The Seventy

Scripture: Luke 10:1-12, NASB

Now after this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them in pairs ahead of Him to every city and place where He Himself was going to come. And He was saying to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Go; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no money belt, no bag, no shoes; and greet no one on the way. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house.’ 6 If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. Stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you; for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not keep moving from house to house. Whatever city you enter and they receive you, eat what is set before you; and heal those in it who are sick, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 But whatever city you enter and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your city which clings to our feet we wipe off in protest against you; yet be sure of this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’ 12 I say to you, it will be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city.

INTRODUCTION

The ministry of the SEVENTY. They were hand picked by Jesus and appointed [as in public office] to go to all the cities on Jesus imminent tour. They were to announce His coming and heal the sick. Jesus gave them some brief instructions and sent them out. What do we learn from these instructions? What a wonderful privilege, to be appointed by Jesus to go before Him and announce His coming. I don’t think there is a greater privilege on earth. Isaiah 52:7 comes to mind…

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns!

Based on Jesus comments, we learn several things about being His evangelist and missionaries.

[1] WE MUST HAVE A SENSE OF URGENCY–NO TIME TO WASTE

We don’t think of Jesus as being in a hurry or a rush but he was on the clock, He was scheduled to die as the Passover Lamb in just a few months so time was running out. He was sending the seventy into every town and village that He was planning to visit before His date with the cross. If these men only visited three towns per team, that would be 105 city wide crusades in less than 6 months. There was no time to waste. Jesus said, “Don’t greet others along the way”…you don’t have time to pack…you don’t have time for chit-chat…this is a business trip. If there is anyone thing the Christian church has lost, it is our sense of urgency.

[2] WE MUST REALIZE THE EXISTING SPIRITUAL NEEDS: THIS NEED IS NOW AND IT IS EVERYWHERE.

The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.

The fields are white unto harvest: the harvest is plentiful. The plentiful harvest is a fact stated–it is so because Jesus said it was so. Unfortunately some of us do not see the harvest, we question that Jesus knows what He is saying or that He is saying what He meant. I didn’t see the harvest until recently. I have always operated on Jesus word but to be honest, I did not see the harvest. The harvest doesn’t exist because I have seen it–it exist because it is real and Jesus saw it 2000 years ago.

There are hurting people everywhere and this was Jesus target: He sent the Seventy out to heal the sick and people are hungry for healing. There is a sea of hurt around us but we are so preoccupied with out comfort our self-preservation that we don’t get involved with the pain and hurt that is all around us.

I am convinced that we can reach people if we care enough to meet them at the point of their need but the problem is our selfishness. We don’t want to get involved in a ministry that cost us personally.

[3]  WE MUST BE WILLING TO MAKE OURSELVES VULNERABLE

 Go; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no money belt, no bag, no shoes… [verse 3-4]

Lambs among wolves, hum, doesn’t sound that good. Sounds like risky business to me. For a lamb to go among wolves, he/she must have a good…trustworthy Shepherd. Jesus said basically, “I’m sending you unarmed into a hostile environment.” I think what the SEVENTY did was exciting, better than any football game. I would have loved being a part of this team. Were they all received well? Did no one get rejected? Every where Paul went, some believed while others rejected and more rejected than received, which is nothing new.

The greatest thing about church visitation is that it takes FAITH. People without faith will not show up. You never know what will happen when you go to knocking on doors. We have a deacon who loves to pull pranks; he sent me and my FAITH team to a house out in the middle of the forest. There were three on my team, we walked onto the front porch and I knocked on the door a man came to the door and he had to stoop to look under the door. A door is 6’8″. I believe he is the biggest man I’ve ever seen in my life; maybe 7’6″,45o pounds and he had the gruffest voice I’ve ever heard, it chilled my blood. He was not being nice and I was running out of things to say in a hurry. I forgot the key question and the faith outline, the two people behind me were literally trembling. The only thing that saved us was the man’s wife: she knew me from a funeral or something and she hollowed, “Bro. Jack, is that you?” and I said, “Yes ma’am.” This brave little woman was at least 3 feet shorter than this giant but she talk to him like he was 6 years old. He moved out of the way and let us in.

If you are fear driven, instead of faith driven, you will not make an evangelist or missionary.

[4] WE MUST REMAIN FOCUSED–WE CANNOT GET DISTRACTED

…and greet no one on the way. [verse 4]

No time for chit-chat. Again, Jesus emphasized the urgency of the mission. There is a job to be done and we don’t have time to pursue other interest. Staying focused has been a struggle for me, I have the tendency to get caught up in things that have no eternal significance.

[5] WE CANNOT CONFER PEACE ON THE UNREPENTANT

Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house.’ 6 If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you.

When a man rejects Christ, there is nothing we can do other than pray. Our responsibility is to share the good news that the KING is coming but we have no control on their response. On this mission, Jesus placed emphasis on continued movement and not getting bogged down. The SEVENTY were heralding the coming of the KING and the nearness of the Kingdom. They had been assigned certain cities and they had a deadline. They couldn’t stop to try to convince anyone.

[6] WE MUST HUMBLY TAKE HELP WHEN IT IS OFFERED

Stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you; for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not keep moving from house to house.

The Christian laborer is worthy of his wages. People who help you want to help, they want to be a part of the ministry. We who are on the receiving end should not feel guilty and we should not refuse help when it is offered.

[7] WE MUST CHECK OUR RELIGION AT THE DOOR

 Whatever city you enter and they receive you, eat what is set before you…[V. 9]

The seventy were most likely Jews and Jesus was sending them into the Trans-Jordan area which was mostly Gentile. Jews were not allowed to enter a Gentile home nor share a meal with them. To become a Missionary and Evangelist for Christ, you have to leave your religion at home. We cannot reach people for whom we have contempt. When can not win people to Christ by remaining separated. We have to get closer enough to feel their pain and help bear their burdens. Jesus will tell a story in this chapter about a man who was willing to help others by giving of himself and the same story tells of two religious Jews who ignored the man’s hurt.

[8] WE MUST SHAKE OFF THE DUST WHEN REJECTED

But whatever city you enter and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say, Even the dust of your city which clings to our feet we wipe off in protest against you; yet be sure of this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’ I say to you, it will be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city.

 

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