The message that Pastor John is going to begin in this series is very important and one that he picked around on and alluded to several times in the years leading up to this, but he had never set down at Grace Chapel and walked through it in depth. The message and series is on sowing and reaping. Pastor John has talked about and alluded to this principle especially when he has talked about offerings and the principle of sowing towards the Kingdom with our giving.
According to Pastor John, normally when you preach on sowing and reaping it’s a negative message. It’s a message of warning, worry, or concern. Pastor John didn’t want that to be this way because it should be a message of optimism and hope for everyone to understand the principles of God.
One of the most graphic illustrations of how God works with men is this teaching of sowing and reaping. Like most great truths it is seen throughout the Bible and is relevant to both covenants. The first occasion of its mention is also one of the most powerful and it is found in the Book of Genesis in the story of the flood. In Genesis 8:22 he tells Noah how the system of the earth is going to work.
“As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease.”
Unlike our way of doing things grammatically where we would put the main punch at the end, in the Bible they put it at the top. As long as the earth endures this is the way things will be. The issue of God’s partnering with man is going to be seed time and harvest. To support this we have the elements of cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night. This process of life will never cease. God’s part is to order the system, to cause the sun to shine, and to give rain in the season. This action of God will cause whatever seed is in the ground to sprout and grow. Mans part is to choose the seed he wants to grow.
God doesn’t do it for him. God participates by providing the scenario for man to participate in planting and reaping.”
However, only the seed that the farmer sows will be multiplied. All the great participation of God in the affairs of man is lost to the person who doesn’t sow. In Paul’s letter to the Galatians in chapter 6 he lets us understand that not only is this sowing and reaping principle true in the natural realm, but also in the realm of the Spirit as well. There are actions that we do that produce life and all that we do is some kind of sowing.
Our actions, our time, our words, our attitudes either way no matter what you do you will have a harvest from what you do. You reap what you sow.”
Pastor John begins part two in this series on reaping and sowing by reading the story of Isaac and Abimelek from Genesis 26. We see in this story the enemy of God’s people trying to stop the prosperity that God was giving them. God gave Isaac his prosperity and his hundred-fold harvest when he stayed in the prophetic will of God for his life. He stayed there and gave himself to the will of God with abandonment and when he planted in spite of the famine and present in a Philistine land God rewarded him. This hundred-fold harvest is mentioned again to the disciples found in Mark 10:
28 Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!”
29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
This is extremely important for us to know according to Pastor John because many times when people serve the Lord and give and surrenders their lives the Lord in turn keeps his word by blessing them with that which they didn’t seek. You don’t seek things you seek the Lord. When you seek the Lord it costs you everything. It costs a laying down of life, sacrifice, and surrender. But there is the automatic return on that sowing. You cannot lay down and let your life surrender in the Lord’s hand without an appropriate time only known by God when these things that you gave up come back to you.
I think one of the things He wants to do is take this seed of life that we are sowing and He wants to gather it and He wants to hear it.”
This is the third part in a series on sowing and reaping that Pastor John gave in the early summer of 1988. In the prior week Pastor John tried to lay down the beginning principles and discussed the hundred-fold harvest. We learned that the law of seedtime and harvest as it is called in the Old Testament account or sowing and reaping as the New Testament calls it is not an option. It’s not something you can opt into, or out to, or decide not to participate in. Nor is it something that happens once in awhile in your life, but it is something that is absolute as long as you are in this human body and in this earth.
We began to see that rather than being an option, it has such a full importance that we need to open our minds to understand the extent with which the Holy Spirit applies it and how God makes the whole system in this world relate to sowing and reaping.”
In the Old Testament book of Leviticus Moses gives a strange command saying do not plant your field with two kinds of seeds. He was against the mixing of fabrics. Mixing our seeds shows us the danger and confusion that comes from a mixed harvest.
You may have good seed in you to produce life, but if you have thorn seed as well in you it’s probably why you are not fruitful.”
If you want good stuff to grow you have to work at it. It has to be an act of your will. It’s not just going to come up of itself. In fact if you don’t work at it and purge it you are not going to have a fruitful life. Building off of these principles in the third part in this series Pastor John is going to look at four kinds of bad seeds that he believed the Holy Spirit wanted to deal within us including evil speaking, anger, fear, and, unbelief.
