Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Lesson 21: Going Into The Harvest Field

Brief 4-to-5 Minute Teaching Lesson

Why? and What is the Purpose? in My Life SERIES

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Lesson 21 of the Discipleship Making process.

I left you last time with this question, “Why do you think Jesus told His disciples to pray for more harvesters and not more sowers?”

Jesus has been preparing His disciples to produce the kingdom (rule of) of God in people. This will become their mission in life. In the previous three lessons we saw that Jesus revealed several kingdom truths through the use of parables. Let’s summarize them here:
  • The kingdom of God is planted in people’s lives by speaking the word of God to them. It may or may not grow to maturity depending on the condition of the heart.
  • The kingdom of God grows in people’s lives by stages: first the blade (childhood), then the head (youth) and finally the mature grain in the head (adulthood). Growth comes through watering (edification) and sunlight (persecution).
  • Those who cause stumbling blocks and live lawless lives affect the kingdom.
    • It is imperative that they are not heeded, as the heart will produce whatever is believed.
  • The kingdom of God grows both externally (visual evidence) and internally.
  • The kingdom of God is the most priceless thing anyone can possess.
  • The kingdom of God will continue as it is until it is full, and then there will be a separation of the good from the evil.
Read: Matthew 8:23-34, Mark 4:35-5:20, Luke 8:22-39, Matthew 9:35-38

Having finished his teachings on the kingdom of God, Jesus begins to demonstrate the power of the kingdom in powerful new ways (The parables were verbal proclamations about the kingdom of God - The miracles were visible manifestations of the kingdom of GodMatthew 12:28).

Having just read these visible manifestations of the kingdom of God, let’s consider a couple of insightful questions to better understand this new component of Jesus discipleship:

Why do you think Jesus wanted His disciples to go to the other side of the lake?

He may have wanted to demonstrate the power of the kingdom of God in confrontation with the kingdom of Satan or possibly so they could observe the power of God in operation during difficult circumstances.

After rebuking the wind and the sea, why do you think Jesus said to His disciples, “Why are you so timid” and “How is it that you have no faith?”

He was challenging the disciples to have faith in God and to take authority over their circumstances.

As Jesus was traveling about he notices that the people are behaving like sheep without a shepherd. They wander aimlessly, without purpose, suffering every kind of difficulty and disease, as their enemies pick them off one by one. They need to be cared for, given direction, and provided protection. Feeling compassion for them and recognizing that He is not able to care for all of them Jesus calls His disciples to prayer: Matthew 9:37-38.

Taking this prayer into consideration, let’s reflect on these additional questions in preparation of a disciple going into the “Harvest Field”:

Where is the harvest field?
Anyplace that seed has been planted and is ready to be harvested.

How does a person know when the field is ready to harvest?
The crop is mature: ready to be made into food or sown to produce more crops.

How does a person identify the maturity of the crop?
By testing it: visually, firmness, etc.

What happens at harvest?
The crop is picked, accumulated and stored for future use.

Why do you think Jesus told His disciples to pray for more harvesters and not more sowers?
It takes more people to harvest then it does to sow.

The point of the lesson is to find the harvest field and go to work.

With that, allow me to leave you with this question to consider, along with a little homework assignment until my next posting:

How are we to share our faith?

. . . and the homework assignment . . .

Pray every day for the Lord of the harvest to send workers into His harvest.

Until next time . . . Godspeed!

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