Friday, December 15

10 questions out of Luke 10

10 questions out of Luke 10
--by Svend Løbner Madsen

I like "the Luke 10 concept" of evangelism through finding "house of peace" in a town and take it from there...From 12 years of church planting in Denmark through homes, I have experienced the danger of becoming introverted and people using all kinds of excuses to not do what they are supposed to do. Here are three of them:

1. I am not mature enough. God is working in me, but he is not finished yet.
- Well, that's true, but it isn't an excuse. I know some people who are not "dry behind their ears yet" and they are the best evangelists! Begin where you are, using the opportunities that come along the way!

2. I am not educated enough. Let's have one more round of Bible Study on evangelism.
- Well, I've even heard of some folks, who just got saved, only knowing John 3:16, and then went out gathering their neighbors and friends. Sure they needed more teaching, but it didn't hinder them from doing the job!

3. I haven't heard the Lord tell me yet. I'll do nothing until God's telling me!
- Well, here you have a major misunderstanding. God has already told you to "Go out into all the world, preaching the gospel to all men"! What are you waiting for? Only when you are obedient to the ordinary, you will experience the extraordinary!

In Luke 10...what was Jesus really telling his disciples to do? Here are 10 questions that will highlight the passage for us, beginning in the parallel passage in Mathew 9:35...

1. Are we living among the people?
"And Jesus went about all the cities and villages..." For so long the church has isolated itself from the ordinary life of ordinary people. Church members have become isolated, only socializing with Christian friends. If this continues, how will we ever communicate the gospel and how will people ever believe that we are serious and that the gospel actually works in our lives?

2. Are we seeing beyond peoples' facades?
"But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd." Do we see behind the stone faces of the men, the makeup of the women? Do we at all see them as precious individuals, not only a crowd or a statistic in our evangelism program?

3. Do we interpret the needs right?
"And then he said to his disciples: The harvest truly is plentiful..." For so long we have mourned about the sins of the world and the devastating effects on people. But Jesus had another angle: He saw the needs of the people as an opportunity for God! "The harvest truly is plentiful!"

4. Are we praying for the right thing?
"Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers..." Therefore pray! You can't do anything but pray, before you have prayed, writes S. D. Gordon. But are we praying? That is directing our needs and wishes towards the throne of God, or are we just sighing or telling God what we think He ought to do? And are we praying for laborers? There is only one bottleneck to revival and church growth, and that is leadership capacity. Someone who will lead somebody to Christ. Or someone who will lead all the some bodies who lead somebody to Christ.

5. Are we heeding the call?
Just after the above verse Jesus calls his disciples and gives them power over demons (Luke 10 and Matt. 10). They became the answer to their own prayers. Because by praying, you are adjusting your spiritual ears, so you can hear the call of God. Those who pray are most likely to be the ones who actually act on their prayers. So when you pray - listen!

6. Are we actually moving beyond our comfort zone?
"Go your way, behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves!" (Luke 10:3). The great commission starts with the word: Go! Go into all the world! Go make disciples of all nations! Go, go go! Why is that? Because if we don't go, we stand, and if we don't stand we sit, and if we don't sit, we lay down passive! This is the spiritual law of gravity. If we are not disciplined, we fall apart!

7. Are we keeping focus on the task?
"Carry neither money, bag, knapsack, nor sandals, and greet no one along the road..." There are so many things that will deviate us from the right track. Good intentions are not enough, not even a good start. If we are going to finish well, complete the task, we will have to keep our focus.

8. Do we actually convey the presence of God where ever we go?
"But whatever house you enter, first say: Peace to this house! And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest on it..." Your peace! Do you have peace? You know, people are not stupid. They look through you, and if you are not in peace with God, yourself, your wife, your children etc. your words will be the ones of a hypocrite!

9. Do we convey the power of God?
"And heal the sick there, and say to them: The kingdom of God has come near to you"! The kingdom is not words, but power. Just as it is not what you eat and drink, but the real values of righteousness, peace and joy. This should be our prayer: “Lord, let me be a channel of your power!” But it starts with peace. Having peace with God through Christ, allows him to work in you. So bringing forth that peace among the people, will also convey the power of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit prepares the way for the gifts of the Spirit.

10. Are we realistic about the results?
"But whatever city you enter, and they do not receive you..." Which bible school prepares its students for opposition? I know none. We all think in success and growth. But not all people will receive. In the end times there will be both a great harvest of people receiving the gospel and a great persecution from people resisting the gospel, and many Christians will slide back into a worldly lifestyle. Let's get rid of the "success syndrome" that only counts the positive, and be realistic, and also credit the work that many are doing in hard areas, where there are not much to brag about!

If we are faithful here, obeying the words of Jesus in Luke 10, I am convinced that the time of harvest will come. And in an unprecedented scale! But not if the skip the hard part. And not at all if we isolate ourselves in our nice little churches. Let's answer the 10 questions before the face of the Lord. And act accordingly!

7 comments:

mr.t said...

Guy,

Great article. Good insights from this passage that I have not seen before.

Alan Knox said...

Guy,

Great post! I noticed that you did not comment on Luke 10:7 - "And remain in the same house, eating and drinking such things as they give, for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not go from house to house."

How do you think this verse applies today?

Thanks,

-Alan

GuyMuse said...

Mr."T",

Thanks for stopping by. I too found the article helpful.

Alan,

While Svend doesn't comment on the verse, we understand it to mean that once we find the "person of peace" we are to stay there, and begin the work there. There is no longer a need to keep going door to door, God has shown us where He wants to work, and we are to stay put from that point onward. The "eating and drinking" is very important as bridge builders with the POP and is part of the strategy. It is in eating and drinking with people that we really get to know them and the barriers begin to come down between us.

Ken Sorrell said...

Guy,

These are good insights. I stole and adapted from Bill Smith formerly in EA a training role play where we go from finding the POP to starting a new church and discuss in details the issues raised in this article on your site. I think it is a great reminder of what we as the church and of course missionaries should be doing.

I also like to point out, not original to me, that the first instruction Jesus gives in this passage is to pray for more workers. Here He is looking at 70 excited and ready to go workers and He tells them to first, pray for more to go into the harvest. Someone else has pointed out that in Scripture it is interesting that those who are already working are the ones to pray for more workers, not those sitting on the sidelines.

Great post!

Les Puryear said...

Guy,

I love this post! You have freshened my spirit with your insightful words.

Thanks!

Les

GuyMuse said...

Ken,

Interesting observation about Jesus telling the workers to be the ones to pray for more laborers. This is what we too stress in our training of workers--their first command of Jesus' to obey is to pray for MORE workers.

Les,

Thanks for stopping by. I too found Svend's article a refreshing look at Luke 10 commands. Keep up the good work on your blog!

antonio said...

I have been preparing a sermon on Luke 10 and a life of peace for some time now and enjoy your continued imput on the passage.