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Chris Buttery
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  • January 10, 2015
    11:30 AM
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For millennia people from different countries cultures and backgrounds have found direction and encouragement in the inspired pages of the Bible in his day. Jesus directed listeners to search the prophecies of Scripture to find him. The only way of salvation two thousand years later as we stand on the brink of eternity. We know less need the purpose and hope God's Word provides Sacramento central church brings you receiving the word timely Bible messages presented by pastors Chris buttery and Mike Thompson amazing revelations away cueing God's Holy Word the Bible. We are living and we're witnessing the moment momentum of the Bible's last day signs that Jesus mentioned this certainly gaining all of these things that Jesus talked about in the natural world we see disasters some mounting in the economic world we see that there are problems and that there are more problems looming. In the political world we see that there are challenges beyond resolution and in the social world we continue to see most moral social decay. That's very concerning now in the letter to Timothy that pole wrote second Timothy The second letter he wrote one should invite you to turn there with me the second Timothy Chapter three and in verses one through five. Poll outlines the attitude that would exist in the last day. But it's interesting that the attitude that he lists he it isn't necessary the necessarily and only the attitude existing in the world but also the attitude that is existing in the church for Notice it says for in the last in the last time in the last days perilous times will come for men will be lovers of themselves lovers of money boasters proud bliss fame is disobedient to parents thankful on the holy. Unloving unforgiving slanderous without self-control brutal despises of good traders headstrong haughty lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God Notice verse five having a form of godliness. But denying its power and from such he goes on to say from such people turn away because of the increasing selfishness that we witness in Christianity the church would profess godliness but not have power the power to transform slot transform lives through the preaching of the everlasting Gospel the power to stem the tide of immorality the power to turn this world right side up as in the days of the early church now because of this lack of power witnessed in Christianity in the last days prophecy reveals that most of the Christian church would seek the right of the state to impose her views and thereby gain at here it's if it can't be done through winsome love and persuasive argument then it must be done through force. This will become the mantra at least that's what some of the reasoning will be John cold this in Revelation Chapter thirteen the image to the beast or the likeness of the church in the middle of the dock ages when tyranny and injustice won out over a loving persuasion and truth according to the Scriptures in this day the world will be plunged into another doc ages the likes of which we have never seen in Daniel Chapter twelve in verse one. Daniel said that we will be engulfed in a time of trouble such as never loss were also warned about the omega of apostasy and will rise near the close of time in. Now beloved church. We don't have time today to explore all of what this means in the nuances of it but suffice to say the increasing demise in spirituality and compromise of truth. The entrance of practices that are unbecoming of the people of God should lend favor to the realisation that we are nearing the return of Jesus some of these challenges that we witness is not a cold to leave the church. It's not a call to become discouraged or disheartened. It's a cold to lift up our heads and know that our redemption is drawing nigh all of this tells us that we must be mindful of the religious trends when realizing how near we are to the close of time held to the second advent of Jesus and with all of these mounting challenges and they will continue Jesus told us that these were would be the beginning of sorrows the beginning of birth pains Jesus revealed in his mighty Suman in Matthew chapter twenty four and he recorded that in Matthew twenty four as recorded in Matthew twenty four and twenty five. What type of people we must be in the closing days of Earth's history. Jesus mentions people who will for example in Matthew chapter twenty four in verse thirteen who will in Juba till they win till the end I'll go through holding on to the hand of Jesus also in verse fourteen it says that they will be people who will be witnesses to the power of the Gospel in their lives and then it also says in verse forty five that we God's people will be faithful and wise and will know how to give bread in juice season Notice it says there. Matthew Chapter twenty four and verse forty five who then is a faithful and wise servant whom his master made rule over his household to give them food in due season and these stories the the type of people that Jesus talks about that would be living in the last days are reflected in four stories in math. Twenty four and twenty five the story of the faithful and wise servants in Matthew twenty five you've got three stories the ten bridesmaids. You've got the businessman who distributes his responsibilities the talents and then of course the story of the sheep and the goats and the wise and faithful of Matthew chapter twenty four those who are living like Jesus will come any time their words are compelling because their lifestyle is convincing the wise and the faithful of the bridesmaids are those who are allowing the truth of God's Word to change them thus making them recipients of God's grace and that shows in good works and they live shine like the noonday sun they have a personal joyful trusting abiding relationship obedient relationship with Jesus then you've got the wise and the faithful of the employees in trust with their employer's goods and those have learned they have learned that the law of self development is their first law their first duty rather to God and to man truly love and then the wise and the faithful of the sheep. They remind us that fulfilling the role of genuine Christianity is primarily in the world of being far more than in the world of just knowing what is right to do and just doing