How can I reap blessings in life? What do we need to grow spiritually? How is God involved with our lives?
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Good afternoon, everyone, good to be with you once again. This is a very, very special time for all of us, on God's Sabbath to get together and just to enjoy what God has intended for us. That is to be rejuvenated with His holy spirit and to spend time with one another; a very important time as part of God's plan and purpose as we get to know each other and draw closer in the faith as God is growing and developing His character in each and every one of us.
Well, this afternoon what I'd like to do is I'd like to address a topic that in some areas it can be pretty heavy. I don't mean it to be so, but it has a very strong message to us, and something that I would ask each and every one of us to listen carefully. As the old saying, if the shoe fits, wear it and that's how we grow in grace and knowledge, by learning from the circumstances involved. Certainly it is a broad application, it applies to every one of us. No one is exempt, whether you're young or old, but it is a topic that we need to look at very carefully in light of scriptural admonition. Because it speaks very strongly to us from the scriptures and again it answers why we have many times the problems and difficulties we encounter simply because we're not following the instruction that is outlined here for us in a very specific way.
As I was preparing this particular message, I found that the scripture almost comes alive with a fresh new jump at you type of thing as you study this topic. And the subject we're going to look at today is the subject of "Sowing and Reaping." I've entitled the subject, "As You Sow, So Shall You Reap." You've all heard the expression in the modern day application of this sermon. It would be "What goes around comes around." You've heard that expression, "What goes around comes around, and there's nothing more true than that statement. Ancient wisdom though would phrase it a little differently. It's found in the book of Job 4:8 ; I'll just refer to it for the sake of time, we've got much to cover today but in Job's commentary there it says,
Job 4:8 – "...They that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness...," what do they reap? It says , "...they reap the same, they reap the same." There's something about sowing that we need to understand and what can come back to you? Some people call it "karma," other people call it different things but the BIBLE makes it very clear, "what you sow is what you reap."
We find that in history the Roman statesman, philosopher, orator Cicero, he made the statement, "As you have sown, so shall you reap. As you have sown, so shall you reap." And of course we find in Galations 6:7 , I'll ask you to turn there with me, please and notice what the admonition of scripture is. And remember the scripture is the sound and solid admonition that comes from the eternal God Himself to all of us. It says,
Galatians 6:7 "Be not deceived..." Now the very fact it says that indicates that we can be deceived on this particular issue if we're not careful. We have to understand something about this thing of sowing and reaping as it applies to us as human beings. "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man ( as well as a woman) sows...," meaning as they live their lives, minute to minute, hour to hour, day by day, year by year, and it goes on. It says, whatever an individual sows, "...that will they also reap."
So there's something going to be coming back to us as a result of our actions and what we're doing on a day-to-day basis. Now that has something very, very serious in terms of its overtone because it's not just a cute saying. And it's not just a, what we would say, worthwhile principle to consider. It is actually portrayed in the same context like the law of gravity that God has created. That is an immutable law, gravity; it acts a certain way. It has a certain penalty if you violate it. Well, in the same way this is an immutable law of nature that God has set in motion and "What you sow is what you reap," and we'll look and examine some of these things in light of that very factor.
Now this was much more understood in past societies and past cultures in terms of that were more agrarian orchestrated. In other words, they were closer to the earth. They understood certain things about life and planting and sowing and reaping and the south has pretty much been that in our culture.
The south was based on an agrarian type of society as opposed to the industrialized north and this part is part and parcel of the problem that human beings are experiencing today; that we've gotten away from the elements of the earth. We've gotten away from some of the fundamental observations of past societies and cultures and what that has done to us, it has set us up for a big fall. And so we are reaping today some things that people say, "Well, why, why, why is this happening?" When the truth of the matter is if we go back and study the basics of life as outlined in scripture we would find that God's word actually is an instruction manual giving us instruction how to sow life and that if you sow life contrary to this, you might as well expect you're going to reap some consequences you don't like and every human being has experienced that to one degree or another.
We've had to learn those lessons, as we say, through the "school of hard knocks," through some bitter experiences that we didn't necessarily want. And we say, "Well, where did this come from?" And we had to learn it the hard way. Well, there's some basic things that we want to look at. I'm going to cover through this message four key areas or areas of explanation.
The first one we want to understand is this; that if you sow wheat, for example, you will reap wheat. It is a law of "after its own kind." And so wheat begets wheat when you plant it. When you put corn in the ground you get corn. If you are raising different types of animals, cows beget cows, you know. Horses beget horses and you don't find pigs begetting chickens. They just don't do it. If you see some pig giving birth to chickens, watch out because we got something queer going on here, but of course you never know with this modern messing around with genetic engineering and things of that nature. They start mixing and matching things, who knows what we'll come up with, being a little facetious there. But basically, that is the first important key. It's the basic law of "like begets like" or we would use the biblical example from Genesis "after its kind." Everything has been ordained by God, "after its kind."
