The Harvest and the Harvesters

Scripture: John 15:8, Luke 24:47-53, Acts 1:6-8
Date: 03/22/2014 
Lesson: 12
"God could have commissioned angels, unassisted by human beings, to broadcast the gospel. Instead, He elected to appoint sinful, erring, unpredictable humans for this sacred calling."
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Welcome to Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church. We are so glad that you are tuning in and joining us, whether this is your first time or you join us every week - it doesn't matter. We are just so glad that you are part of our Sabbath school family across the country and around the world. Whether you're listening on the radio, watching us live on our website at '', or on the various television networks, many of you - most of you - that join us every week have favorite songs and we have heard from, I believe, probably pretty much every country on the planet has sent in a song request over the years and like we do every week, we sing those with you. So if you wouldn't mind pulling out your hymnals here - those of you at home, join with us as we sing another favorite - #476 - join with us - 'burdens are lifted at calvary'.

Thank you so much for requesting that lovely song. If you have a favorite that you would like to sing with us on an upcoming program, it's very simple. You just have to get on your computer or on your smart phone - whatever you have to get online and go to our website at '' and click on the 'contact us' link and you can send in your favorite request right there and we will do our best to sing that for you on an upcoming program. Our next one, as we continue working our way through the hymnal singing songs we don't know, this one isn't one that you've probably never heard before, but it's next in line and I've never sung these words to this tune before so we're going to do that today. 'Ye watchers and ye holy ones' - #91 - and you will notice at the bottom of the page it says 'a lower key in #2' so where you've heard this is hymn #2.

So we're going to be singing #91 today and join with us - 'ye watchers and ye holy ones'. And I should tell you, leon in California, annette and carl in germany, canaan in jamaica, joyce in kenya, and betty in Texas requested this one. I love learning these new songs or putting other words to familiar tunes and I know that many of you have written in and said that you are enjoying going through the hymnal with us. It's giving us a challenge and we're enjoying it and I'm glad that you are too. So keep sending in your favorite songs and if we don't know them we are going to learn them.

At this time let's bow our heads for prayer. Father in Heaven, thank you so much for bringing us here where we can open up Your Word, we can study together, we can sing praises to your name. We thank you so much for blessing us with the Sabbath. We thank you for your love and you knew that we would need 24 hours every seven days to focus entirely on you and father, we just thank you for giving us the promise that one day you are going to come soon and take us home to heaven where we will have eternity to spend praising you and we just thank you. Be with us as we open up your word and we study together.

Thank you so much for pastor doug and his ministry and I pray that you be with him as he opens up Your Word and shares it right now. In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time our lesson study is going to be brought to us by Pastor Doug Batchelor. Morning. Thank you for the music.

I enjoyed that anthem - alleluia. How is everybody? Happy Sabbath. I want to welcome all those that are watching on 'central study hour'. I want to welcome those who are online members and some who are watching via satellite and on the internet around the world and it's good to have you join us. I was in nashville last week and ran into a lot of people there on the convention floor - it was very interesting - this is the 'religious broadcaster's convention' where religious broadcasters from around the world come - and it's nice to see how well-represented Seventh-day Adventists were.

You know, we go to not only find broadcast avenues, but we go to preserve freedom for Christians to broadcast. You know, sometimes the fcc has tried to stifle religious broadcasts. They say, 'these are public airwaves, we shouldn't be using them for spreading religion.' So there's been a movement to try to suppress using the airwaves for broadcasting religion. So that's one reason we go, but it was good. Dr.

Ben carson was there. He was the keynote speaker and so I got to visit with him a little bit and - anyway, I saw a lot of people there. I went to madison, tennessee and preached there in the church of byron corbett, a one-time Amazing Facts evangelist and a lot of people there watch central study hour and so greetings to our friends. We're continuing with our lesson dealing with discipleship. Before we do, we have a free offer, as we often make available.

And today it's a book - I think it's probably one of the most important things we could talk right now - on the Holy Spirit. This is a fairly new book and we haven't mentioned it often, on the Holy Spirit by yours truly. This talks about the need for the Holy Spirit. If you'd like a free copy of this we'll send it to you. You only need to call and ask for it and then make a firm unchanging covenant that you'll read it and share it with somebody.

And ask for offer #723 when you call and the phone number is -study-more - that acronym means 866-788-3966 - 788-3966 and we'll send you the book just for asking. Discipleship - we're on lesson #12 today and the title is: the harvest and the harvesters. And we have a memory verse: John 15:8 - do you have your quarterlies or your Bible open, because I'd like you to say that with me. It must be from the new king James version - or from the King James version here because it has no other version listed. John 15:8, you ready? "Herein is my father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

" Do you see a connection between bringing glory to God and bearing fruit? What is the fruit that God wants Christians to have? Well, in Galatians 5 it talks about the fruits of the Spirit - and what are they? How many of you remember the first one? Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, goodness, kindness, meekness, self-control - these are the attributes that a Christian should have in their life. If you have these attributes, the fruit of having the fruits of the Spirit will be you will be bringing people to Jesus. That's the other fruit. What's the harvest that Jesus is coming for in Revelation? Isn't the Bible all about farming? God begins by planting a garden - he comes with a scythe - a sickle - to harvest in the end. What is he coming to harvest? Souls.

