The Fields Are White Unto Harvestby Ken Kreider
Scripture Reading: Luke 10:2 "Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest."
One night (Nov 26,2006) after Allen and I had gone out distributing Bible Studies, I prayed that God would give me a message for this morning, because I had no idea what I was going to talk about. I woke up the next morning and I had a whole sermon in my head so I quickly wrote down an outline for it so I wouldn't forget.
Over in Zion National Park, there is a famous monolith called "The Watchman" which probably got it's name by the way it overlooks the valley. It is the most photographed monolith in all of Zion.
According to the Travel Channel "The Watchman" is such an impressive site that "it will make a believer out of you." The Watchman is mentioned several times in scripture as a person of high responsibility in the protection of God's faithful people.
Let's open our Bibles to Ezekiel chapter 33.
In the first part of Ezekiel chapter 33, we have a message from the Lord to Ezekiel about a watchman. Back in those days, it was usually necessary to have high walls all around the city and to have watchmen in their places on the walls at all times. It was the watchman's job to be on the lookout for an approaching enemy and warn the people. Now how important would you consider his job to be? Maybe a better question would be, what do think might happen if the watchman didn't do his job? The whole city could be caught by surprise and the whole city might perish. Now that you realize the importance of the watchman's job, I am going to show you how God has appointed YOU to be a watchman - yes YOU!
Picking up the story in verse 7:
7 So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.
8 When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
9 Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.
What was the watchman's job? To warn the people!
This is not just a message from the Lord to Ezekiel. This is a message from the Lord to the PEOPLE. Now just in case you are thinking that Ezekiel is the only watchman here, notice verses 1 and 2:
1 Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
2 Son of man, speak to WHO? the children of thy people, and say unto them,
and verse 7: I have set thee a watchman
So essentially we have Ezekiel saying to the people, "People, the Lord says, "I have set thee to be a watchman" This is simply telling me that we all have a duty to share the gospel with others.
Now suppose someone is dying of thirst, and you have the water. Or better yet, let's say you know where the water tank is, or even better yet, you know where the water of life is. Wouldn't you help him? Do you think you would be held guiltless if you didn't help him? Now suppose someone is dying spiritually, and you you know the source of the water of life. Knowledge is power, isn't it?
The Bible says in Hosea 4:6 "my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge"
The Great Commision - Go and teach all Nations
Did Jesus ever command us to go and tell others about Him? After all, you say, Ezekiel is in the Old Testament. Turn with me, if you would, to Matthew 28:19,20.
Who is speaking here? Jesus says "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
That statement is called "The Great Commision".
Isaiah said' "Here am I. Send me."
Our attitude should like be that of Isaiah.
Isaiah 6:8 says: "Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!""
The 2 demoniacs
Mt 8:28, Mk 5:1-19, Lk 8:27
Oh, you say, but I don't have the qualifications necessary to share the gospel.
In Matthew chapter 8, verse 28, we find the story of two demoniacs whom Jesus met in the land of Gergesa. Jesus cast out the demons and the demons went into a herd of swine. The swine then ran off the cliff and plunged in to the water below and died. The whole city came out to see what happened to the restored demoniacs, but they were not happy about the pigs. They had lost their investment! So they asked Jesus to leave.
The story is retold in Mark chapter 5. I'd like you to turn with me to Mark chapter 5, verses 18 and 19.
Mk 5:18 "And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him.
19 Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee." I like how it reads in:
DA339: "But Jesus bade them go home and tell what great things the Lord had done for them.
Here was a work for them to do,--to go to a heathen home, and tell of the blessing they had received from Jesus." "as soon as Jesus pointed out their duty they were ready to obey. Not only did they tell their own households and neighbors about Jesus, but they went throughout Decapolis, everywhere declaring His power to save, and describing how He had freed them from the demons. In doing this work they could receive a greater blessing than if, merely for benefit to themselves, they had remained in His presence. It is in working to spread the good news of salvation that we are brought near to the Saviour."
And so I ask you, what qualifications did these restored demoniacs have? Very little, right? And how long did the two restored demoniacs get to hear the teachings of Chirst? Why, they hadn't even heard one sermon from his lips, had they? But they could tell what they knew. They could tell others what Jesus had done for them. They bore evidence that Jesus was the Messiah.
