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Extending the boundaries 2. The Hope

Extending the boundaries 2.  The hope

Key Text: Luke 10:1-20

We started a series last week called extending the boundaries; a series where we look at how God is calling us to do more and be more for His kingdom; this started in my mind as a corporate idea; the idea that I believe that God is calling us as a church to do more and be more for Him. Essentially I believe that God wants to grow this church; however there seems to be a boundary of influence over this church.

But I also realised that if we are going to extend the boundaries of influence of our church we need to as individuals extend our own personal boundaries. The call is simple; I believe God wants you to be more and do more for His Kingdom! He wants to use you in ever increasing ways!

The question is are we willing to actually push against the personal boundaries of influence and potential we have?

Last week we saw that there is opposition to us growing; however we are willing to push through the terror of that first step we will find an adventure unlike anything we can ever hope for or dream of.

This week I want to invite you on some level to the hope of this adventure. The wonder of being used by God is that we all have an incredible potential for good in this world!

We find this illustrated for us in Luke 10:1-20. It is a long passage so let’s get into it.

10 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two[a] others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 2 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. 3 Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. 4 Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.

5 “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ 6 If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. 7 Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.

8 “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. 9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’ 12 I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.

13 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. 15 And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades.[b]

16 “Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”

18 He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

I love the excitement that is spoken of when the seventy-two return! You can sense their excitement; this rag-tag group of followers just went out with little training and a simple encouragement;

The harvest is full (10:2) Jesus sends the disciples our with this simple word of encouragement; “the harvest is full; however, the workers are few.”

I would argue that the reality of that statement is as true today as it was 2000 years ago.

The call is still huge, in fact bigger than we can ever hope for. I guess this is what excites me and I find completely daunting about what we do as Christians. The call of God on our lives is truly overwhelming isn’t it?

But I believe Jesus gives us this same encouragement today; church the harvest is full, just look out at the world we find ourselves in; it is ripe for God to move; the question we must grapple with is do we believe that?

The opportunity for us to be effectively used by God in this generation is profound; I believe that the opportunity for the gospel to find root in the hearts of people (especially in South Africa) is greater now than it has ever been.

I asked you last week if you believe in the power of Gospel of Jesus Christ. This week I want to you to fall onto that power and see the incredible hope that we have for our world.

We through the power of the Gospel and Jesus Christ have incredible potential to change our world. I am excited to see lives set free by Christ, I am excited to see what God can do through people who are willing to surrender to Him and live for Him!

The question is; are youthe workers willing to go work? Are you willing to go?

They went out with an encouragement, however, they also went out with a warning, they will be

Lambs among wolves (10:3) The illustration could not more vivid. Sheep among wolves gives a painful reminder of our status and position in the world that we are called; compare sheep and wolves; we go as one commentator puts it;

We go as harmless, innocent, profitable, and defenceless creatures, among spiteful, malicious, cunning, and cruel men.

Church we are not called to be proud or powerful, but gentle and venerable. Our protection comes from our shepherd not from our ability.

Our success comes from the fact that we are sheep with a shepherd, not because we are powerful. Church our extending our boundaries will come with opposition yes, of course! But our hope for the extension of our boundaries comes because we have a great shepherd who is leading us.

My journey has been formed by this idea more and more lately. My natural tendency is to make this about me and my ability, my intelligence, but I am seeing more and more that is actually about my surrender to Him!

If you want to make a difference in the world for the sake of God (and I would argue that that is the only difference worth while to make) we have to live every day for Him, in His strength by His guidance, because we are simply sheep in a world full of wolves.

Church the world we go into is dangerous and wild however we go in His strength. I love the response of the 72 as they come back...

17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”

The power comes...

InHis name… (10:17) There is real undeniable power when we go out in the power of Jesus Christ.

Church the task is huge; insurmountably; the dangers are real! We are weak, however, we go out in His name! And even the demons submit to us in His name!

There is no call, or task that is too big when we go out in His power and His name; and that is the hope that we carry as the church!

As I suggested before God want us to extend the boundaries in our life; He wants us to be more effective for the kingdom for the Gospel.

But the call to be that and do that is terrifying and huge! The call of God on our lives is always bigger and more daunting than we hoped for.

I believe that God calls us to places that are beyond us so that we can find out that He and only He is enough for us.

This is why we step out in His power and bring His hope to the world. Jesus encourages us that His authority will protect us in our endeavours. Again the visual image that Jesus gives us here is profound; the stings and bites of these creatures can cripple maimand hinder.

Likewise the evil(Satan) one can come against us and try oppose us and make our witness and efficacy in the preaching the gospel and extending the kingdom come to nothing, but we don't go in our own strength, do we? No! WE go in His authority and therefore nothing can stop us.

You might feel you don't have what it takes to be used by God; well who's strength are you going in?

You might feel that you have nothing to offer the church or the kingdom of God, again who's strength to do you go in?

Jesus has encouraged us; when we are going in His authority and doing His work; He will do what He needs to do in us and through us.

The question then is not about if we can, its about actually getting down to doing it. Stop with the excuses they make no sense in light of who you are in Christ. You can be used by Him because you go with His power!

So church I want to encourage each and every one of you to step up and find out where God is calling you to. To discover that He indeed wants to extend you influence for Him. The thing is you have to step out!

Let's stop making excuses, lets find the hope that we have which is the authority of Christ in us and go further and do more for God in our world!

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