August 25, 2019
Scripture: Matthew 9:36-38
In this time in Jesus’ ministry he is observing a multitude of people. Some believe the multitude may have been the 5,000 that Jesus would miraculously feed. This multitude of people had heard, maybe even seen, Jesus perform miracles. Jesus had already healed cripples, given sight to the blind, cast out demons, and raised the dead. The news of Jesus’ miracles had spread among many people and now they wanted to see and experience Jesus and so they came to Him. When Jesus meets them He looks out with a heart of compassion and sees the people as they are. People in need of a Savior. People who were weary from life’s hardships, people who tired from the grind of life, people who were weak from life, people who were tires, people who were hurting, people who happy, people who believed they were successful, people who were rich, poor, angry, all kinds of people from all kinds of walks of life. All of needed a Savior. And Jesus knew this, and Jesus had compassion.
How do we look at other people, do we look with eyes of compassion, from a place of love for our fellow man? Do we see people with the same compassion that Jesus does? The people Jesus looked upon were not a crowd of radicals or extremist hating God. The people were regular people, like you and I, like our family members, our neighbors, friends, coworkers, the people of Colquitt County. They need a Savior.
That’s where we come in. That’s the laborers of the harvest Jesus prays for and calls in verses 37 and 38. We are the representatives of Jesus here and now! We saw the last time we were together the results of a survey that reviewed the perceptions people, mostly now in the 30’s, hold of Christians. The perception is that Christians are judgmental, hypocrites, prejudices against homosexuals, and out of touch with reality. The perception is that we are not respectable, not loving, and not trustworthy. If Jesus had been thought of this way would thousands of people have searched for Him in the desert areas? People were drawn to Jesus because He demonstrated love, mercy, forgiveness, grace, truth, hope, and compassion. Our lives should represent those same things so clearly and consistently that the people not in the church would be drawn to God just like the multitudes in this passage. We have got to start living lives of public faith that demand people’s attention and point them to Jesus.
Jesus described this lifestyle in Matthew 5:15-16. Jesus says we are to be like candles shining light into the darkness. We are not supposed to be candles hidden under a basket. We are supposed to shine, but I am afraid too many Christians are only letting their light shine inside the church and never in public. The church is full of lights we need to shine into the unchurched. We must choose to labor as a harvester and shine publically before all people.
In Hebrews 10:24 the Word of God tells us that we are to be provoke our fellow Christians to show love and to do good works. This is part of God’s plan for the church. At church we are to provoke each other into action outside the church. Provoke is a strong word, it is not a gentle suggestion or a friendly reminder. Provoke is an agitation, a force that cannot be ignored. So let’s all commit to sharing the love of God with others and to do whatever good we have opportunity to do so that God may be glorified and people may experience God’s love through us. In 1 Peter 2:9 we are told that we should be proclaiming God’s praises into the darkness. God has done marvelous things for you and me. Will we tell other people God’s good works? Will we let other people know that God does care and love them and wants them to come to Him? Or will we choose to hide under a bushel and not shine and not work to harvest those who need a Savior?
You may say you don’t know how to shine. Pray. Pray for God to reveal to you ways you can shine and show love to others. Pray for me and the others at Rose of Sharon and all Christians all over the world to shine and labor for the harvest. People need to hear from us. Here are some suggestions for how you can demonstrate your faith: baptism – if you are a believer and claim Christ then be baptized if you haven’t before and show others your surrender to Jesus. Explain to them how baptism portrays the death, burial, and resurrection. Try talking to others about the amazing things God has done in your life: the family He has gifted you, the rescue from tragedy or danger, the answers to prayers, the love you have felt. Try sharing prayer and Bible reading with people, with your family, share the good news of people be saved and born again just as proudly as when they were first born. Share the gospel! Pray for the laborers including you!
Scripture: John 16:33
Tonight we will begin a new chapter by chapter study which will take us through John 13-16. This passage of Scripture reveals to us the events and teachings from the Upper Room during the week of Jesus’ crucifixion. We will see the Passover Meal in which Jesus institutes the Lord’s Supper, Jesus will wash the disciples feet, Judas Iscariot will be identified as the betrayer of Jesus, Jesus will warn Peter about his faith and denials, and Jesus will share His final teachings with us before the arrest.
The passage concludes with John 16:33 in which Jesus says “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
We will start tonight with this verse so we can frame the importance of the proceeding chapters. This verse tells us that the proceeding chapters include the instructions so that we can have the peace Jesus promises in the midst of this world that is so often anything but peaceful. But praise the Lord for the wonderful hope offered in this verse!
There are some important truths in the verse. First is the fact that there will be tribulation in the world. If you look at different Bible translations you will see the word tribulation rendered as trials or trouble or suffering or sorrows. What we learn here is that we will experience times in life when things do not go away, when time is difficult, when time is hard, when time is sad, when time is unfair, when we do not like things. The truth Jesus presents here should warn us against the false teachings of prosperity gospels that suggest through faith nothing bad will ever happen again, or through donations nothing bad will ever occur, or through prayer we will be spared all troubles. Jesus taught the exact opposite. There will be troubles. Where do the troubles come from? Some are from the devil. The Word of God tells us the devil looks to destroy lives and accuses people. So the devil causes troubles, but it must be noted only by God’s allowance. We see in the lives of Job, Peter, and Paul that the devil has to approach God with requests to trouble God’s people. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 tells us how Paul learned that in his own troubles that caused weakness God was glorified, and so Paul was willing to endure hardships from the devil. Trouble also comes from the consequences of sin in an indirect manner upon all humanity. Death is a consequence of sin that is promised to all humanity. Birth is a painful experience because of sin. Our work is a trouble and toil because of sin. The earth groans under the burden of sin and we see tornados, hurricanes, famines, droughts, earthquakes etc. because sin has entered the world. There is animosity between the animals and humans because of sin. Trouble also comes as consequence directly from personal sin. Personal sin can endanger lives, bring harm, and cause suffering. Sin can bring about God’s judgement and chastising to correct us.
Certainly our world is full of tribulation. However, John 16:33 gives us great hope in that Jesus has overcome the world and all its troubles. We know one day Jesus is going to throw Satan into the Lake of Fire forever, and thus we know Jesus has overcome the devil. Jesus overcomes the decay of this world. Jesus showed His power over nature with many miracles. One day a new heaven and earth will be made that will be perfect and without the stain of sin. Jesus overcomes our personal sin. He forgives us and His blood washes our sins white as snow. Jesus also frees us from the bondage of sin and allows us to live new lives under His grace and mercy and love. Jesus overcomes it all and we as followers of Him can join in the victory!
This is why we can have the peace Jesus offers in this verse. This is why we can be courageous and of good cheer in the face of a world full of trouble. Jesus has overcome it all. Please know that peace is available to you: peace with God, peace with yourself, peace that surpasses all understanding can be yours! And we can all have the courage, the heart, the cheer to embrace our call to remain in this world so that we might glorify God before people and share in the labor to share the gospel with those who need the Savior. We serve the risen Lord, the Overcomer of all things! Praise the Lord!
If we can be of help in some way to you, please let us know.
In Christ’s Love,