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The Harvest is Plentiful (Sermon)

The Harvest is Plentiful (Sermon)

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Published by tsupasat
An expository sermon on Matthew 9:35-38, where Jesus has compassion on the crowds and asks His disciples to see that the harvest is plentiful.
An expository sermon on Matthew 9:35-38, where Jesus has compassion on the crowds and asks His disciples to see that the harvest is plentiful.

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Published by: tsupasat on Sep 18, 2009
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11/18/2012

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“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few”
Matthew 9:35-38
35Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their  synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing everydisease and sickness. 36When he saw the crowds, he had compassion onthem, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but theworkers are few. 38Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." 
We live in the most prosperous society ever. One of the reasons Americaissuccessful is because it relies on the capitalist system, which requires continual increasesin material wealth. We expect things to become faster, cheaper, and better all the time. No one is satisfied with hand-me-downs; everyone expects an upgrade. Better cars, better houses, better cellphones.Really, I have no problem with material prosperity, and I wouldn’t want to live ina stagnant society. But I believe our material prosperity masks our spiritual condition.American society is rotting at the core. Even though more people are getting higher education, medicine is improving, and we have wonderful technology, people are moredesperate for salvation than ever. They are like sheep without a shepherd, harassed to the point of exhaustion and completely unable to fix their situation. Not only does material wealth in our society blind us to the problem, but it prevents Christians from solving the problem. I thank God for bringing me to know Him.I often wonder how I could get along if I didn’t know my Creator; if I didn’t have aneternal purpose. But, even though I am so thankful God saved me, I admit that I am oftendistracted from sharing that salvation with others. Material wealth and prosperity, “thethings of this world,” are often what distract me.Material things are temporal, not eternal. They are temporary; one day all thosethings I’ve spent so much time worrying about will be gone and no one will remember them. But when I share God’s salvation with other people—when sharing this precious,free gift I’ve been given—then the results are eternal. And isn’t that what we should bedoing? How can we who have been called out of darkness continue to walk around asthough we were in darkness? Shouldn’t we be walking differently than those who can’tsee? And shouldn’t we be guiding them out of danger?So today I want us to reorient ourselves. These verses will help us remember thesituation—many people are suffering and desperate for an answer, and we have thatanswer. Let’s go through Matthew 9:35-38 verse-by-verse, studying Jesus’actions andwords. Allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you through these scriptures. Don’t close your ears to God’s word, but make a decision to bare your heart. I beg you to listen to theHoly Spirit. The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Are you asking the Lord of the harvest to send out workers?
 
35Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healingevery disease and sickness.
Jesus has commanded us to go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations. AndHe has given us authority so that we can do the things He did in His name.What does this mean? Well, for one thing, it means we better get started now. Italso means we have been given a commission, and the person who receives a commissiondoesn’t get to pick and choose which parts they will obey. Jesus went to every town andvillage and preached, regardless of those people’s readiness or response. He didn’t staylonger with the nice people and avoid the nasty people—He fulfilled His commission.In the same way, we must realize that we cannot choose who our partners in thegospel will be, who we will reach out to, or even where we will go. We can’t predetermine what our ministry is going to be like. God
will 
likely use us in some waythat we never expected. Are you ready to do something you haven’t anticipated or wanted? If God calls you, are you going to listen or ignore His call?My wife and I both recently got great jobs, just what we wanted, and things have been going pretty well for my family after relocating here last year. I’ve really beenhappy with my new job, but then I asked myself if God wanted me to leave this job to dosomething for Him, would I? Now, don’t get me wrong—I really like this job and don’tthink God is asking me to leave, but the question is still a good one to put to oneself. If God wanted you to do something other than what you had planned or where comfortablewith, would you obey? Are you ready to fulfill your commission, or is God’scommission subject to change according to your plans?
36When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them…
The Greek word translated here as “compassion” literally means “moved in theintestines,” and I think is similar to our phrase “gut-wrenching.” When we feelsomething very strongly, we feel it in our gut. Maybe when some young person is inlove, they often don’t feel like eating, or if you hear some horrible news, your stomachfeels as though it dropped to the floor. I believe this is the type of compassion that Jesushad for the crowds.In order to minister to people, we need the heart of God. More than anything else,I think this is the most important aspect of ministry. It doesn’t even matter whichministry, you still have to have some strong feeling of wanting to help others. Butcompassion is important especially in the pastoral ministry. We need to be like Paul theApostle, who said Christ’s love compelled him to do everything for the Corinthians’ benefit. (2 Cor 5:14) We need to be like Timothy, who Paul said was genuinelyconcerned for the Philippians’ welfare. (Phil 2:20-21)Brothers and sisters, do you know God agonizes over the unsaved? Can you love people, not with the love of men, but with the love of God? Not just people who seemworthy of salvation, but even those who are despised and rejected? Did you know thatJesus died for that person sitting in the row in front of you? Can you have compassionfor that person? One song really reminds me of what I ought to be doing. It’s called “If We Are the Body” by Casting Crowns and the chorus goes like this:
 
Jesus paid much too high a priceFor us to pick and choose who should comeAnd we are the Body of ChristIf we are the BodyWhy aren't His arms reachingWhy aren't His hands healingWhy aren't His words teachingAnd if we are the BodyWhy aren't His feet goingWhy is His love not showing them there is a way
…because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without ashepherd.
The Greek words actually imply sheep that are pursued and tormented until theyhave to lie down do to exhaustion. They have no defenses any longer, no energy to run,and they are completely helpless.Brothers and sisters, this is the condition of our friends and neighbors who do notknow God. There is one Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ. And He delegates under-shepherds to feed, protect, and gather together His flock. The Bible says that whoever desires to become an overseer, or under-shepherd, desires a noble task. It is the mostimportant work in the world to watch after and serve God’s people. I beg you to havethis ambition, not to have ambition for your career only, or for a new car only.I beg you to make this your focus in life. Make it your goal in life to build thekingdom of God, which is not a building or organization, but rather the extent to whichGod reigns as King in the hearts of people. Be kingdom-minded. Seek first His kingdomand His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you as well. God is goingto provide for you and your family. I always remember the verse in Psalm 37:25, whichsays the children of the righteous will never beg for bread. God will take care of me as Itake care of His people. In fact, one way to ensure your prosperity is to serve and give toothers—not only your money, but your time and energy. God promises you that you arenot short-changing yourself or your family by serving Him. All God’s blessings will beyours when you align your priorities correctly.
37Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but theworkers are few.
Jesus said there were few suitable workers. I believe today it’s the same as back then—it is always a minority of people who really abandon themselves to God.Throughout history, there have been those people who say to God, “Yes, Lord, please useme whatever the cost.” They are willing to give their everything for Christ, and Godhelps them bring in a multitude of harvest. I recently read a biography of GeorgeWhitefield, who together with John and Charles Wesley began great revivals in Englandand Americain the 1700s. Their group was started when they were students at Oxford;their group was called “Methodists” because of the strict discipline they imposed onthemselves. Their aim was to be devoted to God completely. God gave them grace andused those men mightily to spread revival. Imagine at that time, before there waselectronic amplification, a man like George Whitefield could preach to more than 20,000 people! John Wesley rode tens of thousands of miles on his horse around England,

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