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Discouraged or Feeling Overwhelmed in the Work of the Lord?

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Do you ever feel like what you are doing is a waste of time? Do you ever feel discouraged as you seek to serve Christ?
Four Principles to help you through those times:

Be READY you will face religious critics – 13:10-17

Luke 13:10–17 ESV
Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God. But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” As he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.
Luke describes the spiritual and physical condition of the woman:
Possessed or influenced by an evil spirit - 18 years
This condition left her bent over and unable to stand (Word = Lit. Bent Double)
The length of her condition indicates its severity and adds to the pathos of the story
Jesus initiates the contact … out of compassion …
Her Healing was instantaneous and resulted in her giving praise to God - Darrell Bock calls this a RULE MIRACLE - Jesus’ word has authority to heal.
14 - The Ruler of the Synagogue … the religious critic was Indignant -
He jumped to the conclusion that what Jesus did was wrong .... and out came the criticism
Based on his understanding of:
Deuteronomy 5:12–15 ESV
“ ‘Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant, or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.
Deuteronomy
The Jews read the law … then their rabbis wrote their interpretations of the Law … that is what this synagogue ruler was referring to … Contained in the MISHNAH
TODAT - In Jaffa - and all over Israel there are Sabbath Elevators … on the sabbath they will only travel one floor at a time
The Mishnah Shabbat

7:2 A The generative categories of acts of labor [prohibited on the Sabbath] are forty less one:

B (1) he who sews, (2) ploughs, (3) reaps, (4) binds sheaves, (5) threshes, (6) winnows, (7) selects [fit from unfit produce or crops], (8) grinds, (9) sifts, (10) kneads, (11) bakes;

C (12) he who shears wool, (13) washes it, (14) beats it, (15) dyes it;

D (16) spins, (17) weaves,

E (18) makes two loops, (19) weaves two threads, (20) separates two threads;

F (21) ties, (22) unties,

G (23) sews two stitches, (24) tears in order to sew two stitches;

H (25) he who traps a deer, (26) slaughters it, (27) flays it, (28) salts it, (29) cures its hide, (30) scrapes it, and (31) cuts it up;

I (32) he who writes two letters, (33) erases two letters in order to write two letters;

J (34) he who builds, (35) tears down;

K (36) he who puts out a fire, (37) kindles a fire;

L (38) he who hits with a hammer; (39) he who transports an object from one domain to another—

M lo, these are the forty generative acts of labor less one.

Jesus responds with strength and authority: He also addresses their Mishnah …
The Mishnah allowed cattle to be led on the Sabbath; or tied up lest they wander; To be watered from wells.
The jews took care of their animals … for the animals sake

Jesus’ point, however, is relevant: how can an animal be treated with more concern on the sacred day than a person? Such an attitude is a reversal of the created order

Their view of God was - rigid, unyielding, unmoved by human need

His response put his accusers to shame … the crowd rejoiced
Be Ready … you will face religious critics

Peter did:

Acts 11:1–3 ESV
Now the apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision party criticized him, saying, “You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them.”
Matthew 11:14–19 ESV
and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. He who has ears to hear, let him hear. “But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their playmates, “ ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.”
Matthew 11:16–19 NIV
“To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others: “ ‘We played the pipe for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”

Jesus Did … in other places as well

Matthew 11:16–19 NIV
“To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others: “ ‘We played the pipe for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”

You will

Matthew 11:
Do not be surprised - You will meet with the Wet Blanket Brigade; The Cold water Committee; Critical Carl; or Negative Nellie
Three times in the bible we read that statement: “Do not be surprised”
Ecclesiastes 5:8 NIV
If you see the poor oppressed in a district, and justice and rights denied, do not be surprised at such things; for one official is eyed by a higher one, and over them both are others higher still.
1 Peter 4:12 NIV
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.
1 Peter
1 John 3:13 NIV
Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.
Dont be caught off guard, dont let it be a new revelation to you, be ready and dont be surprised that you will face religious critics.

