Luke 10-11, Psalm 117
Pastor Chuck Smith commenting on Luke 10 relates this story. " At the end of World War 2, when General MacArthur signed the accord with Japan, he felt like the United States should send 10,000 missionaries to Japan. They were ready to hear the gospel. But the church didn't respond. Instead, the commercial interests came into Japan in a big way. As a result, Japan became a huge, materialistic empire, with very little interest in Christianity. Business succeeded, but the church failed." The world is full of tragic stories both on a large scale such as the ravaged islands in the Caribbean and those experiencing real large scale persecution in the Africa, Asia, and the Middle East; and on a smaller scale such as the personal struggles that surround us with those struggling with loss of life, loss of health, loss of finances, and loss of hope. The opportunities will always be present, the question is what will be our response personally and as a body of believers.
Many sit on the sidelines, thinking who are they to really make a difference. So far in Luke we read of John the Baptist preparing the way for Jesus in Luke 3:3 and the apostles being sent in His name in Luke 10:1-6. But now we read in Luke 10 of 70 nameless servants who respond to His call. We read in Luke 10:1-2, "After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. Then He said to them, "The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest." He warned them that the task would not be easy in verse 3, "Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves...". Notice their response afterwards in Luke 10:17, "Then the seventy returned with joy saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name."
Jesus goes on to describe their qualifications in Luke 10:21, "...I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes...". Those sent out were no-names. They were simple guys, not the elite, who simply responded to Jesus' calling and stepped out in faith. Many are paralyzed to step out thinking they must do so in their own strength and wisdom. Many feel that they will only step out once they have gone to seminary or become an expert in Scripture. God doesn't really need our strength, but our willingness to be used. The question really is are we willing to be laborers for the harvest. Many have never heard of Edward Kimball. He was the lay Sunday School teacher who cared enough for the soul of one of his 18 year old students that he approached this young 18 year old shoe salesman in the store where the young man was working. He felt awkward when he approached the young man and really felt that his words were fumbling and weak. The young man's name was Dwight L. Moody and he describes that this simple act of love and caring in reaching him for God's love is what prompted him to give his life to Christ. This single act of faith led to countless individuals coming to Christ through the evangelism of Dwight L. Moody. We should never underestimate what God can do in our lives if we simply respond to His call.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: