Jesus on Community Outreach

Jesus on Community Outreach

Scripture: Matthew 4:23, Luke 4:16-19, John 4:35-38
Date: 07/30/2016  Lesson: 5
"What role should you be playing in the whole process of winning souls, as opposed to the role, if any, that you are now playing?"

Determining the Will of God (PB) by Doug Batchelor

Determining the Will of God (PB) by Doug Batchelor
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Hello friends. Welcome to Sabbath School Study Hour. A very special welcome to those of you joining us here from the Granite Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church as we study together. I'd also like to welcome the members of the church - so good to see you this morning. We've been studying through our lesson quarterly dealing with the subject the role of the church in the community.

Today we find ourselves on lesson #5 - Jesus on community outreach. So for those of you who are joining us, if you'd like to follow along and you don't have a copy of the lesson, just go to the Amazing Facts website - just amazingfacts.org, click on the link that says Sabbath School Study Hour and you'll be able to download lesson #5 and follow along with us. We also have a free offer that goes along with our study today. It is a classic - a book entitled steps to Christ. Now I know many of us have read this book and been richly blessed.

For those who are joining us, if you've never read the book, give us a call on our resource phone number. The number is 866-788-3966 and ask for offer #736 - again that number is 866-788-36 - they took the number down, sorry - there it is. Call us on 866-788-3966 and it's offer #736 and we'll be happy to send you the book. Well, with that we're going to invite our song leaders to come out and join me. Before we get to our study we're going to begin by lifting our voices in song.

Thank you, Pastor Ross. You know, it's a crazy world we live in. A lot of terrible things have happened this week, and it's - we really realize that it is not against flesh and blood that we fight, but it is against principalities and powers of darkness. And Jesus is about to come and the only place that we can find hope is truly in the fact that we are a child of the King. So pull out your hymnals and sing with us a child of the King - hymn #468.

We're going to sing the first, the third, and the last verses. I'm a child of the King, praise the Lord. My father is rich in houses and lands, he holdeth the wealth of the world in his hands! Of rubies and diamonds, of silver and gold, his coffers are full, he has riches untold. I'm a child of the King, a child of the King; with Jesus my Savior, I'm a child of the King. I once was an outcast a stranger on earth, a sinner by choice, and an alien by birth, but I've been adopted, my name's written down, an heir to a mansion, a robe, and a crown.

I'm a child of the King, a child of the King; with Jesus my Savior, I'm a child of the King. A tent or a cottage o why should I care? They're building a palace for me over there; though absent from home, yet still I may sing, "all glory to God, I'm a child of the king." I'm a child of the King, a child of the King; with Jesus my Savior, I'm a child of the King. Well, hopefully, as you go through this next week, that song will be ringing in your head - that you are truly a child of the King and nothing can take that away from you. Right across the page - leaning on the everlasting arms - #469 - we're going to sing all three verses - leaning on the everlasting arms. What a fellowship, what a joy divine, leaning on the everlasting arms; what a blessedness, what a peace is mine, leaning on the everlasting arms.

Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms; leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms. O how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way, leaning on the everlasting arms; o how bright the path grows from day to day, leaning on the everlasting arms. Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms; leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms. What have I to dread, what have I to fear, leaning on the everlasting arms? I have blessed peace with my Lord so near, leaning on the everlasting arms. Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms; leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

And I pray that that is where you find yourself this week - leaning on Jesus' everlasting arms. At this time, Pastor Ross will come up and lead us in prayer. Let's begin with a word of prayer. Dear Father in Heaven, what a privilege it is to be able to gather together and open up Your Word - to study together - to look at the example of Jesus, of how he ministered to those around him. Today, as we open up the Scriptures, we once again ask for the Holy Spirit to come and guide our hearts and minds, for we ask this in Jesus' Name, amen.

Our lesson today, lesson #5 in our study, is going to be brought to us by Pastor Doug. Thank you, Pastor Ross. Good morning. Good morning our Granite Bay class - we have some both in the building - we have some of our Granite Bay members that are watching online from various points around the globe. We want to welcome you and we're glad to be studying the word of God with you.

We're going through our Sabbath school lesson called the role of the church in the community and this was produced by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. They do it as a quarterly lesson. If you'd like a copy, you can go to your local adventist church, if you have one locally, they'll probably share one with you - I hope they will - and otherwise you can download it. I study it, actually, online because it makes it easy for me to copy and paste in my notes. We're on lesson #5 today, talking about Jesus on community outreach.

