Good day family and friends and everyone listening online around the world today.
We thank you for being with us this morning as we ready ourselves to dig deep into God’s Word.
Title: So, Let’s Make a Deal”
Summary: Jesus gives us His formula for Spiritual Success –SPOILER ALERT
1. Dependence on Him
2. Develop great Teamwork and
3. Deliver and transform lives through the power of Jesus
Scripture: Luke 10:1-20; Psalms 30
Have you ever heard of a brain teaser called “THE MONTY HALL” problem?
It’s a probability puzzle that is loosely based on the American TV Game Show called, “Let’s Make a Deal” and was named after its original host, Monty Hall.
I am sure this morning many of us have seen the “Let’s Make a Deal” game show.
The problem was first proposed by a biostatistics professor at the University of California at Berkeley.
It goes like this:
Suppose you are on a game show, and you’re given the choice of three doors:
Behind one door is a car, behind the other two doors are goats.
You pick a door, say Number 1, and the host before he opens door #1, asks you if you would rather pick door Number 2.
Is it to your advantage to switch doors?
If you ever watched “Let’s Make A Deal” then you have watched that problem in action.
Monty Hall loved to confuse people by trying to get them to either change their minds or go crazy in trying to figure out what to do.
Should they pick door #1, #2 or #3.
And after they pick door #1 should they change their minds and pick either door # 2 or #3?
How many of us have ever played along with “Let’s Make a Deal” and have picked the right door?
How about the wrong door?
This morning, Dr. Luke’s passage could be seen as similar to “Let’s Make a Deal”.
Jesus wants his followers to understand where the greatest prize in life actually resides.
In our text, Luke shares that Jesus had sent out 72 of his most committed and consecrated disciples and they had experienced some amazing success.
They had been able to do things that just a few week earlier they could not have even imagined.
Luke tells us that they had been able to preach about the Kingdom of God, heal the sick and eve cast out demons.
Can you imagine being a part of one of those teams?
While they had faced some opposition and trials they didn’t want to spend time focusing on the negatives.
We don’t hear them complaining about not having enough food or shelter or anything in this passage.
Instead as we read in verse 17, they all come back rejoicing and celebrating.
They had experienced the time of their lives.
They were ecstatic over what they had seen and accomplished for Jesus.
Sure, they had been sent out as lambs in the midst of wolves.
But in the name of Jesus those lambs had been able to bring freedom and healing into the lives of people.
They had been able to do the same miracles as they had watched Jesus perform.
They had been able to cure fevers, heal the lame, enable the blind to see and cleanse the leper.
They had been able to bring healing and wholeness into the lives of people who were suffering, depressed and decimated.
Can you imagine how they were feeling?
How would we feel this morning if for a few days we were able to go out and preach, heal people and cast out demons?
How would we feel if we could do the some of the things that Jesus did while he was here on the earth?
No wonder they were all pumped up and ready to do some more.
They had gotten a taste of what it meant to be anointed and empowered by the Holy Spirit and they wanted more.
The harvest is great: This is still true.
If we believe that it is but a short time until Jesus comes back, we should make the principles of Jesus’ commission to the seventy-two our own.
The laborers are few:
This means not only that there needs to be more workers, but that we have to be about our work for the Lord.
When there is a lot of work and few workers, you have to get busy.
In verse 20, Jesus wants to calm them down a little and have them focus on the most important part of their mission.
In a way Jesus wants them to choose Door #3.
They had already seen and experienced
+Door # 1
– People being healed of all kinds of sicknesses and diseases
+Door # 2 –
People being freed from demonic possessions.
And now Jesus wants them to look into Door #3
– the most important door of all.
Jesus wants them to understand what is even more important than healing and casting out demons.
He wants them to understand what should bring the most joy and celebration in their lives.
Jesus tells them in verse 20 – ” … do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
The greatest experience and the thing we should rejoice about the most is not how much spiritual power or how many spiritual gifts we possess.
The thing that we should rejoice about the most is that our name are written down in heaven.
In other words that we have been redeemed, renewed and restored into the image of Jesus Christ.
There is nothing as great as knowing that we are saved and sanctified this morning.
