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The Harvest Is Ready (John 4:27-38)

Sermon on Sunday 16 February 2020 by Brother Paul

John 4:27-38 - Just then his disciples came back. They were shocked to find him talking to a woman, but none of them had the nerve to ask, "What do you want with her?" or "Why are you talking to her?" The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, "Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?" So the people came streaming from the village to see him.

Meanwhile, the disciples were urging Jesus, "Rabbi, eat something." But Jesus replied, "I have a kind of food you know nothing about." "Did someone bring him food while we were gone?" the disciples asked each other.

Then Jesus explained: "My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work. You know the saying, 'Four months between planting and rest.' But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest. The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life. What joy awaits both the planter and harvester alike! You know the saying. 'One plants and another harvests.' And it's true. I sent you to harvest where you didn't plant; others had already done the work, and now you will get to gather the harvest."

How do we respond when the harvest is ready?

1. Our food is to do the will of Him who sent us, and to finish His work.

God Himself sent us to do His work. (Matt 28:18-20, Mark 16:15-18). It is He who has commissioned us and has given us His authority to harvest. (Matt 28:18-19). He who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finished (Phil 1:6).

Therefore, we need to be obedient to fulfill His Great Commission, and to be faithful to complete His work. This Great Commission gives us authority as God has appointed us to do so. He paid the price of sin for us so that we can reconcile with God. But we need to choose to repent, to choose to do what is right in the sight of the Lord. Acknowledge that Jesus has all the authority. Go into the world, preach the good news, and make disciples. Baptise them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey God's word. Know that Jesus is always with us. Signs and miracles follow to glorify Him. You will see that hearts are transformed and lives are renewed. No harm will come to us, because we are all His beloved. The harvest is ready; we ought to go in faith. We ought to be bold.

2. Wake up and look around - the fields are already ripe for harvest.

The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask Him to send more workers into his fields (Luke 10:2). People before us have sown the seed (word of God) into the hearts of the people. Many would have heard about Jesus, but they have not believed in Him nor turned into repentance.

Be alert to look for the lost sheep, and treasure every opportunity to lead them to Lord Jesus our saviour.

3. Others have sown the seed; we get to gather the harvest

We are all workers for the Lord, with different roles and responsibilities. Some planted the seed, others watered it, but it is God who made it grow. (1 Cor 3:6, Mark 4:26-29). Our role is not to convert the hearts of others to accept Christ. Only God can! God did not tell us to change their hearts. Our role is just to share and sow the seed. Our purpose is to testify.

We are to be effective witnesses of God, by:

sharing the gospel (sow the seed) - parable of the sower (Mark 4:1-20). Listen and obey God's word.

be a good testimony (be a light) - parable of the lamp (Mark 4:21-25). We cannot live in darkness, then share God's word. We will become a stumbling block from people coming to accept Jesus Christ.

reach out proactively (go and harvest) - parable of the growing seed (Mark 4:26-29). The harvest is abundant. Go and harvest. If someone is not receptive, move on.

go in faith (it's God who gives the increase) - parable of the mustard seed (Mark 4:30-34). We need to have faith in the Lord.

Be a good testimony. Adopt good characteristics. Carry the image of our Lord Jesus Christ wherever we go. Go in faith to harvest.

4. Great is the reward for both planters and harvesters

Harvesters are paid good wages. Our Master rewards those who are good and faithful (Matt 25:14-30). The fruit of the labour is people receiving eternal life. (John 3:16, Luke 5:32, Rom 6:23). Christ was sent on earth so that people can receive eternal life.

Both planters and harvesters rejoice together. For Christ is our Master, and we are His unprofitable servant. We work as a team, as a body of Christ. When we go out to harvest, it is about people's lives being transformed. They will want to follow Jesus. When they receive eternal life, we rejoice together.

God will reward us greatly. Let us be good and faithful in sowing and harvesting. Jesus said "well done, good and faithful servant."

Jesus gave the Great Commission not just for one person, but for all of us. We do not wait for the Lord to tell us individually, to go out to harvest. He has already commissioned us to go. Where we are right now, there is work to be done. If God did not specifically tell you to go somewhere else, your duty is to look around you.

Some people whom you approach may have met with Christians who did not carry the message well or did not display good characteristics. Do we portray the real image of God, both in church and outside church? It is important that we carry good testimony so that we bring forth the correct gospel. Thus, we need to ask the Lord to search our hearts and change anything that is unclean. Pray to be more like Christ. It can be difficult interacting with the world. Despite people being nasty to us, we need to react like Jesus. Jesus always submitted to the will of God - he portrayed himself as gentle and lowly.

Don't seek big numbers. Even one is good. In Samaria, Jesus shared only with one Samaritan woman. But through one, the whole village wanted to hear more about him. Leave it to the Lord to bring about the increase. If someone's heart is hardened, just pray for that person. In due time, another harvester will come.

Ananias was planted by God to harvest Saint Paul (formerly Saul), who had persecuted many Christians. Ananias obeyed the Lord and after Saint Paul was transformed, so many good works were accomplished. Let us be like Ananias.

It is such a privilege for our creator to use us, unworthy as we are, for His glory. There is such joy when you see someone's life being transformed.

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