Seedtime and Harvest

Posted on 05/26/2013 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***


Public Prayer Requests:

*** There are no public prayer requests this week ***


*******

Please turn around and click one of the offering plates by the doors, and give as the Lord leads.

*******


GLORY

Great is the Lord God Almighty
Great is the Lord on High
The train of His robe fills the temple
And we cry out highest praise

Glory to the risen King
Glory to the Son, glorious Son

Lift up your heads, open the doors
Let the King of Glory come in
And forever be our God

Holy is the Lord God Almighty
Holy is the Lord on high
Let all the earth bow before You
And crown You Lord of all


EVEN THE MOUNTAINS

We praise you Lord because you're worthy
You are Lord and King of the earth and sky
Let us lift you up and declare your glory
Let us lift our hands and our voices high

Even the mountains praise your name
the rocks and the stones cry Holy!
Whoever seeks for your face
will never be the same
Let your kingdom come
in Jesus' name

I'm an instrument, I am only a vessel
Help me open up to receive your love
Let us put to death thoughts of opposition
Let me step aside and point the world to above


WITH ALL THAT I AM

I praise you Lord
I praise you Lord

With all of my heart
With all of my soul
With all of my strength
I praise you Lord

For there is nobody like you
in heaven or on earth
Who is worthy to receive
all my praise
And I praise you with all that I am
Yes I praise you with all that I am


I'll serve you Lord
I'll serve you Lord

With all of my heart
With all of my soul
With all of my strength
I'll serve you Lord

For there is nobody like you
in heaven or on earth
Who is worthy to receive
all my praise
And I'll serve you with all that I am
Yes I'll serve you with all that I am


I love you Lord and
I'll love you Lord

With all of my heart
With all of my soul
With all of my strength
I love you Lord

For there is nobody like you
in heaven or on earth
Who is worthy to receive
all my praise
And I love you with all that I am
Yes I love you with all that I am



*** listen to the audio for the message introduction ***


Aren't you thankful that, as the Scriptures say, God is the same yesterday, today, and forever? He does not change. He does not bend with the pressures, change with the popular opinion, or visit judgment because he's having a bad day.

He was, is, and always will be our provider. He always has been and always will be our healer. There has never been nor ever will be a time in which he leaves us or forsakes us.

He is a solid and unmoveable mountain when the whole earth is violently shaken. He is a flowing river of living water during the most devastating drought. He is the bread of life during the greatest famine. He is the light of the world in the middle of the deepest, darkest night.

He is the finisher of our salvation when we see no end in sight. He is the conquering king when the enemy seems to have overtaken us. He is the savior of mankind when all the world seems to be lost. And when we think we just can't hold on any longer, he is the soon and coming king!

The King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords, Jehovah, Yeshua, Jesus Christ the Risen Lamb of God!


Do you know him? Is He your close companion, your dearest friend, and the Lord and master of your heart and your life?

If you don't know Him today, I pray that you will open up your heart and meet Him before you leave here today. And if you've already accepted Him as your Lord and Savior, I pray that you will know him a little deeper before this day is done.


Let's open up the Word of God today, and read from the book of Genesis, chapter eight, and verse 22.

The earth had just been flooded, and Noah and his family, along with animals of every kind, had been kept safe on the ark. Finally the waters abated, and Noah and his family and the animals left the ark and stood once again upon dry ground.

Noah made sacrifices to the Lord, and God made a covenant with Noah and his descendents, including you and me.

And in verse twenty-two of Genesis eight, God says this:

22 "While the earth remains,
Seedtime and harvest,
Cold and heat,
Winter and summer,
And day and night
Shall not cease."

Some of us today might hear this and sarcasticly think, "Okay, super. I'm glad God gave THIS promise to me. He could have said, 'You and your descendants will be extremely wealthy,' or, 'You will never have any disease,' or, 'You will be given great power over all the elements.' But instead, He promised that things will remain as they have always been. Lucky me."

