Where I live enables me to quickly access the country roads on my bike. As I ride my bicycle through the countryside, over these last few months I have watched the fields being prepared for the eventual harvest. It is so interesting to see the ground prepared and the seed put into the ground and then seeing them grow and then to watch the harvest begin. I enjoy watching all the farm equipment in all shapes in sizes but getting passed by massive tractors and their implements is also interesting whilst on a bike. One time a massive combine and tractors with very large grain carts were coming up behind me, so I thought I would stop and get out of the way as we were approaching a stop sign on a very narrow road. The problem was my foot got stuck on my pedal straps (after three falls I took them off) and I fell into a ditch. As I lay on my back in the ditch, (landed soft in tall grass) looking directly at the guy in the tractor who was now laughing. I gave him the thumbs up and we all continued on our way. So yes, getting passed by tractors brings back a memory. The smell of hay (better than the fertilizer) being baled brings back memories. The corn gains height daily and the grain is coming off and soon the beans and corn will be harvested. Without the harvest we would all starve but we have this promise, Genesis 8:22 “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” We also have this 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.” The good news is seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night are still happening. So even though there is only a remnant left in the church, there is still hope
There is a point when the crops are ready to harvest. Picture the fields that are now ripe for harvest. Where I live, that is easy to see. At that point you will see combines and all the equipment necessary to harvest the crops take to the fields. I like watching videos from massive farms using their enormous equipment during their harvest. The equipment available today is astounding but what if all that power / technology just sat in the barnyard? A combine / tractor is useless if it just sits in the shed or the barnyard. If that happened, all those crops in the fields would shrivel up and die. Jesus said 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.” That means all around us are people ripe for harvest. The harvest needs workers, which is the church, and the true church is supposed to go out in the power and authority Jesus had, of which He gave to the church. Jesus described the harvest with power, so that means the workers would also have power. The gospels show us what the church was to continue to do in the power of the Holy Spirit. This is what the harvest with power looked like. 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.”
Unfortunately, the church decided to attempt the harvest without this power by going out in their own strength but this has proven futile as most people are dying without ever hearing the truth of God’s word nor have they seen the available power to all who truly believed. Instead of using a combine to harvest wheat, the church decided to use an asphalt roller / compactor instead. The church even redefined what the harvest looked like by equating it with a commitment to their own distinctive views. If you agreed to agree to the doctrines, you would now be on your way to heaven, which is not true by the way! Most of the effort is to get people to agree to a specific doctrine and be part of the group that collectively believes those doctrines. Be aware that there is more than one kind of worker going out to harvest. 2 Peter 2:1 “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.” There will be a harvest, one way or the other; one is good and the other is evil. As of now, since there is only a remnant left, most have been harvested for evil, yes even though they go to church. 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. 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!’”
There are those who work for God (at this point very few) and those who work for satan. 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.” 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.” Most don’t realize who they work for, as the deception is vast. John 8:42 “Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. 43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 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. 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46 Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” Because the church has rebelled against God’s word, satan has been allowed to decimate the church just as the enemy destroyed Israel and Judah in the promised land. satan is trying to take as many people as he can to hell with him. Hell was not prepared for us, but for satan. Matthew 25:41 “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.” That is where you will go if you do not obey and follow the word of God wholeheartedly. From the beginning, (Revelation 12:9 “The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.) satan is trying to get people to turn from God’s word. He did it with angels, he was there at the garden, in the promised land and now in the church as truth has been thrown to the ground. 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.” At this point there is only a remnant left in the church as most have turned away from God’s word to go their own way. Doctrines of demons are everywhere, as are the false teachers who teach them. 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 Timothy 4:3 “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” Millions of people have been deceived and will not spend eternity with Jesus but will spend eternity with satan. Test the spirits and do not be part of satan’s harvest. So be aware that satan wants you with him for eternity. 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. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”
During the last few weeks, we have looked at faith. Having faith means we believe God at His word; it really is that simple. Jesus said 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.” Most people in the church don’t actually believe this. Having faith means we believe that in the power of the Holy Spirit, the church will do as Jesus did; proclaim the good news of the kingdom, heal the sick and cast out demons just as scripture describes. Mark 6:12 “They went out and preached that people should repent. 13 They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.” James tells us the church was to keep doing this. James 5:14 “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up.” Sadly this is not happening!
Last week I talked about the weeds in the field, but this week think about the beautiful fields of corn, wheat and beans or even sunflowers but picture them as people. Though there are many examples of harvest in scripture, Jesus usually refers to people. He told His disciples. Matthew 4:19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” (I know, that was fishing) The harvest is described when Matthew said, 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.” Luke also talked about the harvest when he said Luke 10:1 “After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 2 The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3 Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. 4 Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road. 5 “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ 6 If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. 7 Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house. 8 “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. 9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.” They returned and said 17 “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” The crucial part that today’s church is missing is the power part, “proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness,” “heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.” Don’t think for a moment that the church is doing as it should.
