Christians Forced Into Labor??

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Christians Forced Into Labor??

A Great Harvest of Souls

SERMON TEXT: Matthew 9:35-38 NLT


I would like to take a few moments to talk about my father. I remember going with my dad to buy groceries and toys, and then going to deliver them to a family that was not going to be able to have anything for Christmas. And as we walked out, he handed them money to buy gas, so they could go to their grandma’s for Christmas.

I remember my dad, who when we moved, as he looked for a home to live in, he also looked to see which churches were nearby. He not only asked about the neighborhoods… he asked about the churches.
 Going to church as I grew up was not an option… it was a privilege.

He taught me the importance of work, of integrity, of faithfulness… He was a good example… It was a blessing to have such a good relationship with my father. I am not saying he was perfect, but I love him, I respect him, and I have tried to please him.
My dad used to tell me how one of the first things he learned from his dad was to work in the fields. At six years old he could pick as much or more cotton than his dad. He knew what it was like to work in the harvest.



I remember, as a young boy, traveling a long distance to go to a little country church. We were there to hear the church’s new preacher say, “We have with us today a man that if it had not been for him, I would probably be either dead or in prison. We have with us today the man who led me to Christ…” Then he called out my dad’s name and I looked up and saw a tear coming from my dad’s eye, but he was smiling from ear to ear.

My dad had been involved in a greater harvest field…
It is one of the best things we could ever teach our children

John 4:35 (NKJV) 
Do you not say, ‘There are still four months 
and then comes the harvest’?
I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, 
for they are already white for harvest!


According to those who know…

  • There are approximately 160 million unchurched people in America.
    … many of these who are unchurched call themselves Christian, but do not even come close to being one… look at the fruit
  • 11% of the unchurched people (17 million people) are highly receptive and would probably be positive in their response to a Gospel presentation from a friend or relative.
  • 27% of the unchurched people (43 million people )would go to church this Sunday if someone invited them.

The stats are based on interviews with unchurched people.
Sources given were “Surprising Insights from The Unchurched” – “Breakout Churches” – “The Unchurched Next Door”  – “Future Church.”

“…look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!”

“The harvest is so great, but the workers are so few.”

Only 2% of believers will ever share their faith with anyone

I was searching for information about crops not being harvested on time
and I found an interesting statement…

“If the crops are not harvested on time, they become compost.”

The statement above did not deny the existence of a crop… It just stated the end result of a wasted crop. It becomes “compost” IT ROTS! It no longer can be used to build a kingdom. We should not be surprised that this is what it becomes.
In the same way, we should not be surprised that when we neglect to be workers in the Lord’s harvest, those who are not harvested on time… become rotten.

Can you imagine the reaction of a farmer when those who work for him allow this to happen?

Shame on those who will not both be trained to work in the harvest and then follow up by working in the harvest field.

OOPS… Now you know I am not sent to pat people on the head and say “Good Job” or to water down being a disciple of Christ.

Just a side note on my dad:
CottonHe is a great optimist. As a child he would ask me in difficult situations what one good thing was coming about because of the situation. Then he would tell me to think on that. So I asked him one time, “At 6 years old, what was the best thing about picking cotton?”

Without missing a beat, he said, “The end of the row! At the end of the row, you got to empty your sack, visit with your friends, get a drink of water, and hear instructions before you got your next row.”

This is what church is! The end of the row. All week we work in the harvest, then on Sunday we bring our harvest to the church, fellowship with other believers, get refreshed, listen to instructions to make us better harvesters, and then we walk out the doors to get another row!

Fathers show your family how to WORK & how to work in the HARVEST

The Title of this message is

How often have we prayed for a great harvest of souls?

Text: Matthew 9:35-38 NLT
35Jesus traveled through all the cities and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And wherever he went, he healed people of every sort of disease and illness. 36He felt great pity for the crowds that came, because their problems were so great and they didn’t know where to go for help. They were like sheep without a shepherd. 37He said to his disciples, “The harvest is so great, but the workers are so few. 38So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send out more workers for his fields.”

