Monday, December 16, 2013

Improper Motives

And He did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.   (Matthew 13:58)

In the natural world, man depends on natural power sources for progress. Natural power may be as simple as a fire over which dinner is cooked. Without the fire, progress on the meal comes to a standstill. Natural power may also be as complex as electricity which is generated in cities by great power plants. When these plants fail, the power they generate fail. An entire city will experience a blackout. When there is a power failure in the natural world, progress comes to a standstill.

The same is true in the spiritual world. When there is a power failure, spiritual progress comes to a standstill. Lives are not changed through the power of the Gospel. The sick are not healed. Demons are not cast out.

There are reasons for power failure in the natural world. It may be a simple reason, like a fire burning out, or a complex reason, such as a piece of mechanical equipment breaking. When these reasons for failure are identified and corrected, the flow of power resumes.

There are also causes for power failure in the spiritual world. When these are identified and corrected, the flow of spiritual power resumes.

One of the greatest examples of spiritual power failure is recorded in Acts 19; the account of the sons of the chief priest, Sceva, who tried to cast an evil spirit out of a man and failed. The spirit cried out:  

And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?
 (Acts 19:15)

Then the man, whom the evil spirit possessed, leaped on these young men, ripped off their clothing, and injured them. They fled, naked and wounded, from the presence of the demon-possessed man. The demon knew the name of Paul. The demon knew the name of Jesus. But the names of these young men were unknown because they lacked true spiritual power in their lives.

If you are forgiven of your sins, your name is known is Heaven. It is written in the Lamb's book of life: 

And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.  Revelation 21:27

But is your name known in Hell? Do you have enough of the power of God flowing in your life that demonic powers recognize your authority in the name of Jesus?

These men used the name of Jesus in trying to cast out the demon, but it did not work. The name of Jesus is not a magical charm. You must possess the power behind it. You must recognize and possess the authority of that name.

In the hour of crisis you will face defeat if your name is not known in Hell. These men could not conquer Satan on the basis of Paul's experience and neither can you. Only when you have God's power manifested in your own life can you defeat Satan. If you are so powerless that your name is not known in Hell, you will flee wounded and naked before the enemy.

Spiritual power failure will occur in our lives when there is:

Ø       SINSin separates man from God. When you are separated from God, His power cannot flow through you.

In Romans 7 the Apostle Paul describes his struggle with the bondage of sin. Romans 8 describes his liberation. As a believer, Apostle Paul had the same battles with sin which you experience, but he learned to overcome the law of sin which worked in his flesh. Because of this, his life was open to the flow of God's power.

When a sinful man named Simon offered money to obtain spiritual power, Peter answered:  

Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.  Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. (Acts 8:21-23)

Repentance from sin and forgiveness through the blood of Jesus Christ is the only way to bridge the gap of this separation. Sin separates us from God's power. When Jesus returns again:

. . . In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. (II Thessalonians 1:8)

those who are in sin will:  

. . . be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power. (II Thessalonians 1:9)

In the end, sin will result in eternal separation from the power of God.

Ø       BONDAGESpiritual bondage can prevent the flow of God's power in your life. Bondage is not sin in itself. They are things or practices that become so important to you that you are brought under their control. Apostle Paul wrote:   

All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.   (I Corinthians 6:12)

Anything in your life which consumes your thoughts and interests is a bondage. You are brought under its power.

It may be a hobby or habit. It may be attitudes of timidity and fear which prevent you from acting in faith and power. Such bondages result in power failure because you are brought under their power instead of the control of the Holy Spirit.

Ø       VIOLATION OF POWER PRINCIPLESViolation of these principles – power of the gospel, power of the Holy Spirit, power of the anointing, power of love, power of prayer, etc. -  results in power failure. Continually examine your life and ministry in relation to these principles, especially when you experience power failure.

Ø       REIGNING INSTEAD OF SERVINGWhen spiritual power is used to reign instead of serve, power failure results. 

But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.  But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;  And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:  Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.  Matthew 20:25-28 

This scripture shows that God's power structure is not as that of the world. The worldly concept of power is to reign over others and control them.

From childhood, we struggle for worldly power. We try to control and manipulate our parents. We seek power in society, over our environment, and even try to predict and control the forces of nature. Worldly power can become a god that controls us.

