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Matthew 28
posted August 9, 2012

Revelation 13
posted August 16, 2012



Sermon of the Week #200836 – September 7, 2008

In the last verses of Matthew chapter nine, “Jesus went about the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the Kingdom.” Jesus was concerned about the people in the villages as well as the people in the cities; and He is still concerned about what goes on in the villages as well as the cities.

At the beginning of my ministry I reasoned the only place to have a significant ministry was to locate in a big city. Things did not work out that way, and I found myself stuck in a village, at a spot in the road called Lynchburg, Ohio, USA.

However, the population growth of the world and the media has brought us so close together that the whole world is a village. It is now possible to live in the village, and preach the gospel from what was once a spot in the road, and be heard by anyone, anywhere on the planet, at all time, and any time—24/7. The wistful thinking of days gone by concerning the big city as the most important place to preach the gospel is now obsolete. Someone has written:

Master, where shall I work today, and my love flowed warm and free

And he pointed to a tiny place, and said work there for me.

I said, “O no, not there, not any one would see

No matter how well my work was done, not that small place for m.”

The Master looked it was not stern, but he looked at me tenderly

“Disciple search that heart of thine, are you working for them, or for me?”

Nazareth was a tiny place, and so was Galilee.

So Jesus went about all the cities and the villages preaching the gospel of the Kingdom. Then it says that He saw the multitudes. Now when Jesus saw the multitudes, what did He see? What He saw, we need to know, because it is a good example for us. What did He see? He did not see how they were dressed, except as their clothing revealed what they were really like on the inside. He did not look on them with disdain, but with pity. He did not look at them in disgust, but with compassion. He looked at many of them, not as the world sees them, but as Heaven sees them, either future inhabitants of Heaven or Hell; He saw the multitudes.

Take another good look at the multitudes at the mall, or the ballpark, or even at the large gathering for a religious service, and see them as Jesus sees them. He wants us to see them as He said to the Apostles in John 4:35: “Lift up your eyes on the fields that they are already white unto harvest. He that reaps receives wages and gathers fruit unto life eternal.” He also saw the multitudes as sheep not having a shepherd. One wonders what the scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees thought about that. They were the shepherds; a shepherd is a pastor, and Jesus looked upon them as good as nothing. It is no wonder that Jesus then said, “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that He send forth laborers into His harvest.”

There are many things we ought to pray about, but one thing the Lord Jesus said we are to pray for specifically is for laborers to preach the Word of God. This is the prayer Jesus, said we need to pray, and it is the prayer that nobody prays. How many of you have ever prayed that prayer? Am I guessing right, when I say, “Probably none of you?” And yet you consider yourself a good Christian. Am I right when I say you may be afraid some member of your family may decide to do it, and you want no part of it? Of course it is a dangerous prayer to pray. When Jesus told the disciples to pray about it, the next thing that happened was, they were the ones who were sent, in the next chapter.

Regarding laborers sent into the harvest, perhaps Paul said it best in Romans 10:14-15, “Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe on Him in whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach except they have been sent? Even as it is written, how beautiful are the feet of them that bring good tidings of good things?”

Now there may be different ministries in preaching and teaching. Paul says in 1st Corinthians 3:4-7, “What then is Apollos? What then is Paul? Ministers through whom ye believed; and each as the Lord gave to him. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Pray ye, therefore the Lord of the harvest that He send forth laborers unto His harvest.” And now consider the Great Commission of Jesus.


In Matthew 10:5 when He sent them He gave them a commission and sent them into the harvest. In this commission, He told them not to go in any way to the city of the Samaritans, but only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Later on at the close of His ministry He would give them a wider commission; a commission called the Great Commission. In the Great Commission He sent them into the whole world, to all nations, and to every creature.

However, there are principles in the first commission that can be applied to the Great Commission. In the first commission as He sent them out, He told them to get no gold, no silver, no wallet, neither two pair of shoes, nor two coats; and their needs would be supplied. And then at the close of His ministry just before He would go into the Garden of Gethsemane in Luke 22:35, He said unto them, “When I sent you out without purse, and wallet, and shoes, lacked you anything?” They answered in just one word, “NOTHING!”

Now regarding the Great Commission that sent them to the whole world, all nations, and to every creature, there is no record that they said, “Lord, where will we get the money?” They knew from the first experience that He would supply their needs, plus the fact they had further assurance of their needs because they knew if He could raise the dead, raising the money was a minor problem.

Another principle in the two commissions was in the message that was preached. In the first commission the message preached was, “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”. In the second commission the message was, “The Kingdom of Heaven has arrived”.

As the time of the crucifixion drew closer Jesus said in Matthew 16:28, “Verily I say unto you, there are some of them that stand here who shall in no wise taste of death, till they see the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom.” The Kingdom of God would come in that generation and some of them would see it.

