The Shepherd’s Mission for His Sheep (Matthew 9:36-10:10) by Bro. Luis Cortez

Alright. Happy Lord’s day everyone! It feels so great to be back. Some of you guys might not know but I’ve been away for 3 weeks, I guess, 3 weeks or a month. Because of work, I had the privilege to travel to two countries Australia and New Zealand and praise God because I was able to celebrate the Lord’s day at Reformed Baptist Churches there. I just want to let the church know that Christ Covenant Church in Melbourne and Sovereign Grace Church in Aukland prayed for us and will continue to pray for us. I told them about how God has been adding people in our local church and how He has been faithful to us for the past 3 years. Actually seeing a lot of people today, medyo naninibago ako kasi like the churches that I have attended there, 20 or 30 or 40 sila. And it’s crazy to think that we’re already this big and it’s only been 3 years, right.. 3 years and we can only thank the Lord for His work in this church and we can only depend on Him in the many years that we will still go through. So we praise God for that. Alright, so alam niyo yung feeling na kakauwi lang from a vacation, galing lang tayo doon. It was a very, very long weekend. Ang hirap bumalik sa work mode eh ‘no.. tomorrow. Just the thought of work tomorrow for some of us is already causing us to be sad. It’s causing us to be worried, kasi pakiramdam natin vacation mode pa rin tayo. In the same way sa church whenever we are celebrating the Lord’s day. It is as if we are on vacation mode from the world. We set aside the worldly things. We set aside work and just focus on getting our spiritual rest. Pagdating naman ng bagong work week, we are called to go into the world. We descend from Mount Zion carrying out the truths of the Gospel that we will learn this morning and proclaim it to wherever the Lord would bring us. This is our calling. And in our text this morning, we will learn about why God calls His people to carry out the message of His kingdom and bring it to the harvest. The problem is the labourers are few. Yes, we are on vacation mode today, but let me remind all of us that there is still a great need to reach out to the lost. And we will learn more about this and learn what needs to be done as we read our passage this morning. So if you have your Bibles with you, kindly open it with me to Matthew chapter 9 starting in verse 36 and then tatawid tayo sa chapter 10 until verse 10. Again, that’s Matthew 9:36 up to chapter 10 verse 10. I’ll be reading from the English Standard Version. 

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.” And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. Acquire no gold or silver or copper for your belts, no bag for your journey, or two tunics or sandals or a staff, for the labourer deserves his food.

Praise God for His word. Before we dive deep into the message this morning, let us come before the Lord in prayer. Father God in heaven, we are thankful for the Lord’s day where we will be fed once again with Your word. I pray that we do not just remain hearers of Your word, but we would be doers of Your word as well. And only depending on the power of Your Holy Spirit Lord, apart from the illumination work of the Holy Spirit, opening our eyes and understanding Your word, Lord, hindi namin maiintindihan ang sasabihin Niyo po sa amin today. So open our eyes. I pray that Your church would be edified. I pray that You would convict us oh Lord to have compassionate hearts for the lost. And I pray if there are those who are lost today here in this church oh Lord, I pray that you.. that they would be found by You oh Lord in Christ. And I pray that You would grant them repentance and faith as they hear the gospel call this morning. Most importantly, may You be glorified today oh Lord. We love you in Your name we pray amen.

All right, so we’re done with chapter nine already and we’ve learned in this chapter about the power and authority of Christ through His miraculous works of healing but most importantly emphasises yung heart Niya for those who are spiritually sick. We’ve learned that Jesus goes after the tax collectors and dines and eats with them, going against the holy practices of the Pharisees to not associate or have any part with such unrighteous people. Jesus did this because He says that His mission is not to go to those who do not think they are sick. In verse 13 He says that He came not to call the righteous but sinners. And in our text this morning, we have read again of this matter where we see the heart of Jesus for the lost. In verse 36, when He saw the crowds, He had compassion for them. And all throughout the Earthly ministry of Jesus, we see His compassionate heart. His healing ministry was deeply rooted with compassion. He healed the leper, He gave sight to the blind, He healed many sick people, all because He was moved with pity. Scripture clearly tells us that our God has a compassionate heart. But in other religions, compassion is an unknown attribute of their gods. To some it is actually a sign of weakness. And so their so-called gods are heartless and apathetic to human suffering. Now imagine if our God, the God of the Bible is like this— cold, callous and shows no compassion and mercy. If a God is like this then He wouldn’t even bother saving sinners. And so if not for God’s compassionate heart, then all of us here are hell-bound. But praise be to God because scripture tells us that God is rich in mercy. And His compassions never fail. And in our text this morning we learned that Jesus not only had compassion for the lost, but He also did something about it. Hindi lang nag-stay as a desire, but He also acted on it. In verse 38, Jesus asked the people to pray for labourers, to go into the harvest. And then in chapter 10, He called and sent His apostles to go to the lost and proclaim about the kingdom of heaven. And if we are to summarise our passage this morning, it is this: Jesus saw a great need and He acted on it. Now how about us? Alam natin there is great need. I mean look around, palala na nang palala na ang depravity ng mundo. But do we have a heart to reach the people in the world? Remember, these people are lost. They are like sheep without a shepherd. Kapag may taong naliligaw at nagtatanong ng direksyon sa atin, kadalasan tinutulungan natin sila. Pero ganun din ba tayo sa mga taong lost at wala pa kay Christ. Sinasabi ba natin sa kanila ang daan that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life? If wala si Christ sa buhay nila, they are bound again to be judged by a holy God. And the question is are we going to do something about it? Are we hesitant to do things outside and naging comfortable na ba tayo in staying here inside the ark of safety not knowing that we might have been neglecting people outside these church walls and have no compassion for them anymore. Dear brothers and sisters, I pray that God would strengthen us in this church to be bold in going out into the harvest, proclaiming the gospel would make the lost be found in Christ. Hindi po ako galit. Gusto ko lang maging clear na there is definitely nothing wrong; again, definitely nothing wrong with being here every Lord’s day. Gets ko, we need this; we get our spiritual nourishment here. This is where we are being fed by the word of God and we say Amen to that. But are we called to just stay here? Yun lang ba? Are we all about not missing a spiritual meal on the Lord’s day? Again, nothing wrong about making extreme effort to honour the Sabbath as in yung whole day, Lord’s Day pa. Kung ikaw ito, praise God for you brother, praise God for you sister. But we have to be careful also na baka kain na lang tayo ng kain pero hindi na tayo kumikilos. Spiritual obese na ba tayo? We receive the word of God every Lord’s day, but do we also share this spiritual food to others? Church, may we not just be hearers of the word, again, let us also be doers of the word. And this morning, our passage is telling us that we need to do something for the lost because there is still so much work to be done out there. There is still many people who need Christ. And so my message for all of us this morning is this: Churches Must Be Must Be Missional Because The Great Shepherd Has Great Compassion For The Lost.

And we will be going through this message in two parts. The first one is The Great Shepherd’s Compassion. Hebrews tells us that Jesus is our great high priest who sympathises with our weakness and because of this, we have the confidence to draw near Him and find mercy and grace. Knowing this access that we have through Christ’s compassion, do we keep this only to ourselves or do we share the same compassion with others and share with them the access to God’s throne of grace which is Christ? Let us remember that we are called by God to minister to the people outside our church and in the hopes that these people would also be part of God’s kingdom and be in the ark of safety. These shepherd-less sheep are in great danger and God has called the church to care for these people and bring them into safety through gospel proclamation. And we will learn more about this in the second part of our message, The Missional Church.