Now we come to a second important principle involved with the subject of sowing. And that is, in everything you do, both physically and also spiritually, this is where it begins to take on real serious application because not only the physical is involved; but when you understand there is a spiritual application to sowing, then it becomes something that needs to really look at our attention. In other words, give our attention to this subject.
Am I doing this the way scripture says I should be doing it? Very important area, but if you sow today, one thing is very clear. You will understand this principle; that if you sow something today, you don't always reap it tomorrow. For example, if you are planting wheat, wheat goes into the ground and corn or whatever else you put in it and you expect a time gap or a time lag until the final product comes forth. You don't go out there, any farmer will tell you this, you don't go out there, put the wheat in there and look at it and say, "Okay, wheat, come forth; come out, come out." You know, that would be ridiculous. A farmer looks at it and he knows he's got to cultivate the wheat. He's got to weed the ground, fertilize, do whatever's necessary, water. He's got to wait a certain period of time and then comes forth the beginning signs of the crop.
And that brings us to the third important aspect that we'll explore in this message today too; and that is, when you sow seed and that is plural seed and of course as human beings we're always sowing plural seed – actions – constantly. Actions are coming forth from our life constantly and to draw this parallel we need to understand something; that when you put seeds into the ground you get more than what you put in. For example: if you put in hundreds, you get thousands back. You get all the corn coming off of the corncobs, you know, off the stalks. And the wheat crops, just the heads are loaded with much more than what you put in. So that's almost a magical quality that God has built into the beauty of his creation; that when you put forth the effort in this area of sowing, you get much more back for what you do.
Well, if you apply that then to your actions and your behavior we'll learn something a little bit more about that later on; that there's a tremendous come-back and that's why people begin to say, "Oh, what goes around, comes around." And so, you want the right thing to come around, you don't want the wrong thing, knocking at your door and giving you fits in life. Life is tough enough trying to deal with the ups and downs that we all have to face without adding complications of life. And that's why the BIBLE says, "Be careful. 'B e not deceived; God is not mocked.'" What you reap is gonna be based on what you sow. So be very careful on what you're sowing. That's the admonition of scripture, and it's for our benefit and for our good.
Now, another ingredient comes into play and that's the fourth ingredient and that's what Jesus referred to concerning the soil. The soil plays a big part in what comes forth in the growth process of sowing anything, so therefore the type of character a person has plays a big part in whether or not you're going to be sowing the right type of things and producing the kind of fruit that God is looking for. Jesus talked about that in Matthew 13. Now if you'll notice, Matthew 13 and here Jesus was giving instruction and much of that that he talked about in His day remember, was given to an agrarian type society. They were not an industrialized society but very much an agrarian and in Matthew 13:3 He addresses the following:
Matthew 13:3 – "...He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: 'Behold, a sower went forth to sow.'" Now who is the sower? Well, Almighty God is the sower as pictured in scripture, and He has sown much out there and He expects a tremendous dividend to come back to Him. And to put it in a succinct manner, He expects the end product to be the glorified formation of the sons and daughters of God. And that is the ultimate goal that He's .... Everything else He has put into this whole plan and purpose, it is all for the purpose of that one day when He will see His glorified sons and daughters and then we move with God and Jesus Christ and all the holy angels throughout all eternity in the great plan and purpose of God. And that's why it says in the BIBLE – "And of that kingdom, there shall be no end;" it will be forever and ever and ever. Just this glorified state of the kingdom of God and what God has purposed for His sons and daughters that will follow His lead and His instruction.
And then it goes on, Christ talked about how some of the seeds fell on stony places, some of them fell by the wayside and they got either choked or they were destroyed, but it fell on the right ground. In other words, when you sow seed in the right way, in the right manner, on the right ground it will produce tremendously, and so this is something that we want to keep in mind today.
If you follow these examples given in scripture, and take this into account, and you ask yourselves as a Christian man and woman trying to live the way God divinely revealed through His Son – if you sow things for example, like kindness... You'll remember some time back we were having all kinds of problems with violence and then they were talking about: well what, instead of random killings and things like that, we need random acts of kindness they would call it. Well, that's exactly right. The BIBLE is telling us that we need more of those types of actions and behavior in our lives because as human beings if we sow kindness we will reap kindness as a general rule.