Some say it came at the transfiguration one week later, but the Apostles did not understand it that way, for two reasons: The first is, a year after the transfiguration, Luke 19:11 informs us, “He added and spake a parable, because He was nigh unto Jerusalem, and because they supposed the Kingdom of God was immediately to appear.” And the second reason the Apostles did not believe the Kingdom of God appeared at the transfiguration is Acts 1:6 just before the ascension of Jesus into Heaven.  The Apostles said to Jesus, “Lord, dost thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” Evidently, the Kingdom of Heaven had not been restored up until that moment. Then Jesus answered, “It is not for you to know times and seasons which the Father hath set within His own authority. But ye shall receive power when the Holy Spirit is come upon you and ye shall be my witnesses unto the utter-most part of the earth.” Ten days later the power came on the Day of Pentecost. The gospel was preached, 3000 responded to the terms of pardon, “Repent ye and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” The Lord furthermore added unto them day by day those that were saved. It was Paul who said in Colossians 1:12, “Giving thanks unto the Father…who delivered us out of the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.”

The message of the first commission was the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand and the message of the Great Commission is the Kingdom of Heaven is here and now. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that He send forth laborers into His harvest.


Then notice also the peace that comes through the Great Commission of Jesus. Jesus told them in the first commission, “And into whatsoever city or village you enter, search out who in it is worthy…let your peace come upon it.” What kind of peace could that be? In the Great Commission it must be the peace Jesus mentioned in John 14:27 in His farewell address to the Apostles before His crucifixion, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.” It is the peace of the last statement in that same speech when He said in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken unto you that you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation: but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” It is the peace of John 20:19, “When therefore it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and where the doors where shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, ‘Peace be unto you.’” It was the peace of old Simeon who had been told he would not see death until he had seen the Lord’s Christ. He held the infant Jesus in his arms in Luke: 2:29 and said, “Now lettest thou thy servant depart, Lord, according to Thy word in peace; for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation.” That is the peace that Jesus leaves with us when we think of His birth.

Again, He leaves His peace with us when we think of the cross. Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:16-18, “We were reconciled in one body unto God through the cross, and He came and preached peace to them that were afar off and to them that were nigh; for through Him we have our access in one Spirit unto the Father.” That is the peace He leaves with us when we think of His cross.

It is the peace that Paul talked about in Philippians 4:6-7, “In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be known unto God and the peace of God which passeth all understanding shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.”

There is peace through the birth of Jesus, and peace through His cross, and also peace in His resurrection from the dead. And what a great example of the peace available for the Christian in that benedictory statement of Paul in Hebrews 13:20, “Now the God of peace who brought again from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep with the blood of an eternal covenant, even our Lord Jesus, make you perfect in every good thing, working in us that which is well-pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” And that is the peace Jesus leaves with us in His resurrection.

The gospel song that says:

Peace, peace, wonderful peace

Peace, peace, glorious peace

Since my Redeemer has ransomed my soul,

I have peace, sweet peace.

Pray the Lord of the harvest that He send forth laborers into His harvest.


Then there is a final warning of Jesus in the refusing of His message when He said, “And whosoever will not receive you, nor hear your words, as ye go forth out of that house or that city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the Day of Judgment than for that city.” The most dangerous sin is to hear the gospel and reject it. Jesus said in John 16:8-9, “The Holy Spirit when He is come will convict the world in respect of sin, and of righteousness, and of the judgment to come; of sin because they believed not on Me.” People are prone to think that you have to commit some great sin such as murder to be lost eternally. It must be the most serious sin you can commit when Jesus Himself says that the sin of rejecting the gospel is greater than the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah. It is time to give serious consideration to the words of Peter on the Day of Pentecost, the day the Church began, “Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

The severity of this threat can only be measured by the reason for such a statement. Listen to the following statements mostly by Jesus, to which I make no personal comment. The Word of the Lord can speak for itself. In 2nd Peter 2:6 the Apostle reminds us of what Jesus said, when He declared, “The turning of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, having made them an example unto those that should live ungodly.” Then Jude 6 tells us almost the same thing when he writes, “Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities round about them, having in like manner with these given themselves over to fornication and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example suffering the punishment of eternal fire.” Look also at Luke 17:29-30, “But in the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from Heaven, and destroyed them all: after the same manner shall it be in the day the Son of Man is revealed.”

More miracles were performed at Capernaum, than anywhere else. America has been given more opportunities to know about the Lord than any other place. Letters come to us almost daily that tell how churches have been closed, and Christians are tortured, yet begging that we send Bibles. Thousands of Bibles have been sent all over the world; Bibles that most members of churches in this country never read. What Jesus said about Capernaum is no doubt true of our country today. It will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the Day of Judgment, than for America.  Evidently, God regards rejection of His Son Jesus as a greater sin than the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah.

“Father, is there some desert, or some pathless sea

Where thou good God of angels wilt send me?

Some oak to rend, some rock to break

Some handful of golden grain to take

And scatter far a field; Till it shall yield

A hundred fold of grain of gold

To be fed the waiting children of my God.

Show me that desert Father or that sea

Is it thine enterprise? Great God, send me!”