Pastor Terry Inman
The re-commissioned Corsewall Lighthouse shines from the cliffs of Loch Ryan in South West Scotland. The port is one of the main ferry routes for the crossing to Belfast, Ireland. The Irish Sea can be tempestuous. 133 people died in 1953 when the Princess Victoria went down in heavy seas.
It was in these waters near Donegal in the mid 1700’s that a notorious, cursing, drinking, slave trading, sailor nearly lost his ship and his life. The curator of the Anglican Cathedral in Londonderry told me it was in those cold dark waters that songwriter John Newton first saw the light.
Newton later wrote the words to a folk song that is performed 10 million times a year. Amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see. The 3rd verse; Thro' many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come; 'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.
Anthony Skinner who was here recently has a new video release that is a fresh take on two familiar hymns All Hail the Power & Amazing Grace. Before we get further into this message you have to see this.
Harbor Light is a shining sentinel of safety and security in Christ. We are receiving our own re-commissioning. We exist to guide people through life’s storms and into safe harbor.
Fifteen years ago the Mission America Coalition launched the National Lighthouse Movement right here at Harbor Light. Close to 500 Christian leaders from 80 denominations and 400 ministries came together to help mobilize the church to pray for, care for and share Jesus Christ with every person in America.
I was already talking to our staff about doing 40 days of Love and Light when I learned the Lighthouse movement was getting a second wind. It is now re-branded, as LOVE2020. It is a fresh call to love others by living out the simple and powerful lifestyle of prayer, care and share.
The goal is for every person in America to be authentically loved by at least one committed follower of Jesus Christ by the end 2020.
Our 40 days of LOVE and LIGHT is like a re-commissioning. It officially begins next Sunday thru Good Friday. We are recommitting ourselves to partner with the Holy Spirit and one other to fulfill the great commission.
When Jesus commissioned his followers to “make disciples of all nations”, he never expected it to be done alone. He promised His presence and His participation through the empowering of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matt. 28.18-20 (NIV)
After completing his mission to die on the cross for the sins of humanity, the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ entrusted His authority to his disciples to carry on the mission of redemption and reconciliation. They were commissioned by the King of Kings to proclaim the coming kingdom.
There’s a great scene in the Movie “Master and Commander”. The rouge sea Captain Jack Aubrey played by Russell Crowe steps foot on board a conquered enemy vessel. He carries the British flag on deck and claims this Spanish warship for the British Crown. On the far side of the world he was “commissioned” by the Queen to claim territory for the British Commonwealth. It’s like he was standing on British soil.
Jesus commissioned his disciples to proclaim His kingdom. He said, As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. Matt. 10.7-8 (NIV)
The Jewish people were anticipating a Messiah that would free them from Roman occupation and restore the Kingdom to Israel. Miraculous signs and wonders would be his signature.
Jesus promised and delivered his followers His authority and the power of the Holy Spirit to establish His Kingdom--His spiritual sovereignty. He also ordered his first followers to travel in teams. They needed support. Jesus said, if any two or three ask anything in my name will be granted. We are going to learn how to minister in his authority together.
Today I want to revisit Luke 10 where we get a look at Jesus strategy for reaching people with the good news.
Some people think our faith is personal and only certain people are called and gifted to share the good news of the kingdom. But Luke says, Jesus appointed 72 “others” not just his original group of twelve disciples.
After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Luke 10.1-2 (NIV)
“After this” is a reference to the end of the previous chapter. In (Luke 9) a guy tells Jesus he wants to be a follower. Jesus says, Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head. This was an eastern tongue-in-cheek way of telling the guy he wouldn’t like the travel arrangements. It’s not a first class tour.
Then Jesus enlists another guy who says he has to make funeral arrangements for his father. Jesus again says something that in our ears sounds very insensitive. Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God. If he wasn’t dead yet this could take months. Spiritually alive people need to be proclaiming the Kingdom now!
A third guy says he will follow Jesus as soon as he says goodbye to his family. Again Jesus stresses his point. No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God. Luke 9.62 (NIV)
There are a lot of “wanta-be” followers of Jesus. These people had some legitimate reasons for delay but Jesus uses hyperbole to stress the urgency of our kingdom commission. “After this” dialog he sends 72 others into the harvest! Our commission carries a serious commitment?
It makes sense that he would tell them the harvest is plentiful and the workers are few. He just got through saying anybody that begins plowing then looks back or has second thoughts is unfit. This is not light work. There is plowing, planting, cultivating and then reaping.
Mathew also records Jesus describing the harvest as massive and the labor force minimal. Jesus has compassion on crowds of shepherdess, harassed and helpless sheep. They are victims of wolves.
Then after telling them to pray for harvest workers. He says, Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road. Luke 10.3-4 (NIV)
Mathew’s version adds, be as wise as serpents and harmless as doves.
He was preparing them for predators and persecutors. The kingdom isn’t won without a fight. Jesus said, From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. Matt. 11.12 (NIV)
No wonder we are slow to accept our commission, kingdom building is dangerous business. That’s why we must be filled with and led by the Holy Spirit. We also need to team up. The book of acts mentions several partnerships. Peter and John, Paul and Silas, Paul and Barnabas.
That’s why we want you to get into small groups for six weeks as we learn and practice the prayer-care-share lifestyle. It’s not easy, we need more of the Holy Spirit and we need to support each other!
Next Jesus told them to find a receptive and hospitable home (or person) and bless them with peace. When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you. Luke 10.5-6 (NIV)
In that culture it was expected that you would show hospitality to travelers. They didn’t have a Marriot Courtyard or a Residence Inn. They were more like Europe and the Mid-East where people get a room and a meal in a Pension something like a bed and breakfast.
Jesus told them to hang out. Don’t get in a hurry. Eat with them. Get to know them. Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house. When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you. Luke 10.8 (NIV)
That really works here in Fremont. If you want to really get to know people different than you, go to their house and eat their food. At least go to their restaurant and eat what is set before you. You will endear yourself to them and their culture.
Then Jesus says, once you get to know them, Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.’ Luke 10.9 (NIV) If their need is not obvious I just say is there anything I could pray about?
This is what I call show and tell. When they get healed tell them the Kingdom has come. The sovereign Lord is in the house! Why because you are there and you are commissioned by the King to be there! Jesus said, “The Kingdom of God is in us!” Luke 12.21 (NIV)
Then Jesus told them to be prepared for acceptance and rejection. “He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me. Luke 10.16 (NIV)
So don’t take it personal when people don’t want to hear about Jesus.
It’s not about you. It’s their problem. They are the ones that will be responsible for what they do with Jesus.
Luke says, The seventy-two returned with joy and said, ‘Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.’ Luke 10.17 (NIV) You know sometimes its feels easier to get demons to submit than some people!
Jesus’ followers got a taste of kingdom ministry and it was exciting. They were happy. They were fulfilled. They were even a little too impressed with themselves.
So Jesus says, I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven. Luke 10.18-20 (NIV)
As they followed His orders darkness submitted to the light. We are commissioned with the same prayer-care-share strategy.
Luke says, Jesus was very happy with the results.
At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.” Luke 10.21 (NIV)
Jesus was having fun. He had already seen Satan crash and burn. Now his followers are bringing demons and diseases under submission to the Kingdom of God. This is a good day. He is full of Holy laughter!
What we are going to do the next six weeks isn’t rocket science. It’s simple it’s fun--kids can do it. We are being re-commissioned.
Missions offering and Small group Host down front.