. And he said to them, ‘Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.’ So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. And they cast out many demons [that’s important] and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.”
Now, what’s interesting about this context is that Luke and Matthew give us another account of the story. Matthew is an explanation on a massive level. We don’t have time to go into that this morning and so we’re just going to focus in on Mark and we’ll bring Matthew in as a commentary. But the first question we have to ask is this: What is the right progression in the discipleship mission? And it’s two parts. You see it in your notes. There’s a call and then there’s a sending.
First of all, Jesus calls the disciples to himself. You see it in the text. Look at it: “And he called [underline that] the twelve….” Up to this point, like I said, Jesus has done it all. He’s done the miracles. He’s taught the lessons. He’s performed the exorcisms. But at this point, we see a shift in the ministry. Jesus, in essence, summons the 12 to himself. And here’s the point. Before you can go out and serve the Lord Jesus Christ, you need to spend time with the Lord Jesus Christ. But then after he calls, then he sends out. You see it back in Mark 6, “he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two….”
He sends them out in his name and with his authority. He sends them. That’s the word apostello in the Greek. It’s where we get the English word what? Apostle. Did you know apostle means two things: it means the one who was with Jesus. It’s actually a person who has seen Jesus face to face. But the actual heart of the word apostle means to be sent out. It’s the sent out ones. And we see that all throughout scripture. Jesus calls not to come and sit on a pew, Jesus calls to go serve to the nations.
Then we see what happens. He sends them out two by two. Write this down. They went out in pairs. Why do you think he sends them out in pairs? We’ll see in just a moment. That word two is the word duo and actually what he says is duo duo. I just think of it as this is the first dynamic duo, right? I mean Batman and Robin has nothings guys. These were the original dynamic duos, only they’re not out fight crime. These men are out reaching the lost sheep of Israel proclaiming a message of repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, what happens is Jesus pairs them up. It’s important to go out as a group in order to encourage one another. They could feed off one another. Now we get this from the Old Testament. They knew this concept. In fact, in Ecclesiastes 4:9, listen to what the word says: “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!”
And so the idea is this: when you go out, you have another brother there to support you, another brother to encourage you, another brother to be by your side. It was also a way in the Old Testament where two or three would be the witness and testify against another person. And possibly that could be what Jesus is envisioning here.
But not only did they go out in pairs, they went out with power. Look at it in the text. Jesus says go out and preach but also he gave them authority—watch this; circle that—over the what? The unclean spirits. There it is. Mark is constantly focusing in on the demons. If you haven’t realized it by now, that’s what he’s doing. And what Mark is trying to show his readers is this: the embracing kingdom of God was going to come with power and authority over the demons. Jesus is empowering the disciples—don’t miss this—to not only go out with the message of the Bible or message of the cross and the Messiah, but to go out in the power and authority of his master.
Imagine today when you leave church, someone calls you on the phone. It’s a friend of yours. It’s an older man and he’s on his deathbed. He calls you on the phone and he says, “I’ve got a secret to tell you. In fact, this secret is so profound, it could change the course of history.” You go to his house and before he dies he says, “I have found the cure for cancer. I know how to cure cancer immediately. I’m going to entrust you with this message. Go out and change the world.” Now, you have an option at that point. How do you take this message to the world. That’s you. What do you do at this moment? Do you keep it to yourself? Probably not. You might go to the newspapers, right? You might call the local radio stations. You might go on television. You might do interviews. You’re trying to get this message, the greatest message of the world, the cure for cancer, to the world. I mean, think about it. You’re going to tell everyone about this message.
Let me take you back 2,000 years. God decides to wrap himself in human flesh to come to the earth on a rescue mission to save and redeem mankind. God is not interested in just a cure for cancer or AIDS or sickness or illness. God is coming as the Lord Jesus Christ to save and redeem man from sin, something way worse than illness. See, the problem with an illness is when you die physically, the illness is gone. The problem with sin, it’s a recurring illness that goes on not only in this life but the life to come. And so Jesus has a greater message than the cure for cancer. And he decides to take the message to the world.