Ninety per cent of the people out there will return kindness to you when you are showing kindness. You might get that other ten per cent from time to time and no matter what you try to do you can't seem to please them and you're going to get an ugly reaction and of course, the BIBLE says, "Live at peace with your fellow man as best you are able." Now sometimes you're not able, but you give it your best shot. You always put forth your best foot and you follow the example from scripture as to "what should I be sowing?"
If I want flowers, I don't want to be sowing wheat. I want to sow flower seed. I've got to have the right seed to match the product I'm looking for. Well God is doing the same thing with all of us. He wants us to sow kindness because he wants us to reap kindness. I mean look at your marriages. What marriage would survive in this world if you didn't show kindness to one another? How do you do that? Well, you sow kindness by kind words to them.
"Hello, honey, how are you? Boy, you sure look nice today."
"Hi Honey, boy you are one handsome hunk. No wonder I married you." You know, things like that. They encourage one another. We all love to be encouraged, do we not?
Now Ray Stevens had a song years ago. It said, "Everything is beautiful in its own way." When you really look at it with God's eyes and see things, you know, you can always see imperfection in the human flesh, but if you look at it with God's eyes everything's beautiful. We've got a lot to be amazed by, by the hand of God and to realize that as brothers and sisters in Christ, we're a special group of individuals that God has called out of this world for a very specific purpose and He's revealed to you His truth for a very necessary end result. He has sown His truth in your heart and in your minds and now that it is growing in there, you and I are told that we should be growing to be like Jesus Christ and so that we would react like He would react and think like He would because we know that's what pleases the Father and Jesus was committed to do the will of the Father.
All right, you can imagine what would happen if you sowed prejudice in your heart. You're going to reap prejudice. Human beings have done a lot of that down through time. Any type of action that is contrary to scripture will not produce the right result. You won't find compassion when you have hatred in your heart. If you're sowing hatred, you're not going to receive compassion.
This brings to mind some very interesting things that we will cover in the time remaining. Think, for example, how many want to friends? Everybody does. You do, I do, we all want friends. That's one of the things young people, especially, when they hit their teenage years, they're looking for friends all the time. And you've gotta be sure you find the right kind of friends. So you've got to sow something in order to be able to receive the right relationship in friendship. We find that in Proverbs 18:24 where it says:
Proverbs 18:24 – "A person (man) must show himself (or herself ) friendly..." in order to have friends. In other words, if you go walking around like this ......, I want to be your friend. People take a look at that and, I don't want to be your friend. They're going to get out of there in a hurry. Why? You don't look friendly.
You know, that's why they say, "Smile, try it, you'll like it." And when somebody comes to you and they show forth friendship, the average person, as a whole will respond in a friendly manner. That's how you get to know people, by extending friendship. That's a seed that you sow.
Ecclesiastes 11:1 reminds us that if you - "Cast your bread upon the waters...," that it will come back to you in time. Well, what kind of bread are you sowing or casting on the water? Because if you're not casting the right things, the wrong things are going to come back which brings to mind a very important question.
What things are out there lurking in the shadows that are on there way back to us that we have sown that we don't want to see come to fruition as far as a crop in our life? Have we sown words of anger, hatred, bigotry, all kinds of ugliness? Well, to one degree or another I guess we all have to hang our heads in shame and just say, "Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner." We're all guilty of that. We've maybe been short with people and short with one another, short with our mate, short with our children, short on the job, you know. People get upset and they say, "Well, you can't talk to me like that!" They get ugly and they get all as we say, "in your face."
Well, we live in that kind of a world, don't we? It's out there. It's all around us and that's why this comes into play and is very important because again, we don't want the wrong things coming back upon us. And in case there's anything lurking around out there it would be a wise thing to pray and ask God to what? "In the mercy of Jesus Christ's shed blood and sacrifice, please Father, bury those seeds that I have sown in ignorance or in foolish behavior that are wrong, that are sinful. Just blot them out and erase them so that they don't come back to haunt me or cause me problems in the future." This is very important because if we don't stay close and recognize what's going on, on a day-to-day basis things can slip up on us, and cause great problems.
Now God and Christ are trying to help us to sow the right things, so if you go back to Deuteronomy 30:19-20 . Join me there please. God tells Moses to record the following in terms of how God is looking on all creation, especially His human creation.
