More from my lesson based on Steve Berger's book; Between Heaven and Earth.
Once we grasp all that heaven is
and all that a heavenly focus gives us, we change. Our lives, our attitudes and
our priorities. We know where we are going and long for it, but we realize we
have a purpose for remaining on earth. We see the needs of people. We want to
help them know the Savior through our testimony, our lives and our service.
It’s not just preachers and evangelists. It’s every believer. God’s mission for
all of us is winning the lost, discipling the found and sending forth the
willing. And there’s a shortage of labor. Matthew 9:37-38 Then he said to his
harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore,
to send out workers into his harvest field.”
The harvest is people who need Christ. And
there are multiple opportunities for the gospel to go out and for people to be
saved. Jesus doesn’t force us to work; we serve Him willingly and gladly. Jesus
looked at the crowds and saw weary, broken and scattered people. He had
compassion for them. And we must be like Him. Is there someone right in front
of you that you know isn’t saved? The harvest is great.
John 4:35-36 Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell
you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. 36 Even now the
one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the
sower and the reaper may be glad together.
Jesus was clearly telling us not to wait
until someday in the future. We can make a difference and nothing we do for the
harvest is trivial. Everything we do for it has eternal reward. But it’s called
labor for a reason. There will be discomfort sometimes. And it’s not a
part-time job. It’s a perpetual assignment. There is no moment when we are not
“on call!” Preaching the gospel is the priority.
People are waiting and there aren’t enough workers. 20% of the people do 80% of
the work in all areas. But it needs to be 100%. No more saying “me first” “let
other people do it” “I’m too busy” “I’ve got other things to do first”. That’s
We also let fear stop us. We see a need, we
feel the stirrings of wanting to do something about it, but immediately the
doubts about our ability come in. But 2 Timothy 1:7 says For the Spirit God
gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
There are things we can do right
now that will move us past these blocks.
- Renew – look inside ourselves in prayer, through God’s
revealing Word and with the help of the Holy Spirit make sure our hearts
really do long for heaven.
- Repent – turn from the behavior that takes our focus
off the harvest. Cry out to God and let Him bring change.
- Receive Forgiveness – God’s forgiveness must be
actively received. We must deliberately accept it.
- Pray – seek God’s will for our lives and let Him show
us both where to act and how to do it.
- Obey – don’t let distractions, attitudes or excuses get
in the way of serving.
Next it’s important to know we
can’t do anything without God’s strength and His strength comes to us through
the Holy Spirit. And we need to know God’s Word so we are ready to share it
when opportunities arise.
Do you know that according to the
Gallup Polls only ½ of U.S.
adults know the title of even one Gospel? People have Bibles. They just never open them! Only 16% of adult Americans
say they read the Bible everyday. People feel that they know from Sunday school
and church everything it has to say.
I was in that religion class once
and a student made it clear she thought King Saul and Saul who became
Paul were the same person! 28% of adults
don’t know who Moses was! The Bible is our opportunity to know God, His ways
and His will. Scripture leads us to a personal encounter with Jesus. Jesus is the Word! We have to know the Bible
so we are prepared to help people know Jesus.
If you remember the parable of the
sower and the seeds, you’ll remember that only 25% or 1 in 4, of the soils
produced fruit. The people, represented by the soils in the parable, all heard
the same message and had the same word available to them, but only 25% actually
did anything lasting with the truth they heard. We need to be among those who
commit to read and study God’s Word and let it produce fruit in our lives.
You’ll also remember from this
parable that Satan actively works to steal the word from us. He knows that if
we receive and keep God’s Word in our hearts, we will bear fruit and he can’t
stand that idea!
If God’s Word isn’t deeply
implanted in us, when difficulty comes we won’t persevere. We’ll miss the
chance to be an example to others who are hurting and need encouragement from
someone who has been there and made it through victoriously.
And in the parable you’ll see that
the word gets choked out. Jesus said, “They will hear the words, but the cares
of this world, the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other good
things will choke the word.” There is serious opposition against those of us
who want to read and study God’s Word. We face Satanic and worldly pressure to
put our attention on anything, but God’s Word.