Ministry

October 9, 2016    Luke 10: 1 – 24     Ministry   

 

   We see at the end of Luke 9 that Jesus challenges people to walk with him.  One man in verse 9:57 wants to follow Jesus and Jesus tells him that he does not have any place to lay his head.  He tells another man to follow him and he tells Jesus let me first go and take care of dad.  Jesus said let the dead bury the dead.  Then another man wants to follow him but desires first to say good bye to his family and Jesus said no one who starts out and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.  Jesus calls us to surrender.  Jesus called these men to surrender their life to his call.  There is a cost to follow Jesus.

   Those are challenging words but it reminds me that we need to stay focused on Jesus.  Remember your commitments to the Lord and obey them.  We need to keep our eyes on heaven and on God.  There are many things to get us off track in the world.  We need to be reminded to ask ourselves why am I here?  What does God want me to do with my life?   As a church we need to fulfill the role and ministry that Jesus has for us to do.   God involves people in what He is doing.   He calls us into action.   Paul said we co-labor with God.    The gospel is not printed in the sky nor given by angels.   Jesus told us to preach the gospel.  

   In Chapter 10 verse 1 we see that Jesus appointed 72, some manuscripts say 70 and sent them out 2 by 2.  Why did Jesus do that?  Why did he send them out?   Well in Matthew we see that he saw the multitudes.   He saw more than just people.  He did not see the people for possible sales or see the people as a possible vote or for some other personal purpose.   Jesus saw people with needs.  Jesus had compassion on them.   He sees people.  Jesus sees you and me.   He sees your needs.   He has compassion.   He saw people that he did not know personally.  Jesus felt and saw their needs.  We need to see people.  We need to tune into others.  He calls people and sends people because he cares about people.  

   He was moved with compassion. That word compassion means to be moved to love, mercy and pity.  What Jesus saw moved him.  It touched his spirit.    In other words, he did not just see them or how they looked outwardly, but he saw their need.  Their needs were real to him.   Their needs impacted him.  They touched his heart and his mind and his spirit.  Their needs were real to him.   Jesus saw them as they were harassed and helpless.   Without God we are helpless in many ways.   They were scattered abroad just like sheep without a shepherd.   They were drifting in life.    If we are not moving toward God we are drifting in life.  Jesus heart was saddened because Jesus saw things as they really are.  His compassion moved him. 

    Why did Jesus send these 72 men out?  Well they were to go into the towns where he was going to preach.  They were to go before him as John the Baptist did.   They were the advance party.   Jesus still calls and sends people today.  Souls are important to God.  Lost people are on God’s heart.  What is one of the best things that Jesus can do for his disciples?   It is to send them out into ministry.   That is what Jesus did.   Jesus got involved in other peoples needs.  Jesus went out into the villages and the towns to be involved with people.   At times he went out of his way but Jesus always moved in step with the Father.   I believe at times he ministered when it was not convenient for him.   We know he ministered when he was hungry and tired.   It was out of love and discipline that he would feed the people when the disciples said send them away.

  Why did Jesus send these men out?    Jesus tells them the harvest is plentiful.  If we could see people like Jesus sees them.  Is the harvest plentiful today?   I think we see lots of folks.  When we drive it seems like there are a lot of people.  Well there are a lot of folks around at least at rush hour.   We see a lot of people around.  It does not seem like they are spiritually hungry.   But there is a huge need. .  Jesus sees the potential for the harvest.   .  There are about 7.5 billion people in the world today.  There are a lot of folks in the USA and we are about 4.4% of the world’s population which is not a lot.    For just having over 4% of the world’s population we have a huge influence and we have a huge responsibility to the world.  For one thing we have ea strong military.   

    .   Jesus did not focus on the hopelessness of the situation but he focused on hope.    Jesus did not pity and do nothing but he told us to pray.   Jesus saw the answer to the harvest is prayer for laborers.  Ministry really starts with the call of God and prayer.    Jesus calls us to pray.  Every one of us can be part of the answer.  Jesus looked at the situation he was in and told his disciples to pray for laborers.  We see the world and country today and we pray for it which is good.

     Jesus saw Israel and saw the needs of the people and he tells his disciples to pray for laborers.  There is a need today to pray and ask God to raise up laborers.  We pray for one another and pray for the sick.  We need also to pray for laborers.  Jesus saw the answer to the needs in the world started with prayer for laborers.  What do we need in this church today?   We need workers.  We need a treasurer and a trustee.  We need deacons and elders and SS teachers.  We need youth workers.  Pray for laborers.   Pray that God will give us laborers. 

    He told us to pray for laborers.  If you pray you may also be sent.    Do we see those around us as potential saints?   In Psalms 126 we see a great promise.    Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.   Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.

    Jesus did not see the people as always being in that situation but he saw them being transformed into a different sphere.   He saw the lost being saved.    He saw sinners becoming saints.    He saw the guilty being set free.   He saw the unforgiven being forgiven.  Jesus said his church would prevail against the gates of hell.  Instead of moaning and groaning about the bad state of affairs he magnified the expectancy and hopefulness that is anticipated in the harvest.     