Deuteronomy 30:19 – "I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both you and your seed may live." But when it says "choose life," I'd like to just take a little poetic license here and just say this; choosing life has to do with how you sow your seed, because you could just as much as say, "Sow to life, choose life, sow to life." It works together and it's in tandem with one another "...that both you and your seed may live." Notice again, it deals with seed. Seed is something you sow. So you go on in:
Verse 20 – It says, "That you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cleave to Him..." just like in marriage, a husband and wife are to cleave together, so in the same way, this is how God wants us to cleave to Him. It says, "... For He is your life, and the length of (thy) days...." What does it mean, " He is your life?" He's your life in the sense that He has blown into our lungs His breath of life that sustains us all; and when the breath of life is gone and returns back to God who gave it, so to speak, because it's wind, that's all it is and the human being as we know it no longer is in the land of the living, so our life is in His hands and notice "the length of days."
We are told to remember our Creator in the days of our youth and also to number our days, to make the most of them as we sow the seeds of life, and we are sowing each and every day. And He says, "that it may be well with you and '...you may dwell in the land that I ( which the LORD) swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give to them.' "
So, sowing to life, folks, physically and spiritually is part of what God has done in terms of designing His word to help us make the decisions. As He says, "Choose life. Sow to life; don't sow to death; don't choose death by your behavior. Don't sow the wrong things that are going to come back on you and to hurt you.
Now, what this basically does, it brings something to bear that should be very exciting to all of us. What it is telling us is that God has given us a manual to help us control our life's circumstances, to help us through life, and if we're sowing according to His commandments and His guidelines, then good results will come nine out of ten times. And that other time is again time and chance because we're living in a wicked world and evil things happen even to good people who are striving to do good things.
So again, the scripture answers all these things. It says don't envy the wicked. Don't choose their way. Don't try to sow in the direction they're sowing. You make sure you sow to the kingdom of God because that's our priority. Now, we live again because of this sowing factor, you look at the world around us today and there's a lot of problems and difficulties in the lives of people. You and I have been called to come out of this world. To begin to see where the problems are arising out there in this world, how they have been impacting even in our lives. Now today, many of what we would call city people; people living in the city, they are more vulnerable than people living in the rural country area. And why is that? Simply because they don't see this principle of sowing and what it means on a day-to-day basis. A country person realizes, what? They sow something out there on the farm; for example, they've grown up on farms. They realize they can't receive their crop tomorrow, but people in the city live in an artificial world. Everything is created for them, and so they lose touch with this.
Now, this may sound like a joke, but it's absolutely serious. Young people today don't understand some basic questions such as like on a test that was taken at one high school. The question was, "Where does milk come from?" (in the earlier grade) And of course, you grow up on a farm, "You know it comes from cows." But in this particular case the answer was, "It comes from Kroger." It comes from the store. Why? Well, that's the only place they've ever seen milk come from. They've never seen cows give milk. They've never been there. They've never done that and it's a sad scenario in one sense because you might think, well, you know those poor individuals, they just don't know what they don't know. You see how God looks down on mankind and says through Jesus Christ, "Father, forgive them. They know not what they do."
We are in a terrible state of affairs as human beings. We have been sowing in all directions trying to find the right answers and God says, "This is the only manual that will help you sow correctly. If you follow my instructions, Proverbs says: keep my laws, keep my commands, do what I ask you to do; then you'll be sowing in the right direction. It doesn't mean everything is just going to be happy and you know, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, if I may use that term. Some people like to think that everything's going to be health and wealth and great things when you follow God's truth and that's not necessarily so. Reality says there's some hard roads and people have faced them, but with God on your side, "If God be for us, who can be against us," according to the scripture. That's the admonition, if you have sown in the right direction God knows you are striving to sow in the right direction. Now there is an adversary out there who will try to muddy the water of life.
All right, let's go back to Galatians again because there's something we want to read on in the next verse, in Galatians 6:7-8. We read verse 7, but now let's read verse 8 and this is what the apostle Paul was very concerned about. He wanted to make sure that the Galatians understood this very powerful, immutable law.
Galatians 6:8 – " For he who sows to his (own) flesh...." Notice, if you cater to your human desires, your human wants in life, if you cater in that direction and you sow it, and again picturing this sowing and reaping, notice what you reap. You're going to reap corruption. Now who wants in their right mind to reap corruption, but that's what it says people will reap if they do that. "...but he who sows to the (notice) Spirit will of the Spirit reap life everlasting."
Now notice – life everlasting is the goal God has designed for His sons and daughters and He says, "This is what you should be striving for. This is where you should be sowing." Christ put it this way, "Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you." What things? The things people are all striving for after this world. They want to get these things for their flesh and He says, "The flesh doesn't profit in the long run. Your needs will be taken care of. Don't I take care of the birds? Don't I take care of the flowers? Aren't you worth more than all of that," is what He is saying.
