The Power of the King over the Harvest

The Gospel of Matthew: The King and His Kingdom  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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Introduction: How many of you like Harvest time? When Debbie and I served in Winchester, Idaho we were surrounded by wheat farmers. They would cultivate their acreage, seed it, fertilize it, wait for rain, or irrigate it, and then the wheat would grow. It was beautiful to look at the thousands of acres of wheat fields – The amber waves of grain. The day would eventually arrive when the farmers would mount their combines, and the harvest would begin. Truck after truck carrying the grain to the grain elevators. They kept busy. Harvest was important to them.
After Jesus spoke to the woman at the well in John 4, the towns people from Samaria came out to see Jesus. As they were coming, Jesus said to His disciples,
35 Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! 36 And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. 37 For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.” (John 4:35–38).
I also might add that Jesus spoke of a harvest at the end of the age. We read in Matthew 13:30,
30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”
Time doesn’t allow us to look at Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 25:21-46, where He spoke about the judgment of the nations, but you might want to read through that section of Scripture yourself. It too is a harvest, a separation of sheep and goats.
Now, as we approach our text, we discover that God uses people to bring in the harvest. A harvest doesn’t reap itself.
The heading in my Bible reads, The Compassion of Jesus. There is such a need today for the people of God to have compassion for people, a concern for souls. Far too many are on the sidelines doing nothing. They make great spectators, but Christianity is not a spectator sport – it’s a TEAM SPORT.
Considering the coming harvest what are we to do today? I would suggest that we…

I. Follow the Example of Jesus – 9:35

35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
What was the work of Jesus? This verse tells us…
A. Jesus went everywhere.
Jesus was an itinerant – He went everywhere. Where are we willing to go? Do we always have to be comfortable? Just maybe God wants to take you outside your comfort zone. Are you willing?
I’ve Been Everywhere
Are you familiar with Johnny Cash’s song, I’ve Been Everywhere? It is a song about traveling, and yet when I hear it, I think about all the places where the gospel must be preached, and all the places where Christians must travel to. Places like:
I've been everywhere, man I've been everywhere, man Crossed the deserts bare, man I've breathed the mountain air, man Of travel I've had my share, man I've been everywhere
I've been to Reno, Chicago, Fargo, Minnesota Buffalo, Toronto, Winslow, Sarasota Wichita, Tulsa, Ottawa, Oklahoma Tampa, Panama, Mattawa, La Paloma Bangor, Baltimore, Salvador, Amarillo Tocapillo, Baranquilla, and Perdilla, I’m a killer.
I've been to Boston, Charleston, Dayton, Louisiana Washington, Houston, Kingston, Texarkana Monterey, Faraday, Santa Fe, Tallapoosa Glen Rock, Black Rock, Little Rock, Oskaloosa Tennessee to Tennesse Chicopee, Spirit Lake Grand Lake, Devils Lake, Crater Lake, for Pete's sake.
I've been to Louisville, Nashville, Knoxville, Ombabika Schefferville, Jacksonville, Waterville, Costa Rica Pittsfield, Springfield, Bakersfield, Shreveport Hackensack, Cadillac, Fond du Lac, Davenport Idaho, Jellico, Argentina, Diamantina, Pasadena, Catalina, see what I mean.
I've been to Pittsburgh, Parkersburg, Gravelburg, Colorado Ellensburg, Rexburg, Vicksburg, El Dorado Larimore, Atmore, Haverstraw, Chatanika Chaska, Nebraska, Alaska, Opelika Baraboo, Waterloo, Kalamazoo, Kansas City Sioux City, Cedar City, Dodge City, what a pity.
Will we follow the example of Jesus Christ and go everywhere? How else will the world be reached?
B. Teaching in their synagogues
Here is what I believed growing up. I believed that every teacher in school taught me TRUTH. I later learned that that was not the case.
However, when Jesus taught, He spoke TRUTH (See John 14:6, 17:17).
Here in verse 35, the verb "to teach" (διδάσκω) is in its imperfect tense, indicating ongoing or repeated action. This emphasizes the consistent nature of Jesus' teaching as he went through all the cities and villages.
Why was teaching important to Jesus? He was concerned for people’s understanding. You don’t know what you don’t know, so learn what you don’t know, so that you’ll be in the know.
Notice too that Jesus went where the people gathered. He went into the Synagogues, and He taught the people.
C. Preaching the gospel of the kingdom
We have all heard about people trying to build their own little kingdoms, haven’t we? As Christians (Christ-in-one) we must go out and preach by our lifestyle (Behavior) that there is only ONE KINGDOM – the Kingdom of God.
“You are writing a Gospel, A chapter each day, By deeds that you do, By words that you say. Men read what you write, Whether faithless or true; Say, what is the Gospel According to you?” ― Paul Gilbert
You can seek to build your own kingdom and the end be extremely disappointed, or you can submit to God’s Kingdom and find forever satisfaction. What’s it going to be?
Preachers preach for life-change, or what I call, TRANSFORMATION. It is my desire that after I have finished preaching that God’s people are moved to some form of decision, commitment, or surrender.
Every sermon Jesus preached he preached that His hearers would make a commitment for life-change. Jesus would even say things like,
· “Let your light shine before men, (Matthew. 5:16).
· “Therefore, you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48).
· “And when you pray, (Matthew 6:5).
· “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, (Matthew 6:19).
· “Therefore whoever hears these saying of Mine, and does them,” (Matthew 7:24).
D. Healing every sickness and every disease
As believers we must use whatever means we can to help the sick and the diseased among us.
Do you recall the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37? First, why did he get involved? Scripture tells us that he had compassion. Second, what did he use to minister to the man that was beaten and thrown into a ditch? He “bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine” (Luke 10:34). Third, he put the guy on his animal, and he walked him to an inn, where he cared for him. Fifth, the next day “when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, “Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.”(Luke 10:35).
What is the point that I am trying to drive home? Use whatever means possible to minister to the sick and diseased among us.
I want to remind us that the 10 miracles that we walked through together in Matthew 8-9 were done for the expressed purpose of authenticating Jesus as the Son of God, and that His message (His Teaching) came from God.
How will the world know we are Christians? When we follow Jesus’ example.
E. Among the people
Underline in your Bible the words, “among the people.” We can’t minister to the needs of people if we are not among them. So, we must follow Jesus’ example – we must be among the people.
Considering the coming harvest what are we to do today? I would suggest that we…

