October 31, 2021 – Matthew 10

Lesson Date: October 31, 2021

Focal Scripture Passage: Matthew 10:1-42

AIM: To lead students to discover why Jesus’ disciples were able to preach with such fearless determination, and to ask God to give them boldness and courage to minister for Him.

 

Before class: Read the notes on Matthew 10 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book.  Write the words “Boldness” and “Courage” on the marker board or chalkboard.

 

INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Ask the students to turn to the book of Acts.  Give them a brief overview of the first chapters of Acts using the following outline:

  • Chapter 1 tells about Jesus’ ascension.
  • Chapter 2 tells about the day of Pentecost, when Peter preached about Jesus in the Temple and 3,000 people were saved.
  • In chapter 3, the disciples continued preaching and ministering in Jesus’ name.
  • In chapter 4, Peter and John were arrested by the Jewish religious leaders (Acts 4:3).
  • Peter and John were brought before the Sanhedrin (Acts 4:5-6) – the very same council that condemned Jesus to death just a few weeks earlier.
  • Peter and John boldly rebuked the Jewish religious leaders and preached to them about Jesus.
  • Read Acts 4:18.
  • After commanding them not to teach in the name of Jesus anymore, the Jews released Peter and John.
  • The disciples continued teaching about Jesus, and many miraculous signs and wonders were performed (Acts 5:12).
  • Read Acts 5:18-20.
  • The Jewish religious leaders arrested the disciples again, but God miraculously freed them.
  • The Jews arrested them a third time and questioned them.
  • Read Acts 5:40.
  • The Jewish religious leaders beat the disciples, told them not to speak any more in the name of Jesus, and then released them.
  • Read Acts 5:41-42.

Ask: “What gave those early disciples such boldness and courage in the face of opposition, arrest, and even physical beatings?”

After students have suggested some answers, tell them we will find answers to that question in Matthew 10.  The title of today’s lesson is Ministry in the Face of Opposition.

 

HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):