In someway we’re going to have to make up our mind to trust Jesus completely. I think we aught to do it today. These little seeds mentioned have destroyed many good harvests and they will continue to do so unless dealt with by the herbicide. Thank God there is a herbicide in our harvest, the herbicide of repentance.”
Pastor John says that once the Holy Spirit opens a subject up to you, you begin to see it all throughout the pages of the Bible where as before you maybe didn’t see it quit as much. By going through this series on sowing and reaping Pastor John is beginning to see the seed actions that release things in the Lord. Pastor John had been doing a simultaneous study on binding and loosing, and finding what it is actually that the Lord was saying when He said:
“19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed[d] in heaven.”
Matthew 16:19 NKJV
In part four in this series Pastor John wanted to share some of the interesting things that were coming out of this study on binding and loosing because it is a same type of study as they were currently going through with sowing and reaping. This was because a key action is like a seed action. A key is a very small lever that opens a great big door. It is something small that we do that brings a great big action on the part of God and seed actions are like this. Pastor John will be picking up where he left off and talks about some of the attitudes that are seed attitudes that bring tremendous results and the way Jesus taught these to his disciples.
Pastor John says that we can plant for revival, but along with our prayers and our calling out to God there must be acts of righteousness that accompany the ways of God. If we want the windows of heaven open this is the seed we plant.
One of the problems we have with our finances is every time we get an increase it isn’t our seed that gets increased we increase our bread. For that reason there isn’t more harvesting because when we get the increase we don’t plant it back, we eat it. God not only provides seeds for us to sow, but also bread for us to eat. Pastor John believes that one of the keys to bringing a church into revival is when the church begins to sacrificially give of their finances.
This is where the sowing to the Spirit and the sowing to the natural cross over. You take natural things that you do and they become spiritual benefits. Tithing releases the windows of heaven and rebukes the devourer in the spirit.”
Pastor John challenges those attending to think about the issues of their lives that need a harvest. Take a note someplace and take the things in your life that you think that God would have you improve and call yourself a sower and say how am I going to reap an improvement in this area of my life.
I’ve found that the way to ministry is faithfulness. I found in my life that many of the giftings that come from God surprise you.”
Pastor John begins part five in this series on sowing and reaping picking up where he left off in the Book of Isaiah on this Father’s Day in 1988. On this day rather than speaking on the subject of fatherhood, Pastor John felt led to give the fathers and all of those attending something in keeping with the series that the Holy Spirit was leading them on that would really help them become better at whatever we are, fathers, mothers, sisters or brothers.
We have learned some very powerful principles on sowing and reaping in this series. We have learned that seed always produces after its own kind. If we plant bananas we aren’t going to grow potatoes. We have learned that you reap in the same measure that you sow. If you sow in one acre you will only reap from one acre. You can’t sow in ten and reap from one hundred. We learned that seed multiplies itself. This is why the little trouble we cause comes back to us bigger than we cause.
We’ve learned that there are three dimensions of harvesting. We learned that the hundred-fold harvest comes from planting in the timing of God, in the dimension of God’s grace, and in the will of God. But it also comes from planting our lives into what we do and we don’t just follow a system and give our gifts, we give ourselves.
Much fruitfulness comes from us laying our lives down in the Kingdom.”
In part four in this series Pastor John talked about the key to spiritual blessing of many kinds. The multiple grace of God and the abundant ministry that comes from the spirit lies in sowing our material blessings into the Kingdom of God. We learned for us to move on in God into the dimension of the Kingdom of God the Lord must reign not only over our hearts, but He must reign over our minds, bodies, and also our possessions.
In the final part in this series Pastor John is going to speak on the wisdom of sowing and reaping, and harvesting of things that are in our hearts, minds, and needs we have. He will also be focusing in on wisdom. Wisdom comes from God. The wisdom that we need today isn’t received from a textbook. When we are talking about wisdom we are not talking about knowledge. Wisdom is what to do about things, how to cope with situations, and how to deal with life. It simply means the ability to make right decisions and do the right thing at the right time. This comes from God.
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
James 1:5 NIV
So my challenge to you today is this wisdom comes from the Lord. Sowing and reaping is not just the negative side of it, but there is a positive dimension in sowing and reaping that you can bring your needs before the Lord, and your desires, and you can sow into it by the wisdom of God.”