Is Healing Important in Outreach? (Matthew 9:35 – 10:8)
Today my message is entitled “Is Healing Important in Outreach?” We’re going to explore the importance of healing in outreach. So to begin with, we need to define what outreach is all about. Outreach is summarized by Jesus in Matthew 28:18-20, often called the Great Commission.
Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV) Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
These were Jesus’ last recorded words to his disciples in the book of Matthew and so were of great importance. Outreach is going and making disciples of Jesus Christ. In other words, outreach is leading others to believe in Jesus Christ, be saved and become part of the church, where they can continue to grow in Christ. These words of Jesus are not a suggestion, but a command. They are directed, not just to Jesus’ first century disciples, but to every disciple, every follower of Jesus of all time. Going and making disciples is the responsibility of every believer. Outreach is something you should wake up thinking about in the morning and be praying about as you go to sleep. Outreach should be the heartbeat of every believer as it was for Jesus.
So, how can we best learn what outreach is all about? By following the example of Jesus Himself. When Jesus called his disciples, he said “Follow me.” Every believer is to be a follower of Jesus. To be a follower of Jesus is to follow His example in the things Jesus said and did. What did Jesus do with respect to outreach?
Matthew 9:35 (NIV) Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.
Jesus did two things, He taught the truth and He healed the sick. Powerful outreach is when God’s truth in words is confirmed by God’s power in actions. Paul writes similarly in …
1 Thessalonians 1:5 (NIV) Our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction.
So to follow Jesus Christ in outreach is to both speak the truth and demonstrate God’s power. Churches are to do the same: Teach God’s Word and demonstrate God’s power, not to be just social clubs or Christian entertainment centers. When we gather together as a church, the presence and power of God is here. Today, let’s look to Jesus’ teaching and example to learn how to better outreach to those around us.