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Dave Dealy: Sent, Matthew 9:35-38; 10:1-8

February 26, 2024

Audio Recording

Jesus’ arrival changed the entire social and spiritual ecosystem of his day by healing the sick, welcoming the rejected, and challenging the religious. As modern-day disciples, we embody his revolutionary love through spoken, supernatural, and sacrificial acts.

Westside Church Podcast
Westside Church Podcast
Dave Dealy: Sent, Matthew 9:35-38; 10:1-8

Sermon Transcript:

You're listening to a live recording from Westside church in Bend, Oregon. Thanks for joining us. When Jesus walks off the mountain and into humanity, he doesn't bring ideas. He doesn't just bring ideas. He changes the game. He changes everything.

Sick people are healed. When Jesus arrives and his kingdom shows up, rejected people are given a place at the table. In Jesus'kingdom, religious people are rebuked and unloved people are called the beloved. When Jesus kingdom shows up, it's not just a philosophy. It's not just cool ideas. This changes the whole ecosystem that Jesus arrives in.

This isn't just some good ideas. This is a revolution. This is a radical revolution of love that Jesus brings to humanity.

And it starts to get real. Where we're about to read right now, Matthew, chapter ten. If you have Bible, turn there. If not, it'll be on the screen. To get into chapter ten, we're actually going to start at the very, very end of chapter nine. And it says this. Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and illness.

When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion on them. Will you underline that? If you have a Bible, underline it. If you got a notebook, write it down. This is super important.

When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Then he said to his disciples, the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. And I imagine the disciples said, cool. Yeah, I'll pray for some harvesters to come along. Let's pray for that. That'll be good.

And then it gets real. Chapter ten. Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and illness. And then he gives the names of his disciples, which we're going to jump past, but you know, these names. In them are betrayer. In these names are a zealot. In these names are a tax collector, not exactly the high and mighty of society.

Verse five. These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions. Do not go to the Gentiles or any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel.

As you go, proclaim this message. The kingdom of heaven has come near.

Heal those that are ill.

Raise the dead.

Cleanse those who have leprosy. Drive out demons.

Freely. You have received freely. Give. This is God's word. Let's pray.

Lord, this is a tough word. This is a tough word.

And I pray God that the weight of it and the call of it, the invitation and the hope of it. Holy Spirit, would you make that present here with us today?

Jesus, would you minister to our hearts? I pray for a softening in us to hear from you, Lord. Not from Dave, not from me, Lord, that we would soften our hearts to hear from you today. You're a good father. So would you speak to your sons and daughters in Jesus name, amen.

I walked into the kitchen to get a glass of water, and I looked to my left, and my 20 year old is sitting on the couch. And she had been there for approximately 15 hours, I would guess. She's home from college. It's the summertime. And she had not moved from that spot for a very long time. She had been immersed in a show you may have heard called Grey's Anatomy, a show called Grey's Anatomy. And she had been binging this show for an ungodly amount of time. And she's sitting there. And just to break up the cycle, I was. Hey, babe. Hey, babe. Hey, how you doing? She's like, oh, I'm good.

I've watched so much Grey's anatomy, I think I could do neurosurgery right now.

I think if somebody wheeled a body in, I could diagnose it.

And I had two thoughts when my beautiful daughter said this. One, why don't you have a job?

Two, gosh, this is so like us. This is such a human thing that we observe from a distance, things.

And then we claim expertise that we don't have. Right? We observe so much. We claim expertise we don't have. If you've ever watched football with a group of guys, this happens all the time. Well, why did he call that? Well, I would have called this. Why did he do that? I would have gone over there and blah, blah, blah. And this is, like, probably an overweight, lazy, armchair quarterback who is watching the best athletes in the world and critiquing what they're doing and then critiquing coaches who've been doing this their whole life and have a phd in this specific area. We do this all the time.

Jesus'disciples had been on a clear trajectory thus far in our story in Matthew. First, Jesus goes to them and he says, come and follow me. And that wasn't just, like, an invitation to go on a walk. That was a dropping of the other identity that they had. A fisherman, a tax collector, whatever. A zealot, dropping that identity to step into a new identity with Jesus. And they've been going on this journey with him. And they do go for a walk. They go for many walks. And as they do, they're watching jesus do his thing.

And he is so wise in the way he teaches, and people are trying to throw curveballs, but he throws it back at them.

And he has this authority when he teaches that people are like, wow, that sounds real when you say it. I've heard other people say it, but it sounds real when you say it. And then people are healed and delivered and welcomed. There's all of this stuff happening. And what the disciples are going through to this point is what learning experts call the process of learning. It is a process that you will be familiar with. Anyone who's gone from being an apprentice to a master has to go through this, and it looks something like this. This should be familiar.

