Summary: The second in a 5 part series on the NAMB plan "GPS-God’s Plan for Sharing"

GPS – “God’s Plan for Sharing”

Stage 1: “Prayer”

Matthew 17:14-17

* In John 4, Jesus said, “Open your eyes and see the field, for they are ripe for harvest.” Today, the NAMB gives us the same call, “Open your eyes & see the fields, for they are ripe for harvest.”

* Last Sunday evening, I shared how we live in a country which is asking all kinds of spiritual and religious questions, but lamented that the people in this culture do not believe the church to have or will have the answers to their questions. Sadly, today’s culture is being led down the road by “Agnostics, Atheists, Humanists, Scientology, Islam, New Age, & Secularism,” & is being drawn away from Jehovah God. As a society, we need 2 things to happen; 1) the church needs revival! We do not need another series of meetings, but rather, we need an outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit like we have not experienced in our lifetime. As the church house goes, so goes the courthouse and the white house. When God’s people cease to be the spiritual conscience of the culture, then the culture has no conscience. 2) Our country needs regeneration & transformation.

* Consider the recent revelations by David Letterman and the audience response to His admission of immoral and improper actions. Not being a Letterman fan, I was not watching but saw it later via the internet and was honestly sickened by the incessant laughter which was littered through his confession. Now, I pray for Mr. Letterman and his soul’s salvation, but I couldn’t help but think as I watched this fiasco unfold: “Have we sunk this low? Has it become laughable in our culture when sin becomes so public?” Understand, I am not casting stones at David Letterman, but I will say that his behavior and the audiences’ response shine spotlight on the reason this country is in a free fall.

* Into this situation Jesus comes and He says, “The fields are ripe. The time is now. Don’t let the fruit rot in the fields.” From most of us comes the question, “What can we really do about things like this? Perhaps there are those “few” who might come to Christ, but how can we really make a difference? How can we do anything?” Be reminded, none of this has surprised God; He has a plan to offer His grace to everyone in the world.

* Let’s take the story which we have read today and draw a parallel to us & our nation today. In our journey we will simply mention the first 3 parts of this story because my prayer is for us to GRASP & IMPLEMENT the last one.

1. The dilemma– In our text we find the disciples in over their heads. They have been asked to heal a young man who has a seizure disorder and is a danger to himself & others. In the physical absence of Jesus, dad brought his son to find healing and help. Sadly, seemingly they could do nothing.

Prayer- Pg. 2

* Quite likely, they looked around at each other waiting on someone else to do what they had seen Jesus do on numerous occasions.

* Can you make this parallel? In the physical absence of Jesus today, we are called on to fulfill the same ministry which Jesus performed. He’s sent us, “As the Father sent me, so send I you.” Our culture is having seizures of a sort. When one has a seizure they lose their faculties, they lose control, memory, and even strength. Is this not a snapshot of our culture?

2. The disappointment – When Jesus came down the mountain, the scripture tells us that He rebuked the demon which possessed the young man, but it is almost as if He rebukes the disciples. At the very least He is disappointed by their action, or their lack of action. Here they stood, having previously been taught and even empowered to face the difficulties they found in this world, they were impotent. You ask, “When did He give them this training and empowerment?” Turn to Matthew 10 (READ). Why did the disciples not still have the power and understanding to handle this situation, after all this was exactly what Jesus had sent them to do?

* In our community, difficulties abound. People are searching for the answer just like this dad was searching for the answer. Jesus gives us the ability to handle every difficulty we face. I wonder if He does not express the same disappointment with us: “How long must I put up with you doing this?” “How long will you not believe?” “How long will you rebel?”

* I can only imagine how it must have penetrated the hearts of some of the disciples to hear Jesus express this disappointment. Can you hear His voice asking us in America, “How long?”

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