Men on a Mission

Mark  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  40:36
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Good morning and welcome to Dishman Baptist Church’s online services. Please open your copy of God’s Word with me to Mark 6, Mark 6. As difficult as all of this has been it seems like there may be a light at the end of the tunnel - its dim and its small but it’s there. Please be patient as we navigate the information and the lifting of regulations. We will practice the same care, diligence and patience in reopening as we did in closing our services here. Thank you to all of you who have continued to support us through this time.
And it has been a challenging time. We are now starting to see families affected by the furloughs and layoffs. We’re seeing families affected nationwide by the close quarters we are all forced to live in. I even was in a brief interaction yesterday with someone on Facebook who challenged the God that we serve and how my view of God would require that we view this current pandemic as an act of God to destroy people - but it completely opposite of that. Yes this is an act of God, allowed through His providence, but not to destroy people but to drive them to repentance and faith and to demonstrate His mercy. We need to be in constant prayer - not only for our own families but those around the nation who are being affected by this pandemic whether directly through the sickness or as collateral through the added restrictions to our lives.
We got to see explore those truths last weekend as we looked at the beautiful truths of redemption - purchased and delivered. Even in their status as the most beautiful truths in the universe and as we glory in them the practical aspects of those truths - translating them from the beauty of the doctrine to the practical everyday life of the Christian is often the greatest challenge that we face. We’ve repented and placed our faith in what? Well this morning - again through the providential allowance of God - we’re going to come to a passage that is eminently practical in our lives. I really love it when this happens. We got to study the heady and beautiful doctrines of the cross and the resurrection last week. Our hearts were lifted and we gloried in our Savior and this week God tells us what that all means in a practical manner in our lives. Let’s now turn our hearts and our minds to Mark 6:7-13.
Mark 6:7–13 CSB
He summoned the Twelve and began to send them out in pairs and gave them authority over unclean spirits. He instructed them to take nothing for the road except a staff—no bread, no traveling bag, no money in their belts, but to wear sandals and not put on an extra shirt. He said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that place. If any place does not welcome you or listen to you, when you leave there, shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” So they went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons, anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.
Jesus is nearing the end of His second year of public ministry. The disciples have been with Jesus for nearly a year and longer for some of them. They’ve been being prepared to carry on His ministry and to carry His message to the people. They were witnesses to His remarkable healing ministry in Capernaum. They got to see the power of His preaching on their initial tour through the synagogues of Galilee. They saw His power over nature as He calmed the storm and His power over unclean spirits as He called them out all over the countryside. They were even privy to how to handle conflict as they watched the interactions between Jesus and the religious leaders. Even those with His family and, as we looked at a few weeks ago, how to handle a hometown that rejected His authority. They had been preparing for this moment. Jesus had called them for a purpose
Mark 3:13–15 CSB
Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve, whom he also named apostles, to be with him, to send them out to preach, and to have authority to drive out demons.
and now it would be their opportunity to put to the test what they had been learning.
Right now many of us are isolated at home - the question for all of us is how are we making use of the time that we have? Right now is a perfect opportunity to prepare to carry out Christ’s mission following this quarantine. I was on with Pastors Zac and Danny yesterday and we were talking a bit about this subject - the church, always hated and disliked by society, because of the actions of some leaders has had it’s public image damaged of late. The wonderful thing about that is that it is during times like this, when most of society looks down on the church and persecutes the church that the church grows the most. So this is a perfect time for us to come to this passage as we’re going to see three principles that Christ gave the Apostles on their first mission and how they still apply for us today. In fact that’s where we’re going to start. We’re going to see the Mission, then we’re going to see the Method and finally we’re going to look at the Method. The Mission, the method and the Message.
First let’s look at the Mission in Mark 6:7.

