The Faithful Proclamation of the Gospel
February 24, 2019 Speaker: Dr. Rick Gregory Series:
Topic: Gospel Verse: Luke 9:1–9:11
“The Faithful Proclamation of the Gospel”
Theme: It is the joy of the believer to be able to share the Gospel with those who do not yet know Jesus Christ.
Introduction: Have you ever watched a “time-lapse” video? Fast-moving people either streaming in a variety of directions or working on some project. During one of our recent Thanksgiving dinner, I set up my phone on the time-lapse setting and videotaped our meal. It was hilarious. One of the revelations that came from that video was that Pat was barely visible as she was rarely seated – she constantly moving in serving, refilling dishes, and miscellaneous tasks, but was seated little. You mothers probably identify. I, on the other hand, seemed to be moving in normal speed – except for my fork hand!!
If there were to be such a video taken and spliced together to include occasions where people served the interests of Christ Jesus by sharing the good news of salvation from sin with others – would the video of you be one of activity and faithfulness or would it be one of static inactivity and selfish pursuit? Perhaps you wouldn’t even make the video!!!
In our text today, we have an example of what Jesus promised to those who He called to follow Him – when He said “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men!” [Matthew 4:19]. He was describing the principle purpose of sinners who are converted to faith in Jesus Christ – to tell others about what the Lord has done for them. We are given a prototype of this task in our text for the morning. Jesus charges His disciples to take the Gospel out and proclaim the ability for sinners to repent and believe on the Messiah to deliver them from the guilt of sin, the power of sin, and the consequences of sin. We can learn much from this text. First, let us realize that …
I. We Are Enlisted to Proclaim the Gospel – 9:1-2
A. The Commission to Proclaim the Gospel – v. 1a, 2a
- As Jesus approaches a turning point in His ministry where He will begin preparing for His death, He seeks to provide His disciples with an opportunity to serve Him.
- Essentially, He provides them a “trial run” or an “internship” of preaching and ministering the Gospel to the lost.
- We are told by Luke that “He called the twelve together … and sent them out to proclaim the Kingdom of God …”
- The word “called” [Συγκαλεσάμενος] (Aor. Mid. Part.) – conveys a summons, to call to one’s side and in this case for the purpose of giving them a commission – a ministry assignment.
- Literally, it reads: “Having summoned the twelve to His side, He gave them power and authority …”
- Essentially, this is a dry run of the ultimate purpose that God has for every believer – that we go and make disciples – preaching to all the world – Mark 16:15.
- The “power and authority” that Jesus gave to them foreshadows the great power and authority that Jesus would provide to us through the Holy Spirit of promise – cp. Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:4-5,8.
B. The Compassion in Proclaiming the Gospel – vv. 1b-2
- This “power and authority” was given to the twelve so that their ministry of proclaiming the gospel might truly enable people whose lives have been wrecked by sin might be delivered from the consequences of sin.
- We are told that their ministry of “proclaim[ing] the kingdom of God” would be a spiritual deliverance as well as the deliverance from sickness through healing as well.
- Their ministry would be to deliver sinners from the spiritual oppression of the powers of darkness – “over all the demons …”
- It would also be to enable them “… to heal diseases” – thus, as they went “to proclaim the kingdom of God,” they were to “perform healing” in order to place the compassion of God on display through the Gospel.
- The significance of this is clear – the misery that is caused by sin in this life is immediately corrected as a sign of the greater, eternal healing that is provided through the Gospel.
- Any present suffering, regardless of how severe, is slight in comparison to the suffering that awaits sinners in Hell; likewise, the present healing displayed by the “signs of the Apostles” is slight compared to the glorification that awaits those who believe.
- Hence, we are all enlisted in proclaiming the Gospel to the lost so that they might be saved and reconciled to God – to the glory of Christ.
- Why do you think that some people claim and exemption from the responsibility to make disciples?
- How does a believer today know that they have power and authority to proclaim the Gospel?
- Why is compassion always an attendant circumstance to the sharing of the Gospel?
II. We Are Equipped to Proclaim the Gospel – 9:3-6
A. Equipped with Confidence in God’s Provision – v. 3
- However, we must not miss that as we are commissioned by Christ to “make disciples” and “preach the Gospel to the world,” we are also equipped by God and His grace to be fruitful in that work.
- First, we are granted faith – that confidence that we do not go out on our own strength, but with the promise of God’s grace.
- This is displayed by the instruction given here by Christ – “And He said to them, ‘Take nothing for your journey, neither a staff, nor a bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not even have two tunics apiece.’”
- They were being called upon to demonstrate total dependence on God’s provision for them – as a sign of their dependency upon God for their spiritual provision as well – which was faithfully fulfilled – cp. Luke 22:35.
