It really is amazing now to look across the fields that are ripe for harvest, when just a few months ago they were just empty fields. Now as you look across the fields, you will see corn, wheat and other crops that are ready or almost ready to harvest and some that have already been harvested. I have always been intrigued (I’m not a farmer) by the whole planting operation. My only experience with planting was when I was a teen driving a tractor with a small seeder. I was told whatever you do, don’t back up. Well… I got in a tight spot and backed up just a little and plugged where the seeds came out to go into the ground. I don’t remember much about it, other than the look of regret the farmer had on his face and it took a while to get going again. It really is amazing that farmers drive across the fields and the seeds go into the ground and then they grow, row after row, acre after acre. Obviously, farmers know what they are doing and know that the seed is going into the ground. I on the other hand think about what that field would look like if rows of corn do not appear as they should. If you look across fields, you will see the fields covered with the crop planted, so yes, they really do know what they are doing. Today my experience with seeding is reseeding small amounts of my lawn by hand as obviously I am not allowed to use the equipment. I prepare the soil and then spread the seed and then it grows and even grows on the other side of the edging into the flower beds. I have noticed some of the seed is stolen by birds and other times I just did not prepare the soil or water enough. My best excuse is, it is really hard to keep grass under a maple tree.
Now obviously this is not about planting grass or corn. Over the last few weeks we have looked at the harvest, of which is not possible without the planting of seeds. We saw that according to Jesus the fields are ripe for harvest, and He was not talking about the actual fields but people. John 4:35 “Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” Luke 10:2 “He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” We saw the power it takes to harvest. We also saw that not only are there workers harvesting for God but workers harvesting for satan, who are false teachers and prophets. We also saw that satan has planted weeds and has tried to destroy the crop. Matthew 13:24 “Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. 37 He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. 40 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age.” Today’s church has been decimated by our enemies but there is still hope.
Today we are going to look at this process of planting seed from Matthew and Luke but first it is important to look at this passage. Matthew 14:10 “The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?” 11 He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. 14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. 15 For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ 16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17 For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.” Today there are millions of people not seeing or hearing the word of the Lord as their hearts are calloused. Amos 8:11 “The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign Lord, “when I will send a famine through the land— not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.” Much of this comes from a refusal to believe. 2 Thessalonians 2:10 “They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.”
Today we are talking about the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the seed but there is this misconception that as soon as someone hears the gospel everything is good; they are safe and secure from all alarm. There are even those who say just as long as you pray a little prayer, attend the right church, you are eternally secure, but scripture does not say that. What it does say is Romans 10:2 “For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. 3 Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.” You cannot go your own way, follow other gospels and still consider yourself righteous, although many people think they are righteous because they go to church and prayed a little prayer. Paul goes on to say about the righteousness that is by faith, 9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Yes, people rely heavily on this verse, but you actually have to believe in the right Jesus and the truth of His gospel. Every denomination has their own version of who Jesus is. There are lots of people who have confessed Jesus as Lord but will not see eternal life because they have not followed God’s word wholeheartedly. Jesus warned us when He said Matthew 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. 15 “Watch out for false prophets.” The result of listening to false prophets is false disciples. Jesus goes on to say, 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” He also responded to this question Luke 13:23 “Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’ 26 “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’ 28 “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. 29 People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. 30 Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.” There is hope to be saved but you must follow the truth and only when you follow the truth will you see eternal life. Matthew 24:11 “and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
Whether you hear the gospel or not, everyone is accountable before God. Genesis tells us God created the heavens and the earth. His creation holds everyone to account. Romans 1:18 “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” If you saw this last supermoon or enjoyed the sun on your holidays; you are accountable before God. God’s creation is constantly shouting, there is a God and those who seek Him will find Him. We are told Isaiah 55:6 “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. 10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” You will either be saved or condemned by His word. Many believe that all will be saved in the end, but that is not true, although every knee will bow and acknowledge God. Isaiah 45:22 “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. 23 By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear. 24 They will say of me, ‘In the Lord alone are deliverance and strength.’” All who have raged against him will come to him and be put to shame. 25 But all the descendants of Israel will find deliverance in the Lord and will make their boast in him.” Romans 14:10 “For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God. 12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.” Philippians 2:9 “Therefore God exalted him (Jesus) to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Those who reject God will not be saved nor will those who do not follow His words wholeheartedly. They will spend eternity weeping knowing that they rejected the King of kings. They will acknowledge forever but it will be too late. Matthew 25:46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” So no, not everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. That should cause you to fear God and work out your salvation. Matthew 10:28 “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
Most people today are not hearing the true gospel, nor are they seeing God confirm His word with power from on High. Daniel 8:12 “Because of rebellion, the Lord’s people and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground.” Therefore, it is not the gospel that is being heard nor is it Jesus they have committed their lives to. We already saw how satan has sown weeds and how he harvests those who will listen. Today most people and I am talking about those who go to church, do not believe all that is written in the bible, nor do they understand the available power to all who believe. Joshua was told Joshua 1:5 “No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. 7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” At the end of his life Joshua told the people Joshua 23:6 “Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left. 7 Do not associate with these nations that remain among you; do not invoke the names of their gods or swear by them. You must not serve them or bow down to them. 8 But you are to hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have until now.” After Joshua, the people did not adhere to his words. Judges 2:10 “After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. 17 Yet they would not listen to their judges but prostituted themselves to other gods and worshiped them. They quickly turned from the ways of their ancestors, who had been obedient to the Lord’s commands.” Just like the people after Joshua, the church has not adhered to the word of God. Paul said Galatians 1:6 “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!” Because of disobedience Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden and Israel was vomited from the land. The church, instead of following the words of Jesus, went their own way and God turned His face from us and the church has been decimated just as Israel was in the Promised Land. Today following other gospels is the same as following other gods and the church has paid a severe price for its rebellion and the church remains desolate until God turns His face back to shine upon us and the available power returns.
