Summary: Addresses the nead for more congregational involvment in evangelism
“Bringing In The Sheaves”
Gospel Reading: Matthew 28: 18 – 20
Hear, O Israel, you shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart, all of your mind, all of your strength, and all of your soul.
Now hear what Jesus replied when asked “What is the greatest commandment?” “you shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart, all of your mind, all of your strength, and all of your soul. That is the first and greatest commandment, and the second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. From these two commandments comes all of the law and the prophets.”
There was a wheat farmer who had children that he loved very much, and they said that they loved him. One day at the beginning of the harvest season the farmer went away on business. Before leaving he told his children to go into the fields and harvest the wheat, bringing it into his barns. He told them he didn’t know how long he would be gone, but it was important to harvest all of the wheat before his return.
When he did return, he looked into the barns and found that only a small amount of wheat was there. Then he looked out on his fields and saw that most of the crop had rotted and was lying on the ground. He found most of his children busy doing things that pleased themselves, having made no effort to bring in the harvest. Only a few had tried to obey their father, but there were not enough of them to bring in the whole harvest before it rotted.
The wheat farmer was very pleased with those of his children that had done his will, and he gave each a wonderful mansion. But his anger with those who had not obeyed his will was great. He disowned them and told them to get off of his property and never return.
In Matthew 9: 37 and 38, Jesus said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” and in Matthew 28:19 Jesus said on the day of his ascension, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
The farmer in my little story is the Lord Jesus, and we are his children. The harvest of wheat to be brought in is all those people who have not yet been saved. The barn is God’s kingdom which is manifested here on earth through His church.
For the past several Sundays, Pastor has been preaching that all we who are saved are gifted by the Holy Spirit. Last Sunday he talked about things we can do to attract more people to join us, and he told us that the sole purpose of the church is to save souls. He is absolutely right.
Now I will tell you something that may surprise you. You are a royal priesthood. Listen to 1 Peter 2:9
“9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
Note that Peter did not say the pastors are a royal priesthood, and he did not say that only missionaries are to declare the praises. No! He said YOU!! You being all Christians. We are made a royal priesthood for the purpose of declaring the salvation of the Lord to all of the world.
This congregation is a representative of God’s kingdom on Earth, and this building is one of the barns into which the God’s harvest is to be gathered. Look around this barn, this room. Is it full of sheaves of the Lord’s wheat? How good of a job have we done in bringing in the harvest? How much of that harvest is out there rotting in the streets? Matthew 28: 19 is the Great Commission that Jesus gave His church. Have we been busy fulfilling that Great Commission?
I have been reading articles that tell me that congregations all over the world are getting smaller because they are failing to make the effort to bring in the lost. Much of this is attributed to liberal thinking that says, “I have no right to try to influence other people’s religious thinking.” A lot of the problem also comes from the idea that evangelism is not the job of the ordinary people in the congregations. It’s the job of Pastors, Missionaries, and Evangelists. Some of the problem comes from our own feelings of insecurity, fear of being ridiculed or rejected.