It is my hope that you are doing well. It has been since last year that I have sent anything out. I pray that the year 2008 has been a blessing to you thus far, and that even as eight is the number of new beginnings that there are great things being birthed in the spirit realm for the people of God. As always I hope that this short teaching will be an encouragement to you.
I am thankful for the numbering of chapters and verses in the Bible and I am sure in God’s sovereignty He had something to say about that, but sometimes I wonder why they ended chapters where they did. You know in Paul’s writing he didn’t break up his letters, yet how many times does the first verse of a new chapter start with the word “therefore” and then we have to read the end of the previous chapter to see what it was “there for”. Sometime back I was reading Matthew 9:37,38 “Then He said to His disciples,” The harvest is truly plentiful, but the laborers are few. “Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Then in the very next chapter Jesus sent the twelve out into the harvest. Jesus practiced what He preached. We don’t know that there was any time lapsed here between Jesus saying what He said in chapter nine and what He did in chapter 10. Chapter 10 begins with “And”. Jesus gave them authority and sent them out with this commission, Matthew 10:7,8, “and as you go, preach, saying the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” This was the model Jesus used in ministry. He taught and He demonstrated. He told the disciples to preach the kingdom and demonstrate it.
I believe there is another model here as well. Pray and go. We must be willing to put legs to our prayers. Praying for laborers does not exempt us from being laborers, no more than giving to missions funds exempts us from being a witness. I personally cannot pray that prayer without saying, “Here I am Lord, send me.” I know a number of years ago, I was asked to consider a pastorate in a region where it is extremely cold seven or eight months out of the year. I hate cold weather and it was an area of which I was not particularly fond. I was not going to even consider it until I heard the Lord say,”Will you go wherever I send you.” I immediately said,”Yes, Lord”, and sent in the necessary information. They called someone else and I was glad, but I knew the Lord had tested my heart. I don’t know whether or not the disciples prayed to the Lord of the harvest for laborers, but if they did, they received an immediate answer, “Go!” If we stopped reading in chapter 9 we missed Jesus’ response to His own declaration.
Another great example of Jesus declaring something in one chapter and demonstrating it in the next is in Luke chapters 18 and 19. The rich young ruler came to Jesus and left sorrowful for he was unwilling to part with his riches. Luke 18:24-27 And when Jesus saw that he became very sorrowful, He said, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” And those who heard it said, “Who then can be saved?” But He said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” In the disciples’ eyes being rich was the blessing of God and if one blessed of God could not enter; then who could? Apart from faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ, no one can be saved. It is impossible for any man to enter the kingdom of God apart from God. That is true whether rich or poor, but there is the tendency for a rich person to be self-sufficient and unaware of their need for God.
One day as I was reading chapter 18 in Luke and went on into chapter 19, the Lord showed me something. Chapter 19 starts with the story of Zacchaeus, the wee little man that we all sung about when we were in Sunday school. Luke 19:3 Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. Notice Luke said he was rich. We could have assumed that by his being chief tax collector that he was rich, but Luke makes it a point of emphasis. Don’t you find it interesting that a morally good, rich, young ruler had rejected eternal life for riches and prompted a statement from Jesus of how difficult it was for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God and in the very next town there was an infamous, rich tax collector up a tree to see who Jesus was. Here was an awesome object lesson for His disciples. Zacchaeus didn’t know it but he was plant from God about to be ambushed. Luke 19:5 And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, ” Zaccaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” Notice that Jesus knew his name and that Jesus said I must stay at your house. Jesus had come to demonstrate that God can put a camel through the eye of a needle, that a rich, dishonest man who quite probably obtained much of his wealth deceitfully could enter into the kingdom of God. Luke 19:9,10 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Where sin abounds grace does much more abound. That which is impossible to men is possible to God.
I hope that was an encouragement to you. If you would like, check out our new web site. The most recent Kingdom Keys will be available there and you may also listen to sermons recently preached by myself or my fellow elder Joe Senter. The website is: evergreenfamilyfellowship.org We want to be a blessing to you.
In His service,