Summary: The rules that apply in the garden apply in the soil of your soul as well.
Plant a pot with beans using seeds from a "pod tree"
The problem with my vegtable pot is that I’ve failed to follow the most basic rule of gardening: You’ve got to plant what you want to harvest.
Proposition: The same basic rules that apply in the garden apply in the soil of your soul.
Transition: As we consider this passage with an agricultural theme, I’d like to simply look at things in order, the beginning middle and end. In your garden and in your life you begin with planting...
I. First you must sow the seed
7-8 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
You and I are planting seeds every day. If we have put our trust in Jesus for salvation then we should be sowing the seeds that the Holy Spirit supplies. That is not to say by doing good works we somehow make ourselves acceptable to God and earn eternal life. In his letter to the Ephesians Paul puts it this way
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Eph. 2:8-10)."
It is clearly by grace that we are saved, but having been saved we have a purpose--those good works which God saved us to do.
Those who have not put their trust in Christ plant different seed. Rather than that which pleases the spirit they plant seed to please the sinful nature, to gratify the desires that rage within them. Those who plant this bad seed are concerned not with the harvest, they have their eye on the seed time, they’ve gotten the seed that’s easy, the seed that’s expedient, and they’ve planned a big party for planting day, but the party has become more important for them than the harvest.
It is possible I believe, for even believers to sow these seeds of the flesh, and while God’s grace is in God’s hands and I believe he is anxious to forgive us even when we fall as his followers, the seeds that we plant will often have an earthly time of harvest, more about that in a few minutes
You’ve got to decide if you’re going to sow with your soul set upon the harvest or your flesh caught up in the season of sowing.
When the seed is planted you’ve got another job...
II. Next you must tend the plants
9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
How many know that there are a few things that happen between the planting and the harvest?
Weeding, watering defending against disease and bugs. Sometimes it seems the harvest is a long time in coming, and sometimes the effort becomes overwhelming. But Paul says to us, we will reap a harvest if we don’t give up.
ILLUSTRATION: Norman Geisler, as a child, went to a VBS because he was invited by some neighbor children. He went back to the same church for Sunday School classes for 400 Sundays. Each week he was faithfully picked up by a bus driver. Week after week he attended church, but never made a commitment to Christ. Finally, during his senior year in High School, after being picked up for church over 400 times, he did commit his life to Christ. What if that bus driver had given up on Geisler at 395? What if the bus driver had said, "This kid is going nowhere spiritually, why waste any more time on him?" (Max Lucado, God Came Near, Multnomah Press, 1987, p. 133.)
I know that the summer is long, I know that the harvest seems far off, and we struggle to see even the flowers let alone the fruit of our effort, but the harvest is promised. Don’t give up. Continue to do what is right as long as you have the opportunity.
The last part of the growing seeson is the harvest...
III. Finally you WILL Harvest
8 The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
Now we can talk about the harvest in two different time frames:
First there is the temporal harvest, the harvest of here and now. Anyone who has lived in this world for long knows that the law of reaping what you sow has an application even heare and now on this earth, Oh yes, we can all name exceptions to the policy--times when it seems like the guilty live in abundance and no good deed goes unpunished, but far more abundant are the examples of those who have harvested even in this life exactly what they’ve sown: