- Sermon Notes
Foot Soldiers For Christ
May 8, 2022
To define the Father of “open air evangelism”, you have to go back 275 years to missionary George Whitefield, an ordained minister from England. George had a burden to reach the coal miners in Bristol England. He went to the church leaders in Bristol and asked if he could use their churches to preach the love of Jesus Christ to the miners. These church leaders were afraid of the miners and said no; so he preached to them in the open air. The church leaders also told George that the miners would not be interested, that they would not listen to him at all and that he was wasting his time. He didn’t believe them, so in 1739 on a hill outside the mine he stood there to tell the miners Jesus loved them and that He forgave them. George went on to write about it.
What this is, a lesson in spiritual truth – there is no such thing as people who are unreachable, uninterested or a waste of time.
We have a culture that many Christians think are unreachable. It’s not true – God needs to motivate our hearts to see our culture the way He sees our culture, reaching people in our world.
I. Jesus Needs Harvesters
What was the mission of these people He sent – v9, and heal those in it who are sick, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’
The kingdom of God is near; what exactly was He trying to tell them or trying to tell us?
There’s a lot of people who think you become a member of the kingdom of God when you have to do certain stuff or by not doing certain stuff.
But what does the Bible say about becoming a member of the kingdom of God?
Luke 9:27, But I say to you truthfully, there are some of those standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.”
Eight days later, with his disciples, He pulled back the veil and allowed three of them to see the Glory that belonged to Him. They saw what? Jesus Christ in His Glory.
The Bible is telling us that if you want to know the kingdom of God, it is Jesus Christ, all that He is and all that He did for us.
When they went proclaiming the kingdom of God is near you, they were proclaiming that Jesus Christ is coming through this town. Men were not sent out to repeat rules and rhetoric. They were sent out to offer people Jesus Christ, offering people the opportunity to acknowledge Him as the Messiah of Israel, trust Him as their Savior and the opportunity to accept Him as the Lord of their life because that’s how you become a member of the kingdom of God.
John 10:9, I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.
For every one of us, the #1 question is, are you and I using the correct gate or “door” to eternal life. Gate is personal faith in Jesus Christ; not church, not religion, not works, not the golden rule. This is the message Jesus sent these 70 out to preach.
I hope if you are listening or if you are here today, you know the correct gate and have used that gate. Or you are faced now with a decision; choosing the gate to eternal life or remaining in the world with nothing but paths leading to destruction.
A. Be lambs among wolves for God’s sake
Why say such? The religious leaders of Israel uniformly rejected Jesus, they threw everyone out of the Synagogue who confessed Jesus, actively seeking a way to kill Him.
I’m sure, to His disciples, it looked like they were going out like lambs among wolves. I’m sure these 70 wondered; who are we going out to preach to – no one is interested? Nobody wants to hear what we have to say. Remember George Whitefield.
Against this backdrop Jesus shares a great spiritual truth that we need to hear today.
v2, And He was saying to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.
Basically, don’t worry about the opposition, don’t be blind to the real condition of the fields out there. Jesus said I know the hearts of all these people. Every man, woman and child.
B. Trust God that the harvest is plentiful
There are lots of people out there who are ready, people who are empty and searching; the harvest is plentiful. Not a lack of harvest, but shortages of harvesters or foot-soldiers.
Do we see the action item from all of this from Jesus in v2?
#1 – Be foot soldiers and go out there and do what I said,; harvest for Christ.
#2 – Pray that more Christians will go out there and harvest; among us who claim to be Jesus followers, more of us will be foot-soldiers for Christ.
Notice He did not tell spectators to pray for more harvesters, he told harvesters to pray for more harvesters, to come out into the field and help them.
II. See our culture through Jesus’ eyes
Illustration from George Barna, a wonderful Christian man, a demographer. (An expert in the study of statistics related to human populations)
I know inviting people to come to church isn’t the most important thing…talking to them about Christ is. But if only 30% of Christians have ever invited a non-christian to come to church, doesn’t it make sense that even fewer have had an open conversation about having a relationship with Christ with non-christian people.
