John records four chapters of the Lord’s words to His disciples before His betrayal. Unknown to them at the time, these are the words of preparation which commence His suffering. The disciples are not aware of what is about to take place. They are oblivious to the coming crucifixion as they are but a few days away from being guilty by association with this Jesus of Nazareth. It’s here that the Lord speaks into their lives. Jesus said, John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
The Lord’s words were for their near future; for us; or all those who seek Him. Fear was about to knock at the door of their heart. Doubt was about to seep into their thoughts: Maybe the last three and a half years was for naught. The ruthless beating and scourging of their rabbi would soon lay heavy on their minds and it would invoke a horror that most of us cannot imagine. They were with Him and it was enough to convict them.
Jesus was offering something that would last through every dark time. His words would not only feed their bewildered souls, but would speak to us in our time of loneliness and confusion. Jesus said, “I’m giving you My Peace.” He could give it because that was Who He was. His name, according to Isaiah, would be called The Prince of Peace. Hebrews named Him the King of Peace. Paul wrote about, “the Lord of peace…” and there is so much more.
I see a world in chaos. People are lost and without hope. Above all, they are living in angst and much apprehension. Anxieties are rising; confidence is falling, but I give you Jesus: He’s the peace that surpasses all understanding. He is the Prince of Peace and He has given His peace to us today.
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole
Luke records ten lepers who came to Jesus with their physical need. Out of options and waiting to die, the lepers had given up all hope except to plead their case to Jesus. It’s unknown who the ten lepers were, as there are no attributing names, but we do know that the one who came back to Jesus was called a stranger, i.e., a foreigner (NIV). He was a Samaritan; an outcast; somewhere in between Jew and Gentile.
I’ve looked into the healing of the lepers: I’ve preached the Difference between being Healed and being Whole. It is found here in Luke 17 and the answer is Worship. Yet there is something else that leaps forward. The leper who returned, came back to say, “Thank You.” Jesus didn’t have to heal them. It was not His mission. He came to die and become the ransom for the world. He came to save people from their sins, but on that day, ten men were changed from waiting to die to learning to live. We know that the difference between the one and the others was Worship, but it was rooted in thankfulness. Thankfulness separated him from the crowd. Thankfulness defined him and ultimately brought about his wholeness. Incredibly, the outcast; stranger; the leper was thankful.
If the numbers add up, only 10% of the healed are thankful. Just a fraction actually come to realize that what has happened to them is beyond the point of salvation. Healing and God’s provisions; blessings of every kind; a good church family; friends filled with love; the freedom to worship in a country like ours, and so much more are beyond the realm of salvation. We could be saved without all these blessings, but God has been good to us. Knowing the goodness of the Lord and His healing power, it is imperative that we live a life of Thankfulness. Our worship today is giving Thanks for all He has done.
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole
Psalm 130:3-4 “If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness…” John writes that God is love. This is not just an attribute borne from the self-will of a deity, but John said that Love is the essence of His nature. God is the definition of love; not just a response.
Paul defined this matter in writing to the church at Corinth. In that narrative we find the quintessential definition of God toward us. Paul said (1 Cor. 13:5)that love “keeps no record of wrongs.” A record is evidence of a fact. It is the written description that dispels opinion and controversy. A record is that body of proof that something exists which cannot be removed; it cannot be denied. It lingers in time and never quite leaves the realm of awareness.
David knew this to be true. He knew of the nature of God and he sang about it. David submitted this question to the world that if the Lord kept a record of sins, of wrongs, who could be saved?
Who could stand before His Holiness? The answer is “no one!” But thanks be to God that He keeps no record of wrongs because He is merciful and kind. He removes our shame andexpunges our failures from His sight.
When we are covered by the Blood, there is no remaining proof of our past. When we are born again of water and the Spirit, there is no evidence of the infractions levied against the Cross. He has taken them and they are buried in the waters of baptism because in Him, there is forgiveness.” Micah 7:18-19 Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole
Some time ago a prayer group started among several churches. The concern centered around lost souls. When the pastors made the appeal for the meeting they were surprised at the positive response. Attendance was almost triple their original estimates. The program changed due to the increased number and a steering committee formed. Prayer meetings continued until the lead pastor decided it was time to put their prayers into action. They even called it “Action.” He called for people to go out and bring the lost to their respective churches. They all agreed to this directive as arrangements were made to meet in order to canvas their cities, but much to their dismay, almost no one came to the “Action” part of the program. They loved prayer, but few wanted to witness. They liked the fellowship of faith, but they did not embrace the work of the field.
In the course of my ministry, I cannot say that anything has changed. In fact this account is not even new to our generation. Jesus said as much, Matt. 9 “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest.”
The issue has never been the field. The problem is not about a depleted harvest. The harvest is Great. There are sinners and backsliders in every location. There are wounded souls; displaced believers; children and more on every street. The harvest is plentiful. The problem, according to Jesus, is that there are very few laborers in the field. Prayer? Yes! But after prayer there must be a witness. Fellowship of Faith? Yes! But after fellowship among the believers there must be workers in the field reaching souls and bringing them to the house of prayer. Our eyes are on the field, but our hands must be there too. The work is in the field.
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole