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So, I want to start with the 72 men Jesus sent out on a missions’ trip.
Now, they had a simple job. They were the “advance men” for Jesus’ ministry. They were to visit the different towns Jesus would visit over the next few months and prepare the way for Him to come in and speak.
First, Jesus told to pray TO God: "Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Luke 10:2
And then they were to work FOR God. They were to do miraculous things like heal people & cast out demons in Jesus’ name, and they were to preach one simple message: “the Kingdom of God is near.”
In that simple message, they were warning the townspeople that something dramatic was going to happen. Someone was coming that would tell them God’s will for their lives and share the thrilling news of the coming Messiah.
When they got back – these 12 were excited!!!
Luke 10:17 tells us “The seventy-two returned with joy and said, "Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name."
They’d never had anything like this happen before.
They were changing other people’s lives!
AND they were doing something important with their own lives!
They don’t think anything can stop them now that they follow Jesus!
But then Jesus does the oddest thing: He rains on their parade a little bit.
He says “do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven." Luke 10:20
Now, why would Jesus say that?
Why would He tell them they were rejoicing in the wrong thing?
Well, because they were.
Jesus wanted them to understand that there were two kinds of joy:
Joy of this World
And Joy of the Lord.
The “Joy of this world” is based on what “I” can DO.
How much money I can make.
How much position or fame I can receive.
How attractive I can make myself.
How much pleasure I can enjoy.
Joy for people of the world is based on “ME”
Look at what “I” did.
Look at what “I” accomplished.
Look at what “I” attained.
That’s exactly what Jesus is trying to get at.
“Do not rejoice that the spirits submit to YOU”
BUT rejoice that your names are written in heaven." Luke 10:20
Don’t rejoice in what you have done.
Rejoice in what God has done for you.
Jesus said they should rejoice in the fact that GOD has written their names down in “the book”.
Ephesians 2 tells us that – as Christians saved by the blood of Jesus – our name is written down in that book. And because we’ve been saved by the grace of God:
“… we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
Since our names are written down in Heaven, we now have the power to do good works which God prepared in advance for us. When we became saved, God gave us access to the all the power of heaven. We have literally been ‘plugged in’ to the power of Heaven.
ILLUSTRATION: (pull out a clothes iron)
This is an iron. It’s really a great little invention. You pour a little water into the reservoir, you plug it into the wall socket and you can make wrinkled pants and shirts look almost brand new.
It works really well… as long as it’s plugged in.
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