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Jack Graham - The Law of the Harvest

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    Jack Graham - The Law of the Harvest
TOPICS: A Life that Pleases God, Sowing and Reaping, Harvest

Now it's well known that the law of the harvest is a natural law that has spiritual application. In fact, when you read your Bible, you see many references to agriculture and farming. It was their culture; it was there society, and so there are many illustrations regarding farming. Now I didn't grow up on a farm or even near a farm. Even when I was living in small town Arkansas we lived in a little town and we sort of just stayed to the town. And then I grew up the rest of my time in Fort Worth, that was Cowtown, but I never got near too many cows. I just pretty much stayed in the town. And I didn't grow up on a farm. But when I went to Hobart, Oklahoma was my first fulltime pastor, it was full of farmers. This little farming community in southwest Oklahoma.

And may I say that some of the best people anywhere live in Oklahoma, and these farmers from Oklahoma, they were Dutch-German farmers. They were hard working, and as a young pastor, just 24 years of age, I learned a little bit about farming and I learned a whole lot about hard work and what it takes to bring the harvest in. And what is true in the fields, whether it is wheat fields, corn fields, cotton fields, it's also true in the spiritual field which is the world that God has given us. And so there are some laws of the harvest that relate to our living, that relate to our giving, and relate to our going: sharing the Gospel. And that's what I want to talk to you about today. Here are the laws of the harvest as applied: You reap what you sow: that's the principle of identification.

If you sow corn, you reap corn; wheat, you reap wheat, and so on. You reap what you sow. But there's more. You reap more than you sow, and that's the principle of multiplication. If you throw a few seeds down, it can produce a bumper crop. Barrels and bushel basket loads of a harvest. That's multiplication, you reap more than you sow. And then, of course, you reap later than you sow. You don't throw the seed down and expect it to grow the next day. It takes cultivation and planting and watering and all of the rest. So these are the natural laws. How does the law of the harvest connect with your life? Let me mention three ways.

Number one, the law of the harvest relates to our living. Beginning in verse 7 of Galatians chapter 6: "Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season". That is, when the harvest comes, we will reap, if we do not give up. "So then as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith". We ought to love our church and we ought to love the Lord. The law of life is for living. Whatever we sow, we reap, and when we sow, according to the Old Testament prophet, "the wind, we will reap the whirlwind".

Frankly, that's what's happening in America. We have sown the seeds of sin, and the winds of hell are blowing, and at hurricane force. We're seeing it happen. I was just reading a report this week from our United States public health organization, and did you know that STD, sexually transmitted diseases are at an all time high in America? In spite of all of the so-called safe sex and all the rest, birth control and all the rest, STD, sexually transmitted diseases are at an all time high. Epidemic proportions in this country. And we are seeing violence and hatred and immorality and perversion, and drug and alcohol abuse, and all the rest because we have sown the seed of sin in our country. And as a result God is not mocked. You can't play games with God! And whatever we sow, we also reap. And what's true nationally, of course, is true personally. If you sow the seeds of sin in your life, you will reap what the Scripture says here is corruption and death.

Now there's a contrast here in this passage. It talks about the will and the work of the Spirit, and the works of the flesh. And the flesh just simply means who you are humanly, who you are naturally. And when you become a believer and follower of Jesus, you still live in this body, you still live in the flesh, but now you have this spiritual battle that goes on on the inside. And it's a struggle as compared to what I want to do in my flesh and what the Spirit of God enables me to do by His power. And I must yield to the work of the Holy Spirit that I can overcome the power of sin and selfishness in my own life. That means that you must starve the flesh and feed the spirit. And you cannot compromise with sin and you cannot cover sin! If you compromise sin, then it's all in.

Last spring I walked into my house and we have a little room that we've turned into a room for our two beagle dogs. And Deuce and Yogi are there during the day, and they have a little dog door that they can get in and out. And when I got home it was little bit foreboding anyway. It was a dark day, it was rainy, it was a little cool. It just didn't feel right. And I walked in to let the dogs out and into the house. And when I let them out, I looked in the corner of the dog room and there was the most humongous raccoon you have ever seenm staring at me. Now, bigger than my beagle dog! This thing looked like a wolf! It was mean. It was nasty. It was wet. It was staring at me. It was glaring me! What are you going do?

Now I know all of you who are hunters, you have weapons in your home. I don't have any weapons in my home. The only thing I had to defend myself in our home is a baseball bat. So I didn't want to bloody up the dog room with the baseball bat. So I went and got that big thing, you know, in your closet, if you have a closet and you want to hang your clothes up high, that big long pole? So I went and got that. Like a jouster I went in there and I had my bat in my hand because this thing wouldn't move. I couldn't scare it away! I couldn't get it out of the dog room. I let the beagles to safety and it's just me and the raccoon.

