Summary: The church of Jesus Christ may be a part of making disciples of Christ if she has the same compassion for the lost that Christ had. She must be committed to Jesus’ call to go and make disciples.
I am going to read from Matthew 9:35-38
Title: Send Forth
Theme: Petitioning for Laborers for God’s Work
Series: Girding up the Church
Listen as I read Matthew 9:35-38, “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then He 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.’" (Matthew 9:35-38) Pray!
Introduction: Jesus Christ is compassionate for souls and the greatest compassion that can be expressed by the Body of Christ is for the souls of mankind to know Jesus as Savior and Lord. People are apt to go astray much like sheep without a shepherd. Souls who do not walk closely in step with the Holy Spirit of Christ are very likely to fall prey to the flesh, the lures of the world and the lies of the devil. Without true shepherds, pastors to feed the people the Word of God and the help of Christians exercising their Spiritual gifts, those in this world and even the flock of God will be harassed and helpless against everything that sets itself against God, Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit.
It takes more than just one pastor in the church to maintain a spiritual hospital where lost souls can be born again, receive a powerful thirst for the Word of God and learn to say “Jesus teach me to pray.” Jesus knew this and that is why in today’s Scripture He exhorts us to pray for laborers for the work of God. No child of God is able to do this work on his own. He must have the help of other Christians.
I recently read the story of Martin Luther, the great reformer of the church, and about his friend who agreed to pray for Martin as he went out to do battle for the souls of the people of his day. Much like in the times of Christ when Jewish people were without true shepherds, the people of God in Luther’s time were helpless to overcome the sins that were destroying the reputation of the church. There was only a form of godliness in the priest, thus the church was denying the true power of God to save a man from the bondage of sin. Much like today where there is a false grace being taught by CEO’s, where only a form of godliness is loved over the true message of repentance.
Martin Luther and his friend established an agreement. Luther would go down into the dust and heat of battle for the Reformation of the church while his friend would stay in the monastery and uphold Luther in prayer. One night Luther’s friend had a dream. He saw a vast field of corn as big as the world with one solitary man seeking to reap it – an impossible and a heartbreaking task. Then he caught the face of the reaper. It was Martin Luther. Luther’s friend caught the message, not one man can do the job alone.
Two sad things happen in all churches that find themselves not properly girding up in prayer. One, people in the church expect the preacher of the gospel to come up with that vision that will intrigue great numbers to come into the church. Two, the pastor of the church expects people in the church to do what God has not gifted them to do. These two wrong perspectives rob heartfelt time for prayer, petitioning the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers, thus leaving the church shorthanded. God’s Word has the answer, pray with the authority of God’s Word.
Proposition: I would propose to you that the harvest of souls and the amount of discipleship done in the Body of Christ is up to God. The church of Jesus Christ may be a part of making disciples of Christ if she has the same compassion for the lost that Christ had. She must be committed to Jesus’ call to go and make disciples. (Matthew 28:20) She must stay dedicated to expressing a genuine faith in God’s Word and walk in faithful obedience to the Lord’s call to pray for laborers for the whole work of God. The Great Commission is to make disciples of Christ. (Matthew 28:20)
The church that is girded up for the true work of God has a heart to make “disciples” (mathetes) who believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ and His apostles. A church that is girded up has disciples of Christ who rest in the sacrifice Jesus made for them on the Cross of Calvary, disciples who have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of Christ and who imitate Jesus’ life.