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Sabbath School Lessons on Missionaries in the Bible
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Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 41 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 5: Matthew 10: Jesus and His Disciples *
Introduction: Our current series of studies on the great missionaries
is focused on the life and actions of these missionaries. Our goal?
To deduce how their lives and actions apply to ours. Our lesson this
week starts out much differently. Instead of trying to deduce the
specific principles from our missionary examples, Jesus just states
the principles to His disciples. Our only question is whether these
same principles apply to our missionary efforts? Let's dive into the
Bible and consider this!
- The Call
- Read Matthew 10:1. Notice that the twelve are both called
and authorized. Are you called by Jesus? (Read Romans
8:28-30. Do you want to advance the Kingdom of God? Do
you respond in love to the love Jesus first showed you
when He died for your sins? If so, you are called.)
- When you are called are you also automatically
authorized to drive out evil spirits and heal disease
and sickness? (The text makes it appear that
authorization to do these things is a separate
- Who is authorized to do these things? I've spent
years praying for various people and their various
medical problems. But I've never driven out an evil
spirit or had someone who was obviously and instantly
healed by my prayers alone. Am I just not authorized
for those things? (Read John 14:11-14. These verses
say that if I have faith, I am authorized to do these
miracles. I do not know if it is a matter of a lack
of faith on my part or if it was not God's will to
heal a sickness at that moment. Perhaps I'm not
paying close enough attention to what God is doing in
response to my prayers. For example, in the last
month I was in the hospital praying for an 85 year-old man who was a life-long smoker and who was going
in for a heart procedure that might end his life. It
turned out his arteries were clear. Did my prayers
clear his arteries, or were the already clear?)
- The Instructions
- Read Matthew 10:5-6. Do these instructions apply to us?
(Read Acts 1:8. We see that with time the target audience
- Read Matthew 10:7. Is this our message? Or, was this a
message directed only to a Jewish audience? (If you look
at Acts 1:4-7, the discussion that Jesus had with His
disciples just before He left for heaven, it was about the
restoration of the kingdom. Jesus did not say that they
had a new message to go along with the broader audience.)
- What is the "Kingdom of Heaven?" What do you think
the disciples thought it meant when they referred to
the "kingdom" in Acts 1:6? (The disciples quite
clearly thought that Jesus was going to establish a
kingdom on earth. The language in Acts 1:6 about
"restoring" the kingdom "to Israel" leaves little
doubt. Jesus refers to the heavenly kingdom - that is
something else - at least in the short run.)
- Read Luke 17:20-24. This coming of the kingdom was
obviously a hot topic in Jesus' day. How does Jesus
describe the Kingdom of God? (He describes it two
ways. First, He says it is "within you." Second, He
describes it as coming like lightening that lights up
the entire sky. Jesus was not only with them (He
brought in the coming kingdom), but He was imparting
kingdom knowledge to the disciples. However,
ultimately Jesus will come again and usher in the
physical Kingdom of Heaven.)
- What, then, should you be talking to others about to
fulfill the command to tell others ( Matthew 10:7)
"The Kingdom of Heaven is near?" (Both. The kingdom
within us and the Second Coming.)
- Read Matthew 10:8. How does this instruction about
healing the sick, raising the dead, and curing medical
problems relate to the message that the Kingdom of Heaven
is near? (Are these not all "kingdom" solutions? In the
elimination of death, sickness, mourning and pain we see
the Kingdom of God. Revelation 21:3-4.)
- What is Matthew 10:8 talking about when it says what
has been freely received should be freely given to
others? (The message of salvation and the
availability of the power of the Holy Spirit. We do
not pay for these things, so why not share them
freely with others?)
- Read Matthew 10:9-10. How should a missionary's efforts be
financed? Should you pay for your own expenses? (No. You
should be paid to do this.)
- What if you have the money, and can afford to pay for
your own expenses? (The text seems to assume that the
disciple could bring his own money and extra
- What do you say about Paul, who in 1 Corinthians 9
says that he has the right to be paid to do his
missionary work, but that he boasts (1 Corinthians
9:15) about earning his own way? If Jesus tells us
not to pay our own way, how can Paul boast about
paying his own way? (If you look at the 1 Corinthians
9, you will see that Paul considers support from
others a right which he has waived.)
- Read Matthew 10:11-13. What benefit can we obtain by
giving lodging to a missionary? (Peace will rest on your
- What do you think it means to have "peace" resting on
your home? (Adam Clarke's Commentary on this text
reveals that among the Hebrews this term had a very
"extensive meaning: it comprehended all blessings,
spiritual and temporal.")
- If the missionary had this peace to give (or take
back), what does this suggest about the life of the
missionary? (These blessings were part of the
- Read Matthew 10:14-15. What lesson do we learn about the
times when others reject our missionary message?
- How do we distinguish between wasting our time and
giving others a second chance?
- Is giving others a second chance a waste of our
time - in the sense that we could be presenting
the gospel to someone else? (For me, building a
relationship is important for sharing the
gospel. If I have been building a relationship
and get a neutral reaction, I need to be sure
that my message will not ultimately be accepted
before I turn away.)
- Read Matthew 10:16. What role does the Holy Spirit play in
this process of converting others? ( John 16:7-9 tells us
that the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, righteousness and
- Can we confuse our role with that of the Holy Spirit?
- Is the reverse possible? (Our efforts need to be
bathed in prayer and we need to ask for the
direction, aid and blessing of the Holy Spirit. But,
that is not where things end. Jesus tells us to use
our brains when working to convert others.)
- The Warning
- Read Matthew 10:21-22 and Romans 2:9-10. How can you
reconcile these two texts? How can "all men" hate us when
at least some are being converted? (I think that Jesus was
warning His disciples (and us, as a secondary matter),
that just because we are doing "God's work," it does not
mean that all will be peaceful and calm.)
- Read Matthew 10:23. Was Jesus just giving them false hope
about His Second Coming? If I heard this, I would think
that if I spread the message throughout my country, that
Jesus would come back during my lifetime! (There are at
least a couple of theories on this. One is that the "Son
of Man comes" refers to the destruction of Jerusalem which
took place about 40 years later. Another is that the text
would be better translated as saying the cities will be
"perfectly instructed." Israel is not yet perfectly
instructed. My thought is that Jesus is sending the
disciples out on a practice run. Jesus came to them in
power when He died, was resurrected and spent time with
them. This all happened before they had finished their
work in Israel.)
- Read Matthew 10:32-33. Are you embarrassed about
witnessing? About being a missionary? What promise and
warning are we given if we refuse this mission?
- Friend, how about you? Are you willing to be a missionary?
How about just witnessing to your neighbors? If you are
embarrassed about standing for Jesus, think about the idea
of Jesus being embarrassed about standing up for you!
- Next week: The Compassionate Savior.
* Copr. 2008, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.