Preparing For the Harvest

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1 Preparing For the Harvest What is the Harvest? Jesus describes the Harvest as the end of the age and the angels will pull the weeds and burn them. They will be thrown into a fiery furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 13:36-43). Jesus is referring to the separating of the Believers and the non-believers. Jesus said I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6) Only believers in Jesus Christ will go to Heaven. No amount of good deeds or good works can get you into Heaven. How do we spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to a world of unbelievers? There is a quote that I have heard that says The greatest cause of atheism in the world today is Christians. They profess him with their mouths and deny him by their lifestyles. This statement can be very true. There are a lot of unbelievers that do not believe because of the actions of Christians. Would you lend money to a friend to start a business, when you know that they are financially irresponsible? Why would someone entrust their soul to a religion that s own people say one thing and act completely different when they are not together? For the church to be ready for the harvest of believers or the spiritual revival, we have to be in unity as one church. Psalm 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! The church has to be able to live in unity to reach many of these people. How does the church dwell in unity? For the church to achieve this goal, it has to find ways to eliminate problems in the congregation that exist in every organization in the secular realm. For example, clicks and segregation among the congregation has to stop. The only way for this to be accomplished is through each Christian in their hearts. The Christian We Christians have the distinct privilege to represent our Lord Jesus Christ. So within each one of us has to be the need to act appropriately. Our actions are heard much louder than our words. People will discount your testimony if say this and do something else entirely different. Christian have to remember it is not easy to represent the King but in the end we will be with him in Heaven. Matthew 16:24-26 says 24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? Remember our reward is not of this earth but rather of His kingdom.

2 Attitude reflects leadership This is a very common quote, but yet it is very true. If employees are very disgruntled it reflects poorly on the management of the company. As a Christian who is our leader? At work you may have a boss, but he is not your leader. The President is not your leader. Your pastor is not your leader. Your pastor is a tool used by your leader. Jesus Christ is your leader. So when you have a bad attitude, it can reflect badly on Him. So when something is not going right at work we have to rise above the problem and show the joy in our lives. This is a battle we will have to face on a regular basis. The sin nature is still there and will tempt us whenever he gets the chance. We were however given the power by Jesus to overcome these temptations. Jesus laid out instructions on how Christians are supposed to live; we represent Him and his kingdom. How do we change our lifestyles to be better representatives of Christ? Forgiveness Have you ever hurt somebody physically or emotionally? Have you ever done something to someone you regret doing? Christians are not perfect we all make mistakes, but just as we want to be forgiven for our mistakes we need to forgive. Forgiveness is one of the hardest things to do. You may say you forgive someone but do you really? Jesus commands that we forgive from our hearts. Matthew 18 has The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant. 21Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" 22Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. [f] 23"Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents [g] was brought to him. 25Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. 26"The servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay back everything.' 27The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. 28"But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. [h] He grabbed him and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded.

3 29"His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.' 30"But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened. 32"Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' 34In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. 35"This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart." How does this apply to us? Have you ever been hurt by someone, whether it was physically or emotionally? How do we feel about them in our heart? This is something to ask yourself. We as Christians are held to a higher standard of conduct because the gift we have been given. Jesus clearly states that because we have been forgiven of our sins we have to forgive others. To what extent are we to forgive? Put it in this perspective, Jesus was hanging on a cross with nails in his wrists and feet. The guards were gambling over his clothes and he says Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing (Luke 23:34). I know there are times when you feel you can t forgive someone, times when you want to be mad and bitter. I went through this and found out that God can help take the pain away. In the middle of the night I woke up and opened my Bible. When I looked to where I had opened it I saw Matthew 18:35. I had often found myself wanting revenge for what had happened or to see something bad happen to the other people involved. These are times that I felt as if God was smacking the back of my head to remind me of Matthew 18. Because of my faith I had to forgive and it made the healing process much easier. Many people I worked with could not understand how I took it so well. I was not angry and did not take out my frustrations on other people. It was not me that could handle but rather God walked me through it. Forgiveness is not just for fellow believers but for our enemies as well. Luke 6:27 says Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you. Easier said than done, I struggle with this on a daily basis as I try to forget things that have happened to me. We face this in many forms from work and family members to the guy that cut you off on the way to church. We have to strive to be better than revenge. Jesus said to love your enemies. He did not say to love them if it was a minor offense. Regardless of what they have done we have to forgive, because the Father has forgiven us. Forgiveness is the first key to reconciling the church into unity. Hate, anger, and bitterness will never be able to compare to love and joy that Jesus can bring into your life.

4 Jesus also commanded us to Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you. (Luke 6:27) In 1 John 2:9, the apostle John writes Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. We as Christians have to put these things behind us to be representatives of our Savior Jesus Christ. The World 24Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25For whoever wants to save his life [h] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? Matthew 16:24-26 Things of the world can blind Christians. We have to be able to put aside the things of this world. I find that this is a daily battle. I want this or that, if only I made more money. These are thoughts that change our direction from the Lord and place it on things of man. 15Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For everything in the world the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does comes not from the Father but from the world. 17The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2:15-17) John reminds Christians that you cannot love two masters. Money can very easily become a master when that is what you work for. God should be our focal point and where we lay our trust. The temptation of more money can damage families and even destroy them. The world is in a sad state right now. There is temptation at every turn, we have to have strength to avoid it, and yet with Christ we have that. With everyday that passes the more the world tries to tempt Christians into sin. Since there is danger for Christians in every aspect of life, we have to be strong in our walk as we need to be strong in faith. Judging Others Christians have developed overtime a certain reputation for being hypocritical. This is where the image of Christians thinking they are perfect comes from. For us to show his light we have to remove this reputation. How often do we judge others? Not just strangers but co-workers and other Christians alike? Christians are actually instructed not to judge in two different passages:

5 1 Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, Let me remove the speck from your eye ; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother s eye. 6 Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces. (Matthew 7:1-6, NKJV) 37 Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you. 39 And He spoke a parable to them: Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch? 40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher. 41 And why do you look at the speck in your brother s eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye? 42 Or how can you say to your brother, Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye, when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother s eye. (Luke , NKJV) First, why do people judge others? I would bet that when people judge they are looking at the bad things someone else has done. How often do you look at someone and judge them on the good things they do? To judge is defined as 5: to form an estimate or evaluation of; especially: to form a negative opinion about. I would assume close to 99 percent of the time people look at others and judge them on the bad things they have done. And how many times do we judge someone else for something we have done ourselves? And what standard are we judging people against? Perfection? Only Jesus is at that standard, so everybody fails. Is it against the self-image of the judger? Our image of ourselves is greatly distorted; we often miss our biggest flaws. As Christians we are the light for Jesus. We represent the Lord in all we do. Have you ever heard yourself say They will get theirs in the end? I am guilty. I often have to remind myself that I do not know the whole story. God the Father knows the whole story and that is why He is the judge. I only see things from my perspective. I can only hope that I can represent Jesus with my actions. In Luke, Jesus uses a parable of the blind leading the blind. That is us trying to show others what they are doing wrong. Christians should be a light and not the judge. We can show what the Bible says and what Jesus has instructed. The Holy Spirit will convict and change an individual if they are willing. We as Christians must welcome our new brothers and sisters despite their past.

6 I often find myself saying this prayer Heavenly Father, please mold me to be a person worthy to represent the Lord. I know I have made mistakes and that Jesus died for me. Please use me to do your will. I look forward to the day I hear Well done good and faithful servant and to spend the rest of eternity in your presence.

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