the occasional Right. But in being a Christian in being more like Jesus and they realize that there's no favorable time and is not going to be a more favorable time like the present to win. People to Jesus. Side they sympathize. God's lost a people they sympathize with Jesus when he told his disciples long ago that the fields are already white for harvest he said that in John four in that verse thirty five and he also said that the harvest is great now just turn with me over to Luke Chapter ten blue Chapter ten with building on some thoughts here over the next few weeks. Luke chapter. Ten and verse two notice what Jesus said he's about to send out his the seventy of his followers two by two. And he tells them in Luke Chapter two ten and verse two he said to them the light the harvest is what friends the harvest is truly great what did he mean the harvest is truly great Jesus wanted his disciples and us to see the world through new eyes through a new. Have a new perspective on the world that there were many boys and girls waiting and ready men and women waiting and ready to be gathered into his harvest you see is not referring to the harvest at the end of the world when the saints will be gathered in the wicked will be judged. We know Jesus is using the metaphor of the harvest here in Luke ten to refer to missionary in Davis again leading men and women boys and girls into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and gathering them into His kingdom. This is the meaning of the harvest spoken of in Luke Chapter ten and verse two And Jesus said The harvest is what friends great the harvest is great look at the world through new eyes the harvest is great irrespective of what you think irrespective of what you may see see with my eyes Jesus as new eyes the harvest is great and that's wonderful news. That's good news that means we're not doing what we're doing here in vain because the Holy Spirit is out there touching hearts working in people's lives and getting them ready to hear the message of the everlasting Gospel that means our work is not in vain it's good news the harvest is truly great. However in the same verse Jesus not only gives us encouragement the harvest is great but he also says what he also reveals that there is a problem and identifies a problem. The Lord of the harvest has to contend with in the same verse Let's read it again. Luke Chapter ten and those two he said to them the harvest truly is great. But the laborers are few and the harvest is truly great but the laborers few why is there few laborous Was there a inadequate number assigned. In that case perhaps we could blame a lot of the harvest for the lack of laborous maybe didn't quite calculate it right maybe he didn't see that the harvest would be great and therefore just commissions a few just in case it wouldn't be the case we could blame the Lord of the harvest he should have anticipated the size of the task if he knew the harvest was going to be abundant he should have a side assigned a logic crew to work. Maybe it's his fault that the laborers are few What do you think as a his fault. Ask yourself the question how many individuals has the Lord of the harvest cold to be laborers in His harvest. And well as if you wanted everyone who chooses to become a part of his kingdom then you ride. Jesus commanded to go and preach when he commanded to go and preach the gospel to every person he was intending more than just the eleven disciples who he was talking to at that point was more than them. You see talking to more Jesus come on to go preach the gospel to every person was intended for more than the eleven when he said Go therefore and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father Son and Holy Spirit and then of course I'm with you always even till the end of the world when he said that he meant that instruction not just for those who were listening as he was as he was being taken up to the Father but for all his disciples of all time especially those living in the closing scenes of Earth's history he meant that instruction for all of us all those who accept the coal to become a part of his kingdom you see. One of the last day signs one of the last day signs would be the proclamation of the gospel. We read it early in Matthew chapter twenty four in verse fourteen. It tells us that this cost gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations and then what will happen. The end will come and what when the income's is that bad news or good news for the last is not great news but for the save the redeemed this is great news because in the beginning of that discussion the disciples came to Jesus and they said please tell us when shall these things be watch out be the signs of your coming and the end of the world the disciples likened the end of the world to the second coming of Jesus Jesus is the question. So when he said when the Gospel goes to all the world for a witness it means that if it happens it will happen that he's coming back again wonderful encouraging news. The fact is that when he said that. God basically is dependent upon you and I making that happen. Taking the Gospel to the world you see it depends on us and we may have to settle that for just a moment if someone's all of us to participate in the Lord's Hoppus perhaps our initial question should be modified instead of asking why there are few laborous Perhaps we should be asking why are this so few laboring laborous so few laboring laborous most of the so-called laborers don't seem to be laboring according to what Jesus is saying they appear to be inactive the harvest is truly great but the laborers are few in the midst of a generation screaming for answers according to Jesus Christians can't be good because it's only a few of them. Why that's the question why maybe there's several reasons why and I'd like to explore those with us here. In these remaining moments. Number one perhaps one explanation for the spouse number of labor is reaping the Lord's harvest is that some of us labors have become distracted distracted don't we care the people to save the last hour we deliver. Turning a deaf ear to the appeal of the Lord of the harvest how we let something more important capture our attention distracted. What does that mean what is distracted main We're going to put that definition up on the screen. It just simply means showing a lack of concentration showing a lack of concentration there's a story involving Yogi Berra the well known catcha for the New York Yankees and Hank