And we have a memory verse - and I always appreciate it if you can say the memory verse here locally with me out loud, it's Matthew 4:23 - Matthew 4:23 - here in the lesson it's from the new king James version. Are you ready? Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people." And Jesus - this was the core ministry - the teaching of Jesus - the mission of Jesus was to let the light shine. So in lesson - in our lesson - under Sunday's study, it's Jesus' mission statement and it gives - Jesus' mission statement comes from the Gospel of Luke chapter 4 and you can read here, for instance, in verse 15 it says, "and he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all." Now when did he start doing that? Right after he was baptized. You read in Matthew 3:16 and 17 - in just a moment I think one of our readers is going to do Matthew 4:17 - will that be you? Okay. But if you read in Matthew 3:16, "when he had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon him.

And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, 'this is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.'" Now Jesus did not go out doing this work until he was anointed with the Spirit and he set the same example for the disciples. He told the disciples, 'wait in Jerusalem until you receive power from on high. And then you're to go and be my witnesses.' He says, 'beginning in Jerusalem, Judea, samaria' - the outermost parts of the earth. But it's difficult - impossible, really - to do the work of God without the Spirit of God. Now Jesus obviously had the holy spirit before his baptism.

Do you agree? But the Holy Spirit comes in different measures and the holy spirit comes with different gifts. And a special baptism of the Spirit or anointing of the Spirit - and what does the word 'Christ' mean? The anointed - Christos. When you Christen a ship - of course, we're not to get anointed with champagne, but they Christen a ship - they break a bottle of champagne on it - they anoint it so to speak - they name it. And when a baby is Christened, it's often when their name is officially declared. And the word Messiah is the Hebrew word for the anointed.

And so, this talks about when Christ was anointed. And after that time, he went out preaching. If you look, for instance, in the rest of Luke 4 - go to verse , his first sermon in his home church he stands up - he comes to nazareth where he had been brought up and, as his custom was - meaning the whole time he was brought up - he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath. Was Jesus a Sabbath keeper? Yes. Was that his custom? Yes.

Did he read the Bible? Was that his custom? 'As his custom was' - "and he was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah and when he had opened the book, he found the place" - he opened the scroll, he rolled it out, he knew the spot - they didn't have verses and chapters back then - so he knew where it would be in its percentage of the scroll and he deliberately begins with these words when he starts preaching. "'the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.' Then he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant" - they had someone, actually, who guarded the Bible. It was the most sacred thing in - not everyone had Bibles. There was the Scripture attendant in the synagogue. You handed it to him - he locked it up.

It was all hand written - very valuable. He gave it to the attendant and sat down "and the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on him." And, you know, he went on to say, 'this day is this prophecy fulfilled in your hearing.' He was claiming to be the anointed. 'the Spirit of the Lord is upon me.' But this is his mission statement. 'Preach the Gospel to the poor, heal the brokenhearted, proclaim liberty to the captives, the recovering of sight to the blind' - that's, of course, physical and spiritual sight - 'to set at liberty those who are oppressed' - spiritual liberty from the devil - 'to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.' And that brings us to the next verse - what did he specifically say when he opened his mouth and started preaching the Gospel? That's in Matthew 4:17. "From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, 'repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.

'" So part of his mission statement was to repent. Part of receiving that Gospel that he talked about - binding the broken hearted - was for people to recognize their need of God and to come to God. What was the first thing that John the baptist said when he started preaching? 'Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.' I can't really improve on the mission statement of Jesus in Matthew chapter 28, 'go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name - all authority is given to me of my father. Go therefore, teach all nations, baptizing them - make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of The Father, son, and Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I've commanded you. Lo, I am with you until the end of the world.

' That's a great mission statement! And so I always feel like, well, but we need to be more specific - or, you know, the arguments. But that was really the mission statement of Jesus. He came to heal the brokenhearted and then he told us to go and share that with others. Alright, under the next section, it's loving your neighbor, and if you look in Luke 10:27, and - you know, matter of fact, go and we're going to take a quick look at the parable of the good samaritan - that you only find in this Gospel. Wait, you know, I want to go back and say something.

Will you let me backtrack? Please? Oh, come on, I just forgot something. When Jesus stood up and he read that prophesy from Isaiah, he closed the book and he stopped a verse short. You notice, when he was saying, 'to set at liberty those who are oppressed and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord' - and then he closed the book. He left out the part that said, 'and the day of vengeance of our God.' Did you ever notice that? Have you ever compared what Jesus said and what he was quoting from Isaiah? He's quoting Isaiah 61 verbatim, but he leaves out the part that says, 'the day of vengeance of our God' - he stops there. Have you ever thought about why did he do that? When you read the old testament prophets, you realize that the prophecies, sometimes, are big spans of time that are condensed.

You know, you can read in Revelation 12 and it talks about the battle between the war in heaven and it talks about the woman fleeing and just one verse - a thousand years might be in one verse. Well, Jesus' first coming was as a lamb - to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. There's another coming where the day of vengeance of our God is the day of the Lord. He actually did some of that towards the end of his ministry too when he pronounced some of the judgments that were coming on Jerusalem, who had rejected his mission. So that wasn't the time for that verse yet.