I tried doing like Davy Crockett. I thought about my Davy Crockett days, you know how you just grin a bear to death? I was trying to grin at it, glare at it, anything I could do. This thing's not moving. So I'm going in, taking my own life in my hands against this raccoon. So I'm going in with a closet hanger. And he's still not budging. I'm punching him. He won't go! He's just growling at me. I got to get this thing out of the house! Cause you can't live with a raccoon in your house! So what am I going to do? So I went and got three baseballs. Now I still got a pretty good arm. I gave him one more chance to repent and get out, and told him Raccoon didn't budge. So you know, I'm pretty much from here to the front row in this little room. So he's a pretty easy target. So I wind up with a baseball and it went right by his ear. Missed him. And he just glared at me all the more.

So the next time I take this ball, I line him up, and go right there and hit him right between the eyes! He goes down, he's out. And now I'm thinking, I just killed this raccoon! I don't want to describe the scene but it was not a pretty scene. And this raccoon is laying in my dog room! How am I going to get it out? I started calling Tate Cruz, my neighbor - no answer. I started calling friends to help me get rid of this thing and there's no answer. You know, four or five minutes later. And finally this thing staggers to his feet. He wants to go another round! So I take another baseball and I go, and this time I hit him right in the rear end. And finally he staggered out the door through the dog door where he came in. The last time I saw him he was waddling out the backyard, and we've never seen him again. I hope he went and told all his raccoon friends, "Don't go to that crazy preacher's house"!

Now I tell you that story, been wanting to tell you that story for a long time. Couldn't figure out what in the world it might apply to. But I'm telling you can't live with a rabid animal in your house. And you got to do everything you can to deal with sin in your life. Paul called it crucifying the flesh, mortifying the flesh. You got to kill it. If we don't kill sin, sin will kill us. And so with our living we have to be willing to do whatever it takes to mortify the flesh and to minimize the impact and the power of the flesh in our lives. Because some people think they can cover their sin. Some people think that when they sin, they can win. If you try to cover your sin, ultimately your sin will find you out. That's what the Bible says. "Be sure your sin will find you out". There are consequences to sin.

Now the fruit of the Spirit is life! The fruit of the flesh is death. Character is the consequence of your character is the consequences of your choices. It's been said many times: Sow a thought and you will reap a deed; sow a deed and you will reap a habit; sow a habit and you will reap a character; sow a character and you will reap a destiny. So when you read this passage and you think about the law of the harvest, just remember, regarding the way we live our lives, we reap what we sow. We sow to the flesh, you get corruption. You sow to the spirit, you feed the spirit and starve the flesh, then you will reap a harvest of goodness and righteousness and godliness and Christ likeness in your life.

Now let's talk briefly about the law of the harvest as it relates to our giving. Because this is the spiritual picture of sowing a seed. Just as a farmer sows a seed into the ground, not because he always felt like it. I saw those farmers back in western Oklahoma, they would get up so early before sunrise and stay out late till after dark. They would go whether they felt like it or not, whether they were sick or not sick, they went every day because they knew the harvest depended on it. They knew they had to get the seed in the ground! And this is important regarding the sowing our seeds of giving in our life. It's important to remember that giving, generosity is a spiritual principle in every believer's life. And it is essential to spiritual growth.

If you want to have a spiritual harvest in your life. The Scripture tells us, words of Jesus: "Don't lay up treasures on earth where moths corrupt and thieves break in and steal". Don't do that. Not because laying up treasures on earth is inherently bad in and of itself, but because it's a bad investment. It's just not a good investment to invest in the things of this earth and not invest in the things of eternity. The accountant of the well known millionaire the turn of the 19th century, J. D. Rockefeller was, the accountant was once asked, "How much did J. D. Rockefeller leave in his estate"? And the answer was all of it! Every bit of it! You know you've never seen a U-Haul on the back of a hearse because you can't take that stuff with you!

So the smart money is on investing in the things that last. It is a wise investment. When we are sowing selfishness, again, if we sow to ourselves and are always heaping up possessions and pleasures on ourselves, that's the opposite of generosity, and it reaps corruption. But when we are giving, when we become generous people, giving our time, giving our talent, giving our tithes and treasures to the Lord, that is an investment that will last forever. There are several reasons that we ought to give. One is obedience to God. When you obey God, you please God, and it brings fulfillment and satisfaction. I don't know about you but I know every time I do what God wants me to do and fulfill His plan and purpose for my life, whether it's giving or something else, I know, not only does it please God but it's so satisfying, and therefore, it brings joy. The more we give of ourselves and what we have, the more we enjoy it.

