Sowing and Reaping
If you would, please, take your Bibles and turn to Galatians 6, beginning in verse 7.
Our study of the book of Galatians brings us this morning to the most famous verses in this little book.
Almost everyone has heard at least a portion of these verses.
People who know nothing about the book of Galatians...
Many who know nothing about Jesus Christ are familiar with some of these verses.
>These very famous verses from the book of Galatians give to us one of the fundamental universal laws of God.
It is the law of sowing and reaping.
God says, "If you sow you reap."
That is an unchangeable law of God.
Man cannot overcome it.
Man cannot alter it.
God says, "If you sow you shall reap."
If you do not sow you do not reap.
But every time there is a sowing there is a reaping to follow.
>Now I want to apply these verses in three separate ways today...
Three applications of these verses.
First of all, I want to give to them a persona application because you see...
These verses apply to each one of us as an individual.
I want you to turn to the person next to you and tell them, "This is for you."
Do it right now.
This is for you.
And I want you to say out loud to yourself, "This is for me."
Itís for you and itís for me as an individual.
And what God has to say to us as individuals in these verses is both a warning and a promise.
>First of all, the warning of God.
God warns us about being deceived.
Look in verse 7.
He says: Be not deceived.
God warns us about being deceived.
Now first of all we need to understand that the devil and his demons can deceive us.
The Bible refers to the devil and to the anti-Christ and to any demon as a deceiver.
The devil loves to take things and twist them and change them and pervert them...
And make them appear to be something that God never intended for them to be.
Heís a liar and the father of all lies.
Jesus says that he is a deceiver.
And many today are deceived by the devil himself.
>But not only does the devil and his demons deceive us...
But the Bible tells us that there is the possibility of being deceived by false teachers.
Now thatís exactly what had happened in Galatia.
Paul writes to them and says, "O foolish Galatians, who has fooled you? Who has cast a spell on you?
Who has deceived you into believing a lie?"
False teachers are everywhere, and many of them claim to love Jesus.
And there are many today whoíve been deceived by false teachers.
>But also it is possible for a person to deceive himself.
Look back up in verse 3 of Galatians 6.
He says, "For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself."
A man has deceived himself if he says there is no God.
A man has deceived himself if he says there is no heaven and no hell.
A man has deceived himself if he says, "I do not have to be saved."
A man has deceived himself if he says, "I will never have to give an account to God for anything."
It is possible to deceive yourself.
And so Satan and his demons can deceive us.
False teachers can deceive us, and we can deceive ourselves.
God says, "Be not deceived".
There is a warning concerning deception.
>But secondly, I want you to see that he warns us concerning the very person of God.
Verse 7 says, "God is not mocked."
Now that word "mock" is an interesting word.
It literally means to turn up oneís nose.
It means to sneer at or hold in bitter contempt.
The Bible says that God is not sneered at.
God is not one that people turn up their nose in contempt against him.
Now it would appear that is a verse that is not true because there are many today who sneer at God.
There are many today who turn up their nose in contempt against God.
"Iíll do what I want to do, go where I want to go, be what I want to be...
Have what I want to have, and I donít care what God says about it."
They hold God in contempt.
They sneer at him.
>But what this verse really says is, God will not let anyone get away with mocking him.
God is mocked, but no man will mock God and get away with it.
So there is a warning about deception, and there is a warning about the character of God.
But also, there is a warning about the possibility of a bad harvest.
Look in verse 8: The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction.
>Now weíve been looking for several weeks at these terms "flesh" and "spirit."
Flesh refers to that old unsaved nature of man, man as he was born into this world with a sin nature...
A nature to sin against God, a nature that is prone to leave all the holiness of God behind.
Sin nature...the old man.
And God says if you sow to that old sin nature you will reap corruption.
Youíll have a bad harvest.
Your life will produce nothing but corruption, and the word corruption literally means ruin or destruction.
God says if you sow to this old life...
If you so to the old man...
If you plant seeds in that old ungodly nature...
Your life will be a life of ruin and destruction.
>I want to tell you, Iím not a new kid on the block.
Iíve been watching folks for a long time and Iíve seen too many ruined lives.
Iíve seen lives of teenagers that were already ruined.
Iíve seen lives of young adults that were already ruined.
Iíve seen lives of middle aged and senior adults that have been ruined...
Because they have sown to the flesh, and the harvest they reap...
