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...

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