Jesus told them this because he was afraid that these 72 disciples and others would get all caught up in their ability to heal and cast out demons.
They would focus on their own spiritual abilities rather than the gift of salvation.
They would focus on what they could do for people’s physical, emotional and social needs at the expense of their spiritual needs.
They would forget that Jesus’ true mission was to redeem, renew and restore mankind.
We must always remember that Jesus’ highest mission was to save us and sanctify us this morning.
In this passage Jesus shares with us His formula for spiritual success.
He shares with us how we can experience success in both evangelism and spiritual formation.
He shares with how we can be successful in being the Body of Christ.
He shares with us how we can be Jesus to all those around us.
1. It all begins with Jesus
– Depending on the LORD – “the LORD appointed”
Everything that happened:
– all the discipleship, healing, transforming, changing lives, casting out demons
– everything they experienced happened because these 72 people began to follow and depend on Jesus.
Everything began and depended on Jesus.
These 72 disciples had walked with Jesus for some time.
They had not simply joined up and decided to go on this trip.
As you read the story Luke tells us that Jesus these disciples.
The word means to proclaim ” as being elected, chosen for a high office.
They were not chosen by accident.
These 72 individuals were among the most committed and consecrated of Jesus’ disciples.
It’s important to remember that the 12 Apostles were not a part of this group of 72 workers.
They had their own unique mission.
These 72 individuals were a part of a greater group of Jesus’ disciples.
Hippolytus of Rome a disciple of Polycarp, a disciple of Apostle John records that the 72 were made up of individuals like Matthias, Ananias, Stephen, Philip, Barnabas, Luke and John Mark.
We don’t know exactly if that is correct but it wouldn’t surprise us if those men had been part of the 72.
All we know is that they had been redeemed and were selectively chosen by Jesus to be his missionaries.
Like the Apostles they had not been chosen because of their heritage, their intelligence or the own innate abilities.
They were chosen because they had surrendered their heart and lives to Jesus.
They were chosen because they had decided that Jesus was the Way, the Truth and the Light.
They were chosen because they were willing to do anything and everything that Jesus wanted them to do.
It’s the same today.
Jesus is not looking for the most intelligent or the person with the greatest innate abilities.
He certainly enjoys when such an individual decides to follow Him but all Jesus needs is a willing heart, an open mind and an obedient spirit.
Paul tells us that Jesus has often chosen those whom the world thought was weak and used them to transform the world ( 1 Corinthians 1:27).
Take John Wesley, he was able to travel over 250,000 miles for the LORD and preach over 40,000 sermons all over England and America.
By the time of his death there nearly 80,000 people who called themselves Methodists.
Today, that number has grown to over 80 million.
What was the key?
What was it that made this little man be able to do so much in his lifetime and leave behind such a legacy?
It was because he depended totally on the LORD.
He allowed God to reach down and fill his heart with His Holy Spirit.
He allowed God to put an anointing on his life that gave him supernatural strength, courage and power.
This morning, all the LORD needs is a willing heart, an open mind and an obedient spirit.
We all may not do as many things as John Wesley or Spurgeon or Moody, did but we can do great things for the LORD through our lives.
All we have to do is pause and tell Jesus that we are at his disposal.
Could we pause right now and do just that?
Could we tell Jesus right now that He can have our heart, our mind and our spirit?
II. Jesus shares with us the Second Key to Success:
– DEVELOPING TEAMWORK – “two by two”
Jesus understood the value of a team.
After, all Jesus was a part of the greatest team of all time.
In Genesis 1:26 the writer tells us that God said “Let us make man in our own image.”
Who exactly is the “us”?
We know today that the “us” is God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
Can you think of a more unified, more powerful and more loving team than God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
God loves team work because He is a part of a team.
Genesis chapter two shares with us the story of how the first human, Adam needed to be a part of a team.
At first the Bible tells us that God made only Adam, there was no Eve.
For some time Adam was all alone in the garden.
“Then the LORD GOD said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”
The LORD saw that Adam would never find total fulfillment even living in the Garden of Eden alone. So, God created Eve the very first woman.
He made the very first human team – Adam and Eve; male and female.
Throughout scripture we have story after story of how much better we humans are when we are able to work together as a team.