II. Have Compassion on the multitudes – 9:36

36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.
A. See the multitudes.
Do we see the multitudes today? Are you aware that there are enough lost people in our country that every church in America could be a mega-church? Will we see the multitude?
B. Be moved with compassion.
Will we like Jesus be moved with compassion for them? They are weary (COVID-19, Riots, BLM, Politics, Economy, War, Terrorism). Fear and depression abound today.
Compassion flows from within our very essence. It comes from our inners! Get this – compassion leads to mercy! This passage of Scripture serves as an invitation and a challenge to embrace Jesus’ compassion in our own lives today.
Jim Elliott Journal Entry
Jim Elliott, one of the missionaries that was martyred by the Auca Indians penned the following in his journal,
"Today I noticed for the first time that Jesus’ compassion on the multitudes was not only because they were many, but because they were scattered, divided, and distressed … So, it is among our tribes [of Auca Indians]—scattered, but not many. Yet they merit His mercy. Thus, God confirms my way with these encouragements from His Word.
C. People are scattered – like sheep having no shepherd.
Will you and I be willing to shepherd someone? At least 1 other person? Each one reach one! It has been said that we reach one person by being winsome – get it – WIN SOME!
Look at how Jesus saw these people. They were "weary and scattered". The word “weary” means they were troubled, bewildered, despondent. The word “scattered” means that they were thrown to the ground. I have read that the Greek words here are in the perfect passive participle form. This denotes a completed action with ongoing effects. The people were once scattered and thrown down, and they continue to be in this state.
We have a whole society that are presently weary and scattered (thrown down). People are hurting, depressed, disillusioned, and discouraged. Who is going to care for the hurting unless it is US! Who will you be a shepherd to? A shepherd cares for his flock. The flock may be your immediate family. The flock may be those in your charge.
Every one of us are called to be shepherds. May God help us to be full of compassion for those who are weary and scattered.
Considering the coming harvest what are we to do today? I would suggest that we…

III. Understand the Size of the Task – 9:37

37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”
A. The harvest is truly plentiful – 9:37
Please hear what I am about to say. Christians, you do not work for your church, nor do you work for your pastor. If you are engaged in ministry, it is to be done for Jesus Christ alone. All for Jesus Christ! It is not about what you do for your church or your pastor. It’s what you do for Jesus Christ.
We must see the harvest/ Please don’t ignore it. Souls are counting on you.
· 1 Corinthians 15:5858 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
· Galatians 6:99 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
Jesus tells us that the field (the world) is ripe for harvest. We also must always remember that He is LORD of the harvest.
B. The Laborers are few – 9:38
Week after week you hear about the needs for laborers here at SLBC. Why? Because everyone is supposed to be engaged in ministry. The Church is a body that must function as a body – every part of the body has a role to play. Everyone is IMPORTANT!
I can only imagine what the church would be like if everyone took their calling to follow Jesus serious! There would be no holes in the church. We would probably have a waiting list for various ministries, or better yet, we would be started new ministries in reaching the harvest.
Our goal here at SLBC is printed on much of our literature:
Bring them in – Build them up –
Train them for – Send them out
What will you do for the KINGDOM? Will you help bring them in? Will you help build them up? Will you help train them? And will you help send them out?
C. Pray that God would raise up more laborers to send out into His harvest – 9:38
Do you see the word, "therefore”? This word means that in light of the fact that the harvest is plentiful, and the laborers are few what are you and I to do?
· Are we to fret?
· Are we to worry?
· Are we to be anxious?
· Are we to be overwhelmed?
No, we are "to pray". The word pray in the Greek is in the present tense, indicating continuous action. This shows that the act of praying for laborers is ongoing and should be a constant practice for believers. This is a great way to participate in reaching the lost, by praying for the REACHERS! Praying for the laborers.
Question:Do you believe that this is a prayer that God wants to answer? How does He want to answer it? By you and me getting involved in His work. Both hands on ministry and a deep prayer ministry. Pray that God will encourage the Church to do God’s work here on earth. Get this, you may be an answer to your own prayer!
We are to pray that the Lord will “send out” laborers into His harvest. Once again, I remind you that “the earth’s is the Lord and everything therein.” People belong to the Lord. The sheep are His.
The laborers are those who get involved in reaching the lost sheep. If you are a believer, you are one of Christ’s laborers. There are no exemptions. Lift up your eyes and see the harvest – it is ripe, and now is the time to reap.
Conclusion: What are the take home truths from these that three verses? They are:
1. Be willing to go everywhere.
2. Teach, preach, and minster to the needs of people.
3. Be among the people.
4. See the souls all around you.
5. Be moved with compassion – genuinely care for others.
6. Be aware of the weary and the scattered, the downtrodden.
7. Recognize the size of the harvest – souls are counting on you.
8. We will always need more laborers.
9. Pray that God would raise up additional workers for the harvest.
10. Become a part of those who “send out” the laborers.
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