“Never Getting Ahead”
- Matthew 10:5…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. 8) Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. 9) Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, 10) Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.
- In Matthew 5:18 we see Jesus starting to choose His apostles (The twelve).
- From Matthew 5 through Matthew 9 Jesus is training them for the work they are to do for Him.
- We must also know that before Chapter 10 of Matthew these men were just ordinary men like today who depended upon their hands to bring home the money to provide for their families.
- These were also men that were chosen “off the streets” rather than from a seminary (Bible College). All they knew about God and Messiah was what they learned in church (When they went).
- These men knew very little about Jesus Christ (The Messiah).
- I personally believe that it is much easier to train someone that knows nothing about the work placed before them than someone who thinks they know about the work. Thinking and knowing are two different things.
- But now we come to chapter 10 of Matthew and verses 1-4 we see Jesus …
- Calling them to the ministry. (vrs. 1)
- Giving them power over unclean spirits, casting them out. (vrs. 1)
- Giving them power to heal the people from sickness and diseases. (vrs.1)
- Now then, in verse 5 (our text) we see Jesus instructing them of how they are to go about God’s work of ministering to people.
I. Moving Forward First
A) What to do and what not to do
- Common sense tells us that we need to be moving forward not backward if we ever want to get ahead in life.
- I have never believed that God is okay with His children being satisfied with neutral or granny low.
- We must also know what to do and what not to do to be effective as children of God that mirror (copy) the Savior of this world.
- Jesus our example in Matthew 10:1 tells His disciples (Followers, apostles) where not to go “…the way of the Gentiles” nor “…into any city of the Samaritans.”
- Now this did not mean that the apostles were to exclude them completely from receiving the gospel. Jesus meant that their goal and ministry at the present time was to “…the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
- The point here is this…You can never get ahead in life or ministry if you do not as Jesus has asked us to do. We cannot be effective in the ministry if we do not as God leads, commands, or asks of us.
- When I felt the call of God in my life to deaf, I answered at a young age. I then went to Bible College at Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
- Looking back on the road “I chose (not God’s choosing),” I should have stayed in college. Instead, I came home after 4-5 months to help father continue the work at SBBC in Wichita.
- Jesus told the apostles where not to go because He knew they would get sidetracked and never get ahead in the ministry y going to Samaria or to the Gentiles. Jesus needed to prepare the hearts first.
- Going to Samaria and the Gentiles first would be moving backwards or staying in neutral.
B) Freely Give
- Look at Matthew 10:7…And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. 8) Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.”
- First of all, note Jesus telling them that “…freely ye have received,” In other words, the disciples freely received the gospel, freely received God’s grace, and freely received the powers that Christ gave to them.
- Secondly Jesus tells them “… freely give.”
- If the disciples would have charged money to heal the sick and cast out demons and such, they would have been very rich. The money factor would have blurred the vision of the people enough to not recognize the fact that it is God’s grace that healed them not the apostles nor amount of money.
- DO NOT MISUNDERSTAND this verse and twist the words of Jesus and say that preachers and teachers of God’s word should do so without pay.
- You may say that it isn’t true. Look at verses 9) Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, 10) Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.
- The point of this strict command from Christ was to get the apostles to depend upon God to provide for their needs, not their own hands.
- One word in these two verses (9, 10) clarifies everything. The word “scrip” is a bag made of leather which most travelers carried with them that had a long strap (handle) that you put around your neck that held the bag to your hip. In this bag were their extra provisions like an extra pair of sandals and extra tunic (shirt) and extra cash, jewels and etc.
- The bag would give the person a sense of security knowing that they had a “back-up tunic, a back-up pair of sandals and so on.”
- Jesus knew that they would be walking across hot desert sand and rocky areas so they needed to wear a pair of sandals and protection against the sun’s rays by wearing a tunic. What Jesus was trying to get the apostles to see is the importance of having God as their security and not a bag.
- How does God provide for His apostles, His pastors, and His sheep? Through people, His creation. You will notice that I didn’t say through “His people” because that would be specific.
- Do you know that God uses worldly and ungodly people to further the gospel and to bless His shepherds, his sheep, and His work? That’s right.
- I had a pastor tell me one time that I could not use a certain tape of a certain gospel group as music to sign to in a special song I wanted to sing and sign for the Lord. His reason was “I don’t know if that group is saved or not.” I’m sorry folks but this is a bent and twisted perspective of God.
- If what that pastor said is true then He is a hypocrite! WHY? Because he owned two vehicles and how does he know that all the people who had a hand in making that vehicle were saved. What about the food he and his family consume? Was the food prepared and packaged by Christian born again believers? What about their clothing? Was it made by Christians?
- You will never get ahead in life spiritually if you cannot learn to depend on God.
II. Timing is Everything
A) The time is not yet come
- The last scripture I would like for us to look at is in Haggai 1:2…Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the LORD’S house should be built.
- Note God’s feelings towards Judah when He says “…This people” God did not say “My people say”, He said “This people say.” Oh WOW, he doesn’t want to claim them as His people.
- Have you ever had children or relatives that you would like to disown because of the way they act or behave? This is God’s feelings towards Judah.
- At this time Haggai is a minor prophet sent by God to stir up the people to rebuild the temple and the spirituality of the people. But note what Haggai claimed the people had said… in verse 2 we see them say “…The time is not come, the time that the Lord’s house should be built.”