Jesus gave us a classic example of these things. And that brings me to a very interesting point that I want to stress in the Sermon on the Mount, something that you may not have thought about before. The Sermon on the Mount not only deals with attitudes of mind and heart, but it also covers this subject of sowing and reaping. And I'd never quite seen it like that until preparing this message and all of a sudden, bang! It hit me like a ton of bricks.
I said, "He's telling us the same thing of the sower." He's the sower and we're the ones who are supposed to understand how we are to sow in like manner. And what does He say? "Blessed (He uses the term) are the merciful..." Well, what does that mean? It means if you sow to a merciful outlook toward life, attitude, your whole way of dealing with other people and their faults and frailties, you will be given mercy.
"Blessed are they that hunger and thirst for righteousness..." What does that mean? It means if you sow to the word of God, God's going to feed you with His spirit the things you need to know concerning your spiritual commitment to Him and Jesus Christ. All these things are right there. Blessed are you that, Blessed are the meek, you know, if you do, you take that approach to life and you sow in those directions, you are sowing things that are going to come back to you multiple, and that's the magical aspect of it.
You know it's mankind today because of our society and the industrialization period that came after the agrarian time and period and how we've advanced through other stages, but basically the industrial revolution did something. It took people away from the farm. It took them away from the realities of the observations of past generations and they forgot about the time gap, so as a result, people have been going about acting and carrying out their everyday pursuits in life; making things happen, doing things, and they're expecting fast, quick results to everything and they're forgetting the time gap. When the time gap comes into play and it doesn't work the way they want it to work they get frustrated, they get upset.
Now something today that will drive you nuts if you're a computer individual and that is called "dial-up." It's one of the best things to teach you patience because DSL and some of the fast, super things, you know, just punch it in and you're right onto the internet, but if you have the other one, if you punch it, dial-up and it goes (makes sounds of notes going up and down,) you've got to sit there and wait (sounds of a busy signal type sound) and it forces you to have patience, so maybe dial-up's a blessing in disguise instead of that fast, quick stuff because you see, we live now in the "Pepsi generation," the "now generation." They don't want to wait for anything; don't experience the time gap.
Why does God say you have need of patience? I submit to you, dear brethren, He said that because there's a time gap in sometimes the things we labor for and before the results can come to the fore. And sometimes we get frustrated with God because we want it right now, you know, "God give me patience and I want it right now." God says, "No, no, no, no, no, no, no. It doesn't work that way. You have need of patience and after you have done the will of God...
What's the will of God? If you sow kindness, if you sow love, you know, in your marriages you can either wreck your marriage or make it happy. The latest Good News Magazine has an article on it. Marriage is a choice of happiness in your marriage. How do you do that? Well, you can come up to your husband or wife and you can just do what? "Hello dear, I love you." (Kissing sound) Just give them a little peck. Now, if you do it this way – "Hello dear, come here and (sound of lots of kisses) ahhh," ten minute kiss. Ten minutes? No. Just ten seconds, but it's going to feel like ten minutes and that's what people are missing, you see? They're missing the intimacy they hunger for and those are the things however, you have to sow the proper intimacy.
People are going out and becoming immoral seeking intimacy, breaking every law under the sun and wondering things are coming back on them, such as diseases and heartache, frustrations and things simply because they're not listening to the instruction manual and from God Himself. God has told us what to do on this and He's told us that it's very important to recognize that it requires self-discipline on behalf of all of us. We all have to practice self-discipline with regard to waiting and the ....
There's the scriptures again. "Blessed are they that wait on the eternal." Why do you have to wait on God? Because there's a time gap from time to time. You ask God for something, you sow seed, God says, "Pray about it." You pray about it. All right God, you've got the twitches now. You've got the itchy twitchy feeling. See, you're wondering, "How long am I going to have to wait for this?" Well, that's what David; David had those kind of problems. We're human. We have those kind of reactions. David said, "How long, Eternal, in the Psalm. How long is this going to be? David had to learn to wait.
Paul said, "I have learned in whatsoever state to be content. You have to learn contentment because of the time gap. Well, mankind is suffering from this and as a result, what is coming back on mankind. Well, some very, very serious things and that again we'll cover a little bit later in the message.
Now we have sown things, again as I say, that we don't want to develop into a final product to come back to haunt us. We've all done that. We need to ask God in our personal prayers for forgiveness, when we look back in our mind and see those areas, ask God to forgive us and to get our life back where it needs to be but we need to show the type of approach and understanding that God outlines for us; show the love and affection.
