September 26, 2021 The Harvest

The Harvest

Sept. 26, 2021




Read Matthew 9:32-38.


A demon possessed man (or demon oppressed) was brought to the Lord. The demon caused the man to be mute. For us, the temptation arises to think that all physical maladies, such as deafness, blindness, and muteness, have only physical causes. This is because so many of those causes have been identified. And, it may be the case that most physical illnesses and infirmities do have only physical causes. But this does not mean that all do. This is actually an error in reasoning. Matthew, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, identifies the cause of this man’s muteness to a demon.


Jesus has the power to cast out demons. The apostles also had this power. But, every follower of Christ has this power!


And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues;[1]


Some people might object, saying that the ending of Mark’s gospel was not written by Mark but is an addition. This may be so. But, everything in the longer ending of Mark is found elsewhere in the New Testament and is also supported by the writings of the Ante-Nicene authors. And so:


“For he (Jesus) was made man also…for the sake of believing man, and for the destruction of demons. And now you can learn this from what is your own observation. For numberless demoniacs throughout the whole world, and in your own city, many of our Christian men exorcising them in the name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate and have healed and do heal, rendering helpless and driving the possessing devils out of men, though they could not be cured by all the other exorcists and those who used incantations and drugs.”[2]


If you truly believe in Christ then you have the authority to cast out demons! Most will leave upon your command. According to our Savior, there are some who will only come out with prayer and fasting. If you know you are to engage in spiritual warfare, then you ought to be fasting.


Then Jesus heals again. He is our Healer!


Then our Lord says something important:


Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” [3]


What did Jesus mean when he said, “the harvest is plentiful”? The harvest is not the harvest at the end of the age. Rather, it is the gathering of those who have been chosen by God but who do not yet know their need for a Savior and Lord. It is a phrase that communicates that there are many ready to come to Christ but who have not yet been outwardly called.


Their readiness is made possible by the working of the Spirit in their lives before anyone even speaks to them. Or, it could be that others have spoken to them and the Spirit has used those words to help them realize their need.


The harvest was plentiful in Jesus’ day and it is still plentiful today. The reason the harvest is still plentiful is because the Spirit is always working in every age to draw people to the Lord.


Then Jesus says that “the laborers are few.” There is labor involved in bringing others to Christ. You must get off of your behind and go out to talk to people. You must have at least a cursory understanding of the law and the gospel. And Christians already have this. But he says that the laborers are few. When Jesus said this there was only him, the twelve, and seventy others (Luke 10:1-17). That is fewer than a hundred in a country of over one million people.


But, do you know what? The laborers are still few! Even though there are, supposedly, millions of Christians in our nation, the vast majority do not share their faith. Even though the Lord commanded us to make disciples (28:18-20) and this command is for every follower, most Christians do not obey the Lord in this matter. This is the very reason we need to pray!


This is the great difference between the disciples of Jesus then and now. In the NT we read how they went out and proclaimed the gospel. Not just the 12, but even the 70. But today’s Christians, by and large, are not doing that. To say it bluntly, they choose to satisfy themselves rather than to please their Lord.


Because the harvest is plentiful and because the laborers are few, we need to pray!


Jesus said, “therefore, pray earnestly”! We not only need to pray, but we need to pray earnestly! That is, with “intense conviction”! Intensify your prayers!


What do we pray? We pray that the Lord would send out laborers! But the laborers are not someone else! The laborers are not someone else! We are the laborers! This means that first and foremost you must pray that the Lord would send you out. “Lord, there are so few laborers. Send me out into the harvest.”


Are you praying this prayer? Look! Didn’t the Lord tell you to pray? We see his command to pray right here.


It doesn’t matter if you are scared to talk to people. (Actually, it does matter. But, it doesn’t matter with respect to you praying the prayer!) It doesn’t matter if you may think that you are not prepared. These things don’t matter because God will overcome those things by His Spirit! You need to pray.


God can do more than you ask and more than you can imagine. You might be timid. If you are, the Lord can overcome that:


For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.[4]


The Lord’s solution to your timidity is the spirit! When we are supplied with the Holy Spirit in our spirit, we experience power, love, and discipline. When we are in the flesh we experience a lack of motivation, a lack of love for the lost, and a lack of discipline in carrying out the Lord’s will. When we are full of the Spirit we have power. We experience love. We discipline our bodies and minds.[5] Some Christians allow their bodies to control them instead of them controlling their bodies. Allowing your bodily desires to direct your actions is to live like a worldling. Rather, allow your reason, under the direction of the spirit, to guide your choices.


