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The Twelve - Part 1


"Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; and 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, the one who betrayed Him."
Good Morning my beloved,
We welcome you to worship in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is my honor and great privilege to have you here with us today and share God's Word. We are especially grateful for those of you who have been sharing the ministry website, and social media platforms with all of your family and friends. Your faithfulness and commitment to share God's Word with others. We have seen a dramatic increase of people from all around the world, who are responding to God's Word, with more and more coming to Christ. May God richly bless you for your efforts. I want to let each of you know how grateful I am for you.
If you have recently received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please write or text to let us know so that we can pray for you. Also, let us know if you would allow us to share your story. Each one of us have been blessed with a unique testimony. We'd love to hear from you.

Let us pray

Heavenly Father,

Father, we thank You for Your Word, for what we will learn from Your Truth. Let it speak to our hearts, touch our lives in ways it has never before. Help us to not just hear, but apply these truths to our own lives, to allow them to change us and the way we serve You and others. Lord, we pray for those in our midst who have not yet come to Christ to be converted. For those who have been called to Christ, to respond to the second responsibility of their calling which is to serve. May we make it the business of our lives to do the work which You began and do it with a pure heart. We pray that You would raise up those of us who are preaching Your Truth and call those who are teaching a world friendly version to repentance. Place a hunger and a thirst for the Truth in the hearts of all Your people. 
In Jesus' name we ask and pray
Today's Message: The Twelve
Today, we are privileged to find ourselves in the tenth chapter of Matthew again, which details the sending of the twelve apostles. Jesus would spend His time with them and is counting on them to tell others to spread the message of the Gospel. This is precisely the way that God has designed His plan to work.
Jesus sent the Apostles to take the Gospel first to the people of Israel and who would take it to the world. Centuries later, we are still sharing the message of the Gospel with others, who tell others bringing them to Christ, warning them about the coming judgement and preparing them for the arrival of God's glorious Kingdom. We have been given the responsibility to take the Gospel to this generation which shall tell the next generation. Thank God that in His divine plan He expanded His family to include more and more people. Thank God that He also chose us! We must make it business of our lives to warn them of the coming judgement, and to share the Good News of salvation, just as those who were chosen before us did. It all began with the twelve!
Open your Bibles with me if you would to the tenth chapter in the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew 10:2-4. I invite you to follow along with me as I read verses 2 through 4, while we open our hearts for the Spirit of God is saying to us.
"Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; and 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, the one who betrayed Him."
Here in chapter 10, we are introduced to them by name, they are the foundation of the church with Christ being the chief cornerstone. These are the very ones who were given the mysteries of the new covenant and the responsibility of writing most of the New Testament. They were the ones who received the promise that through His Spirit, would bring all things Jesus said to their remembrance. They were those called to be the framers of the theology we read and study today. 
Matthew’s gospel has been building and building for this moment, when these twelve very ordinary men, who would carry on the work of Jesus after He left. As we stated previously, God doesn’t need special, influential people to carry out His work, He only needs those who are available and willing, who are weak so that He can display His power and glory.
As you will recall there were four phases in the training of the twelve. First, He called them to Himself by way of conversion. Believing in Him as far as they could understand. Next, He called them to follow Him, away from their secular jobs, and into full time training. Here in the third phase of their training, He sends them out as interns, as He continues to interact with them in this hands on teaching internship. He wants them to experience a few things, to go out to get their feet wet so to speak to fail. They would go out and come back several before they go out into the whole world to disciple the nations. First, they had to fail in order to succeed. This was their first time being sent out, like many of us, they quickly realized their inadequacies and fail they did. 
As we study these next passages, we will discover there are three groups. Here we learn the names of the first four. It's interesting to me that there is a decreasing amount of information about each of these three groups. For example, we tend to know quite a bit about those found here in group one, and a substantial amount less about those in group two. However know little about group three, with the exception of Judas. Even unbelievers are familiar with him. Most of what we do know about him, as the one who betrayed Jesus, we don't really care to know. Notice there’s a decreasing intimacy as well. 
This first group, Peter, James and John were very close to Jesus, they were the most intimately connected to Him. Jesus loved them all, but because it's impossible to be intimately close with everyone, out of this first group He seems to have spent most of His time with Peter. Maybe because Peter needed the most help, or He saw the most potential in him. Maybe he wouldn't stop following Him asking Him questions. We don't really know why He became intimately closer to some than others. We do know that most of Scripture was written by group one and group two. We are not even told how the other disciples became a believer and a follower of Jesus, except for the account of Matthew’s calling.
