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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The Open Door

SCRIPTURE: Luke 9:1-6, NLT

One day Jesus called together his twelve disciples and gave them power and authority to cast out all demons and to heal all diseases. Then He sent them out to tell everyone about the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick. “Take nothing for your journey,” he instructed them. “Don’t take a walking stick, a traveler’s bag, food, money, or even a change of clothes. Wherever you go, stay in the same house until you leave town. And if a town refuses to welcome you, shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate.”

So they began their circuit of the villages, preaching the Good News and healing the sick.

INTRODUCTION

I enjoy reading the commentary of Warren W. Wiersbe. The man fascinates me: he pastored the Moody Bible Church is Chicago, Illinois and somehow managed to write a commentary of both Old and New Testament. What is more amazing: He practice an open door policy. When people called him for help, he laid down his studies and helped. He said, “I was tempted once to get an unlisted number but the night  before, a desperate man called who was contemplating suicide. I like to think that I had something to do with saving this man’s life.”

Jesus did not have an unlisted number and He was a very busy man with important things on His agenda; yet He never refused to help anyone who called on him in humility and faith. He did spend the night alone at times and rise long before sun up which is the best way to get your quiet time in but it encourages me to know that there are others like me who feel a call to respond to needs.

TRANSITION

Luke begins chapter 9 with Jesus sending out the 12 on a mission as an extension of His ministry and as a glimpse of things to come. Notice the sequence…

I. JESUS CALLS THEM TOGETHER

{As and object lesson, call your staff or deacons to come forward and them gather them around you. Huddle, whisper an encouragement to them and send them back out into the congregation} Then make the following points. The Disciples were…..

  1. They were called out–out of the world, the masses at large.
  2. They were called to–gather. Called to Jesus!
  3. They were called for–A Mission {Heal, cast out demons, proclaim the gospel}

II. JESUS GIVES THEM POWER AND AUTHORITY

  1. Power–dynamis {dü’-nä-mēs} The power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature,

    power for performing miracles, moral power,  the power consisting in or resting upon armies, forces, hosts. The English definition of ‘dynamic’ is relating to energy, motion, or physical force always active or changing. We generally think of dynamic as the power of force like a hydroelectric dam.

  2. Authority–exousia {eks-ü-sē’-ä} The power of choice, leave or permission,

    the power of authority (influence) and of right (privilege), the power of rule, authority over mankind. Examples would be congressmen, judges, State Troopers, Police, Military.

  3. Power and Authority delegated: The disciples did not have inherent power, they had only the power that Jesus gave them. Their authority came from their call, commission, the fact they were sent by Jesus Himself.

III. JESUS INSTRUCTED THEM

It is not fair to send a delegation on a mission without some training or instruction: Jesus gave His disciples both. Jesus instructions were–

  1. Take nothing for your journey. {Material things can slow us down, encumber and weight us down–the lighter the load, the more speed on the road}
  2. Don’t take a walking stick, a traveler’s bag, food, money, or even a change of clothes.
  3. Wherever you go, stay in the same house until you leave town. {Don’t waste time, your mission is urgent}
  4. If a town refuses to welcome you, shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate.” The Jewish Rabbis would shake the dust off their feet when leaving Gentile territory. Most folks believe that Jesus is saying, “Treat those who reject like pagans and keep moving.” We have to look for fertile soil. As a young preacher, I thought my job was to go after the most notorious sinners in the community and of course, many of these had been witnessed to by a dozen preachers and showed no signs of repentance but only wanted to argue. I had evangelist Junior Hill come and help me in Revival. It was a very small church: we were tickled when we had over 50 in SS. Junior and I had been knocking on doors for a couple of days when Junior said, “Jack, you are visiting the wrong people. We have not visited a soul who has any interest in the kingdom of God.” He instructed me to keep my head up during the invitation and get the names of those who raised hands. We began on Wednesday to visit the ones who had showed interest and before the meeting was over {Friday night}, we had seven professions of faith.

IV. JESUS SENT THEM

There are some great things about being sent especially by someone greater and you can’t get greater than Jesus…

  1. There is no pressure to succeed. The disciples were given detailed instruction. Their responsibility was to comply with the instructions. Obedience was their focus. Jesus did not say, “If they don’t respond, I am holding you responsible.”
  2. There is no pressure to be popular. Popularity has nothing to do with your mission. Simply obey instructions–preach the gospel of the kingdom and leave the rest to your Commander and Chief.
  3. There is no fear of rejection. They are not rejecting you, they are rejecting the one who sent you.

CONCLUSION

Example: I grew up as a little brother which means I had two older brothers. Trust me, they never responded to my commands but when sent by Mother or Daddy, there was some authority in the message. Had nothing to do with me delivering the message but everything to do when the one who sent the message.