The first part of the verse was 'come unto me' - when he began his ministry he said, 'this is my Father's house' - at the end of his ministry he said, 'your house is left unto you desolate.' So something happened through his ministry and he just knew it wasn't the time for that verse yet. Anyway, I just - I wanted to make sure I mentioned that. Alright, in the parable of the good samaritan, you'll notice that there's something happening after Jesus gets done with an episode of teaching. Go to verse 25 - Luke 10, verse , and it says, "and behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested him, saying, 'teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?'" - How many of you want to know the answer to that question? I mean, isn't that - we want to - Lord, what do you want me to do? I mean, some are saved; some are lost. You and I mostly are not predestinationalists that figure that God is up there just deciding who is saved and we have no choice, because if you have no choice you have no power to love and we believe we do have a choice and that's why the Bible says, 'choose ye this day' 'whosoever will' - you have a will.

You realize that a big swath of Christianity believes that it's all arbitrarily predetermined by God and we don't have a choice. And so, we don't believe that. So, what must I do to be saved? He's asking, 'is there something I do?' Jesus didn't say, 'no, there's nothing you can do, God's already decided. They're the elect.' You notice Jesus said there is something. You see, I just addressed a very difficult part of theology with this simple passage.

'What shall I do?' "He said to him, 'what is written in the law? What is your reading of it?'" - Where did Jesus direct him when he said, 'what do I do?' He said, 'the law tells you.' - "So he answered and said, 'you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind,' and 'your neighbor as yourself.'" Can you think of someone else that came to Jesus and said, 'what must I do to be saved?' The rich young ruler - I heard somebody say. And what did Jesus say? 'If you would enter into life, keep the commandments.' You notice, both times that someone asked him 'what must I do to be saved?' He points them back to the law. He basically says, 'the answer is not very far from you.' And both of them, you know, one was a lawyer - and shouldn't a lawyer know the law? And the other one's a rich young ruler who grew up, you know, going to synagogue and Sabbath school - they knew the law. And he said, 'it's not a mystery.' So he directed them to the law. Now, are we saved by keeping the law? What about that law that says, 'love the Lord with all your heart? Does that have something to do with our salvation? Well, the Lord wants us to love him and he commands us to love him.

And those aren't suggestions. That means you choose to trust him and to love him. There is something you can do. Part of loving the Lord is having faith in His Word. And he said - because we're saved by faith - but that's part of it.

Did that make sense? I hope so. And he said, 'you should love the Lord'. And Jesus said, 'you have answered rightly. Do this and you will live.' See that? Do this - love the Lord. You know we had worship last night.

We read a really good chapter out of the book we're reading and it talked about that one of the reasons that Paul changed the world is because he loved the Lord so much he was willing to endure anything because he loved so much. And we got done reading worship and we thought, boy, think about how much more we could do if we loved the Lord better. The reason Paul made such a difference in his world is because he was so thoroughly in love with Jesus. And so, one of our most important prayers should be, 'Lord, help me love you more.' Is that a reasonable prayer? And is it okay to say, 'help me love my neighbor more? Put more - wouldn't we give more to mission and do more mission work if we loved our neighbor more? Sometimes I say, 'Lord, I must not love you very well or I'd follow you better.' And so I say, 'help me love you more.' He said, 'love the Lord' - he said, 'you've answered correctly. You win.

This is it. Do this and live.' But he wanted - it seemed like he answered his own question. He felt a little silly and, wanting to justify himself, he said, 'well, it's not that simple. Who is my neighbor? You're supposed to love your neighbor as yourself, but who is my neighbor? Is everybody my neighbor?' And Jesus answers him with this parable. 'A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho and he fell among thieves who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed leaving him half dead.

Now, by chance, a certain priest came down the road and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise, a levite, when he arrived at the place, he came and he looked and he passed by on the other side. But a certain samaritan, as he journeyed, he came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and he bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine, and he set him on his own animal, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii and gave it to the innkeeper and said to him, 'take care of him and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I'll repay you.

So which of these three do you think was a neighbor to him who fell among thieves?'' - And the lawyer - he's addressing this to the lawyer and he said, 'him who showed mercy.' - He didn't even want to say 'the samaritan' because the jews didn't have much regard for the samaritans so he just said 'him who showed mercy on him.' Jesus said, 'go and do likewise.' So in the parable - let's look at a few things in here. Who was the man that fell among thieves? Us - it's talking about the fall of adam - all of us have fallen. And who is the thief that robbed and beat the man - left him half dead? The devil is a thief and a robber. And who is the priest and the levite that come by? They represent just religion in and of itself. It's not that religion's bad, but if it's a religion that just has regiment and doesn't do anything, it's not much good.

