Sermon: There is a Harvest

                Today I am talking about a present harvest and one final harvest. When Jesus came to this earth, He showed us the way, the truth and gave us an opportunity to have eternal life. At the same time there is another, satan who also wants to take you to where he will finally end up. This means that there is a clash for souls in this world we live in with two kingdoms colliding. The enemy is at work but do not be afraid Revelation 11:15 “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.”
                It is amazing to watch the crops come off during harvest. Tractors and grain carts hauling away as fast as the combine can take it off. The bigger the combine the bigger everything else has to be to keep up and some are massive. Okay so I like watching combines at work and all that goes with it on YouTube. As I watched you rarely see any weeds. I took a quick peak but decided to pass on understanding the ins and outs of weed management. With all the weed control there is, it is strange to see a field of wheat, corn, beans etc. filled with weeds. You would think the perfect picture of the harvest would be a weed-free field with a massive combine harvesting the crop but instead Jesus gives us this parable about a crop filled with weeds. Jesus said Matthew 13:24 “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. 27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ 28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ 29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.” Matthew 3:11 “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”  Matthew 25:46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Then Jesus explains the parable. Matthew 13:36 “Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” 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. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
                Today there is plentiful harvest out there but at the same time the enemy is filling the fields with weeds. As we just read there will be one final harvest but Jesus also describes the harvest that is presently available to those who believe. Satan is also harvesting. Jesus then shows us what it is available. We also saw it when His disciples go out in the power and authority of Jesus name. 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.” This amazing passage tells us what the harvest looks like and the power behind the harvest. He proclaimed the good news of the kingdom and healed the sick. It also tells us people were like sheep without a shepherd. He says there are a lot of people like this but the workers are few. So today we will go back and forth talking about weeds and sheep but don’t forget to ask to be sent.
                Today we are seeing a good but bad example of what helpless sheep look like. There are millions who need a shepherd. Being helpless doesn’t necessarily mean that people are uneducated; these helpless sheep come in all sizes. When we look at the church we are told Hosea 4:6 “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. 8 They feed on the sins of my people and relish their wickedness. 9 And it will be: Like people, like priests. I will punish both of them for their ways and repay them for their deeds.” You can be highly educated and still lack knowledge especially if you do not fear God. Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Today we are seeing shepherds that appear to be doing their jobs yet they are leading their sheep astray. There is a harvest out there that is not being harvested but it is also filled with weeds.
                Let’s look at the two colliding forces that are happening in the world today. The two forces at work are God and satan. It is important to understand the power that satan has against the church. I grew up in church that really never talked about the demonic or the grip satan actually has on the church of which Daniel and Jesus warned us would happen. The basic thought was Jesus came, broke the curse, satan was defeated and the church merrily went along and just had to make it to the return of Jesus. It would define the powerless church with a form of godliness. This is partially true. Jesus came to destroy the work of the devil. 1 John 3:8 “The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” Revelation 12:10 “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of His Messiah.” But the part they missed was John 14:12 “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” We were actually give authority and power to carry on the work because satan is still roaring. 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.” And demons are still present. Remember Jesus cast the demons into the pigs and not yet sent to the abyss. Luke 8:28 “When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!” 29 For Jesus had commanded the impure spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places. 30 Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “Legion,” he replied, because many demons had gone into him. 31 And they begged Jesus repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss. 32 A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs, and he gave them permission. 33 When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.” So demons are still here. We also see 2 Corinthians 11:13 “For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.”
                So we have a spiritual war taking place. Unlike the Old Testament, this war is spiritual but having said that we can learn from the wars that took place in the Old Testament. We see that when you disobey, the enemy will defeat you. Our enemy also wants a harvest of evil. The enemy is powerfully at work but because the abomination that causes desolation is set up in the temple, the church remains powerless to defeat him until we return to Him who gives us His power. 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.” Here is what this war looks like and how these two kingdoms are colliding.  Matthew 12:22 “Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see. 23 All the people were astonished and said, “Could this be the Son of David?” 24 But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.” 25 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. 26 If satan drives out satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? 27 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” There are the two kingdoms at work in this world. The kingdom of darkness verses the kingdom of light. We are warned in Revelation 12:12 “But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.” satan has great power to offer and can destroy with his power. Job shows us what he can do when God gives him permission to destroy. He can only do what God allows him to do.
