Teaching Sermons For Pastors and Laymen

 10-26-04

Bringing Joy To The Lord’s Heart  


Luke 10:1-10:24 

 

 

Luke’s Gospel account is the only one that tells of the sending out of the seventy. 


It is also the only version that describes their joyous return and victory over the forces of darkness. 


These seventy men are not called apostles but they are still sent with a commission to represent the Lord. 


Today’s passage reminds us that with salvation comes the responsibility to join the task of sharing the good news with those who have not yet heard. 


Some will go great distances, others will share with friends and neighbors, but we are all called to do something. 


Jesus did not leave the ministry to just the twelve.


 Neither does he today leave the ministry only to those who are pastors or staff members.


Something that is particularly powerful to me in this passage is that in verse twenty-one, Luke says Jesus “rejoiced” upon hearing the report of the results of mission of the seventy. 


This is the only place in scripture where this particular word is used to describe the emotions of Jesus. 


It is mind-boggling to me to realize that we have the capacity to make God rejoice by our faithful ministry.

 

This morning I want to look at “How Can I Bring Joy To The Lord’s Heart?”


1. There Is A Call That Needs Answering 

(vv. 1-4)

”After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. (2) Then He said to them, "The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. (3) Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves. (4) Carry neither money bag, knapsack, nor sandals; and greet no one along the road.” 


Jesus recruited seventy additional soldiers for duty on the frontline. 


We are not told their names and we do not know how or when Jesus selected them. 


But we do know that when Jesus called they were ready to go.


Jesus tells the seventy that there is much work to do, but not enough people to do the work (v.2), "The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few.” 


He also tells them that this evangelistic mission will be dangerous (v.3), “I send you out as lambs among wolves.” 


Jesus knew that they would face opposition and danger in preaching this new message. 


He also conveys a sense of urgency to the mission by telling them to travel light (v. 4); “Carry neither money bag, knapsack, nor sandals; and greet no one along the road.” 


When he says, “greet no one along the road,” Jesus is not telling the disciples to be rude to people, he is warning them against engaging in the Jewish custom of long and elaborate time-consuming greetings when meeting people on the road. 


He is telling them to get on with what they have been called to do and not let anything turn them aside. 


“Don’t live cluttered lives or get so caught up in the social whirl that we forget the spiritual purpose of our existence!” 


Jesus goes on to say in verse seven, “and remain in the same house … do not go from house to house,” that is that the disciples are not to go from house to house socializing. 


We need to realize that the urgency of carrying the message of Jesus has intensified not diminished with the passage of time. 


In fact the principles of traveling light and urgency of the task are timeless.


I think that there is an important principle inherent in this passage that immobilizes us today from spreading the gospel. 


It is the notion that there is just too much work to do in God’s mission field, and I am only one person what difference can I make. 


There is no way that my efforts will make a difference. 


That notion is false.


“I recently read about an old man, walking the beach at dawn, who noticed a young man ahead of him picking up starfish and flinging them into the sea. 

Catching up with the youth, he asked what he was doing. 


The answer was that the stranded starfish would die if left in the morning sun. 


‘But the beach goes on for miles and miles, and there are millions of starfish,’ countered the man. 


‘How can your effort make any difference?’

 

The young man looked at the starfish in his hand and then threw it to safety in the waves. 


‘It makes a difference to this one,’ he said.” 


Jesus instructed these disciples, and in turn all believers, to ask God to send out more laborers (v.2), “… therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” 


The first thing to do is pray. 


Why must we pray?


Because this is the Lord’s work.


What is impossible with men is possible with God. 


If there is going to be a great reaping of the harvest it will be because of God. 


The harvest we want is impossible with us. 


The new birth is a miracle. 


It is based on God’s power.


It is through prayer that we will gain the compassion we need to see the harvest as it truly is, it is through prayer that we will see that there is great potential in the harvest and it is through prayer that we will ask for the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers.