Master to apprentice. I do. You watch?

I do. You help you? Do I help you? Do. I watch?

This is the process the disciples have been on. They are watching jesus do his thing, observing. Wow. Amazing. Wow. Why do you say that? What does that mean? How did he have the power to do that? And then they are around Jesus as he's doing his healing. And then this happens, this moment of discipleship, which is often the most terrifying. You're not going to watch and observe anymore. Now you get your hands dirty. You get your hands dirty.

Now, many of you in this room are contractors and plumbers and electricians. And you know how this works, right? You got to get in there. You watch, you observe, you study, and then you get your hands in and you start doing some stuff. And all of us want, when someone walks into our home, we want the master, not the apprentice, working on our house, right? I learned a tough lesson with this. We bought our house here in Bend in 2019, and it was really beat up. It had been a rental for 20 years that had barely been touched. It was the only thing we could afford. And God totally blessed us with it. But it needed a lot of work, so we just started kind of doing our thing.

And sure enough, in the first year of the house, plumbing goes out and floods the upstairs, which drips down through our ceiling lights into the kitchen and floods our downstairs. So we're out of our house for two months and people are working on it and drying it and gutting it and whatever.

And you guys, the day we were supposed to. Two months we've been bouncing around Airbnbs and whatever.

The day we go to the house to move back in and start moving our furniture back in. I open the door. I'm by myself. I dropped the kids at school. Noel was at work. I open the door, and what I see in front of me is water leaking through the ceiling lights into the same kitchen that had just been finished, remodeled.

And the last person that was in our home was someone who had been referred to us by a friend who wasn't a master plumber.

He was on his way to being a master, but he clearly was not a master because there's water coming through my ceiling lights.

It was a tough, tough lesson of get the master, not the apprentice, and the master. To become a master, you need the wisdom, the authority, but you need the practice. You need the work. You need someone watching over your shoulder saying, yes, no, that, not that. Here's the tool you need. Here's the piece you need. Here's how you solve this problem.

And this has a disconnect with us in our faith church. This has a disconnect with us in our faith. We treat Jesus as a really good teacher, as a philosopher, as someone with good ideas, or seems like a nice guy I'd want to hang out with.

But that's not what Jesus claims to be. That's not what Jesus claims to be.

Jesus makes some radical claims of who he is.

C. S. Lewis put it this way, that Jesus is either is one of three things. Jesus is either a liar, Jesus is a lunatic, or Jesus is the Lord. But you can only pick one.

Jesus is either a liar, meaning everything he says is untrue, and he knows it, and you should not believe anything he says in his word. You just should disregard it.

Or he's a lunatic who believes what he's saying, but what he's saying is crazy, in which case, you should also disregard what he's saying and put it aside, or Jesus is exactly who he claims to be, is the Lord of the universe, is the creator of all things, is the initiator of the revolution of love that changes all of humanity and transforms us into heavenly beings.

But you can only pick one, and so many of us choose the philosopher Jesus. The idea is Jesus, but we don't want the master Jesus. We don't want the Jesus who is going to look over my shoulder and walk with me and teach me and actually get my hands dirty and call me into hard things.

It's a bridge too far. Bridge too far.

But this is exactly what Jesus is here to do, and it's what he's modeling with his disciples. It's not just enough to watch me do my thing and cheer me on. It's not enough to just be fanboy of Jesus.

You got to put on a jersey and get in the game because he calls you to that. And here's what I want to say. If you're here today and you don't consider yourself a follower of Jesus, I want you to know this, that you are so welcome here. You are so welcome here. This is not a place you are ever going to be guilted or shamed into following Jesus, ever.

But you are invited to go on a journey with him. You are invited to go on this walk as the disciples did with Jesus. And you are allowed to ask all your hard questions, and you're allowed to wrestle with your doubts. All is okay. That is okay.

But please know this.

The life in Jesus is a life of surrender.

It's a life of surrender to a loving creator of the universe. And we don't get to set the terms.

We don't get to set the terms.

You just get to choose yes or no to this journey.

And if you are here and you're a follower of Jesus, then the challenge in front of you and in front of me in Matthew chapter ten is to step fully into the life of a disciple of Jesus. Get off the sideline and get in the game.

So what is it to be a disciple of Jesus? Hopefully you've heard this enough. This sounds familiar. But three main parts of being a disciple of Jesus. The first and is foundational and never changes. The point of being a disciple is to be with Jesus. To be with him, to spend time with him, to hear his voice. He said, he's the good shepherd and my sheep know my voice. To know the voice of Jesus, for you to be with him is the point.