Think for example of some great teams that we find in the Bible –
Moses and Aaron,
Ruth and Naomi,
David and Jonathan,
Elijah and Elisha,
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego
and Peter, James and John.
Anyone who has ever played sports, music or been a part of a drama team understands the value of a team.
Teams create synergy.
We are all better together than we are alone.
We may think that we can do things alone and do things without other people but we are sadly mistaken.
We need one another.
We can’t make it in this life without one another.
Dr. John Maxwell is a leadership expert, pastor, speaker and author.
There are very few people in our nation that have written more or spoken more about value of teamwork than Dr. Maxwell.
In his book, THE 17 INDISPUTABLE LAWS OF TEAMWORK: EMBRACE THEM AND EMPOWER YOUR TEAM, Maxwell writes this:
“Individuals play the game, but teams win championships.”
Is that not true?
Haven’t we seen that in sports over the past 20-30 years.
Individually, we have seen some great basketball players like Kobe Bryant, Steph Curry, LeBron James and Michael Jordan.
Each of them outstanding All-Stars.
But each one of them needed their team in order to win championships.
On their own they couldn’t win the ultimate prize.
But with Shaq – Kobe won.
With his team, Steph Curry has won.
With Dewayne Wade, LeBron has won a
And with Scottie Pippen, Michael Jordan won.
The New York Yankees most productive years happened between 1949 – 1953 when they won five straight World Series.
None of those teams had either a Babe Ruth or a Deter Jeter.
But they did have a team made up of people like Johnnie Mize, Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra.
Individually, they were good but not the greatest:
But working together as a team they were better than anyone.
And in a 14 year period from 1949 to 1962 those same New York Yankees won 10 World Series.
That’s what team work will do.
It happened because of team work.
Each of those teams accomplished all their goals and more because they surrendered themselves over to one another and for one another.
That is the value of our small groups and our prayer teams.
We don’t have them just to pass the time or to fill up space.
No, it is out of those small teams that we discover God’s truth.
It is out of those small groups that we share life and begin to birth miracles.
It is out of those small groups that we form a bigger team called the Church of Jesus Christ.
And it is in and through those groups that we learn how to be accountable to one another, live with one another and live for one another.
Not to be cliques but to be essential parts of a vital Body of Christ.
Notice in verses 4 – 9 that together these groups:
+Learned how to depend on Jesus – verse 4
+They learned how to use their time effectively – verse 4
+They were able to discern the places and people that were open to the Gospel – verses 5-6
+They were able to put their wants to the side for the greater good – verses 7-8
+They were able to effectively share Jesus’ message – verses 9
This morning, we can never overestimate the importance of teamwork.
We can never overestimate the amount of work and the effective ministry we can have together as a team
– praying together, working together and living together.
III. Finally, Jesus tells us that through dependence and teamwork we can realize deliverance and transformation
– “I saw Satan fall like lightening”
+ It all begins with Jesus:
– redemption, discipleship, obedience
+It continues through teamwork:
– surrendering ourselves over to one another so that together we have more than we can ever have by ourselves – spiritual synergy.
+And it results with deliverance and transformation.
It results in all of creation experiencing supernatural deliverance and supernatural transformation.
Look back at what Jesus tells them in verse 19.
Let’s take a moment and meditate on this passage of scripture.
“And he said to them, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightening from heaven.'”
We read those words and I wonder if we realize their full importance.
Rev. 12:7-12 shares with us the story of when the Archangel Michael throws Satan out of heaven.
Luke chapter 4 shares with us the story of when Jesus defeated Satan in the Garden of Temptation.
Satan is defeated by the LORD and by an Archangel.
But here, Jesus telling us that these 72 individuals were able to throw down Satan.
Depending on Jesus and working together as a team they were able to throw down the embodiment of all evil.
They were able to defeat Satan.
They were able to break the chains of sinful bondage.
They were able to defeat the powers of Satan.
We must not gloss over what is happening here in this passage.
Back in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve had faced Satan and lost.
King David faced Satan and lost.
Peter faced Satan and lost.
Any human being that tries to face Satan in their own strength loses 100 % of the time.
