The harvest is great…

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.” (Matthew 9:36-38 NLT)

There are still people out there that have not heard the message of salvation through Christ alone. I know this because we’re still here and Jesus is not yet reigning on earth. (Matthew 24:14). We still have work to do.

Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received! “Don’t take any money in your money belts—no gold, silver, or even copper coins. Don’t carry a traveler’s bag with a change of clothes and sandals or even a walking stick. Don’t hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve to be fed. (Matthew 10:8-10 NLT)

Most of us have not been given the power to heal the sick, raise the dead, etc. But we are supposed to give the same love, forgiveness, hope, etc. that we’ve been freely given by Jesus. Jesus promises that the needs of those sharing the gospel will be met by other people moved by the Spirit to provide for them. At any given time, we could find ourself on either end of that. Either the worker with the need or the method by which God fills a need.

If any household or town refuses to welcome you or listen to your message, shake its dust from your feet as you leave. (Matthew 10:14 NLT)

Jesus clearly instructs us to tell anyone and everyone we can about the message of salvation only through Jesus. Our job is to tell. The Holy Spirit will do the rest. It may not always be helpful to belabor the point with someone who is dead set against accepting it. That’s when we can back off, pray and continue to live our life in such away that our blessed assurance is apparent.

“Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves. (Matthew 10:16 NLT).

After this instruction, Jesus goes on to warn the disciples of how they will be hated and persecuted just as he had been. At no time does Jesus sugar coat the fact that the message we’re sharing will not be a popular one. As he says here, we must be both shrewd and harmless. The dictionary defines shrewd as wise in practical matters. Basically, we need to be street smart. Not naive. And yet at the same time, we must be harmless. So we need to understand how the “other side” lives, but not live like them. The phrase “When in Rome…” does not apply to us.

When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time. For it is not you who will be speaking—it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. (Matthew 10:19, 20 NLT)

I find this very comforting. I don’t necessarily trust myself to have the right words at the right time. Especially when it comes to sharing my faith. That’s a big, important job and I don’t have note cards or a tele-prompter to look at. But I know that when I’m doing his work, the Holy Spirit definitely helps me out. Sometimes as soon as the words come out of my mouth I wonder, “Did I just say that? It made so much sense!”

And all nations will hate you because you are my followers. But everyone who endures to the end will be saved. (Matthew 10:22 NLT)

Every day this is becoming more and more apparent. The persecution of Christians that has long plagued the world didn’t seem like it would ever happen in America. But the voices against Jesus and his followers are getting louder and their ability to quiet us is getting stronger. I know that God instructs us to adhere to Government laws, but that is second to adhering to God’s. And Jesus clearly doesn’t give anyone a pass if it gets scary. But he does promise us that if we endure to the end, we’ll be saved.

“But don’t be afraid of those who threaten you. For the time is coming when everything that is covered will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ear, shout from the housetops for all to hear! “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:26-28 NLT)

“Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven. (Matthew 10:32, 33 NLT)

“Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven. (Matthew 10:32, 33 NLT)

Someday it will all be clear as day to everyone. Someday all the doubters and those that called us crazy or accused us of being too “exclusive” will see that we were right. We knew the only plan of salvation and we followed it. And they will wish they had listened. That’s why it is so important that we tell the truth to as many as we can. They can’t believe it if they don’t first hear it. (Romans 10:14). Jesus Christ and his death and resurrection are the only reason mankind can ever enter God’s presence. There isn’t a lot of ways to heaven. There is only one way. And there aren’t a lot of places to spend eternity. You either get heaven or you get hell. Yikes!

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