In the days of Christ’s ministry on the earth the laborers were “few” and they still are today. 


How can we ask God to send forth someone else without first saying, “Lord, send me?” 


It is impossible to pray regularly for the salvation of a loved one, a neighbor, a friend or a co-worker and not be moved to do something. 


We cannot help but be moved to be the “someone” that God would use. 


It is impossible to earnestly pray for the Lord to seed laborers into the harvest and not make ourselves available to be a part of that group. 


When we pray that God would send someone we place ourselves at His disposal to be one of the workers in reaching the lost. 


In the text we see that the ones who he had commanded to pray for laborers became workers themselves.


The message itself was simple.


Twice, once in verse nine and again in verse eleven, the disciples are instructed to convey the message that “the kingdom of God has come near to you.” 


The message then and now, is of God’s kingdom, which is “His right to rule our lives.” 


Jesus the King is coming! 


God’s kingdom is very near. 


The kingdom of God is to be understood to be as near as the daybreak is looming at the close of the night. 


Those who accept Christ not only become a part of the kingdom of God but the kingdom of God becomes part of them. 


They not only enter the Kingdom of God but the Kingdom of God enters them.


So, our first point is that there is A Call That Needs To Be Answered, and the second is- 


2. There Is A Consequence That Needs to Be Considered (vv. 13-16)


That’s according to verses 13 and 14.


"Woe to you, Chorazin!(Ko-ra’-zin) Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. (14) But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you.”


Jesus mentions the name of two cities, Corazin and Bethsaida, which refused to turn to God, and He uses them as examples of the cost of rejecting of God. 


Capernaum in particular is pointed out for judgment in verse fifteen, “And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades.” 


Capernaum was mentioned so often in relation to Jesus that is was called “His own city”, in Matthew 9:1. 


It was here that Jesus performed several of his miracles. 


It was here that Jesus’ major teachings took place. 


Capernaum had seen the miracles and heard the teachings but had not responded in faith. 


These cities demonstrate that there is a cost for rejecting Jesus; that is to be brought down to the depths literally Hades. 


In other words, the consequence of rejection is eternal. 


What is at stake is the eternal destiny of every person who hears the gospel. 


The gospel does not just involve a casual, private religious expression of opinion; it is not just one option among many. 


It is a revelation of God of the one way to Heaven.


The central truth here is that the more we know of God’s truth, and the more we see Him move, the more we will be accountable for. 


Since the people of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum had received such convincing proofs, they are held to greater account for what they had seen. 


Jesus completes his thoughts in verse sixteen by saying, “He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me." 


The point for us to remember is this, “Don’t take it personally when people reject God’s message.  He’s the one they are criticizing and rejecting not you.”


It must be said that unfortunately, sometimes the Gospel is rejected because of the obnoxiousness or lack of love with which it is presented. 


People sometimes reject Jesus because of Christian’s.


I hope that never will be true of us.

 

The second point is that there is a Consequence That Needs To Be Considered and the third is- 


3. There Is A Joy That Needs To Be Tempered 

(vv. 17-19) 


We don’t know how long the seventy were gone, where they went, or how people responded in each place. 


But we do know that verse seventeen reports the high spirits they returned in: “Then the seventy returned with joy, saying: ‘Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.’" 


The disciples were overjoyed that they have been used as instruments of God’s power. 


In verse eighteen he says to them, "… I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” 


Then He goes on to say, (19) “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” 


Although I believe that Jesus is speaking in retrospect of the fall of Satan from Heaven in time past, he is also saying “When I saw the force of darkness defeated through your ministry I am reminded that Satan is already defeated.” 


And I believe that Jesus would say to us today, “I see Satan fall like lightning from Heaven when our church gives to missions for the coming year and sends it to missionaries around the world.” 


“I see Satan fall like lightning from Heaven when the youth take a mission trip and work to build a church building in Mexico.” 