And then who does the samaritan represent? That would be Jesus because it says he had compassion - God's had compassion on us. Jesus saw the multitude and had compassion on them because they were like a sheep without a shepherd. And he comes and he binds up his wounds. What did he use to wrap up his wounds? He may have taken some cloth and torn it up - maybe one of his own robes. What does Jesus use to bind our wounds? And he pours in oil - what is oil a symbol of? Holy Spirit.

Holy Spirit. And wine - you know, wine was an astringent - antiseptic back then. So what is the wine? A symbol of the blood of Christ. Puts him on his own animal. Could have been a donkey or a camel - probably a donkey.

That means he's given him his strength. Animals often represent extra strength because an oxen or these animals could carry more/plow more than a human could. And then he brings him to the inn - takes him to church - and he cares for him there and he gives money to the innkeeper and he says, 'look, take care of him and 'when I come again' - the samaritan says, 'when I come again.' Is Jesus coming back? He says, 'you take care of him. I'm giving you some to start out. You might need to invest also.

I've made a sacrifice to take care of him; you might need to make an additional sacrifice and when I come again, I'll repay you. So Christ, he brings to the church people who have been beat up by the devil. They've fallen among the thieves. He strips and robs us and wounds us and leaves us half dead. You know, without Christ we're under a death sentence.

We're dying. If it wasn't for the samaritan coming, he would have died. You see what I'm talking about? That's the human race. So the story of the good samaritan - Jesus ends up saying, 'so who is - who's the neighbor - who's your neighbor?' Anybody that needs your help that God brings into your path. Who is your friend out there? The one that you are friendly to.

You make friends. Somebody says, 'well, I don't have any friends.' The Bible says, 'he who would have friends must make himself be friendly.' If you want to have neighbors, act neighborly and do things for your neighbor. Show that you care. And so, this is another example of Christ in the community is just find out those who are in need. Now notice, last week, we talked about lot and how he was supposed to be salt and a witness and light in sodom, but there were so few people witnessing there that God couldn't even find ten.

But when it talks about loving your neighbor - go ahead, read for us, I think we've got someone lined up to read, - is it Genesis 19:2 and 3? Okay, katrina, you'll do that? "And he said, 'hear now, my Lords, please turn into your servant's house and spend the night and wash your feet. Then you may rise early and go on your way.' And they said, 'no, but we'll spend the night in the open square.' But he insisted strongly, so they turned into him and entered his house. Then he made them a feast and baked them unleavened bread and they ate." House-pitality. Lot brought those angels in. He saw them staying out in the square.

He knew it wasn't safe. He was concerned for them - he didn't know they were angels to start with - and he said, 'you guys might be new in the community but I wouldn't hang out here. You come stay with me.' 'Oh no, no.' 'No, you come stay with me.' And he urged them. Was lot glad that he showed them hospitality later? Did that mercy come back on him and he was saved? You remember when Jesus was walking down the road to emmaus and they came to a fork in the road and the two disciples said, 'come and stay with us.' And they urged him and he came in. Were they glad they invited that stranger to come stay with them? They found out it was Jesus.

Did Abraham invite three people to come and dine with him, that he saw walking down the road one day? And he later found out that one of them was the Lord. Have you read in the Bible where it says in Hebrews that some have entertained angels unaware? Have you ever wondered if you showed that kindness to an angel? And it might have been looking like a person panhandling at an intersection or someone else that needed your help. Even in the book of Judges it talks about this old man coming from the fields, saw this levite and his concubine and he says, 'come stay in my home. Let all your needs fall upon me.' And there you had hospitality. So part of being a neighbor and part of witnessing is what happens in the home.

And - alright, so let's go on to the next section: the whole recipe - it talks about here. And if you look in Matthew 5:13 and some of these metaphors we've used before, but we're looking at again - it says, "you are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men." If you want to keep the salt safe, keep it in a shaker with all the other salt. Have you ever noticed that Christian communities - it can be comfortable to live in a Christian community. You know, we have some towns where we've got our colleges and universities and medical centers and you've got a great concentration of believers in that area. But you wonder, how much real evangelism is happening? Doesn't the Lord want us to go out and disperse? Now here, we planted this church in the Sacramento area - and Sacramento is not a - we don't have a school here.

We don't have a hospital here. This is where real people live. And we all - most of us - when we leave church, we go and we work out in the workplace with, you know, all kinds of folks and we have a chance to disperse our influence and try to bring people to the Lord. And it's just - it's wonderful to be able to do that. Matter of fact, this morning, out in the foyer by the water fountain, one of you came up to me and said, 'I was working in a hospital and a man in the emergency room asked if I was a believer.

' - Maybe they were sick and they wanted to know - they said, 'I am.' He said, 'what church do you go to?' He said, 'I'm a Seventh-day Adventist.' He said, 'oh, I'm a baptist but do you know Doug Batchelor? I watch his programs.' (Laughter) and so, it's fun to know people are out there that you're having an influence and that they're listening. And so that's always exciting because that's what the purpose of salt is - it's to be dispersed. You know, we saw some just tragic things in the news today - this week - and, you know, it could kind of be summed up in - Jesus said in the last days the love of many will grow cold. There's just a lot of anger and hatred and a lot of division. And it's not just some of these issues that are happening with the police and race - politics - all of this is reaching a fevered pitch.

But Jesus said in the last days, because the love of many will grow cold - there'll be a lot of problems. And that's what's happening - 'because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.' You know what law - lawlessness is abounding when you cast out the law of God. We've even seen some laws that have happened from the supreme court, in the past couple of years, that have basically thrown out laws of God that were morals in our society. And you can't do that without having it have aftershocks in a culture. 'Because lawlessness abounds, the love of many grows cold.

' How do you melt ice? What do they put on the roads in Michigan - chicago? Salt. Salt. Not very good for the cars, but it helps the roads be safer. And salt melts ice. You and I are to be salt to melt that ice.

You can read in Colossians, 'let your speech always be seasoned with salt that you might know how you ought to answer.' Have grace in Your Words and in your conversation. Now, are Christians in North America being effective in sharing our faith? Let me read you a couple of polls. A cnn poll - 2009 - 'America is a less Christian nation than it was 20 years ago.' Now this is a poll from 2009, starting here. 'Christianity is not losing out to other religions but, primarily, a rejection of religion altogether. A survey published Monday found 75% of Americans call themselves Christians, according to the American religious identification survey from trinity college in hartford, Connecticut.

In 1990 the figure was 86%. So between 1990 and 2009, the percentage of Christians in North America went from 86% to 75%. Do you realize that is a precipitous decline? But wait, it gets better - or worse. Washington 2015 - the United States is a significantly less Christian country than we were seven years ago. The pew research center's newest report said, 'in America's changing religious landscape, released Tuesday, Christianity still dominates the religious identity now 70% - down from 75%.

But the survey shows a dramatic shift as more people move out of the doors of denominations, shedding spiritual connections along the way. Nearly 8%-point drop in those calling themselves Christians from 78% to 70.6% in just seven years. They used a different starting point. This is a big deal. If those Numbers are accurate, Christianity is certainly shrinking in America at a rate that, if it continues over the coming years and decades, will produce profound cultural change.

Atheists and agnostics have nearly doubled their share of the religious Marketplace. An overall indifference to religion of any sort is rising as well. Only historically black protestant churches have had a steady grip through the years. They've had a small decrease, but they've held fairly steady. What does that tell us? How good are we doing at being salt in our community? Now, you know, don't want to pat ourselves on the back too much, but you'll be a little encouraged to know that Seventh-day Adventists in North America are growing.

Not the anglos, they are declining. It is the minority churches that are growing. The anglo Seventh-day Adventist Churches are in decline. And so, there's a lot of work to do for us to be missionaries in our community. Why is that? What's making such a change where Christianity seems to be shriveling in North America? We have things too good.

It's a - several things, but I'll tell you what I think the chief factor is: people are the sum total of what they hear and what they see and the media is so secular. The media does so much to mock the beliefs of the Bible and Christianity is being derided on every front, by the media, that it's having an effect. And more and more people - and then, you know, when they hear about religious scandal, people lose any kind of confidence in Christianity. So all these things are coming together. Has there ever been a greater need? You know, when you grew up you might have thought, 'someday I'm going to go be a missionary.

I am going to go to some jungle somewhere and I am going to serve Jesus and bring those pagans to the Savior. How far do you need to go now? Across the street. Yeah, just go across the street - maybe even just next door. You might not need to cross the street. And there's plenty - it might be the cubicle next to you where you work.

There's plenty of mission work, right nearby, amen? Amen. So we see things happening here. Alright, so we're supposed to be salt and there are some challenges here. Now, while we're talking about being salt - you know, I talked about - in a moment someone's going to read 1 Peter 3:1 and 2 - okay, you'll have that? I talked last week about reaching Jesus on the outside in your community - being salt in the community. Do you know, you also need to be salt in your own home? You have a sanctifying influence in your family.

Let me read something to you from 1 Corinthians 7 - you may not have ever read this this way before - 1 Corinthians 7, verse , "but to the rest i, not the Lord, say: 'if any brother has a wife who does not believe," - now what Paul is talking about here - he says, 'don't be unequally yoked' - believers should not marry unbelievers, is that clear? But when Paul went out preaching the Gospel to the gentiles, there were a lot of gentiles where one husband or wife would believe and the other would not. So all of a sudden they found themselves where one accepted the Lord and the other had not and you're in a situation where you've got a divided home. And so that's what he's addressing here. And it said if he has a wife who does not believe "and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him.

For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy." That's a very interesting phrase, especially children before the age of accountability, there is a sanctifying influence of prayer of a believing family and parent member - or parent in that family on the children. There are blessings they get to claim because of the believing parent. And he's saying, 'don't, you know, abandon your children' - or 'don't lose that influence upon them.' And he goes on to say, "for how do you know, o wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, o husband, whether you will save your wife?" By sticking with them and by trying to model it - that'll lead us to the next verse. Let's go ahead and read 1 Peter 3:1 and 2. "Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.

" Yeah, isn't this interesting that through the behavior and - where's the hardest place in the world to be a missionary? Home. You know, if you're going to be a Christian, what integrity is - it means that you're the same person in public as you are in private. You're the same person when people are watching and when they're not watching. And Christians should have integrity. And we ought to be loving and consistent and nice and polite in our families and we ought to be that way in the public.

And if your unbelieving wife or husband sees that you are a Christian hugging your Bible when you go to church, but you're rotten and cantankerous when you come home, you're probably not going to win them to the Lord. But if they see that you love them and you love the Lord in public, and you love them and you love the Lord in private and there's kindness and there's courtesy and when you need to apologize you apologize and you try to demonstrate the Christian fruits and virtues, it softens hearts. If you show that Jesus has brought joy to you, they will want that joy. But if you're complaining and crabby and griping and - and you wonder why your unbelieving husband or wife has not been converted, well, are you letting your light shine? Now I'm not trying to give you a hard time, but isn't that true? It says let them see your behavior and that'll have a sanctifying influence. So this is part of the church in the community - starts in the family.

Can you say 'amen'? Amen. Thank you. Alright, then we're going to go to the next section on being a farmer. And here Jesus is taking a parable and - and he's not actually taking a parable, he's using an illustration. After he shared with the woman at the well, about he was the living water, she was so excited - he revealed he's the Messiah - she goes back immediately and she tells the people in their community, 'come see a man that showed me all that ever I did.

' You can find that phrase several times in the Gospel of John - 'come and see - come and see. You come to Jesus and you see.' And so when she goes and she tells the people in the community to come, the disciples come back and they see that Jesus was talking to this woman, she's left, and they're wondering what - what - they were - he was doing talking to a samaritan - a pagan - and then all these people begin to come out of the city of sichar - this samaritan village - and Jesus sees the people coming because they want to see this man who was supposed to be the Messiah - the prophet - and he said, 'do you not say there are still four months and then comes the harvest? Behold, I say to you, 'lift up your eyes and look at the fields for they are already white for harvest. You know, when - you usually don't harvest the grain when it's all green. Summer comes and the grain begins to dry out and they open up and it - it's white for harvest, you can tell. 'And he who reaps receives wages and he gathers fruit unto eternal life that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.

For in this the saying is true. One sows and another reaps. I sent you to reap that for which you've not labored. Others have labored and have entered into their labors.' So part of being a Christian and a witness in your community is that we all farm together. That means we use our different gifts.

Some are pastors, some are evangelists - some are pastors and evangelists. Some have gifts of administration. Some have gifts of help. Some have gifts of cooking, music - all kinds of gifts that a person has. When you work as a church family, you are one body with many different members - I'd better be careful, I think there's a lesson coming on that later.

I don't want to do it all now. But it's like we're one body with different gifts and different members and when we work together - it's beautiful to see a church get involved in evangelism, because everybody's using their spiritual gifts, all making sacrifices and putting their energy into the common goal of fulfilling the great commission of preaching the Gospel - leading people to Christ. And - but people are using their different gifts, but we all harvest and rejoice together. Now, did Jesus say that the problem is that the people out there just aren't interested in Christianity? Is that why Christianity is on the decline? I'd like to suggest to you that I think people are looking more now for answers than any time I can remember in my life. People are more frightened and worried about the future.

People are wondering what in the world is going on. They may not affiliate with any religious organization, but they are searching. They are scared. They see things happening in the world that is unprecedented. And does it look like terrorism is being - the war against terrorism is being won - that it's going away? Or is it getting now where people are almost shrugging when they hear about a hundred people blown up in baghdad.

And we shake our heads and say, 'isn't that awful?' And go on our way. And we're becoming numb to it because it's becoming so common. And so people are - they're frightened. And what kind of world - and if Christians are being the salt in the community that we have, then you'll see a harvest. Corinthians - one sows, another reaps - 1 Corinthians :5 through 8.