So dear brothers and sisters, church, may may the message this morning compel us, convict us; and shape our hearts to be compassionate to others and partake in the mission of God to save the lost. Let us now consider the first part The Great Shepherd’s Compassion. And so in the opening verse of our text, we see that Jesus was deeply moved when He looked at the crowd because He saw them as a flock of helpless sheep in need of a Shepherd. One of the most consistent concepts through scripture that portrays God and people is of a shepherd and sheep. God is referred to as the great Shepherd and the people are the sheep. Obviously, without the shepherd, any sheep is useless. And the only way for a sheep to survive any attacks from a predator and to keep them from danger is to be entirely dependent on the great Shepherd. And they do this by heeding the voice of the shepherd. They know the voice of their Shepherd because the Shepherd knows the sheep. Jesus in John chapter 10 says my sheep hear my voice and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life and they will never perish. And no one will snatch them out of my hand. Grabe yung guidance and commitment na binibigay ng Shepherd sa Kaniyang sheep. And in our text, Jesus saw na marami pang tao na wala pang ganitong klaseng guidance. He saw the crowd as shepherd-less sheep harassed by wolves and helpless. Some Bible commentators believe that the crowd that Jesus saw here was previously led by worthless religious leaders of Israel. And in Ezekiel chapter 34, pinrophesy niya ito about this so-called shepherd who only took care of themselves resulting in the flock being scattered because there was no true shepherd. These false Shepherds do not strengthen the weak because they do not feed the sheep. And this is true even up to this day; yes, God has gifted churches with elders and pastors who will tend the flock of God but because of sin, there of churches today that have false and unqualified pastors. Instead of pointing their flock to their need of Christ, the great Shepherd, they point people to themselves, their accomplishments and other nonsense that doesn’t nourish and strengthen the flock spiritually. In these types of churches, the sheep who are going through suffering and persecution will get scattered because they do not have a true shepherd who will take care of them. This also happen and during the time of the Apostle Peter. He wrote a letter to persecuted believers who had been scattered to different places during the Roman Empire. And so he exhorted the elders in First Peter 5 to shepherd the flock in a Christlike way. And the way to take care of them, is to feed them. When Jesus resurrected and appeared to Peter, He told Peter that if he truly loved Jesus, he must feed God’s sheep. Yes, Jesus is the great Shepherd but He also calls faithful men to be elders to pastor the flock of God and feed them the word of God. And a faithful pastor will feed God’s sheep properly and will not feed them anything other than a faithful presentation of the word of God. And a faithful presentation of God’s word will always point to the greatness of Christ, the great Shepherd. That is why we must keep praying for this local church to remain faithful in the ministry of gospel proclamation. In this way, we show to the people around us that we truly care for them because all they will hear from us is their greatest need— Christ.

Eto yung kailangan ng mga tao, believers and unbelievers, we all need Christ. There is not a single person who doesn’t need Christ. Kahit gaano pa kabait iyan. Everyone needs Christ. Look around your office, people there need Christ. In your family, in your school, people there need Christ. In churches, people need to know and hear about Christ. The question is: do we have a heart for these people? Or do we have an uncaring heart towards the lost or unbelieving neighbour especially those who might have persecuted us or mocked us because of our faith. Are we like Jonah who escaped from God’s assignment for him to prophesy against the wickedness of Nineveh because he wanted God to judge them instead. Are we like this? Do we sometimes think that the wicked people around us do not deserve to hear the gospel and pray that God would just return now and judge them instantly? If this is you dear brother, dear sister, repent of this and ask God to give you a heart that has compassion for the lost. The fact that Christ hasn’t returned yet, shows that He is patient with those who are not yet repenting of their sins and putting their faith in Him. And if you are here today, first time mo makarinig ng salita ng Diyos, first time mo marinig na kailangan mo si Jesus. Kung hindi clear sa ‘yo kung bakit kailangan mo Siya, well dear friend, I want to let you know that all of us are born lost because of sin. And by nature, we will rebel against our Shepherd and left to ourselves..hindi talaga tayo susunod. And in this lost state, the sadder news is you will be lost forever away from the Shepherd if you do not admit that you need to be found by God.

Being lost forever is a terrible thing. You will suffer eternally without His guiding presence. So please believe the word when it says that we need Christ. Kaibigan, repent now of your sins and come to faith in Jesus. And to my brothers and sisters in the faith, once upon a time, we were also lost like sheep who have gone astray, deserving to be slaughtered because of our sinfulness. But the great Shepherd became like one of us, became like a sheep, a lamb who willingly followed the order of His master, but He was different from the rest. He was spotless, unblemished and so He perfectly obeyed and He willingly suffered for His sheep. He was despised and rejected by many. He was stricken, smitten and afflicted by God. And through His blood, the blood of the spotless Lamb, His sheep have been redeemed and forgiven. And he suffered extremely because He had great compassion for His wayward people. And since God showed compassion and mercy to us wretched people, who are we to not show compassion to the lost? Who are we to neglect loving our neighbour when Christ Himself loved us despite our sinfulness? So dear brothers and sisters, my fellow sheep, let us be like Christ and have a compassionate heart towards the lost.

And this is our first challenge for this morning— Cultivate A Christlike Heart For The Lost.

