Sent into the Harvest
Thesis: We must go to them, for they will not come to us.
1. Illust. In Northwest Ohio there is an incredibly rich section of land along the Scioto River called "The Scioto Marsh." Actually it used to be a marsh. About 100 years ago a series of ditches were dug to drain it and it became phenomenally rich farmland. Onions grew particularly well and for a while this area (around Alger, McGuffey, Foraker, and Jumbo) was known as the "Onion Capital of the World." One problem though--onion cultivation was labor-intensive and there weren’t enough workers. The call went out for workers and many people from Kentucky moved into the area to work the onion fields. Most of the people in that part of Ohio have Kentucky roots. THE POINT: The onion fields couldn’t go to Kentucky, where the willing workers were, so the people of Kentucky had to go to the onion fields of Ohio!
2. That’s the way harvests are! You have to go to it, it doesn’t come to you.
a. Read: Luke 10:1-11; 16-20
This passage talks about the harvest.
Jesus tells us that if we are going to participate in the Lord’s harvest, we must do three things . . .
I. WE MUST SHARE JESUS’ VISION for the harvest (1-3).
A. If we share the Lord’s vision what are we going to do?
1. PRAYER is essencial for a good harvest of souls for Christ
a. Prayer for those who spread the word: Paul in Eph. 6:19-20 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
b. Pray for those who receive the Word. Col. 4:3-4 3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.
c. Make the most of every opportunity. Col. 4 5-6
5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
2. The Lord commands prayer for harvesters, not for the harvest!
It is impossible to pray for the Lord to send harvesters without becoming one ourselves!
II. WE MUST FOLLOW JESUS’ INSTRUCTIONS (4-8) (5 strange commands)
1. "Do not take a purse, or bag, or sandals" (4a).
1. Travel light!
2. Illust. Campers who go to "get away from it all" yet takes house trailer with stove, T.V., and airconditioning into the wilderness! Miss the point!
3. Go in faith. Don’t plan for every possibility. Don’t over-calculate! Leave room for God’s Spirit to move.
2. "Do not greet anyone on the road" (4b).
1. Wouldn’t Jesus want us to greet strangers?
2. Ancient Customs called for long-winded, superficial "howdy-doos."
3. Jesus says: "Don’t waste any time!" "The mission is urgent!"
3. "First say, `Peace to this house’" (5).
1. Offer genuine, heart-felt blessing.
2. Response will tell if they’re "ripe" (6).
2. 4. "Stay in that house ..." (7).
1. If received, put down some roots--invest yourself.
2. No evangelist or church can be all things to all people.
Illust. Talking about a philosophy of evangelism. I went hunting for wild boars and come on a large herd of wild woars in a clearing. I had a 5 shot Shotgun and a my friend had a 1 shot rifle. Problem: I had shells for bird hunting. My friend’s rifle misfired. With the Shotgun I peppered every boar, hardly even wounding them but definitely not killing a single one! My friend could have gotten at least one wild boar with the Rifle, but by the time he got it working the boars had disappeared into the bushes.
The point of my story is that when we go hunting we can target all boars in the clearing with a shotgun, but we probably won’t get a single one. Or we can take aim at an individual boar – but we have to make sure that the rifle is loaded.
The same applies to inviting people to Christ. The best strategy is to invest ourselves in the lives of individual people and form a close friendship with them, with the intention of inviting them into a relationship with Jesus Christ.
5. "Eat what is set before you" (8).
1. Jews of Palestine spent much time arguing over dietary matters (food, washings, etc.).
2. Jesus: "Don’t get into all that!!!"
3. Paul: "Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels" (2 Tim. 2:23).
Keep your vision on the harvest.
III. WE MUST PROCLAIM JESUS’ MESSAGE (9-12).
A. Content of Jesus’ message--"The Kingdom (rule) of God is near."
1. Everyone must come under God’s rule.
2. The song remains the same regardless of the audience.
a. To those who receive us (8-9).
b. To those who reject us (10-11).
B. Judgment is coming! Part of the message!
1. Harvest isn’t going to come to us, we have to go to it!
a. Onion fields couldn’t go to Kentucky!
b. Wild boars aren’t going to come up to hunters and say “shoot me!"
c. Sinners aren’t going to come to church (much less to Christ) simply because we’ve got a building, and our address is in the phone book!
2. Jesus sends us to the harvest--he doesn’t send the harvest to us.
So what about you and me?
Where is God providing opportunities for us to witness and and to form friendships with the intentions of winning them for Christ.
May God give us a clear sense of Mission, that we may remain focused on the great hearvest.
May God grant us courage and determination to go into the harvest field and bring many to Him.