So here you are. You’re God. In your infinite wisdom, how do you take the greatest message to the world? Well, I used to think, why didn’t God just do this. I mean, you’d think this would be easy. Why didn’t God have a cloud in the sky with a big arrow over Jesus’ head that wherever he walked, it said, “Salvation is here.” Wow. I guess Jesus offers salvation. That’d be easy, right? Think about it. That would have been easy. I mean why didn’t God just put a global megaphone in the sky that said, “Jesus is Lord!” Wow. I think I got that one God. But he didn’t do that. In God’s infinite wisdom, he decides to take the greatest message in the world and entrust it to 12 men.
Now, if you and I were picking a theological group of men to take the message to the world, we would have never picked these 12 men. I promise you. In fact, you and I would have gone to the greatest seminaries, the greatest synagogues, the greatest teaching areas of the world. We would have picked the best of the best. But not Jesus. Jesus looks over the elite and he picks 12 ordinary men to entrust the message, the greatest message in the world to those men. And there’s spiritual principle for you and I. This is profound. I mean, think about it. God is entrusting the greatest message in the mission to ordinary men. I mean, if anybody could have stepped in and said, “Guys, listen. I know you’ve tried hard enough. Step back. Let me do it.” I mean, if anybody could have done that, it would have been Jesus but he didn’t do that. He entrusted it to men.
Now there’s a great lesson for our church here. It shows you and I that our greatest worth to God is not in the fact of how much we can do individually for the Lord alone. You’re greatest worth to the Lord is how well you can replicate your life in the life of another. Sunday school teachers, I just want to challenge you. It’s one thing to build a big class. It’s another thing to replicate your life in the life of others and multiple classes in the life of others. Ministry leaders, it’s one thing to build a big ministry. It’s another thing to replicate your ministry and to continue to reach people through investing in other people. It’s one thing to build a big church. But, friends, listen to me. The church can only grow as big as the leader will allow it to grow, as big as we will allow the church to grow and to reach people. It’s important for us to replicate our lives in the lives of others.
You know, the success of Jesus’ ministry was not by the number of people that showed up when he died, it was by the depth of the individuals that had come after him. And I want to ask you, are you doing that? Are you doing that with your children? I firmly believe that when we stand before the Lord Jesus Christ, the number one disciple that he’s going to ask us that will be in question will be our kids. Father, let me ask you how well are you doing? Because if you don’t disciple your kids, the world will. And the world is; MTV is; educational systems are. It’s important to replicate our life in the lives of others. What is the right provision in the discipleship ministry?
We saw, first of all, what is the right progression. Secondly, what is the right provision in the discipleship ministry? Jesus gives them strict instructions. Mark 6:8. Look at it: “He charged them to take nothing for their journey….” Jesus, what are you talking about? Okay, I’ll give you a staff. Take a staff but take “no bread, no bag, no money in their belts—but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. And he said to them, ‘Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there.’”
What is taken? Look at it. A staff. Why a staff? Because there were wild animals out there. They would be traveling with just two, and they would be in uncharted territory, off the beaten path and they needed a stick. They would protect against robbers as well. But Jesus said they should take a coat, a belt, and sandals for the stony road. But he said don’t take bread, don’t take a knapsack, don’t take a money bag, and don’t even take a second tunic.
Jesus is making an interesting statement here. I don’t know if you caught this, but you have to understand the context of Israel. During the time of Jesus, there were shady charlatans who would go out in the community disguising themselves as being men of God when actually they had a secret hidden agenda. And their hidden agenda was to prey on the weak and to take money from people. They would come into houses and they would dress the part and they would act a certain way and they would take advantage of people. And Jesus is specific about the dress of the disciples to distinguish them from these charlatans. Listen to what James Edwards says in his commentary: “Cynic philosophers, these charlatans had a cloak. They had a knapsack, a travel bag and a staff but they had no shoes. The instructions to the 12 by Jesus, on the contrary, required them to have a staff, a belt, sandals, one tunic, but no travel bag. Jesus is making provision for the travel to prove their dependence upon the Lord.”
God is showing them the same lesson I want to teach you this morning and it’s a lesson of dependence. That’s what God is saying. He’s saying, “On this specific mission, I want you to be dependent on me. I want you to be dependent for food. I want you to be dependent for support. I want you to be dependent for a place to stay. I want you to be dependent for your daily needs, just like the Israelites traveled through the desert dependent upon God for manna—watch this—I want you as my followers to be dependent on me.”
