« Back


Behold the Harvest

Sermon Series: The Life of Jesus: From Creation to the Cradle to the Cross to the Crown

Sermon Title: Behold the Harvest

Sermon Text: John 4: 31-42

Sermon Date: 4-17-16


  1.  The Potential of the harvest! 4:35 “Look on the fields”

He wants us to see the world's people as He sees them. Though lost and on their way to Hell, they are precious in His sight. By divine grace, they can become a new creation, made beautiful in holiness.
Oh, that these people could be reached while prepared, or literally "white" for harvest. Any of you raised on a farm will recognize the force of this analogy. Ripened wheat takes on a golden hue when ready for harvest. However, if reaping is delayed, the grain begins to turn a pale white, and will soon fall over on the ground. To speak of fields "white" unto harvest is to stress the imperative of getting into the fields before it is too late.
We go into the world with this sense of urgency -- to bring in the harvest while it is day, for the night will soon come when the opportunity is gone (cf. John 9:4). Yet we go knowing that God by His grace is already preparing hearts to receive the message. Others have preceded us by their prayers, some perhaps have even planted the initial seed of a Gospel witness.

Looking at the world with this vision reminds me of a man on a train going across the desert in Arizona. He was the only person in the chair car who had not pulled down the window shades to keep out the glare of the hot sun on the parched earth. In contrast to the other passengers, he kept looking out his window, and seemed actually to enjoy the dismal scene.
After a while the curious man seated across the aisle, asked, "Sir, what do you see in that wasteland that makes you smile?"
"Oh," he replied," I'm in the irrigation business, and I was thinking if we could only get water to this land that the desert would become a garden."

  1. The Priority of the harvest  4:36-37

            People make excuses to discount the urgency of reaping the harvest.

            A. Verbal excuses We have time. There are still four months before the harvest.

            We are not ready. It takes time!

            We have not worked. It takes labor!


            B. Mental excuses This is not rational! No doubt the disciples thought as they approached the city of Sychar, “There can be no harvest here! These people despise us Jews and have no use for our message.”

            This is not possible. More needs to be done!

            This is not a logical process—must plow, then sow, then reap.


            C. Spiritual excuses I’m not ready in my relationship with Christ. I must prepare myself.

            We as disciples are not ready. We need to grow more.

            We are tired. We have traveled a long way.

        For some reason, when it comes to witnessing for Christ, it is always the wrong time and the wrong place. It takes faith to sow the seed, and we must do it even when the circumstances appear discouraging.


  1. The Perspective of the harvest.

John 4:35b states: “Listen to what I am telling you: Open your eyes and look at the fields, for they are ready for harvest.”

The disciples were focused on the food, not the fields.

 The disciples were thinking about the temporary, not the eternal.

 The disciples were consumed with themselves, not souls.


                        “Eighty-two percent of the unchurched are at least somewhat likely to attend church if invited.” – Thom Rainer, The Unchurched Next Door

                “Only 2 percent of church members invite an unchurched person to church. 98 percent of church-goers never extend an invitation in a given year.” – Thom Rainer, The Unchurched Next Door


                        Can you see the harvest? Can you envision the spiritual effect praying for and sharing the gospel with every man, woman, boy and girl will have on our community?

                        Can you envision lives being changed as we invite friends and family to church?

                        Can you envision as we pray a spiritual awakening happening in our neighbors and even our nation?


  1. The Pleasure of the harvest.

The difference between a harvest being reaped and a harvest being ruined is only seven weeks.

Reaping requires:

  1. Going into the field


1 Corinthians 3:9: “For we are God’s coworkers. You are God’s field, God’s building.”


Psalm 126:6: “Though one goes along weeping, carrying the bag of seed, he will surely come back with shouts of joy, carrying his sheaves.”


  1. Garnering from the fields



Once the farmer and the farmhands are in the fields, they are to garner the fruit of the fields, pick the fruit from the plants or gather together the wheat from the field.

  • • As the follower of Christ goes into the field of the world, he is to garner the fruit. God is at work bringing people into His kingdom and we simply join Him in this work!
  • • We garner people with the gospel.


The Greek word translated labor in John 4:38 is translated weary or worn out in John 4:6. Sowing, cultivating and harvesting are difficult tasks, not only in the physical realm, but also in the spiritual. There is no place in the harvest for lazy people. The work is too difficult and the laborers are too few.





  1. Gathering to the Lord of the harvest


                        As the farmhands have gone into the fields and garnered the produce, now they are to gather them to the Master of the harvest for His praise!

                        Questions to ask ourselves:

                        As laborers in the Lord’s harvest, we are to bring individuals to the Lord for His praise, honor and glory.

                        Are you awake or are you sleeping during the harvest?

                        Are you working in the harvest or are you waiting?

                        Are you reaping or are you resting in the harvest?

                        Are you bringing honor or shame to the Lord of the harvest?



In a province in western Canada there was a father, a mother and a young son. They were walking through the wheat fields. It was late in the year. The grain was ripe but winter was about to come. The harvest had not yet come, but it was already below freezing in that Canadian province. The father and mother evidently had forgotten to keep an eye on the child because when they turned around they recognized that the little fellow was missing. Now the grain was almost over boy’s head so they couldn’t see him just by looking at the field of grain.

The couple ran frantically in this direction and that direction, failing to mark the spot where they first noticed the boy missing. They called and searched, but they couldn’t find him. There were thousands and thousands of acres of wheat to be searched.

Finally it was decided for one to remain in the field while the other went back to the little town there to bring others to come and search. Virtually the whole town turned out. They began to thrash the wheat fields calling the little boy, looking for him, because they knew that the night would get bitterly cold and the boy was not dressed for that kind of weather. They were afraid exposure would take his life. He was just a little fellow.

The night progressed and fear set in for his life. Finally one man, who had a logical mind, lifted his voice and called the search party to him. And they all came together. He said, “Listen to me, we are too disorganized. We are not working together. We’ve got to get a plan. I suggest that we all join hands—that we make a human chain. That we just join hands and start to sweep these wheat fields. And when we go up this side

we’ll turn, and then we’ll go back down the other side. And we’ll not leave any place unturned. If he is in here, we’ll find him.”

And so the people of that community joined their hands together and started to sweep through those wheat fields. After a while there was a shout. Somebody said, “Come here, I’ve found him!”

But they were too late. The elements and the exposure had done their work. They gathered the lifeless corpse of the little boy. Strong men wept, and somebody said, “Oh God, why didn’t we come together sooner before it was too late?”

                        That’s a parable of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.

                        One day we are going to look at the at the souls that were lost without God, without Christ, without hope, and say, “Oh God, why did we not join hands together sooner?”





« Back