We have two choices; believe and receive eternal life or don’t believe and receive eternal punishment. John 3:18 “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” There is nothing in-between as Jesus said, Revelation 3:15 “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Many think they have made the right choice but will hear when it is too late, depart from me, I don’t know you or where you come from.” It is not how committed you are to your church but how committed you are to Jesus and His word.
The gospel is still the gospel and will prevail even if the church has distorted and turned from it and teaches false gospels. It is important to understand that even when Jesus walked the earth people refused to listen to Him. John 6:35 “Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe.” John 1:9 “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” John 12:37 “Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. 38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet: “Lord, who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” 39 For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere: 40 “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn—and I would heal them.” They even plotted to kill him. Matthew 26:3 “Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, 4 and they schemed to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him.” They also refused to acknowledge His power. John 9:18 “They still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man’s parents.” Matthew 9:32 “While they were going out, a man who was demon-possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus. 33 And when the demon was driven out, the man who had been mute spoke. The crowd was amazed and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.” 34 But the Pharisees said, “It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons.” It is interesting that after this verse Jesus said the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Even in His home town, people did not believe. Matthew 13:54 “Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. 55 “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? 56 Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” 57 And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.” 58 And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.” Jesus also Matthew 11:20 “ began to denounce the towns in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.” So yes, while Jesus walked this earth there was a refusal to believe. This even happened with Paul. Acts 19:8 “Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. 9 But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way.”
Today there is still a refusal to believe. This refusal to believe has left the church powerless. Jesus spoke about the parable of the sower to show what happens when the word of God is preached. When reading this, remember that not everyone is going to accept the truth and will even reject or turn away from the truth, even though the seed is the word of God but everyone will be accountable. Jesus said Matthew 13:3 “Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.” Jesus then later explains the parable 18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. (Luke 8:11 “The seed is the word of God. 12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.) 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. (Luke 8:13 “Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.) 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. (Luke 8:14 “The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.) 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” (Luke 8:15 “But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”)
First of all we are told Hosea 6:6 “my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. “Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children. 7 The more priests there were, the more they sinned against me; they exchanged their glorious God for something disgraceful.” Isaiah 5:13 “Therefore my people will go into exile for lack of understanding; those of high rank will die of hunger and the common people will be parched with thirst.” Because there is no fear of God, there is no understanding, making people an easy prey for satan. Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” There is also no discernment to differentiate between the voice of Jesus and satan. Because the church has rebelled against God’s word, satan has been allowed to decimate the church and the church is powerless to defend itself against the attacks. The abomination that causes desolation has left only a remnant in the church as per God’s promise to David. Matthew 24:22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.” We are told 1 Peter 5:8 “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Most people in the church today do not understand the power that satan has been allowed to have over the church. 2 Thessalonians 2:4 “He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” Daniel 7:21 “As I watched, this horn was waging war against the holy people and defeating them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the holy people of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom.” In some denominational distinctives they love to use these verses. John 10:27 “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” If you are not following the voice of Jesus, what you did have in your heart will be snatched away. Sadly, there are many who start out looking for truth but are quickly deceived by false teaching. They think they have been set free but are worse off than they were before. Matthew 23:15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.” 2 Peter 2:19 “They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.” 20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.”