Isn't it interesting, "By this shall all men know that you are my disciples..." And yet you hate one another, right? No, I'm being facetious, "...that you love one another" because we all hunger and thirst for love. Isn't it interesting, God is known because he's a loving God, and He has put this loving desire in our hearts and we hunger for love, but we have to understand these principles, how you have to sow to love. Love just doesn't happen. You know you can't pay bills with love. You have to have the discipline to have financial stability, to pay bills that way, but at the same time you have to build love in a relationship that will last.
The magical qualities of sowing and reaping again: kind actions do things that expand; they help other people. When you're having a down period of time, a kind action, a kind word can make all the difference in a person's life. It's like taking a rock, if you take a rock and throw it in a pond... Have you ever done that? You've taken a stone and skipped it on the water and as it does so you watch the ripple effect begin to take hold in the pond? Well, that's what your act of kindness does. It's kind of like this song that you remember - Glen Campbell, I pulled the words up here that reminded me of this. It's a song that he made popular a few years ago called, "Try a Little Kindness." Do you remember that song? It went like this:
"If you see your brother standing by the road
With a heavy load from the seeds he's sowed" (emphasis mine)
You see everybody is sowing seeds. What kind of seeds are you sowing? Are you sowing kindness? Are you sowing ugliness? Are you sowing Christ-like behavior? Are you sowing selfishness to the carnality of your flesh? Or are you sowing to the spirit so that the spirit of God can help bring you toward the ultimate goal of eternal life in the kingdom of God. What a beautiful picture is given there. Well, it goes on to say,
"Don't walk around the down and out
Lend (lift) a helping hand instead of doubt,"
showing our mission in life is to be a positive influence on everyone we come in contact with. Jesus was that way. He just absolutely had a powerful impact on the life of everyone he came in contact with.
Now one aspect that we also need to make sure is that we never send mixed seed. You know, if you want one kind of grass, you don't like mixed seed. If you have Bermuda grass you're planting in the yard or something, you don't want to have a bunch of weed seed in there mixed in and all of a sudden all these weeds start popping up in your yard. Well, in the same way we have behavior patterns as human beings, but God always looks on the heart as I talked to you last time.
And why does He do that - because He wants to see the motive behind. You know there are people just like this one particular example I'll give you of an individual. This elderly lady, and this individual was trying to do nice things for her. And why was he trying to do nice things for her? Well, it comes out later that he was hoping that she would put something in her will, you know, to remember him by. So people cater to other people thinking they will get something in return and then they get disappointed if it doesn't show up. But in this particular case, what that is showing is that it was not a genuine behavior. It was a mixed seed. It was an act of kindness toward this elderly lady, but it had an ulterior motive. "I was going to get something back in return, you see." And God says He looks on the heart. And He says, "This is mixed seed. This is not the way it's supposed to be."
The same thing holds true when we are doing anything. If we send out mixed seed in life, that means we will get blessing and also suffering or cursing that will come back to haunt you because of the other thing. Think, for example of Ananias and Sapphira in the book of Acts . Remember what they did? And what did it say, what did Peter say? He said to Annanias,
Acts 5:3 – Why has Satan sown this thing in your heart?" Because your mind is like a garden, it takes in ideas all the time, from God, from other people, from Satan's spirit floating around in this atmosphere. And because he can do that, what did he do? Well, Peter mentioned it very clearly. He said, "Satan has sown this in your heart because here you're trying to give the impression you're giving all this and selling it so that you're doing an act of kindness for the brethren." But you're holding back and your wife was complicit in this whole thing as well, so here again, showing God does not want mixed seed in our behavior. Our motives should always be harmless as a dove. You should always have that attitude when we do anything for anyone.
All right, the next time you pass a window, look in the window and see your reflection. Have you ever done that? I'm sure you have. All of us have done it to one degree or another at times. Are you happy with what you see? If you're happy with what you see, congratulations. If you're not happy with what you see, then it means there's work to be done and I would submit to you we all have work that needs to be done.
And now what I'd like to do is to bring this topic, just giving you the broad overview and to show you now how it comes down to us today, and what is impacting upon us on this thing of sowing and reaping, and why you and I must be very alert to this area and be praying, "Oh God, please help me to understand my actions, my behavior. Help me to do the right thing, to sow the right results that you want from my actions in my life because I don't want bad things coming. I don't want to sow in a wrong direction that will not have your blessing."
Because if you don't have God's blessing, you don't have anything. What can you hold on to that means anything without the blessing of God? I can't find anything. If anyone can find it please tell me and let me know. It's not there, folks. It's not there. It only comes just as the scripture says from God Himself and when we embrace that and then God is for us, then who can be against us? That's what it is telling us, to keep us in our perspective that we should be sowing as God has outlined.
Well, II Timothy 3 is where I'd like you to turn and join me there and notice what it says here –
II Timothy 3:1 – "This know (also,) that in the last days perilous times or some translations say, hard to deal with times shall arrive." And that's what we're experiencing now. And then it goes on to list all the type of behavior that begins to flare out in human behavior and how human beings would be acting and all of this would be the result of sowing of seed that other human beings have done. And what would it produce? Well, it says,
Verse 2 – "...lovers of their own selves..." What does that mean? They've been sowing seeds to themselves. They love themselves. They're covetous. What does that mean? They've been sowing seed out of " covetousness" of heart. All these things reflect it. They are "... boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy," these are the kind of seeds that are being sown in the world around us today. From that understanding it goes on to say,
Verse 4 – "...they love pleasure more than God.
Verse 5 – "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." Don't follow their example of sowing seed because they're sowing in the wrong direction and God is not pleased with where they're going.
And how is that impacting us today? Well, it gets down to a basic building block of all society. It's called the family and you've probably heard a lot of these things going on right now. Perilous times are coming, hard to deal with times, yes. The four horsemen of the book of Revelation are riding. If you haven't been listening to what the news is showing and much of it they're not reporting, things are happening around the world. Spain, Portugal suffering the worst drought since the 1940's. Also, in France their vineyards are in jeopardy because of drought. Locusts are swarming in the vineyards of Italy. All out in the west, bugs are starting to eat our trees and our forests, turning our forests into a potential fire hazard in the future. Permafrost melting up in Alaska, causing the forests up there to become vulnerable to bug infestation. Earthquakes up the New Madrid fault line in Missouri.
All these things you hear: earthquakes in different places, pestilence here, a little here, a little, war, ecumenical movement and yet here is a large church that has problems of its own and it is doing what? It is speaking out against immorality. It is speaking out. It's taking the high ground and looking like it has the credence and the backing of those who are against some of the things that are happening.
What is happening? What am I talking about? I'm talking about the cultural shift that's taking place before our very eyes. We are witnessing the suicide of our own nation. We're witnessing the suicide of our beloved Israelitish nations in the western world. What's happening is that culture affects the masses and culture has been changing. Back in 1980, a TV Guide article I pulled out and was struck by, it said, "Will the family, the traditional family survive the 1980's?" It's in great crisis state right now.
The family is the basic building block of every nation. Nations are families grown great and when Satan strikes at the family he strikes at the basic foundation of what a culture and a nation stands for. Now, Canada, our neighbor to the north has just legalized civilian marriages, civil marriages they call them, ministers don't have to perform these, but same sex marriages now are legal in Canada. We know that it is going on in Massachusetts and other places. They're trying to push it down our throats here in the United States of America. As a result of that we are suffering exactly what scripture has said. Hosea 8:7 and here we're told the following:
Hosea 8:7 – "For they have sown the wind, and they shall ( notice they shall, not possibly – they shall ) reap the whirlwind..." that is the dramatic effect like a giant tornado. It says, "they (it) hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up." Israel is pictured as sowing to the wind in these last end times, and we're going to reap the wind, or the tornadic effect of it. What is the beginning stages of it? We're sowing to the wind in the family relationship and redefining the family. We're saying it's no longer just a man and a woman. We say, now it can be two men, it can be two women. That's not what it's about if you study the book of Leviticus and how God originally intended the human relationship; Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve as we jokingly sometimes say. Adam and Eve were the first, and that was the pattern that was to be set.
From that area we have now seen not only same-sex marriages, we've seen the pornographic explosion that has taken place due to the Internet. It now is consuming people. It has being called the pornographic addiction and it is destroying men and women. It's taking men and causing them to have perverted outlooks toward members of the opposite sex. They can't look at women in an honorable way and hold them in the way that Christ held women in esteem. They have all these perverted ideas because of pornographic filth and slutty type material that has been going on and it's infecting the masses. It's affecting marriages and destroying marriages.
All of this is part and parcel, well, if that's not bad enough, now they say that the slide is going to open the door to polygamy. If same sex is all right then what's wrong with polygamy? I mean, you know, you can love many people and so forth, so in the name of love they open Pandora's box a little further. If you never heard of the group called NAMBLA, I believe it's pronounced. It's man, boy, love in the name of man, boy, love pedophilia is going to be legalized in the process of time. It's just an open sewer, I mean, how far do you go? Where do you draw the line?
Well, God drew the line for us many years ago when He said, "This is the way, walk you in it." And now we are, in the name of love, taking off in all directions and sowing seeds to the wind and we're going to reap the whirlwind in this. Then young people wonder why they get involved in these relationships and suddenly... "Well, why in the world do I have this disease? Why would God do this..."
