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Our Hardest Lesson

Chris Buttery
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  • January 31, 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 await viewing God's Holy Word the Bible. You know it's never easy facing difficulties and challenges little Learn bravely or courageously yet the Bible reveals that in the last days of Earth's history they'll be those living here in the end of time he'll be facing adversity and the Bible says in Matthew twenty four in verse thirteen the some of these folk are going to in Jewett till the end will put that on the screen verse fourteen they're going to be witnesses of the power of the everlasting Gospel in their lives and they will be faithful and wise servants who know how to give bread in Jews' season they're not thinking merely of themselves but they're thinking of the benefit of us and they realize like we've been studying the last couple of weeks that there's going to be no if more favorable time than the present to win people to Jesus side they sympathize with Jesus when he told his disciples long ago that the. That the that the harvest was already the fields were already white for harvest and there in in Luke Chapter ten in verse two he said that the harvest is to remember the harvest is great the harvest is great and what are the main What did he mean when he said the harvest is great what was his point what was the good. What was he driving it ultimately Jesus was trying to help us see the wall for a new lens through new eyes to see the world with through with a new perspective. That there are many men and women boys and girls waiting to be gathered in to accept Christ and His saving grace to be ready and prepared for the momentous events that are about to take place on planet Earth. Prior to the return of Jesus I sympathize these people with Jesus when He said The harvest is truly great but remember when we studied here in Luke Chapter ten there was also a problem do you remember what that problem was there are a few laborous That's right. Luke Chapter ten reminds us that there are a few laborous Now when we when we are cold and when we give our lives to Jesus we're all called to service. We're all cold too. To be missionaries someone said that. If you're not a missionary you're a mission field where all cold to be missionaries to share the love and grace of God with others but there's a problem because there are a few that did that involved in the harvest and we found out that some were distracted some ah perhaps discouraged some indifferent to the plight and the challenge. So what did Jesus encourage us to do. Jesus encouraged us to do there in Luke Chapter ten and those two he says to pray the Lord of the hobbist to send out what laborers into his harvest and we discovered last week that these words a dynamic words Jesus is asking us to plead with a lot of harvest to beg the lot of us. But although there is great satisfaction in working for Jesus and we talked about Christ method of ministry didn't we last week in ministry of healing page one forty three Christ method alone will give us true success in reaching the people. Jesus mingle with man as one who desired the good sympathize with them he ministered to the needs and then he by them won their confidence and then he bade them do up. Follow me one on one labor each one reaching one. And even though there was great satisfaction when we when we allow the lot of the harvest to use us in his. Mission field in his harvest it also comes with true challenges with some real honest challenges and it encourages us to exhibit an unusual dependence upon the Lord of the harvest and my friends this in turn tends to be hardest lesson. The hardest lesson for us to learn the title of our message the message here this morning to express an unusual dependence upon the Lord of dependence perhaps that we have not yet realized look with maybe in Luke Chapter ten and will look at the three notice what it says they have Jesus says go your way. Behold I same you as lambs among Wotte wolves. OK lambs among wolves now since this certainly sounds dangerous and Jesus is being just painfully honest with us when you cry out to the Lord of the harvest what Jesus is saying is you need to be prepared to face just about anything and those major channel challenges that come to us will come to us personally internally in the loss I come to us externally as well when we talk about internally. When we ask the Lord to give him permission to use us in His harvest for one of the immediate eternal internal challenges many of us confront is perhaps a lack of maturity and experience in God's work after all we are just what does he say I send you out as lambs lambs on experience then we think of sheep sheep. Known to be the most intelligent creatures in the world. But where he cost us out is what sheep immature. Sheep you see lamps he cost us out as lambs we're just weak immature lambs. We heard the promise of Jesus when he said in John fourteen verse twelve greater works than these he will do because I go to my father. That's a powerful promise that God has given to us his children greater works will we do than Jesus because he goes to the. Father we believe the promise and perhaps we just simply believe it in theory. Not many of us have really tested it in real life truly lot greater works will we do than Jesus did Are you sure when you give the lot of the harvest permission to throw you out into his harvest you come to the painful realization that you're a lamb internal challenges a sense of inadequacy and immaturity. But there's also going to be external challenges. Perhaps more frightening than the internal challenges Jesus said I send you as lambs among what wolves. That's ride a lonely does God send us out as a lamb but he sends us out among the wolves you'll face adversaries when the lot of the harvest stores you out into his harvest and many will be presidents such adversaries are not mild mannered or timid. They are wolves Jesus described them in Matthew chapter seven verse fifteen as ravenous wolves the Apostle Paul in Acts Chapter twenty called them savage. And notice that there is not just one Wolf. Wolf's hunt in packs and