INTRO: In Luke's account of the selection of the apostles he wrote, "Of them he chose twelve, whom he also named apostles" (Lk 6:13). For some reason those words have been easy for me to remember over the years, and they give us a little more information than does Mark's account of the event. In fact, Mark does not even refer to the twelve as "apostles". He does use that term for them a bit later in his gospel record, however. Some the names of the apostles are well known to us, and we see them active in the establishment of the Lord's church. Others, however, are not well known, and we have very little reliable information about them. This evening I would like to spend just a few minutes looking at this "landmark" event in Jesus' ministry.
I. THE CHOOSING OF THE TWELVE IS PRECEDED BY PRAYER
A. Notice Lk 6:12 - "...and continued all night in prayer to God"
1. critical events in Jesus' ministry are preceded by prayer
2. what could be more critical than the selection of the men who would implement Jesus' plan for evangelism? and only twelve!
B. Do we need to be more careful to follow Jesus' example?
1. do we often set out on critical decisions, events without prayer?
2. have we become a "go it alone" culture to the extent that we tend to do exactly that?
II. WHAT WOULD BE THEIR PURPOSE?
A. Think of the words "apostle" and "disciple"
1. "disciple" - a learner, a pupil, a follower - Christians are disciples
2. "apostle" - an ambassador, one sent on a mission
3. Jesus' apostles met certain qualifications - Acts 1:21,22
4. Jesus' apostles were endowed with miraculous powers - Mk 16:20 ... and could pass miraculous gifts to others - Acts 8:17
B. There were twelve of them
1. "twelve" is a significant number in scripture
2. perhaps most significant here would be twelve tribes of Israel
3. the church is spiritual Israel - the "twelve" might well suggest that
4. of course, we recall that Paul is added - 1 Cor 15:8,9
C. They were to "be with him"
1. during this period of time, He would teach them many "kingdom things"
2. during this period of time, they would see Him "in action" with others
3. to be entrusted with the future of the church, they had to be well schooled
4. remember: Mt 28:20
D. He would "send them forth to preach"
1. Mt 10:5-7 - their preaching was limited to the "house of Israel"
2. their message was to proclaim the imminence of the kingdom of heaven
3. we know, too, that they were baptizing (Jno 4:2) - doubtless, then preached the message of repentance
4. like ripples from a single stone dropped in a quiet pond, news of the coming kingdom begins to spread
E. He empowered them "to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils"
1. Mt 10:8 adds "cleanse the lepers, raise the dead"
2. their having these miraculous powers certainly identified them with Jesus
3. Matthew's account also adds "freely ye have received, freely give" - the message and the miraculous gifts were not their "private property or domain"
4. Heb 2:3,4 - "God also bearing them witness..."
F. Ultimately, they were to be witnesses of the risen Christ
1. Acts 1:22 - "to be a witness with us of his resurrection"
2. Acts 2:32 - "This Jesus hath God raised up...we all are witnesses"
3. today's religious world uses the word "witness" in a way not found in scripture - I cannot witness to someone of that which I have not seen
4. I can however speak to them of the word of truth - teaching them
III. THEIR NAMES?
A. Most of their names are known to you
1. a small few might be a bit unfamiliar
2. an important thing is that these are men from various backgrounds - but they have little, from an earthly perspective, to commend them - no wealth, no education, no power, etc.
B. At word from Jude, the Lord's brother - Jude 1:17
1. yes, he goes on with a specific reminder in v. 18
2. but the reminder at v. 17 certainly needs to be observed broadly - so, Acts 2:42
CLOSE: So much more could be said. But of this I want to remind us all. The role of "apostle" in the manner of the twelve was a one time role in the church of the Lord. We now have the word of the new covenant which is God's instrument in conversion, in sanctification and in the constituting of the church. The apostles did their work well!
Cecil A. Hutson
08 October 2006
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)