Now, don’t get too excited. This is a special mission here. I’ve had some zealous Christians I’ve seen in the past that have been excited about the Lord. “I’m just going to win heaven with a water pistol against hell! We’re just going to go out. We’re taking nothing with us. We’re just going to go out and depend on God.” There are times for that but not in this case. Friends, God doesn’t want you to be stupid, he wants you to be faithful. And this is a special mission here where God says, “On this mission, I want you to take nothing.” In just a few moments, we’ll see another mission where God says to take a bunch of things. But on this specific mission, he doesn’t want them to be zealous in every mission, take nothing. He wants them to be zealous in this mission. This is a special event.
But notice this. What is the right procedure in the discipleship mission? And the question really is this: where did they go? Turn with me back to Matthew 10:5 and let’s see where they venture to. Jesus sent the 12 out instructing them and this is what he says: “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather [here it is] to the lost sheep of Israel.”
This is what Jesus is saying. I want you to go to familiar places. I want you to go to the villages that I’ve been to. I don’t want you to go uncharted territory. I don’t want you to go places I’ve never been before. Now, what the familiar places? I think what Jesus wants the disciples to do is go out in his name and to further his ministry at this point, to start in your neighborhood. Now that’s a foreign concept to some of us. When we think missions, what do we normally think? Here or there? What do we think? There. We think missions is an overseas concept, and so what we do is we eliminate the “here” in order to go “there”.
And I want to submit to you this morning it’s a both/and. Missions is not just overseas. Missions is in our backyard. When does the mission field begin for you and I? The moment we leave what? Church on Sunday. As soon as we walk out of these doors—you could say the mission field could be here too—but as soon as we walk out these doors, we’re on the mission field for the Lord Jesus Christ. But the sad thing is many of us are not on mission. And I’ll prove it to you. When was the last time you shared the gospel with somebody? When was the last time you leaned over to a coworker and said, “You want to know why I’m so excited? You want to know about the joy that’s within me? Let me tell you about the mystery of the gospel which is Christ living within me.” When was the last time you did that? When was the last time you shared your faith with someone?
“Well, pastor, I don’t have all the answers. I don’t know what to say.” Well, watch what Jesus does. He eliminates that excuse.
Next, he says, how did they act? Where did they go; how did they act? When the disciples go to the house, if people do not accept them, this is what Jesus says. “Shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them,” right? But if they accept you, what do you do? Stay put.
Now this was interesting. Remember the charlatans that were traveling at that time. They were not interested in developing community and relationships with people. They were just interested to see what they could get with someone, from someone. So they would go to one house and they would get what they could get and they would go to another house and see what they could get and they would go to another. Jesus said we’re not going to do that. In fact, when you go to a town, you stay put in that house until you leave that town. But if they reject you, “Hey, listen, we don’t want to hear about Jesus,” that’s okay, he says. He says shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them. Now this was a common practice for the people of Israel. This is not something new to Jesus.
Now here’s the spiritual principle here. Why does Jesus say this? Here it is. Jesus wants you and I to not dwell on the negative. Well, that’s big for many of us. He doesn’t want us to dwell on the fact that people will turn from us. In fact, we just studied a few months ago the parable of the sower and the seed, and I made the case for you from the scripture that the first three soils are soils of unbelievers; that the only true soil of a believer is the last one. And the reason I know that is, foundationally, you cannot lose your salvation. In the first three occurrences you see people who start good and turn back. And we know you can’t lose your salvation. So the final soil is the only one that grows. And so the idea we see is this: three out of four times you share your faith, what is Jesus showing us? It may turn out negative. They may reject you. But that’s okay. Don’t focus on the negative. Focus on the positive.
Write this one down: 1 Peter 4:14: Blessed are you if you are reviled in the name of Jesus Christ. That’s what Peter says. Jesus says it this way in Luke 6:22. I want you to see this. You want to circle one, you want to underline it: “Blessed are you[that means be happy, be joyful] when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man [that’s Jesus]. Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.”
