Reapers of the Great Harvest
Sermon by Dr. Philip Lee on January 30, 2019, during Wednesday Service
The food of Jesus
In our main scripture text today, what is the food of Jesus? Jesus said to His disciples, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work” (John 4:34). Accomplishing the work of the Father is “evangelizing.” Jesus spoke these words to His disciples after He evangelized a woman in the city of Samaria called Sychar at Jacob’s well. The woman cried out, “This is not the Christ, is it?” (John 4:29). The woman confessed, “This is the Christ we have been waiting for,” and went and evangelized her entire city (John 4:28-30). After the woman had departed, Jesus’ disciples who had returned said to Him, “Rabbi, eat.” But Jesus replied and said, “I have food to eat that you do not know about” (John 4:31-32). Jesus declared that the “fields are white for harvest” meaning that an evangelizer is a “reaper.” As we become reapers by evangelizing diligently in the year 2019, the number of believers will increase daily and the borders of redemptive history will be enlarged.
What must a reaper do?
First, a reaper must be full of love with a heart that loves the souls of those who are lost and destined for eternal separation from God. Jesus had compassion for the woman from Sychar who had many husbands in the past and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again but whoever drinks of the 'water' that I will give them shall never thirst” (John 4:13-14). This is the Word that Jesus gives, and the one that receives it will never thirst. Jesus saw the people of Israel and referred to them as “sheep without a shepherd” (Matt 9:36). Therefore, we must have a heart of pity for lost souls and God will give us the ability to evangelize (Matt 9:37-38). If we truly love God, we must love our neighbors (1 John 4:20-21). Love becomes the belt that ties things together; when we evangelize we must tie ourselves with the belt of love (Col 3:14). When we evangelize, love is the force that compels us (2 Cor 5:14).
A reaper must look at the field
A reaper is someone who looks at the field, goes to the field, and reaps the harvest. Jesus said, “Lift up your eyes and look on the field” (John 4:35). When Jesus looked at the fields, the people of Samaria were all white for harvest. Jesus first evangelized the Samaritan woman and through her, many people were evangelized. Today, if we look around us we can see that the harvest is “white” and many people are waiting to be reaped. The homes that we live in, our families, and our workplaces are the fields we must go to. Today we must proclaim redemptive history and not stay in our rooms, or in the church for this is not how evangelism works. We must go out into the fields with the Word of God.
A reaper must labor
A reaper must labor continuously and diligently. In order to evangelize one individual, it requires much labor and you must not hold back. The workers that go out into the fields and labor are those who sweat profusely. The hope that one has when they labor is that their labor is not done in vain, for God will pay back the labor that we put forth (1 Cor 15:58).
A reaper will do the work of separation
A farmer who plants seeds will send out reapers to remove all the weeds when the fall comes so that a beautiful fruit will come forth. Thus, this is the final step in reaping the harvest which represents the end of the age (Matt 13:39). The reapers represent the people of God that will be used by Him and they will do the work of separation. A landowner plants a good seed but the devil came and sowed tares in the field. They grew and the servant went to the landowner to inquire about removing them. However, the landowner commanded that the tares remain, for when gathering up the tares you may uproot the good seed, or the wheat, with them. The landowner said, “Allow both the tares and wheat to grow together until the harvest and then gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them and gather the wheat into my barn” (Matt 13:24-30). In the church there are tares but at the command of Jesus, they are to be left alone. The tares are the wicked among the righteous. However, at the end of the age, God will remove the wicked from those who are righteous, for the reapers (the angels of God) will separate the wicked from the righteous (Matt 13:49).
The First Coming of Christ
In the First Coming of Jesus, in order to preach the Word He sent out His disciples and the disciples were the reapers. Jesus’ disciples took on the role of being these angels and they were sent ahead as messengers (John 4:38; Luke 9:52). At the end of the age, you and I will be the spiritual reapers and will be used for the work of separation. Therefore, when we proclaim this gospel, we will take on the role of separating the wicked from the righteous. Among the unbelievers, there is a number that is predestined that will receive the Word of God and return (Rom 11:25).
Conclusion: Reapers must be sharp in order to reap the crop and they must use a sickle in reaping the crop. Jesus has a sharp sickle (Rev 14:14). The sickle will be able to pierce through the bone and marrow and that’s the living Word of God (Heb 4:12). Today the sharp sickle is the mysterious and profound history of redemption series. If we proclaim this Word, we will be able to reap the harvest. Therefore, let us lift up our eyes and look on the fields for they are already white for harvest. And as we proclaim God’s Word, the borders of redemptive history will be greatly enlarged.