Biblical power structure calls for serving and meeting human need through the manifestation of the power of God. Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers on this subject. As the great Apostle of the Church, Paul had authority over this group of believers. But he did not misuse this power. He told them:  

If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power: but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ. (I Corinthians 9:12)

Apostle Paul did not abuse his spiritual position. He did not reign over the Corinthians, rather he served them:  

Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us. (II Thessalonians 3:9)

Ø       PERSONAL PROFIT:  Apostle Paul also wrote the Corinthians concerning power for personal benefit. He said:  

If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? (I Corinthians 9:11)

Paul labored among the Corinthians and sowed spiritual seed. He had a right to receive from them their "carnal things" in terms of financial support. But he did not abuse this power. He would rather suffer than abuse spiritual power and hinder the work of God.

If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.   (I Corinthians 9:12)

Jesus was tempted by Satan to use his power for personal profit. Satan tempted Him to make stones into bread and to prove His power to the people by jumping from the top of the temple. Jesus refused.

When Jesus was suffering intensely on the cross for the sins of all mankind, He could have called 10,000 angels to come and rescue Him 

Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?  (Matthew 26:53) 

He refused this display of power in order to accomplish the higher purposes of God.

Ø       EMULATIONS:  A form of envy expressed by imitation of others 

Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,(Galatians 5:20) 

This was a problem which resulted in power failure in the early church. 

Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.  Acts 19:13 

This text speaks of those who took it "upon themselves" to try to cast out demons in imitation of the ministry of Apostle Paul. When you try to imitate the ministries of others, you can experience serious power failure as did these men.

Ø       WRONG MOTIVESDo not conclude that because spiritual power is sometimes misused that it is evil. Spiritual power which flows from God is good, but it can be abused and used for the wrong reasons with the wrong motives.

The original sin of Satan resulted from a wrong motive of seeking power. The same is true of man’s first sin which was committed while seeking the power that comes with knowledge.

James and John once wanted to call down fire from Heaven to consume those who opposed Jesus. What a miraculous demonstration of power that would have been! But their motive was wrong. Their motive was to take revenge on these enemies. Such a display would have been an abuse of spiritual power. Jesus told them:  

. . . Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.  For the Son of Man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. (Luke 9:55-56)

Improper motives result in an overbalanced emphasis on power. Jesus warned His disciples:

Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in Heaven. (Luke 10:19-20)

Ø       UNBELIEFPerhaps the greatest reason for spiritual power failure is unbelief. Unbelief affected even the ministry of Jesus:  

And He did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.    (Matthew 13:58)

The demonstration of God's power can be affected by the unbelief of those to whom you minister. It also can be affected by your own unbelief (Refer to Matthew 17:14-21).

Ø       LIMITING GOD:  There is no limit to God's power, but we can impose limits as to how it can work in and through us. Apostle Paul indicated that God is able to do above all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us:  

Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. (Ephesians 3:20)

Something to think about - God sometimes does not do what we ask or think (much less abundantly above it) because we do not allow His power to work in us.

(Biblical Study)



Friday, December 13, 2013

No Neutral Ground in the Spiritual Battle

The thief (Satan) cometh (on earth) not but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)

The invisible war is being waged right here on earth every day.  
Satan fights to maintain control of the kingdoms of the world. He does not want them to come under God's authority. The battle also rages within the hearts, minds, and souls of men and women.

Satan blinds the minds of unbelievers and attacks believers in the areas of worship, the Word, their daily walk, and their work for God. The battle also rages in your physical body which Satan attacks through sickness and disease.

The invisible war started in Heaven with an angel named Lucifer who was originally a beautiful angel created by God and part of the Kingdom of God. Lucifer, through is pride, felt that he should be worshiped in the same manner of God and decided he wanted to take over God's Kingdom. You can read about his rebellion in Isaiah 14:12-17 and Ezekiel 28:12-19.  A group of angels [now called demons] joined Lucifer (now called Satan) in this rebellion. Lucifer and the rebellious angels were cast out of Heaven by God. They formed their own kingdom on earth:  

And there was war in Heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon (Satan); and the dragon fought and his angels. (Revelation 12:7)  

And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (Revelation 12:9)

Lucifer now known as Satan and the angels, which followed him in rebellion, as demons. Demon spirits can enter, torment, control, and use humans who belong to Satan's Kingdom. They motivate evil acts which are done by men and women. Satan directs his demons in their evil activities. He combines these powerful forces with the world and the flesh to war against all mankind.