The Apostle Paul cultivated a Christlike heart for the lost in Romans 10:1. He desired in his heart that his fellow Jews may be saved. In his letter to the Thessalonians, he considered the converts in that church. His hope and his joy, his crown of boasting. Ganito din ba ang puso natin pagdating sa mga ine- evangelise natin? Here’s the problem: as much as we love the doctrines of grace, there is a way of holding on to this doctrine dangerously. We believe so much that God is sovereign that sometimes we think this way about evangelism: si God naman ang mags-save sa kanila, wala na akong kailangang gawin. Dear church this is Hyper-Calvinism. And I know that some of you know about this and say we don’t hold on to that belief, but if we are not careful, sometimes because of sin, we can think and act like we’re Hyper-Calvinists. If we are not careful, we might downplay the compassion and love of God for the lost when we think extremely about His sovereign judgment. Di ko na kailangang mag-share. Sovereign naman na si God. Think about your unbelieving family members, your relatives, your workmates, your classmates, your friends. May pakialam pa ba tayo sa kanila? If yes, kapatid, let’s take every opportunity to talk to our unbelieving family, relatives, workmates, classmates, friends about the gospel. Tandaan natin na shinarean lang din tayo gospel before. And if not for that person that God used to share with us, where do you think we would be right now? Kaya kapatid, tayo naman ang mag-share. My prayer is that God would increase our love for the lost and that this compassion for them would compel us to partake in the mission of God to save sinners. This leads us now to the second part of our sermon The Missional Church.

In the opening verses of chapter 10, we see there that Jesus calls and sends the 12 apostles to advance God’s kingdom. Just to be clear with the word apostle, identify muna natin ano ba ang ibig sabihin nito? In the Bible, they were messengers and Jesus commissioned apostles to represent Him to the world. And to be an apostle, kailangan close witness ka ng earthly ministry ni Christ at ng resurrection Niya. Clearly, hindi na applicable ito sa time natin dahil ni isa sa atin ay hindi pa nakikita si Christ. Kung mangyari man ito, ibig sabihin bumalik na Siya or nasa heaven tayo. Pero, the office of the apostle, not being applicable in our day doesn’t mean that God’s work during their time is not beneficial to us anymore. Because of the apostles’ obedience to the mission of Jesus, the early Church in the New Testament started. And we now have a Biblical model of how a church should be like. Basically, the apostles of Jesus had a foundational role in God’s mission of saving the law through the church. And in our text, we read that Jesus gave them authority to perform miracles during their time, and the authority to proclaim to the lost about the kingdom of heaven. And all throughout the time of the apostles, whenever they would speak ,they gave the word of Christ because they received authority from Jesus Himself to proclaim His word. And today, we are blessed to continue on in this ministry of carrying out the gospel that the apostles of Jesus had preserved during their time. But take note— they were able to do this not because they were good; they were able to do what God commissioned them to do because Jesus taught them and He was with them. Matthew 28, we all know this text as the Great Commission. Some say na ang importante sa text na yun is yung word na “go,” some say “make disciples”. But if you continue reading the passage there is a great promise that we shouldn’t miss out. In the last verse of that passage, sabi ni Jesus: behold I am with you always to the end of the age. You guys want to know why churches are still advancing God’s Kingdom in this world? It is not because they are good at making disciples, it is not because they have been going and going and going into the harvest; it is because of the promise of God that He will be with the church to the end of the age. And the church perseveres in advancing God’s kingdom because of God’s faithful presence. Why did Jesus give this promise? Well, because fulfilling the mission of God for the church is not easy. And we need to take comfort in knowing that He will be with us until the very end. Mahirap ang evangelism. Mahirap mag missions. Hindi ito madali. And sadly, there are churches today that are very loose regarding matters of reaching the law or fulfilling the Great Commission. A lot of Christians think that evangelism or making disciples is just bringing in people in the church… quote unquote ‘equipping them to bring more people in the church.’ They make these things sound easy. But biblically speaking, these things are difficult. As long as available yung person, sasabihin ng church: pwede nang isabak ‘yan. It is like going into the battlefield with no proper knowledge of how to use their weapon. Maraming ganito ngayon: zealous to go out and reach the lost but are not equipped. Some of these people do not really hear the word and so they think they are obeying God. And to be a doer of the word, one must be a hearer of the word first. And if the shepherd, if their pastors is proclaiming the word faithfully in his teaching, counselling and preaching, his hearers will most likely be equipped to proclaim the gospel and teach the word to the lost. And so if you have the desire to reach out to the lost brothers and sisters, let’s also stay equipped with the word of God take advantage natin yung ministries na meron tayo sa church—yung book studies, kung kaya natin, attendan natin ito; yung prayer meetings for the members, attendan natin ito. Basically, every time may ministry na word ang church, take time to be there. Get yourself equipped. Why? Because the cultivating tool that we will use going into the harvest is the word of God. Now some of you guys are probably thinking na ‘tara na, labas na tayo dito, mag-missions na tayo. Kapatid, easy lang, bago muna ang lahat, assess muna natin kung called at equipped ba tayo para dito. Take note that not everyone is called to be a missionary. What’s clear is God calls every believer to take part in His mission. If you’re not called to be a missionary, you can take part in missions by praying to God, to send labourers in the harvest. Jesus says that in our passage this morning— pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers. But if you are a faithful member of a local church and you are being equipped faithfully with the word, and you have the desire for missions, I suggest that you pray, pray that God would send you into the harvest. And most importantly, regardless if you have the desire or not, or you’re equipped or not, know that we must proclaim the excellencies of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvellous light in our daily lives as a Christian. Yun yung mission natin individually.

