Friday, June 13, 2008

You Shall Have Authority

Jeremiah 23:15-32; Mark 3:13-19 / Hebrews 4:1-13

I. Jesus Chose Apostles

A. Jesus went to a private place to select those whom He would train and send as His agents; He called and they came. “And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him.” (Mark 3:13)

B. The selection began with a protracted period of prayer. “And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;” (Luke 6:12-13)

C. An apostle is “one sent forth” (apo, “from,” stello, “to send”); the word is used of the Lord Jesus to describe His relation to the Father. “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;” (Hebrews 3:1) “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3)

D. The apostles were chosen, they did not advance themselves or come with election certificates.Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” (John 15:16)

II. Jesus Prepared His Apostles

A. Jesus took charge of a select group. “And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach,” (Mark 3:14)

B. He ordained 12, calling to mind both the history and the future of God’s people. “And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Matthew19:28)

C. Though the focus grows more precise across time there is only one church and one message of gracious redemption. James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.” (James 1:1) “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,” (1 Peter 1:1)

D. Christ’s servants must be much with him; interaction with Jesus is the foundation for Christian service. “Now when they sawthe boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13) “I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.” (Psalm 119:99)

E. The Apostles who went out to evangelize the world began with three years of intense personal instruction and example. “And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.” (John 15:27) “And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils:” (Mark 3:15)

F. Jesus left precise instructions at the end of His earthly ministry. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

G. Jesus provided for continuing education on the job. “And I will pray the Father,and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” (John 14:16-17) “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” (John 16:13) “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:26)

III. Study the Apostles

A. Three other lists confirm the selection. “And Simon he surnamed Peter; And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder: And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite, And Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed him: and they went into an house.” (Mark 3:16-19)

B. Jesus even selected His own betrayer. “Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.”(Matthew 26:14-16)

C. The most amazing biographies of all time resulted from obedience to Jesus’ closing instructions; the agents of Christ are missionaries. “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

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