Tell what Jesus has done for you - verse in John
Desire of Ages reads, "They could tell what they knew; what they themselves had seen, and heard, and felt of the power of Christ. This is what everyone can do whose heart has been touched by the grace of God. John, the beloved disciple, wrote: "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; . . . that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you." 1 John 1:1-3. As witnesses for Christ, we are to tell what we know, what we ourselves have seen and heard and felt. If we have been following Jesus step by step, we shall have something right to the point to tell concerning the way in which He has led us. We can tell how we have tested His promise, and found the promise true. We can bear witness to what we have known of the grace of Christ."
We know from the story that the people of Gergesa wanted nothing to do with Jesus when he showed up on the scene. They sent Him away. Why? Because they blamed Him for ruining their great investment - those pigs. But the people were willing to hear the testimony of the two restored demoniacs.
You may not realize it, but we are all missionaries for God. When a person is touched by the saving power of Jesus, the love of God cannot be shut up in the heart. Like springs of living water, it will be natural for it to flow out to others. When we put on the robe that Christ gives us, it's sort of like putting on sweet perfume, isn't it? Other people notice it. I remember one time not long after I became an Adventist, I was working at a pickle plant. When the boss found out that I wanted to keep the seventh-day Sabbath, it became my job to go around scooping up all of the pickles that flew out onto the floor. It was hard work, but I did it with a smile. One day, one of my coworkers said to me, "You're a Christian, aren't you?" He could just tell by the way I cheerfully did my work. We don't have to go overseas to work for Christ. The greatest part of Jesus life on earth was spent working in the carpenter's shop at Nazareth. I can just see Jesus cheering everyone around Him by His singing perhaps and by sharing the love of God with those around Him.Whether you are a business man or a mechanic, you can show by your Christlike spirit and fidelity that you are a true follower of Christ.
When he touches our lives, we become instant missionaries.
Jesus Saves song lyrics and my story
I'd like to read you the lyrics to a song about having a missionary spirit. I remember when I was attending Walla Walla College, and this song was played while they had a film playing with pictures of people from Africa and Asia and just all over the world who need to hear about Jesus. This song was inspired by a sermon that the songwriter heard and as you'll soon notice, by the verse John 4:35 where Jesus said, "Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they
are white already to harvest."
And by Matthew 9:37 where Jesus said unto his disciples, "The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few" I thought it would be nice to play you the actual song as well, but first I'm going to read you the lyrics. Here they are:
A PEASANT GIRL IN MEXICO, A TEACHER IN BOMBAY
IN AFRICA A FISHERMAN, A HOUSEWIFE IN L.A.
PEOPLE, JUST PEOPLE, IN EVERY SINGLE LAND
WHO'VE NEVER KNOWN THE SAVIOR'S LOVE
OR FELT HIS HEALING HAND
(CHORUS) UNTOLD MILLIONS REMAIN UNTOLD
PEOPLE HUNGRY FOR THE BREAD THAT FEEDS THE SOUL
MULTITUDES UNHEARD OF HAVE YET TO HEAR
WE MUST GO
WE MUST PREACH
WE MUST MAKE THE MESSAGE CLEAR
THAT JESUS SAVES, JESUS SAVES
ACROSS THE WORLD FROM WHERE WE LIVE
AND RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET
NEIGHBORS WE KNOW VERY WELL
AND SOULS WE'LL NEVER MEET
PEOPLE, JUST PEOPLE, TRYING TO FIND THEIR WAY
SEARCHING IN THE DARKNESS FOR THE LIGHT OF DAY
(BRIDGE) OH THE FIELDS ARE WHITE UNTO HARVEST
BUT THE LABORERS ARE FEW
BUT BY HIS MIGHT THE WORLD WILL KNOW
THERE IS HOPE IN GOD
THERE IS LIFE BRAND NEW
CHORUS) UNTOLD MILLIONS REMAIN UNTOLD
PEOPLE HUNGRY FOR THE BREAD THAT FEEDS THE SOUL
MULTITUDES UNHEARD OF HAVE YET TO HEAR
WE MUST GO
WE MUST PREACH
WE MUST MAKE THE MESSAGE CLEAR
THAT JESUS SAVES, JESUS SAVES
Everyone on you has a story
Everyone on you has a story about how someone worked in your life. And just as someone guided you, you can be a guide for others. I think back on the lady who answered my Bible Studies. She really encouraged me by her notes on my Bible Study answer sheets even though I never got to meet her.
Allen, Mitch, and I
What we are doing, example
One good way you can witness is to pass out literature in your neighborhood. I know some of you have done that. And I believe Jesus blesses your efforts. I've told you about how Mitch and I went out and on two separate occasions, it was raining. So we prayed for the rain to stop, and just like a faucet being turned off, it stopped raining instantly right when we finished praying. That happened on two separate occasions. The Lord wants this message to be delivered to the people.