Paul is writing, "who then is Paul, and who is apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one?" - Now what was happening is Paul was writing to the church in corinth and they were making groupees out of the apostles. Apollos ended up becoming a very successful elder and later, evidently, looked upon as an apostle in the church - or at least an evangelist. Some were saying, 'I was baptized by Paul and he's done more miracles than apollos.' And some said, 'oh, apollos is even a better preacher - he's a better orator than even Paul. And Paul's small and he's squinty. He can't see very well.

' And they were making these idols and putting posters of apollos and Paul - and they were getting divided over that. You know, 'who baptized you?' 'I was baptized by him.' And Paul is saying, 'it has nothing to do with the minister.' Have you seen that before? People kind of following ministers like rock stars? And that's not God's plan. Matter of fact, I read again this week where Jesus said, 'don't be called 'father, father' - don't be called 'rabbi, rabbi' - you have one rabbi.' He says we're not to be giving these elegant titles. In our church we kind of shun being called reverend, because the Bible says 'holy and reverend is his name.' Every minister, whether your gift is preaching or evangelism or whatever your gift is, all of us work together. Jesus said, 'I came as one to serve.

I'm your master but I'm a servant.' The apostles said, 'we're servants.' And so that's what Paul is reiterating here. He's saying, "...the Lord gave to each one. I planted, apollos watered, but God gave the increase." - We're farming together - "so then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one," - we're working together - "and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor." Periodically we'll get a testimony in the mail at Amazing Facts and it'll say, you know, 'brother doug, I went to Mark finley's net 95 meeting and then I went to dwight nelson's net 98 meeting, and then I went to net 99 and all of it together finally got my attention.' And I'll take that and I'll copy and e-mail it and I'll send it to pastor nelson, I'll send it to Mark finley, and, you know, I'll quote this verse - 'one planted, one watered' and - just to show that sometimes it's several things. The baptism of naaman - you know the story of naaman the leper? Who gets the credit for naaman's conversion? The little girl who said, 'you need to go wash in the Jordan?' Was it the servant of Elisha - the little girl who said, 'you need to see Elisha', the servant of Elisha who said, 'you need to wash in the Jordan', or his soldiers who said, 'you need to listen to the prophet'? He got three different messages and he finally listened, then he got baptized.

So who gets the credit? Everyone's working together. And so this is what Paul is saying and this is what Jesus is saying in our lesson today. So one plants, another sows. Matthew 9:35, "and Jesus went about" - now, you'll notice, what is our memory verse? You remember we read our memory verse in Matthew 4:23? I want you to catch something here - Matthew 4:23 - memory verse - "and Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people." Now jump to Matthew 9:35, "then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people." That sound similar? Matthew's just reiterating that - he did it in capernaum, you know, he did it up in nazareth. He went down to Jerusalem.

He went everywhere preaching the Gospel, healing sickness - you know, this is a great verse because did Jesus have a country ministry? He went to the villages. Did he have a city ministry? He went to all the cities and the villages. Did he have a teaching ministry? Is there a difference between teaching and preaching? It says he sat down and taught the people. But in the synagogue he stood up and he preached and he read the Bible. And he was preaching the Gospel - teaching - preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom.

Healing - did he have a medical ministry? Yes. And did he do it in the context of a church? Did he go to synagogues? A synagogue was the gathering. It was the church. So he had a - he did church-based ministry and he did all this healing - all kinds of disease among the people. And it goes on to say, in verse 6 - I'm still in Matthew 9:35-38 - "but when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.

Then he said to his disciples, 'the harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.'" Problem isn't that people don't want to hear. We need more people willing to share. Amen. Final section is under church planting - Matthew 10:5-10, "these twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: 'do not go into the way of the gentiles,'" - not yet - that happened after pentecost - "'do not enter'" - and, by the way, it didn't go in the way of the gentiles, really, until after.

They did start preaching in samaria, but they didn't go really to the gentiles until after the stoning of stephen - after that 490-year prophecy there was a great persecution and they went everywhere preaching the Gospel. - He said, "'do not go in the way of the gentiles... But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." - "'And do not enter a city of the samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, 'the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.

'" - They were probably also saying, 'repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand - "'heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons.'" - We'll talk about that during our sermon - "'freely you have received, freely give. Provide neither gold nor silver, nor copper in your money belts, nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs; for a worker is worthy of his food.'" You know what he was saying? Don't pack a lot of everything so you have all your supplies taken care of. Go light so that you can go far. Trust that I will provide for you through the people that you preach to. There will be some that will take you in.

That's why he said - go to Mark 6, for instance, verse 7, "and he called the twelve to himself, and began to send them out two by two," - so how do we go? See, Matthew 10 left that out. He sent them out - so the twelve disciples, he sends them out two-by-two. How many groups is that? Six groups. And then he sent out seventy, later, two-by-two, which is 35? Yeah, that's what I thought. You've got 35 groups.