The Mission

Mark says He summoned. Stop there because we cannot miss this. It is Christ who did the summoning of His disciples then
John 15:16 CSB
You did not choose me, but I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give you.
and it is Christ who does the summoning of disciples now. The word here is proskaleo. This rendering of this verb rarely has theological significance in the New Testament always meaning to call another, or others to the one doing the calling. But the significance for us is the root word - kaleo. This verb has to do with God’s calling of His people - in one nuance to a divine calling or vocation and in another it is used to call sinners to repentance in Matthew 9:13. It is used by God to call us to Himself for salvation in Romans 8:30
Romans 8:30 CSB
And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called, he also justified; and those he justified, he also glorified.
It was even used to refer those who were believers before the Resurrection. Hebrews 11:8 uses this verb in reference to Abraham
Hebrews 11:8 CSB
By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and set out for a place that he was going to receive as an inheritance. He went out, even though he did not know where he was going.
The root word also has great significance in another rendering of the word as ekklesia meaning the church of assembly. This is even more important for our purposes this morning in that the verb proskaleo is rendered in the present tense meaning that even now Christ is still summoning His disciples for the mission that He gives to these twelve men.
So He summons the Twelve and begins to send them out. This is another significant point that we need to study. He sends them out - not even in the manner of those servants in the parable of the wedding feast who were sent out in Matthew 22.
Matthew 22:3–4 CSB
He sent his servants to summon those invited to the banquet, but they didn’t want to come. Again, he sent out other servants and said, ‘Tell those who are invited: See, I’ve prepared my dinner; my oxen and fattened cattle have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’
These were sent out to bring people in. The Apostles here are sent out to carry the message to the towns. How unlike our modern view of evangelism and worship. In most cases we think we have been sent out to call people to come to the church to hear the message - much like the servants in Matthew 22 we’re called to invite guests to a wedding feast or to a proclamation of the Gospel rather than being sent out with the Gospel itself. Jesus doesn’t tell His disciples to go out and gather a large crowd and bring them to hear me teach - He simply sends them out. We’ll get to the message He did send them with in a few minutes but I want us to grasp the importance of this idea that we have been summoned to be sent out.
He sends them out in groups of two. There are several reasons for this - the first being the Old Testament standard that a message is to be confirmed by two or more witnesses
Deuteronomy 19:15 CSB
“One witness cannot establish any iniquity or sin against a person, whatever that person has done. A fact must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.
another reason is the support and protection that can be afforded by having a second person. Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes
Ecclesiastes 4:12 CSB
And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.
This was a principle that I applied when I was going street preaching when we lived in Maryland. It is always important, whether you are street preaching, going door to door or any other form of public ministry, to have another person with you. In a day where everything is offensive and it only takes one accusation to get arrested - nearly every month before this pandemic quarantined everyone, there were stories of a street preacher or witness getting arrested for “offensive speech”. Having a partner with you can help diffuse a lot of troublesome situations.
Another factor is the idea of exponential growth - an idea that we have seen applied to a significant degree as experts have attempted to chart the potential affects of the coronavirus. If two people tell two people each then you have four. If those continue to multiply at a factor of two in a very short time 256, then 512, then 1024 people have heard the Gospel assuming each person tells two more people what they heard. That is a significant growth curve. Now just imagine if you told two people…what an impact we could have.
The final aspect of the mission we need to look at is the power or authority that Jesus gives the Apostles over unclean spirits. This seems to be a temporary authority that He gives them to validate their message. Just as in Jesus ministry the miracles were only meant to support and validate the message not to be the primary focus. I say that this is a temporary power because following this tour they are confronted with a situation in which the Apostles could not cast out the demon.
This also contributes to the idea that some gifts or abilities that were present in the early church may not be as prevalent or possible now. The miracles always supported the message but once that message was written down and in circulation the need for the miracles passed. Just as these disciples were empowered to cast out unclean spirits for a time, so also the early church was given this validating power for the message for the time that it would be necessary.
One last point to bring out here. The Apostles were given a ministry of compassion. Even while the ministry might be temporary it demonstrates for us that there are needs that we can meet to ease people’s pain and suffering and we should do so whenever possible. It is also a demonstration that often times a financial solution is not the best answer to helping alleviate suffering.
The Apostles were given a mission - to go out and to share the message of Christ. But there was a method to their mission. Mark, and Christ, spends more time describing the method for us than he does describing either the mission itself or the message that would be proclaimed. Let’s give the method our attention now.