- This was a temporary arrangement – for the purpose of emphasizing that salvation is totally dependent upon the provision of God’s grace – cp. Luke 22:36.
- If we aren’t able to trust God to meet our physical, temporary needs, how can we possibly provide any evidence that we can trust God with our spiritual, eternal needs?
B. Equipped with Contentment with God’s Provision – v. 4
- The second way by which we are equipped is in the ability to be content with what God provides for us.
- Instead of being constantly angling for a “better situation,” Jesus instructed His Apostles to display contentment with what God provides them.
- Luke quotes Jesus as giving this instruction: “Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that city.”
- Instead of constantly seeking to gain money from people as one would seek to “milk” God’s people, they were to display their contentment with what God had provided for them and simply concentrate on spreading the Gospel – free of charge – cp. Matthew 10:8
C. Equipped with Clarity in God’s Promise – v. 5
- The Gospel is a matter of life and death – the rejection of the Gospel brings death while obeying the Gospel results in life and blessing.
- In this sense, the Gospel is presented with a clarity that allows us to recognize when a person believes, and a person rejects the truth.
- As a symbolic act of clarity and warning, Jesus instructed them: “And as for those who do not receive you, as you go out from that city, shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”
- The Gospel is clear – if you believe, you live; if you refuse to believe you will die in your sins.
- To “shake the dust off your feet” is a traditional Jewish gesture of repudiation; when there is a repudiation of the Lord, there is a repudiation by the followers of Christ Jesus.
D. Equipped with Concentration on God’s Promise – v. 6
- The zeal with which the followers of Jesus undertook their assignment is convicting!
- We are told that “Departing, they began going throughout the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.”
- There is an obvious enthusiasm for the work that is given by the Holy Spirit as they were led to seek the spread of the Gospel.
- Certainly, they were convinced of the truth of their message and went around “everywhere” declaring the good news, concentrating on the promise of God to save sinners.
- What causes a believer to lack confidence in the Gospel?
- How does discontentment with what God has done in your life affect your desire to spread the Gospel?
- If a person has a clear understanding of the Gospel, how does it affect their sense of urgency in proclaiming the Gospel?
III. We Are Effective in Proclaiming the Gospel – 9:7-11
A. The Announcement of Christ – vv. 7-9
- There are three essential elements revealed here that provides the evidence that they were fruitful in their ministries.
- First, we see that their message focused on Jesus Christ – they sought to speak of Him – “Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was happening; and he was greatly perplexed, because it was said by some that John had risen from the dead, and by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the prophets of old had risen again.”
- As Herod was listening to the report about what the Apostles were preaching, he superstitiously concluded that the message was about someone who was supernaturally endowed and sought explanations.
- The key here is that Herod wanted to know who they were talking about – “Herod said, ‘I myself had John beheaded; but who is this man about whom I hear such things?’ And he kept trying to see Him.”
- The question of the identity of Jesus was of utmost importance to Herod – “… who is this man about whom I hear such things?”
- The point of the preaching by the Apostles was Jesus and their audience – including Herod – got that.
- If we are going to be successful in our proclamation of the Gospel – we cannot afford to be distracted by extraneous objections, doctrinal conundrums, or cultural sensitivities – we must present Jesus Christ.
- If it is not about Christ, our message fall short of the glory needed to save souls – without knowing it, the lost crave hearing about Christ – cp. John 12:20-21.
B. The Accountability to Christ – v. 10
- Another element in being effective in the proclamation of the Gospel is to realize that we are accountable to Jesus Christ Himself for the message that we proclaim about Him.
- In our text, “when the apostles returned, they gave an account to Him of all that they had done.”
- Jesus held them accountable for their ministries – even as we ourselves are held accountable for the ministries we perform in the name of Christ – 2 Corinthians 5:9-10
- Jesus, “taking them with Him, He withdrew by Himself to a city called Bethsaida” – a place that was the hometown of Peter, Phillip & Andrew to give them a rest after their ministry tour.
C. The Adoration of Christ – v. 11
- Nevertheless, they continued to know the joy of observing the Master do the work perfectly – “But the crowds were aware of this and followed Him; and welcoming them, He began speaking to them about the kingdom of God and curing those who had need of healing.”
- The very ministry Jesus had given to them to do, Jesus Himself did – modeling for His disciples the heart of ministry.
- They continued to watch Him – attending Him as He did the ministry, undoubtedly adoring Him all the while.
- Despite whatever fruit they had enjoyed, Jesus’ ministry was superlative – outstripping anything that they had done – allowing their adoration of Christ to continue to flow.
- Why does a good presentation of the Gospel focus on Jesus Christ?
- Why is it so easy to distract a person from the centrality of Christ in the Gospel?
- How does the awareness of our accountability to Christ motivate us to serve faithfully? .