Come on, honestly, wouldn't you be tempted to think that? But I'd like for us to take a closer look at this incredible promise which was made to all of us, and see how it can impact our lives if we only grasp its treasure.

And the title of today's message is "Seedtime and Harvest."


I'd like for us to take a look at several types of Seedtime and Harvest. And the first Seedtime and Harvest is this:

1. Earthly Cycles.

God says, "Cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease."

I think there are a number of people today who need to believe God's promise. Some are afraid that, because we exhale too much, drive cars that are too big, and eat too many bean burritos, cold will cease, therefore winter will cease, and perhaps we will cease. But the warming we saw a couple of decades ago was part of God's promise.

The earth has always gone through cycles of heating and cooling, and as long as it remains, it will continue to go through cycles of heating and cooling. If we all bought a private jet (like many of the global warming alarmists) and flew non-stop, except for fueling and supplies, for the next thousand years, summer and winter, hot and cold, wouldn't cease. The seasons and cycles of the earth would remain. And there's nothing we could do to make God's promise null and void.

The Bible also tells us that Jesus Christ will return, and the old heaven and earth will be rolled up as a garment, as Jesus makes all things new. THAT is when the earth as we know it will come to an end. We're not going to do it. We CAN'T do it. That's God's job, and His promise remains.

When 650 of the world's top climatologists stood up at the U.N. Global Warming conference in Poland and said that man-made global warming is a media-generated myth, they were unknowingly reminding us of God's promise.

Climatologist Dr. David Gee, Chairman of the International Geological Congress, asked the question, "For how many years must the planet cool before we begin to understand that the planet is not warming?"

The earth's temperature peaked in 1998, and has been falling ever since. The Arctic ice is back to its 1979 levels. And while CO2 levels continue to rise, the earth continues to cool.

Of course the "Save the Planet" push will continue, and politicians will continue to ride on its popularity. But we need to remember that we cannot make this promise of God null and void. God put no conditions on this promise except that the earth remains. As long as the earth is here, absolutely nothing we can do will stop or hinder the cycles and seasons of the earth from continuing exactly as they always have from the very beginning.

Sure, go ahead and recycle to reduce the landfills. Drive a smaller car to save a few bucks and to help the air be a little cleaner. Get energy-saving lightbulbs to be good stewards of your money and to save time changing them as often. But don't buy the lie that you're saving the planet. We can't destroy it, and we can't save it. There really is no "Mother Earth," but there IS a "Father God," and he has promised that no matter what,

"While the earth remains,
Seedtime and harvest,
Cold and heat,
Winter and summer,
And day and night
Shall not cease."


So the first Seedtime and Harvest we see here is that of the Earthly Cycles.

And the next Seedtime and Harvest I'd like for us to consider today is this:

2. Spiritual Crops

Galatians chapter 6, verse 7 says this:

7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.

Most of us have heard the phrase, "I have to sow my wild oats." But this is another Seedtime and Harvest, and God has promised that it will not end. If you sow wild oats, you reap wild oats.

I've know people who say they were Christians once, and they might say that they tried "sowing to the Spirit" but didn't see any harvest. But God's promise is true. Whatever we sow, we WILL reap.

Imagine someone going out into a field and planting a few kernels of corn. After not seeing those few kernels grow for a time, he declares, "I have planted and have not reaped!" and then he proceeds to sow weeds.

If the corn even landed on good ground and was protected from the birds and watered, the weeds he planted will grow up quickly will crowd out the corn.

When the Bible speaks of doing things, it does not speak of doing them half-heartedly, or quitting before the job is completely done. No, the Bible speaks of persistence, of diligence, and of finishing the race.

Anyone who truly sows to the Spirit will reap of the Spirit. And all who sow to the flesh will reap of the flesh.