Their life is one of ruin and destruction and decay.
The warning of God.
He warns us about being deceived.
He warns us about his character...
And he warns us about the possibility of a bad harvest.
>But in the personal application of these verses, not only is there a warning of God...
There is also a promise of God.
Look in verse 8: The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction.
That is a conjunction of contrast.
The one that sows to please the spirit...
And should be a little "s" spirit, because itís not talking about the Holy Spirit.
Itís talking about the spirit as opposed to the flesh.
The flesh is the old man.
The spirit symbolizes the new man.
Weíve been born again.
Weíve been saved.
Weíve been regenerated by the spirit of God.
"We who were dead in trespasses and sins has Jesus made alive."
He says if you sow to the flesh youíre gonna reap a bitter harvest.
But if you sow to the spirit, if you sow to that new man...
If you sow to that spiritual nature, if you sow to that born again nature...
If you so to that, look what he says at the end of verse 8:
From the Spirit (and that is a capital "S" Ė HS there) will reap eternal life.
>Now on the surface that looks like if youíre good enough and kind enough...
And gentle enough and behave enough that you can earn your own salvation.
But thatís not what he says.
The word "everlasting" really is not the word everlasting.
It is a word that is translated many times in the NT as the word "eternal."
You say, "Well Bro. Joe, whatís the difference?"
Everlasting amounts to time.
The book of Jude says that those of Sodom and Gomorrah...
That the fire of God came and they are suffering the vengeance of an eternal fire.
The word "eternal" there is the word everlasting.
It means a fire that lasts forever.
Everlasting life can refer to time.
It is life that lasts forever.
But most of the time it refers not to time but to quality.
It talks about the quality of life that we have.
What is a Christian?
Is a Christian someone who walks down the aisle and fills out a card and gets baptized?
A Christian is someone in whose life God lives.
It is the invasion of God into your life, and he lives himself through you.
God in us.
"Christ in us, the hope of glory," Paul says.
Jesus is alive in me.
IĎm not trying to be a cheap imitation of Jesus.
Iím not trying to live like Jesus.
Iím not trying to be like Jesus and talk like Jesus and walk like Jesus...
And pray like Jesus and behave like Jesus.
I cannot be like Jesus, but Jesus can be just like Jesus...
And thatís what Christianity is...
Jesus living in me and Jesus living through me.
And thatís what the promise of God is.
If you will sow to the spiritual nature of what happened in your life when you were born again...
Then you shall manifest under the leadership of the HS and by the power of the HS...
You will manifest the life of God himself.
Thatís the promise of God.
The personal application.
>Secondly, I want to give to these verses and evangelistic application.
Not only a personal application, one on one, but an evangelistic application.
Look in verse 9: Let us not become weary.
Do you notice something very significant here?
Go back up in verse 7: Be not deceived, God is not mocked: for whatsoever (notice this) a man (singular) soweth, that shall he (singular) also reap.
Verse 8: For he (singular) that soweth to his (singular) flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he (singular) that soweth to the spirit shall of the spirit reap life everlasting.
Heís been talking to us as individuals, one on one, you, you, you, and me.
>But now he changes.
He says, "Let us".
He goes from the singular to the plural.
In the singular personal application he reminds us of Godís warning and Godís promise.
But now in the plural, there is here an evangelistic application.
He says in verse 9: Let us not become weary of doing good.
May I say to you, the best doing good I know anything about...
The best doing good the Bible talks about is doing the work of God in evangelism.
It is sharing the message of the gospel.
>Now who is supposed to share the gospel?
Who is supposed to sow the seed of the gospel?
Well everyone is.
Thatís why in verse 9 he shifts from the singular to the plural.
You see, a lot of people have the idea, "Well the preacher ought to share the gospel", and I agree with that.
The pastor ought to be involved in personal, one on one sharing the gospel.
"Well that staff ought to be involved in sharing the gospel", and I agree with that.
Every staff member ought to be involved in a personal, one on one sharing of the gospel of JC.
As a matter of fact, I believe everybody that draws a payday from the church ought to be involved in soul winning...
Whether they are a staff member or the pastor or a secretary or a janitor.
Everybody who draws a payday from the church ought to be involved in sharing the gospel of JC.
"Well I believe the deacons ought to be soul winners."
I do too. I agree with you.
Deacons, men who have had the holy hands of other men set upon their heads...
