Summary: This sermon looks at lessons in planting. No matter how you live your life you are sowing seeds. Your harvest is determined by what you sow.
An old farmer was driving home from his annual trip to the city when he saw a couple of blonde tree farmers planting their crop by hand. As he had some extra time on his hands he stopped to watch, but couldn’t believe his eyes as they dug holes and filled them back in without dropping any seeds or seedlings.
Finally his curiosity got the best of him and so he got out of his car to walk over and talk to them.
"What are you guys doing? he asked.
"Planting trees," they said in unison.
"But where is the seed or the seedling?"
"Oh," one said, "normally there are three of us. He digs the holes, Jimmy plants the seedling, and I fill the hole. But Jimmy is out sick today."
Last week we started a series called the "Garden Variety Series. Time after time in the scriptures it uses the analogy of sowing, planting, reaping and harvesting. In those scriptures are some valuable lessons. Last week we looked at a parable that Jesus told that is called the "Parable of the Sower." Jesus gave examples of four different soils, and each one represented someone’s heart and how receptive they were to God’s Word, which Jesus called the seed. The first soil that Jesus talked about were people who had a hard heart and a shut mind for God’s Word. The second soil were people who seemed to listen to God’s Word and took encouragement from it, but never put down roots for endurance. With that soil Jesus said that they believed for a while but when the tests of life came they fell away because they had no real roots. Then the third soil was the person who heard God’s Word but allowed the busyness and the worries of life to choke the things of God out. These people were so caught up in riches and wanting more, and the worries of everyday life that it literally just choked the things of God right out of them. Then the last soil was the people who received God’s Word and put it into action, laying down roots that last. These people not only heard the Word with joy, they put it into action and established roots deep enough that when the storms of life came they not only survived, but they grew deeper and more mature in their faith. Hopefully that last soil is the one that describes the condition of your heart. Today we will continue to look at sowing, but this time you are the sower or the planter. The scriptures gives us a great lesson in planting.
Now one of the most important lessons that the scriptures gives us in planting here is simply this: You cannot fool God about what you are sowing. In verse 7 the first sentence, Paul says very plainly, "Do not be deceived; God cannot be mocked." Now there are different ways that we can be deceived and one of them is to fool ourselves. Sometimes we convince ourselves that something is true when it is not. What we need to understand is this, we cannot make a mockery of God with an act. Now the Greek word that "mocked" is translated from means "to turn up the nose at, sneer at, treat with contempt" and it is used in a passive sense. We can fool people and make them think that we are planting one kind of seed when in reality we are planting something totally different, but you are not going to be able to pull the wool over God’s eyes. You are not going to be able to turn your nose up at God with an act. Back when the early church had started it was an incredible time in the life of the church. The scriptures said that the believers were of one heart and mind. Wouldn’t be awesome for the church to be of one heart and mind today. What we couldn’t accomplish if that were the case. It also said that no one claimed any possessions were their own but that they shared everything they had. Matter of fact people in the church were selling their property and homes and giving all the money to the church so that everyone could be taken care of. But there was one couple named Annanias and Sapphira, they sold a piece of property that they owned as well, but they kept back part of the money themselves. The scriptures said that the wife had full knowledge that part of the money was held back, so they both knew what they were doing. The problem came in that they wanted others to think that they gave every bit of the money from the sell. I think they wanted to appear as spiritual as everyone else. It just might have worked, but God was not going to be mocked, and I believe the Holy Spirit revealed to Peter what was going on. Listen to what Peter said in Acts 5:3 "Then Peter said, ‘Annanias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God." Of course if you remember Annanias drops dead on the spot. But the point is that Annanias and his wife tried to make people think they were more spiritual than they were, they tried to give the impression of sowing one thing when really they were sowing another. Peter said they lied to the Holy Spirit and they lied to God. They might have been able to fool people but they were not going to be able to fool God. Remember when Achan went against the directions of God and took some of the devoted things from Jericho in their battle there. None of his fellow soldiers knew what he did, but God wasn’t mocked, he knew what was going on. God cannot be fooled because God is not like people. He can discern the very thoughts and attitudes of our hearts. We can make people think we have their best interest in mind and we are doing thinks for the right motive but God sees into our hearts and minds and He knows what is the truth. God just won’t be fooled. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you can.