Why did he send them out two-by-two? So while one is preaching, one can pray. You can encourage each other. It's a lot easier to stand on two legs than one leg, right? It just gives you support - and he sent "them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits. He commanded them to take nothing for the journey except a staff" - that's what Moses and aaron had - "no bread, no copper in their money belts - but to wear sandals, and not to put on two tunics. Also he said to them, 'in whatever place you enter a house, stay there.

'" - So they were to do - teaching Bible studies in the house, but he also said, 'go and preach' - "'stay there till you depart from that place. And whoever will not receive you nor hear you, when you depart from there, shake off the dust under your feet as a testimony against them.'" Have you ever done that? I have once or twice, where somebody just slammed the door against the Gospel and I just said, you know, I remembered that verse and I don't know how much dust I had on my foot, but I shook my feet as I walked away. I said, 'Jesus, you told me to do it.' Shake the dust off your feet from that place. He's saying, 'boy, don't even want the dust.' Why does he say that? He says, 'that home - there's a curse - if they reject you and you are bringing the Gospel - the most important message in the world and they're rejecting the blessings of God. They're rejecting - what's left if you get rid of the blessing and the light? Darkness and cursing.

He says, "'it will be more tolerable for sodom and gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!' So they went out and preached that people should repent. And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick, and healed them." Now, you'll notice they went into homes. My last verse here is acts :14, "now a certain woman named lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of thyatira," - this happened in Philippi - "who worshipped God. the Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.

And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, 'if you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.' So she persuaded us." So that often happened back then. Now, as evangelists travel, they typically stay - you know, when I first started doing evangelism, several times I would stay in someone's house. Up in paradise, I stayed in someone's house. In santa rosa I stayed in someone's house. Ukiah - they had a - yeah, it was a guest home attached to the caretaker's home - a room - and you'd often stay with people.

Now it's just a lot more common people stay in hotels as they travel. But they used to stay in homes. They'd give Bible studies. And there's an influence that you have when you're in a home with somebody and you see them living out their Christianity. So here he's talking about public preaching, he's talking about doing home mission work and having an influence in the community through these - these different methods.

Time is up but I want to remind those who, maybe, missed the opening announcement, we do have a free offer. Call 866-788-3966 - read steps to Christ - I read this sometimes - once a year. It is a wonderful book and it'll really help you understand the Gospel and then share it with somebody else. God bless you, friends, until we study His Word together again next week. Every now and then, in the panorama of history, we hear about individuals that go from the lowest depths to the highest pinnacles.

They emerge from the shackles of prison to lead and inspire a nation. Take Joseph, for instance: he's sold by his brothers as a slave, then falsely accused and thrust into prison. Yet, through a series of divine circumstances, he miraculously goes from the prison to the palace, ruling the ones who once imprisoned him. Sound far-fetched? It's happened in history more than you think. South africa is the home of just such a leader.

Nelson mandela worked tirelessly to establish peace and freedom in his country and his influence was felt around the world. Before freedom, there must be forgiveness. Like Joseph, who was unjustly accused for a crime he did not commit, nelson mandela was accused of terrorism and sentenced to life in prison on robin island. He was often exposed to cruel punishment and abuse. But even in the midst of apparent failure and discouragement, he never lost heart and he never gave up.

After years in prison, a growing number of supporters rallied for his release and eventually it took place. And God used him so that he was instrumental in helping to abolish racial segregation in the country of south africa. Incredibly, he now was, virtually, the absolute leader in the country that had imprisoned him. He had all the tools and the power at his disposal to get even with the prison guards and others that had mistreated him. Instead, mandela chose forgiveness.

It reminds me of that verse in the Bible in Ephesians chapter , verse 31, "let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you." I'm so thankful that nelson mandela, like Joseph, chose to forgive those who were once his enemies, and to serve his nation with love and courage. You can find a number of examples of this happening in the Bible. You have Daniel, who was a captive from the land of judah, and yet God arranged things where he becomes the prime minister in the Kingdom of Babylon. You have Esther, who was a poor orphan girl in persia, and yet God worked things out where she becomes the queen of that country.

The book of Jeremiah ends with an incredible story of a young king named jehoiachin, who was in a Babylonian dungeon for 37 years and then king evil-merodach has mercy on him and he has a new status, going from the prison to the palace. This is what the Lord wants to do for you and me, friends. He gives you the bread of life. He gives you the robe of Jesus' righteousness. He gives you a seat at His table.

If you accept his forgiveness and you're willing to pass it on, you and I can live and reign with Christ. Wouldn't you like that experience? For life-changing Christian resources, visit afbookstore.com.

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