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The Harvest Time is Short

 

"Behold, the days are coming," says the Lord, "When the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him who sows seed; the mountains shall drip with sweet wine, and all the hills shall  flow with it."

Amos 9:13

The year was 1992 the location was somewhere between Moscow Russia and Vienna, Austria I was standing in the aisle of an airplane 33,000 feet above the earth, speaking to one of the world’s premier evangelists. My team and I had been in the historic Moscow Crusade with Dr. Billy Graham as he preached the gospel to the multitudes that filled the stadium. I was thrilled beyond words at the sight of thousands rushing forward each night to accept Christ as their personal Savior in response to the message of the cross. Dr. Graham’s message of God’s redemptive love drew countless thousands to respond to receiving new life and hope (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Truly there is joy in the presence of God and the Holy Angels over one sinner that is converted, think of the joy in heaven over this huge massive crowd of saved souls (Luke 15:10).

As Billy Graham and I conversed that night in the aisle of the plane, I explained to him how I had received a strong prophetic visitation from the Lord concerning this time of global harvest. I said, “The Lord is going to use mighty signs and wonders and marvelous miracles in these days to win multitudes of souls to Christ (John 6:1-2). I will never forget the love and compassion streaming from the voice and eyes of this great man of God as he placed his weathered hand upon my shoulder and looked so deeply into my eyes. Billy Graham said to me; “son I believe every word of that!”  His words shot to the very depths of my soul. He continued saying, "Son, I was reared on a farm, and one thing I have learned about harvest time is it is short. Never forget: Harvest time is a short time."

Then Dr. Graham quoted the words of warning concerning delay given from the lips of the Master Harvester—our Lord: "Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest?’ Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!" (John 4:35).

Oh, how we must be reminded! The time to reap the end-time harvest is now. We do not have time to waste, nor is there any excuse for waiting. The Scriptures declare, "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2 KJV).

The reason we are still here on earth is to share the gospel. Look at what we have to tell: good news. Do not be deceived into thinking that people don’t want to hear what we have to report. We have good news to share with them! The Holy Spirit will anoint you to be a real witness of Jesus and His marvelous power and grace to save. "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth" (Acts 1:8). God has given you the power to share a clear witness about His Son.

All Are Invited
"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved"(Romans 10:13 KJV). The word "whosoever" includes everyone and excludes no one. Through the cross of Christ, the door of salvation is open wide for all to come to new life in Jesus. The problem with the harvest is not in the invitation but in the proclamation. This can be seen in the questions Paul raises in Romans 10:14–15:

How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!"

If people are going to be saved, they must hear the gospel. We have been given a commission by the Lord Jesus. Hear His command in Matthew 28:18-20:

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

We are under divine orders to "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). The Apostle Paul reminds us that we should always be ready to tell others about Jesus: "Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season" (2 Timothy 4:2). God’s heart is to see a great harvest saved. We are to give a clear message about Christ, yet with a humble and right attitude. When we are sharing with the lost we should never come across like we are somehow superior. We are only what we are because of the grace of God.

Jesus has promised to make us successful "fishers of men" if we follow Him (Matthew 4:19). It is the Holy Spirit who does the work. We are just the yielded tools in His hands. "For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13). You are created and empowered by the Spirit to accomplish great things for the kingdom of God. 

A Clear and Simple Gospel
The good news we share with the waiting world should not be vague or complicated. The Scriptures teach that Christ Jesus is the only way to heaven (John 14:6). Though it has been said that "All roads lead to Rome," never forget that "All religions do not lead to heaven." The gospel brings the lost into a relationship with Jesus, the one who is able to save them completely. The only right covering for our sin is the precious blood of Christ. 

We must make sure the gospel we share points to Christ and Him alone. "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). Christ is ready and able to save any and all who will, by faith, come to God by Him. "Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them" (Hebrews 7:25).

We also must be careful not to make converts to a religious system, but help bring people into a relationship with the glorious Savior, Christ Jesus. Like Adam and Eve hiding in the fig leaves, man often seeks to run off and hide in the cover-up of man-made religion. No religious system or good works have the power to remove sin and restore a relationship with God. Just as the shedding of blood was required to cover Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:21), only the blood of the Lamb is capable of covering our sins.

We must point only to the Lord’s atoning work and a relationship with Him, never the dead, dry and rotten covering of man-made religion. One way to recognize these religious systems is that they make the gospel complex and complicated. Man-made religion will always have a lot of "hoops" we are required to jump through to attain our reward, whereas the gospel is simple and available to "whosoever will."

The Harvest Has Begun
The harvest is not just coming—it has begun! Dennis Balcombe, the pastor of Revival Christian Church in Hong Kong, reports that each day more than 25,000 souls are being won in China. The doors are opening for many to go into China as short-term or long-term missionaries.

Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ reports that Muslims are being converted to Christ in record numbers—not through traditional means of persuasion, but through mighty signs and wonders. Many former Muslims have reported having a "divine visitation" which so impacted their lives that they are now saved and following Christ.

People are now hungry to hear about Jesus—though they are rightfully skeptical of those who come peddling man-made programs with puffed-up personalities. People want to hear about Christ and His power to save, heal and restore.

Recently my wife and I were coming out of a shopping mall in East Texas. There were three or four rebellious-looking teenagers dressed in hyper-punk clothes. The Lord said, "Bobby, go and share Jesus with them." I said, "Lord, they don’t look as if they want to hear." Yet the Spirit very firmly said, "Go. Do what you are told to do." I did and was shocked at the response. There was great openness, and soon a crowd of these young people had gathered. I was able to openly and powerfully share Jesus with them. Many of the teens were truly broken and repentant as they gave their lives to Jesus. 

It is not the harvest that is lacking, it is the reapers.

Let’s all surrender and ask the Lord to make us sharp threshing instruments (Isaiah 41:15).

I once was told of an elderly lady who was not able to get out of her bed, yet her heart was burning for souls. She prayed and asked God to provide some way that she could tell others about Christ. Suddenly she saw her telephone—practically her only link to the outside world. She was shut in, but not shut out. She began to call each person in her telephone book, and with a beautiful sweet anointing upon her, she was able to lead more than 8,000 people to receive Christ in one year over the telephone. 

Needed: Weepers and Reapers
We must pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to fall upon our hearts and give us compassion for the lost. As the Psalmist promised, if we sow in tears, we will reap in joy: "Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him" (Psalm 126:5–6).

The Lord is looking for willing workers to send out into these ripe harvest fields. Not long ago, He spoke this word to the church through a friend of mine:

"I have placed My calling upon you and set you apart for My service. And yet you have also heard another call, for the world has also called your name. With its calling it has promised pleasures—both simple pleasure and sweet delights. You have not rejected My call, you have merely placed it on hold while you examine the other. How long will you waver between two opinions, double-minded and neither hot nor cold? Choose this day to pick up the call that I have given. Your call is waiting!"

Will you answer the call, saying, "Lord, here am I. Send me!" Jesus declares that the harvest is ready. The harvesters are what is lacking. "Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest’" (Matthew 9:37–38).

We must be about the work that God has left us here to do—witnessing to a lost world. Jesus said, "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you" (John 15:16).

Harvest time is short. It is urgent that we ask the Father to help us bear good fruit—the fruit of increase for His kingdom. Let it not be said concerning our generation: "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved"(Jeremiah 8:20).

Bobby Conner
Eagles View Ministries