  1. Review.
    • Ask everyone to turn back to the Gospel of Matthew.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (Jesus’ authority over every area of our lives).
    • Ask: “Have you tried to yield to Jesus’ authority this week? How has that worked out?”
  2. Jesus Sent Out His Twelve Disciples.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Matthew 10:1.
    • Ask: “What kind of power did Jesus give the twelve disciples?” (power to cast out demons and heal diseases).
    • Tell the class Matthew named the twelve disciples in verses 2-4.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Matthew 10:5-6.
    • Ask: “Where did Jesus tell them not to go?” (to the cities of the Gentiles or Samaritans). Ask: “Where did He want them to go?” (to the “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” – the Jews).
    • Tell the students this reminds us that the Gospel was to go to “the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16).
    • Read Matthew 10:7-9.
    • Explain the following:
      • Jesus told them what to preach (“the kingdom of heaven is at hand”) and what to do (“heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils”).
      • Interestingly, He also told them not to carry along any money for their journey.
      • Jesus told them to accept the hospitality of good people in the cities they visited.
      • If anyone did not receive them they were to shake the dust off their feet and move on.
    • Summarize: Jesus sent His twelve disciples out to preach the Gospel and minister in His name to the Jewish people.
  3. Warnings and Promises.
    • Tell the students that on the surface Jesus’ assignment to the disciples sounds pretty good: travel around, preach, perform miracles, and accept free food and lodging.
    • Ask: “Who wouldn’t want that: see the sights, do things that make people happy, and get free stuff?”
    • Comment that it would probably be easy to get people to sign up if that’s all there was to the assignment; but in the words of the TV commercials, “But wait – there’s more!”
    • Tell the class before sending His disciples out on their journeys, Jesus gave them some warnings and some promises. Those warnings and promises are found in verses 16-23.
    • Ask half of the students to listen for the warnings, while the other half listens for the promises
    • Read Matthew 10:16-23.
    • Ask those who listened for warnings to tell what they heard. They should name:
      • They would be like helpless sheep among wolves (v. 16)
      • Beware of men because they will arrest and scourge you (v. 17)
      • You will have to testify before high government officials (v. 18)
      • Family relationships will not stop the persecution of Christians (v. 21)
      • Everyone will hate you because you belong to Jesus (v. 22)
      • You will be persecuted, so you will have to stay on the run (v. 23)
    • Ask those who listened for promises to tell what they heard. They should name:
      • God will give you the words to say when you testify before rulers (v. 19)
      • The Spirit of God will speak through you (v. 20)
      • God will preserve you if you endure (v. 22)
      • The Son of man is coming back (v. 23)
    • Summarize: Before sending His disciples out on their preaching and healing mission trips, Jesus gave them several warnings and promises.
  4. Encouragement for Those Who Minister.
    • Read Matthew 10:24-27.
    • Tell the class the Jewish religious leaders accused Jesus of being empowered by the devil (Beelzebub – see Matt. 12:24).
    • Ask: “Since they accused Jesus of this, what should His disciples expect?” (the same accusations).
    • Ask: “What did He tell them in verse 26?” (don’t be afraid of those who make such accusations because the truth will eventually come out).
    • Tell the class rather than being afraid, the disciples were to preach the truth to everyone they could (verse 27).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Matthew 10:28.
    • Ask: “Who did He tell them not to fear?” (those who can kill the body but cannot harm the soul; in other words, men).
    • Ask: “Who did He say they should fear?” (God, who has power to consign persons to hell).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Matthew 10:29-33.
    • Ask: “What encouragement did Jesus give in verses 29-31?” (God knows us, values us, and will care for us).
    • Ask: “How did Jesus encourage His disciples to speak up boldly for Him in verses 32-33?” (He promised to speak up boldly for them before His Father in heaven).
    • Summarize: Jesus gave His disciples encouragement in their ministry for Him, telling them not to fear men, but to trust God.
  5. Requirements and Rewards for Following Jesus.
    • Explain the following:
      • In verses 34-36 Jesus explained that while salvation unites believers, it causes division between saved people and the lost world.
      • Sometimes that division even reaches into the closest human relationships within the family.
    • Ask the students if they have ever joined an organization or attended a school that had entrance requirements. If they did not meet the requirements they were not allowed to join.
    • Tell them Jesus laid down some very high requirements for those who would follow Him.
    • Read Matthew 10:37-39.
    • Explain that Jesus said anyone who loves their family more than Him is not worthy of Him.
    • Ask: “In verse 38, what else did He say we must do?” (take our cross and follow Him).
    • Tell the students that crosses today are used mostly for jewelry and Christian symbols.
    • Ask: “What were crosses used for in the First Century?” (to execute people).
    • Explain that Jesus’ admonition to take our cross means we must die to self and live instead for Him.
    • Ask: “In verse 39, what reward did Jesus promise those who give their lives for His sake?” (they will find true life).
    • Tell the class in verses 40-42 Jesus promised rewards for those who receive and minister to His followers and prophets.
    • Summarize: Jesus set some strict requirements for following Him, but also promised great rewards for those who do so.

 

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Read Acts 5:40-42.  Ask: “Why were Jesus’ disciples able to stand up to the powerful Jewish religious leaders, continuing to preach the Gospel in spite of opposition and persecution?”  Allow time for members to suggest reasons for the disciples’ boldness.  Remind them of the following things Jesus promised His disciples in Matthew 10:

  • To give power to those who minister for Him (v. 1).
  • To provide for their needs (v. 9-13).
  • To give them words to speak (v. 19-20).
  • To give them victory over fear (v. 26-31).
  • To speak for them before His Father in heaven (v. 32).
  • To reward them for their service to other believers (v. 42).

Tell the students when the disciples stood up to the Jewish religious leaders in the book of Acts, they were saved and filled with the Holy Spirit.

Direct the class’ attention to the words “Boldness” and “Courage” written on the board.  Ask: “Jesus gave boldness and courage to His disciples 2,000 years ago, but is that kind of boldness and courage still available to us today?”  Wait for responses from the class.  Ask them why they believe Jesus can still give us boldness and courage today.  Ask the students to name some situations in which we need boldness and courage.

Ask: “Are you willing to serve the Lord in spite of any opposition or attacks that might come your way?”  Encourage the students to place their trust in Jesus Christ to help them stand up to opposition.

Ask everyone to bow their head and close their eyes.  Tell them to privately ask God to help them be bold and courageous.  Voice a closing prayer.

 

CONCLUSION: Ask everyone to memorize Matthew 10:39.  Encourage them to minister boldly in Jesus’ name this week, and to contact one another for support and encouragement when they face opposition.

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