Second is to become like Jesus. As you spend time with him, you become like him. The things he cares about are the things you care about. The stuff that breaks his heart is the stuff that breaks your heart. We become like Jesus the more time we spend in his presence.

And then finally, and this is where we are today, to be a disciple of Jesus, you do the stuff Jesus did.

You do the stuff he did.

And what do we hear him doing? He feeds the hungry and he heals the sick and he casts out demons. He even raises people from the dead. And I know what you're thinking, like, whoa, whoa, whoa. You're saying I'm supposed to do that stuff? No, God is going to do that stuff through you. God is going to do that stuff.

This is the journey of being a disciple of Jesus. Now, here's the honest truth is, this is not a linear path.

It's not a linear path from step one to step two to step three. Be with Jesus, become like Jesus. Do the stuff he did. It is an ever moving journey, right? And there are days I don't know how to do what Jesus did.

I'm not the master. I don't know.

And so I go back to, well, what is Jesus like?

Because I can be like that. And on the days it's hard to be like Jesus, then I go back to, well, how do I be with Jesus?

I go back to my foundation and I return there. I return home, and then I go back out again. Okay, what is it to be like Jesus? And then what is it to do the things he did? It's okay. This is a bumpy journey, but it is the journey that we're called to. But for so much of the american church in particular, this is all lost on us. This is all lost on us.

We like to show up on Sunday, sing some songs. Hopefully. The pastor is kind of funny and also a little bit engaging. Maybe he quotes somebody I'd like to read later, and then high five, grab a cookie, and I'm on with my week. All right? And that is like the journey of the Jesus follower in America.

And if you're tired of that, if you ever remember believing that following Jesus was something more than that, I want to say, you're right. You're right. There's more.

And Jesus models it. Models it for us. We don't have to be God. We're not the master. We are apprentices. We are apprentices. So what does the master do? Where we started, in chapter nine, verse 35, Jesus went throughout all the towns and the villages, teaching in the synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing diseases and sickness.

And when he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd.

Sheep are dumb.

That's not like a scientific statement. That's just, like, fact. Sheep are just dumb animals. Most of the problems they get into, they create themselves. I read somewhere that sheep will eat themselves to death if you don't pen them off or move them somewhere, they will just continue eating until they literally kill themselves. They get into weird places. They have no defense mechanism. Maybe like a good head butt, but that's their only defense mechanism. They're pretty helpless. But here's the thing. If you love sheep, if you're an actual shepherd, you don't hate the sheep for being sheep.

You love the sheep.

So much do you love the sheep that you would even put yourself in harm's way for the sheep.

And this is the model. And we see Jesus going from town to town and place to place. And the people of God, who were supposed to know God and walk with God and hear God's voice, were lost.

They were like sheep without a shepherd. They were just wandering and confused and scared. And Jesus doesn't guilt them. Jesus doesn't shame them. Jesus doesn't slap them and say, why didn't you do better? You should have known. None of that says, first and foremost, his heart is compassionate towards them. Compassionate towards them.

Jesus models the work of his kingdom. And it starts with compassion. And that's true for us, too, in a time we live in right now, where hostility is the fad, right. We're being tough and talking mean and shaming those over there and drawing the boundary lines of who's your enemy? Who's in your camp? Who's your tribe? Jesus blows all that up. He just blows all that up.

He starts with a heart of compassion. The aim of the spiritual journey with Jesus is not ascending to power. It is not gaining wealth. It is not all of our human measures of what a good life is. Jesus is not as interested in much of that.

The spiritual journey with Jesus is one where we become love incarnate for the people in the back. We become love incarnate. We become love come to life.

Love incarnate to my family, love incarnate to my neighborhood, love incarnate to the people in my workspace. Love incarnate even to those who would be called my enemy.

Love comes to life in this journey with Jesus. So a good question to ask is this, am I becoming a person of love to the people who know me best and interact with me most frequently?

Am I becoming a person of love to the people who know me best and interact with me most frequently?

Here's the raw truth is you should not judge me as a pastor based on what happens on this stage.

That should not be the measure of is this a good pastor or not? Unfortunately, that is the measure most often given to shepherds of the church. Here's what you should be measuring. Talk to Noel.

How do I treat Noel in my worst of times, in my insecure times, my fear? How do I treat Noel? How do I treat my girls? Go ask them.

You'll see if I'm a good shepherd or not.