Be ENCOURAGED you are part of something BIG – 13:18-21

Although it might not appear to be so now!
Luke 13:18–21 NIV
Then Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches.” Again he asked, “What shall I compare the kingdom of God to? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.”

Kingdom of God = Christ’s rule over his own … He is King we are Subjects

Jews in Christ’s day looked for a political Messiah

Jesus came in a much different wrapping
The following two parables are intended to show the listeners … Via Word Picture what the Kingdom of God was Like

Parables - Stories intended to Reveal and Conceal

Pharisees would have walked away scratching Heads

Mustard Seed - Image must have been disappointing - Mustard Seed the size of a small black speck

Yet it becomes a nest for the birds of the air
The Birds of the Air are the Nations of the World

Yeast - Yeast does all of it’s work hidden … in quiet and the darkness and dampness of the dough

Yeast works invisibly in the dough …
It changes the quality of the ingredients
60 Pounds of Flour … Lotsa Bread
Both images describe God’s Kingdom work as appearing to be insignificant
BUT actually fulfilling a Great Work
Listen to two passages
Ezekiel 17:23 NIV
On the mountain heights of Israel I will plant it; it will produce branches and bear fruit and become a splendid cedar. Birds of every kind will nest in it; they will find shelter in the shade of its branches.
Daniel 4:10–12 ESV
The visions of my head as I lay in bed were these: I saw, and behold, a tree in the midst of the earth, and its height was great. The tree grew and became strong, and its top reached to heaven, and it was visible to the end of the whole earth. Its leaves were beautiful and its fruit abundant, and in it was food for all. The beasts of the field found shade under it, and the birds of the heavens lived in its branches, and all flesh was fed from it.
Grasping the enormity of the Kingdom will change you … you really are part of something big
Daniel
This Kingdom Jesus talked about began in Galilee -
Matthew 4
Matthew 4:17 ESV
From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
And GET THIS it is going to fill the whole earth …
Revelation 5:10 ESV
and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”
Revelation 5”
Revelation 7:9 ESV
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,
Revelation 11:15 ESV
Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.”
Revelation
Be Encouraged you are part of something really big…
Missionary Doctor Never Saw His 'Success'
May 19, 2014
By Mark Ellis
http://blog.godreports.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Yansi-crossing-river.jpgAfter crossing the Kwilu
written by Dean Smith
In 1912, medical missionary Dr. William Leslie went to live and minister to tribal people in a remote corner of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. After 17 years he returned to the U.S. a discouraged man – believing he failed to make an impact for Christ. He died nine years after his return.
But in 2010, a team led by Eric Ramsey with Tom Cox World Ministries made a shocking and sensational discovery. They found a network of reproducing churches hidden like glittering diamonds in the dense jungle across the Kwilu River from Vanga, where Dr. Leslie was stationed.
http://blog.godreports.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Yansi-loading-Cessna.jpgLoading Cessna Caravan
With the help of a Mission Aviation Fellowship pilot, Ramsey and his team flew east from Kinshasa to Vanga, a two and a half hour flight in a Cessna Caravan. After they reached Vanga, they hiked a mile to the Kwilu River and used dugout canoes to cross the half-mile-wide expanse. Then they hiked with backpacks another 10 miles into the jungle before they reached the first village of the Yansi people.
https://openthewordblog.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/williamsmissionarybasevanga-congo.jpg?w=840
Based on his previous research, Ramsey thought the Yansi in this remote area might have some exposure to the name of Jesus, but no real understanding of who He is. They were unprepared for their remarkable find.
Average Rating: Not rated [see ratings/reviews]http://www.preachingtoday.com/images/71315.jpg?w=614
“When we got in there, we found a network of reproducing churches throughout the jungle,” Ramsey reports. “Each village had its own gospel choir, although they wouldn’t call it that,” he notes. “They wrote their own songs and would have sing-offs from village to village.”
They found a church in each of the eight
A photo of William’s missionary base on the Vanga River in the Congo.
http://blog.godreports.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Yansi-stone-church.jpgThe Yansi jungle “cathedral”
villages they visited scattered across 34 miles. Ramsey and his team even found a 1000-seat stone “cathedral” in one of the villages. He learned that this church got so crowded in the 1980s – with many walking miles to attend — that a church planting movement began in the surrounding villages.
“There is no Bible in the Yansi language,” Ramsey says. “They used a French Bible, so those who taught had to be fluent in French.”
Apparently, Dr. Leslie crossed the Kwilu River once a year from Vanga and spent a month traveling through the jungle, carried by servants in a sedan chair.
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. ( NASV)
http://blog.godreports.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Yansi-people.jpgYansi men and boys
“He would teach the Bible, taught the tribal children how to read and write, talked about the importance of education, and told Bible stories,” Ramsey notes. Dr. Leslie started the first organized educational system in these villages, Ramsey learned.
In 1912, medical missionary Dr. William Leslie (BORN IN LONDON, ONTARIO) went to live and minister to tribal people in a remote corner of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. After 17 years he returned to the U.S. a discouraged man, believing he failed to make an impact for Christ. He died nine years after his return.