Man was originally created in the image of God and for the glory of God (Genesis 2). The invisible war against man started with the first temptation in the garden of Eden (Genesis 3). Satan influenced Adam and Eve to sin. This resulted in all men inheriting the basic sin nature and committing individual acts of sin due to this nature:  

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. (Romans 5:12)

It also resulted in the invisible war between man and the forces of evil:  

And I will put enmity between thee (Satan) and the woman (mankind), and between thy seed (the forces of evil) and her seed (the forces of good represented by the Lord Jesus Christ). . . (Genesis 3:15)

Because of sin, man was separated from God and condemned to death. This death was the spiritual death of separation from God. It was also physical death, for when man sinned Satan entered the genetic system with the curses of sickness and disease. But God loved man so much that He made a special plan to save him from sin:  

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. (John 3:16-17)

Through belief in Jesus, confession and repentance from sin, men and women can be released from the power of the enemy. The death and resurrection of Jesus not only resulted in salvation from sin, it also defeated the enemy, Satan:  

He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. (I John 3:8)

One may ask, 

®     'But if Satan is defeated, why does the war still rage?, 
®     'Why do we still see evil in the world around us?' and 
®     'Why are we tempted by sin and attacked by sickness?'

In the natural world, following any war there are always pockets of enemy resistance. These are rebellious troops that will not give up until forced to do so. Although Jesus defeated Satan, we are living in territory which is still occupied by enemy resistance forces. Understanding spiritual warfare strategies gives us the ability to deal with these evil powers.

Satan is trying to keep men captive in sin. Through deceptive methods he is enticing men and women to sinful living. He aims for the affections of the soul and spirit which rightfully belong to God. He also targets the body to destroy it with sickness and disease:  

The thief (Satan) cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy; I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)

Satan still wants to be the supreme ruler. He is waging an intense battle for the body, soul, and spirit of man. His strategies are directed at God, His plan, and His people.

Apostle Paul said it is important to know Satan's strategies:

 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. (II Corinthians 2:11)

We should learn all we can about Satan's strategies of attack. We must also understand the Scriptural basis of victory over Satan and the forces of evil. We are called to intelligent combat.  Basic to the understanding of spiritual warfare is this key principle:

You must recognize that all battles of life, whether physical, spiritual, emotional, mental, financial or with human personalities are only outward manifestations of a spiritual cause.

Although in the natural world problems may seem to occur through the circumstances of life, the basis of these natural battles is in the spirit world. The account of Job illustrates this principle (Job 1-2).

We have tried to correct the evils of this world through medicine, education, legislation, and improved environment. It has not nor will it ever be fully effective because the visible evils of the world are the results of an underlying spiritual cause. They cannot be corrected by natural means. 

We are either part of the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Satan. Either God or Satan has power over your life.  One of the parables told by Jesus illustrates that all men are either part of the Kingdom of Satan or the Kingdom of God. Jesus compared the world to a field. The good seed in the field are children of the Kingdom of God. The bad seed, which resulted in the growth of tares (weeds), are children of the wicked one:  

The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the Kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one. (Matthew 13:38)

People enter the Kingdom of Satan through natural birth. The Bible teaches that all men are born in sin. This means that they have a basic sin nature or the "seed" of sin within. Their natural inclination is to do evil: 

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. (Psalms 51:5)

Wherefore, as by one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. (Romans 5:12)

For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)

Because we are born with the basic sin nature, we have all at one time been part of the Kingdom of Satan. All who remain sinners remain part of the Kingdom of Satan. The whole message of God's written Word, the Holy Bible, is the appeal to man to move from this evil Kingdom of Satan to the Kingdom of God. Men are born into the Kingdom of Satan through natural birth. They must be reborn into the Kingdom of God through spiritual birth. Entrance to the Kingdom of God is by the new birth experience explained in John 3.

There are only two divisions in the invisible war. Jesus said, 

"He that is not with me is against me" (Luke 11:23). 

