Matthew 4:17-20 From that
time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the Kingdom of heaven is at
18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
19 And He saith unto them, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.
20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed Him.
The Holy Spirit is making it quite real to our hearts that the Lord is once again calling disciples to follow Him. So the Scriptures concerning the call of disciples are very applicable at this time.
In these verses we see Simon Peter and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea and pulling in fish. Jesus comes by and says to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Matthew 4:21-22 And going
on from thence, He saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John
his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He
22 And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed Him.
James and John responded in the same way as Peter and Andrew. They dropped everything to follow the Lord. In the next verse Jesus begins His ministry with His disciples.
Matthew 4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.
The first thing Jesus did after calling His disciples was to take them into the synagogues. It was there that He preached the Gospel of the Kingdom and healed all manner of sickness and disease.
The Lord was preparing His disciples for a ministry to His people. The whole purpose of having twelve disciples was to teach and train them to do what He was doing. Jesus knew that the day would come when He would be taken up, and it would be their responsibility to carry on the Christ-ministry. So while Jesus ministered in the synagogue. He was training His disciples for the same ministry.
Matthew 10:1 And when He had called unto Him His twelve disciples, He gave them power (authority) against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.
It was now time for the disciples to get some on-the-job experience. So Jesus commissions them, gives them authority, and sends them forth as an apostolic company.
Matthew 10:5-7 These
twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the
Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:
6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
7 And as ye go, preach, saying, the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.
The ministry of the Lord’s disciples is quite significant. Notice that He tells them not to go in the way of the Gentiles or of the Samaritans, but to go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Now what the Scriptures say about Israel is also true for the church, for it is spiritual Israel. And the lost sheep represent Christians who are not following the Great Shepherd as they should.
So the Lord called His disciples, gave them authority, and sent them out as an apostolic company to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. In other words, He sent them to His own people. This agrees with the prophecy of Matthew 1:21: He shall save His people from their sins.
He is also calling disciples in this day for the same purpose; He will send them forth into the church-world, to minister the Gospel of the Kingdom to His people.
Matthew 10:8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received freely give.
Where are these sick? They are in the synagogues! Where are the lepers, and the dead who need to be raised up? They are among the lost sheep of the house of Israel! The devils that need to be cast out, they are in the sheep!
And where do we find these problems today? In the churches! The sick, the lepers, the dead, and the demon possessed are all found in the house of God. That is why the Lord is raising up an apostolic company today. It will be the ministry that delivers the church and brings it forth into all that God wants it to be (Ephesians 4:11-16).
Lest any would think that this is not the condition of the church today, let’s look at another passage of Scripture that reveals the same truth. The apostle John, through prophetic insight, gives us a description of the church of these last days in the Book of Revelation.
Revelation 3:14-20 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write: These things
saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of
15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of My mouth.
17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
18 I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.
Jesus is outside the church, knocking on the door. He says, If any man hears My voice, and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.
Can there be any doubt that the Laodicean church represents the church of our day? It’s difficult to find a church today in which Christ is functioning. Instead we see the picture seen here – Christ outside knocking on the door, saying, “If someone will hear My voice and open the door, I will come in.” They do not know they are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. However, the Lord is bringing forth a ministry in this day to reveal the corruption in the church. And He will go through His temple, run out the moneychangers, and cleanse it (Matthew 21:12-14).
In Matthew chapter ten Jesus told His disciples, “Go unto the Lost sheep of the house of Israel, preach the Kingdom of God, heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils, freely you have received, freely give.”
What do you suppose would happen if a man of God went to one of our churches today, and said he had come to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, and cast out the demons? They would probably be totally horrified and indignant, saying, “What makes you think you are going to find something like that here? This is the house of God! Besides, we don’t believe Christians can have demons, and we don’t believe in apostles and prophets for today either!” Nevertheless, this is where the Lord is sending His apostles – to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Matthew 10:16-20 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye
therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues:
18 And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for My sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.
19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.
20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.
As God brings forth His disciples, gives them authority, and sends them out as an apostolic company into the church-world, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom – healing the sick, cleansing the lepers, raising the dead, and casting out devils – there will be tremendous opposition. They will be brought before the courts of many of the organizational churches to be scourged. But the Lord says, When they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak; for it will be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.
It is important for us to understand that Matthew chapter ten is most definitely speaking about the ministry of an apostolic company in these last days.
Matthew 23:39 For I say unto you, ye shall not see Me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
The church-world will continue in its blindness until it receives those whom the Lord sends, and says, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. Then shall their eyes be opened to see Him.
Matthew 10:40 He that receiveth you receiveth Me, and he that receiveth Me receiveth Him that sent Me.
John 13:20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that re-ceiveth whomsoever I send receiveth Me; and he that receiveth Me receiveth Him that sent Me.
Luke 10:16 He that heareth you heareth Me; and he that despiseth you despiseth Me; and he that despiseth Me despiseth Him that sent Me.
Receiving the one Jesus sends is the same as receiving Him. And rejecting the one He sends is the same as rejecting Him. Therefore, it is imperative for us to recognize His sent ones.
The next event that the majority of Christianity is looking for is the return of Christ. But they are looking for Christ to return as an individual. They are overlooking the fact that Christ is now a many-membered Body with Jesus as its Head (Colossians 1:18). The coming of Jesus, presently at hand, is His coming forth in a many-membered Body. This is the parousia, the time when He is glorified in His saints and admired in all of them that believe. And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power; when He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all of them that believe (because out testimony among you was believed) in that day. II Thessalonians 1:7-10.
John 20:21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you.
The Lord is, even now, training His disciples. At the proper time He will commission them and send them forth as an apostolic company. One of their primary functions will be to minister the Gospel of the Kingdom to spiritual Israel. When Jesus came the first time, He came unto His own, and His own received Him not (John 1:11). In like manner, many of God’s people will reject the many-membered Body of Christ when it begins to function in the earth.
The day of His parousia is a time of great deliverance and a time of great judgment. To some degree it has already begun. However, it is not too late to participate. We can be a part of the Body of Christ as He brings forth the Kingdom of God. Let’s set our hearts to be disciples. Let’s allow Him to teach and train us, that we may be a part of the “sent one company.” As My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you.
Copyright © 2003 by Henry DuBose