Team Work: “Mark 6:7 ¶ And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits;
Mark 6:8 And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse:
Mark 6:9 But be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats.
Mark 6:10 And he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place.
Mark 6:11 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.
Mark 6:12 And they went out, and preached that men should repent.
Mark 6:13 And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.
Grace and peace be unto you, from God our father and from the LORD Jesus Christ. Beloved, today we will look at the holy habit of Teaming. This text is a wonderful pericope with lots of lessons for us, this day we want to look at what Jesus established. The broad strokes of this text is simply this, Jesus sent the disciples on a preaching assignment. When we take a closer look there are some lessons for us to learn. Verse 7 tells us some awesome things:
Mark 6:7 ¶ And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits.
He called them, then he sent them. Now, for most of us, that would be a deep truth, that one would think is a sermon all it’s own. OK, but I want to take a more pragmatic look at this text. Jesus assembled them to give them instruction. Then he sent them out to follow the instruction. Then equipped them to deal with problems that will undoubtedly arise from following Jesus’ instruction. He gathered them together, when he did this he gave them instructions on how to carry out this ministry he was sending them on. He told them what to preach. How to go out. Then he told them what tools were necessary. They received instructions together. God did not give them a private revelation on how to engage in ministry. I think many of us make this common mistake here. We think that God must pull us aside to tell us how to be successful, and that the information should be something God has told no one else. Our success in anything, is tied to the word of God. The thing that makes us special is that we obey the word of God. Many times, there is no secret handshake, no fraternal secrets to success, just obedience. Jesus said it this way,
John 13:17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.
Jesus makes a point of not only giving us instruction, but telling us how to go about this ministry. Two by two is the model we find here. Yes we can impose upon this text the mantra of Deut 32:30, one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight. Well, we can not prove from the text that this is what Jesus had in mind, but we can intimate from this passage that ministry is not something that should be taken lightly, nor should one feel that they alone are all that God needs to bring his purpose to pass. God wants us to go into the world and confront non-believers with the gospel, but we need not take off on our own and avail ourselves to the dangers of ministry. Why, well let’s look again at the text. In the Gospel according to Matthew, there are few more details in chapter 10. Not only did he send them out to preach, he told them what to preach. Preach ‘the kingdom of heaven is at hand’, now picture that. I wonder if preachers today really rely on God for instruction as to what to preach.
Well that’s another subject, the instruction is so radical that according to all the narratives including this one, he gives them power over unclean spirits. Imagine to be equipped with instruction to preach a particular sermon, and in order to do this, Jesus must equip you with power over unclean spirits, and someone to team up with. Preaching in obedience to God, meaning doing it because he called, and sent you to preach, and subsequently preaching what he told you to preach, is such a powerful effort, demons become agitated. Look at the text, before Jesus sends them, he equips them with power over unclean spirits. So this tells me, preaching what Jesus tells you to preach, causes unclean spirits to expose themselves, and present themselves in such a way as to be a point of conflict for the preacher. The preacher must be prepared to deal with this spirit.
This text also suggests God wants us to lean on each other. We lean on each other, but depend on God. In order to guarantee that we depend on him, he limits what we can bring on the journey. You and I both know that we tend to think our sustenance are in things, until God has a way of making us trust him. Do not take your wallet, I will provide for you, do not take a script, I will speak for you, do not take any bread, I will feed you. You can take another person with you. Could it be that God wanted to provide us with a witness to his ability to care for us. Also we learn having another person with us, does not make God unnecessary. As a matter of fact, Jesus planned things in such a way, that in order to carry out his plan, we will have to believe God together, and I think this is the real intent. We need to learn to trust God together, for each other. I need to pray for you, I know I need you to pray for me. We need to be able to trust God together, even though we are equipped by God to carry out the task, we need to believe God together. So this makes us not only a team in purpose, but also a team in faith. Can you stretch your faith enough to include someone else? Can you rejoice when God does something for someone else? Whatever church you are a part of, it is your responsibility to pray for the vision of your community. Pray for your Pastor, why, because you are in this together. Pray and believe God for your brother, and your sister in Christ, because you are in this walk together. God wants you to do this together, as a team. He also demands that as a team you depend on him to give you success. That is really where our strength lies.
Yours Because I’m His