Then we see the word of God landing on the rocky ground. There are many who have received God’s word with great joy then that joy fades when things do not go as they think they should. They either give up and quit or go through the motions for the rest of their lives. The lukewarm will be spewed from the mouth of Jesus. This is also where false teaching comes into play as many are told, come to our church, pray this prayer, get baptized and you are secure no matter what. When things don’t work out, they ignorantly say that person was never saved except they said they were at the time; utter nonsense! These are people who cannot handle trouble, persecution or testing. This is partly because of bad theology so people don’t know how to handle it and give up. They don’t know we are at war with satan and without power from on high we lose. We see a combination of these first two with Job. God allowed satan to have his way with Job but in the end after Job persevered, we saw God bless Job. James 5:10 “As an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.” We also saw this with Abraham. Romans 4:20 “Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.” If you seek God, you will find Him. Proverbs 8:17 “I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.” If you are waiting on God, do not give up because it is hard. Trust Him and He will make your paths straight. Hebrews 10:35 “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. 36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For, “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.” 38 And, “But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.” 39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.”
Then the word of God falls among the thorns where “they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature,” “the deceitfulness of wealth.” The church today has become just like the world so really cannot help those seeking to find truth. 2 Peter 2:2“Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.” Most churches are about money and power in one form or another. I have seen small churches were a family runs the show and others where minister / leaders / gurus think they are all powerful but in both there is no power from on high. So much emphasis is placed on money and the things of this world, those who attend also think that way. Most Christians worry and fear death even though Jesus said John 11:25 “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” Because their focus is wrong, they then miss out on the truth of God’s word. Luke 12:22 “Then Jesus said to his disciples: Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” 23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” 1 Timothy 6:10 “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” Money itself is not evil, but the love of it is. Solomon said Ecclesiastes 5:10 “Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless.” Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Remember satan wants to give you the world and many have taken him up on his offer. Luke 4:5 “The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7 If you worship me, it will all be yours. 8 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.”
This last place where the seed falls is truly amazing but sadly we are not seeing much of this in the church but because God is a loving and compassionate, God will once again turn His face to shine on the church and the church will go out in power and do as Jesus did just as we were supposed to in the first place. The church is supposed to be about power and doing as Jesus did. Matthew 4:23 “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.” Matthew 9:35 “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
The good news is that even though satan has scattered weeds throughout the fields and has even snatched many away, there is still great hope. When God turns His face back to shine on us, the church will once again have the power and authority Jesus intended the church to have. First of all, there will always be a remnant because God gave David a promise. Jeremiah 33:20 “This is what the Lord says: ‘If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night no longer come at their appointed time, 21 then my covenant with David my servant—and my covenant with the Levites who are priests ministering before me—can be broken and David will no longer have a descendant to reign on his throne. 22 I will make the descendants of David my servant and the Levites who minister before me as countless as the stars in the sky and as measureless as the sand on the seashore.’” So even though the church is desolate and powerless, satan’s hold on the church is coming to an end as we saw in Daniel. Daniel 7:26 “‘But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. 27 Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High.”
It really is amazing how one seed can produce such a harvest. Take corn for example. One kernel is placed in the ground and a stalk grows producing one or two ears of corn. One site out of Iowa said, “The number of kernels per ear can vary from 500 to about 1,200. A typical ear has about 800 kernels, according to corn experts. Imagine how many kernels are found in an acre of corn!” Someone also in Iowa said soybeans produce 60-80 pods per plant with 2-4 beans in each pod. The life-giving power of the seed really is amazing. Think about the one seed producing 800 and then 800 producing 800 and so on and so on! Jesus said to His disciples John 12:23 “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.” Paul told us in Ephesians 1:8 “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms” The church is supposed to have incomparably great power. Matthew said Matthew 13:23 “But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” Luke tells us Luke 8:15 “But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” The gospel is literally supposed to explode around the world, but it has not. The true church has been defeated temporarily but false gospels, the weeds are everywhere, as are the one who teach them. The church was supposed to be filled with power and have authority over our enemies. Luke 10:17 “The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” The Gospels showed us what this power looked like. The book of Acts showed us that this power was to continue but as we saw in Revelation, five of the seven churches were admonished. If the church had not rebelled against God’s word to go their own way, the return of Jesus would have sped up. Paul said in Colossians 1:6 “In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace.” They said this about Jesus. John 12:19 “So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!” Matthew 21:10 “When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” When Paul was preaching the whole city was in an uproar. Acts 19:26 “And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that gods made by human hands are no gods at all.” 2 Peter 3:11 “You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.” As it is now, will Jesus even find faith when He returns? Luke 18:8 “when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
If that power had continued, as we saw with the exponential growth of the corn, the whole world would know the truth by now but instead truth has been thrown down. Isaiah 59:15 “Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.” There are only a few workers and the harvest is dying in the fields without ever hearing the truth. Most who have heard what they thought to be the gospel, have been deceived. The word of God is the life-giving seed that all need to hear. The church is about the power of God because he is dwelling among us. Revelation 21:3 “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. 5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” When God dwells among us, there is power beyond anything we can imagine. Power that we have never seen before. Exodus 34:10 “Then the Lord said: “I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the Lord, will do for you. 11 Obey what I command you today.” After Solomon built the temple, 2 Chronicles 7:1 “fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. 2 The priests could not enter the temple of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled it. 3 When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the Lord above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying, “He is good; his love endures forever.” Ezekiel saw the glory depart from the temple and return which is good news for the church today. Ezekiel 43:1 “Then the man brought me to the gate facing east, 2 and I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east. His voice was like the roar of rushing waters, and the land was radiant with his glory. 3 The vision I saw was like the vision I had seen when he[a] came to destroy the city and like the visions I had seen by the Kebar River, and I fell facedown. 4 The glory of the Lord entered the temple through the gate facing east. 5 Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple.”