You cannot be neutral in this war. You are on one side or the other in this spiritual war. Some believers, because of their fear of confrontation with the enemy, try to ignore the war and form a truce with the enemy. They think if they ignore Satan, he will not bother them. This is one of Satan's main strategies. He tries to render members of God's army immobile by his terror tactics.

But there is no neutrality in this war. You are either a victim or victor. You will either be victorious in your soul and spirit or you will be defeated, discouraged, and despondent. Which will it be?

The spiritual call to arms has gone out. Are you on the side of good or of evil? Are you part of Satan's Kingdom or the Kingdom of God? To which kingdom do you belong? Are you a victim or a victor in the invisible war?

(Biblical Studies)



Are You Blind?

And Elisha prayed, and said , LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.   (2 Kings 6:17)

There is a great war being waged in the world today. It is not the conflict between nations, tribes, or government leaders. It is not a rebellion or a coup. It is an invisible battle taking place in the spirit world. There is an invisible war in which every believer is engaged. It is a war where no one wears a uniform, but where everyone is a target. The historical and prophetical record of this war is contained in God's Word, the Bible.

To understand this invisible war, you must first understand the natural and spiritual worlds. Man exists in two worlds: The natural world and the spiritual world. The natural world is that which can be seen, felt, touched, heard, or tasted. It is tangible and visible.

The country, nation, city or community in which you live is part of the natural world. You are a resident in a natural kingdom located on one of the visible continents of the world. You can see the people who are part of your environment. You can communicate with them. You can experience the sights, sounds, and smells around you.

But there is another world in which we live. That world is a spiritual world. We cannot see it with our physical eyes, but it is just as real as the natural world in which we live.  Apostle Paul speaks of this division of natural and spiritual. He says there is a natural (terrestrial) body and there is a spiritual (celestial) body.

 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.  (I Corinthians 15:40)

All men have a natural body which lives in the natural world, but man is also a spiritual being with an eternal soul and spirit. Man is body, soul, and spirit. Your spiritual being (soul and spirit) is part of a spiritual world just as your natural body is part of the natural world.

Because spiritual warfare is just that--spiritual--it must be understood with a spiritual mind. In our natural, sinful state we cannot understand spiritual things:

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (I Corinthians 2:14)

It is necessary to have spiritual discernment to understand spiritual things.

Perhaps one of the best examples of natural and spiritual discernment is recorded in II Kings chapter 6. It is the account of a natural battle in which troops of the enemy nation of Syria had surrounded a small town called Dothan where the prophet Elisha was staying.

When Elisha's servant saw the great host of the enemy he became fearful and asked Elisha what should they do. Elisha prayed that God would open the young servant's spiritual eyes so he could see the angelic hosts surrounding and protecting them. On this occasion, God actually opened the natural eyes of the young servant and allowed him to visibly see the superior forces of God aligned for battle.

The account of this battle at Dothan is similar to present spiritual conditions in the body of Christ. There are some, like Elisha, who see clearly into the realm of the spirit. They know there is a conflict occurring, have identified the enemy, and recognize the greater forces of God that assure victory.

Then there are others like the young servant who, with a little encouragement, will be able to open their spiritual eyes and no longer be fearful of and defeated by the enemy. But sadly, there are many people who, like those in the town of Dothan, are spiritually sleeping. They do not even know that the enemy has surrounded them and is poised for attack.

Within the natural and spiritual realms there exists separate kingdoms which are ruled by natural and spiritual leaders.

Natural Kingdoms:  All men live in a natural kingdom of this world. They live in a city or village which is part of a nation. That nation is a kingdom of the world. A natural kingdom is a territory or people over which an actual king or political leader is the sovereign ruler. The Bible speaks of these natural kingdoms as "kingdoms of the world." The kingdoms of the world have come under the power and influence of Satan:

In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.  2 Corinthians 4:4

Again, the Devil taketh Him (Jesus) up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;  And saith unto Him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. (Matthew 4:8-9)

And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.  John 5:19 

Spiritual Kingdoms:  In addition to the natural kingdoms of this world there are two spiritual kingdoms: The Kingdom of Satan and the Kingdom of God. Every person alive is a resident of one of these two kingdoms.

The Kingdom of Satan consists of Satan, spiritual beings called demons, and all men who live in sin and rebellion to God's Word. These, plus the world and the flesh, are the spiritual forces of evil at work in the world today.