Recently, Allen came up with a great plan for giving out Bible Studies. So Allen and I have been going out once a week now to pass out Bible Studies. We gave out the first lessons and told the people that we'd be back the next week with lesson number 2. And if they refuse, I just tell them, O.K. then I'll just give you one on these - something good to read. (What we usually give them is a magazine called "Remember" which is about the Sabbath.) And they almost always take it.
Now let's say you are afraid to talk to people. You can still go around putting literature in doors. When I was a literature evangelist in Washington state, I learned some tricks for making the literature stick in various types of doors.
Sometimes you can slide it into the doors edge and sometimes you have to roll it up and put it in the door handle. Come with us sometime and I'll show you the tricks of the trade. The little book Colporteur Ministry says that our literature should be spread like the leaves of autumn. What good is it doing sitting in your basement or in your garage? You ought to get it out before the pictures become out dated. Are you waiting for your neighbors to come to you? They are not coming to us, folks. We must go to them. If you'd like some literature or to know where you can get some literature, come see me or Allen or Mitch. There are lots of great resources you can use.
One of the best ways to witness to someone is by first meeting the needs of the people.
Jesus often met people's needs first by healing them or by feeding them first. That's why I love ADRA (Adventist Development Relief Agency). And I love what the Women's Ministries Group is doing with the blankets, too. They meet peoples needs, and then, of course, the people want to know about who it is that is helping them.
When you meet peoples needs, then people will be more eager to hear your message because they will know that your religion is not just all talk. They will know that your religion is genuine, that it is backed by action.
The blind man that Jesus healed said - one thing I know, that I was blind and now I see. That was his testimony. And we ALL have a similar testimony. Once WE were blind, but now WE see. We now see the truth of God's word, and we can tell others about how we came to know that truth.
What was the one great object of Jesus life?
Jesus said in Matthew 20:28, "The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many."
Everything else was secondary. Steps To Christ reads, "It was His meat and drink to do the will of God and to finish His work. Self and self-interest had no part in His labor."
So those who are the partakers of the grace of Christ will be ready to make any sacrifice, that others for whom He died may share the heavenly gift.
Are you ready to make any sacrifice that others for whom He died may share the heavenly gift? Is the world a better place because you were in it?
Steps To Christ continues, "This spirit is the sure outgrowth of a soul truly converted. No sooner does one come to Christ than there is born in his heart a desire to make known to others what a precious friend he has found in Jesus; the saving and sanctifying truth cannot be shut up in his heart. If we are clothed with the righteousness of Christ and are filled with the joy of His indwelling Spirit, we shall not be able to hold our peace. If we have tasted and seen that the Lord is good we shall have something to tell." And the effort to bless others will react in blessings upon ourselves.
Why did God give US this work of sharing His good news with others?
He could have given this work of redemption to the angels. But this is the highest honor, the greatest joy, that it is possible for God to bestow upon men.
Steps To Christ reads, "But in His infinite love He chose to make us co-workers with Himself, with Christ and the angels, that we might share the blessing, the joy, the spiritual uplifting, which results from this unselfish ministry. And it is only as we thus fulfill the divine purpose in our creation that life can be a blessing to us."
You have probably heard before that prayer is like breathing (The Bible says, "Pray without ceasing"), Bible Study is like eating, and witness is often compared with exercise in the physical life, because as exercise strengthens us physically, witnessing strengthens us spiritually. Jesus said in John 9:4 "I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work."
Steps To Christ reads, "Strength comes by exercise; activity is the very condition of life. Those who endeavor to maintain Christian life by passively accepting the blessings that come through the means of grace, and doing nothing for Christ, are simply trying to live by eating without working. And in the spiritual as in the natural world, this always results in degeneration and decay. A man who would refuse to exercise his limbs would soon lose all power to use them. Thus the Christian who will not exercise his God-given powers not only fails to grow up into Christ, but he loses the strength that he already had... If the followers of Christ were awake to duty, there would be thousands where there is one today proclaiming the gospel in heathen lands... And all who could not personally engage in the work, would yet sustain it with their means, their sympathy, and their prayers."
What effect will witnessing for Christ have upon us?