In Acts we saw the glory fill His temple just like in the days of Solomon, but the temple is no longer a building. Acts 2:1 “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” Before Stephen died, he said Acts 7:47 ‘But it was Solomon who built a house for him. 48 “However, the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands. As the prophet says: 49 “‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord. Or where will my resting place be? 50 Has not my hand made all these things?’ 51 “You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit!” Today’s church continues to resist the Spirit. Just as we were warned in Daniel and from Jesus, the abomination has entered the temple meaning God has turned his face from us. The departure of glory means that God is not dwelling in us. In fact, it means God has allowed our enemies to conquer us but not completely. Jesus said Matthew 24:15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.” 2 Thessalonians 2:9 “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.” We are not waiting for those days to happen as they have already happened just like the famine of hearing the word of the Lord has happened.
Jesus said to His disciples, Luke 24:45 “Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” After Jesus rose from the dead, Acts 1:3 “After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” God as He has done so many times will turn His face to shine on us once again, so have hope and believe. Hebrews 10:37 “For, “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.” Malachi 3:1 “I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.” Ezra 9:8 “But now, for a brief moment, the Lord our God has been gracious in leaving us a remnant and giving us a firm place in his sanctuary, and so our God gives light to our eyes and a little relief in our bondage.” Isaiah 54:1 “Sing, barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband,” says the Lord.2 “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. 3 For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities. 4 “Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood. 5 For your Maker is your husband— the Lord Almighty is his name— the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. 6 The Lord will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit— a wife who married young, only to be rejected,” says your God. 7 “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. 8 In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord your Redeemer.”
Ask God to open your eyes to see and your ears to hear. In Nehemiah we see the journey of the Israelites. This part describes the compassion of God and the sin of the church. Nehemiah 9:16 “But they, our ancestors, became arrogant and stiff-necked, and they did not obey your commands. 17 They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery. But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them, 18 even when they cast for themselves an image of a calf and said, ‘This is your god, who brought you up out of Egypt,’ or when they committed awful blasphemies.” The church has failed to remember and has followed other gods /gospels. We do not deserve God’s amazing grace, but He is faithful to is promises. Malachi 3:7 “Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty.” Therefore we have great hope. Daniel prayed this prayer as we should, Daniel 9:4 “I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed: “Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 5 we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. 6 We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land. 7 “Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame—the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. 8 We and our kings, our princes and our ancestors are covered with shame, Lord, because we have sinned against you. 9 The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; 10 we have not obeyed the Lord our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets. 11 All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you. “Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you. 12 You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing on us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem. 13 Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come on us, yet we have not sought the favor of the Lord our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth. 14 The Lord did not hesitate to bring the disaster on us, for the Lord our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him. 15 “Now, Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong. 16 Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our ancestors have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us. 17 “Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. 18 Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. 19 Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.” God told Jeremiah, Jeremiah 29:10 “This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
Don’t be afraid to turn from the false teaching of most churches as most teach other gospels. Malachi 1:10 “Oh, that one of you would shut the temple doors, so that you would not light useless fires on my altar! I am not pleased with you,” says the Lord Almighty, “and I will accept no offering from your hands. 11 My name will be great among the nations, from where the sun rises to where it sets. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to me, because my name will be great among the nations,” says the Lord Almighty. 14 For I am a great king,” says the Lord Almighty, “and my name is to be feared among the nations.” Don’t be afraid to seek God with everything you have. Jesus said Matthew 16:4 “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Luke 14:26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” Mark 10:29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
God wants to open the floodgates of His blessing to you, but you must totally surrender everything to Him. He does not want the harvest to die in the fields. Then He can use you in ways beyond your imagination. The church will once again go to the ends of the earth in the power and authority of Jesus Christ and do as He did. Matthew 10:1 “Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. 7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons.”