God can do more than you ask and more than you can imagine. You might feel as if you don’t know enough to talk to others.  But that feeling is unfounded. All you need to know is the gospel and every Christian already knows that. One thing that every follower of Christ can do is to share their own testimony of how they came to faith in Christ. Personal testimonies are simple yet powerful. Our testimony, simple though it may be, can defeat the enemy!


Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying,

Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.

  11      “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.[6]


We overcome Satan by the blood of the Lamb! We possess the knowledge that his blood cleanses us from all sin! This will give us confidence to speak with a clear conscience. And we overcome Satan by the word of our testimony. It is not just the testimony of our life. It is the word of our testimony. We must open our mouths! I could say this in more than one way:


We must open our mouths! Don’t wait for someone else to speak. You speak! It is your mouth that must open.


We must open our mouths! It is not enough to intend on doing it. It is not enough desire to do it. We must actually do it!


We must open our mouths! Speaking our testimony is not optional. We are commanded to make disciples of others. Every disciple starts with hearing the gospel. This means we must speak it. It is really that simple.


God can do more than you ask and more than you can imagine. You might be lazy. Now this is a bigger obstacle than either fear or lack of knowledge. The Lord warns about this sinful affliction often in Scripture. In the Parable of the Talents (which we will cover in my Sunday School class next week) the Lord addresses his slave who had only one talent:


“And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed.

  25      ‘And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’

  26      “But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed.

  27      ‘Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest.

  28      ‘Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’[7]


The servant, the slave (these are terms that represent who we are), who did not make use of his talent on behalf of the Lord is called lazy. Hence, laziness is a reason why so many do not go out and open their mouths.


Like vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes,

So is the lazy one to those who send him.[8]


This verse matches so well with your Lord’s parable. We are the ones sent by the Lord into the world. Yet, some of us are lazy. Maybe we are not lazy at our jobs. Maybe we are not lazy with our hobbies. But some are lazy in the Lord’s work. If we are then we are like smoke in the Lord’s eyes. We are like a mouthful of vinegar and the Lord will spit us out! (Rev. 3:16)


For some, laziness is their most daunting hindrance. But, if we pray, the Lord can overcome this also. Yet, we cannot just do nothing. The Lord is till requiring our cooperation. We are not robots. We still have to go out. We still have to speak the oracles of God. When someone asks you to go out, go out! Don’t make excuses. If you are too tired, the Lord will give you energy once you start moving. If you think you have other things to do then those other things can wait. The world will not come to an end if you wait two hours to do some other activity. But the world will come to an end for someone in your vicinity today or tomorrow. People are dying nearly every day in your community. Their world comes to an end. They may need to hear the gospel. And, they may need to hear it from you!


Sharing the gospel in one sense is like any other endeavor in life. That is, it can seem hard at first. But, as soon as you do it once or twice, you realize that it is easy!


When I was a young man, about 20 or 21, I went with my best friend to a lake. His parents had a cabin on a beautiful lake and they owned a speed boat. My friend had been water skiing since he was a young boy and he was quite good at it. He encouraged me to try. I did. But I fell down about a half second after I got up. I tried again. Fell down again. Up, fall down. Up, fall down…over and over. Finally, after many tries, I got up and stayed up for about three seconds, skiing maybe just twenty feet. But that twenty feet was exciting and fun! It encouraged me not to give up. Finally, I got up and stayed up! I skied for a while and, even when I fell down at a high rate of speed it was fun! I think that first water skiing adventure was the most thrilling experience of my life! I was only able to go a couple of more times that same summer and have never been since. But the memories are precious.


It is just this way sharing the gospel, only easier. Telling someone your testimony is easier than trying to stay up on water skiis! And, the more you do it, the easier it gets. Not only so, but there is a joy you receive upon speaking on behalf of the Lord. It comes whether the response was positive, negative, or indifferent!


The Lord commanded his disciples: “Pray earnestly that the Lord would send laborers into the harvest.” You are his disciple! So, pray the prayer! Include yourself in it and see what the Lord will do!






[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mk 16:17). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[2] Justin Martyr, 2 Apol., as quoted in Healing in the Early Church by Andrew Dauntaon-Fear, Wipf & Stock, Eugine, OR; 2009. p 50.

[3] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 9:37–38). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[4] New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (2 Ti 1:7). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

[5] I Cor 9:24-27; Col. 2:5; I Tim 4:7; 2 Peter 1:6.

[6] New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Re 12:10–11). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

[7] New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Mt 25:24–28). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

[8] New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Pr 10:26). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.