What do we sow? And if we do sow to the Spirit, do we also sow to the flesh? Anyone who sows weeds with his crops can expect a pitiful harvest. But most of us do this very thing. We go to church, and may even read our Bibles and pray during the week. But we also sow to our flesh. We watch things we know we shouldn't watch. We listen to things that glorify the flesh and the world's ways instead of glorifying God and his ways. And then we wonder where our spiritual crop is.

7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.

If your storehouse is full of the harvest of corruption, what will you give the hungry man who come knocking at your door? It is not for ourselves alone that we must sow to the Spirit and not to the flesh. It is also for the ones around us who have never even tasted the Bread of Life. And if we carefully guard our hearts, sowing only good seed and rooting out that which is of the flesh, then we will reap everlasting life, and when we see a starving man on the street, we can open our storehouse and give him the bread from heaven.


Before grain becomes bread, it is taken through a process. First it must be planted. It must be cultivated. It must be protected. It must be watered. It must be harvested. It must be stored. Preferable, it should be spouted. And it must be ground into flour.

We, on the other hand, think we should be able to scatter a few seeds and then feed every hungry person who passes by. And who are we to say what God can and can't do through even the youngest of believers.

But there is a process of maturing; a process of sowing, of reaping, of storing, of crushing, of preparing, and of going.

We must sow to the Spirit and not to the flesh, and we will reap everlasting life instead of corruption.

We must store, or hide, God's Word in our hearts, meditating upon it, memorizing it, filling ourselves with it, speaking it to ourselves and to others, and living by it.

We must allow ourselves to be crushed, pressed, heated, and purified. The Holy Spirit does a sifting of our grain, removing the impurities. We need only draw closer to God and cooperate with his Spirit, not fighting against the process of purification.

We must shod our feet with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace, studying to show ourselves approved as workmen who need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.

And then we must go, out into the highways and the byways, in Second Life, at our job, in our schools, in the malls, at the bus stop, at the gas station, to our doctors, our dentists, and our grocers, to the drunk in the alley, the prostitute on the corner, the crack addict on the bad side of town, and the murderer and child molestor behind bars.

We alone have the incredible opportunity to sow to the spirit and not to the flesh, to reap a harvest of everlasting life, to be pressed, crushed, sifted, and purified, to fill ourselves with the Word of God, to apply that Word to our lives, and then take the Bread of Life, Jesus Christ, to those who are hungry for something the world simply can not give.

So let's be dilligent with our Spiritual Crops, and let's take the Kingdom of Heaven by force!


So far we've talked about two Seedtime and Harvests: Earthly Cycles, and Spiritual Crops.

I'd like for us to touch on a third Seedtime and Harvest, which is this:

3. Giving and Receiving

In Luke chapter 6, we see a good representation of Giving and Receiving. Luke chapter 6, and verse 38:

38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.

This falls under the laws of Seedtime and Harvest. It's a universal law, and is recognized in many of the religions of the world. Some know it in a partial-truth such as "Karma," but it has been observed throughout the ages as simply the way things are.

The first part of Proverbs 18:24 says, "A man who has friends must himself be friendly...", while we know that someone who acts as an enemy will make enemies, both of those people and of those who consider them friends.

We see this principle at work in every area of our lives.

We just saw it in Scripture concerning friends. If we are good to people, treating them with respect, dignity, and loyalty, we will make friends.

This is also true in our marriages. If we men withhold our love from our wives because we think they don't respect us, for example, we will reap a lack of respect. If the woman withholds respect from her husband because she feels unloved, she will reap a lack of love from him.

If, on the other hand, you love as Jesus loved, who layed down his life for those who rejected and despised him, and if you love your wife with God's love regardless of how she treats you, and continue doing so to the end, you will reap respect; and if you respect your husband and treat him like God's gift to you regardless of how insensitive he may seem to be, and you continue doing so to the end, you will reap love.

