THE FIRST WORK OF EVANGELISM
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Read Matthew 9:35-38.
The Work of Christ
- Teaching, Preaching, Healing
- Jesus is preaching the good news of the kingdom in word and deed. The healing is a result of the kingdom of God breaking in to our world. Sickness and affliction no longer have the last word.
- Take a look at the events that are listed before this summary: a paralyzed man is healed not only that but his sins are forgiven, a dead girl is raised, a sick woman is healed she had been sick for a very long time, a blind men given site, a demoniac is healed a demon that had stolen his power to speak is removed.
- A tax collector is restored to the kingdom, he is given hope.
- Jesus preaches that a new age has dawned
- Christs disciples continue his work In chapter 10, this new age is ushered forth by Christs disciples. They will do what he does in his name and by his authority
- Find where Christ is at work and join him there It concerns me that we ended the new age of the new wineskins somewhere around the time of the scientific enlightenment. We just decided that Gods power was limited.
- I think that there is ample biblical instruction, such as the story of Simon the Sorcerer, to suggest that the power of God is not a power that we command or control. We cannot put a claim on God
- But neither should we be so glib or confident that Gods power is not still as active as He chooses for it to be. After all, what is the Holy Spirit? How dare anyone claim to control God, but how dare we limit God!
- What shall we say about our own experiences? Many of you have been healed of sins, the demons of addiction, even sicknesses and afflictions. Sometimes that healing is the power to cope, sometimes it is more. If we cannot speak that these are the work of Christ, then what gospel do we have?
- We need to give God the glory. We go where Christ sends. We join in his work, not the other way around.
The Heart of Christ
- Sheep Without a Shepherd We need to be able to proclaim the good news, for just like Christ saw, there are still sheep without a shepherd. What does that phrase really mean?
- It means that they are people without a defender. They are people without a leader. They have no king and they are abused
- Harassed and Helpless And they are harassed and helpless. One of these words has its origin in being skinned.
- They are passive. Who is doing the harassing? Who is making them helpless?
- Go back and look. When the paralyzed mans sins are forgiven, the so-called religious leaders are the ones who call Jesus down for breaking the Sabbath rules and going beyond their limits (not Gods limits).
- When Christ calls tax collectors and sinners (the sick) who questions him?
- When the woman who is bleeding comes to Jesus, she had been made helpless by ineffective healers, but here bleeding would have made her an outcast by the religious leaders.
- When the Jesus comes to raise the dead girl, he has to put the crowd outside because they had more faith in funeral rites than the son of God
- Woe to us when we seal off the Kingdom of Heaven to those who are seeking God
- I am tired of religious leaders and religious people being portrayed as those who are hypocrites, but God help us if we havent fueled the fire by our lack of compassion ...
- Christ feels Compassion
- Did you notice Christs reaction ... He sees them with compassion. Not pity. Not despair. Not contempt or condescension. He sees the lost sheep of Israel who with a king could be all that God wants them to be.
- How do we look at others? With our own view or with gods eyes?
The Request of Christ
- Harvest and Workers I confess that I sometimes skip compassion and move right into weariness and frustration. Thats because I am not paying attention to who has the power.
- Jesus is not above naming the frustration. He will himself, being human like us, name the overwhelming odds and the immensity of the mission.
- And rather than encourage us to be arrogant and do our best or take it one step at a time, he tells us to drop to our knees and PRAY.
- To Disciples: ASK! Ask means pray. Remember who the Lord of the Harvest is
- The first work of evangelism is prayer Where we really get it wrong is by not spending enough time in prayer. Our feelings of urgency and our busy-ness. Our reliance on human knowledge and institutional power have encouraged us to downplay prayer.
- Charles Spurgeon shows visitors his boiler-room
- Prayer needs to be our first work, an important and intentional work
- Why dont we ASK? God provides. Lets ask about the things Jesus wants us to ask for. Lets ask about the things Jesus cares about.
- Not simply private prayers, but the work of the community, the aim of our worship.
Move to the prayer for the harvest ...
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Morning Sermon, 13 June 2010
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