The Kingdom of God consists of God the Father, God the son [Jesus Christ], God the Holy Spirit, spiritual beings called angels, and all men who live in righteous obedience to God's Word. These are the spiritual forces of good.

The Kingdom of God is not a denomination. Denominations are man-made organizations of groups of churches.  Denominations are major church organizations like Baptist, Assembly of God, Methodist, Lutheran, etc. The Bible speaks of the true Church which is not a denomination or religious organization. The true Church is composed of all those who have become residents of the Kingdom of God; also know as the body of Christ.

At the present time in the natural world, the Kingdom of God exists individually within every man, woman, boy or girl who has made Jesus King of their lives. It exists communally in the true church and wherever people make this world the kind of world God wants it to be. In the future, there will be an actual visible manifestation of God's Kingdom.

The invisible spiritual war is a battle which involves all men and women. Because the Kingdom of Satan is a spiritual kingdom . . .

. . . we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12)

We that reside in the kingdom of God have no reason to be fearful.  Jesus lets us know through a conversation with Apostle Peter that the gates of hell shall not prevail.  He assures us of victory.

And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  (Matthew 16:18)

Spiritual warfare is not a natural battle between flesh and blood. It is not a battle of man against man. It is not a visible battle. It is an invisible struggle in the spirit world. It is a battle within and around man. It is not a visible war because spirits are involved and we know that a spirit does not have flesh and bones.

Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.  Luke 24:39

Spiritual warfare is "multidimensional," which means it is fought in different dimensions. It is:

          1.          A social battle between the believer and the world:               John 15:18-27
          2.         A personal battle between the flesh and the spirit:                 Galatians 5:16-26
          3.         A supernatural battle between the believer and evil 
                       supernatural powers:                                                                    Ephesians 6:10-27
          4.         A physical battle, with Satan launching attacks of 
                       sickness against your body:                                                         Job 1-2.

Every person alive is engaged in this battle, whether he realizes it or not. There is no neutral ground. Unbelievers are in bondage to evil and have been taken captive by the enemy forces. They are victims of the war. Believers have been freed from the enemy through Jesus Christ and are victors, but they are still engaged as soldiers in the war.  We (all believers) wrestle against evil spiritual forces. 

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  Ephesians 6:12 

Wrestling involves close personal contact. No one is exempt from this battle. No one can view it from a distance. You are in the midst of conflict whether you acknowledge it or not. If you believe it will get better, you are wrong. The Christian warfare never ceases.  

God lets us know that we have a force within us that is greater than anything we may face:  

Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.   (I John 4:4)

(Biblical Studies)



Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Reap or Rot

And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.  (II Timothy 2:2)

Millions of believers throughout the world do not have a Biblical world view. Their concern focuses on their own family, communitu, and church. Because they have not understood God's plan for the world, they are not actively fulfilling their part in this plan.

A key to effective communication of the Biblical world view is faithful men and women for training:

And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.             (II Timothy 2:2)

The word "faithful" means active, reliable, and trustworthy.  Not everyone will be receptive to the Biblical world view. Not everyone will be faithful to it. In sharing the vision, you must select those in whom you see qualities of an active, reliable, and trustworthy response to God. Those with whom you share the the good news of Jesus Christ must be faithful to teach others also. This is the only way reproduction and multiplication will continue.

Spiritual vision involves seeing beyond the natural world into the spiritual world. It is understanding the divine purpose of God and recognizing your part in His plan.

The vision is the same with which Jesus challenged His disciples over 2,000 years ago. In order to understand the meaning of the vision it is necessary to identify one of the basic principles of God's Word. This principle concerns natural parallels of spiritual truths and applying it to the vision God wants to conceive in us.

The vision with which Jesus challenged His disciples and which He desires to birth in our spirit was revealed by a natural parallel of a spiritual truth.

Jesus said to His disciples:  

Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. (John 4:35)

Jesus was not speaking of the natural harvest in the fields that stretched before them at the time in which He spoke these words. He was speaking of a spiritual harvest.

He used the example of the natural harvest to give His followers a vision that would provide meaning and spiritual direction for their lives.  What did this natural example of the harvest mean in the spiritual realm?

