Sermon from the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 10
In reading this Gospel passage, I’m struck by how different the missionary methods of Jesus were from how we in the modern day Church engage in the mission of the Gospel. So I’d like to highlight the missionary strategies of Jesus we see in this passage, and compare them to how we often engage in mission.
1. Jesus grounds the work in prayer.
And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”Luke 10:2
Although we do pray today, we don’t allow it to give us the eyes to see the harvest field the way Jesus did. What Jesus says highlights a missionary problem, and compares it to a relatable problem for the missionaries He was sending out. Imagine a farmer seeing a beautiful field full of ripe grain ready to harvest, and that sinking feeling of knowing you don’t have enough workers to bring in the harvest before it goes to waste. All that value and potential gone to waste! It’s even more dire when we realize that the harvest the Lord says is ready is not grain, but it’s souls. When we earnestly pray the way the Lord did, our eyes are opened to the urgency of this missionary problem. Mission begins with prayer. A prayerless Christianity is a powerless Christianity, but Jesus gives us new eyes to see.
2. Jesus eliminates dependence on the flesh.
Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road.Luke 10:3-4
Modern mission has become more about distribution of resources than it has about distribution of the Gospel. Jesus sent out His missionaries with ONLY the Gospel, in what seemed like weakness and unpreparedness. But that meant what they were giving was only the MOST important thing. Anything else is just a distraction.
3. Jesus’ mission is based on hospitality.
Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages.Luke 10:5-7
Jesus’ mission and ministry was always based in homes. Every place He went, He started a home group! Modern Christians think that the work of God is done in church, but Jesus took the mission of God out of the church building and took it to where real life was happening every day. Consider opening up your home to become a missionary outpost of the kingdom of God. It doesn’t matter where you live or what your home looks like. What matters is the heart you use to reach out to those around you, and the message of the Gospel that you offer there.
When the seventy-two that Jesus sent out in this passage used Jesus methods, they had thrilling results!
The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”Luke 10:17-18
God is turning this world upside-down through His people when they step out in faith and engage in the mission He is calling them to with the methods He calls them to use.