The Method

There are three primary principles that we can learn from the description of the method in these verses. We learn to depend on the providence of God, not to seek prosperity or popularity and what to do with those who will not hear the sound teaching that we are dispatched with.
First we are to depend on the providence of God in verse 8 and 9.
Mark 6:8–9 CSB
He instructed them to take nothing for the road except a staff—no bread, no traveling bag, no money in their belts, but to wear sandals and not put on an extra shirt.
This is so fundamentally contrary to our nature that it is hard to wrap our minds around. We are a people who likes to live by the old Boy Scout motto - “Be Prepared”. I mean at the barest hint of a pandemic people flooded the stores buying up all the toilet paper, hand sanitizer and paper towels they could find. Within days the shelves of almost every grocery store were empty. I remember spending one morning going to three stores just to find a bag of rice - and I still wasn’t able to. We want to be prepared for any contingency.
I’m a backpacker and yet I still try to be as prepared as possible because when you’re out on the trail if something happens there is no one to rely on besides yourself. So we take first aid kits and flashlights, water filters and bug spray. We take maps and compasses and then our phone with GPS. We take everything we could possibly need and try to pack it as small as possible so that it is as light as possible because we have to carry it all on our backs.
Here Jesus sends out His disciples on a mission and tells them to take only the clothes on their back, a staff and a pair of shoes. While there is some parallel to the way the Israelites were to dress for the Passover to be ready to leave in a moments notice
Exodus 12:11 CSB
Here is how you must eat it: You must be dressed for travel, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. You are to eat it in a hurry; it is the Lord’s Passover.
we shouldn’t draw too many comparisons to that event except for this - the disciples were being called to rely completely on the providence of God for their provisions. Rather than going out completely prepared and provisioned the Apostles were being called to trust God implicitly for their every need. Much like the Israelites in the wilderness when the Lord provided manna, Elijah in the wilderness when the ravens provided him food, so the Apostles would be reliant on God for their provisions. Earlier they had heard Jesus teach
Matthew 6:31–33 CSB
So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.
and they would have known the passages in the Psalms
Psalm 104:27–28 CSB
All of them wait for you to give them their food at the right time. When you give it to them, they gather it; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things.
and Psalm 145
Psalm 145:15–16 CSB
All eyes look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.
Commenting on these verses the Pillar Commentary says this “True service of Jesus is characterized by dependence on Jesus, and dependence on Jesus is signified by going where Jesus sends despite material shortfalls and unanswered questions.” The disciples were to be totally reliant on God’s providence and so are we. As we seek to perform our mission do we find ourselves completely reliant on the providence of God or do we instead try to manufacture results? The Apostles went out with nothing - only the clothes on their back, the shoes on their feet and the staff in their hands. It would be akin to our being sent out with the clothes on our back, the shoes on our feet and only our Bibles. How many are confident in being sent out that way?
It is the same way in our churches - we manufacture campaigns and slogans, programs and publicized events to get people to submit to the Gospel instead of simply preaching the Word, praying for salvations and then letting God do His work. Now I’m not saying all programs, campaigns, slogans or publicized events are bad - we do VBS, summer BBQs, etc. The question and the issue is what is the heart that is behind those events? Are we doing them to try and do God’s work for Him? Are we trying to sell our mission through a flashy event, flashy worship or flashy preaching? Don’t worry - we’re pretty safe on that last one - I don’t think anyone would ever characterize me as flashy or flamboyant.
The Apostles were sent out with just the clothes on their back, the shoes on their feet and a staff. No one would have described them as the picture of prosperity. No one would have envied their possessions or been attracted to Christianity by the prospect of becoming wealthy. This even plays into the instructions that Jesus gives them and our next point - not to seek prosperity or popularity as we fulfill our mission.
The Apostles were not going to attract anyone’s attention by the opulence of their garb, but instead it was the power of their message. They also were not going with any money and that would make staying at inns hard to come by. So they were to rely on the common principle of benevolence in Israel that called for the care of itinerant travellers and guests if one had room. So the Apostles were told to accept the first offer of lodging and not to seek an upgrade. This would have exposed them as being false teachers. As they cast out demons or healed the sick they may have been offered more opulent lodgings but Christ tells them not to accept these offers but to remain. The chasing of wealth has been a plague on the church from the very beginning. The early church document the Didache - basically the Early Church for Dummies handbook - included this admonition for housing itinerant preachers

4Let every apostle, when he cometh to you, be received as the Lord; 5but he shall not abide more than a single day, or if there be need, a second likewise; but if he abide three days, he is a false prophet. 6And when he departeth let the apostle receive nothing save bread, until he findeth shelter; but if he ask money, he is a false prophet.