And we talk later in the lesson about that famous statement of Jesus that the harvest is great - but there's a problem - the laborers are few. And then he says, 'pray that the Lord will send more laborers into the harvest. There's not enough people that are engaged in trying to reach the lost. I'd like to emphasize this. Go to John 15 - this is a verse I think you'll find in your lesson - John 15:1-8 - John :1-8 and I'm going to highlight a couple of things in here.

Maybe while we're doing that I'll give you a heads up. Does somebody here have - someone's got John 4:28. Okay, we'll get a microphone to you and someone else have Revelation 2:3? Over here? We'll get - is there a mic on this side? Doctor stone might bring that to you mike. Hold your hand up. In the meantime - alright, let's read John 15:1-8, "I am the true vine," - Jesus is speaking - "and my father is the vine dresser.

Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away;" - so how important is bearing fruit to Jesus? And every branch that bears fruit, he prunes it that it might bear more fruit." Is the Lord being greedy? He doesn't want us just to bear fruit, but if you bear fruit, instead of just saying 'thank you' he says, 'I want more.' So he prunes it. He does everything he can that it might bear more fruit. "You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself," - alright, very important key: if we're going to bear fruit for harvest, can we do it on our own? No, no more than a vine can - a grape twig - if it's disconnected from the grape vine - "unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.

" - So there's the key: we must abide in Christ to bear fruit - "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, bears much fruit;" - pause again - two kinds of fruit we're talking about: fruits of the spirit, which you must have if you're going to bear the other kind of fruit. You cannot have the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, so forth - unless you abide in Christ. Those are spiritual fruits. You must be - there must be a spiritual connection to have spiritual fruit.

There is spiritual sap - the spirit that flows into your heart and mind that gives you the Spiritual fruit. You need to be connected to the Lord and, if you're going to have the other fruits of souls that are reached, you need to be connected. "He that abides in me and I in him bears much fruit; for without me you can do this my father is glorified" - I'm in verse 8 now - "that you bear much fruit; so you will be my disciples." Notice the connection between being true disciples and bearing much fruit. Are you a disciple if you don't bear any fruit? What does Jesus say is the result of those that bear no fruit? They're pruned off - they're fruitless vines. You know the parable - there's a parable of a fig tree - you only find this parable in Luke chapter 13 - about a man that has a fig tree planted in his vineyard, of all places.

A fig tree is in the vineyard. And for three years he comes - the owner - he comes and he's looking for fruit on his fig tree and there's nothing. Now that's unusual because my next door neighbor, who's a member here, has a fig tree right over the fence and the squirrels keep planting those figs all over my yard - it's really nice to reach over the fence and get some of them, but it doesn't take very long before a fig starts bearing fruit - it's amazing - the first year or two they start bearing fruit and they grow very quickly. So for three years they have nothing and the owner of the vineyard says to the gardener, the one who cares for it, he says, 'cut it down, it's taking up space.' Every now and then, you know, you get a dud. Every now and then you get a tree that just doesn't do anything.

Have any of you seen an orchard before where you get all these trees and they're all blossoming and there's one that just decides not to blossom. Some trees, for whatever reason, they're defective and they're just not fruitful. And he said, 'look, we've got a dud. Cut it down.' And the vine dresser, he spent three years taking care of this. He thinks, you know, probably some of them just need one more year.

Some of them are late bloomers. You ever heard that expression? He said, 'give it another year.' And - he says, 'I'll dig around it. I'll give it extra irrigation, I'll fertilize it, and then if it bears fruit, great. If not, cut it down.' So what's the fate of fruitless vines and fruitless trees? Why does it cumber the ground? I wonder what the Lord thinks when he looks down from heaven and he sees us come together from week to week and we sing these songs about these sublime majestic themes of the Gospel and life and death issues and we go out and we don't do anything about it. We have no passion beyond putting in our time at church - kind of punching the clock - and then we go home and do our own thing and we - our passion is not the harvest.

Our passion is not to win souls - to bring people to Jesus. You know, when you think about it, it is true that there are two destinies: life and death. Everybody in the world - there's only two roads - there's not multiple roads - there's two roads: straight gate, broad way to destruction. And everybody's on that road somewhere in the continuum and everybody you meet is heading towards life or death. That ought to be the thing that drives and motivates us more than anything else is to get people turned around on the right road.