Aaron who at that time was the chief power hitter if hit a for the Milwaukee Braves the team was playing in the World Series and as usual Yogi was keeping up his Chadha intending to pep up his team mate and distract the Will Milwaukee Badda on the other as Hank Aaron came to the plate Yogi Berra tried to distract him by saying Henry you're holding the bat wrong you're supposed to hold it. So you can read the trademark Aaron didn't say anything but when the next pitch came he hit that ball into the left field bleachers. So I ran around the bases around that field there tagging at home plate Aaron looked at Yogi Berra and he said I didn't come here to read. I didn't come here to read figuratively speaking we're all standing on the plate. The question is what are we doing here. What are we doing on the plate. What is the main objective as a Christian one can recite the correct answer like one day when I was challenge. Show me your calendar and your checkbook and I'll show you your priorities. Jesus shared a couple of stories related to this problem and we've talked about these recently in the parables one was about the father who had two boys a father asked them to both go work in my vineyard to be repose in the harvest one that refused to go but later regretted his hasty decision and he went the second and mission they agreed to go but he didn't go. Have you ever wondered why the second son didn't actually go and work in his father's Vineyard. Do you think he was lying to his father deliberately trying to deceive him. Probably not he probably intended to go but somehow someone or something captured his attention as a boy directed to go do some work would probably it would probably happen before he knew it the day had slipped away in the work wasn't done and the story does leave us wondering what might have caused him to become a non laboring laborer in another story in Luke Chapter fourteen and invite us to turn over there with me just a few pages from Luke ten Luke Chapter fourteen. Jesus told some guests invited some guest to a great banquet and they weren't and they weren't invited they were rather they were invited to this banquet and the laborers were told to go out and get these folk and these folk that came to the banquet one cold to be laborers that were just told to come to the banquet. They just had to show up and enjoy the party but they also became distracted if you read the story you discover some of the excuses look at verse sixteen this is where the story is and he said to them a certain man gave a great supper and invited many and he sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited come for all things are now ready but they all with one accord began to do all. Make excuses. The first said to him I've bought a piece of ground and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me scuse the other said I've bought five yoke of oxen and I'm going to test them. I ask you to have me excused. Still another said I've married a wife and therefore I cannot come. Do you notice the distractions. Now there were excuses but they're also used as distractions material possessions a piece of land business activity trying out a new work or so to speak even relationships can be a distraction in this case it was the person he got married to anything inherently wrong with these things and nothing inherently wrong with these things but when any one of them gets in the way of God's invitation. And it becomes a real problem a real problem. So perhaps one reason why there are a few laboring labors is that some of become distracted another second possible explanation that there might be few laboring labor laborous participating in the Lord's harvest is that some have become indifferent indifferent the dictionary suggests that indifference is showing no care or concern for interest in something or somebody Edmund Burke said and you're familiar with this the only thing necessary for Triumph to evil is for good men to do up to nothing. It's a plague of humanity and certainly a curse of the church actually distractions lead to indifference. If you go back to Revelation Chapter three Jesus is talking to the church of Laodicea want you to notice this with me Revelation Chapter three more read verse seventeen. Let us what it says here about the attitude and condition of God's law state people Revelation chapter three in verse seventeen it says because they say talking about his church. I am rich have become wealthy and have need of nothing and do not know that they are rich or you are wretched miserable poor blind and naked. Here we see a picture of spiritual arrogance at its best. I don't need anything and spiritual arrogance leads to lackluster performance. Thank God. However in the same verses here. God offers a way out of Valletta G. He says look I'm counting the council you do several things going to counsel you to buy me gold tried in the fire a white rain meant that you might be clothed and I solved that you might see you understand anyone feeling perhaps today not too concerned about the Lord's harvest and then then then Jesus has a solution for us. Jesus can turn things around as a matter of fact in the. Of Laodicea Jesus is seen on the outside of the church and on the inside because he's standing in the door and what's he doing. He's knocking on the door but when we invite and swing wide the door open and we invite Jesus into our lives. He changes things revolutionizes our life. There's a reformation that takes place a revival and indifference is shed and we get on the bandwagon and become laboring laborous for our master in his vineyard Jesus can turn it around for us so there's a couple of reasons distractions indifference a third possible explanation that so few laboring labors participate in the Lord's harvest is that some of become discouraged discouraged. After all the task is huge because the harvest is truly great Some feel overwhelmed and that's pretty natural to feel that way. How does a laboring labor non laboring labor become discouraged or a labor of become discouraged discouragement is simply feelings of lost motivation confidence or optimism is a story told of the former heavyweight boxer James quick tell us he was a cowboy from Oklahoma and he fought in Chicago in the early one nine hundred eighty S. and he still remembers the first day in the Windy City as the ride from Tulsa. He said I got off the bus with two cardboard suitcases under my arms in downtown Chicago. I stopped in front of the sea is Taua I put