Pray The Lord Of The Harvest

Preached To The Saints At Riverview Baptist at Prayer Meeting March 15, 2017
At 798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia, TN 38401

pr

Matthew 9:32-38 (KJV) As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil. 33 And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marveled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel. 34 But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils. 35 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 laborers are few; 38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest.

I was asked a question once by another Pastor, one that made me think. The question was:

Where do you find yourself today?”

I didn’t know how to answer, but have pondered that question for a long time now. Where do I find myself today, right now.

Our Lord Jesus found Himself every moment of His life walking with the Father, and living by the Spirit. He followed God. He is God. But as part of the Trinity, Jesus always found Himself working in union with that august Body. The Bible says that:

Matthew 9:36 (KJV) …when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.

A sheep without a shepherd will get in the worst trouble. Sheep have no natural defenses against the predators. Sheep have no pointy horns. Their teeth are better suited for munching on grass rather than tearing flesh. They have no claws, but only hooves, soft as our fingernails. They have no speed, and if they are not periodically shorn they can eventually die from their ever growing fleece.

Sheep must have a shepherd.

Love Jesus, Not The World

When Jesus looked at the multitudes “He was moved with compassion”. This Greek word (σπλαγχνίζομαι splagchnizomai) means “to feel pity, deep sympathy for, a yearning for someone to be uplifted”. This is a deep hurt. I believe that as Jesus spoke these words tears flowed freely down His beautiful face. I believe that our Lord wept when He saw the state of the people, a people who should have been close to God, but were not.

Why were they in this state? All you need to do is read the context of our text. We read:

Matthew 9:32-33 (KJV) … behold, they brought to {Jesus} a dumb man possessed with a devil. 33 And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marveled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel.

A poor man was “possessed by a devil”. Why was he “possessed”? Probably because he allowed his life to drift in that direction. I want you to think of your life – your soul – as an empty cup. What you put into that cup is what manifests through the Body. The Bible says:

Proverbs 23:7 (KJV) For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he

What you ingest physically effects the physical nature of your body.
What you ingest spiritually shows in the physical output of your body.
What Are You Feeding Your Soul?

In 1978 Evangelist Billy Graham wrote in his book The Holy Spirit: Activating God’s Power In Your Life”:

AN ESKIMO FISHERMAN came to town every Saturday afternoon. He always brought his two dogs with him. One was white and the other was black. He had taught them to fight on command. Every Saturday afternoon in the town square the people would gather and these two dogs would fight and the fisherman would take bets. On one Saturday the black dog would win; another Saturday, the white dog would win – but the fisherman always won! His friends began to ask him how he did it. He said, “I starve one and feed the other. The one I feed always wins because he is stronger.”

Why was this man “possessed with a devil”. We are not usually born that way. There are instances where are people are born damaged, and have limitations from birth. But this man was, the scripture says, “POSSESSED with a devil”, the Greek δαιμονίζομαι daimonizomai – Demonized, the Possession of Satan. You don’t just stumble into something like this. God gave you a soul at birth, and for most of us we own our souls till we give them away. You can give your soul away.

Some give their souls away SEXUALLY.
Some give their souls to ALCOHOL or DRUGS.
Some give their souls to GREED or MONEY.
Some give their souls to ANGER.

God ultimately owns our souls. He has said:

Ezekiel 18:4 (ESV) Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die.

God gave us our souls, but our souls still belong to Him. We can put what we want to put in the cup of our soul, but every putting has a consequence. Everything we put inside that is not of God can lead us to possession by another!

This poor man has trod a terrible road away from the Lord. He is now possessed by a devil – demonized.

Free will abused is no will at all.
This man no longer has a will.

They brought him to Jesus”. They had to lead Him to the Lord. His will is gone. Unlike the blind men that we studied this morning, men who chased after Christ though the road was dark And unseeing, this man was “dumb”. He couldn’t speak. He couldn’t make a coherent sentence. He probably could barely think. He listened to the world, and walking down that spider-hole was now engulfed.

1 John 2:15-17 (ESV) Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

When you love the world the world – possessed of Satan – will trap you. The solution to this trap is Jesus. Jesus can break the hold of the devil on a life. “They brought” – people who loved this man brought the possessed man to Jesus.

Matthew 9:32-33 (KJV) …. they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil. 33 And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake …

In the Presence of Christ “the dumb spake”. Think about this.
A child spends years learning how to speak.
This man INSTANTLY speaks!
Whereas he was bound by Satan, now he is released.
There is FREEDOM in Christ.
There is JOY in Christ.
There is PEACE in Christ.
There is HAPPINESS in Christ.
There is POWER in Christ.
There is FAMILY in Christ.
There is a KINGDOM in Christ.
There is ETERNITY in Christ.

Again, there is freedom in Christ – not freedom to sin, but freedom FROM sin. There is family in Christ. The best mind I have ever had was when I gave my life to Christ. The best life I have ever had was while following Christ. I remember as a young Christian I loved to listen to Andre Crouch, a wonderful Christian singer now with our Lord. He sang …

Jesus is the answer, for the world today,
Above Him there’s no other,
I know that you’ve got mountains,
That you think you cannot climb,
I know your skies looks so dark,
That you think the sun will never ever shine,
But in case you don’t know it,
I tell you God’s Word is true,
Everything He has promised,
I know that he will do it for you.

Jesus touched this man, just as He touched all who came to Him and will touch all who come to Him. But notice what the text says next.

Matthew 9:33 … and the multitudes marveled, saying, It was NEVER so seen in Israel.

Israel is God’s Chosen people. It is the people of whom the Lord said:

Deuteronomy 7:7-9 (ESV) The LORD did not set His affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath He swore to your forefathers that He brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commands.