I mean, I heard one time about this man that was driving on a rainy night - we had some nice rain yesterday, amen? The man was driving one of these rainy nights, heading down a country road and he - you ever had the windshield wipers on full but it's still raining so much you can barely see? Had his headlights up bright and he's by himself on this road and he looks out in the distance and he sees what looks like - at first he thought it was a deer and then he realizes it's a man and this man is falling down and staggering back and forth in the road and he thought, 'oh man, there's some crazy drunk out here.' And so he sees him on the right side of the road - he goes over to the left side of the road so he can get around him and when he does this, the man staggers into the left side of the road and he's waving his arms and carrying on and jumping up and down and he's just - this guy's out of his mind and so he goes back into the right side of the road. And this man goes back in the right side of the road. Now he's getting closer and closer and finally he thought, 'you know, if I change lanes real quick at the last minute, I can hit the gas and get around him so he can't like try and jump in my car or anything.' And just as he's about to do this, this man throws himself in front of the car. He slams on his brakes and now the driver's all nervous and scared and mad at one time and he jumps out and he's yelling at the fellow and he says, 'what in the world are you doing? Are you out of your mind? Are you crazy? You're going to get yourself killed.' And he thought he was drunk - and the guy starts to sob. He says, 'the bridge is out! The bridge is out!' He said, 'I've stood there and watched three cars drive off into the water and I couldn't watch another one.

' Do we realize that people are heading off the precipice into destruction? Are we trying to stop them? Are we just saying, 'you're on the wrong road. Too bad.' There ought to be an interest - they're ought to be a passion about trying to win souls, amen? There's nothing more important than the harvest. Matthew 20, verse 1 - now I haven't forgotten some verses are standing by here, we'll get to that - Jesus says, "for the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard." - Now, you know - how many of you know the parable of the laborers in the vineyard? He goes out early in the morning and he gets someone - he says, 'I'll pay you a penny to work for the day.' And they say, 'great! That's fair. That's the going rate.' And then they go out. Then he goes out a little later - 10:00 or so and he says, 'there's still people standing there.

' He hires everybody standing there. He says, 'do you want to go work in my vineyard?' And so they all say, 'sure!' And they go work. But he doesn't have enough laborers so he comes back at noon and there's more that have gathered. He says, 'look, you go work in my vineyard.' And they all go work. But he still needs more.

So he goes back at 2:00 and finally - he keeps going back all day long trying to find anybody that will work, right? And then at the eleventh hour he goes back and there's still some men that he finds that aren't working that could work. He says, 'look, I'll pay you what's fair. You go work.' And you know the story, at the end of the day he pays them beginning with those who worked last to those who started working first. He pays them all the same and the ones who worked all day long, they grumble against the ones who only work one hour and they say, 'look, you're paying them the same as us.' And he says, 'look, I'm paying you all the same and I'm paying everybody what I promised. Don't be jealous because I'm being more generous with them.

' Now the purpose of Christ's parable was he was telling the jews, 'I know you've been the chosen people for 2,000 years. Don't be upset, but I now call the gentiles in to accept the Scriptures that you've spent all your time guarding and protecting and sharing. I'm going to give them eternal life just like I'm going to give you eternal life. You don't get any special status because you've worked in the vineyard longer. You're getting what I promised you.

' So that's part of what the parable means, but don't miss this point: as long as he continues to go to the Marketplace, he continues to find workers, his problem is not that there isn't enough harvest. There's always plenty of harvest. The story never says the harvest is over. There's more harvest than there are workers in the story. Did you get that? He is looking everywhere for people to work and every time he finds one he hires him.

That's a very important point. That means that Jesus is willing to have all of us be involved in the harvest. And he asks - you know, when he sees him in the Marketplace he says, 'why do you stand here idle?' Do you realize with harvesting there's limited time? Crops go bad. Timing is very important. Harvesting - if you don't catch it during the harvest - especially if a rain comes or something - or a frost - it could wreck the entire harvest.

So timing, with a harvest, is very important. I think we're living in very portentous times right now. You know, it was interesting, at this religious broadcasters' convention, I was on a couple of committees where we met with some people - actually got a briefing from the supreme court on what's happening with some of the religious laws and the Christian leaders, their heads are spinning with what's happening morally in our country with just the tsunami of laws that are being passed that are basically persecuting Christians. They're telling Christian employers, you know, you have to hire people regardless of what their religious values are and more and more laws that are undermining what biblical marriage is. I mean it's just - places you would never think of, like Oklahoma and salt lake city, that you would never think that they would cave in on marriage, but certain Judges there are changing things for a whole state.