 Jesus was passing through Samaria on the way to Judaea. When He rested near a well His disciples went in search of food. While they were gone a Samaritan woman came to draw water from the well and Jesus shared the Gospel with her.  (
John 4:3-35)

When His disciples returned with the food, Jesus said to them:  

I have meat to eat that ye know not of...

My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work. (John 4:32, 34)

The most important thing to Jesus, more urgent than natural food and the necessities of life, was to do God's will and finish His work.

It was at this point in the conversation that Jesus used the example of the natural harvest. He used it to illustrate what He had just told His disciples: 

The most important thing in life is doing God's will and His work

What is God's will? What is His work? It is revealed in the vision of the harvest.  Jesus told His disciples to lift up their eyes and look at the natural fields of grain ready to harvest. He used these fields as an example of the spiritual fields of multitudes of men and women around the world who are ready to be harvested for the Kingdom of God.

While standing in the middle of visible natural harvest fields that day, the disciples experienced the birth of a spiritual vision.  It is the same vision Jesus wants to birth in your spirit. He wants to give you a vision of the spiritual harvest fields of the world which are ready to be reaped for His Kingdom. When you recognize the reality of that vision and understand your responsibility in fulfilling it, your life will never again be the same.

Jesus clearly stated:  

The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; (Matthew 13:38)

Africa, Asia, Australia, North America, South America, Europe, the Islands of the sea...the harvest fields of the world are ripe with multitudes who have yet to hear the good news of the Kingdom of God.

The vision has not changed. It is the same as it was when Jesus birthed it in the lives of His disciples. The will of God is the same because the work of God is not finished.  There are untold millions yet untold. The vision is still the harvest fields of the world.

Why did Jesus use the example of the harvest to illustrate the spiritual vision He wanted to give His followers? The disciples of Jesus could easily apply these principles to spiritual harvesting because of their familiarity with them in the natural world. Applying these natural principles spiritually would bring forth an abundant spiritual harvest.

Most importantly, the disciples recognized the urgency represented by the example of the natural harvest. When a crop was ripe it must be harvested immediately or it would ruin. It was a matter of reap or rot.

If the harvest was great and there were not enough workers available to reap it, the crop would be lost. Of the spiritual parallel to this natural problem Jesus said:  

The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few. (Matthew 9:37)

As you share what you have learned with others, remember you are not called to share your own cultural views. You are to share the word of God.  Culture is the acquired pattern of how things are done in a certain environment. It involves customs, traditions, language. . . actually all of lifestyle and behavior. You are greatly affected by the culture in which you live. You come to think that your way of doing things is best. But you need to realize that no one culture is superior to another. Our call is not to change the culture or share our own way of doing things which we might perceive as superior.  Our only concern with culture is when practices are in direct violation of God's written Word.  Then we must confront and deal with them as sin. We are not called to take civilization to other cultures. Our purpose is not to save society, but to save souls. The purpose of a fisherman is not to change the sea but to catch the fish in it.

Focus on the major task at hand which is the teaching of faithful men and women.

As faithful believers tasked with sharing the vision of Jesus, we must: 
1.         Become a model of the vision.       
2.         Communicate the vision to others.
3.         Keep the vision as the central focus of life.
4.         Obey the vision.

First, we must embrace the Biblical world view our self. When we have recognized our responsibility to the Great Commission and our heart has been touched with concern for the nations of the world, then we can become a model of the vision.

As a model, you become a living example before your friends,  family and acquaintences. Let them see your own concern for the cause of Christ and feel your heart throb for the nations of the world. Let them see you actively engaged in reaching others with the Gospel. The greatest teaching is not done by words. It is done by example. We see this in the life and ministry of Jesus.

We must keep the vision as the central focus of our life.  It is not enough just to develop a Biblical world view and communicate it to others. You must act upon what you have learned:  

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (II Timothy 3:16-17)

Every principle of Scripture we learn should equip us to do good works. We know many biblical principles, but knowledge without action is like faith without works. If you only know principles and there is no active response to that knowledge, then it is a spiritual dead end. Receiving the vision is not enough. Communicating it to others is not enough. You and those you disciple must also obey the vision.

Begin to obey the vision right now, right where you are.  

As we join others in obeying the vision, we all become a model of the vision and the cycle continues as we communicate it to others.

The best gift we can share is Jesus! 

(Biblical Studies)