Sent Out! – Stitts Farewell Service

This morning is a bittersweet time.  On one hand, we get to honor and celebrate the Stitt family for their years of hard work and commitment to New Hope and to give thanks for the fruits of their labor and Godly leadership.

On the other hand, there is a sense of finality and grief as we share together the last day of their service here at New Hope and say our good-byes.
This morning, I felt that God wanted to also reveal to us that this is a time of calling – a time for us to see that though this is a season of mourning, this is also a season that the Stitts as well as ourselves are being called and sent out.  He wants to remind us that He has good things that He has ordained for both the Stitts and for New Hope and that this is both the end of one season as well as the beginning of a new one.

Sent out!
We find in scripture two different occasions where Christ sends out His disciples.  One is in Matthew 10 when He sends out the 12 and the other is in Luke 10 when He sends out the 72.
This morning, we’re going to look together at what it means to have Jesus send us out.  This is especially true for the Stitts as God is sending them out on their new adventure!
Matthew 10:1
Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.
It’s HIM who calls us.  We were created for a specific purpose – He personally calls us out into that purpose at just the right time.  What an awesome thought in that the God who spoke and created everything is calling us to Him and entrusting us and sending us out on a mission that is on His heart!
It’s HIM who equips and authorizes us.  When we go out, it’s not on our own power or authority, but serving with His power and under His authority!
Matthew 10:5-15
5 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.
9 “Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts— 10 no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff, for the worker is worth his keep. 11 Whatever town or village you enter, search there for some worthy person and stay at their house until you leave. 12 As you enter the home, give it your greeting. 13 If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. 14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. 15 Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town
It’s HIM who guides and directs us – revealing to us HIS will
As we go, us and our message and mission will not always be accepted.  Instead of taking time trying to convince someone of your mission and message, it’s more beneficial to invest your time in those who welcome and listen to your message and mission and continue reaching out to others.
Matthew 10:16-25
16 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. 17 Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. 18 On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
21 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 22 You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 23 When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
24 “The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household!
It’s not going to be easy
It’s HIM who gives us the words to speak
It’s enough for us to be like HIM- don’t try to be their savior, be like the one who saved them
It’s HIM who has already went before us
It’s HIM who can relate to us
Matthew 10:26-31
26 “So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. 28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
It’s HIM who is with you
It’s HIM whom you should fear!  What can man do to you?
It’s HIM who holds you in His hand and cares deeply for you
He knows even the hairs on your head, trust that He knows how you are feeling as well
Matthew 10:32-33
32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.
Do not be ashamed of HIM, but make HIM known!
Matthew 10:34-37
34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn“‘a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’

37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

It’s HIM who should be above all else in our lives.
It’s not God’s desire to separate families!!!  He paid a high price to bring reconciliation, which reveals His heart about relationships.  However, the harsh reality is revealed here as scripture says that if you are not for HIM, you are against HIM; if you’re not gathering, then you’re scattering.  When members of a household begin to follow Christ and others in the household do not, this truth becomes blatantly apparent.  As we’re called to, though, we need to love HIM above all else and others secondly.
Matthew 10:38-39
38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.
It’s HIM who is calling us to a life of selflessness and sacrifice – one that He demonstrated to us
Matthew 10:40-42
40 “Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. 42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”
We are ambassadors of HIM – whoever accepts us, accepts HIM and whoever rejects us, rejects HIM
It’s not about us!
A rich reward far beyond what we could ever hope for or imagine awaits us.  Those who welcome and accept us are accepting God Himself and will be rewarded for it.
Luke 10:2
The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.