Summary: This is a message challenging the people to be more evangelistic.
BEING LIKE JESUS
INTRO: The late R. G. Lee was asked, "What do Southern Baptist need more than anything else?" His instant reply was, "More than anything else Southern Baptist need to be like Jesus." I think most of us would agree. If we are going to be laborers for the harvest, and be like Jesus, we need to understand how He felt and acted and what He said and did. Matthew 9:35-38 gives us that picture.
I. WHAT JESUS SAW (v. 36).
Multitudes of Lost. Everywhere Jesus went, great multitudes followed Him. He saw them not as a hindrance, but as an opportunity for witness and ministry.
He saw their needs. America is filled with people in need the homeless, jobless, helpless, and hopeless.
He saw their lost condition. He saw them as "sheep having no shepherd." He knew they were without God and without hope in this world or eternity.
He saw their potential. He saw every one of them as a precious soul with unlimited potential.
According to the North American Mission Board Research Division, there are 192 million lost people in America today and that number is growing by almost 2 million each year!(NAMB, 1998).
II. WHAT JESUS FELT (v. 36).
Compassion. "Moved with compassion" means He literally became sick inside. Jesus was heartsick, burdened, and brokenhearted over His lost city and nation. Oh, how desperately we need brokenhearted people who will weep over their lost neighbors, friends, and families. How desperately we need people who will weep over their cities and communities.
III. WHAT JESUS SAID (vv. 37-38).
"Then said he unto his disciples, ’The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest.’"
Notice that Jesus said three things:
1. The harvest is plenteous. Many tend to believe the problem is in the harvest. They believe that people are gospel-hardened, indifferent, and unreceptive. Just the opposite is true. People are hungry for the gospel and will respond favorably if it is presented to them in the power of God’s Spirit.
2. The laborers are few. The problem is not in the harvest, but with the laborers. Southern Baptists have many churches and many members, but they have few laborers who will go out into the harvest sharing their faith boldly and bringing people to a saving knowledge of Christ.
3. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers. Jesus did not say this to complain about the lack of workers or to berate the people because they were not working faithfully. He commanded that we pray for them just as fervently as we pray for church members and for the lost. We must pray for soul-winners and faithful witnesses who will "take sickle in hand" and go out in the harvest to reap.
IV. WHAT JESUS DID (Matthew 10:5).
Sent them out. "These twelve Jesus sent forth." Jesus answered their prayers. However, the ones He commanded to pray for laborers became workers themselves. These are the ones Jesus sent forth house to house, home to home, sharing the good news and winning souls.
CONC: As we pray for laborers, let us respond to Isaiah 6:8, "Here am I; send me."