Article for Sunday June 18, 2023
Exodus 19:4-6a 4You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. 5Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; 6a and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.
God told Moses that His chosen people will be a kingdom of priests, a holy nation. Priests go out and speak the word of God through the way they live their lives and verbally explain the will of God for all. God said they were to do this to all people.
Peoples, in Hebrew, means nations. In other words, God’s chosen nation was to go out and be known as His treasured possession among all nations. To make this possible God’s chosen people would spread God’s word through their actions and God’s word. Another way to put this is that the Hebrew nation was to be the disciples of God. This I conclude from the passages of Exodus 19:4–6a, is that we are to live our lives as disciples of God. We as disciples learn God’s will for all through His word. What we learn and to be a true disciple, we put into action. So, in summery of God’s will is that we love Him, and we love our neighbor. Knowing this we obey in action not in lip service. If you want the details memorize the Ten Commandments and read the Torah.
Matthew 9:36 – 38 36When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
We’re not like wheat, corn, or soybeans who just stay where they were planted until harvest time. We are disciples who when harvested go out to raise more disciples teaching and spreading the nourishment we receive from God’s word. We, as disciples, are to raise up more priests and precious possessions for God and His kingdom.
This is true worship; this is a true way to thank our God who gave His Son to bring us reconciliation that leads to eternal life. Not that this is the way to heaven, but that this is the way to love God and our neighbor. What God gave us is His first born and Jesus is to be shared and never horded.
There are many who are lost sheep and have no shepherd. As priests, disciples, we are to help the shepherd find the lost so they may enjoy the benefits that our shepherd gives us. This is discipleship acted out that helps build the holy nation of God’s Kingdom. This is spreading God’s means of grace and mercy.
Matthew 10:1–5a, 7 1And he called to him his twelve disciples… 2The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. 5These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go… 7And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’
Jesus selected not the finest, but the everyday person. Jesus selected the common fishermen, tax collector, even a Canaanite, and sinners to be His top twelve. These top twelve, like the prophets of old, had no special qualities that made them superior or worth selecting. These twelve were just normal everyday people like you and me called by God to spread the Good news.
Jesus sent these disciples out to speak to many households in the Jewish nation, Israel, and let them know of the kingdom of God. They were to say, “The Kingdom of God is at hand.” What does this mean?
The King is with us, and He has come to be our savior who will save us from our sin. This is the ultimate sacrifice for our atonement, as Jesus our King will clothe us in His righteousness. He came to fulfill the law. What does that mean?
The Law if followed shows us how to be perfect and be in the image of God, who is perfect. But we cannot be perfect as we cannot follow the law, we are slaves to our sinful nature. Because of our sinful nature the Law has no power over us. So, we need something or someone who can fulfill the law in order that what the law was supposed to accomplish is accomplished. In other words, we are now made perfect by being clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ who is perfect. Not that we are perfect but now we are made perfect being clothed in Christ’s righteousness.
Matthew 10:16–18 16“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, 18and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles.
We as disciples of Jesus are being sent out into a world of wolves and wolf wannabees and to be honest a lot of wussies. Our world is becoming more and more ravenous and likes to tear anything in its path to shreds. We cannot paint a pretty picture of the world, but a beautiful picture God paints with the brush of His salvation.
So yes, we need to be wise as a serpent who can quickly remove itself from an attack. And we should be innocent enough to be like a dove. The dove does not attack but is able to fly away from the influence of trouble. Beware of the world for the world will throw you to the wolves where you may be beaten, eaten, and murdered for the sake of the name, Jesus Christ.
Matthew 10:19–20 19When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. 20For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”
For as we are the children of God, we have nothing to fear from the world. The world may destroy our flesh, but we are not of the flesh just in the flesh. We are not of the world, but we are in the world. We are of the spirit, and we have the Holy Spirit. But what is greater than the world saves us and that is Jesus Christ our Lord.
Jesus, when He died on the cross forgave us, and remember this was while he suffered. However, in Jesus Christ’s resurrection, Jesus saves us. Always take heart, we are in this life for just a short time, but we look forward to an eternal life with our God and savior. We look forward to the event that places us, His children, with the Father for all eternity. We have nothing in this world to fear for we know our salvation even Jesus Christ our Lord. Remember, the fear of the Lord is wisdom. Amen.
Written by Pastor Curtis A. May