"Now suddenly you want to talk about God? Why did you bring Him in now? You didn't care about Him before. You didn't listen to what He had to say before. Now you want to talk about God."
"Why would God do this? I'm an innocent person; I just had a little lust of the flesh. I couldn't help it, Lord. You know, why should..."
God says, "You better take note of these things. You better watch carefully." How you sow your seed is vital, and God is very important in this area. Today, we don't have, because of moral impurity. It's beginning to create the Sodom and Gomorrah that Jesus said would happen and come down in the end time. The book of Jude addresses that subject.
Holy matrimony, the sacredness of it, is by the wayside. What we see today is now contract marriage. A contract marriage says, "Let's live together first. If I like what I see, oh, I'll maybe get married, maybe not." This has escalated. Back in the sixties it was about six million something. Now it is way up; it's double digits now. In our nineties it has come way out of control. What we see now happening is that the culture is beginning to break down. Songs begin to appeal to the mind. In the name of love and tolerance, all kinds of sin is being tolerated.
I don't know if you remember a song years ago; I remember it. I thought, what kind of a song, one of those "one-hit wonders" that came along. Now you see it, now you don't. But, anyway, it was there and it was called, "Torn between two lovers," dah dah dah dee dah. Oh, I love this one over here, but I love this one too. Oh, pity me; I'm torn between two lovers. No, it's called, pure, deep sin.
Sin, lusting after two people instead of being faithful to one that you truly do love and are willing to follow the code of ethics that God has outlined that gives peace of mind to the man and to the woman who follows it. To the ones that don't, they live under guilt; they live under fear and worry. Why? Because again, the seed has been corrupted, and God wants us to have His blessing; He doesn't want us to hurt. He loves us. Proverbs 1 , if you'll turn there please, we'll end on this note. Here the word of God is personified as a woman in the form of wisdom. It uses this term.
Proverbs 1:25 – "Because you have set at naught all my counsel ," notice, the word of God counsels us, but if we push it to the side, and look at what society is doing. Pushing the Ten Commandments to the side, pushing prayer out of school, pushing all this stuff to the side and wondering why we've got problems. Well, the BIBLE says you're going to have problems. You're going to have perilous times, hard to deal with, because of this, He says, "...because you have taken this approach, and would none of my reproof:
Verse 26 – " I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;" because if you do it the wrong way, you've got things to fear, you've got things to worry about when you do it the wrong way.
Verse 27 – "When your fear comes as desolation, and your (comes as) destruction cometh as a whirlwind..." Now you see, there's that sowing to the wind you get the whirlwind in return. It says, "...when distress and anguish cometh upon you.
Verse 28 – "Then shall they call upon me, but (notice the answer God gives,) He says, I will not answer." It's just like when 9-11 happened, suddenly everybody got religion and went running to the churches. And everybody thought, "Oh, we've got everybody seeking the Lord." Well, God was not found, was He because they were right back to business as usual and the churches are empty once again? You know brethren; you're His very special people in the eyes of God. You have weathered many storms and you have come down through time and you have held true and you have cleaved to the word of God, and when you do that you're cleaving to God Himself and His instruction is for life. Notice what He goes on to say -
Verse 29 – " For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of (God ) the LORD:" So, when you sow the right seed, you're also choosing, that goes back to Deuteronomy 30. When you choose the right thing, you're choosing life, you're choosing the blessing, and it goes on to say –
Verse 30 – " They despised all my counsel: they would have none of (despised all) my reproof .
Verse 31 – "Therefore shall they eat the fruit of their own way," it's their own way coming down. As we say, the house of cards is collapsing and it's their own thoughts, their own ideas coming down. It says, " And filled with their own devices.
Verse 32 – He says, " For the turning away ( or the backsliding) of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools will destroy them," thinking they can solve all their problems with more money. Money is a root of all evil and will destroy people if they give themselves over to it.
Verse 33 – " But whosoever hearkens unto me," wisdom, and the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom . "They shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet and they will not be in (from) fear of evil." We live in an evil world, brethren, but we are not commanded to be fearful of it.
God has told us, not given us the spirit of fear, but of a sound mind and that is a very important thing at this time. God does not want us to reap the sadness of the end time. It is a perilous time. It's a difficult time, but God will help us as we sing the song "God Will See Us Through."
So may we all pray each and every day, "God, please, guide my thoughts. Establish my thoughts." As you've said, "Direct my footsteps, and help me always to sow seeds unto the glory of You, the living God, and for the kingdom of God for which you have called and sowed that seed in my heart. Thank You, God. Thank you for your love and for showing us how to love You in return."