Matthew 10* The apostles called. (1-4) The apostles instructed and sentforth. (5-15) Directions to the apostles. (16-42)1-4 The word "apostle" signifies messenger; they were Christ'smessengers, sent forth to proclaim his kingdom. Christ gave thempower to heal all manner of sickness. In the grace of the gospelthere is a slave for every sore, a remedy for every malady.There is no spiritual disease, but there is power in Christ forthe cure of it. There names are recorded, and it is theirhonour; yet they had more reason to rejoice that their nameswere written in heaven, while the high and mighty names of thegreat ones of the earth are buried in the dust. 5-15 The Gentiles must not have the gospel brought them, tillthe Jews have refused it. This restraint on the apostles wasonly in their first mission. Wherever they went they mustproclaim, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. They preached, toestablish the faith; the kingdom, to animate the hope; ofheaven, to inspire the love of heavenly things, and the contemptof earthly; which is at hand, that men may prepare for itwithout delay. Christ gave power to work miracles for theconfirming of their doctrine. This is not necessary now that thekingdom of God is come. It showed that the intent of thedoctrine they preached, was to heal sick souls, and to raisethose that were dead in sin. In proclaiming the gospel of freegrace for the healing and saving of men's souls, we must aboveall avoid the appearance of the spirit of an hireling. They aredirected what to do in strange towns and cities. The servant ofChrist is the ambassador of peace to whatever place he is sent.His message is even to the vilest sinners, yet it behoves him tofind out the best persons in every place. It becomes us to prayheartily for all, and to conduct ourselves courteously to all.They are directed how to act as to those that refused them. Thewhole counsel of God must be declared, and those who will notattend to the gracious message, must be shown that their stateis dangerous. This should be seriously laid to heart by all thathear the gospel, lest their privileges only serve to increasetheir condemnation. 16-42 Our Lord warned his disciples to prepare for persecution.They were to avoid all things which gave advantage to theirenemies, all meddling with worldly or political concerns, allappearance of evil or selfishness, and all underhand measures.Christ foretold troubles, not only that the troubles might notbe a surprise, but that they might confirm their faith. He tellsthem what they should suffer, and from whom. Thus Christ hasdealt fairly and faithfully with us, in telling us the worst wecan meet with in his service; and he would have us deal so withourselves, in sitting down and counting the cost. Persecutorsare worse than beasts, in that they prey upon those of their ownkind. The strongest bonds of love and duty, have often beenbroken through from enmity against Christ. Sufferings fromfriends and relations are very grievous; nothing cuts more. Itappears plainly, that all who will live godly in Christ Jesusmust suffer persecution; and we must expect to enter into thekingdom of God through many tribulations. With these predictionsof trouble, are counsels and comforts for a time of trial. Thedisciples of Christ are hated and persecuted as serpents, andtheir ruin is sought, and they need the serpent's wisdom. Be yeharmless as doves. Not only, do nobody any hurt, but bear nobodyany ill-will. Prudent care there must be, but not an anxious,perplexing thought; let this care be cast upon God. Thedisciples of Christ must think more how to do well, than how tospeak well. In case of great peril, the disciples of Christ maygo out of the way of danger, though they must not go out of theway 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 manbrings a snare, a perplexing snare, that disturbs our peace; anentangling 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 andbody in hell. They must deliver their message publicly, for allare deeply concerned in the doctrine of the gospel. The wholecounsel of God must be made known, #Ac 20:27|. Christ shows themwhy they should be of good cheer. Their sufferings witnessedagainst those who oppose his gospel. When God calls us to speakfor him, we may depend on him to teach us what to say. Abelieving prospect of the end of our troubles, will be of greatuse to support us under them. They may be borne to the end,because the sufferers shall be borne up under them. The strengthshall be according to the day. And it is great encouragement tothose who are doing Christ's work, that it is a work which shallcertainly be done. See how the care of Providence extends to allcreatures, even to the sparrows. This should silence all thefears of God's people; Ye are of more value than many sparrows.And the very hairs of your head are all numbered. This denotesthe account God takes and keeps of his people. It is our duty,not only to believe in Christ, but to profess that faith, insuffering for him, when we are called to it, as well as inserving him. That denial of Christ only is here meant which ispersisted in, and that confession only can have the blessedrecompence here promised, which is the real and constantlanguage of faith and love. Religion is worth every thing; allwho believe the truth of it, will come up to the price, and makeevery thing else yield to it. Christ will lead us throughsufferings, to glory with him. Those are best prepared for thelife to come, that sit most loose to this present life. Thoughthe kindness done to Christ's disciples be ever so small, yet ifthere be occasion for it, and ability to do no more, it shall beaccepted. Christ does not say that they deserve a reward; for wecannot merit any thing from the hand of God; but they shallreceive a reward from the free gift of God. Let us boldlyconfess Christ, and show love to him in all things.
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