Let's look at verse 2, "Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother." We'll stop there. Notice here in verse 2 they are called apostles. They've been trained, about to be sent. Allow me to mention that’s the same goal that God has for all of us today. Their training was not just eight or ten weeks in some class, this was walking side by side with a godly person, hearing them faithfully praying and listening to them speak, spending time with them on a day to day basis for an extended period of time. In their case, it was three years.
Another thing we notice, is in each of these individual three groups, there is a leader. They went out in their groups of four, only two together. Jesus sent them out two by two. This would have been very natural to them to go out with those to whom they were interrelated. For example, Peter, Andrew, James and John were all fishermen. Interestingly enough, in the second group, we only know that Matthew was a tax collector, nothing about what Philip, Nathanael or Thomas did. In the last group, their vocations are unknown, we simply don't know what any of them did. The emphasis of the gospels was about Jesus and not the apostles. In fact, besides His birth and the last three years of His life, we actually know little about Him. But we do know what is most important of all, He is the Messiah, the Savior, who
makes available to mankind reconciliation and peace with God. He is the Son of God and in His Second Coming to reclaim the earth and bring His Kingdom.
I'd like to draw your attention to Luke's account in chapter 6:13-16, "And when day came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles: Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James and John; and Philip and Bartholomew; and Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot; Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor."
As well as Acts 1:13 "When they had entered the city, they went up to the upper room where they were staying; that is, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James." 
In all three of these passages, Peter's name always appears first in the lists. At that time, Peter was the leader among the apostles. Peter, along with James and John were the only ones who went with Jesus up the Mount of Transfiguration. Ironically, it was Peter who denied Jesus three times, and it was Peter who ran away in disbelief when Mary Magdalene said "Jesus has risen." I believe it is significant that in John 21, when Jesus asked Peter three times "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" The message for Peter, and all of us today, is that love for Jesus must come before ministry. In fact, it has to be more important than anything else in your life. I believe that is really why Peter broke down. We know that Peter was eager, he was impulsive, he was also a man of action, he wanted to be in charge. I believe Jesus was asking him "Peter, do you really love Me; are you really ready for ministry?"
The disciples were certainly an interesting bunch of men, they were completely different emotionally, spiritually and politically, with all their many flaws, Jesus was able to make something significant out of all them that would change the world! Our Lord was able to take an ambivalent character such as Peter and make him a leader. Matthew, was a traitor, hated by everyone because he worked for the Roman government,  Thomas was skeptical, he didn't believe anything unless he could see and touch it for himself and Simon the Zealot was a radical, a revolutionary attempting to overthrow the government. I believe these men are the key to understanding how God can use anyone and even take Peter, who denied Him, who asked more questions than everybody else and reproves Him in going to the cross and make him a leader. There’s nothing perfect or complete in man apart from the work of Christ. What a tremendous message of hope for us today.
Let's briefly look at Peter. Jesus had to straighten him out several times. In Matthew 18, when Peter asked Jesus "How many times am I supposed to forgive?  7 times?" Jesus said "Seven times seventy" Or 490 times. And in chapter 19, Peter asked "Behold, we have left everything and followed You; what then will there be for us?" To which Jesus replied "Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last; and the last, first."
And in John 21, when Jesus said to Peter "Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go." Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God." It was Peter who said about John, "Lord, and what about this man?" And Jesus said "If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!" In other words, it's none of your business!" 
Peter was always asking questions, always ready to take the initiative and in the middle of the action. It was Peter who had the courage to follow Jesus all the way to the house of the high priest for His mock trial, when the others had ran away. Yes, Peter was raw, he was vacillating, he was not always consistent. We could even say he was sinful Simon and Jesus often focus on his sinfulness. In transforming him, He allowed Peter to have some life-changing experiences. But through it all, Jesus saw that he had the right raw basic potential to be a leader. Jesus was transforming him by giving him the experience of revelation! Because it was Peter who was going to stand up on the day of Pentecost and preach the revelation of God. It was Peter who was one day going to write the revelation of God.
We'll stop there for today.
In Closing..
Isn't that how we all learn the most? By experiencing, otherwise we seem not to understand. It amazing that God could take these flawed men, especially Peter and speak through each of them to change the world. Do you realize that through your confession, by the proclamation of the gospel, in leading others to Christ, the Lord continues to build His Church? You know, that is exactly what is in my mind, every time I preach the gospel, as I am reminded of my own flaws and short comings, in all of my brokenness, God sees something in me that is useful to Him. What a great honor and privilege it is to be used by God!
I believe that if you with us today, as we've been studying this important passage in Scripture, He sees something useful in you, in the continued building of His Church. If this message has touched your heart, are you willing and ready to allow Christ to transform your life by the life experiences that you are going through? Are you willing to say, "Lord, I am willing! In spite of my flaws, use me.."
May it be so..

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,

And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name
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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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