And then things are happening religiously. I don't know if any of you saw - I just first saw it last week - a video where the pope gives a special message to charismatic Christians at a - how many of you have seen that? Yeah, kenneth copeland conference and he gives them a message of love and says, 'we all need to unite. The protest is over. Nothing should separate us anymore. I'm sending you an embrace.

You need to return to your misunderstood brother Joseph.' And this is the message - you can watch it for yourself. Amazing Facts posted it with some commentary if you want to see that. And then the charismatics all turned around - they sent a message back to the pope , 'we're praying for him. We're blessing him. We love you.

' What in the world? It's like prophecy that we've said this for years - for 150 years we said this would happen someday and some back in - protestants said, 'that will never happen!' Do you know the charismatics and pentecostals used to believe the same things about the beast that we believe? They don't anymore. Things are changing rapidly. Anyway, because of the urgency of the time should we be involved in telling people? Which leads us to the next segment, 'beggar's bread'. You've often heard it said, 'evangelism is one beggar telling another beggar where the bread is. Okay, go ahead and read for us please, John 4:28-30.

"The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city and said to the men, 'come, see a man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?' Then they went out of the city and came to him." You know, I love the Gospel of John because you're going to find the statement 'come and see' several times - 'come and see'. When they first found Jesus after the baptism - I think this was in last week's lesson, they said, 'master, where dwellest thou?' What was his answer? 'Come and see.' And then after he reveals himself to them - matter of fact, this is in the next segment here. You can go to John 1:40 - John :40 - "one of the two who heard John speak, and followed him, was andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, 'we found the Messiah' (which is translated, the Christ).

And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him he said, 'you are Simon The Son of Jonah. You shall be called cephas' which is translated, a stone). The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and he found Philip and said to him, 'follow me.' Now Philip was from bethsaida, the city of andrew and Peter. Philip found nathanael and said to him, 'we have found him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote - Jesus of nazareth, The Son of Joseph.

' And nathanael said to him, 'can anything good come out of nazareth?' Philip said to him, 'come and see.'" You know what the best means of evangelism is? Between television, radio, printed hand bills - you think of all the different mechanisms for advertising an evangelistic meeting - you know which one is still the best? Word of mouth. A personal invitation. You've got - the personal testimony goes a lot farther. We're all influenced by endorsement. You know, they sell products on tv this way.

They've got these infomercials where they'll be demonstrating anything from some new kitchen - miraculous appliance to a fryer, to some painting something or other. They'll have a studio audience that's in there all dressed really nice and they're lit well, and they're showing how this thing works and then everyone's going - they turn the camera on the audience - 'oh wow! Ooh!' And what happens is the people who are watching they go, 'well not only are they saying this is great paint or a great slicer/dicer' - or whatever they're selling - 'but the people out there think it's wonderful.' And so we all want to know what others think. And so when someone personally says, 'wow, I went to this meeting and it really touched my heart. You've got to go at least one night - you've got to go.' 'Oh man, not that church! Can anything good come out of that church?' Don't argue with them, say, 'come and see.' By the way, if you want to really see you must come to Jesus. You come to Christ and then you see.

Some people want to understand theology and truth and they're waiting for fluttery feelings. First you must surrender to Jesus then your eyes are opened. You come to him and then you see. So that's a good way to invite people. The woman at the well, did she need a doctorate in theology to be a soul winner? Did she have to be a pastor to be a soul winner? Or did she just have to have an experience that she could share with somebody else.

Everybody should be involved in this kind of evangelism where, when you find the bread of life, you tell everyone that's hungry, 'we know where the bread is.' Before I leave that thought, how many of you - while we're talking about beggars looking for bread, there's kind of exhibit a of this story in the Bible. You remember the story of the lepers? There's four lepers - Kings - that's one place in the Bible - 2 Kings 7. There's a famine in samaria - terrible famine - because the people of samaria - the northern tribes of Israel - they are being surrounded by the syrian army. The syrian army has them besieged. They can't get out.

They can't get food in. They're basically trying to starve them into surrender. And the Bible says there's four leprous men. This is 2 Kings 7, verse 3, "now there were four leprous men at the entrance of the gate; and they said to one another, 'why are we sitting here until we die?" 'If we go in the city they're starving in the city.' You read the whole story and they're not only eating donkey heads and dove droppings, they're getting involved in cannibalism - it's a terrible famine. Lepers can't go in the city because they're lepers so they're outside the gate.

They can't leave because out there is the assyrian army camp completely surrounding the capital of samaria. And so finally, there may have been a hundred lepers in the colony - they've all died off except four of them are left. They've all starved. And the four of them say, 'if we sit here then we're going to die like everyone else. If we go in the city, because they're obviously not keeping the clean and unclean laws anymore, they're eating donkey heads, what good will it do? They're starving.