                We see in Revelation the power the beast has and the war being waged against God’s people. Many have unknowingly already received the mark of the beast and no it is not coming in a vaccine nor is it a number actually seen on your forehead of which some teach will come in the future. The mark we want on our foreheads is the seal of God. (Revelation 7,9) In fact most have already sold out and received this other mark from the beast by following other gospels and doctrines of demons. 1 Timothy 4:1 “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.” We see that Revelation 13:3 “The whole world was filled with wonder and followed the beast. 4 People worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can wage war against it?” 5 The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months. 6 It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. 7 It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. 8 All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear. 10 “If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity they will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword they will be killed. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people. 12 It exercised all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. 13 And it performed great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to the earth in full view of the people. 14 Because of the signs it was given power to perform on behalf of the first beast, it deceived the inhabitants of the earth. It ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. 15 The second beast was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. 16 It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, 17 so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name. 18 This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666.” Now step back from this passage and look at how messed up the church is today and it will make sense. We were warned about this happening. 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.” So even though Jesus said in 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. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time,” we still have hope.
                Today people are worshipping the beast because they refuse to listen and obey God’s word. Weeds are everywhere as are shepherds who scatter the sheep. As of now satan is doing a better job harvesting than the church. They have chosen not to test the spirits and have followed false gospels. They have followed doctrines of demons and have been deceived by those leading them. 2 Peter 2:17 “These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. 18 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.” Many leaders and followers have bowed to satan not only because of deception but delusion brought on by God. 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.” This is happening everywhere.
                satan in his arrogance even tried to tempt Jesus with his kingdom as satan will do with anyone who will listen. Many have taken up his offer and have been deceived. 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.” Paul talks about satan’s kingdom but also states the kingdom of God is more powerful. Ephesians 2:1 “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.” We must fight against these forces but cannot do it in our own strength because Ephesians 6:12 “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” We can see this war described in Matthew 11:12 “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence, and violent people have been raiding it.” What was in store for John the Baptist, the one who prepared the way for Jesus? Matthew 14:6 “On Herod’s birthday the daughter of Herodias danced for the guests and pleased Herod so much 7 that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. 8 Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” 9 The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted 10 and had John beheaded in the prison. 11 His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother. 12 John’s disciples came and took his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus.” We also see the enemy coming against Jesus. John 14:28 “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. 30 I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, 31 but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.” Luke 22:3 “Then satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. 52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs? 53 Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour—when darkness reigns.”
                As Jesus said the enemy has no hold over Him but because Jesus was obedient, He did exactly what was supposed to be done. Yes the enemy has great power but only what is allowed. Jesus had greater power available to him. You have read what one angel could do but Jesus said Matthew 26:53 “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” That same power is available to those who believe even though at the time Jesus did not use it. Jesus started His ministry saying Mark 1:15 “The time has come, The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” He then showed us what that kingdom looks like. Matthew 8:16 “When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick.” Mark 6:54 “As soon as they got out of the boat, people recognized Jesus. 55 They ran throughout that whole region and carried the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. 56 And wherever he went—into villages, towns or countryside—they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.” Then he also gave his disciples power to proclaim that kingdom and defeat satan’s kingdom. Luke 9:1 “When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” He then made it clear that we must test the spirits (1 John 4:1 “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”) as Jesus said Matthew 7:21 “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,” so we have to be careful who we follow and not to be deceived by the enemy of God’s kingdom. To defeat satan’s kingdom we must put on the armor of light and Ephesians 6:10 “be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” It is important to know that you will not be able to take your stand against satan without being clothed in the armor of light. You must have the power from on High to defeat our enemies. If you are unaware of the devil’s schemes and are deceived, you will not see eternal life that has been prepared for us. You don’t want to find out when it is too late. Matthew 25:34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.” You will only see what has been prepared for satan and his followers. 41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” So be aware of what is happening in this world and in the church. We are at war for our lives and those we love and those God gives us. Don’t give up because in the end we know who wins. The church is loosing presently but will not loose. The remnant will rise up in the end as promised by God.
