Summary: Jesus charge to the 70 becomes a guide for changing our world.
If You Want To Change The World
Topic: The way the church can change the world
Aim: To motivate the congregation to fulfill their individual and corporate responsibility of changing the world through evangelism.
Statement - Our world is changing at a tremendous pace.
Question - Who would have imagined the pace at which our world was changed in 1991?
1) Bush declaring the New World Order after a successful Desert Storm
2) Reunification of Germany in less than one year
3) The disintegration of the Soviet Union
Reflection - Yet the church has been caught responding to the vast changes in the world, rather than being a catalyst for change.
Key Statement - Scripturally, the church is a change agent. In Luke 10:1, we have a prefiguring of the changes that the Church will make in the world. "70 sent" is Luke’s expressing a world-wide influence. In this context, Christ present to the 70, in the use of three imperatives, three moves by which his followers can change the world.
1. Move from carefree complacency to intensive intercession (v. 2)
Observation - We often ask for people to be sent out to our lost and dying world. But our asking usually is a complacent, half-hearted, "God, please send someone."
Explanation - The term that occurs here is more than a half-hearted, ho-hum idea. Yes, ask conveys the idea of praying. But there is something present in the Greek term that is used that makes "ask" inadequate. The term carries the connotation of pleading. There is a real heartfelt yearning with tears behind the prayer, which demonstrates itself in intensive intercession.
Clarification - Notice Jesus doesn’t ask them to pray aside from the salvation needs of the world. He draws their attention specifically to those needs.
Example - Notice the emphasis in Acts on the prayers of the church. Several times those prayers are in the context of a witnessing church.
1) Acts 2:42, 47 - "They continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine, in fellowship, in breaking of bread and in prayer … and the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
2) Acts 4 - The believers prayed and "they were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the Word of God boldly."
Application - Do you have friends, family, coworkers, classmates, acquaintances who do not have a relationship with Christ. Recognize their lostness and begin to pray for them. Pray for them by name. Praye for them repeatedly.
Illustration - A new preacher began at a church. He and the chairman of the elders were going to go calling on the prospects who had visited the church since the previous minister had left. The elder picked him up. They went to the church. The elder began to pray. The elder explained, "I was in the ministry a long time ago. I started the habit then of praying 1/2 hour for every person I was going to visit. I thought I should pass that on to you.
Transition - Do you wan to change the world? If you do, the place to begin is on your knees moving from carefree complacency to intensive intercession. The second imperative and the second move occur in verse 3.
2. Move from comfortable community to meaningful mission (v. 3)
Problem - We often stop with prayer because we like the feeling among ourselves. Community often becomes an obstacle to mission.
Explanation - "Go" implies leaving something, as well as heading toward something else. The "going" is strictly defined. It is "leaving from" and "going to."
Illustration - Disciples wanted to bask in the glow of Christ’s presence forever. Repeatedly he rebuked them for that thinking. He had to leave them so that they could get about their business.
Application - Churches call themselves friendly, and they are to each other. But the sad truth is that many of the "friendliest churches" send the unbelieving away feeling like "No one even cared if I was there."
Amplification - Community is necessary for the church to make meaningful impact on the world. But when the friendship that we have with each other becomes a roadblock to reaching the world, we have become to friendly.
Illustration - There was a lifesaving station erected on the shore of a certain sea. The waters were treacherous off those shores. At first it was a simple place with donated furnishings and basic first aid materials. As their service became well known, they began to draw in larger numbers of people to aid in providing refuge for those saved from the sea. So they replaced the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture in the enlarged building. Now the lifesaving station became a popular gathering place for its members, and they decorated it beautifully, and furnished it exquisitely because they used it as sort of a club. Fewer members were now interested in going to sea on lifesaving missions, so they hired lifeboat crews to do this work. The lifesaving motif still prevailed in the club’s decoration, and there was a liturgical lifeboat in the room where the club initiations were held.