Passage analysis:

At first glance this passage does not seem to be too dangerous.

However appearances can be deceiving

Jesus told the disciples to ask God to “SEND OUT” workers.
…….Pretty simple, right? …Wrong!

Now for a little teaching here…

The Greek word used here for “SEND OUT” is “ekballoô” (ek-bal’-lo).

It is derived from two Greek words:

  • ek = out of,
  • balloô = to throw or let go of a thing without caring where it falls

Combined it is a word with definite connotations of violence or force.

  • with notion of violence —— to drive out (cast out)
  • without the notion of violence —— to lead one forth or away somewhere with a force which he cannot resist
  • NOTE: In the cases where the definition is of a supposedly “non-violent” nature, it is one of force which one cannot resist.

The word is used in the Greek translation of Scripture to express “forcible throwing out, rejection and driving out of enemies, demons, similarly unwelcome beings from a house”

I have a vivid imagination. When I think of this in light of the harvest, I envision an old flatbed truck driving down the end of the turn rows and behind the cab, Jesus is grabbing people by the collar and the belt and heaving them into the field saying, “that’s your row, go harvest!”

Now that is casting out, throwing out, driving out, people into the harvest. That is what we ask for when we pray this prayer.

New Testament usage

In the New Testament it is used 90 times

Only THIS ONE TIME is it translated SENT!

Most often it refers to casting out demons.

Mark 16:17 (NLT) These signs will accompany those who believe: They will CAST OUT demons in my name, and they will speak new languages.

At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry
Right after His baptism in the river Jordan

Mark 1:12 (NKJV) 
Immediately the Spirit DROVE Him into the wilderness.

In these passages we see the word “ekballoô”.

Jesus was driven w/ a force that could not be resisted by the Holy Spirit!

Here is another way to see this kind of force in action:

Matthew 21:12 (NKJV) Then Jesus went into the temple of God and DROVE OUT all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves.

You can picture the force it took to drive animals out of the temple can’t you?

Can you picture Him driving the money changers out?

He drove them out with a force that could not be resisted!

So what does all this have to do with the “Lord of the Harvest” 
“sending” workers into His harvest fields?

“…look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!”

“The harvest is so great, but the workers are so few.”

Remember: Only 2% of believers will ever share their faith with anyone

NOTE: Being a disciple of Christ is NOT a passive thing!

Remember that flat bed truck idea???
That FORCE to throw the workers off the truck and into the harvest field?
Now THAT is forced labor!

Any Pentecostals recognize this scripture???

Acts 1:8 (NLT) 
But you will receive POWER when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”


Too many…
Want to be called Pentecostal just because they speak in tongues.
Seek tongues or seek power to do wonders.
We want the Spirit, but want to remain in our comfort zones.

Remember “ekballoô”, to cast out with a force that cannot be resisted?


Before we can GO INTO all the world

Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV) 18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

We need to be CAST OUT of our comfort zones.

The Holy Spirit IS the motivator:

The Apostle Paul said that he really had no choice…

2 Corinthians 5:13-14 (NKJV) 
13For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; 
or if we are of sound mind, it is for you. 
14For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died;

In Job, Elihu felt it necessary to speak his peace.

Job 32:18 (NKJV) 
For I am full of words; The spirit within me compels me.

The prophet Jeremiah knew the feeling also…

Jeremiah 20:9 (NLT) And I can’t stop! 
If I say I’ll never mention the LORD or speak in his name, 
his word burns in my heart like a fire. 
It’s like a fire in my bones! I am weary of holding it in!

The prophet Jeremiah knew the irresistible force of God’s message! He had proclaimed the Word of the Lord only to be persecuted and mocked. He felt like doing God’s work was useless among such a hard people. So at first he decided to hold back and not speak anymore since it was doing no good,
BUT… God’s Word was like a “burning fire” in his heart…
He could not stop it! He was compelled to speak the message of the Lord…“with a force that can not be resisted!”