                Before we get to what is happening in the church we can see deception, delusion and all that goes with it in the American political arena today. What we are seeing is almost beyond belief in a democratic society. Donald Trump has been able to create a massive following (though not enough to win) and those that should know better also follow along for their own political gain and security. He brags that he had the highest popular vote ever but doesn’t mention that Biden had millions more. Actually he does but states it is impossible therefore it has to be fraud. He had said “Running against the worst candidate in the history of presidential politics puts pressure on me,” “Could you imagine if I lose? My whole life, what am I going to do? I’m going to say, ‘I lost to the worst candidate in the history of politics.’ I’m not going to feel so good. Maybe I’ll have to leave the country?” Well he lost big and he is doing everything he can to turn that around to no avail. Second place no matter how many votes means nothing in a two-person election. Trump does actually make a point that around 74 million people voted for him and hang on his every word, even though those words are usually lies and disinformation. He is even able to sway viewers from one source to another. Most of his followers still think he won the election and that there was fraud that took place and many also think he will be president for a second term. You saw this on December 12, 2020. Most at the protesters were not wearing masks and Trump even gave them a fly over on his way to a game to acknowledge what their protest. They even had a prayer rally, Jericho March “with speakers “praying for the walls of corruption and election fraud to fall down.” Then we see dangerous tweets like this by “The Arizona Republican Party who asked its Twitter followers this week if they would be "willing" to die to overturn President Trump's election loss. On Monday, an activist associated with the "Stop the Steal" movement, which promotes baseless arguments that Democrats "stole" the election, tweeted, "I am willing to give my life for this fight." In response, the official account for the Arizona branch of the GOP quote tweeted the sentiment, adding, "He is. Are you?" If you look at pictures of the crowd you see people bent on violence all approved by Trump. They protest, “Stop the steal,” meanwhile Trump is the one trying to steal the election.
                Over 50 cases in court with no success and two Supreme Court cases tossed out immediately. Yes the one where Trump made the appointment right before the election so that they would help him win if need be. Well that backfired. Over and over again the people are told there is no fraud yet this battle rages on. Trump continues to pour gas on the fire and threats continue to pile up again election officials, even republican and even heath care officials over wearing a mask. Trump was supposed to be the law and order guy yet he creates chaos wherever he goes and disparages the court system at all levels. After this last defeat on Friday, Trump even said, “the Supreme Court really let us down. No Wisdom, No Courage!” “A Rigged Election, fight on!” So the proud boys say, okay! Even though there is no proof of election fraud, people still support him and send him their hard earned money. That really is the point of all this. They still do not understand Trump only cares for himself. He really doesn’t care how you interpret his words fight on. He will go against his own party for his own personal gain. He is also willing to torch democracy for his own gains. He doesn’t really care if someone gets hurt or killed. Trump quoted someone recently who said, “People are upset, and they have a right to be. Georgia not only supported Trump in 2016, but now. This is the only State in the Deep South that went for Biden? Have they lost their minds? This is going to escalate dramatically. This is a very dangerous moment in our history........The fact that our Country is being stolen. A coup is taking place in front of our eyes, and the public can’t take this anymore.” Said a Trump fan at Georgia Rally on @OANN bad!” He then said, “We have just begun to fight!!!” I think Trump would even support a civil war. If you look on a map the States already is divided blue and red.
                So why does this matter? What I want you to see is the massive amount of undiscerning followers he has who will also do his bidding. All this is very dangerous for the country and other countries around the world but nothing has changed even after all the court cases presented with no evidence as Trump badly lost the election. What I want you to see is that he is harvesting people for his own cause and how easy it is to harvest these people. They blindly follow him and even most in the republican party will do his bidding except for a few who will get fired or run over on twitter. I share this to share what has been happening in this world we live in. This is the world we are part of but what makes it worse is the church is doing the same thing Trump has done in politics except on a whole different level. If you think Trump is bad, picture someone who is supposed to be a minister of the gospel doing the same as Trump. I spend some time talking about that in the blog “Misinformation And Disinformation” There is a spiritual war going on already. There are weeds growing everywhere and sheep wondering around aimlessly. The church has turned away from the true gospel and has gone their own way. 1 John 2:18 “Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.” Every Sunday, every day people are listening to the words of antichrists. There are leaders in the church doing exactly what Trump is doing, spreading misinformation and deceiving their people. If church leaders have easily fallen for Trump’s lies and deception, they will definitely not see the deception in the church. I’ve shared quotes before from Franklin Graham but He recently said, “It is alleged that Communist dictator Joseph Stalin made the statement, "Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything. Whether Stalin is the one who said this or not, the statement is true, & this is a huge issue facing our country today.” There is no issue other than the lies propagated by Trump and his followers. So from the pastor he is saying we live in a communist country yet without proof and this is from a self appointed leader in the church who has fallen for the lies. He has also fallen for doctrines of demons and like John MacArthur he is working for the enemy who is sowing weeds and scattering sheep. There is no election fraud as the highest court made clear yet these so-called religious leaders are fanning the fires for Trump. You don’t want to be remembered for your undying love for Trump but Trump will be remembered for death and destruction, not life and prosperity. One article described the executions taking place, which have not happened in 130 years during a lame-duck period. “And if all five take place, Mr. Trump will be the country's most prolific execution president in more than a century, overseeing the executions of 13 death row inmates since July of this year.” The affects of the pandemic have escalated out of control with over 3000 people dying in a day from Covid and the hospitals overloaded while reaching 16 million cases and almost 300,000 deaths. Trump’s destructive presidency will continue to cause problems for years to come. Yet pastors and church leaders are doing the same as Trump with eternal ramifications. You also don’t want to be remembered for your undying love for a man or woman in the pulpit. This is where deception comes into play. Weeds are everywhere and sheep are being destroyed all while people are praising God. Jesus said, Matthew 7:15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” Paul also said, Acts 20:29 “I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock.” Picture what Trump has done and is doing and then picture it worse in the church.