Many of us might have heard already of William Carey, a particular Baptist who did missions in India for almost 40 years. Napakahirap nung pinagdaanan niya. He was in a foreign country that had intense pagan practices. He and his family suffered intensely from numerous illnesses, physically and mentally. His wife couldn’t handle the suffering one day so much that she had a mental breakdown and sobrang inaway niya yung asawa niya, sobrang nagalit sa husband niya. And she never recovered from it. In the first couple of years of his mission work, he only had a few converts. And so William Carey experienced depression and he almost lost it mentally as well. But what got him through was of course the word of God but also a help from his faithful pastor, Andrew Fuller. William Carey, before leaving for India, told Andrew Fuller: “I will go down into the pit if you will hold the ropes.” And Andrew Fuller did. He held the ropes tightly by raising funds to support William Cary and traveled all over to preach mission-related sermons and was later known as a promoter of missionary work. William Carey was called to be a missionary, Andrew Fuller was called to support missionaries by ‘holding the rope.’ Both had specific and different roles and yet both of them took part tremendously in God’s mission to bring the gospel to the lost. Now how about us? How are we going to take part in the mission of God to save the lost or are we even going to take part in the mission? I pray and hope that we as a church and this is my last challenge for all of us would Actively Participate In God’s Mission For The Church To Save The Lost. It may be street evangelism or actively helping out the church to look for opportunities to do missions or how about praying constantly to God to raise godly men in this church to be biblically equipped missionaries. My prayer and hope is that we would continue to be faithful in proclaiming the gospel here in this church so that when some of of us goes to the lost we have the gospel to share to them.

And there will also be times that people, those who are lost will find their way in this church and whenever that happens, I hope we show them how much we care for the word of God to be proclaimed and taught faithfully. I hope when they come here they see that we love one another and that we care for one another despite our differences. I hope that whenever they enter this church that they would see how the gospel has truly made us set apart from the world and that they would see a huge difference. I hope that when they listen to our conversations that they would get to hear about the things of God and not just godless chatter. I pray and hope that we would continue to equip ourselves with the word of God and allow the gospel to shape our lives so that we would love God and love others more. In result, making our testimony as God’s people an effective tool in being a missional church.

Let’s pray. Father God in heaven, thank You for Your word. Thank You Lord that it is a double-edged sword that it convicts us and yet it also comforts us oh Lord. Knowing that it is for our good, that You let us hear, Your word and by Your Spirit do Your word. Lord, may You continue to sanctify us and may You continue oh Lord to to put into our hearts oh Lord to be missional and to take part in Your mission oh Lord to do whatever we can by the power of the Holy Spirit to pray for labourers to be sent into the harvest. And I pray also that if some of us here are being called to do missions, I pray that we would be open to our pastor and willing to be equipped. And I pray that we would give us opportunities. Oh Lord for men here in this church to be qualified to be sent oh Lord to the harvest and to do Your mission to save the lost. Oh Lord, thank You for this morning. Thank You Lord for the Lord’s day that we get spiritually refreshed oh Lord by Your Word. We love you in Your name we pray, amen.


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