so there are many of them they look for vulnerable targets and they seek to eat them to devour them you see the challenges even more drastic because of the fact that we go out among these ravenous savage wolves as lambs lambs don't typically go with spotting a wolf hunting. The walls come looking for them you see and when you throw yourself out give the Lord permission to send you out into his harvest they'll be times when you find yourself surrounded by these snarling ravenous wolves that will be outside seeking to him undermine your influence hinder your progress and because they count can counter what you believe in what you testify. They'll stop attacking you personally calling you names perhaps a legal a still rigid or strict or narrow or bigoted just the way the devil accepts name calling to modern lies. It's his strategy. It's his tactic and I might add that there are not just wolves on the outside of the. But they can also be wolves on the inside. Also on when Jesus warned about ravenous wolves in Matthew chapter seven verse fifteen. He said that they would come in what type of clothing to remember shaved clothing pretending to be among God's people in Wimpole mention the savage wolves if they are in Acts chapter twenty. He said that they will come in monkey you. So there are a FAR AS FAR more to fear from within than there is to fear from without Yes unfortunately will get a taste of wolves inside who will talk doubt you will seek to discourage any advance of the Gospel accounts of your hard work perhaps by their contradictory lifestyle. How many new converts have been dismayed not only with the laxness of the church but also its wildness how many of hope to flee the world into the arms of a safe caring church to find that the world has come inside the church and Jesus didn't stop there with these challenges notice with me in Matthew Chapter ten and you're wondering pasta Chris are you going to get encouraging here are you going to get a little hopeful here. Just hold on this is Jesus speaking to us I send you out as lambs among wolves. Matthew Chapter ten ten they with me if you would Jesus is sending out the. Twelve Disciples. He's sending out the twelve and he tells them the same thing I'm sending you out as lambs among wolves. I want you to notice here in verse fourteen Jesus mentions that there will be some when he sends out. He sends out his laborous into the harvest those who give them give God permission to send them out. It says there in verse twenty first fourteen that some will not hear your words. Some are going to receive you verse seventeen he sadly betrays at the hand say sadly portrays betrayal at the hands of church friends. In verse twenty one he even. Presents betrayal at the hands of family members and then verse twenty three he talks about persecution and displacement and the last of all in verse twenty eight. Even potential death. How did all this trouble come around notice verse thirty four and thirty five of Matthew chapter ten Notice Jesus said do not think that I am come. I came to bring peace on the earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. If I have come to set a man against his father a daughter against her mother and a daughter in law against her mother in law now. Jesus did not mean by these words that this creating of strife would be the effect of the Gospel no that's not what he was saying but rather the result of opposition to the preaching in the sharing of the Gospel you see that's where these troubles come it doesn't come from just it's not the effects of the preaching of the gospel it's people's response to the preaching of the Gospel the the gospel brings peace to those who accept it and when it is proclaimed and when it is presented and then resisted by an individual and internal struggle ensues creating frustration jealousy suspicion and hate Jews to a convicted conscience that will not surrender to Jesus Christ claims on the life. That's where the trouble comes from from a person who is not willing to surrender to their pleading conscience to the will of Jesus Christ. That's what Jesus meant when he said I came not to send peace but a sword. The if that's not the effects of the Gospel approach the preaching of the Gospel it is the result of those who oppose the Gospel Jesus said I send you out as a lamp's among the wolfs but in all of this Jesus reminds us that the father pays very close attention to us in verses twenty nine to thirty one of Matthew chapter ten. He talks about the fact that God even notices when a bird falls from its nest on to the ground. He's well away when problems come our way and he cares for each one of you as if you were. The only one to ever be cared for here on planet earth in that monumental work on the life of Christ the desire of ages. The author says not a sigh is breathed not a pain is felt not a grief P.S. is the soul but the throb vibrates to the father's hot. God is bending from his throne to hear the cry of the oppressed to every sincere pray he answers here am I in all our flexions he is afflicted in every temptation he says in every trial. The angel of his presence is in the to the little one a powerful promise you may have hardships you may have difficulty as you go out and you share your faith. It may even come from from your home. But Jesus said I'm with you I hear the pain the throb vibrates in all your afflictions I'm afflicted. I feel your pain I know your hurt comes to me first before it affects you. Jesus said You'll go out as lamb slams among wolves. So how did Jesus say that we ought to handle this issue notice with me those sixteen where Matthew Chapter ten still Matthew Chapter ten of those sixteen Jesus said Behold I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves therefore be what wise the serpents and harmless as the. So Jesus says you got to be wise as a good thing we've been studying the book of proverbs we get good practice our way. We've got to be wise practical wisdom discernment and prudence. It's the same wisdom that Jesus calls for at the end of the Suman on the Mount where he talks about the wise in the fullest the man who built his house upon the the rock is the one who listens and applies the words of Jesus the same Greek word appears in the Greek translation of the Book of Proverbs this practical wisdom helps us know when to be silent some of us could learn how to be silent from time to time this practical wisdom also teaches us how to with. Draw when we when it's time to withdraw it also teaches us how to disfigure. Diffuse angry woods. That's the wisdom that we need we need practical wisdom when God sends us out as lambs among wolves. But what does Jesus mean when he says be wise as a serpent. Wise as a serpent the ancient near East consider the serpent as a symbol of wisdom and cunning serpents alert and serpents cautious. They don't unnecessarily have contact all conflict with predators. They don't provoke attacks. We're told to be wise as serpents but remember that those insights any insights and in any understandings in now in coming in going in the harvest. We need to remember that this wisdom comes from above James one five reminds us if any man lacks wisdom let a mosque of God who gives to all men liberally and does not withhold doesn't hold back. What a wonderful promise you claim that promise in a moment when you need wisdom from above and God will give you Woods who give you understanding you had it happen to you before I don't need to tell you that but a good reminder to call upon Him who has wisdom. So we're told to be wise as serpents but we're also told to be harmless as what promises doves the Greek word translated homeless just simply means literally means mixed the same word is described to with regard to PUA gold laborers in the Lord's harvest to demonstrate in other words moral purity and integrity the ancient near East regarded the Dove also as a symbol of purity and faithfulness. So what God is summoning us to and encouraging us here in our actual interaction with others including savage and ravenous wolves to be above reproach in speech and in conduct we should never adopt the ethics or mimic the behavior of. Adversaries. We have to be wise as serpents and harmless as dogs dogs in other words when we confronted with Wolves resting in God's love the spirit will become even under posts and will abuse and the spirit that's kept gentle and irritation will speak far more effectively in favor of truth than any argument however clever and however effective. May God help us to keep control of Tempus a lot of the harvest does not rebuke lambs for being immature or having lack of experience. Rather he encourages you and I to adopt practical wisdom and Christian grace that will meet. All of our needs that we need all the things that we need when we encounter these challenges and these difficulties that come our way friends this is learning to labor in total dependence upon God that's what God wants us to do to learn to totally depend upon him as a matter of fact let's continue the idea of the pendants upon him. This is our hardest lesson. This is a tough one for us to learn. Let's go back to Luke chapter Chapter ten and we're looking there in verse four Luke Chapter ten and verse four. Jesus said I send you out as lambs among wolves. But notice we come to our scripture reading here verse four Jesus says Kerry need the money bag knapsack nor sandals angry. No one along the road carry nothing totally depend on me now it from a human standpoint these instructions probably don't make a lot of sense when you travel somewhere. It's normal to take some stuff along with your IP. We're going to be traveling maybe on a business trip you going to go on a couple of nights you take a rolling suitcase you've got to close in there you got to toiletries your pajamas you take some stuff with you. So what is Jesus talking about here. Jesus says carry no money bag. What is easy. What is he saying is he telling his followers not to carry their purses or their wallets doesn't such an approaching border on irresponsibility what is change. What is Jesus talking about here. Apparently the Lord of the harvest is not wanting us to depend upon our own ability rather he asked us to lay by in complete dependence upon him you know we serve the God and I tell folks this often we serve the God of the last minute is the God of the last minutes not because he slumbering us not because he's sleeping it's not because he's indifferent or doesn't care. It's because he wants you to totally depend upon him and sometimes he's got to stretch us just a little bit test that faith just a little bit but he always comes through for you I don't know I can't tell you exactly when I can tell you how but I can tell you that he will because he's done a for me and I know he's done a for you and he will keep on doing that for us the Lord of the harvest is inviting us to be totally. Dependent upon him if we're trusting in our own resources then we might not even give God permission to involve us at all you might save yourself all as soon as I have what I need for the task than what I give you permission to use me or you might allow the lot of the harvest to include you but then you look for some small task to do that is manageable right and equates your what you consider to be your abilities in order to emphasize the need for this new type of dependence upon God Jesus instructs us to leave our money bag behind in addition to abandoning that money bag Jesus also says in verse four carry no knapsack. What's a knapsack is the knapsack equivalent of a twenty first century rolling suitcase. Jesus is Jesus saying don't take any money on your trip. Don't take any suitcase when you labor. Me. What's he saying no he's not saying that the Greek noun has a more specialized meaning it simply means a bag as bag. That's what that knapsack means a beggar's back in other words he's saying do not beg from others do not beg from others total dependence upon the Lord of the harvest means first that we don't trust in our own resources and second that we don't impose on those around us to supply down the where the disciples cared for when they went out there in Matthew Chapter ten were they provided did they lack anything as a matter of fact that was a question that Jesus asked his disciples in Luke Chapter twenty two verse thirty five we're going to put that on the screen when I sent you out without purse and scrip and shoes lacked anything. And