ONEprayer Devotion – Day 7
PASSION FOR THE HARVEST
11 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— 12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles. 14 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome. 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
I know this passage does not come from the gospels, but I had to add something about Paul’s great passion for and expectation of a harvest. Let me give some background first. Paul had been commissioned by God to take the gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 9:15; Rom. 11:13). It’s not that he avoided sharing the gospel with his Jewish brothers and sisters. In fact, he often started his evangelistic campaigns in Gentile cities at the Jewish synagogue. But Paul’s calling was to Gentiles (“Greeks and barbarians” as he puts it in 1:14).
Yet Paul had never been to Rome, the centre of the Roman Gentile world. It wasn’t for lack of trying. As you can imagine, Paul was desperate to preach the gospel in the great city of Rome. Of course, it was incredibly dangerous preaching the Christian gospel in the seat of Roman power, but I don’t think that deterred Paul. He was not ashamed of the gospel (1:16). But for some reason it hadn’t worked out (1:13). Maybe his responsibility for the numerous Gentile churches kept him too busy.
But the thing that stands out to me in this passage is Paul’s incredible confidence in the power of the gospel. He has no doubt that when he gets to Rome there will be a harvest (1:13). Paul has seen this many times before in other Gentile cities and he is sure that there will be a great reaping
in Rome. Paul was a gifted evangelist, but he knows that it’s the power of God through the gospel that brings salvation, not the ability of the messenger.
None of us has been designated as the apostle to the Gentiles, so we need to be careful not to apply everything that Paul says to our situation. You may want to go to Rome as a tourist, but probably not as an evangelist. However, surely Paul’s confidence in the gospel and the harvest that it will bring should be ours. I hope these devotions and stories have stirred up faith in you. God is at work and a harvest is coming as we share the gospel. We need to pray for renewed confidence in God’s power to save through the simple truth of the gospel.
But even if you are feeling nothing. Even if these devotions have not produced a renewed belief and hope. Even if you can’t see that the fields are white for harvest around you. Even if you don’t believe that God will work powerfully as you share the gospel. Please take note of Paul’s main motivation for preaching the gospel in Rome. He says, “I am obligated” to those who don’t know Jesus (1:14). He recognises that there are numerous Gentiles who don’t know about Jesus and he feels responsible before God to share the good news with them. We too have an obligation to our non-Christian friends, family and neighbours who have yet to believe the gospel and be saved.
I don’t want to give the impression that all we have to do is share the gospel and get people saved and then we’re done. Paul is writing to Roman Christians when he says that he wants to “preach the gospel also to you” (1:15). The gospel has implications that go far beyond our initial salvation. Christians need to be saturated in and discipled by the gospel. Bringing in the harvest also involves teaching Christians how to live by faith. Discipleship is key.
Let me finish with some lyrics from one of my favourite 1990s songs emerging from the revival in Belfast: “Oh, these are the days of the harvest, For the fields are as white in Your world, And we are the labourers in Your vineyard, Declaring the word of the Lord!”
READY FOR HARVEST STORY:
We haven’t had a drummer in our church for a while now at Keperra Baptist. But if we did, we wouldn’t really have room for them right now. The drum kit normally sits on top of our baptistry, but the lid has been off the baptistry every few weeks lately.
We hadn’t had a baptism for a couple of years, but since February we’ve had a steady stream of people responding to Jesus by wanting to publicly profess their faith and be baptised. We’ve already (April) seen five people baptised. It began with a woman who was introduced to Jesus last year, by one of our ladies whom she met at work. Her life has turned around, and it’s been beautiful to see our church family share this journey with her. Three of our youth and one of our young adults have also been baptised. They’ve all grown up in the church and shared wonderfully encouraging testimonies of the faithful, consistent witness, over many years, of parents and the whole church family. And there are at least four or five others who are planning to be baptised in the coming months.
Then, just after Easter, two men became believers on consecutive days. One had been witnessed to for a long time by our Monday morning prayer group as he comes to empty the charity bins on the front of our property. Another, caught in a hard spot, contacted the neighbour he grew up next to (one of our church family), and was led to faith.
To be honest, we haven’t done much differently in this season, but God has clearly been at work. It has been his timing for us to reap a harvest. It’s been such a delight to see the diversity of ways God has worked in people’s lives to bring them to salvation, and it has been so enriching for our church to celebrate new faith every few weeks. Praise God!
READY FOR HARVEST STORY:
RIVERLIFE BAPTIST CHURCH
God is working in new powerful ways as the gospel is shared. For example, God has opened a door for us into a local youth detention centre and miracles have happened. Many young people have been healed physically and released from spiritual oppression. 35 have decided to follow Jesus and two have been baptised. We’ve given out 100 Bibles and the young people are now leading their own Bible studies. The girls in the centre have a gospel-weaving circle where they share the gospel while they weave baskets together. We watch what God is doing in awe. All we’ve done is obey the Holy Spirit’s prompting, soak the whole endeavour in prayer, and share the love of Jesus with everyone we’ve come across. God has done the rest. A place that is normally marked by hopelessness and darkness is being filled with love, hope and light.
In a parallel way, God is working in our church community. In response to the invitation to believe, be baptised and follow Jesus, we have seen more than 100 people baptised since Father’s Day last year. As we speak out the good news, make the invitation, and open the baptismal tank, people are responding. One young man had heard and seen some of these baptisms when attending a service with a friend. He didn’t normally attend church but wanted to know more. When he found out what baptism meant, he realised that he needed to follow Jesus first – so he made a decision straight away. He was baptised the next Sunday. Then, on Easter Sunday this year, he brought his best mate to church to be baptised, after leading him to the Lord a few days earlier. It’s starting to feel a bit like the Book of Acts.
PRAYER POINTS FROM OUR MOVEMENT
That we may know the depth of God’s love in Jesus.
Sugar Reef Baptist Church
Please remember and uphold the ministry of QCCC as it seeks to influence the next generation of Queenslanders in contemporary ways to understand, follow and live out the gospel in today’s world.
QLD Baptists’ Camping Ministry
Our prayer and desire is that we will journey together into a closer, abiding relationship with Jesus. That we will learn from Jesus’ teaching and lifestyle. And that we would become more and more attuned to the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we listen for God’s new vision for our Church.
Tin Can Bay Community Church
We would love prayer that the name of Jesus is made known in our community. Pray that we would see growth in the church not for numbers but for the expansion of the gospel in our suburbs. Continue to pray that the next generation of leaders passionately pursue a relationship with Jesus, and out of that are moved to love others deeply.
For revival of our congregants leading to greater frontline impact.
Toowoomba Community Baptist
As we start Alpha July 24, we pray that God would make this outreach opportunity an ongoing ministry that develops a culture in the church where we are all the time introducing people to Jesus.
Victoria Point Baptist
Please join us in praying for growth of our Young Adult community! We will commence ALPHA on the 8th of August with the hope that each existing young adult will prayerfully consider one friend to invite and commit to discipling throughout the course. The hope is that harvest is ready! May this be the start of revival amidst the young adults who reside in the Red Hill area!
Windsor Road Baptist Church