If we stay here we're going to die. The only option we have with any hope is that we go surrender to the assyrians and if they have mercy on us and throw us some crumbs we'll live. If they kill us, we're dying anyway, it'll be quick.' Right? So this is what they're thinking. So they come to the point of making that complete surrender - willing to die - by the way, that's when you really start to live is when you come to make a complete surrender - take up your cross. And as they go down to the syrian army, they're amazed because there's nobody there.

All the camels and the donkeys are tied off. The tents are still intact. Their campfires are still smoldering with food on the barbecue but there's no soldiers. The Bible tells us what happened. the Lord made the syrian army to hear the sound of an approaching army - of horses and chariots coming - because when an army moved back then, there was so much ground vibration you could hear them coming.

It sounded like thunder in the distance. And they panicked - the assyrians panicked. They thought that the Israelites had hired the Egyptians or the hittites or someone to come and attack them and they all - without even saddling their horses they got up and ran for their lives. It says they threw off their clothes as they ran toward the Jordan because they wanted to run faster - they dropped everything. Now when you besiege a city, it sometimes took years.

When the Romans besieged masada, it took three years before they could capture it. Some of the biblical sieges - when Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem - two years before they surrendered. You bring a lot of food if you're going to go - if you go to camp meeting for 11 days, you guys bring enough for the millennium, right? Just admit it. You always bring too much food. And so if you're going to go camp out for two years, how much do you bring? There's an enormous amount of provisions - enough to feed an army - literally - so these lepers who are starving, they come and they find this camp - this army camp - abandoned and they go into one of the tents - they just want something immediately - and they see there's food and not only is there food - they're wearing rags so there's beautiful clothes.

They take the clothes and they say, 'oh, there's money here too.' And they take the money. So instead of getting some crumbs and a little water, they get food and they get gold and they get clothing and they carry all - they eat what they can and they carry all what they can to the walls and they bury it. And then they look and they don't see any more activity down at the camp and they think, 'you know, they could come back. We'd better get more.' So they go back and they get more. They bring it back.

And through the night they're going back and forth between the syrian camp and the walls of samaria and they're hiding all this food like packrats because they think, 'they must be coming back. They didn't just leave.' And then this is one of the great verses in the Bible, 2 Kings 7, verse 9, "then they said to one another" - these are the four lepers - "we are not doing right. This day is a day of good news, and we remain silent. If we wait until morning light, some punishment will come upon us. Now therefore, come, let us go and tell the King's household.

'" - Let us go and tell - isn't it amazing that God can use people like lepers who are poor and wretched and miserable and blind and naked - he can use people like that to share the good news. He can use a person like mary magdalene or the woman at the well - kind of the outcasts of society. God can use all kinds of people to share the Gospel. I always hesitate to tell you this but the first few Bible studies I gave I was a hippie in a cave and I wasn't wearing very much. But I found the Gospel and so I shared it with the other hippies that I met.

And so, yeah, if you saw those first Bible studies, you would have thought, 'that's a little rough.' But, you know, there's so much that I didn't understand, but I shared what I did understand. And so evangelism is - don't wait until you understand everything, share what you do understand. Evangelism is one beggar telling another beggar where the bread is. I tell you what, let's read John :26, "but when the helper comes, whom I shall send to you from The Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the father, he will testify of me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.

" So like that woman at the well, when she found Jesus she received - he revealed himself to her - the first thing she had to do was go tell others. And when they maybe argued and said, 'you found the Messiah? Well, we're not so sure.' She said, 'come and see a man who told me all things ever I did.' They couldn't argue with that. They finally did go see Jesus and then they said to the woman, first we came because of your recommendation, now we know for ourselves he is the Messiah. So people need to have a personal experience. Okay I think we're ready, mike.

Go ahead. Revelation 2, verse 3, "and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for my name's sake and have not become weary." Alright, this is dealing with the subject of in the harvest you need patience. Timing is very important in the harvest. And some examples that are given here - Luke 24:49 - Jesus said, "behold, I send the promise of my father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high." Well you think after Jesus rose from the dead he'd want them to go right from the tomb and tell everybody. But why did Jesus tell them to wait? There were some timing things that needed to happen.

Why did he want them to wait until pentecost before he poured out the Spirit? Anyone want to raise their hand and offer a suggestion? Good point. I'm going to repeat you so folks will hear what you said. One reason is the feast of pentecost - jews would be there from all over the roman empire so the timing was perfect. Any other ideas? Why would he tell them to wait? Before pentecost, did something happen in the upper room? Idea? Back here. Yes.

Alright, so he could prepare them for the Holy Spirit. Were the disciples arguing among themselves up until the last supper? Were there some misgivings about whether they could maybe trust Peter - after he denied the Lord? I mean, there were all kinds of problems. So what's happening in the upper room that prepares them for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit? They confess their faults to one another, they were praying for one another, they were putting aside their differences. Before the Holy Spirit was poured out it says, 'not only were they at one place, they were of one accord.' Whenever I say that I always think of a honda. They're all in one accord.

But they finally needed that unity. So Jesus said, 'all men will know you're my disciples by your love for one another' right? So that was very important. Timing is very important in evangelism. Jesus said, 'you're not ready yet. You're not ready to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

' Now does the Holy Spirit come in different degrees? When the Holy Spirit fell on the apostles at pentecost, we use a farming term to describe that. You know what I'm thinking? There are two kinds of rain - former rain and latter rain. In the Jewish economy in many parts of the world, farmers knew - they didn't have artificial irrigation. They depended on the winter rain to sprout the wheat and then there would be a former rain - a latter rain that would prepare it for the harvest so there'd be spring rain and the fall rain that would plump up the grain just before the harvest. You needed both rains.

Now we need - has the former rain already come? Pentecost is the former rain. It sprouted the seed that Jesus had been spreading that got the Gospel growing. Before the harvest, when Christ comes in Revelation with - to harvest - that's - you need the latter rain. So are we supposed to now just sit in church, confess our faults to each other and wait for the latter rain before we do evangelism? No. First of all, because the former rain came.

God has not withdrawn the promise of the Holy Spirit. Does the Holy Spirit come in different degrees? Absolutely. Did Jesus only give the holy spirit at pentecost or did he breathe on them in the upper room and say, 'receive ye the Spirit'? When he sent them out preaching didn't they get the Holy Spirit then or were they spiritless? Of course they had the Spirit then, but a special, powerful baptism - immersion in the holy spirit happened just before pentecost. That's going to happen again. Don't use that as an excuse to not be doing evangelism with the Holy Spirit that's available now.

Because God wants the crop and harvest to be happening now. And I met a lot of - a lot of Christians that say, 'yep, when the Holy Spirit's poured out we're going to be spreading the Gospel everywhere. But I'm praying and waiting for that time.' Now it is important that - there is a time to wait and timing is very important. You know, one of the first evangelistic programs I did - I had no experience. I went to - I was in dickens, Texas and I got a tent from the texico conference - dickens is outside of lubbock and I said, 'lend me a tent.

' I'd been preaching in this - there's a church of Christ - I was teaching Sunday school in a methodist church. I was going to the lubbock church on Sabbath. I was preaching in two different baptist churches on Sunday. There was no adventist church in this town so I said, 'I've got all these interests' and I said, 'I want to do a meeting.' So they gave me tent and opening night we had 70 people, which is a lot for a little farming community. I was so excited, I think I tried to give them all 27 fundamentals in one week.

I mean, you know, I just - I gave the rapture and the state of the dead and - don't eat pork! I was so excited and it was - you know, the Lord blessed - still two people were baptized but boy I decimated my crowd in no time at all because I didn't understand timing. When we teach evangelism now and we have an afcoe program, we talk about the order of messages - the order of Bible studies that you give. There's reasons for that. You need to think. You need to be intelligent.

First you establish confidence in the Bible because if they don't have confidence in the Bible, what good are the other Bible studies? That's why so many evangelists start with Daniel chapter 2, because it builds faith in the Bible and so there's a sequence and then after you cover a heavy subject with someone in the Bible study, then talk about heaven or talk about something of grace and salvation. Talk about something that's going to be a little easier to chew and swallow. And then you can go back and give them, when they've digested that - something that may also be a little weightier. But boy, if you just give them one knockout punch after another, you send them flying and they say, 'I can't swallow this.' So timing is very important and Jesus understood that. And when you're involved in the harvest, you need to be patient and that's what mike was just reading: you have persevered and had patience.

Psalm 37, verse 7, "rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him;" do farmers need patience? Doesn't James talk about that - how the farmer patiently waits for the development of the crop? Don't get discouraged if you're trying to win souls and you don't see an immediate reaction. How many of you can think of somebody that you've been praying for their salvation for years? Don't give up. Just remember, a day with the Lord is as a thousand years - I'm not saying you've got to wait a thousand years - and a thousand years is a day.' I'm just saying, 'God, he hears our prayers. He doesn't always answer them as quickly as we expect and I'll bet you that hezekiah prayed for his son manasseh. He knew that he was not converted.

He prayed for him. And hezekiah died, but God stored those prayers in heaven and 50 years later manasseh is converted. And so, you know, God is patient. So you've got to persevere when you're involved in harvesting. And I've got some people on my prayer list - of course you always have your family members, but I've got some other people I've had on a prayer list for years and I look at my list - they're still there and I'm saying, 'Lord, I'm not giving up yet.