And today - where false prophets abound. One of the blessings of this Covid-19 pandemic is the number of false prophets who have been exposed by their failures to predict the end accurately or to deal with the virus the way the claim to. Ken Copeland has tried to heal people through their TVs, blow on the virus claiming to be the breath or wind of God and kill the virus, and at least twice he’s pronounced the pandemic over. Others like Paula White, Shawn Bolz, and Bill Johnson have all pronounced this virus over and yet here we sit with an empty church, people are still catching it and people are still dying. And yet they are still making their claims and still asking for money. The early church preacher John Chrysostom said
If you want to be glorified, despise glory; so shall you be more illustrious than any.
True ministers of the Gospel are reliant on the providence of God and not the social mobility provided by prosperity or popularity. True glory is found in the treasures laid up in Heaven for a faithful messenger not in the accolades laid at our door by an adoring public. An adoring public is evidence of a false or dangerous or altered message.
Because our message wont be popular. The disciples had just had a great demonstration of this as Jesus was rejected in His own hometown and here He is warning them in our next point - you will be rejected. You would think that Jesus could have picked a better time to send the Apostles out on their first mission. I mean - they had just seen Him rejected in Nazareth to the point that He was amazed at the hard heartedness of the people there and here He turns around and says all right - go. Take nothing with you, rely on the kindness of people and the providence of God and go. I mean could we go back to Capernaum and have a great day of ministry with teaching and healing and a popular response. Do we really need to go out on an apparent loss Jesus? It’s not very convincing.
Here’s the point - His message isn’t going to be received by everyone. It’s not going to be popular. It’s not going to be easy to preach all the time. Jesus was sending these Apostles out with a message of repentance - the unpopular idea that you’re a sinner and you need to repent - and expecting them to find lodging. The people in the first century didn’t like that message any more than people in the twenty-first century do. And so He tells them how to handle situations where they are rejected - move on.
Mark 6:11 CSB
If any place does not welcome you or listen to you, when you leave there, shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”
Move on. Matthew’s Gospel actually has a more illuminating explanation of this
Matthew 10:11–15 CSB
When you enter any town or village, find out who is worthy, and stay there until you leave. Greet a household when you enter it, and if the household is worthy, let your peace be on it; but if it is unworthy, let your peace return to you. If anyone does not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that house or town. Truly I tell you, it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.
He tells them that it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah - the two towns that fire rained down from Heaven in judgement - than for those who refuse to listen to their teaching. That’s so harsh…so unloving…but so true. And it is evidence that we cannot separate the God of the Old Testament from Jesus as some might try and do - He doesn’t shy away from referencing Old Testament events to characterize New Testament situations.
He tells the Apostles to leave and shake their feet off as they were leaving. This is basically to condemn the city as worse than Gentiles. If Jews would travel out of Israel on business and visit Gentile lands as they returned to Israel they would take off their sandals and shake the dust of the Gentile nations off of them so they wouldn’t bring the taint into Israel. They are not to stay and plead or try to convince them. They are to apply the principle that Jesus had earlier taught in His sermon on the mount
Matthew 7:6 CSB
Don’t give what is holy to dogs or toss your pearls before pigs, or they will trample them under their feet, turn, and tear you to pieces.
Jesus message was holy and good news and His Apostles were not to try and give it or force it on those who would not listen. They were to shake the dust off their feet and move on to more hospitable environments. I’ve witnessed to people who want to get hung up on issues that don’t matter - can God create a rock He can’t move, how many angels can fit on the head of a pin - rather than hear the truths of the Gospel. It’s hard but sometimes you just have to move on in order to be faithful to the message.

The Message

So the disciples, with their instructions in hand, go out and preach. Notice the content of their message - that people should repent. That’s an interesting message. I think we’ve heard those words before. Oh yes
Mark 1:14–15 CSB
After John was arrested, Jesus went to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
The message is the same message as their Master’s. They didn’t try to find some cool way to present it. They didn’t preach on “have a new kid by Thursday” or “have a new relationship by another day”. They didn’t try to roll away stones out of people’s lives or to conquer their giants or any other modern idea. They simply preached the message that they’d heard Jesus preach. Repent and believe the Gospel. And we should be doing the same thing. We try to clever people into the Kingdom rather than just tell them the truth. The message the Apostle’s were sent with was not their own and they couldn’t change it. Even the word here kerysso means to proclaim as a herald. We are little better than newsboys who used to stand on the corner of the street and yell “extra, extra” while giving the news. We are waiters - we don’t make the meal we just try to get it to the table without messing it up.
The Apostles did exactly this. They took their Master’s message and they shared it far and wide. Mark doesn’t go into the content of their message because it is the same message that we have seen Jesus preach. It is the common thread of all of His teachings through out the book of Mark. Repent and believe the good news.


The Apostles went out - men on a mission. They were summoned just as we are summoned. They were sent out just as we are sent out. They went relying on the providence of God - how are we doing with that? They were sent with a message that was not their own and commanded to be faithful in proclaiming that message - how are we doing with that?
During this pandemic, during this quarantine are you preparing yourself for the mission that you have been called to? Our time is coming - soon - and will we be ready? Will we be faithful? Those are practical questions that we must answer - especially in light of what we celebrated last week. In light of the redemption that has been purchased on our behalf. In light of the redemption that has been delivered to us. Can we fail to be anything less than faithfully prepared to be men and women on mission for Christ?
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