It took some digging for Ramsey to uncover Leslie’s identity. “The tribal people only knew him by one name and I didn’t know if that was a first or last name. They knew he was a Baptist and he was based in that one city and they knew the years.”
Dr. William Leslie was a pharmacist in Ontario, Canada. In 1888, after his conversion to Christ, he worked for 35 years as a medical missionary with the American Baptist Missionary Union. During the last 17 years of his ministry, William worked in the Democratic Republic of the Congo among tribal people in that remote area of the world.
When Ramsey returned home he did some additional investigation and discovered Dr. Leslie was affiliated with the American Baptist Missionary Union. The American Baptist Missionary Union was founded in 1814 by Adoniram Judson, who led a pioneering work in Burma.
Born in Ontario, Canada, William H. Leslie followed his intended profession as a pharmacist until his conversion.
http://blog.godreports.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Leslie-William-H-MD.jpgDr. William H. Leslie, M.D.
in 1888. He moved to the Chicago area, where God began to grip his heart with the desire to become a medical missionary.
He returned from the mission field n 1929 and until his death in 1938, William believed his ministry in the Congo was largely a failure.
Dr. Leslie initiated his Congo service in 1893 at Banza-Manteke. Two years later he developed a serious illness. A young missionary named Clara Hill took care of him until he recovered. Their budding friendship ripened into love and a marriage proposal. They were wed in 1896.
In 1905 William and Clara pioneered a work in Cuilo, Anglola, where they overcame a hurricane that struck the night before one of their children was born, and more mundane obstacles like charging buffaloes and armies of ants.
Seven years later they cleared enough of the leopard-infested jungle along the Kwilu River at Vanga for a new mission station perched on a small plateau. Some of the villages surrounding Vanga were still practicing cannibalism at that time.
But in 2010 a team led by Eric Ramsey with Tom Cox World Ministries made a surprising discovery. They found a network of reproducing churches hidden like glittering diamonds in the dense jungle across the Kwilu River from Vanga, where Dr. Leslie was stationed.
However, that all changed in 2010, when a group made up of members of Tom Cox World Ministries and Mission Aviation Fellowship visited the area of the Congo where Williams had ministered decades earlier.
mission station perched on a small plateau. Some of the villages surrounding Vanga were still practicing cannibalism at that time.
They spent 17 years at Vanga, but their service ended on a rocky note. “Dr. Leslie had a relational falling out with some of the tribal leaders and was asked not to come back,” Ramsey says. “They reconciled later; there were apologies and forgiveness, but it didn’t end like he hoped.”
“His goal was to spread Christianity. He felt like he was there for 17 years and he never really made a big impact, but the legacy he left is huge.”
After arriving in Vanga where Williams had set up his base, the group decided to visit the Yansi tribe located across the Kwilu River. It was a region that William had only visited sporadically — about once a year.
Leader Eric Ramsey of Tom Cox World Ministries was shocked by what they found.
Based on his previous research, Ramsey thought the Yansi in this remote area might have some exposure to the name of Jesus, but no real understanding of who he is. They were unprepared for their remarkable find. "When we got in there, we found a network of reproducing churches throughout the jungle," Ramsey reports. "Each village had its own gospel choir, although they wouldn't call it that," he notes. "They wrote their own songs and would have sing-offs from village to village." They found a church in each of the eight villages they visited scattered across 34 miles. They also found a 1000-seat stone "cathedral" that often got so crowded in the 1980s—with many walking miles to attend—that a church planting movement began in the surrounding villages.
Ramsey said:
“When we got in there, we found a network of reproducing churches throughout the jungle. “Each village had its own gospel choir, although they wouldn’t call it that.  They wrote their own songs and would have sing-offs from village to village.”
Apparently, Dr. Leslie traveled throughout this remote region, teaching the Bible and promoting literacy. He also started the first organized educational system in these villages, Ramsey learned. For seventeen years, Ramsey fought tropical illnesses, charging buffaloes, armies of ants, and leopard-infested jungles to bring the gospel into a remote area. He died feeling like he had failed, but instead his faithfulness and courage left a powerful legacy of vital churches.
Ramsey and his team visited eight villages in the area and each of them had a church. He noted that in one village, the tribe had build a stone church that could seat 1,000 people. That church was built in the 1980s, but with this building filling up and people walking long distances to attend services, the leadership decided to start churches in other villages.
After finding this amazing group of churches, Ramsey did more research on William’s ministry. He had arrived in the region in 1912, and set up a base in Vanga. However, he had a falling out with one of the leaders of the main tribe he was ministering too and was asked to leave. Though William and the tribal leader eventually reconciled, William looked upon his time of ministry as falling short of what he believed God had for the area.
One of the analogies Jesus used to describe the Kingdom of God was the idea of a seed, that once planted, can take on a life of its own. All God needs is servants willing to plant seed.
This applies to all of us. Continue to plant seeds that God has given you, the results are in God’s hand.