' So if you're involved in - if you're involved in soul winning - and all believers should be, we need to have patience. Acts 1:4 and 5 - still talking about patience: "and being assembled together with them, he commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of The Father, 'which,' he said, 'you have heard from me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the holy spirit not many days from now.'" Is there something that we can do to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit or are we just looking at God has it on his calendar - when the day comes, it comes. I think there's something we can do. Why would Jesus say - and this is - well, it's in Matthew and in Luke - 'if you then being evil give good gifts unto your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give to those that ask? So what's the most important thing we can be praying for? 'Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of latter rain.' And so I think everyday, the thing that we should be praying for is the Spirit of God. And the more we pray for that, the more we prepare our hearts for the baptism of the holy spirit.

You know what brought the baptism of the Holy Spirit to the apostles? Really understanding the mission of Jesus and the cross. When they saw Christ's sacrifice for them, they were able to forgive each other. They were able to love each other and that prepared their hearts for the Holy Spirit. When they humbled themselves before the Lord, he was able to fill them. What prepared the people of Israel to receive the rain in the days of Elijah? When they fell before the Lord and they said, 'the Lord, he is God.

the Lord, he is God.' They humbled themselves and then God sent the rain. The other thing that brought the rain for them is reformation. They knocked down the false altars and they got rid of the prophets of baal - then God sent the rain. So I'm not saying you go out there and execute a bunch of false prophets, I'm just saying that they are probably in our lives and in our homes - we have idols. And once they dealt with the idols God sent the rain.

They weren't prepared to receive the rain. He - you know, the Lord can't fill a full vessel. If we empty ourselves he can fill us. And so, that's, I think, an important prerequisite. Alright, acts 16:6 - now it's still talking about patience here, "now when they had gone through phrygia and the region of galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in asia.

" Now, you know what that means? What I read into that, they made some effort. They wanted to go into asia. Paul said, 'I've got great plans for asia!' And the Holy Spirit said, 'no.' Now how do you think the holy spirit - did the Holy Spirit e-mail them or text them or fax them or - do you think they noticed that God kept blocking it and he was forbidding them or they just didn't have peace that the time was right. I think they just sensed that the Spirit. Sometimes it's an inner sense and sometimes providentially things maybe didn't open up.

- "After they came to mysia, they tried to go into bithymia, but the Spirit did not permit them. So passing by mysia, they came down to troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of macedonia" - now many believe that this man that appears in the dream - do you know who that is? Luke. Good chance, you know why? Up to this point, when you read the book of acts - it says, 'Paul went here.

Paul went there. Paul did this. Paul did that.' Immediately after this vision Luke begins to say, 'we went here. We went there. We did this.

We did that.' So it's likely that Paul saw that there was this dedicated Godly physician named Luke in macedonia that was praying - like cornelius was praying - that was praying that somebody would come and God heard Luke praying and Paul came to macedonia. - "Stood and pleaded with him, saying, 'come over to macedonia and help us.' Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us" - from then on it's plural in the book of acts - "concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the Gospel to them." And so they went. But the timing wasn't right and so, you know, they tried to go here and they tried to go there and God said, 'no'. And, you know, maybe weeks went by and they were praying about, you know, what are we supposed to do?' And God opens another door. Have you ever had an experience where all of your plans got messed up and you thought, 'I've been planning this for a long time.

' And you're wondering why it happened and lo and behold something even better happens? So we've got to always be open to God's timing and being patient. I remember one time missing a plane and I just couldn't understand it. I was really upset and while I was waiting in the san francisco airport, the Holy Spirit kind of said to me - I didn't hear a voice but, you know, I felt impressed that maybe this'll work together for good. And lo and behold, the taxi driver who picked me up in New York city started talking religion with me and all the way - we got stuck in traffic and I was able to make a Gospel presentation to this guy. I still remember, his name was Michael.

And I got out of there - yeah - I got out of the taxi just praising the Lord and thinking, you know, God arranged this whole thing and if I had caught my plane we never would have met, ostensibly - I'm assuming we wouldn't have met. Anyway, so God - sometimes you have to be patient because he's working things out. Alright, oh, we've got a lot to cover. 'Exercising authority': in the harvest he delegates authority to us. Alright, someone has Matthew 18:18, who has that? Over here? Hi elisa, welcome.

We'll let you - we'll let you get set up for that and I'm going to read Matthew chapter , verse 19. These verses - no, I'm going to read Mark 6:7 rather - Mark 6:7, "and he called the twelve to himself, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them power" - he gave them authority - "over unclean spirits." - You go to verse 13 - "and they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick, and healed them." Now, could they do that in their own power or did God delegate power to them to do these things? If God asks you to go farming - if he involves you in the harvest, doesn't he give you the authority to do that? Do we have the Word of God giving us authority to share the message? Alright, go ahead, please read Matthew 18:18. "Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." Now that is a very troubling verse. By the way, it goes along with Matthew 16:19 - I'm going to read for you right now. And he says, "and I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

" Wow. Does that mean the Lord is giving believers the ability to decide who is saved and who is lost? What do you think? No, but have some misused this verse? They apply it, for instance, to clerics and priests and say that they get to decide who's forgiven and who's not forgiven. You know, what Jesus is saying here is better understood by knowing something about Hebrew. It was very common among the jews to use the terms 'to bind' and 'to loose'. And first and foremost, in the Gospel - Jesus is the one - he's The Son of David that has the keys to the Kingdom, right? So when he says he gives us the keys to the Kingdom, it's the Gospel.

