Summary: The fourth message in the "God’s Plan for Sharing" series. Sowning the seed is important.
GPS Stage 3: Sowing
* As a youngster I well remember moving into our new house in Purvis, MS. We had a fairly large backyard as ‘in-town’ back yards go. Every spring my dad would take about 30%-40% of the backyard, break it up with a hand driven plow, row it off, and plant a garden. Dad was very specific about what he planted in the garden. He planted beans, peas, okra, tomatoes, squash, and the like. He always made sure the ground was properly prepared, his seed was good, and the care for the crop demanded his full attention. He did this religiously for a number of years. Then one year, he was so busy at work and with other projects that he didn’t get to plant the garden and you know what happened? As I remember it, we had a few plants and a little harvest from the work he had done in previous years.
* We have taken 3 Sundays to understand the process called GPS (God’s Plan for Sharing). (Review the pyramid). The reason I believe GPS deserves our undivided attention is because its goal is for us (you and me) to get on board with the Biblical mandate or reaching and discipling people. This is critical to the Kingdom’s work, to this culture, and for the lives of people.
* Do you know what I read this week? When Dr. Thom Rainer was collecting data for His book, “Simple Church”, it was his (and his team’s desire) to find 2 groups of churches. The second group was fairly easy to locate as it was the “Comparison/Non-growing Church”. This was the church which had not grown by 5% per year. The first group they sought was the Vibrant/Growing Churches which were growing at least by 5%. In fact, out of over 40,000 SBC churches, they discovered less than 2% met the criteria for “Vibrant & Growing” church. How does this fit with sowing?
* While the population gets larger, the local congregation is getting smaller. While we are doing more and more we are making less and less of a difference in the lives of people. Less people are hearing the gospel so less people are responding to the gospel and connecting to the church.
* Last week Bro. Mike talked about “loving your church” and that was good. Make no mistake you can love this church without loving people and you can love this church without loving Jesus, but you can never love Jesus and not love the church or people. People still need the Lord! And the only way for them to repent of their sin and come to Him in faith is to have the word of God shared with them in word and deed. We need to sow the word.
* This morning we talk about spiritual sowing. Paul reminds us whatever seed we sow determines the harvest we reap. Just like my dad did his best to make sure he was sowing good seed, each of us must determine what kind of seed we are sowing as well as into “what” kind of soil we are sowing. We are all sowing seed of some kind!
* Knowing that the good seed of the word of God has been placed in the hands of every believer with the expectation of it being sown let me offer us four calls from our text.
1. Be Careful – It is more than a little interesting that Paul begins with a warning, a call to be cautious. He says, “Don’t be deceived.” Candidly, the Bible seems to indicate that we are highly susceptible to being not only deceived, but self deceived. Jesus repeatedly warned us to “Watch out that no one deceives you” & that “Many will come and they will deceive many.” Paul says a number of times in the New Testament to not be deceived and don’t deceive yourself! Be careful. It’s important. Why? Because there is a cause and effect of everything you do and you need to make sure you know what you are doing. I submit that if we took to heart that God is not mocked, it may well change our behavior, our motivation, and our lifestyle. In Acts 5, a married couple attempted to make a mockery of God in His house and they wound up dead. God’s word is true. God’s ways are just. God’s will is best. God is sovereign. In this matter of sowing, be careful to not be deceived because God will not be mocked.
2. Be Clear – The scriptures reveal what we should know. I’ll submit that he is alluding to the “laws of sowing and reaping.” It is not a popular message today, but the Bible contains principles, precepts, and laws which are unbreakable. Here’s one; it’s appointed to man to die one time and after that comes the judgment. We may not like that, but we don’t get a voice or choice, it is the law of God that everyone will face judgment. Here’s another; whoever’s name is not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life will go to everlasting punishment in the lake of fire. Again, this kind of teaching is not what we desire to hear in this culture, but our propensity to avoid and not listen to this type of teaching does not diminish its truth in the least. Just to be clear, it is God’s law. In the same way, the laws of sowing and reaping are God’s laws which we need to be very clear about. Law #1: You will reap exactly what you sow! My dad never planted beans and expected to get watermelon; he never planted tomatoes when he desired okra. He began with the end in mind. He knew what He wanted His garden to produce so he was meticulous about planting what he wants to harvest. Presently, I am reading a book entitled, “Releasing the Revival Flood.” Not surprisingly, one of the great hindrances to the Holy Spirit of God falling in a manifest way among the American church is that disunity, infighting, and bitterness found inside the local church. Jesus’ heartfelt prayer in John 17 was for unity among His people. With the church planting so much division, bitterness, sharp tongued, and just plain meanness in so many places, perhaps the harvest we are receiving is a harvest of the seed which we have planted. Law #1 says we reap what we sow, so what is it that we are sowing?