    The problem of lack of harvest is not in the harvest itself, the harvest is plenteous.   The problem of the lack of harvest is not in God, he still saves.  The problem is “”but the laborers are few.”  The problem is not that there are too many laborers.  There are not enough people who are interested and involved in gathering the harvest.   Do you know why reapers are few?   Well we need to pray and it is hard work to make laborers.  The harvest involves labor.   Jesus does not say witnesses are few, but he says laborers are few.   Reaping a harvest among sinners is hard work.   It will cost some effort and some time.  There is spiritual warfare involved in laboring for eternal souls.   It is not easy work.   You have to roll up your sleeves, you have to sweat a little, and you have to get dirty.   It is time consuming and humbling work.

     If you have ever planted a garden you know it requires work.   .  Friends I love the harvest don’t you?      We have much to rejoice about.   A church without a harvest is a church without joy.   A church that does not see God moving and working in its midst is a church that is missing out on joy.    

    God is in favor of the harvest.   The Father is glorified if you bear much fruit.   Jesus is not pleased with:  Fishing without catching (Luke 5:4-11)  - Ever fish like that? ... boring!!  We fished all night Lord but did not catch anything.  Boring.   Jesus is not pleased with an empty banquet table (Luke 14:16-24).  Jesus said go into the highways and byways and compel them.   Jesus talked about the sower who produced the hundred times what was sown.   The hundred times was commendable.  Jesus was not pleased with the fig tree with no fruit on it.   The green leaves were not enough.   (Luke 13: 6-9)   He thought the lost sheep should be brought into the fold.  He talked about the lost coin which was sought and found.   In this passage in Luke 10 he said pray for laborers.   Jesus wants them to be brought in.    I think God wants us to ask him for laborers.   In this passage Jesus said pray for laborers.  I see that as a commandment.  Ask the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest field.   It is His harvest field. 

   Jesus sent these men out.  They were not alone.  He did not send them out with nothing.  He told them to heal the sick and tell them the kingdom of God is near.  They were to heal the sick.  This is not just the 12 disciples folks.   Remember that Jesus sent out 72.   Jesus told them you go and heal the sick.  It was not just Peter that Jesus gave authority to or James and John.   Some might think well I will leave that to the pastor or elders.   Did Jesus tell them to do something that they would fail at?   Did Jesus tell them to heal the sick and not want them to heal people?   Jesus healed people and Jesus his followers heal people.  We can believe that Jesus wants sick people healed.  Correct?   It makes sense to me that we can believe that Jesus wants to use his followers to heal others.  There was no sickness in the Garden of Eden before sin and there will not be any sickness in heaven.  When Jesus was on earth he healed people.  God allows people to get sick.  Sometimes we bring it on our self.   God can use sickness.  Every good and perfect gift is from God.  I do not think that God sends sickness.  I do not think that God curses us with sickness.  He does get blamed for lot though. 

    We know that these 72 men went out with power and authority.  In Matthew 10 it is clear that Jesus gave them authority.  When they came back in this passage they tell Jesus that even the demons were subject to them.   That is power.  Jesus saw Satan falling from heaven.  Satan power was broken on the cross.  His power is also broken when God’s children walk in authority and power of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus is filled with joy.  Jesus is blessed when we walk in Holy Spirit power and authority.  Jesus said my Father is glorified when you bear much fruit. 

   We need to walk in the authority that God has given us.  

.    Jesus said I have all authority in heaven and on earth but Jesus has given us authority and power. Because Jesus has all authority he tells us to go.  We can go in his authority.  Christians are not to be playing defense all the time.      We need to be setting the captives free and to win others to Jesus   If He wants us to walk on water we can do it but we have to exercise faith.   Peter had to get out of the boat.  

    Maybe we don’t exercise this power because we feel we are unworthy.    Boy is that ever true we are not worthy.   But we should not question your worthiness, Jesus has authorized you and me to do great and mighty works through His strength, and through the authority He has given us.     Being humble is a key for God using us.   God looks to the person with a humble and contrite heart.     Only Jesus is worthy and we are never worthy.      We do these things because He is worthy.    So when He works through us He gets the glory.   It has been said never allow your limitations to determine your future.  God is able to do abundantly above all that we can ask of think by His HS in us.  

   Better off than Sodom on the Day of Judgment.  Much has been given to us and much is expected from us. 

   We see some important ministry qualifications in this passage.  Jesus had compassion on people.  Matthew records that but not Luke.  Jesus sent them out.  Jesus gave them power and authority.  They were successful.  Jesus was filled with joy over the results.  Can you picture a church that is filled with people who are healing the sick and who are casting out demons.  A church filled with people who are filled with the Holy Spirit and who have a great compassion for others.  They love people like Jesus loves people.