How many of you still want to be obedient to God and pray for the Lord of the harvest to “SEND”/”DRIVE” workers into His harvest fields?

If you CAN hold back from speaking on God’s behalf
You are NOT full of the Spirit!
You need to be driven out into the harvest field
With a force that cannot be resisted!

If you are complacent this is a dangerous verse…

Matthew 9:37-38 (NKJV) 
…“The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”

Here is the danger…
If we pray for the Lord of the harvest to “send” / “drive” workers in…
We are praying for…

  • …ourselves to be “CAST OUT” of our comfort zones
  • …ourselves to be “CAST INTO” the harvest field.
 “… with a force that can not be resisted!”

The very power of Pentecost is the power to witness.
It is a compelling force that causes you to be witnesses.


Let’s look back at the temple where Jesus drove the money changers out of the temple… There the temple stood in the middle of the harvest field and the religious people were too busy playing church to work in the field. Instead the temple was full of those who would find the easiest way to worship and the best way to profit themselves rather than to do the work of the Lord.
The money changers were just making church easy for those who came, those who wanted a form of godliness, but were unwilling to commit themselves to doing things God’s way.

What would Jesus do with His church members today?
…with those who are more concerned with making it easy than…

Pentecost does not make church easy.
It drives people out of the comfortable building and into the highways and byways. The very promise of Pentecost was so we would have a power operate in us that would make evangelizing our local community, our region, our nation, and the world with the gospel. It had NO other purpose,

Contrary to popular belief Pentecost is not about the power to party. It is the power to proclaim! When people say the Holy Spirit really moved in our service today, then the end result would always be people got saved and were empowered to reach others. DO NOT say the Holy Spirit really moved if all you did was have a Pentecostal party.

If people are not being reached with the gospel by a church, they do not deserve to call themselves Pentecostal. That is what this power, this force does! If someone is NOT compelled to reach the lost and never find themselves thrown into the harvest field, they need to get back to the altars because they are not full of the spirit.


The RELIGIOUS need to be driven into the harvest! 
Each one of us need to know what it is like
to be compelled to spread God’s Word


“The harvest is so great, but the workers are so few. 
So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; 
 ask him to DRIVE more workers for his fields.”

Pray to the Lord of the Harvest…

  • Cast ME out of my comfort zone
Drive ME into the harvest field with a force that can not be resisted!
  • Don’t let another soul rot from a late harvest! .

FATHERS… Are you showing your children how to work in the harvest?

Closing illustration

The Irresistible force paradox
Chinese word for paradox “ máodùn” or literally “Spear-Shield”

This term originates from a story. A man was trying to sell a spear and a shield. When asked how good his spear was, he said that his spear could pierce any shield. Then, when asked how good his shield was, he said that it could defend from all spear attacks. Then one person asked him what would happen if he were to take his spear to strike his shield; the seller could not answer.

What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object?
An irresistible force cannot exist in the same universe as an immovable object.

The Holy Spirit CANNOT operate in a person who is immovable!
True Pentecostal believers ARE moved by the Holy Spirit to work in the harvest field with a force THEY DO NOT resist.

Conclusion Emphasis

The only way to be a Christian is to make Jesus the Lord (Boss)
You are in direct disobedience to the Word of God if you do not go out and be witnesses
Being Pentecostal drives you with a force that cannot be resisted!

The Questions:

  • Is Jesus the Lord of your Life?
  • Will you confess Him today.
  • Are you Full of The Spirit?
  • If not, are you willing to receive?
    • Some need it for the first time.
    • Others need to come back.

The primary inspiration for this message was research done by Rev. Al Roever that he shared with R. Duane Gryder
Scriptures (unless noted otherwise) taken from the New King James Version.
Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982, by Thomas Nelson Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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