Unity and Serving in Christ
Scripture: Matthew 10:40–42
Matthew 10:40-42\nGBFC\nDecember 1, 2019
40 “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. 41 The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. 42 And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.” The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 10:40–42). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
Jesus wraps up his message found in chapter 10 with truth that first of all bolsters our identity as being anchored in Jesus Christ who is in turn anchored in God the Father.
We are spoken of in God’s Word as being ambassadors of Christ. This means we go out for Him, we speak on His behalf, our words and actions and our message is to be so consistent with His that it is as if Christ Himself is speaking. This is what an ambassador does.
This means that we really should be asking ourselves in the circumstances of life, what would Jesus do, what would He say. And we determine what He would do and what He would say by looking in the Bible reading what He did and what He said.
In some ways this makes life’s decisions easier. We are not our own, we have been bought with a price so glorify God with your bodies. And so we don’t have to stress over, well, should I be kind to his person or should I give them what they deserve! Jesus is and has been kind to us, Jesus teaches us that love is Kind. We also learn from God’s word that we are not to seek revenge. So we know what to do and how to act because we have instruction from God and we are His ambassador so we act His way on His behalf as we walk through this life. Many times this means we do not do or say the first thing that comes to mind. Many times that is a bad choice and is not acting according to our new identity in Christ.
But there is even more to our identity in Christ than an ambassador alone. We are also “in him”, the Bible teaches. There is a super natural union that we have with Jesus and that He has with us. We are described as being “in Christ.”
John 17:21, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Jn 17:20–21). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
It is not just that God knows us and we know God through Jesus or that God has been kind to us in some way and we have acknowledged His kindness it is more than that. There is a spiritual union between God and all people, who have believed. We are now identified as those who belong to Jesus to live our lives for Him and to represent Him in the world around us.
In our passage today, Jesus speaks of this unity and gives an example of the effects of this unity that believes have with Him. And it is really amazing.
Have you ever sent someone out to represent you in some way? Maybe we sent our 5 year old to school or to homeschool coop or to SS and you think and maybe even you say, he or she is going there and they will be representing our family. That can be scary!
Or as a business owner you send out someone a staff person into a sales environment or other business environment and that person is representing you. As a pastor, I go out and speak and often times it is representative of our our church, that might make you nervous.
But in all of these instances, these are imperfect people representing imperfect people. And yes they will mess up and so do the ones being represented mess up. So we all get that and are on the same plane as humans.
But what Jesus announces here is more amazing. It is amazing that He would allow sinful people to represent Him. And it is more than that, He says, He ties his disciples even closer to Him. If people accept you and listen to you it is as if they are accepting me and listening to Me.
“Whoever receives you receives Me.” In other words as my ambassadors as those who are in Me when you are out, representing me with Truth and people receive it it is effective and they are receiving me.
It is such a high calling that we have. Do you think every time you go out or even stay home that you are to be a full-time advocate for Jesus Christ.
I met a man recently at a convention, it was not a religious or Christian convention and I met a stranger there, sat next to him. We struck up a conversation and eventually I asked him what his occupation was and he said, well I am first of all a follower of Jesus but while doing that I also… and he told me how he earned a living.
His primary calling was to represent Jesus. You can do a lot of things in life but what is that first thing in your life? We are to be ambassadors of Jesus as those who are in Him, in Christ.
So there is this tie, a strong unbreakable tie that we as Christians have in Christ and our lives are to represent this reality. But Jesus also mentions another unbreakable tie.
“and whoever receives me receives him who sent me”
So, people receive you they receive Christ and if they receive Christ they receive God the Father.
There is a bond of unity between the Father and the Son. Again John 17:21 speaking of the relationship between Father and Son.
John 17:21, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
So the Father and son are one and we are to be one with the Son. The Father sent the Son into the World on His behalf to give witness of Him. And not what Son is sending His disciples into the world to bear witness for Him.
18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Jn 17:17–18). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.\nOur identity and our work and purpose is to be wrapped up in Jesus Christ.
We are not first of all and American or a Father or mother or son or daughter or brother or sister or engineer or policeman or teacher or preacher or business man. We are first of all followers of Jesus, His disciples and our aim is to be living or Him.
Is your identity clearly seen by those around you?
40 “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me.
Jesus ties us all together with himself and his father with those words and explains how this unity works in the real world.
40 “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me.
Jesus explains further with three examples.
41 The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward,
“In an incomprehensible sharing of blessing, God showers His rewards on every person who receives His people because they are His people.”
Excerpt From: John MacArthur. “Matthew 8-15 MacArthur New Testament Commentary.” iBooks. https://books.apple.com/us/book/matthew-8-15-macarthur-new-testament-commentary/id664441321
In this instance, If a person receives a prophet because he is a prophet. OR you could say, if a person receives another person who is speaking truth on God’s behalf then the one who receives such a person speaking on God’s behalf will receive a reward as if he too were a prophet. Receiving, hearing a person who speaks for God leads to reward.
This is a sharing of blessings among God’s people. God blesses his people.
Secondly Jesus says:
and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward.
Again, God's blessing people who receive his people.
And third Jesus says: 42 And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”
“Little ones are believers who seem insignificant and unimportant Matt. 18:3-6
“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. \n5 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, 6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
Little ones might be new believers who are untaught and are struggling in their new life; or they might be lifelong believers who have devoted years of service and have attracted little attention. They seem insignificant. But Jesus’ point is that any service done to any of His people in His name amounts to service done to Him and it will be rewarded. The simplest help given to the simplest disciple will not go unnoticed or unrewarded by God.
Everything we do matters. It does not matter who sees it or if you are recognized for it. Good deeds done in secret or good deeds done in public toward one of Jesus’ followers will be recognized and rewarded by God.
There are so many things we do or can do that seem insignificant, but God sees all. Time is never wasted helping one of God’s people. He is a rewarder of those who help His children.
We are united with Christ and through Christ we are united with God. Here to live for Him to help others who are in His work no matter big things or small things. We are here or His glory.
40 “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. 41 The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. 42 And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”