And setting them apart to the office of deacon...
Every deacon ought to be involved in sharing the gospel of Christ.
"Well I believe, preacher, SS teachers ought to be sharing the gospel."
I do too.
Thereís not a church in our association that highly praises SS teachers more than this church.
SS teachers are the VIPs of HCBC.
But I tell you, a SS teacher that is not actively sharing JC with other people...
That SS teacher is not worth his salt.
Because a SS teacher ought to be sharing JC with other people every opportunity he has.
Yes, I believe that the pastor and the staff and the deacons and the SS teachers ought to be sharing Christ.
But folks, everybody ought to be sharing Christ.
You cannot ever accuse a staff member or a deacon or a SS teacher of not being a witness...
If you are not being a witness yourself.
He says, "Let us".
Who ought to be sowing? Everybody.
>Now what are we to be sowing?
Well in the fourth chapter of the gospel of Luke, Jesus gives a parable about a sower that went forth to sow.
And the disciples asked him later, "What does that mean?"
And Jesus said, "Well the seed that the sower is sowing, the seed is the word of God."
Luke 4:11: the seed is the word of God.
>Now what are Christians supposed to be sowing?
Well there are some Christians that are sowing discord.
There are some Christians that are sowing seeds that are not going to amount to anything.
The seed that weíre to be sowing is the word of God.
Weíre to be sharing with others the word of God.
Whoís to do it? Weíre all to do it.
What are we to sow? The word of God.
>Itís amazing to me how fluent we are in areas of things that donít really matter.
I mean there are some folks that know every third baseman on every team on every level of professional baseball.
There are some folks that have every baseball card that was ever published...
And if you do I wish youíd sell some of it and help us fix our building.
I want you to know there are some folks that know all about sports.
They know all about weather.
They know all about everything.
And yet they have absolutely no knowledge of the word of God.
What a shame.
Because this is what weíre to sow.
>Now how are we to do it?
Well look what he says in verse 9.
He says, Let us not become weary.
"If we do not give up" at the end of the verse
He says let us to it persistently.
Donít give up. Donít quit.
"Well, Bro. Joe, Iíve shared the gospel with this person and this person and this person, and I have not seen any fruit.
Iíve not seen any result."
Listen. Donít quit.
Donít give up.
Do you know what the high priest would wear around the bottom of his robe?
He would wear a bell and a pomegranate.
Do you know what thatís a picture of?
Itís a picture of evangelism.
You keep ringing the bell, and bless God, there will come some fruit.
I mean it may me someone youíre not even expecting.
Maybe it will be a family member.
Maybe it will be a stranger.
But if you keep on keeping on and you donít quit and you stay at it...
And you keep telling folks about Jesus, some will slam their doors in your face.
Some will insult you.
Some will laugh at you.
Some will ridicule you.
Some will turn away.
But I promise, you just stay at it.
Keep on keeping on, and God says, "in due season", youíll reap.
I promise you...if we sow weíre going to reap.
There are many churches today that are expecting the harvests from unsown fields, and that never, never happens.
If you sow you reap...but if you donít sow you donít reap.
And so there is a personal application to us.
God warns us personally.
He promises us personally.
>But there is also an evangelistic application.
We must all sow the word and we must do it persistently.
And may I add, we must do it compassionately.
Psalm 126:5 says: He that goeth forth sowing and weeping shall doubtless come again rejoicing bringing his sheaves with him.
We ought to sow compassionately.
How many tears have you shed for the lost souls of men?
How many times have you awakened in the middle of the night...
And all of a sudden you began to weep because of lost people?
Maybe you have a lost son or a lost daughter.
Maybe youíve shared the gospel with them over and over and over.
Maybe you have another family member.
>Many times we weep over lost family members...
But we ought to be weeping over the lost people around our world.
Five billion people on this planet.
Only one billion even profess to be a Christian, and many of them are not really saved.
Thereís an evangelistic appeal.
If youíll sow youíll reap.
>And then one last application.
Not only do we see here a personal application and an evangelistic application...
I want you to see a theological application.
>Look back to I Corinthians 15.
In I Corinthians 15, this is exactly what Paul had in his mind, sowing and reaping.
Look in verse 39: All flesh is not the same flesh.
Did you hear that?
All flesh is not the same flesh.
Thatís why, when you need a blood transfusion, you canít get it from a monkey or a bird or a giraffe.
