Saturday, 29 August 2009

Reap a Harvest of Righteousness

Often we have heard sermons and conventions based on Matt 9:38

Matthew 9:36-38 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 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."

Some saying go... (and preach the gospel)
some saying pray.. then go...

Until recently this use to confuse me..
how do we go and 'reap a harvest' ?
Jesus has not asked His disciples to go and 'sow the seed'

how about this one:
Luke 9:1-5 nd he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. 3 And he said to them, "Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics. 4 And whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. 5 And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them."

same passage.. same idea
but later in Luke 22 - He tells them quite the opposite:
Luke 22:35-36 35 And he said to them, "When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?" They said, "Nothing." 36 He said to them, "But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one.

We all know that 'sowing the seed' - like Jesus the true sower - is preaching the gospel
watering is teaching (cf. 1 Cor 3)
but what about harvesting?
harvesting is associated with the day of judgement - when the angels come and reap the harvest that has been sown
so what about in the present time?

NT passages:
Romans 1:13 13 I want you to know, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles.

2 Corinthians 9:8-11 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all contentment in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 9 As it is written, "He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever." 10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way for all your generosity, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.

James 3:18 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

and that's pretty much it.. excluding the gospels and Revelation

now is the time of wilderness - it is the time of growth - the time of the visible church - the seeds that have been planted are growing
some will be genuine and 'give birth' - Christ formed in us - being born again
some will die and fall in the desert - hardness of heart has stopped the new life

the harvest of righteousness is the formation of Christ in individuals (when they are ripe for the reaping) - it is these that Paul wants to take with him on the way to Spain - it is these that are full of fruit and good works, it is these that will cause new seed to be sown again elsewhere

the Matt 9:38 passage is a passage for the church
when the 'collectors' are sent out - take no possessions, expect the previous Seed that is sown to have already been bearding fruit - if anyone receives you stay with them, yet if anyone rejects you shake the dust of your feet

the Luke 22 is a passage for witnessing to the nations
- prepare for the long haul, and indeed a battle... be patient, take time, labour and sow... water and reap - later there too will be a harvest

how is it the way we do 'Gentile mission'? is there a place for 'church mission' too? the reaping of the harvest of righteousness - to take along those that have been fruitful to go and 'sow seed' somewhere else...

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Big Rock

This is quite funny:

Can God Make a Rock So Heavy Even He Can't Lift It?
I remember when I first heard this bit of immature atheistic reductio ad absurdum. I was in high school, and I didn't respond to it because the Nirvana-shirted, long-banged drama stud who said it didn't say it to me. He was laying it on his friend like it was theist's kryptonite.

My answer then, steeped in C.S. Lewis as I was, would have been along the lines of the nonsense of the question as framed. It is a rhetorical and hypothetical "gotcha" with no sincerity behind it, and in any event, it is sort of like asking, "Does the number nine smell red or yellow?"

My answer today is different. My answer today would not be to skewer the nature of the question but to inject its insincerity with the sincerity of God and all the weight of the gospel.

The truth is that God did make a weight so heavy he couldn't lift it. He did so not by building an immovable force -- we did that with our sin -- but by incarnating the frailty of humanity and willingly subjecting himself to the force. As one of us, yet still himself, he created the conundrum of the incarnate God, bearing a cross he both ordained yet could not carry by himself, becoming condemned in death and also victorious. And God was crushed according to the plan he himself projected from the foundation of the world.

So, can God make a rock so heavy even he can't lift it?

Yes. And he did. For three days only. And then he drop kicked it out of the mouth of the tomb.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Putting it all together


so as far as i've got with all these rather curious thoughts

I figure..
the old covenant, the first Adam, this creation, John the baptist, the earthly church, the baptism of repentance (the washing), the outer signs, the law, the clay-jar bodies, the provision in creation, the 'famine' (unsatisfying-ness) of creation, etc...

all of these mean the same thing
they are:
1. to convict the world of sin & judgement
2. to point the world to Christ

They are designed to be the womb, the dust in which the Seed is planted
The Seed then grows, and takes over - swallowing up what is outside
the pre-figuring is in the incarnation, the actual event is in the Cross, the culmination at His 2nd coming

the purpose of all these things is to host the Seed, then pass away - totally - nothing will remain
the formation of Christ's new body is underway - birth pains are happening
even in the individuals - Christ is being formed - 'passing the 12-week marker' so to speak

the most curiousness of the New Creation in Him..
think about how normal birth works:
there is a womb, there is the egg from the maternal side
yet the egg is merely the host, it is the Seed (the Word/DNA) that takes over and re-designs all that is there
the 'external' factors of the egg merely provide assistance - this is the Church and the angels
finally, there is no longer any left of the egg, only the Seed remains - the new life

Think now of discipleship, evangelism,etc
you need to point to Jesus, and then die...
learn from John the baptist..
if you don't point to Jesus - you are useless
if you don't die - then Jesus can never be 'born'