God loved Israel. The Bible tells us that God was Shepherd to Israel, saying “You are My Sheep, the Sheep of My pasture” (Ezekiel 34:31). Yet Israel wandered from God. In a similar vein America was founded by Christians, by people who loved the Lord Jesus. “Pilgrim” is a Christian designation. Those who came over on the Mayflower loved the Lord. The first rule of law in the Americas was “The Mayflower Compact” (I have given you a copy tonight) which states in part …

Having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one of another, covenant and combine our selves together into a civil body politic …”

Israel was founded and chosen by God. America was founded and chosen by God. But when Jesus looked out on the people He saw them as “Sheep without a Shepherd”. Why?

Religion And Self Righteousness Possessed The Leaders

Matthew 9:34 (KJV) But the PHARISEES said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils.

The Pharisees – men who should have known and cherished Christ – accused Christ of ministering healing through Beelzebub, the Prince of Demons. They repeat this accusation when Jesus does a similar healing in …

Matthew 12:22-28 (KJV) Then was brought unto {Jesus} one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. 23 And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? 24 But when the PHARISEES heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. 25 And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: 26 And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? 27 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. 28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.

Jesus was casting out sickness, sin, and devils by the Spirit of God, not by Satan or by Beelzebub. The reason that the Pharisees were so against Christ is that they had no relationship with GOD but with RELIGION. They were RELIGIOUS. They were SELF RIGHTEOUS.

The leadership of Israel had ceased to love and follow the Lord. They loved and followed themselves. Beloved, we must all love and follow the Lord, lift Him up, honor Him. He is worthy of all praise and obedience. The reason that Israel has fallen to captivity, the reason that Israel is in a terrible state, is because her leaders (who should have loved Christ) rejected the Messiah.

There is a place in the Scripture that has long puzzled me. It is a place where the Bible tells us that King David – a man after God’s own heart – numbered his troops. The Bible tells us that:

Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel”
(ESV – 1 Chronicles 21:1).

The devil whispered in David’s ear. King David had had an extraordinary role in leading Israel up to this point. He had heeded the Lord, and won every major battle he fought against the enemy. His forces grew. Then the devil whispered to the King:

If it wasn’t for YOU things wouldn’t be so good.”
“Number your troops so you can see how WELL you have done”

A person only has the right to number what belongs to him. Israel belongs to God. God commanded a census of Israel in Exodus 30:12, but never commanded this census. When David ordered the census his General Joab begged him not to do it.

1 Chronicles 21:3-4 (ESV) … Joab said, “May the Lord add to his people a hundred times as many as they are! Are they not, my lord the king, all of them my Lord’s servants? Why then should my lord require this? Why should it be a cause of guilt for Israel?” 4 But the king’s word prevailed against Joab. So Joab departed and went throughout all Israel and came back to Jerusalem.

Joab realized what David was doing was allowing pride to creep in. He was like many a Mega-Church Pastor who suddenly knows more than anyone else. The Bible says:

1 Corinthians 3:7 (NKJV) So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but GOD WHO GIVES THE INCREASE.

Joab warned against a census, but in the end obeyed his king. He went out and counted Israel – though he did not count Levi or Benjamin

1 Chronicles 21:6 (ESV) …. for the king’s command was ABHORRENT to Joab.

Joab is like so many Christians today. Rather than refuse to sin and to follow the way of sin, we try and blend in. Joab did a little sin. But with God “little sin” is still sin, and sin brings death.

What happened? God was displeased with this thing, and He struck Israel (1 Chronicles 21:7). David realized his folly. So God gave David three choices …

1 Chronicles 21:11-12 (NKJV) … ‘Choose for yourself, 12 either three years of famine, or three months to be defeated by your foes with the sword of your enemies overtaking you, or else for three days the sword of the Lord—the plague in the land, with the angel of the Lord destroying throughout all the territory of Israel.’ Now consider what answer I should take back to Him who sent me.”

David cast himself on the mercy of the Lord, and chose three days of plague. The Bible tells us that “the Lord sent a pestilence on Israel, and 70,000 men of Israel fell” (1 Chronicles 21:14). That has often puzzled me. Why did the Lord kill 70,000 men in Israel when KING DAVID was the one who made the fault?

Because leadership effects those led.
Leadership effects those who are led.
Leadership effects those who are led!

The Pharisees along with the Scribes should have been leading Israel to Christ. Instead they were ignoring Christ and exalting themselves. They colluded with the Sadducees to have Christ executed. God’s people should have been Christ focused. When God’s people stop following after Christ, it has an effect.

When a husband will not lead his wife to follow Christ, the marriage is polluted.
When the parents will not lead the children to follow Christ, the family is polluted.
When the pastor & deacons will not lead the Church to follow Christ,
the Church is polluted.
When the Church will not lead America to follow Christ, America is polluted.
The Solution: Pray For Leaders, Pray For Light

Israel has fallen. So Christ looks at Israel, fallen Israel, and weeps. Then He tells His disciples:

Matthew 9:37-38 (KJV) …. The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; 38 PRAY ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest.

The leadership is corrupt – pray that God will raise up new leadership. A leadership who will do as Christ said, who will share the Gospel, who will “love thy neighbor as thyself” while promoting Christ. The world is in darkness. The world does not need agreement. Darkness does not need to be added to. The world needs light.

And in truth, the world WANTS light. The world does not need RELIGION, but to be shown what a RELATIONSHIP with Christ looks like.

You are called, if you are His, to make a difference. To follow Him. To not be part of the problem, but part of the solution. And that Solution is Christ. May God establish our hearts to both pray and be the laborers He expects us to be!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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