INTRODUCTION: Jesus sent his apostles and disciples out to evangelize the whole world. "And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth" (Matthew 28:18). But Jesus prepared his disciples to go forth by sending them on two limited preaching tours. He was preparing Israel for his coming kingdom and also preparing his disciples for the worldwide work of reaching everyone with the gospel.
In Luke 10:1-2 Jesus talks about the need for workers for the harvest. There is still a need for workers in the body of Christ today.
I. "THE HARVEST TRULY IS GREAT" - THERE ARE ALWAYS GREAT OPPORTUNITIES
FOR THE LORD'S CHURCH.
A. The Lord gives great opportunities for His people.
1. 2 Corinthians 2:12- "Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ's gospel, and a door was opened to me by the Lord,"
2. Colossians 4:3- "meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains,"
3. Acts 16:9, 10 - And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." 10 Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.
a. God had paved the way for the preaching of the gospel in Macedonia. Although God will never speak to us today through a dream or vision, we can rest assured that God will just a surely make opportunities for preaching the gospel as He did for Paul.
B. What are we doing with the doors that God has opened for us.
1. Revelation 3:7,8 - "And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, 'These things says He who is holy, He who is true, "He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens: I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.
2. Others have built up this foundation, what are we doing to reach out and build on what they have started?
a. John 4:35-38 "Do you not say, 'There are still four months and then comes the harvest'? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! 36 "And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. 37 "For in this the saying is true: 'One sows and another reaps.' 38 "I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors."
II. "THE LABORERS ARE FEW" - THERE ARE NEVER ENOUGH WORKERS FOR THE HARVEST.
A. Why are there never enough workers?
1. Because of the great nature of the work. There are so many who are lost and in need of the saving message of Christ.
2. Because many disciples there is no need for haste in teaching the lost.
a. But Jesus told us that we should never approach personal work with this attitude. We must be concerned now!
i. John 4:35 - "Do you not say, 'There are still four months and then comes the harvest'? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!
ii. John 9:4 - "I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.
b. There is little doubt that the five foolish virgins thought there would be plenty of time to prepare for the bridegroom, but there wasn't.
c. Approximately 150 people die each minute and go to God, nearly all unprepared.
3. Because some are simply lazy.
a. Jesus condemned spiritual laziness.
i. Matthew 25:25- "'And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.' 26 - "But his lord answered and said to him, 'You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed.'"
b. Perhaps this is the real reason why we make all kinds of excuses for not visiting, working in the church, and teaching others about Jesus.
i. Proverbs 26:13 - The lazy man says, "There is a lion in the road! A fierce lion is in the streets!"
4. Because some do not keenly feel the responsibility of teaching the lost.
a. Perhaps we have convinced ourselves that we are not really responsible for teaching the lost.
i. Mark 16:15 - And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature."
ii. Acts 8:4 - Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.
iii. While the apostles remained in Jerusalem, the church (i.e. ordinary Christians) were scattered. What did they do? They fulfilled the Great Commission.
b. In the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14ff) the Master gave each of the servants a trust. There were those to whom he entrusted more and to them more was given. But all had a responsibility.
5. Because they do not believe they will be held responsible for not reaching the lost.
a. Matthew 25:29, 30 - "'For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. 30 - 'And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'"
b. John 15:1-8
B. We need to awaken from our sleep.
1. Ephesians 5:14, 15- "Therefore He says: 'Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.' 15- "See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise,"
2. Some Christians sleep while the work of the Lord goes undone and while the enemies of Christianity sow false teachings.
a. Matthew 13:24, 25- Another parable He put forth to them, saying: " The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25-but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way."
b. Matthew 25:5- ""But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept."
3. It's time we quit playing at being Christians and realize that we have a great responsibility, to work in God's vineyard to bring souls to him.
III. "PRAY THE LORD OF THE HARVEST TO SEND OUT LABORERS INTO HIS HARVEST." - THE VALUE OF PRAYER.
A. We need to pray for laborers.
1. We cannot begin to know all the ways of answered prayer. God's providence is beyond comprehension. We do know that God will provide workers if we fervently pray for those workers.
a. 2 Thessalonians 3:1 - Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you,
b. Colossians 4:3 - meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains,
2. When was the last time you prayed for workers for the harvest?
B. We should be willing to step forward to fulfill our prayers.
1. Being unwilling to do our part is being hypocritical. It is like praying for daily bread without getting out to work for it.
2. The farmer prays for a rich harvest, but goes out and works to soil.
3. Isaiah 6:8 - Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: "Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?" Then I said, "Here am I! Send me."
4. Perhaps the reason why we do not pray is that God may providential place opportunities before us. Then we will have to answer.
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