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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: F.E. Marsh :: Readings 401-450 (The Death - Three)

F.E. Marsh :: 440. The Twelve Sent Forth

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MATTHEW 10:5-16

“AND as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 10:7).

There were nine things the apostles were to do, namely, “Go,” “Preach,” “Heal,” “Cleanse,” “Raise,” “Cast out,” “Give,” “Salute,” “Shake off;” and two things they were to be, viz.: “Wise,” and “Harmless.”

  1. What the Apostles were to do. 1 Christ’s instructions to His disciples we have an illustration of what all His people are to do.
    1. “Go.” The disciples were restricted in the sphere of their labours. They were not to go to the Gentiles, but only “to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt. 10:5-6); but believers are not so limited now, we are to go “into all the world” (Mark 16:15), to “all nations” (Matt. 28:19), and to “the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
    2. “Preach.” The disciples had to preach “the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 10:7), that is, Christ coming as Israel’s Messiah and King. We, on the other hand, proclaim that Christ has come; hence our message is the Gospel of the grace of God. The essence of which is the death and resurrection of Christ (1 Cor. 15:1-4).
    3. “Heal.” “Heal the sick” was the commission of the twelve, but no man has the gift of bodily healing now, although God may heal in answer to prayer if it be His will. The spiritual health that Christ gives, as men come in contact with Him, is communicated to them as believers-being in touch with Him.
    4. “Cleanse.” “Cleanse the lepers.” One line in the message of salvation is, that the blood of Jesus Christ can cleanse from the leprosy of sin. Moral lepers are healed as we get them to come to Christ with the “1 Thou wilt” of expressed need, then they can hear Christ’s “I will, be thou clean” (Matt. 8:2-3).
    5. “Raise.” “Raise the dead.” Those who are dead in sins (Eph. 2:1) we may quicken as the message of John 5:24-25, is uttered in the power of the life-giving Spirit of God.
    6. “Cast out.” “Cast out devils.” As believers are walking in fellowship with Christ, He will use them in casting out the demons that possess men; for God can still use us, if it be His will, as He used Paul (Acts 19:11-12).
    7. “Give.” “Freely ye have received, freely give.” One rule that always holds good in the realm of Christ is, He gives that we may give. No believer must conserve to himself the blessing Christ gives, for it will be like the manna that was hoarded up by the Israelites if he does (Exodus 16:20). If we would have the cistern of our spiritual being ever full with the fresh and refreshing grace of God, we must take good heed that the tap of obedience, in seeking to be a blessing to others, is ever turned on.
    8. “Salute” (Matt. 10:12). The salutation of the Christian to those with whom he comes in contact, should ever be, “Peace be unto you.” The best way to bring peace to any home or heart is to tell of Christ the Peace-maker (Col. 1:20), for those who believe in Christ have peace with God through Him (Rom. 5:1).
    9. “Shake off” (Matt. 10:14). If there were any who would not receive the messengers of Christ, then they were to shake the dust off their feet and go elsewhere. Those who are most dependent upon God are the least dependent upon men. As in the days of the apostles, so now, there are ever those who believe and those who believe not (Acts 28:24).
  2. What the disciples were to be. They were to be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves” (Matt. 10:16). There was to be the simplicity of single-heartedness and the tact of godly wisdom. Thomas Watson says, “This beautifies a Christian, when he hath the serpent’s tooth in the dove’s head. We must have the innocence of the dove, that we may not betray the truth, and the wisdom of the serpent, that we may not betray ourselves. In short, religion without policy is too weak to be safe; policy without religion, is too subtle to be good. When wisdom and innocency, like Castor and Pollux, appear together, they presage the soul’s happiness.”
    Wisdom is like the rudder of the ship, it keeps the vessel on its course; and harmlessness is like the sails, which, filled with the wind, propel the ship on its way.
    To possess true wisdom, that which is not the wisdom of the old serpent, is to possess Christ, who is the Wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:24), and to be truly simple-not silly-is to keep in, what the Holy Spirit calls, “the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Cor. 11:3), for we are in the Divine realm of His protection and power, as we abide in Him, besides having the special promise, “The Lord preserveth the simple” (Psalm 116:6).
    The harmlessness of the dove is an illustration of the godly sincerity that should be the feature in the life of the child of God as he is in the world (Phil. 2:15, margin). To be simple concerning that which is evil (Rom. 16:19) is to be Christ-like, for He was “harmless” (Heb. 7:26), or “simple,” as the word is rendered in Rom. 16:19.
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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