Why don’t more of us do more to try and reach people. I’m sure there are many reasons.
Seems to me in my contact with people in ministry and with Christians outside of our ministry, perhaps the single greatest reason is that we don’t see the world the way Jesus sees it.
We say subconsciously, nobody’s interested. I’m not going to waste my time and be rejected. I have a way of boiling it down to two things; people just don’t see the world through Christ’s eyes or they really don’t care.
When it comes to sharing, some say, I don’t want to embarrass myself and get shot down. For what?
If you think like that, you’re not going to talk to people about Jesus Christ. The older I get the less I care about what people think. I used to observe boldness in my parents and wondered why I wasn’t more that way. Now I know.
A. Share like their lives depend on it
How did Jesus see the world?
John 4:39, From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all the things that I have done.”
Jesus was in the middle of Israel in the middle of Samaria. Remember, the Samaritans are a race of half-breeds; the jews hated them. They considered them unreachable and unworthy of salvation, beyond reach of God’s grace.
But here Jesus leads a prostitute to Christ…and she goes off to get the whole town and tell them about Him.
How many Samaritans came to Christ? I Don’t know, 50, maybe, 100, maybe, 100’s, probably.
But this is a group of people the Jews considered unreachable and beyond hope. Yet Jesus Christ went to a group considered unreachable, uninterested. And look at the harvest for God that they reaped.
B. The blessing of seeing life through Jesus’ eyes
John 4:35, Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.
Jesus was telling them to open their eyes, not at the fields of grain, but at humanity, they are ready right now for harvest.
As God, if this is what He saw, then this is the way the world really is. The tragic thing is that the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.
The Baptism service on the 15th reflects one story after another, just like your stories, that someone invested time in you and you now follow Jesus. You were truly “born” again when that happened. Have you been baptized?
Joy and peace – eternal life – whether you‘ve experienced this truth or not, come to the Baptism service and invite a friend. It might just change yours or their life.
My point is that there are people all around you ready to listen. People are open to listen. Try it. I wasn’t a likely candidate to become a Christian. Somebody took time to share with me. And God used it at a time in my life when things weren’t going the way I had planned.
Aren’t you glad someone took the time to speak with you about Jesus? Are we willing to believe Jesus and do the same thing?
C. Be a foot soldier for Christ
I figure there’s roughly 1200 different people here throughout the services during the week and hundreds more online. Conservatively, if everybody shared every-other-day, one-time a day about Jesus or passed out a tract; do you realize in one year, we as a church family, would conservatively touch over 300,000 people for Jesus. Can it be done? If we don’t do it, who will?
What’s the worst thing that can happen. They might say, “No” or they might be irritated for a minute. Use discretion, know your audience. Ask them to church. Is somebody’s soul worth that risk? All that plastic peace in front of us; people are hurting, lonely, searching. And we’ve got the answer.
According to Barna, among those that know you, 1 in 4 will say yes, I’ll go.
1 Now after this the Lord appointed [a]seventy-two others, and sent them in pairs ahead of Him to every city and place where He Himself was going to come. 2 And He was saying to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore plead with the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. 3 Go; behold, I am sending you out like lambs in the midst of wolves. 4 Carry no money belt, no [b]bag, no sandals, and greet no one along the way. 5 And whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house.’ 6 And if a [c]man of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him; but if not, it will return to you. 7 Stay in [d]that house, eating and drinking [e]what they provide; for the laborer is deserving of his wages. Do not move from house to house. 8 Whatever city you enter and they receive you, eat what is served to you; 9 and heal those in it who are sick, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 But whatever city you enter and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your city which clings to our feet we wipe off in protest against you; yet [f]be sure of this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’ 12 I say to you, it will be more tolerable on that day for Sodom than for that city.
13 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the [g]miracles that occurred in you had occurred in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in [h]sackcloth and ashes. 14 But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the judgment than for you. 15 And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will be brought down to Hades!
16 “The one who listens to you listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me; but the one who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me.”