The answer can also be found in Steps To Christ. "The spirit of unselfish labor for others gives depth, stability, and Christlike loveliness to the character, and brings peace and happiness to its possessor. They will have clear spiritual perceptions, a steady, growing faith, and an increased power in prayer. "
Are you interested? Do you want it? Do you want this Chirstlike loveliness of character and a steady, growing faint, and an increased power in prayer?
The happiest person is the one most involved in serving others. The most miserable person is the one most involved in serving self. One of you might say, I'll just let the pastor do it. Or I'll just give to the VOP and let them do it. Now don't stop giving your dollars to the VOP. But the obligation rests upon all Christians. When Jesus gave the Great Commission and said, "Go", He was speaking to all of us. He gave His life for us. And we are indebted to those who know Him not. God has given us light. That light is for us to shine to others.
Jesus said in Luke 11:33 "No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light."
And by the way, you don't have to worry what the world will think of you. The little book Steps To Christ says, "If your daily life is a testimony to the purity and sincerity of your faith, and others are convinced that you desire to benefit them, your efforts will not be wholly lost."
David and Svea Flood
While I was at Springville Campmeeting a couple of years ago, I heard the amazing story of David and Svea Flood.
Back in 1921, a Baptist missionary couple named David and Svea Flood went from Sweden to the heart of Africa-to what was then called the Belgian
Congo. They met up with another young Scandinavian couple, the Ericksons, and the
four of them sought God for direction. In those days of much tenderness and devotion
and sacrifice, they felt led of the Lord to set out from the main mission station and take
the gospel to a remote area.
This was a huge step of faith. At the village of N'dolera they were rebuffed by the chief,
who would not let them enter his town for fear of alienating the local gods. The two
couples opted to go half a mile up the slope and build their own mud huts.
They were shunned, avoided, and threatened, and the had to stay a half mile away from the village because the natives did not want to alienate their local gods.
They prayed for a spiritual breakthrough, but there was none.They were there for months and couldn't even talk to the people. The only contact with the
villagers was a 8 year old boy, who was allowed to sell them chickens and eggs twice a
week. Svea Flood-a tiny woman only four feet, eight inches tall-decided that if this was
the only African she could talk to, she would try to lead the boy to Jesus. She would tell the boy the stories of the Bible and she would tell him about God. At first, his attitude was "whatever", but eventually, he became interested. And in fact,
But there were no other encouragements. Meanwhile, malaria continued to strike one
member of the little band after another. In time the Ericksons decided they had had
enough suffering and left to return to the central mission station. David and Svea Flood
remained near N'dolera to go on alone. Then, of all things, Svea found herself pregnant
in the middle of the primitive wilderness. When the time came for her to give birth, the
village chief softened enough to allow a midwife to help her. A little girl was born, whom
they named Aina.
Then Svea got malaria. In addition to that she was pregnant.
The delivery, however, was exhausting, and Svea Flood was already weak from bouts
of malaria. The birth process was a heavy blow to her stamina. She lasted only another
seventeen days. After giving birth to a little girl called Aggie.
David was devastated.
Inside David Flood, something snapped in that moment. He dug a crude grave, buried
his twenty-seven-year-old wife, and then took his children back down the mountain to
the mission station. Giving his newborn daughter to the Ericksons, he snarled, "I'm
going back to Sweden. I've lost my wife, and I obviously can't take care of this baby.
God has ruined my life." With that, he headed for the port, rejecting not only his calling,
but God himself. With that, he left, and he turned his back on God.
Within eight months both the Ericksons were poisoned by the local natives and died within days of each other. stricken with a mysterious malady and
died within days of each other. Just before they died, baby Aggie was then turned over to some American
missionaries, who adjusted her Swedish name to "Aggie" and eventually
and was brought her back to the United States at age three.
If the story ended there, you might say, "Man, what power the devil has. He really runs that place." But God's spirit was at work.
This family loved the little girl and were afraid that if they tried to return to Africa,
some legal obstacle might separate her from them. So they decided to stay in their
home country and switch from missionary work to pastoral ministry. And that is how
Aggie grew up in South Dakota and married a young pastor.
Aggie grew up As a young woman, she attended North Central Bible College in Minneapolis. There she
met and married a young man named Dewey Hurst. Years passed. The Hursts enjoyed
a fruitful Ministry. Aggie gave birth first to a daughter, then a son. In time her husband
became president of a Christian college in the Seattle area, and Aggie was intrigued to
find so much Scandinavian heritage there.