This is what Jesus is saying. When you go out and witness and share Christ to another person and they reject you, you have a reward in heaven. Mark Cahill in his book, The One Thing You Can’t Do In Heaven—which is a great book, I love the title—the one thing you can’t do in heaven is tell a lost person about Jesus, because everybody will be there will know Jesus. In his book, he talks about how he would go into towns and he would teach youth groups how to share their faith.
On one occasion, they went to the mall and he was sharing their faith with the people in the mall. Listen to what he says, “Most people would listen to the kids. But when someone would turn them down, the kids would turn to one another and say, ‘Cha-Ching,’ like a cash register. Cha-ching. They would ring up their reward in heaven and then they would give each other high fives and move on to the next person. They decided to take the word of God seriously and literally and not let anything get them down but to be bold for the Lord Jesus Christ.
This is a foreign concept to many of us because the problem with American Christianity is this: when someone puts us down, it’s unexpected. Like, “Wow. I can’t believe they didn’t accept Jesus.” But for the apostles, it was a different story. In fact, they expected persecution. They expected to be reviled. They expected to be persecuted through difficulty and trial. They expected to be arrested. They expected to be hurled insults at. What happened to American Christianity where it’s unexpected for us when we share the faith and people turn us down? You know, Jesus said it this way, “When you go out and share my name, I’m going to be like a sword. I’m going to divide. Your brother will be against sister, father against mother. I will come as a sword to divide but that’s okay. Count it all joy when you go out.”
Now, I have to be honest with the text here, folks, and I’m just going to be honest with you. I think if Jesus would have done this mission in many Baptist churches today, it wouldn’t have worked. I really don’t think so. What do you mean, Robby? This is why. Think of the mission. Jesus rounds the disciples up and he says, “I want you to go out in my name and perform ministry in my name. You’re in essence going to be representing me.” If those disciples would have come to many of the homes in many Baptist churches today and knocked on the door and said, “Hey, listen, we’re here to do ministry,” most of the people would respond like this, “Where’s the pastor?” Where’s Jesus at? We don’t want you. We want Jesus. Right? We don’t want to see you. We want the pastor to come to the house.
In fact, there are some people who think that if the Senior Pastor doesn’t come out, then it’s not worth anything. Right? I remember at my former church, when a man I had visited, I visited him once a month at least. He was homebound. And I’ll never forget, I got word from one of our church members they said, “Brother Jimmy realizes you’re not visiting. He hasn’t seen anybody. Nobody’s visiting Brother Jimmy.” So I asked on the first deacons meeting, I asked the guys, “Is anybody visiting?” Well, one guy said, “I visited.” This guy said, “I visited him last week.” Another one said, “I visited.” They said, “I heard one of the staff went out and visited.” And so I went to Brother Jimmy’s house. I said, “Brother Jimmy, you’ve been visited five times in the last month.” He said, “Yeah, I know but YOU haven’t visited me.” I said, “Well, I was just out here three or four weeks ago.” He said, “I know but YOU haven’t visited me.”
It’s called the Holy Man Syndrome. Larry Osborne talks about how it’s crept into our Christian circles today that if the pastor, the head pastor, doesn’t come, then the ministry doesn’t go.
Friends, that’s totally against the New Testament. In fact, in Ephesians 4:11-12, it says “some were given as prophets and apostles and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry for the building up of the body of Christ.” If we can only do ministry based on what I can do, then we’ll never do ministry, because I can’t do a lot of ministry by myself. I think that’s what Jesus said in John 14:12, “Truly I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I did.” I love this. “And greater works there will be in me.” You will do greater works than I did. That’s what Jesus is saying. Now some people have misinterpreted that passage to say we’re able to do better things than Jesus. How could you do anything better than Jesus? You can’t do anything better than God.
What Jesus is saying is you will do more for the kingdom of God because I’m one person at one place at one time on the earth. The 12 now will come out and because I’ve replicated myself in you, you will do 12 times the ministry that I was able to do by myself. I think about our church. What if we replicated ourselves in one another and we all went out in force in this community. You think we’d make a difference in Chattanooga? The answer’s what? Yes. Absolutely. You think we’d make a difference in the nations? Absolutely.