what did they say. Everything Lord that we needed you provided for the disciples did not rely on their own resources. Neither did they impose on those around them. Rather they demonstrated total dependence upon the Lord of the harvest and according to their response they were well taken care of how then will God meet your needs. I know that he has a thousand ways to provide for us of which we know nothing in that same book ministry feeling with will encourage those who who who make the service of God supreme will find perplexities vanish and a plain path set before their feet. If you put God God First his service first and your service includes your family your service definitely includes your family but when you put God's service first a plain path is going to become for you God's going to show you just what to do and how to do it and he's going to provide for your needs one way. However is that he will provide through the generosity of those around you and whose hearts a willing if someone offers resources if they also offer their hospitality. If they offer their abilities. Not because you've been. Egg but because the Lord of the harvest touch their hearts. Jesus says Jesus says receive it happily look at verse seven and remain in the same house eating and drinking such things as they give for the labor is worthy of his wages and then he says Do not go from house to house in other words except what the Lord provides for you don't go from house to house looking for a better off. Be content with how God and what God is providing for you it said of Abraham. The father of the faithful in Hebrews chapter eleven in verse eight that he went out not knowing where he went and Abraham came to know the Lord as Jehovah Gyra Jehovah gyre the Lord will provide and this can be our experience as well as we labor in total dependence upon him he provides Jesus God provides salvation through Jesus and power and guidance through the presence and the Ministry of the Holy Spirit and the Lord will supply and I love this promise in Philippians chapter for those nineteen climate and climate often he will supply all your needs. According to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. You just need to know that God is more willing to help you and provide for you than you you recognize it yourself. And if you just spend a moment looking at Calvary at the cross you would recognize his deep and undying love for you if he died for you he'll care for you. He'll provide for you he will take and supply all and needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus and as we labor in total dependence will discover personally that he will sustain us every way possible. We just need a say lot I'm willing Lord send out laborers into your harvest because the laborers a few and what I give you permission to send me and in sending us we can know that he will provide for us to provide for us intellectually. He'll provide tact and skill and wisdom will provide for the needs. Sometimes the work. We don't have the resources that are needed for the work that lays before us. But God always provides. We learning to be completely and utterly dependent upon him. Do we completely trust him and wonder whether we trust him enough to be even used of him. Now the story doesn't end. We're going to wrap up with these last few verses notice. Jesus in Luke Chapter ten of those for Jesus. Also reminds the laborers not to get bogged down with excess baggage don't get bogged down with X X excess baggage the instruction in verse four is to not carry sandals. Does that mean you should go walking around with bare feet. It doesn't say don't wear sandals is says don't carry sandals. In other words don't be burdened down with excess baggage the word translated carry literally means to Bama a burden. Jesus doesn't want us to bear a burden it's the same verb the Scripture uses for carrying a cross carrying an extra pair of shoes may not sound like extra work. However in addition to an extra pair of shoes. One might be inclined to bring an extra pair of slacks. Extra shirt a little extra this extra that the sleeping bag the pillow. Even the kitchen sink you understand carry no extra sandals travel life. Don't be bogged down with excess baggage What then is our mission as laborous in the harvest notice verse nine as we close. Jesus told His disciples and the seventy go out and Hill the sick and say to them the kingdom of God has come near to you Do you notice is the same instruction that he gives to those involved in the Lord's harvest is also a description of Christ's own ministry while here on Earth in the report sent to John the Baptist and Jesus said Go tell. John the things which you see the blind see the lame walk the lepas cleansed and the deaf hear the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them such ministry was only possible for Jesus as he testified the spirit of the Lord is upon me to preach the gospel the spirit of the Lord is upon me and he calls you and I as Labor is together in the harvest to demonstrate a new dependence as we reproduce the ministry of Jesus Christ as we walk in his footsteps and serve in his name not in our own strength not in our strength my strength but in the strength of the Lord through the power of the Holy Spirit. We have freely received. Now it's time to freely give we give to us in constant awareness of total dependence upon the Lord of the harvest each one reaching one that's nothing for the Shia each one reaching one for Jesus. We have a mandate. We have Commission. I won't be preaching about this every week we have just two more sermons in this series and then that's it will go on to other other things other important things but let's stop the arrival let's remember that God has told us to be laborers together with Him in His harvest and let's be prying Lord I give you permission to send may want to close with that little little saying that we've been looking at each week just to keep things in proper perspective. Remember it says I cannot work my soul to cite for that. The Lord has done but I will work like any slave for the love of gods be a son. 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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