The verses above described what the harvest should look like. It’s not just people going to a building somewhere and then saying they went to church and then calling themselves Christians because someone said they were. To harvest means to gather, but gathering on a Sunday morning isn’t the harvest especially when there is no truth or power. For the most part, they have been part of the wrong harvest. As we just saw in Luke, the purpose of the worker was to go out in power, just like a combine, and harvest the land by proclaiming the gospel, healing the sick and casting out demons. Matthew also states this. 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.” That’s what the harvest is supposed to look like. If it doesn’t, that’s the wrong harvest. The church today looks nothing like that, so you have to ask who is doing the harvesting. The answer is satan, since the church today looks nothing like scripture. Millions of people have been harvested, but not to eternal life.
Last week we saw that there are many who are weeds spread by the enemy. The deception makes them think they are secure but in the end, we see what happens. Matthew 13:40 “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.” This is what happens when you listen to the teaching of other gospels. Just as there are many who are weeds think they are actual crops there are going to be many just as deceived who think they have been harvested by God but is reality it was satan because they fell for a false gospel. Matthew 13:49 “This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous 50 and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
We cannot overpower satan or destroy his work without the power and authority given to us by Jesus. We cannot harvest without power from on High. When God once again turns His face to the church, there will be a harvest of plenty. At this point many have been deceived into thinking that going to church is the harvest. There are mega churches and churches of all sizes everywhere but no power. Remember powerful and power from on High are two different things. One speaks of successful men and women and the other does as Jesus did. Many have been deceived because it looks like a God is at work because there is a full house or global outreach, big buildings lots of programs etc. but the Holy Spirit is not present. Many have been deceived by the wrong kind of power. 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.” Many church leaders have been given this power because they seek success and yes they became very successful though they did not answer correctly as Jesus did. 8 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.” satan is actually the one doing the harvesting. Going to church as we know it today is not really the harvest as many people attend churches filled with other gospels, as most don’t know the difference between the true gospel and false gospels.
The problem is that most in the church will tell you that is not possible to harvest as Jesus did but nowhere in the bible does it say that. This is why most continue their manmade efforts but that is not how it is supposed to be. What the bible states is Mark 16:15 “He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” 19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. 20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” This is not happening but not because it is not possible or has ceased, but due to rebellion. The church has been defeated by our enemies because the church has rejected God’s word. Therefore, the church lost the power we were supposed to have but it did not cease after the disciples with no possibility of returning. Yes, the church lost its power due to rebellion but that is not how it was supposed to be. 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!” To have God turn His face back us, we repent and return to the word of God and then we will see the power from on High return to the church and then once again the church will do as Jesus did. The church will again look like this Acts 8:5 “Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. 6 When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. 7 For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city.” Matthew 11:5 “The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 6 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”
Jesus said Luke 24:49 “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.” If we want to be part of the true harvest, we must trust God’s word and wait for Him to fulfil His promise to us. Acts 2:38 “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” 40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” John said Matthew 3:10 “The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. 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.”
The question you need to ask yourself is this; Luke 18:8 “when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” Will Jesus find you faithful? Do you believe God at His word? If you are waiting, don’t give up, as God will keep His promise to you. Hebrews 6:15 “And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.” Isaiah gives us hope. 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.” Just as we saw with Abraham, Job and Joseph, God will bless those who seek Him wholeheartedly. So, 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.” Will you be a worker in the harvest? To be a worker, you have to do as Jesus did. In order to do as Jesus did, you will need His power and authority just as He gave His disciples. 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.” That is what the harvest looks like: it’s not about filling up buildings but doing as Paul did who did as Jesus did. Acts 26:17 “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.” Acts 19:11 “God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.”
The fields are ripe for harvest, so where is the church. We know satan is hard at work, Revelation 12:12 “He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short,” so we must destroy his work, but we cannot do that in our own strength. 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.” The only way to do as Jesus did is to turn from our wicked ways and return to the word of God. When the church once again does as Jesus did, the harvest will look like a combine in a corn or wheat field. 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.” Acts 5:15 “As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16 Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.”
Are you willing to turn from your own ways, or the empty ways handed down to you by those who have gone before you and be a worker / disciple for Jesus? He gave us this promise. Matthew 28:18 “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (This is the same as Mark 16 that you read above) There is power available for all would believe God’s word. The question is do you believe? Paul said Ephesians 1:17 “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 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, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” The fields are ripe for harvest!