Notice the final question. What are the results of the discipleship mission? We saw the right provision, we saw the right response, we saw the right procedure. Notice the right results. Verse 12 and 13: “So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent.”
That’s always the message of Jesus. Mark 1:15. After John was put into prison, Jesus went into Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God saying, “Your time has come. The kingdom of heaven is now. The kingdom of God is now. Repent and believe in the gospel.” That’s the message. What is the gospel? Repentance and faith. Jesus said, “I want you to do that.” The disciples said, “We did.”
“And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.” Drop down to verse 30. This is the end of it. “The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught.”
Now here’s a question we’re going to answer next week. Why is the mission bookmarking the death of John? Did you catch that? It’s first and last. Verse 30 bookends the death of John. We’re going to see next week. Just a plug; don’t miss next week because we’re going to learn that next week.
Verse 30. They came back. They said, “Jesus, this is all that we’ve done.” My question is this: Why is Jesus sending out ordinary, faithless disciples? Just a few moments ago, they’re in the boat and they still can’t figure out the identity of Christ but yet Jesus now says, “Okay, guys. Gather up, boys. We’re ready to go out with the gospel.” Why is Jesus sending these guys out? I mean, Jesus, don’t you realize they don’t have PhD’s? These guys have never been to seminary Jesus. I don’t know if you got that. They’ve never been to be Bible College. They haven’t been through Evangelism Explosion or Faith or EE. They don’t know any of that, Jesus. I don’t know if you realize that.
You know what Jesus is showing us? It’s that you’ll never have enough counseling classes. You’ll never know enough theology. You’ll never know enough doctrine to feel that you’re capable to share the gospel. But you know what? That’s okay. It’s okay. Jesus is not interested in how much head knowledge you know. He’s interested in a willing heart to go out. Now, you will grow in your faith as you continue to mature and be discipled, but that shouldn’t stop you or paralyze you for going with the gospel. You should be able to go out and share your faith with other people. And that’s what Jesus says. “I want you to go out and minister in my name for my sake.”
You know, my biggest concern is this: when I used to come to the Lord when I was a new believer sharing the faith, I used to think, what if somebody asks me a question that I don’t know the answer to? You ever been there before? That may be you, right? “I can’t go out, Pastor, because if somebody asks me a question that I don’t know the answer to, they’re going to stomp me.” Here are some of the greatest words I’ve learned. I want to commend them to you. In fact, you can use them at will, if you’d like. I use them all the time. Not as much as I used to but I used to use them all the time: “I don’t know the answer to that question but I can find out.” Can you say that? I don’t know the answer to that question but I can find out. Don’t let your lack of knowledge or maturity stop you from sharing the gospel. I think so often as a new person comes to the Lord, we sanction them and we sensor them from the world that by the time they get excited about going out, they’ve lost their zeal from the coming of Christ through salvation.
Look at Luke 22:35. Jesus gives kind of a heads up and reminds the disciples of what happened. “[Jesus] said to them, ‘When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?’ [And] They said, ‘[No. We lacked] Nothing.’ He said to them, ‘But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy [a sword]. [It’s going to be rough out there, Jesus said.] For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: “And he was numbered with the transgressors.” For what is written about me has its fulfillment.’ And they said, ‘Look, Lord, here are two swords.’ And he said to them, ‘It is enough.’”
You know what he’s saying? Guys, do you remember the lesson? And here’s the lesson a long time ago. I sent you out with nothing to teach you dependence upon me. Now it’s a different era. There will come times in the Christian life when you will have to depend on me for provision, for food. But remember, God is always in control. I think the greatest lesson we earn as believers is dependence. What are you dependent upon the Lord for this morning? Are you in a situation where you’re desperate for God’s grace? Are you in a situation where you’re dependent upon God to allow you to go through that situation? I think as we look at the charlatans of Jesus’ day, we can compare them to the charlatans of our day that have made Christianity a system of what you can get from God. Right? Come to Jesus and he’ll give you what you want. You can get from God. When actually, the kingdom of God is not what you can do or what the kingdom can do for you. It’s actually what can you do for the kingdom? William Carey said these great words that I’ve remembered through college and I still remember today. He said, “Attempt great things for God. Expect great things from God.”
Let me ask you as we close, what are you attempting great for the Lord?