By the way, if you have children, and you treat them as though they are a distraction from comfort, you will reap their resentment; if you treat them as though they are untrustworthy, you will reap dishonesty; if you treat them as though they are subjects to be ruled, you will reap rebellion; but if you treat them as gifts from God created and ordained by Him to grow into mighty men and women of God, diamonds in the rough, worthy of your respect, your time, your unconditional love, and champions who can achieve anything to which they dilligently apply their hand, then you will reap love, respect, and obedience, whether or not you see it all the time, and as you raise them up in the ways of the Lord, in the end they just might end up standing on your shoulders, reaching even higher than you every could have imagined, and leading the way for generations to come.


Next, not only does Giving and Receiving apply to friendships, marriage, and children, it also applies to honesty and integrity.

Do you want people to deal honestly with you, or do you want them to cheat you and see how much they can get away with? Then you must sow the seeds of honesty and integrity yourself.

Proverbs 11 and verse 1 says this: "Dishonest scales are an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is His delight."

If you sow dishonesty, you will first of all reap a spiritual harvest. Jesus said in the parable of the tallents that those who are faithful with what they have been given will be given more, and we read this in Luke 16:10-12:

10 He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.
11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?
12 And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?

Maybe a little omission on your tax return is a small thing. But God sees it as an unjust weight, and knows that if you are unfaithful in little matters, you cannot be trusted in bigger things.

Or if you don't mind telling "little white lies," that is an indicator that you cannot be trusted to be honest in bigger things.

If you cannot be trusted with your eyes when you are alone at home on the Internet, how can you be trusted with your body, or with anything else that is subject to temptation?

And as we sow dishonesty and a lack of integrity in even the small things, we reap the reward of having the greater opportunities of spiritual advancement being denied to us. How can we be trusted with the heart and mind of God when we cannot be trusted with our own?

Now, I'd like to point out here that just because you walk in honesty and integrity does NOT mean that you will not be the target of dishonesty and deceit. That's the nature of the fallen world in which we live. But it DOES mean that you will reap the trust of heaven, and God will keep his word that whatever you sow, that also shall you reap.


Not only does the principle of Giving and Receiving apply to friends, family, and spiritual responsibility, it also applies to other areas of giving.

No, you aren't promised riches if you give all you have to widows and orphans. But you ARE promised that you will be taken care of in this life, and that you have treasure in heaven, for whatever you do unto the least of these, you are doing unto Jesus.

A minute ago, we read Luke 6:38, which says "Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you."

This says it will be measured unto you with the same measure that you use. Are you stingy with your giving? Don't expect to have others bending over backwards when you are the one in need.

How about love? What measure do you use to share love with others? Is your measure based upon what you think they deserve? Then don't expect that you should receive any more love than what you deserve. Actually, you already have received much more than you deserve. We all have.

How about mercy? What measure do you use for the mercy you have upon others?

How about kindness? Compassion? Honor and respect? A listening ear and a caring heart?

Go beyond yourself, and draw upon the power of the Holy Spirit within you and the reminder of all Jesus has given you that you do not deserve, and you will reap kindness, compassion, honor, respect, mercy, and love; not only from others to you, but from God as a deposit into your heart; the more you give, the more God fills you with the same.

Do you want to grow in mercy? Sow mercy.

Do you want to grow in compassion? Sow compassion.

Do you want to grow in kindness? Sow kindness.

Do you want to grow in Godly love? Sow Godly love to others.

"For with the same measure you use, it will be measured back to you."


So we've talked about three types of Seedtime and Harvest: Earthly Cycles, Spiritual Crops, and Giving and Receiving.

And finally, let's talk about one more type of Seedtime and Harvest. And this fourth type is this:

4. Harvest of Souls


In Psalm chapter 126, verses 5 and 6, we read this:

5 Those who sow in tears
Shall reap in joy.
6 He who continually goes forth weeping,
Bearing seed for sowing,
Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing,
Bringing his sheaves with him.

This verse is commonly used to refer to the sowing of the Gospel and the subsequent harvest of souls, and the principle most certainly applies.

In Luke chapter 10 verse 2, Jesus says this:

"The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest."