- God has a time for everything and He knows when the time is right.
- The problem here is that the people of Judah had beautiful homes that they had worked hard on to make them accommodating to their families but the Lord’s house was in ruins.
- This is the problem that we have in the deaf world today. There are many deaf churches that could be established and built if the deaf would give sacrificially to their church.
- Do you know why there are very few deaf churches in the world? Because deaf men do not answer the call of God in their life to be a pastor and a spokesman for God by leading the deaf to built their own church.
- Many deaf are satisfied in their well built comfortable homes, and full stomachs in which some are supplied by government aid (SSDI) because they are handicapped. Meanwhile their deaf church and spirituality lays in ruin.
- When these people of Judea said that “…the time is not yet come” they are basically saying that they are content with the way things were and are not planning on doing anything until God makes it real to them. I believe that they are waiting until there is nothing else to do and then start working on God’s house in their spare time.
- Timing is everything. There are many people who do not support the work or ministry of God and I feel sorry for them because their day of judgment from God is coming and they will wish they would have done something.
III. Why Can’t I Get Ahead?
A) Because we do not listen
- Why people can never seem to get ahead is shown very clearly in Haggai 1:3…Then came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying, You will note that the word of the LORD came to Haggai. This is exactly why preachers preach. Preachers become convicted to preach after prayerfully praying and preparing each sermon or lesson. It is for the sake of the people to see them mature spiritually and learn how to live more blessed, secure and fulfilled lives for God.
- In verse 4 Haggai explains Judah’s condition …4) Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste?
- The word “ceiled” is like our word remodeled, fixed up, or well cared for.
- The term “this house” is referring to God’s house.
- The term “lie waste” means to become deteriorated or ruined.
- The priests and prophets had warned Israel time after time to take care of God’s priests, prophets and God’s house. They ignored the preaching which in essence is ignoring God. They did not listen!
B) Consider your ways
- God now tells Haggai what to tell the children of Judah in Haggai 1, and now verse 5) Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.
- In other words God is telling Israel “Take a look at your life right now. Look at the facts…
- Verse 6… “Ye have sown much, and bring in little;” You work a lot and it still is not enough to do what you need to do or buy what you need to buy.
- “…ye eat, but ye have not enough; You eat and are never full. Not just food but anything…you are never satisfied with what you have.
- “…ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink;” You drink and are still thirsty. You always desire more.
- “…ye clothe you, but there is none warm;” you never have enough clothing or shoes.
- “… and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.” You go through money like flour through a sifter. In other words… you never have enough money to do what you want to do.
- IS THIS YOU? Are you experiencing these difficulties?
- God tells Judah through His man (Haggai) 7) Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. God says examine your life.
- Are you never getting ahead? Are you not experiencing the joy that Christ brings to a person’s life?
- You ask “Why can’t I get ahead?” The answer is because you do not give to God what rightfully belongs to Him in the first place.
- Does your house belong to God? Do your vehicles belong to God? Does your money belong to God? Does your talent belong to God? Does your energy belong to God?
- Is your place of worship a place that you have helped build and take care of or are you self centered by thinking God doesn’t need your money or work? Do you want to get ahead? Surrender your all to Him today!
III. How Do I Get Ahead?
A) What God tells Judah
- First – God tells Judah in verse 7 to “consider your ways” or take a self examination of yourself, your life, and your condition. Look at what happened to you.
- Secondly – Look at the next three remedies (cures) for their evil ways… Haggai 1:8…Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD.
- Remember, God’s house is in ruins, not taken care of and their church body (which is the temple of the Lord) was in ruins, decay, and spiritually bankrupt.
- The second thing God tells them to do is what? “Go up into the mountain.” Judah’s 70 years of captivity had allowed the trees to grow on the mountain so that there would be wood for them to reconstruct the building of the church.
- On a personal note… you cannot “go up” unless you are down. Judah was in a spiritual valley, you may be in a spiritual valley. God says “Go up.”
- Go up where? To the mountain where the wood is. All the time Judah was struggling with their everyday life God was preparing for their future.
- All the time we are struggling with our everyday life, God is preparing for our future. But first you must recognize your problems (consider your ways) and then start doing as God commands…get up and “go (go where the spiritual supply is at…in the house of God, in the Word of God, and in the place of God).”
- Thirdly – God tells Judah to “bring wood.” After you go to where God’s storehouse of provision is… “bring wood.” In other words, once you have straightened yourself out spiritually by asking God to forgive you of your sins, and ask him to restore the joy in Him you once had…bring the wood, bring into your life the word of God which is food for the soul, a weapon against Satan’s attacks, the knowledge of God to make us wise unto salvation.
- Fourth – “Build the house” I believe that we need to build our own personal house (body) which is the temple of God also with the things that will help kindle the fire in your soul. How do I “kindle the fire in my soul?” Start reading God’s word daily, watching Godly programs not worldly ones, going to Christian activities, work in the church, help others in the church and within your community, create new spiritual friendships (not friends that bring you down).
- You cannot help to build God’s house (the bride of Christ) until you have cleaned up your own house first by overcoming your faults and setbacks that have kept you from “getting ahead.”