Sermon: The Everyday Life of a Disciple (Luke 10:1-20)

Everyday Life of a Disciple


Everyday Life of a Disciple

Jesus has just finished making sure that His followers understand what being a disciple is all about.  He introduced them to the concept of cost.  We learned last week that for us there will be costs as well.  For some the cost may be greater and of a different type than others, but all will experience the cost of discipleship.  There should be a cost.  The cost means it’s worth something.

Today, we see Jesus sending a portion of His committed followers on ahead to basically do what John the Baptist did, prepare the way of the Lord.

In our text today, we’re going to get a taste of discipleship from Christ’s viewpoint.  I want you to look for a few things from the text: Notice what Jesus tells His disciples to pray, to do, and what to rejoice about.

Please hear God’s Word…

Lk 10:1 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go.

Lk 10:2 And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.

Lk 10:3 Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.

Lk 10:4 Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road.

Lk 10:5 Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’

Lk 10:6 And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you.

Lk 10:7 And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house.

Lk 10:8 Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you.

Lk 10:9 Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’

Lk 10:10 But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say,

Lk 10:11 ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’

Lk 10:12 I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.

Lk 10:13 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.

Lk 10:14 But it will be more bearable in the judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you.

Lk 10:15 And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades.

Lk 10:16 “The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

Lk 10:17 The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!”

Lk 10:18 And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.

Lk 10:19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.

Lk 10:20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

1. A Disciple’s Prayer (10:2)

Lk 10:2 And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.

I want us to first see the divine logic involved here.  Jesus tells the 72 newly appointed evangelists to go on ahead, heal the sick, preach the gospel, and pray very hard that the Lord would send more workers.

Here’s the flow…the fields are ripe with a bumper crop.  The time to harvest is now or never.  So we see that there is a time limitation.  Crops are only good so long and then they rot and fall off the vine.  There is a time factor in their work.

Next, in this verse, there is the issue of work.  The word translated, laborer is the word that agriculture comes from.  This is referring to the hard work of a farmer.  A farmer sweats and labors for the harvest.  He plows, sows, cultivates, harvests.  Only after these very hard tasks are accomplished can he enjoy the harvest.  In Gospel labor, the labor of a disciple, there is another type of hard work involved…pray earnestly.  Labor in prayer.  Work hard at praying…do we work hard in prayer?  Do we labor in prayer?

Notice, what the disciple is to pray… Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.

It could be that we often pray for the wrong things.  Please understand, it’s not wrong to pray for the lost around us.  It’s not wrong to pray that God would save our family and friends who are not converted.  Here, in this passage, Jesus doesn’t say pray for the harvest.  He doesn’t say pray for the lost.  He very clearly says, pray to the Lord of the harvest for additional workers.  Pray to Christ that He would raise up disciples who would be bold in their witness.  Pray for the laborers who are already doing the work of evangelizing.

Also notice that this prayer is most effectively prayed by someone who is already a disciple and is involved in the Gospel work and sees how many people are still ripe for harvest who may not hear the Gospel because there is a shortage of workers.

Picture a farmer with a 1950’s model tractor who is about to plow a 5,000-acre farm.  He gets up in the morning and starts the old tractor and begins plowing.  He labors till dark and realizes he’s only scratched the surface.  It’s only that farmer who truly understands the great need for more help.  His discouragement points to the fact more help is needed.  His aching muscles and back point to the fact that more help is needed.  His tractor that is overheated points there.  The guy sitting at home in front of the TV has no real knowledge of the help that’s needed.  Only those who are laborers in God’s field can really understand the great need of the disciple.

Here’s the other issue here: Jesus tells those laborers to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.  I’m to pray to Jesus, who knows a million times more than I do about this eternal harvest and tell Him that He needs more workers.  That’s like me telling someone with a PhD in agriculture that the field needs more of a certain type of chemical, I set out a few tomato plants, he’s the expert.  Yet, Jesus does this, why?  Why would the Lord of the Harvest command me a lowly day laborer to ask Him for more workers?

It is in this verse, and verses like this that we see the clear and true tension between God’s sovereignty and human responsibility.

William Carey approached his hyper-Calvinistic church a few centuries ago seeking their help in his missionary calling.  Their response was, “Son if God wants the heathen saved, He’ll save them without your help.”  They were wrong.