We don’t have the power, the strength or the ability to stop him.
However, when we place our dependence on the LORD.
When we come together in the power of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit watch what happens.
Satan is defeated.
Not just once but every time.
He is pulled down from his throne and thrown aside.
The only way we can defeat Satan is to do it in the power of Jesus Christ as the Body of Christ.
This year as a nation we are celebrating our nation’s 246th birthday.
Way back in 1776 we declared our Independence.
But it was never an individual independence.
It has always has been a team effort.
At the signing of the Declaration of Independence Benjamin Franklin made this statement –
“We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”
Franklin spoke those words in support of John Hancock who was doing his best to remind everyone that they must stand together.
Franklin knew that if we would pull together as a team, then we might just do the impossible.
We might just beat the #1 superpower at that time – the British Empire.
But we didn’t do it alone. France, Spain and the Dutch became our strongest allies.
At first they simply supplied us with weapons, ammunition, and other supplies.
We owe our independence today to a great many people from a lot of different areas.
By ourselves we would have never been victorious.
Jesus is telling us the same here in Luke 10.
+It all begins with Him.
+It is through Him that we can melt into teams through the infilling presence of His Holy Spirit.
+ And it is through Him as a team we can stop Satan and transform lives and creation.
We may be tempted today to look around us today and think that we can’t stop the onslaught of evil.
Things have simply fallen too far.
Society is broken.
The future for our nation and our world is hopeless.
Did you know that the Christians living in England back in the time of Wesley thought the same thing?
In 1738, Bishop Berkeley declared that religion and morality in Britain had collapsed “to a degree that was never before known in any Christian country.
The world at that time was one in which men were proud to have both a wife and a mistress.
Language, both spoken and written was full of four letter words and society looked up to those who promoted deviant behavior.
It was an age much like our own today.
Many proclaimed that the time of the Church and Christianity was over.
Satan had won.
But God had other plans.
The LORD worked through a team of Spirit anointed people.
They joined together to form teams of prayer warriors, missionaries and social reformers.
In a matter of roughly a 100 years things started radically changing.
I say all of this because this morning we need to understand that our world has been here before.
We have been a world full of sin, filled with the demons of lust, power, greed, materialism and evil.
We have experienced a time when families were being torn apart, people were becoming addicted to drugs, alcohol and immorality.
We have experienced a time very much like our own where politics were corrupt, society was broken and people were suffering from poverty and want.
Many today also want to write off the Church and Christianity.
They want to say that Satan has won.
But our God is still in control.
And if we desire it enough, we too can experience a great Revival in our nation and world.
Britain was transformed because the Church learned once again to:
+Depend solely on Jesus
+To work together in prayer, witnessing, praising and proclaiming the message of Jesus
+To create small groups for teaching and intercession
+Realize that through Jesus, Satan can fall down like lightning.
This Spiritual Awakening has happened at least twice here in the United States
– the first time back in the 1730’s and then in the late 1800’s when we too were suffering from all forms of evil.
Things looked bleak then as well.
But God brought a Revival because His people cried out for it.
We are in need of another great awakening today.
We are in need of another Great Revival.
And it can start in churches just like ours. It can start with us:
+Surrendering and depending solely on Jesus
+Surrendering to one another in forming small groups and prayer groups
– deciding that above all we will be a great team for Jesus Christ
+Taking the power of Jesus and bringing down Satan
Today, it’s possible for all of us to once again hear Jesus saying those words
– “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.
It can happen starting through churches and people just like us.
Jesus started off with 12 disciples that grew to 120 on the day of Pentecost that grew to 3,000 and today is over 2 billion.
In Luke 10 – Jesus started with 72 committed and consecrated disciples.
This morning as we close, I would like for us to come together spend some time in prayer.
– to pray for God to use us the same way as he was able to work through these 72 disciples.
For God to give us the infilling power of His Holy Spirit.
For the LORD to give us courage and strength to be His prayer warriors, his healers and people that can bring about freedom and change.
It doesn’t take a large group, it just takes a group of people with open minds, surrendered hearts and obedient spirits.
As our worship team plays you are invited to either come forward or in your seats join us in a closing prayer.
Fred Fitzgerald Ph.D.