Summary: This sermon looks at the relationship between works and growing disciples. You can’t mature without serving and service requires a disciple.
Answering The Call (Part I)
The Open Door
35 "Do you not say, 'There are still four months and then comes the harvest'? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!
36 "And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.
37 "For in this the saying is true: 'One sows and another reaps.'
38 "I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors."
We have heard the promises that those who wait on the Lord shall inherit the earth, those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength, and the many passages that encourage us to wait on God. However, the church as a whole has lost its vision and therefore we have also lost our understanding as to what it means to wait on God. We are not called to wait on God to spur us into action. We are commanded to go and reach the world and be an impact in our communities for Christ. We are waiting while the harvest spoils. When we are not going, our faith will begin to fade. When the gospel is theory, it is exciting for a while, but then it begins to fade with our emotions. It is when we see God working through us that the theory becomes reality and God’s word becomes alive! Jesus said that we are the salt of the earth, but if salt loses its flavor, it is good for nothing. If our faith loses its flavor, we will have no impact on our culture and our faith is good for nothing. Salt adds flavor and acts as a preservative. That is what our faith should do as well. When follow God’s call, we will be alive and will draw others to the gospel we live out as and God uses our lives to preserve the moral climate of our communities. If our faith is alive, our families are impacted, it will then reach out to our communities and circle of influence. If we reach our communities, we will impact our nation and world outreach is a natural product. However, if we withdraw from reaching out, we remove the moral preservation to our nation and it will begin to decay; our communities will begin to decay and our families, churches and personal lives will begin to be contaminated by the moral decay around us. We cannot withdraw from our world and expect to remain godly. We will either be an influence in our world, or our world will influence us.
To wait on the Lord assumes we are already on the move. God will allow challenges to come in our path. When God calls us to follow, He will test our faith. It takes no faith to walk with God when everything comes easy. It is when the mountains block our path that the testing of our faith stretches us and grows us. It is when we know what God has called us to do that we learn what it means to wait. There will be times when a roadblock stands in the way and we have tried everything we know to do that we often take matters in our own hands and blow it. Will we use desperate measures, give up and abandon the call, or will we wait on the Lord? God uses these obstacles in life to shape us. Sometimes trouble redirects us when we are getting off course or missing what God is trying to show us. Other times, God uses hardship to teach us to depend on Him. If I could do it all, the work of ministry would quickly become mine and I would forget that the power comes from God. When I learn to wait on Him; He renews my strength; He gives me the ability to mount up with wings like eagles; He empowers me to run and not grow weary (Isaiah 40:31). If following God makes me weary and I am not renewed while waiting, then He is not my strength – I am.
To wait on the Lord is not to wait on God to give me something to do. He has already provided the mission and commanded me to go. We wait on God when the door is closed. To paraphrase what Jesus said in John 4, don’t say we will work when everything falls into place or the invitation is given. The call to come has already gone out; the invitation is already given; the world is ready and you already have the command to go. Go and pray for others to go with you. Not only are the fields ripe, but they are white with harvest. The grain is falling off the stalks. Each day we wait, opportunities are lost.