“I see Satan fall like lightning when the church gathers for worship and you invite a friend.” 


“I see Satan fall like lightning when you cheerfully welcome the new person who comes to church.” 


“I see Satan fall like lightning when you forgive the one who has wronged you.”


In verse nineteen, Jesus in figurative language tells the seventy that they had authority over spiritual enemies; which He called, “serpents and scorpions.” 


This truth was revealed later by John (1 John 4:4), “…He who is in you, is greater than he who is in the world.” 


There is a Joy That Needs to be Tempered by remembering that spiritual highs and emotional victories will come and go but- 


4. There Is A Grace That Needs To Be Remembered (v. 20) 


Verse twenty is a marvelous verse, “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven." 


The Lord cautions them to not go on rejoicing only over the outwardly spectacular victories but rather to rejoice because their names are written down in heaven. 


What the Lord means is, “they have been written and they stand written.” 


It is a statement of assurance. 


Here is the real cause for joy; in fact for continual joy.


John further reveals in Revelation 20:12-15, “And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. (13) The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. (14) Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. (15) And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” 


The disciples need to remember that while it is true that they will be with the Lord forever, it is not because of anything they have done; but because of His grace. 


They must never forget that they are not fundamentally different from those to whom they are carrying the message of the gospel. 


And Neither Are We !!!!!


There is a Grace That Needs to Be Remembered and the fifth point is- 


5. There Is A Privilege that Needs to be Considered (vv. 21-24) 


In verse twenty-one we reed, “In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said.”


Jesus is genuinely excited; it says that he was “thrilled with joy.” 


As I said, I find it mind-boggling to me to realize that we have the capacity to make God rejoice by our faithful ministry. 


Jesus’ joy makes Him break into a prayer of thanksgiving. ".. I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.”


The reasons for his rejoicing are two-fold. 


First, that the truth did not go only to the “wise and (prudent) intelligent” but is something that any humble heart can receive. 


When Jesus says in verse twenty-one that he is thankful to the Father that He has “… hidden these things from the wise and prudent,” he is not rejoicing because sinners were blind to God’s truth, for God is “not willing that any should perish,” according to 2 Peter 3:9. 


He rejoiced because the understanding of that truth did not depend on natural abilities or education. 

One of the gravest forms of spiritual deception is the idea that superior knowledge or intellectual capacity gives one a spiritual advantage. 


One day all wisdom, all power that has been exercised by man and all human cleverness will pass away, and the remaining truth will be that we are loved by God Himself and His love goes on and on.


Secondly, Jesus rejoiced to be the revealer of the Father.


Having praised God for revealing himself to children, Jesus now praises the Father for making Him the source of revelation. 


In verse twenty-two Jesus says, “All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him."


John says of Jesus in John 1:14 & 18, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory as of the only begotten of the Father full of grace and truth…..(18) For no one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” 


The writer of Hebrews says in (1:1-3) that, “God who at various times and in different ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, (2) has in these last days spoken to us by His son, whom he has appointed heir of all things through whom he made the worlds (3) who being in the brightness of his glory and the express image of His person….” 


What is God like? 


Exactly as Jesus has revealed him. 


In verse twenty-three He then turned to His disciples and said privately, "Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see; (24) for I tell you that many prophets and kings have desired to see what you see, and have not seen it, and to hear what you hear, and have not heard it."


Conclusion


What facts were true then, that are just as true if not more so today?


• The world is perishing without Christ.

• Jesus is coming soon.

• There is a great territory to be covered, a great harvest to reap. 

• The need for reaching many as quickly as possible with the gospel is urgent.

• Jesus is Still Sending.  Are You Going?


There Is A Call to Be Answered. 


There Is A Consequence That Needs To Be Considered. 

There Is A Joy That Needs To Be Tempered. 


There Is A Grace That Needs To Be Remembered. 


There Is A Privilege That Needs To Be Contemplated.


Amen.


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