                That is not how it was supposed to be. Jesus came so that we would have abundant life and His coming changed everything. Isaiah 49:8 “This is what the Lord says: “In the time of my favor I will answer you, and in the day of salvation I will help you; I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people, to restore the land and to reassign its desolate inheritances, 9 to say to the captives, ‘Come out,’ and to those in darkness, ‘Be free!” We were not supposed to be taken captive and enslaved. Luke 4:14 “Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15 He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. 16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. 20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Paul was told Acts 26:15 “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. 16 ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. 17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.”
                His coming meant they would no longer have a hold on this world. The church would go out with power and authority and defeat satan. John 12:30 “Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.” The only way the prince of this world can be driven out is through the power and authority of Jesus Christ. If the prince of the world had been driven out completely with Jesus coming he wouldn’t have given his disciples the power and authority to do what didn’t need to be done. This was not a one and done event. Jesus said to his disciples Matthew 10:7 “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. Freely you have received; freely give.” We know the kingdom was upon the earth because Jesus said, Matthew 12:28 “But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” Spreading the message of the kingdom includes healing the sick and casting out demons. This needs to continue and we are to continue the work Jesus was doing just as Paul was called to do in Acts 26:18 “to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God 1 John 3:8 “The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” John 8:44 “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” So all these church people in the States think Trump who is carrying out his fathers desires is for the church when all he does is lie.
                So when it comes to sheep, the church can be described like this. 1 Kings 22:17 “Then Micaiah answered, “I saw all Israel scattered on the hills like sheep without a shepherd, and the Lord said, ‘These people have no master. Let each one go home in peace.’” 18 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Didn’t I tell you that he never prophesies anything good about me, but only bad?” Then we see this picture of scattered sheep where God says I will be the shepherd. Ezekiel 34:1 “The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to you shepherds of Israel who only take care of yourselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? 3 You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. 4 You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally. 5 So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals. 6 My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them. 7 “‘Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 8 As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, because my flock lacks a shepherd and so has been plundered and has become food for all the wild animals, and because my shepherds did not search for my flock but cared for themselves rather than for my flock, 9 therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 10 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock. I will remove them from tending the flock so that the shepherds can no longer feed themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths, and it will no longer be food for them. 11 “‘For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. 12 As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. 13 I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land. 14 I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign Lord. 16 I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.”
                People are looking for someone to follow but that someone is not always the right one to follow, as Jesus is the only way. You have to make sure. The fact is that there are savage wolves in the church but the deception is that you cannot see who they truly are; you just know them by their fruit if you look. As Peter said, satan is a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Daniel warned us about the devastation our enemy would cause the church. 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. 25 He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time. 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. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.” Daniel 8:11 “It set itself up to be as great as the commander of the army of the Lord; it took away the daily sacrifice from the Lord, and his sanctuary was thrown down. 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. 23 “In the latter part of their reign, when rebels have become completely wicked, a fierce-looking king, a master of intrigue, will arise. 24 He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. He will destroy those who are mighty, the holy people. 25 He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power. Daniel 9:27 “And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” 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.”
                The enemy has sown so many weeds it is hard to believe that there is anything left to harvest but we have hope in the word of God. 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.” On our own we are powerless. Romans 5:1 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. 6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” We can have God’s wrath removed by believing or ignoring scripture and have God’s wrath on us remain. John 3:36 “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 will be a harvest coming and a harvest at the end of time. Jesus showed us what that harvest would look like and we saw it in the early church. Then there will be a final harvest. 2 Peter 3:8 “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. 11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. 14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. 17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen”. Be careful who you follow; the father of lies or the Spirit of Truth.”