Again, the opposite of this is being miserable, is the word miser. If you're miserly and become a selfish person, your world gets very, very small. "But if you give your life away", Jesus talked about giving your life away like planting a seed into the ground and it dies, but He said, "Whoever loses his life will gain it". And it's the question of giving your life and giving yourself, and that's what brings great joy. There's blessing! God will give you a harvest. Remember, you reap what you sow, you reap more than you sow, and you reap later than you sow. And when you give to God, when you give to the work of Jesus Christ through the ministry of your church, through the outreach evangelism efforts of God's people, when you give like this, God will be no man's debtor.

You cannot out give God! God will pour out blessings upon your life. Some material, some immaterial, all spiritual! All from the hand of God! It's a blessing! And we don't give to get. But here's what we do: When we give, Jesus said in Luke 6:38, "Give good measure, pressed together, shaken down, running over"! Because God has said, "When you give to Me, I am going to bless you in ways that you can't even measure"! If you want the blessing of God in your life, if you want to receive from God, you must be willing to obey God in this matter. But here's what I want to say. You don't just give to get. You give to get in order to give some more, in order to get some more, in order to give some more, in or... Do you see what I'm saying? It's all about the cycle of blessing in your life.

Ultimately we give because we love, and God opens our heart, and we have a greater love. And there's such freedom in giving because it breaks the back of greed in our lives. We all deal with greed and selfishness, and giving will destroy the power of greed in our lives. You say, "Well, Pastor, that's all good but just don't have very much to give. I can't afford to give". Don't wait until you can afford to give. Be faithful and plant some seeds. Be faithful to God with what you have. If God can't trust you with small things, how could God possibly trust you with larger things? God's Word is clear in this. Proverbs 3:5&6. This is the New Living: "In everything you do put God first and He will direct you and crown your efforts with success".

Put God first in your family; He'll bless your family. Put God first in your work, your business, your career and God will bless your work, your business, your career. Put God first in your finances and God will bless your finances. Why? Because we reap what we sow. Am I a giver or am I a taker? The temptation to my, me and mine and self is very strong. And we must overcome this. And the way to do it is by sowing seeds of generosity. When I can bless others, or I can meet the needs of others or I can show love to someone else, where I can give so that the Gospel can advance.

Would you begin looking for opportunities to sow seeds of kindness and goodness and generosity into the lives of people, and then just wait and watch as the blessings of God come pouring back on you. It's the law of the harvest relative to living, relative to giving. But what I really want to concentrate in the moments that we have left is the law of the harvest as it relates to our going, as it relates to sharing our faith in evangelism. We reap what we sow, more than we sow, later than we sow, and we are to sow the seeds of evangelism. Whether it's planting churches or planting our own lives on mission fields or in our own neighborhoods, we are committed to sowing the seeds of evangelism.

Now let me ask and answer a couple of questions regarding evangelism, because sometimes when you start talking about evangelism and missions, people get all uptight about that. But let me just remind you of a few things. Number one, who is to share their faith. The who is you! Because every follower of Jesus, like a farmer, is to sow the seeds of the Gospel. We are called and commissioned by our Commander-in-Chief, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Matthew 28:19 and 20. Jesus said, "Go, and make disciples of all nations".

Literally, as you are going, starting in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, the uttermost parts of the world. Go into all the world, make disciples, mark those disciples by baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. And then mature those disciples by growing them up in Christian living around the Word of God. That's the mission of our church: to go into all the world! Literally, that should be. It's an action verb, "As you are going". So who is the one who is to go into the world. You, not just the professionals, not just the preachers, not just the missionaries, not just the super-saints, but every believer is called to go into your world, into the fields.

Jarrett in the earlier service brought a message on this text and he said, "You know, a farmer has to go into the field, and what is the field? The field is your school, the field is your work, the field is your neighborhood, the field is where you live! That's your field, that's your mission field"! We should put a sign out on the exits of our property which say, "You are now entering the mission field". Our communities are growing all around us with people who do not know Christ; people who need Jesus in their lives. And it is our responsibility to go and to sow into their lives the Word of God.

The who is you! Everyone: teachers, business persons, homemakers, physicians, attorneys, students, children, all of us! This commandment, the Great Commission is not the great suggestion; it's for all of us! It's for every one of us! And I pray that it will be a priority for you as a Christian. But if you will start sowing seeds of the Gospel and speak up and put Jesus and the message of the cross and the resurrection in your conversation with people. Not in a bragging way, but in a grateful way, it will open doors of opportunity. You're sowing seeds and you will reap a harvest in your living, in your giving and in your going and sowing, it's the law of the harvest at work.
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