Seeds Sown (Cause And Effect)
There are certain principles that apply to everything in life and also have great application in the kingdom of God. Jesus taught about some of these principles and often used nature things to illustrate his point. He used children to show us about simple faith, he used nature and creation to teach about God's nature. Jesus used simple illustrations to reveal deep spiritual truths. But I suppose the greatest natural example used by Jesus as well as by many of the bible's authors is the principle of “cause and effect.”
The bible often uses the terms “sowing and reaping” for cause and effect. The principle is simple that if you do something, if you act a certain way there will be a response or an effect to what you did. Its Isaac Newton's third law of physics – that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
But the bible uses this law long before Newton and in even simpler language it helps us understand a deep principle. So in our text today the Apostle Paul uses agricultural terms. “Sowing and reaping” that if you sow (or plant) seeds, you can expect to reap, (harvest) a crop based on what you planted. Its not rocket science, if you plant corn you are not going to get pumpkins, if you plant a hundred seeds, you will get a bigger crop then if you plant ten seeds. If you plant good seed, you will get a better crop then if you plant old moldy seeds that have been out in the weather.
Many years ago, some Chinese farmers theorized that they could eat their big potatoes and keep the small potatoes for seed. But eventually they the result of that practice brought devastating results. The farmers over time had reduced all their potatoes to an average size of a marble. Their lesson applies to all of the Spirit filled life, that you can not have the best things of life for yourself and use the leftovers for seed. The law of life decreed that the harvest would reflect the planting.
Simple principle with simple application for the believer. That is where Paul takes the Galatian churches in his closing remarks of his letter. He has shown them the way of God, the way of Grace, that a man/ a woman is justified before God not on the basis of performance, but on the basis of God's grace. Grace that comes into effect when faith comes alive. With that in mind he reminds us that this principle of sowing and reaping is still in effect. So lets read our short text today as we consider sowing and reaping, cause and effect.
READ THE TEXT GALATIANS 6:7-10 “SEEDS SOWN (CAUSE AND EFFECT)”
Four things I would like us to see in this little portion of text.
The principle is that simple principle of sowing and reaping. But Paul says them backwards to the way we do them. He says reaping and sowing. I think there is good reason for that.
In Galatia the Jewdizers had come and planted seeds of doubt among the churches. They had led them into the law, adding to God's grace, making people believe that it is by our outward performance that we are made right with God.
Now they were going to reap a harvest, the end of the cycle, the result of living in law is bondage. Bondage to sin, bondage to rules that can not be kept, and bondage to those people who were their so-called – leaders. Would be a bitter harvest.
So Paul starts with the results, the harvest, reaping -- because that is where the Galatians were but even more that is our motivation for life. That we look beyond the trials of life, we look beyond the faith we now live by, and we see the results of what God is going to do. Like the men and women of faith from long ago.
Heb 11:10 (Abraham) ... was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
Heb 11:16 (Speaking of all the hall of fame of faith)...They were longing for a better country — a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
Are you looking forward to the harvest? Are you looking to heaven? To the prize of God? The results of your faith?
Col 3:1-4 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above , where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above , not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Is your mind beyond the daily occurrences of this life? Are you looking to the eternal prize of heaven? Having our focus on eternity is important but do we understand that this reaping and sowing principle goes beyond the eternal rewards, it often happens right here during your life on earth.
As we look at the eternal consequences of faith, or no faith, we know that what Paul says here is true. That if you sow to the flesh, the sinful nature, you will reap destruction.
Jesus gave us a story to illustrate this entire principle. He told us when he returns it will be like a shepherd who separates his sheep from the goats. In Matthew 25 Jesus said. On that day he will put the sheep on his right side and the goats on his left, and he will say to the sheep. “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, needed clothes and you clothed me, sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
Then in V37 "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when? When did we see you hungry, thirsty, a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison and go to visit you?' “When Lord?”
Matthew 25:40 "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
These who are reaping a great reward did not even know they were doing God's work. How could that be? Why was it they were doing those things and they didn't even know it? Notice Jesus answer, if you did it to the “least of these” – in other words. Like our text tells us, if you sow to the spirit, you will reap to the spirit. When we live by the Holy Spirit with our minds on the heavenly prize, we will just naturally be the hands / the feet / the voice of or Lord to the world around us. Earlier Paul said, “Live by the Spirit, keep in step with the Spirit.”
Of course Jesus goes on with the sheep and the goats, and he says the opposite to the goats. “When I was hungry you did not feed me, when I was sick you did not visit.” And the goats answer is also interesting.