                So even though the enemy has infiltrated the church with weeds everywhere and sheep scattered and has left devastation in its wake, we have hope just as we saw when Sennacherib attacked Jerusalem. The king of Assyria had devastated everywhere else. He sent this letter to Hezekiah which said, 2 Kings 19:10 “Say to Hezekiah king of Judah: Do not let the god you depend on deceive you when he says, ‘Jerusalem will not be given into the hands of the king of Assyria.’ 11 Surely you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all the countries, destroying them completely. And will you be delivered? 12 Did the gods of the nations that were destroyed by my predecessors deliver them—the gods of Gozan, Harran, Rezeph and the people of Eden who were in Tel Assar? 13 Where is the king of Hamath or the king of Arpad? Where are the kings of Lair, Sepharvaim, Hena and Ivvah?” Hezekiah then went before the Lord and said 4 Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. 15 And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: “Lord, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 16 Give ear, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God. 17 “It is true, Lord, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste these nations and their lands. 18 They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands. 19 Now, Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone, Lord, are God.”
                Then we hear from Isaiah. 2 Kings 19:21 “‘Virgin Daughter Zion despises you and mocks you. Daughter Jerusalem tosses her head as you flee. 22 Who is it you have ridiculed and blasphemed? Against whom have you raised your voice and lifted your eyes in pride? Against the Holy One of Israel! 23 By your messengers you have ridiculed the Lord.” He then says 30 Once more a remnant of the kingdom of Judah will take root below and bear fruit above. 31 For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. “The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. 32 “Therefore this is what the Lord says concerning the king of Assyria: “‘He will not enter this city or shoot an arrow here. He will not come before it with shield or build a siege ramp against it. 33 By the way that he came he will return; he will not enter this city, declares the Lord. 34 I will defend this city and save it, for my sake and for the sake of David my servant.’” 35 That night the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies! 36 So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there. 37 One day, while he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisrok, his sons Adrammelek and Sharezer killed him with the sword, and they escaped to the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son succeeded him as king.”  Yes this was war but the same applies to the spiritual war we are in. The enemy is just as arrogant and will come to an end. Isaiah 14:1 “The Lord will have compassion on Jacob; once again he will choose Israel and will settle them in their own land. 3 On the day the Lord gives you relief from your suffering and turmoil and from the harsh labor forced on you, 4 you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon: How the oppressor has come to an end! How his fury has ended!”
                God promised David that there would always be a remnant so we have hope because God will never break that promise to David. Yes He will turn His face from us as we see throughout scripture for disobedience. Isaiah 54:7 “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.” Isaiah 30:18 “The Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” So we wait for God to act on our behalf Nehemiah 9:37 “because of our sins, its abundant harvest goes to the kings you have placed over us. They rule over our bodies and our cattle as they please. We are in great distress.” We are in distress or should be. We all need to cry out as Daniel did when he, Daniel 9:4 “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. 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.”
                We have two options. Hosea 10:12 “Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you.” Or we can follow in their footsteps 13 But you have planted wickedness, you have reaped evil, you have eaten the fruit of deception. Because you have depended on your own strength and on your many warriors, 14 the roar of battle will rise against your people, so that all your fortresses will be devastated— as Shalman devastated Beth Arbel on the day of battle, when mothers were dashed to the ground with their children. 15 So will it happen to you, Bethel, because your wickedness is great. When that day dawns, the king of Israel will be completely destroyed.” Don’t follow the second but many will because of their stubbornness. Instead seek the Lord while there is time. Isaiah 55:1 “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. 2 Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. 3 Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David. 4 See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a ruler and commander of the peoples. 5 Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations you do not know will come running to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor.” 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.”   
                So as we wait we know Romans 8:28 “that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” We are called to serve Him. That means we must obey and follow wholeheartedly. That also means there is only one way and the way is narrow. 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.” John 10:7 “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. 11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” Jesus said John 14:6 “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” When we find the right way, God said he would bless us abundantly with His presence. Malachi 3:10 “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” Psalm 85:10 “Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other. 11 Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven. 12 The Lord will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest. 13 Righteousness goes before him and prepares the way for his steps.” When we follow, that means we will be clothed with power from on High so we too can go to the ends of the earth. 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.” Acts 1:4 “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.” Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”