Be AWARE most people won’t welcome your message, but some will – 13:22-30

Luke 13:22–30 NIV
Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’ “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’ “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”
Note two aspects of this account ...
The Door is Narrow - Like a Turn Style
While many will reject
Look at verse v:26 - Some will equate arms length association with Christ as enough
Some will Welcome the Message … People from east west north and south will come and be part of that great feast
1 Corinthians 1:18–31 NIV
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”
The narrowness of the entry point into this kingdom shows it’s exclusiveness
It’s a small and narrow door (According to this parable … it isn't always going to be open) … in the shape of a cross … and you must crawl in … on your knees

Be CONFIDENT nothing can derail the work of God – 13:31-35

Luke 13:31–35 NIV
At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.” He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will keep on driving out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’ In any case, I must press on today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem! “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”
Herod Antipas - His constant desire was to get Jesus
The Fox - Deceptive, not held in high esteem
Sly as a FOX (hunt at night)
Jesus wasnt impressed
At His trial Jesus didnt even answer that FOX
Luke 23:8–12 ESV
When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had long desired to see him, because he had heard about him, and he was hoping to see some sign done by him. So he questioned him at some length, but he made no answer. The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehemently accusing him. And Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him. Then, arraying him in splendid clothing, he sent him back to Pilate. And Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before this they had been at enmity with each other.
When faced with hostility … Jesus answered with a Calm authority that His Task … His work will never be derailed
Acts 2:23 ESV
this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.
Acts 3:13–18 ESV
The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him. But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. And his name—by faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all. “And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled.
Matthew 16:18 NIV
And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
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… The End of is Guaranteed … Nothing can derail it … Jesus was certain of it … and as you serve him … be Confident you are on the winning side …
It may get tense at times … maybe frustrating … the critics may bring you down
The response may not be what you expect … but remember you are part of something very big
And Nothing can Derail the Victory of God and the Gospel
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