One day a Swedish religious magazine appeared in her mailbox. She had no idea who
had sent it, and of course she couldn't read the words. But as she turned the pages, all
of a sudden a photo stopped her cold. There in a primitive setting was a grave with a
white cross-and on the cross were the words SVEA FLOOD.
Aggie jumped in her car and went straight for a college faculty member who worked at the college where her husband taught who, and asked "What does this say?"
The instructor summarized the story: It was about missionaries who had come to
N'dolera long ago ... the birth of a white baby ... the death of the young mother ... the
one little African boy who had been led to Christ ... and how, after the whites had all left,
the boy had grown up and finally persuaded the chief to let him build a school in the
village. The article said that gradually he won all his students to Christ... the children led
their parents to Christ... even the chief had become a Christian. Today there were six
hundred Christian believers in that one village--All because of the sacrifice of David and
For the Hursts' twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, the college presented them with the
gift of a vacation to Sweden. There Aggie sought to find her real father. An old man
now, David Flood had remarried, fathered four more children, and generally dissipated
his life with alcohol. He had recently suffered a stroke. Still bitter, he had one rule in his
family: "Never mention the name of God- because God took everything from me."
After an emotional reunion with her half brothers and half sister, Aggie brought up the
subject of seeing her father. The others hesitated. "You can talk to him," they told her,
"even though he's very ill now. But you need to know that whenever he hears the name
of God, he flies into a rage.
She finaly foun him.
Aggie was not to be deterred. She walked into the squalid apartment, with liquor bottles
everywhere, and approached the seventy-three-year-old man lying in a rumpled bed.
"Papa?" she said tentatively.
He turned and began to cry. "Aggie," he said. "I never meant to give you away."
"It's all right, Papa," she replied, taking him gently in her arms. "God took care of me."
The man instantly stiffened. The tears stopped. "God forgot all of us. Our lives have
been like this because of Him." Then he turned back to face the wall. He turned his face back to the wall.
Aggie stroked his face and then continued, undaunted. "Papa, I've got a little story to tell
you, and it's a true one. You didn't go to Africa in vain. Mama didn't die in vain. The little
boy you won to the Lord grew up to win that whole village to Jesus Christ. The one seed
you planted just kept growing and growing. Today there are six hundred African people
serving the Lord because you were faithful to the call of God in your life. ... Papa, Jesus
loves you. He has never hated you."
The old man turned back to look into his daughter's eyes. His body relaxed. He began
to talk. And by the end of the afternoon, he had come back to the God he had resented
for so many decades. Over the next few days, father and daughter enjoyed warm
moments together. Aggie and her husband soon had to return to America-and within a
few weeks, David Flood had gone into eternity.
David Flood died a few weeks after that. He had been ill.
A few years later, Aggie and her husband were attending a evangelism conference in
London, England, where a report was given from the nation of Zaire (the former Belgian Congo On the Congo area). The superintendent of the national church, representing some 110,000
baptized believers, spoke eloquently of the gospel's spread in his nation.
The speaker said that now there were 110,000 Christians in the Congo area following Jesus Christ.
Aggie could not help going to ask him afterward if he had ever heard of David and Svea Flood.
"Yes, madam," the man replied in French, his words then being translated into English.
"It was Svea Flood who led me to Jesus Christ. I was the boy who brought food to your
parents before you were born. In fact, to this day your mother's grave and her memory
are honored by all of us."
He embraced her in a long, sobbing hug. Then he continued, "You must come to Africa
to see, because your mother is the most famous person in our history."
In time that is exactly what Aggie and her husband did. They were welcomed by
Cheering group of villagers. She even met the man who had been hired by her father
many years before to carry her back down the mountain in a hammock-cradle.
The most dramatic moment, of course, was when the pastor escorted Aggie to see her
mother's white cross for herself. She knelt in the soil to pray and give thanks. Later that
day, in the church, the pastor read from John 12:24: "I tell you the truth, unless a kernel
of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it
produces many seeds." He then followed with Psalm 126:5: "Those who sow in tears
will reap with songs of joy."
What do we learn from Aggie's story?
By your unconscious influence you may start waves of blessing that you may never know until the day of the final reward. And you don't have to worry about success. Just faithfully do the work that God's has given you to do. It gives your life real meaning and purpose and direction.
And from the story of the restored demoniacs, we learn that "The humblest and poorest of the disciples of Jesus can be a blessing to others."
And you don't have to wait for a special occasions or to aquire special abilities before you go to work for God. In fact, you shouldn't wait. We are to "Go, and tell others what great things the Lord has done for us." So I appeal to you today "let your light shine."