For some reason, all this week, I have had a message on my heart that I shared last year during an evening service at Whitesburg. I want to share it with the readers of this blog. Below are the basic preaching notes that I used in this message…
“Sowing and Reaping”
You’ve probably heard the expression “the laws of nature.” These are laws that operate the physical world we live in. For instance, there is the law of gravity. If it were not for the law of gravity, we would have had trouble getting to church tonight! Then there is law of nature that says when water is cooled to 32 degrees it freezes into ice. Laws of nature operate the world we live in.
Did you know that there are spiritual laws that operate in the spiritual realm. Perhaps the most famous one is the law of sowing and reaping given here in Galatians 6. Now, the Bible is using farming imagery here. Sowing refers to sowing seed – to planting seed. Reaping refers to the harvest. The time when the seed we have planted yields a crop. From this text, I want us to see four Biblical laws of sowing and reaping…
I. We reap WHAT we sow
Look at verse 7. Now this is really common sense. When I grew up, my family had forty acres and my grandfather would do a little farming on the side. And I learned very early on in my life that if you wanted to grow a field of potatoes, that you didn’t plant corn. If you want potatoes, you plant potatoes! If you want watermelons, then you go buy some watermelon seed and you sow watermelon seed and then you reap watermelons – not tomatoes. Whatever you put into the ground is what comes up – every time. It’s the law of the harvest. You reap what you sow.
““Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you; a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over—will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”” (Luke 6:37–38, HCSB)
This is true in all areas of life as well. People who sow seeds of anger what do they receive in return? Anger. If you sow seeds of dishonesty, what do you reap? Dishonesty. If you sow distrust, then distrust grows. However, there is a positive side to it as well. If you sow seeds of love – what grows up? Love. If you sow forgiveness, you reap forgiveness.
“Life is like a boomerang. Our thoughts, deeds and words return to us sooner or later, with astounding accuracy.”
-Grant M. Bright
Did you notice that it says, “God is not mocked…” You don’t outsmart God. You don’t fool God. It’s absolute. You are going to get what you have sown. It might look good on the outside. You might have everyone fooled. But you will not fool the Lord. That’s the idea. That’s a sobering thought. No smoke and mirrors. No spin. No excuses. There it is – you reap what you sow.
Now, there is good news in the law of the harvest: If we sow good seed, we reap good things. Listen, whatever you and I want to reap more of in our lives, then we should begin to sow more of it. Because the Bible says that we do reap what we sow. Now, I want us to see a second law of sowing and reaping…
II. We reap WHERE we sow
Look at v. 8 Here Paul makes a tremendous application to our spiritual lives. He says that we not only chose what we sow, but we choose where we sow. He says that we can choose to sow into our flesh or we can choose to sow to the Spirit. Now let’s think about that a minute.
Remember that in the New Testament, our flesh does not refer to our skin, but rather it refers to the seat of sin in our lives. Let’s think about so much of the popular entertainment in our world today. Most of it is simply sowing to the flesh.
I don’t have to do a lot of explanation there do I? Most popular television and movies, not all but most, cater to the base and sinful parts of the human experience. In addition, everything that sows to the flesh is not necessarily wrong. Entertainment and leisure are not wrong in and of themselves. For instance, I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with a good football game, but that is not a spiritual experience either. Nothing wrong with football in its place. Nothing wrong with a good movie – in its place. Nothing wrong with good food and good friends in their place. Our flesh needs food, fun, and friendship. So, don’t think that sowing to the flesh is ALL bad stuff. It’s not. However, because our flesh is the seat of sin in our lives, even something that is OK can become bad for us. Think about it. Nothing wrong with having fun with our friends, but if that is all we live for and all we do, then we won’t do anything productive and worthwhile. Nothing wrong with a good movie, but if all we do in our spare time is watch movies and never read our Bible or pray – then we’ve got a problem. If we sow to our flesh, we will get corruption.
My point is this. Just by living in this world, our flesh will get taken care of! Our flesh will be stimulated for good and bad plenty just by living in this world. If we want to grow as Christians, we have to CHOOSE to sow seeds in our spiritual field. That time of prayer and Bible reading that you start your day with – that’s sowing to the spirit. That music you listen to in your car that exalts the Lord Jesus – that’s sowing to the Spirit. Worshiping with other believers, that men’s prayer group, praying with your spouse before you go to bed, praying with your kids before you go to bed. Helping someone in need and telling them Jesus loves them. Sharing the gospel with someone. Those things are sowing to the spirit.
This is a very important principle here. We choose WHERE we sow. And every single day, we are either sowing to please our flesh or we are sowing to the spirit. Remember, this is the law of the harvest, so if we are struggling with our flesh – struggling with a particular sin – then do you know what we need to do? Sow to the spirit. Remember how the Bible said that we won’t fulfill the lust of the flesh?
“I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16, HCSB)
So, how do we walk in the Spirit? We chose to sow to the spirit. Now, back to the farming analogy. When we planted corn, we not only reaped corn, but we reaped corn in the field where we planted it.
Listen, you have the harvest in the field where you sow your seed. No wonder so many Christian’s today come to church and say they don’t get much out of it. They’ve sown their seed all week long in the flesh’s field and then come to church for an hour on Sunday morning and expect to reap a spiritual harvest! It doesn’t work that way. We reap WHERE we sow in addition to what we sow.
Before we move on, let’s make sure we connect the dots here. The law of the harvest says that I reap what I sow where I sow. So, there is good news in that. If I want more love in my home, then what do I need to do? Sow love in my home. If I want integrity in the life of my children, then I sow integrity into their lives. If I want my church to be more friendly, then I sow friendliness in my church. If I want my Sunday school class to reach out, then I sow outreach in my Sunday school class. The Law of the harvest gives hope.
Now, I want us to see a third law of sowing and reaping…
III. We reap WHEN we sow
-Verse 9 teaches us this principle. Now, this does not mean that we will necessarily reap at the moment we sow, but we are assured that we eventually will reap. If we sow, we will reap eventually. Don’t ever forget that.
“Therefore, my dear brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58, HCSB)
You know, we live in an age of instant, fast everything. Have you noticed that? Fast food, high-speed internet, express check-out. That’s why it’s hard for us to really let the impact of the scriptures sink in because the Bible was written in an agrarian society. They understood sowing and reaping because it was their livelihood year in and year out. Today, our idea of sowing and reaping is getting paid and going out to eat and then to Publix. It’s hard for us. American’s don’t do well with patiently waiting.
We are like a farmer who planted a field of corn one day and then quit farming two days later because he didn’t have a field of corn! Remember, v. 9 speaks of reaping in “due season.” When it’s time. When God is ready. Sometimes we don’t reap because it is not the season. Maybe you are in one of those seasons. Money is low and your blood pressure is high. Everything you do is hard. You are seeing no results. It feels like your prayers are not getting above the ceiling. KEEP SOWING. That’s what v. 9 says. Keep sowing and you can rest assured that the harvest will eventually come. On the other hand, seasons change and there are seasons of reaping in life. Ecclesiastes says that to everything there is a season! Have you ever had a season of reaping? I have.
IV. We reap IN WHOM we sow
V. 10 At first this almost seems out of place. Like it starts another section. And then one day it hit me. It’s like the Apostle Paul, after all of this talk about sowing and reaping, tells us to look around and find someone to sow into their lives. It’s not just about your life. Make a difference in someone else. Really, the longer I am in ministry, I learn that what truly lasts in the changed lives. What truly lasts is the difference that you make in the lives of others.
What am I sowing?
Where am I sowing?
In whom am I sowing?