If working in the harvest were something that was easy and rendered instant gratification, there would be no shortage of workers. But to be a true harvester of souls is not an easy job. To bring in the harvest, to reap in joy, you must sow in tears.

It is a continual going forth, not just something you try every once in a while; for it is the one who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, who doubtlessly comes again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.

And this is the final type of Seedtime and Harvest about which we're going to talk today: the Harvest of Souls, the return of the sowing of the Gospel of Peace -- the Word of God.

It is written in the 55th chapter of the book of Isaiah, verses 10 and 11,

10 "As the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,
And do not return there,
But water the earth,
And make it bring forth and bud,
That it may give seed to the sower
And bread to the eater,
11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

You see, God has ordained the times of rain and of snow, which water the earth so it may give seed to the sower and bread to the hungry. And just as he sends his rain to the earth, he sends his word to us, and it will not return to him empty.

Sow the Word of God everywhere you go and into every situation.

Do you have a sickness in your life? Sow the Word of God.

Do you have an impossible situation? Sow the Word of God.

Do you have worries, doubts, and fears? Sow the Word of God.

The Word of God will not return void, but it shall accomplish what He pleases, and it shall prosper in the thing for which He has sent it.

God sent his only begotten Son into the earth to seek and to save the lost. Jesus sowed his blood so that he could reap the harvest of souls. And he has entrusted us with the Gospel of Peace, the Good News that man, separated from God by his sin, could have that sin nailed to the cross and could be make right with God, his soul finally and eternally at peace with his creator.

We, being made ministers of reconciliation, are called to sow the message of Salvation in tears; for how can we, who have become partakers of Jesus' suffering, death, and everlasting life, hold back our lives from working diligently in his harvest?

May the Lamb who was slain receive the reward of his suffering!

I'd like for us to close to by listening to an audio clip that sums up the greatest meaning of seedtime and harvest, that God, the one who has no need for harvesting, would sow His own life, His own Son, His own tears, and His own blood, to reap the least of mankind, the greatest of sinners, as the greatest reward for His suffering.

Listen to this as you get out of your seat and come gather at the front for a time of prayer, ministry, and worship. And after this plays, you're free to go if you need to, and if you can stay, you're invited to make your way to the room to your left where we'll gather in a few minutes for a time of fellowship.

Come, and let us gather at the front and dedicate ourselves to living out God's promise of Earthly Cycles, Spiritual Crops, Giving and Receiving, and the Harvest of Souls.

*** audio clip ***

Two young Moravians heard of an island in the West Indies, where an atheist British owner had 2,000 to 3,000 slaves. And the owner had said, "No preacher, no clergyman will ever stay on this island. If he's shipwrecked, we'll keep him in a separate house until he has to leave. But he's never gonna talk to any of us about God. I'm through with all that nonsense."

Three thousand slaves from the jungles of Africa brough to an island in the Atlantic, and there to live and die without hearing of Christ. Two young Moravians heard about it. They sold themselves to the British planter, then used the money the received from the sale, for he paid no more than he would for any slave, to pay their passage out to his island, for he wouldn't even transport them.

And as the ship left the river at Hamburg, left its pier at the river at Hamburg and was going out to the North Sea, carried with the tide, the Moravians had come from Herrnhut to see these two lads off, in their early twenties, never to return again. For this wasn't a four-year term. They'd sold themselves into lifetime slavery. Simply that as slaves they could be as Christians where these others were.

The families were weeping, for they knew they'd never see them again. And they wondered why they were going and questioned the wisdom of it. And as the gap widened and the hawsers had been cast off and were being curled up there on the pier, and the young boys saw the widening gap, one lad, with his arm linked through the arm of his fellow, raised his hand and shouted across the gap the last words that were heard from them. They were these:

"May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering!"

And this became the call of Moravian missions. And this is the only reason for being: that the Lamb that was slain may receive the reward of His suffering.