Matt 25:44 "They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'
What are you talking about Lord, when didn't we do that stuff. These guys may have had good deeds they were doing but apparently they were doing them for wrong motives or with their own self rewards in mind.
"(Then the king will reply)... “I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.' "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."
Oh you may not end up in jail, but if your life is about revenge, if your life is sowing seeds of bitterness, if you are planting lustful seeds your life will reap a harvest of destruction. A harvest that brings bitterness, revenge or lust.
TURN TO PSALM 115:1-8
Who gets the glory in your life? You or God? Let God be glorified by your life, and you will reap a harvest of his love and faithfulness. The world is out their mocking God, the world denies God they mock you and me, saying where is this God you serve? You've got problems, you have issues, where is your God now? I like the Psalmists reply, “Our God is in heaven -and he does whatever pleases him.” Oh the world may not see him, the world may not know him but he is there and one day every knee will bow to Jesus Christ as Lord of all.
What does the world worship? Their idols are silver and gold, wealth. And things they make into their own image, they may not be statues, but the world worships money, power, beauty, fame, and material possessions. Things that have no life in themselves, mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but they cannot see and so on, so look at V 8
Psalm 115:8 Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.
Those who worship the idols of lust will be like what they worship. Those who worship the idols of bitterness and revenge will end up bitter old people. The principle of reaping and sowing falls into this life, you become like what you worship. Everyone will worship what is most important to them during this life. And then they will become like that thing they worship. If you worship money during this life, you will end up greedy and stingy and lonely. If you worship power you will reap a harvest of alienating others from yourself.
Someone once said: “Many people sow their wild oats and then pray for a crop failure.”
Now if that is true to those who sow seeds of distinction, what about those who sow seeds of the virtues of the Spirit filled life that we saw in Chapter 5:22? If you sow seeds of love, what will your harvest be? If you sow seeds of patience, and kindness what will your harvest be? For if those who worship idols become like what they worship-- how much more will those who worship the Lord, those who call upon the name of Jesus will end up becoming like him. What is our God like? He is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love.
We have seen the principle, and the application, finally lets consider.
Taking this cause and effect principle and the application for eternity and this life, Paul moves the Galatians and us into action. He takes it to two things that must remain our focus until the Lord returns.
1. STAY ALERT.
Don't grow weary in doing good. Stay alert. Speaking of the Lord's return.
1 Thess 5:4-8 But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. For those who sleep , sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.
Are you alert? Or are you slumbering? When Jesus was about to be arrested, when the pressure was on, he asked his men to keep watch and to pray. But if you remember that story, Peter and the boys kept falling asleep. Trails were on them, trouble was at the door, and all they could do was slumber. I think too often the church is in a state of slumbering. Sleeping at the wheel and about to drive off the straight and narrow path.
Church, wake up, be alert, the world is going to hell in a hand basket and the church is often trying to go with them. We do not need to mimic the world, we do not need to be at all like the world. Do you remember what Jesus said to his men when they were sleeping?
Matt 26:41 "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing , but the body is weak."
Are you watching? Are you praying? Do you understand that if you try to accomplish in the flesh, what God began in the Spirit -- you will fail? Isn't that what Paul told the Galatians?
Gal 3:3 Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?
Stay alert, keep awake, be on your guard, walk after the Spirit of God and not the desires of the sinful nature, or the world around us.
2. STAY ACTIVE.
“Don't grow weary in doing well, do good toward everyone especially to those who are part of the family of God.” When life brings opportunities to do good, what do you do? When its inconvenient to serve, when your busy what do you do? How do you react when people take advantage of you? That is the difference between walking after the flesh or the Spirit.
When I first gave my life to Jesus at age 23, ( 10 years ago), I was taught that the Spirit filled life meant that you embraced miracles, spoke in tongues, and sing really loud. But my friends as we have seen here in the later parts of this book of Galatians that Spirit led life, the Spirit filled life is one that is keeping in step with the Spirit.
The guiding of the Spirit is always, Love, joy, peace. All those manifestations that God has us act and interact with one another in those ways.
There's an old song. “Seeds of love.” By Barry McGuire. “We could make a difference - reaching out in Jesus name – planting love in every heart, breaking though the chains, you and I can plant those seeds of change. Planting seeds of kindness, planting row by row, planting little seeds of love, helping one another everywhere we go, planting little seeds of love.”
Here Paul reminds us to stay active. To perseverance in good deeds.
1 Cor 15:58 Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
2 Thess 3:13...Never tire of doing what is right.
James 5:7-8 Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near.
PRAY, COMMUNION, BENEDICTION, SING.
Series: Galatians -Through the Bible
(C) High Sierra Fellowship 2008