All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial.
There are some bodies that are made to soar in the sky...
And there are some bodies that are made to walk on the earth.
But the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon...
And another glory of the stars: for one star differs from another star in glory.
So also is the resurrection of the dead. It...
It is what?
It refers to the dead body of a child of God.
It is sown (it is planted, it is buried) in corruption.
What does that mean?
It means ruined.
It means destruction.
It means decay.
Iíve seen cancer reek havoc on a human body...
And a strong, healthy person become nothing more than a skeleton covered by skin.
It is sown in corruption.
But it is raised in incorruption: it is sown in dishonor.
Something about death dishonors the body.
The body ought to be alive.
The body ought to see.
The body ought to hear.
The body ought to speak.
The body ought to move.
Thereís something dishonorable about death.
It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power.
It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.
Do you see that?
Sowing and reaping.
You plant and then you reap.
You bury and then you rise again.
>But not only is it true in the life of Christians, I want to tell you, it was true in the life of Jesus.
Look over to John chapter 12.
A little verse most of us slip by.
Look in verse 23: And Jesus answered them.
John 12:23: And Jesus answered them saying, "The hour is come."
What was that hour?
Oh, it was the hour of the predestined, perfect plan of redemption.
"The hour is come."
It was his death and his burial and his resurrection.
Thatís the hour Iím going to die.
Iím going to be buried, but Iím going to arise again on the third day.
Thatís the hour.
But "the hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified."
And then look at this verse.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die.
What is that?
You and I are to sow the seed of the word of God.
>But I want to tell you, God the Father has sown the seed of the living Word who is Jesus Christ.
God took his son and nailed him to a cross.
The Jews did have a hand in it, and the Romans did have a hand in it...
And you and I had a hand in it because he died for our sins.
But it was God who nailed his son to the cross.
It pleased God that his son should be bruised.
For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son.
God put his son on the cross to die...
And then God planted him.
God sowed him.
Ah, look what it says: verily, verily I saw unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone...
But if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
>Look over in chapter 13 verse 1:
Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father...
Having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.
He loved them to the end.
He died and he was buried.
His body was sown in the tomb, planted in the tomb.
But I want to tell you, friend, thatís not where it stops.
That precious seed was sown but just like the grain of corn...
You sow it and you water it, and up from the ground comes that living stalk that is going to bear much fruit.
God took his son and crucified him on the cross and buried him in the tomb.
And the world said, "Itís finished...itís done...itís over."
But I tell you, it wasnít over, because that seed, that dead seed germinated in that tomb...
And sprang forth into life.
"Up from the grave he arose, with a mighty triumph oíer his foes...
He arose a victor from the dark domain and he lives forever with his saints to reign."
But that sown seed was going to be raised to bear much fruit.
>Are you a born again, saved child of God?
Did you hear what she said?
Say it loud...
Thatís resurrection fruit, brother.
I want to tell you, Jesus is alive!
And you are proof of it, and I am proof of it.
I was dead in sin, but Jesus has made me alive.
I was lost and now I Ďm found.
I was ungodly and now I love Jesus and itís not something of the flesh.
Itís Christ in me.
Sowing and reaping.
>There is a personal application.
There is an evangelistic application.
And thank God, there is a theological application.
>One of the greatest preachers of this century was a British preacher.
His name was W. E. Sangster.
In the mid 50s, W. E. Sangster contracted muscular atrophy and he began to lose the use of his voice and legs.
Finally he completely lost his voice and completely lost his legs.
Then he turned to writing, and he became one of the greatest Christian writers of this century.
He could not speak...he could not walk...
But what a writer he was.
On Easter morning, just about three weeks before he died...
He woke up that Easter morning and picked up his pen and shakily wrote a letter to his daughter.
And he wrote and he said, "It is terrible to wake up on Easter morning and have no voice with which to shout...
ĎHe is alive!í"
But he said, "It is even more terrible to have a voice and not want to shout."
I have a voice.
He is alive!
And Iím gonna shout it!
Do you have a shout?
Oh, I tell you, if youíve never been saved, you donít have a shout.
Oh, you can holler loud at a Razorback football game.
But it you donít know Jesus you donít have a shout.
If youíve never been saved, heís alive.
Heís not dead...heís not even sick.
Heís alive, and if youíll come to him, you can be wonderfully, gloriously saved today.