God does the saving He also does the sending.  God saves the elect, as we are faithful in telling and going.  God will save the heathen and He saves them as we go and tell and pray.  We see there is God’s part and our part.  God has chosen the means by which the elect will be saved.  The means are through prayer and going.

It’s in verses like this one that we see God’s supernatural work of calling His disciples to pray the prayers He desires to answer even before we pray them.  It is God’s will to send out more workers.  He has chosen to work through the prayers of His people.  So if more workers actually are sent, it is because we prayed for them and God answers.  That in no way makes us the first cause of God doing something.  He has placed it in our hearts to pray the prayer to begin with.  That’s what praying in Jesus’ name is all about.  We pray the prayers He would if He were here on earth.

Please make it a part of you everyday prayer for God to send out laborers into the harvest field.

2. A Disciple’s Task (10:3)

Lk 10:3 Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.

What we have here is a prelude to the Great Commission.  72 is the number for the nations.  Jesus is calling for the nations to hear and respond to the Gospel.  The task of the disciple is to be going and telling as he goes.

We are commanded as His followers to proclaim the same message He did.  We are to be the laborers.  It’s often the case that when we pray, God uses us to be the answer to that prayer.  Here, the disciples are called to pray for workers and then immediately, Jesus tells them to go.  As they are going, they continue to pray for additional workers.  Keep praying and keep going.

He gives them a warning.  Behold or understand, there will be mixed reactions to your message.  There will even at times be danger involved as we go.  Understand, Jesus would say, everyone you tell is not going to listen or appreciate your words.  That’s ok, keep going and keep telling.

As we go, Lambs among wolves, we’re not helpless.  Notice Jesus says, I am sending You…  I am commissioning you to go.  I am the shepherd who leads you.  I will be with you wherever you go.  These are all found in the Scriptures.  It is as though lambs are among wolves but the Great Shepherd leads us.  This is why we must be praying all the more.

The everyday life of a disciple is living a life of trusting God as we go and tell.  Are you praying for laborers and are you going?

3. A Disciple’s Message (10:9)

Lk 10:9 Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’

Luke gives us a one-sentence summary of the message the disciples preached as they went.  It was the same message Jesus and John the Baptist spoke.  It was a message of the Kingdom of God.  In their case, the Kingdom of God was very near to them because the King was near.  Healing the sick was the manifestation of Kingdom nearness.  It was proof of what they preached.

Their job was to preach the Gospel and call the people to repent getting them ready for the King to enter.  These were the King’s spokesmen.

When they preach with Jesus’ commission they are representing Him.  So when they are either accepted or rejected, Jesus is either accepted or rejected.

Much is the same for us today.  We are commissioned by Christ to go and preach the Gospel to those around us.  We are to be bold and faithful as these disciples were.  We are to speak to people about sin, repentance, and God’s Kingdom.

Are you praying for more workers, going and telling, and are you speaking to people about sin and the Savior?

4. A Disciple’s Attitude (10:20)

Lk 10:20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

We learn from this verse that disciples must guard against being puffed up.  The disciples had just saw their first victory.  It’s like the little league baseball team after their first win on their way to Dairy Queen chanting…we’re number one…we’re number one.

Jesus had to very quickly intervene if their attitude was to stay positive.  It is this tendency that Paul cautions churches not to set a man into a leadership role too quickly (1 Timothy 3:6).

The tendency is to also, begin to think that any success that is seen is to be attributed to some missionary strategy or evangelistic scheme and not to the omniscient Creator who saves.

Jesus tells these young Christian soldiers to not rejoice that the evil spirits are subject to them but any rejoicing that is done should be a rejoicing in what God has done for them.

rejoice that your names are written in heaven.

J C Ryle gives us a very helpful principle here…

We are to not rejoice in the spiritual gifts or natural abilities God has bestowed upon us.  Some here today are very good at certain things.  God has given many here talents and skills.  We must not rejoice in those.

We are, however, to rejoice in the works of God for us.  We rejoice in the acts of God on our behalf…He receives the glory not us.

I pray today that you are rejoicing that your name is written in heaven.

So a disciple is praying for laborers, going and telling, speaking the Good News, and is rejoicing that his name is written in heaven…in other words, you are registered in heaven as a citizen of God’s Kingdom.  You have been chosen to salvation through Christ, pardoned, accepted, and saved—J C Ryle.

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