my suitcases down I looked up at the tower and I said to myself I'm going to Kancha Chicago or when I look down the suitcases were gone. Perhaps in some respects perhaps the labor might be trying to bring in the harvest all by him or herself and they've become exhausted in trying to do it all on their own they give it their all and it never seems to be enough but praise the Lord that the Lord of. The harvest doesn't expect any one person to do the work him or herself and work themselves into an early grave the Apostles they faced a very similar challenge in the early days of the Christian Church the immensity of the task could have overwhelmed them but the Holy Spirit guided them to delegate more responsible responsibilities to others and share the load and that was a blessing to the church because from that point on I mean the church pool exploded ingroup. Praise the Lord that the lot of half a star expect any one person to do the work themselves the Holy Spirit leads us to delegate and to share. God never demands us to do everything on our own make room for others to work alongside of ourselves even if it might just create a few moments of impatience all frustration just make room for the folk to stand by you to to work along your side building God's Kingdom is teamwork and we all have a work to do I meant you no doubt about that perhaps you're discouraged because you're trying to bring in the harvest in your own strength trying to do it. Perhaps your own way trying to pull it off and do it in methods in ways that God can bless and you don't realize that you're doing it in your own strength perhaps you become offended by someone in the church. They said something to you when you were trying to help out a new civil if that's the way I'm going to be treated then I'm not going to be helping anymore. You know I've said I tell a number of people this because it happens all the time we are too easily offended. We have very thin skin. We do and I think we can admit to that at times we do but but we have to remember that when we are coming before the king sometimes we've got to ignore the entourage. Sometimes we the entourage may misbehave at times entourage may not be doing exactly what they might should be doing or saying the thing they ought to be saying but we are here to worship and serve. Cain. It's about the King it's not about the entourage and so get involved get get busy forget what the person said forget what they said to you and how they said it to you maybe you just misunderstood how they said it to you as always that explanation go to that person and just have a decent conversation with them a healthy one and get it ride. Sometimes folk become discouraged because of perhaps what somebody has said let me reassure you that if you try to serve the Lord. By trusting the Lord of the harvest by trusting in your own strength fuel owner feelings and your own resources. You will become easily discouraged. We all need to live by the words of the prophet Zechariah and I think we're going to put that up on the screen. Zachariah chapter four in verse six and here are some closing thoughts for us not by might nor by power but my by my Spirit say if the Lord of Hosts truly we will become discouraged non laborous if we fail to apply these very important words so here they are here they are three possible reasons why there's a problem while that why there is non laboring labors distracted the scurry just in different three possible explanations are you thinking that this is a major problem big harvest few laborous it's a big problem. Jesus wouldn't mention it if he didn't think so it's a big big problem man there are too few laborous. Too many of the professed followers of Jesus that have become distracted. Maybe become indifferent. Maybe just become downright discard. But there is good good news the Lord of the harvest can take distracted in different discouraged non laboring labors and renew them by His grace. He can empower them with His Spirit and He can send them out as focused. Fictive harvest is in his vineyard. Oh man in his field. Listen to what it says in Revelation Chapter fourteen vs six and seven I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven having They have a Loston Gospel to preach on to them the dwell in the earth to every nation kindred tongue and people saying with a loud voice figure God give glory to Him for the hour of his judgment is come and worship Him who made the heavens the earth the sea and the fountains of water this gospel my friend is going to go to the entire world. It's going to go that's what. That verse tells us the Bible tells us that the job will get done and then Jesus will come you know what that tells me it's going to tell me that there are some folk if they are distracted. They describe put those distractions aside it tells me that some folks are just just going to shake off the indifference is tells me that there are some folk who are not going to let discouragement get them down they're going to get on going to become a part of the team they're going to press the work forward. They're going to join hand in hand with others of God's people trying to pull the workload on their own they're going to team up. That's what this first tells me because the job's going to get done it hels me that God's people are going to get it and they're going to get up and they're going to do God's work. Good news good news yes the harvest is truly great. And yes the labors might be few but I think we're going to get it by the grace of God In closing going to put it up on the screen again for you want to remind us here today is we're talking about working for the Lord in His harvest remind us of this little saying I'll share this with you over the next few weeks I cannot work my soul to Saif for that the Lord has done but I will work like any slave for the love of God we're so glad you decided to tune into today's receiving the word program. To discover more about the Bible. We'd like to invite you to enroll in our free online bible studies by visiting S.A.S.E. Central dot au argy and click on the media resources DAV to listen to other life changing Bible messages from Sacramento central church go to youtube dot com forward slash the central connection or visit us Saturday mornings at ten fifty A.M. for a live worship experience at sixty forty five chameleon Avenue across the street from Sacramento State University. We look forward to seeing you there.

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