P.O.P. Principles for Missional Living from Matthew 10 & Luke 10
1. Practice of Prayer (Matthew 9:35-38; Luke 10:2)
As we look at these verses, we can clearly see there is a problem with the harvest. Now we know Jesus is not a liar so the problem is not that the harvest is really ripe and ready to be picked. The problem is with the workers.
We have the same Holy Spirit, the same message, power, opportunities, more freedom and resources. So what is the problem that we aren’t seeing more people come to Christ? We are the problem.
There are not many people, according to Jesus, who are willing to go out into the fields to harvest for His storehouses.
Therefore, Jesus tells us to go to the Lord of the harvest and ask Him to raise up and send out more workers for the harvest. I want to challenge you to pray that prayer for the people in your house churches, friends, family etc….every day pray that God will raise up workers (your friends) for the harvest. Begin by praying that very same prayer for you.
In the house church I’m in, we are doing this now. We are praying daily for each other to have opportunities to share Christ and recognize those opportunities, boldness in sharing, the right words etc. We are doing it and people are already blessed by the fresh desire that has come upon them to share the Word of the Lord.
Now, Jesus tells them the problem with the harvest and then He does something about it.
2. Pockets of People (Matthew 10:5-8; Luke 10:4-5)
Jesus said the problem is with the workers and then He proceeds to show the “workers” how to remedy the problem. That's what good leaders do, they identify the issues that need to be addressed and then they show the people what and how it needs to be addressed.
When I was working in the cabinet industry, people would often fall into bad habits on some of their finishing work, and I had to stop by their work station and identify the problem and give them a refresher course in finishing the product well.
This is what Jesus did in Matthew 10:5-8.
He told them the problem is with the workers, told them to pray for more workers, and then he sent them out as workers. Problem solved!
In Matthew 10:5-8, Jesus sent the twelve apostles to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. They were not instructed to go the Gentiles but to the Jewish people. This is a specific assignment.
In Luke 10:3-5, Jesus tells them to into whatever house you wish, but go and be with people.
As believers, we must be involved in pockets of people who are not believers. This may be a basketball team, a community crafts class, a certain diner, the Kwainas club, your neighbors, your children’s sports team or the like. The key is to find yourself with pockets of people who need the Lord.
Luke 10:4 I notice here that they were not to take essentials or to greet any one on the way. I understand this to mean that they were to be focused on their task and dependent on God. They were not to get sidetracked off the idea of finding people who need the Lord.
Where is the pocket of people that God is calling you to? Maybe you are already there. Maybe you need to find it. Once you do, then you need to become a part of them.
3. Power of Presence (Matthew 10:11; Luke 10:5-9)
Matthew 10:11 and Luke 10:7 tell us to stay in that house. We must become a part of the community. By doing so, we will become more deeply accepted.
If we are practicing following the voice and leading of God, then we will be sensitive to how the Holy Spirit is leading to become a part of this community.
After you have chosen a pocket of people to pray for and enter into, I Corinthians 9:19:23 comes in. We must become all things to all men that we might win some. This to me means that we must become a part of their community. To the coffee drinker, I love to drink coffee, to the chess player, I love chess, to the philosopher, I love to philosophize…etc.
It is important to not be a bee, stopping only shortly and then moving on, it is often good to become a part of the community and by doing so, you extend your sphere of influence in that community.
Once we find a pocket of people, we need to become entrenched into that community and turn on the light of Jesus in our lives and in our words. Once the light of Jesus is turned on (the sooner the better), then you’ll be able to discern who are the moths and who are the cockroaches. Moths will flutter to the light. They will be interested in spiritual discussions. Cockroaches, on the other hand, will find themselves scattering from Jesus talk. Focus on the moths. If there are no moths, then leave that pocket of people and move on to the next pocket until you find receptive folks. At least you’ll know who to start a discussion with.
4. Person of Peace (Matthew 10:11-13; Luke 10:5-9)
As you enter a community of people and become a part of their community, you may notice or come to discover who the people of peace are. A person of peace is one who is spiritually searching for truth and is open to the message of Christ. They are receptive, connect easily to you and have connections in their community and have a character that their community recognizes. It may even be a bad character…even better for when Christ changes them, no one will be able to deny it. Remember that good foods come from soil that is made of fertilizer.
There are other people in that community you will need to share with however God leads you, but this principle of a person of peace is clear from these passages. Jesus instructed His disciples to find such people and to camp there until something happens.
I did this when I coached football. I entered that pocket of people, became accepted in their community and found people who were open to the things of Christ…several people came to Christ through that community.
There are three characteristics of a person of peace, they are:
Relational – these folks are well connected and easily make new friends.
Receptive – they do not shy from spiritual conversations. They may not come to Jesus right away, but they can point you to those who are interested in spiritual things.
Reputation – These folks are known in their community. Some have a good reputation (like Lydia in the book of Acts) and some have a bad reputation (like the woman at the well in John 4). Either way, their reputation precedes them.
Traditionally, evangelism has happened in a door to door fashion, which is not a bad method at all. One of the challenges though, is that once a person comes to Christ, we immediately take them and put them into the church where they tend to become more and more isolated from the world and the community they were once a part of. This idea leaves them in their community and allows church to come to their community.
5. People of Purpose (Luke 10:8-12; Matthew 10:12-14; 2 Timothy 2:2)
As people begin to connect with Christ from that community, you must share with them their responsibility of being a person of purpose and start the whole thing over again.
Teach and encourage them to pray for their community.
Enter a pocket of people.
Practice the power of your presence.
Find the people of peace.
Help them to be People of Purpose.
As people come to Christ in that community, pull together to glorify Christ in the midst of the lost. This can be very powerful as the people around you watch the changes going on in the people from their community.
You will be harvesting people from the harvest, for the harvest. This is done at our church on Sunday mornings in the winter. We play street hockey and there are several non-saved people there. We pray with them before the game and sing praise songs afterwards…there are no complaints.
In Long Beach I know a church who saw a person who owned a restaurant saved. After he was saved, the owner invited them to come and have church in the middle of the business. The owner said that Christ has done so much for him that why wouldn’t he want to share it with everyone else.
Help new believers become people of purpose for a lifetime.