- Lift Up Your Eyes (John 4:
- See the Potential—the disciples overlooked the Samaritan woman (and people).
- a) Gender differences—Jewish men did not talk to women.
- b) Racial differences—Jews did not associate with Samaritans.
- c) Religious differences—Jews did not associate with infidels. They were half-breeds who got mad when Ezra returned (ch. 4). They were not allowed to participate in the rebuilding of the Temple because they could not prove their ancestry. They established a rival worship on Mt. Gerazim. A corrupted form of worship erupted. (Notice that Christ did not say that all forms of worship are valid expressions because we all worship the same God.)
- See the need—they were religious, see verse 20 (Eph. 2:12 [They] were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” But not without religion.)
- a) They had religion, but they did not have God.
- b) Israel had been very religious since the times of the Divided Kingdom. What were some of those religions? Baal worship, Molech, Chemosh, Ashtoreth and other fertility deities.
- Just because a person has a religion or a “church home” does not mean that they know God personally and are saved. Thought Question: How many people do you know that are members of religious organizations that are not Christian? (If you can’t think of any, shame on you.)
- Each of us needs to lift up our eyes and look beyond our own personal interests. “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Phil. 2:4).
- Look beyond your own culture and comfort zone. (Illustration: This week two people won the $370 million Lottery. One man when asked how he would spend it said that he would spend the majority of it on himself. The Commentator on CNN said that instead of a case of altruism, it was a case of “me-too-ism.” We are infected with a plague of self-centered and comfortable Christianity. We want everything to come to us without any effort.
- The Fields Are Ripe For Harvest (v. 35)
- The harvest is ready to be brought in. It is plentiful. We have many people to reach.
- It will not come in by itself. We can’t stay in the barn expecting them to come to us. Jesus never commanded unsaved people to come to church. He said to the church, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15)
- The harvest is no longer easy. There can be no easy gleaning without someone doing the hard work of harvesting.
- The Harvest time was a time of great joy every year. The people celebrated God’s blessing on their crops. A harvest of souls is also a time of great blessing.
- We can not stay in the barn sharpening our equipment. We have to take the seed out to t he field before we can expect to harvest, and we can’t wait until the night before harvest to go out. “He who continually goes forth weeping, Bearing seed for sowing, Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, Bringing his sheaves with him.” (Psalm 126:6)
- We must go out continually and not sporadically if we expect to see a sustained harvest. What do I mean? A church must have a continual outreach ministry if it expects to grow. When a church says, “We are big enough now” and rests on its accomplishments, it begins to die.
III. How Do We Harvest? (Luke 10:1-7)
Jesus set a pattern for us.
(Illustration: In the rural days of American History, people traditionally had large families. Why? So they could help with the harvest. When the use of tractors became wide spread, families decreased because it took fewer people to operate a modern farm. Everyone needs to be involved in the spiritual harvest. John 4:36)
- Jesus sent them out two by two.
- a) For protection and support.
- b) He sent them out in a hurry. They were not to waste time in lengthy greetings as in the case of Abraham’s servant when he found Rebekah.
- They were to seek a person of peace who would hear the message. (Illustration: From Pioneer Evangelism p. 77. A person of peace is one “who [is] seeking peace and God.” How do you find such a person? You say, “’I am available to lead a Bible Study, would you be interested?’ If the person says, ‘yes’ he is a person of peace. Allow them to suggest a place where they feel the Bible study should take place.” (Ibid.)
- They established a “home base” to operate from and not move around from house to house.
- They ministered and preached the kingdom.
- (Illustration: The JWs use this as the basis for their door to door ministry. There is nothing wrong with their method. It is their content and motivation that are not scriptural.)
- We need more workers (v. 2). Jesus did not tell us to pray that the harvest would come in out of the field. He told us to pray for harvesters to go out into the field.
- We need to pray that God would send us out into the field. All we need to pray about individually is, “Lord, What section of the field do You want me to work in today?”
Conclusion: harvesting is a time of hard work. It only follows seasons of hard work. That is why we go out weeping, but when we bring in the sheaves, we will come rejoicing. What is God saying to you today about your place in the harvest?
Rev. Lucy Paynter
Glorious Power Church.
40 VINAL SQUARE,
NORTH CHELMSFORD, MA 01863
Serving the Purposes of God In Our Generations.