Matthew 10

* The apostles called. (1-4) The apostles instructed and sent

forth. (5-15) Directions to the apostles. (16-42)

1-4 The word "apostle" signifies messenger; they were Christ's

messengers, sent forth to proclaim his kingdom. Christ gave them

power to heal all manner of sickness. In the grace of the gospel

there is a slave for every sore, a remedy for every malady.

There is no spiritual disease, but there is power in Christ for

the cure of it. There names are recorded, and it is their

honour; yet they had more reason to rejoice that their names

were written in heaven, while the high and mighty names of the

great ones of the earth are buried in the dust.
5-15 The Gentiles must not have the gospel brought them, till

the Jews have refused it. This restraint on the apostles was

only in their first mission. Wherever they went they must

proclaim, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. They preached, to

establish the faith; the kingdom, to animate the hope; of

heaven, to inspire the love of heavenly things, and the contempt

of earthly; which is at hand, that men may prepare for it

without delay. Christ gave power to work miracles for the

confirming of their doctrine. This is not necessary now that the

kingdom of God is come. It showed that the intent of the

doctrine they preached, was to heal sick souls, and to raise

those that were dead in sin. In proclaiming the gospel of free

grace for the healing and saving of men's souls, we must above

all avoid the appearance of the spirit of an hireling. They are

directed what to do in strange towns and cities. The servant of

Christ is the ambassador of peace to whatever place he is sent.

His message is even to the vilest sinners, yet it behoves him to

find out the best persons in every place. It becomes us to pray

heartily for all, and to conduct ourselves courteously to all.

They are directed how to act as to those that refused them. The

whole counsel of God must be declared, and those who will not

attend to the gracious message, must be shown that their state

is dangerous. This should be seriously laid to heart by all that

hear the gospel, lest their privileges only serve to increase

their condemnation.
16-42 Our Lord warned his disciples to prepare for persecution.

They were to avoid all things which gave advantage to their

enemies, all meddling with worldly or political concerns, all

appearance of evil or selfishness, and all underhand measures.

Christ foretold troubles, not only that the troubles might not

be a surprise, but that they might confirm their faith. He tells

them what they should suffer, and from whom. Thus Christ has

dealt fairly and faithfully with us, in telling us the worst we

can meet with in his service; and he would have us deal so with

ourselves, in sitting down and counting the cost. Persecutors

are worse than beasts, in that they prey upon those of their own

kind. The strongest bonds of love and duty, have often been

broken through from enmity against Christ. Sufferings from

friends and relations are very grievous; nothing cuts more. It

appears plainly, that all who will live godly in Christ Jesus

must suffer persecution; and we must expect to enter into the

kingdom of God through many tribulations. With these predictions

of trouble, are counsels and comforts for a time of trial. The

disciples of Christ are hated and persecuted as serpents, and

their ruin is sought, and they need the serpent's wisdom. Be ye

harmless as doves. Not only, do nobody any hurt, but bear nobody

any ill-will. Prudent care there must be, but not an anxious,

perplexing thought; let this care be cast upon God. The

disciples of Christ must think more how to do well, than how to

speak well. In case of great peril, the disciples of Christ may

go out of the way of danger, though they must not go out of the

way of duty. No sinful, unlawful means may be used to escape;

for then it is not a door of God's opening. The fear of man

brings a snare, a perplexing snare, that disturbs our peace; an

entangling snare, by which we are drawn into sin; and,

therefore, it must be striven and prayed against. Tribulation,

distress, and persecution cannot take away God's love to them,

or theirs to him. Fear Him, who is able to destroy both soul and

body in hell. They must deliver their message publicly, for all

are deeply concerned in the doctrine of the gospel. The whole

counsel of God must be made known, #Ac 20:27|. Christ shows them

why they should be of good cheer. Their sufferings witnessed

against those who oppose his gospel. When God calls us to speak

for him, we may depend on him to teach us what to say. A

believing prospect of the end of our troubles, will be of great

use to support us under them. They may be borne to the end,

because the sufferers shall be borne up under them. The strength

shall be according to the day. And it is great encouragement to

those who are doing Christ's work, that it is a work which shall

certainly be done. See how the care of Providence extends to all

creatures, even to the sparrows. This should silence all the

fears of God's people; Ye are of more value than many sparrows.

And the very hairs of your head are all numbered. This denotes

the account God takes and keeps of his people. It is our duty,

not only to believe in Christ, but to profess that faith, in

suffering for him, when we are called to it, as well as in

serving him. That denial of Christ only is here meant which is

persisted in, and that confession only can have the blessed

recompence here promised, which is the real and constant

language of faith and love. Religion is worth every thing; all

who believe the truth of it, will come up to the price, and make

every thing else yield to it. Christ will lead us through

sufferings, to glory with him. Those are best prepared for the

life to come, that sit most loose to this present life. Though

the kindness done to Christ's disciples be ever so small, yet if

there be occasion for it, and ability to do no more, it shall be

accepted. Christ does not say that they deserve a reward; for we

cannot merit any thing from the hand of God; but they shall

receive a reward from the free gift of God. Let us boldly

confess Christ, and show love to him in all things.
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