Sunday, March 3, 2019

The Commands of Christ – Part 7: Pray for laborers, be wise as serpents, fear not, and hear God’s voice

The Commands of Christ – Part 7:
Pray for laborers, be wise as serpents, fear not, and hear God’s voice
HOFC - Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

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Matthew 28:18-20
 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nationsbaptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Part 1 – Make disciples, baptize them and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you
Part 2 – Repent, follow Me, rejoice and let your light shine
Part 3 – Honor God’s Law, be reconciled, do not lust and keep your word
Part 4 – Go the second mile, love your enemies, be perfect and practice disciplines in secret
Part 5 – Lay up treasures in heaven, seek God’s Kingdom, judge not, do not cast pearls
Part 6 – Ask, seek and knock, do unto others, choose the narrow way and beware of false prophets
Part 7 – Pray for laborers, be wise as serpents, fear not, and hear God’s voice
Part 8 – Take my yoke, honor your parents, beware of leaven, and deny yourself
Part 9 – Despise not little ones, go to offenders, beware of covetousness and forgive offenders
Part 10 – Honor marriage, be a servant, be a house of prayer and ask in faith
Part 11 – Bring in the poor, render to Caesar, love the Lord and love your neighbor
Part 12 – Await my return, take communion, be born again and keep my commands
Part 13 – Watch and pray, feed my sheep, baptize my disciples
Part 14 – Receive God’s power and make disciples

Part 7 – Pray for laborers, be wise as serpents, fear not, and hear God’s voice

Jesus is giving this command, to Preach, Baptize and Teach, to everyone who is a follower of Christ Jesus.  Then to the disciples, and today to His disciples.
a.      Matthew 9:37-38 “Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

b.     Yes pray for them, but the command is to pray for more of them
                                                             i.      Paul asked for prayers during his ministry, our prayers strengthen, lift up, and call God to respond to a brother of sister in need.
                                                          ii.      James 5:16The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
                                                       iii.      Someone once asked me, “why do we pray for others?”
1.      Perhaps the other person is not heard by God? If they are in sin, or not saved, their prayers are not heard because they do not belong to the Father.
2.      Perhaps the other is heard, but tired or weak? Sometimes we can feel defeated, and do not pray as we should, and need brothers and sisters to pray in our place.
3.      There can be many reasons, all good…so pray for others!
                                                        iv.      But that is not what Christ is commanding here!
                                                           v.      Pray for them…but the Lord commands us to pray for MORE of them!

c.      The imbalance of supply and demand
                                                             i.      Matthew 9 states, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few…”
                                                          ii.      There is more demand (the plentiful harvest) than supply (the workers)
                                                       iii.      If you are in a field and there are hundreds of apple trees, each tree holds a thousand apples, and you do not pick one, how have you helped the orchard?
                                                        iv.      We must serve our Lord by participating in the harvest, as well as praying for more workers! This is a command.

   II.            BE WISE AS SERPENTS
a.      Matthew 10:16-17a ““I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. 17 Be on your guard…”

b.     We must not be ignorant of our enemy
                                                             i.      Any warrior will tell you, “know your enemy.”
                                                          ii.      Sun Tzu stated in his book, “The Art of War,” If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be endangered in a hundred battles; ... if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be jeopardized in every single battle.”
                                                       iii.      1 Peter 5:8Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
                                                        iv.      2 Corinthians 11:14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”
                                                           v.      John 8:44You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

c.      But we must not behave like him either
                                                             i.      We are sheep among the wolves, innocent as doves.
                                                          ii.      I can know and understand my enemy without behaving like him.
                                                       iii.      Knowing his behavior can show e which path to avoid.
                                                        iv.      Scripture tells us what he is like;
1.      A lion looking do devour (destroy) and pray on the weak
2.      He disguises himself as an angel of light…he hides behind religion, pretending to be a follower of Jesus, or a very devout religious person…a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
3.      He is a murderer (of flesh and spirit), and has nothing to do with the Truth (Jesus), because there is no Truth IN him (he is not saved, and does not have the spirit of the Lord within him)
4.      Lying is his native tongue, he is the father of lies
                                                           v.      We know this, and remain sheep to our Shepherd, and innocent as doves, but mindful and not ignorant of Satan’s ways.

III.            FEAR NOT
a.      Matthew 10:28 “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
                                                             i.      Though we know the enemy, we do not fear him
                                                          ii.      Satan has no power over our eternal soul
                                                       iii.      The only power he has in our lives, is that which we submit to him
                                                        iv.      James 4:7 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
                                                           v.      Why does he flee? Because if you continue to resist, he knows you are not submitting to him, and he has no power over you, and he will find someone who will submit to him, so he leaves.

b.     Anxiety is fear of tomorrow, depression is guilt of yesterday
                                                             i.      We have nothing to fear for tomorrow, for God is the same today as yesterday, as tomorrow.  We belong to Him, and have nothing to fear.

c.      Do not be afraid of anything
                                                             i.      1 John 4:4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

IV.            HEAR GOD’S VOICE
a.      Matthew 11:15-19 “Whoever has ears, let them hear.
16 “To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others:
17 “‘We played the pipe for you,
    and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge,
    and you did not mourn.’
18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”
                                                             i.      When your enemies want to defame you and your words, you cannot win with them
                                                          ii.      They will talk about you, even when they do not know what they are talking about
                                                       iii.      Because they are serving their father, Satan who is the father of lies
                                                        iv.      There have been many who have said things against me over the years, all of which were false, but those people were serving their father, Satan.
                                                           v.      John the Baptist fasted and did not partake in celebrations, scoffers said he was a demon.
                                                        vi.      Jesus ate and drank with the lost and they called him a glutton and a drunkard for drinking wine, yet Jesus didn’t give in to gluttony, nor did He ever get drunk.
                                                     vii.      But wisdom is proved right by her deeds…
1.      Neither John or Jesus defended or tried to convince or prove they were right, they simply DID what they were supposed to do, and the deeds themselves (fruit of the Spirit) proved them right.

b.     Matthew 11:20 “Jesus began to denounce the towns in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. 21 “Woe to you…”
                                                             i.      Hearing God’s voice is not enough though!
                                                          ii.      James 1:22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
                                                       iii.      We see in Matthew Jesus denounced the towns in which He performed most of His miracles because they did not repent!  They heard and saw Truth, but did not respond appropriately…they did not become “doers” of the Word, merely hearing it!
                                                        iv.      And they deceived themselves…thinking because they heard it, without doing anything, they were obedient.
                                                           v.      I know many people, who at this very minute are choosing to live in sin, openly sinning, and understanding it is sin, yet, because they go to church once in a while, or know a few scriptures, or listen to sermons, they believe they are “Christians”, yet, the do not live the Word they know.
                                                        vi.      They do not obey the very Word they proclaim to follow.
                                                     vii.      As the scripture says in James 1, “they deceive themselves…”

c.      More than hearing, the Lord calls us to properly respond!
                                                             i.      Satan knows the bible better than you
                                                          ii.      Satan has been in heaven with the Lord
                                                       iii.      Satan “believes” God is real, and that Jesus is His Son
                                                        iv.      James 2:19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.”
                                                           v.      Without obedience to the Word we know, we deceive ourselves, and so many have.

Matthew 28:18-20
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Jesus promises His us, while we are obeying His commands to preach, baptize and teaching others to obey His commands, He will be with us to the end of this age!

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