But the people I spend most time with talk to the staff here at Westside, the people we spend most time with we're called to be this incarnate love that Jesus models.

So if that's true, if Jesus comes bringing this incredible good news of this new kingdom that changes everything and he models it for his disciples, and then he sends his disciples out, and as you read ahead in Matthew ten, they go out and they do this stuff. They heal sick and they cast out demons, and they're, like, blown away that this is happening.

Then I think a natural question is, why don't we do this?

Us? Why don't we do this?

And I think there's a lot of reasons, some because we've seen it modeled really, really poorly, what it is to preach the gospel, to share the good news.

I know for some of you, when I say that the picture you get is the guy on the street corner with the end is nigh sign on his body and he's got a bullhorn, he's yelling at everybody.

And, yeah, I get that is not anything I want to be a part of.

I'm with you. I'm with you. But that is not the only way to do this.

I heard a pastor share the idea of what is the gospel this way. I want to share it with you. He said, jesus'gospel doesn't center on turn from your sin or go to hell.

It doesn't center on that. Jesus'gospel centers on an infinitely loving creator who has designed a life so full you've only tasted it in drops.

His great passion is to heal and redeem you so fully until you're swimming in those drops.

And he has supplied everything you need to experience full and everlasting relationship with him. And he won't stop until all of creation is blanketed in heaven.

This is pretty good news. Pretty good news that the God out there came here for you and for me, that we might be completely swallowed up in love.

So how can we do this? Just a few practical things as we close.

How can we share the gospel in a way that doesn't freak everybody out and make us hate ourselves?

Three suggestions.

One, spoken love.

Spoken love.

Somehow, speaking the truth in love has a distinct experience of feeling hated and accused and rejected. So let's stop doing that.

Let's stop doing that. How do we speak in love?

I want to tell you best by an experience I had of someone who spoke love to me. I had pastored in San Francisco for a long time, and I was beat up and I was burned out and I was hurt and I was questioning Jesus and I was questioning the church, and I was at my bottom when an older man named Jesse came and sat with me.

And he was patient, non accusatory. He didn't shame me for the questions I had. And most often what I heard him saying as he shared the gospel with me. It sounded like, I see you, Dave. I see you. I hear you, Dave.

I hear your pain. I hear your questions.

Jesus is in love with you, Dave.

And the things you've experienced are not Jesus.

And this is going to take time, but this is an invitation to go deeper into Jesus. And I want to tell you, I experienced not accusation, not hatred, not rejection. I felt invited into the deep end of the pool of God's love where I couldn't stand up anymore, where my feet didn't touch the ground. I just had to float there. He had to hold me just by speaking love in moments of pain. Secondly, we're called to supernatural love. There's no way around it. When we read this account, Jesus prayed for healing. He prayed for deliverance. He prayed for changed hearts. If Jesus is who he says he is and he's not crazy and he's not a liar, then this is an invitation for us into the supernatural power of who God is. And isn't that what we hope for? Don't we hope for more than a teacher? Don't we hope for more than just good ideas? We hope for someone that comes from a place that makes all things new and wipes away every tear and makes every bone straight and makes cancer go away and heals our deepest wounds.

If we don't believe that, you guys, what are we doing? And finally, we're called to sacrificial love.

The center point of the gospel of Jesus is that he was not content to be in his space away from us, so he came here to be with us. And as he did, he gave. He gave. He gave all the way to death on a cross. He gave. So my question to you is, what is your joyous burden?

What is the thing that God has planted in you that is unique to you? And it's scary because it might cost you something, and it's scary because it's big, not small. But there is a joyous burden jesus invites you to. I love the way Thomas Kelly, an author, puts it. He says this, the loving presence that is God.

It does not burden us equally with all things. You are not the savior. I am not the savior.

It doesn't burden us equally with all things, but considerately puts upon each of us a few central tasks as emphatic responsibilities for each of us.

These special undertakings are to share in the joyous burden of love. We cannot die on every cross, nor are we expected to.

As we close this, I just want to pray for us. And we're going to take communion together, which is the remembrance, the invitation to remember. Jesus is who he said he was.

Jesus body broken, Jesus'bloodshed for us. An invitation to the deep waters with him. When we take communion, we're reminded of that invitation.

So I want to pray for us, but I want to leave you with this idea from St. Teresa about being a disciple of Jesus. She says, christ has no body now on earth but yours.

Christ has no body on earth now but yours. Your the eyes with which he looks compassionately on the world. You are the feet with which we walk to bring the good news. Yours are the hands with which the blessed world gathers to hold.

So go and be Christ's body to the world.