Summary: Sermon based on Matthew 9:35-38 - Challenges hearers to evaluate why there are so few "workers" in the harvest, & commit to a more evangelistic lifestyle.
“THE WORKERS ARE FEW” Matthew 9:35-38
FBCF – 9/27/20
INTRO – Podcast “Finding Meaning & $ in the Blue Collar Trades” – Interview w/ guy who started literally digging ditches in HS – skipped college – built multi-million $ business, STILL digging ditches.
Point repeatedly made: Huge demand for people w/ hands-on, “blue collar” type skills, but so few people getting trained in these skills, meaning tons of well-paying jobs, but workers not available.
Same thing true in the church – Huge demand for people to share Jesus w/ those who are lost, but the workers just aren’t available.
“Spiritual Growth Toolbox” – So far, each of tools has been directed at our personal spiritual maturity – more of an inward focus. Now, our focus is outward w/ this message entitled, “The Workers are Few.”
EXPLANATION – Matthew 9:35-38.
Matthew 9 gives us a snapshot of Jesus’ ministry:
- Gave Vicki a Ryrie Study Bible on her 22nd bday when we got engaged. Ryrie's outline of ch. 9:
o Pardon of a paralytic – v. 1-8
o Pardon of a publican – v. 9-13
o Problem concerning fasting – v. 14-17
o Power over death – v. 18-26
o Power over darkness – v. 27-31
o Power over dumbness – v. 32-34
o Power over disease – v. 35
o Pity on the people – v. 35-38
There were so many people w/ so many needs. And Jesus kept on loving them, touching them, healing them, ministering to them, reaching out to them. He never took His eyes off of the harvest.
- Vicki’s wrote this note: “The harvest is there, but will we take the initiative for the gathering?”
APPLICATION – Every Christ-follower needs to strive to tell others about Jesus.
Chuck Lawless, evang prof, SEBTS – 9 traits of most evangelistic people I know:
1. They genuinely love the Lord with a passion.
2. They believe what the Bible says about lostness.
3. They pray regularly for non-believers and for opportunities to evangelize.
4. They constantly look for open doors to talk about Jesus.
5. Even if they’re introverted, they push beyond their discomfort to tell the good news.
6. They’re not worried about getting glory for being a strong evangelist.
7. They may have many tools in their toolbox, but they usually have one preferred method to evangelize.
8. They know the Word well.
9. They have a heart for the nations.
Do those characteristics describe your life? My life? Stats say probably not.
- 95% of Christians have never won anyone to Christ
- 80% of Christians don’t consistently witness about Christ
Why is that?
WHY ARE THE WORKERS FEW?
B/c it takes COMPREHENSION – Jesus didn’t just casually glance at the crowds – He SAW them. There’s a difference.
- Understand them, comprehend them, learn about them, pay attention to them
And who are the “crowds”?
- Throngs, masses, multitudes of common people
- White, black, brown, yellow, Republican, Democrat, gay, straight, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Catholic, Protestant, rich, poor, young, old, atheists, criminals, upstanding citizens, great families, dysfunctional families, addicts of all kinds, conservative American flag-waving folks, liberal flag-burning Antifa folks, people who live in gated communities, people in run-down trailer parks & high-rise apartments, suburban subdivisions, rural farms, blighted inner cities………
- Have to intentionally “see” the crowds.
B/c it takes COMPASSION
Gk word: splachnizomai – moved from deep within
Compassion: Not, “I feel sorry for those folks.” It’s a willingness to wade into the muck & mire of sin, the ugliness & stench of broken lives in order to show the love of Christ & share the Gospel.
- Good Samaritan – Luke 10:33 – “But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; & when he saw him, he had compassion on him.”
- Prodigal Son – Luke 15:20 – “And he arose & came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him & felt compassion, & ran & embraced him & kissed him.”
o Incidentally, the word for “saw” in both of these is same as when Jesus “saw” the crowds & had compassion on them.
o Not just a casual glance, but an intense looking into the lives of those in need of compassion – to understand them, their needs, their hurts, their stories.
To have compassion means you are willing to truly invest in those who are in need.
- You’re all in.
- Wholehearted, not half-hearted
- Willing to take risk.
- Willing to be misunderstood
- Willing to be taken advantage of
- Willing to be abused
- Willing to be ostracized by others
B/c it takes COMMITMENT
Haven’t been here long, but I’ve observed something: You folks are committed!
- Town/community (many lived here entire life; others moved back as soon as you could)