What sets us free? You'll know the what and it will set you free? The truth. And so, very simply, in giving the truth to believers and as they share the truth with others, they've got the keys of the Kingdom that is able to share the Gospel. Now, I'm going to say something that's maybe going to be misunderstood. We do not believe that Peter is the first pope - that the rock upon which Jesus built the church was not Peter because he says, 'you are Peter. You are a pebble.

But on this 'petra'' - it's a different word that used - it's mighty, immense gibraltar-scale, prudential rock - 'I will build my church.' The rock was the statement of Peter that Jesus is the Messiah. On that truth the church was built. But, having said that, God - there's also kind of a double meaning in here - who is the first one who preaches at pentecost? To the jews? Peter. Who is the first one who preaches to the gentiles? Cornelius. Not cornelius as in the first one - who is the first one who preaches to cornelius? Peter.

So, in a sense, God did use Peter to open the Gospel to the gentiles and so he was saying, 'things that were formerly bound' - what did Peter say when he was invited to the gentile's house? 'You know that it's not lawful for one who is a jew to enter the house of a gentile.' But Christ was saying, 'I'm going to give you the keys to the Kingdom. Those things that you considered unlawful before - don't call them unclean. They are clean now. I want you to go to the gentiles. And so the jews reading this understood that.

Matter of fact, I read - I was doing a little study on this that when a Jewish rabbi was commissioned it said, 'take thou liberty to teach what is bound and what is loosed.' And so they were talking about the law and what is permitted and what is not permitted. And so these were very common terms. And so talking about what is bound and talking about what is loosed - those are just terms that mean you will be teaching the Word of God. You will be teaching the law and the Gospel is in that term. Okay, low on time here - 'laborers for the harvest' - Matthew 9:37 - somebody look up for me Isaiah 53:6 - who has that? Over here? We'll get you a microphone.

Matthew 9:37, "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.'" Not only should we be willing, but what should we be praying for? Other laborers. Should we just be praying that God will send laborers or should we help make sacrifice and subsidize labors? Not all of us may feel that we've got the ability, because of our jobs and our families, to go do foreign mission work, but we can pray - we can put money behind our prayers and sacrifice to spread the Gospel, right? I wonder how much evangelism could be done if people took a percentage of their resources that they don't need for their daily comforts - I mean, let's face it. A lot of us have stuff stored away - houses and lands and things - that we - way beyond what we need for our daily needs. If we took a percentage of that and said, 'I am now going to make a great sacrifice and commit that to the Gospel.

' That would open the flood gates of resources for spreading the Gospel around the world in ways that nobody could match. If we would sacrifice like they did in new testament times - so it's not just praying for the harvest - it's not very expensive to pray, is it? I think there's more we could do. Offer ourselves - go on a mission trip. And if you can't preach, go on a maranatha trip - build a church. Get involved in a 'share him' program.

And there's something everybody can do to be involved and get a taste for evangelism. The harvest is great. You know, I have people say, 'I'm so afraid to share my faith. Someone might make fun of me. It's not very popular.

I don't want to be ridiculed and' - I've felt that way, haven't you? Have you ever been scared or intimidated? You're in a room of secular pagans and you're saying, 'maybe I should say something. Oh, not here! Oh no! They'll stone me.' But, you know what I found out whenever I get the courage to say something? There are more people in those groups that are hungry than you might think. Jesus says the harvest is great. There are a lot of seekers out there that you would never guess are searching. The harvest is great.

The labors - the problem isn't the harvest - the laborers are few. Alright, read for us Isaiah :6. Isaiah 53:6, "all we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all." There's the lost and the found. You can read Luke 15, where he gives those parables about all these losts that are out there. You've got the lost coin, the lost sheep, the lost son - and they must be pursued.

The shepherd pursues. The woman pursues the lost coin and the Holy Spirit pursues the lost son through providence. But all of us are found because someone is pursuing and we need to be involved in that harvest. Time is up but the harvest is still great. Again we have a free offer and it's on the need for the Holy Spirit and we'll send this to you free for asking.

Just call 866-788-3966 - ask for offer #723. God bless you friends and, Lord willing, we'll study this lesson 13 next week.

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