Summary: God has prepared His harvest and we must be faithful to pray for laborers and be willing to labor ourselves.
STEPPING OUT TO GATHER GOD’S HARVEST
And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. 36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; 38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
Suppose you were an investor who had invested every penny you had in a farming venture. You were assured of a ready market for the crop and that the all the finest farming techniques would be used to produce a crop of high yield. After several months of great anticipation you were awaiting to receive a report from the field. The foreman of the farming operations came into your office and simply said, AI=ve got some good news and some bad news.@ Thinking you needed a little pick-me-op to handle the bad news, you asked for the good news first. The foreman began to explain that this year had produced the finest crop he had ever witnessed. The combination of the right strain of seed, right fertilizer and timely rains had produced a bumper crop. The fruit was literally hanging from the plants. You think to yourself, AYes.@ This is great. My investment will surely double itself. How can there be any bad news with such a report? But, then you asked confidently, AWhat about the bad news?@ The foreman, knowing that you had invested everything you owned, looked at you with compassionate eyes and said, Athere is no one to harvest your bumper crop. All will die in the field. All will be lost.
Over the next two weeks we want to examine our church’s theme for next year, "Stepping out to gather God’s harvest. Today we want to examine the harvest itself. Through the New Testament the Lord uses the analogy of a harvest to explain the building the Kingdom of God. The harvest is simply those who have been gathered into the Kingdom of God.
I. GREAT MAGNITUDE OF THE HARVEST
"The harvest truly is plentiful..
A. Magnitude of the Numbers
- every where one goes "all the cities and villages"
What is 750,000 miles long, reaches around the earth 30 times, and grows 20 miles longer each day? Answer: The line of people who are without Christ. Pulpit Helps
B. Magnitude of the Need
Aweary/fainted/harassed@ (skullo: to flay, to harass)
Ascattered abroad@ (rhipto: idea of sudden motion; to fling; to cast)
Illustration: While I was in high school my friend and I was in FFA and each year we would show chickens in the Jacksonville fair. His dad raised exotic chickens and I liked the idea so I had purchased several to show in the fair. I would show mine and basically he would show his dads. One year we arrived home about midnight from the fair and when we got to my friends house we did not want to take his dads chickens, and doves and pheasants to their individuals pens, but instead we put all of them in an outside pen until the morning. Well, the next morning we were awoken by his screaming dad. Over the night some type of animal dug into the pen and there were dead birds scattered all over that pen and the birds that had escaped the animal were in the corners of the pen almost frightened to death. It was a sorry sight.
This is what Jesus saw, multitudes of people whose lives had been destroyed by the world, and who had no one to protect them.
II. GREAT CONCERN FOR THE HARVEST
"moved with compassion"
A. Concerned for their Spiritual Needs
- Not willing that any should perish
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
- Does not delight in the death of the wicked
Ezek 33:11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
B. Concerned for their Physical Needs
III. GREAT PLAN FOR GATHERING THE HARVEST
Recently, our church and community has been hit hard by the flu virus. Wow! It seems like people have been dropping like flies! Just a joke. But how does occur? The flu virus begins very small and enters the body in tiny beginnings. But as the virus infects cells within the body and they come into contact with other cells infecting them, then the virus spreads throughout the body causing terrible sickness. Then infected person beomes a carrier as he/she comes into contact with another person then the virus is spread to the other person. Although many may become sick, in reality it occurs one person at a person.