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The Five Laws of Sowing and Reaping

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
June 18, 2024 9:00 am

The Five Laws of Sowing and Reaping

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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June 18, 2024 9:00 am

As believers, we know that, through the blood of Jesus, all of our sins have been completely forgiven. And yet, we still suffer the consequences for our mistakes.

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J.D. Greear

Today on Summit Life, Pastor J.D. Greer continues our study in the book of Galatians. The quality of our fruits is determined by the depth of our roots. He says, if you drive your roots deeper into the gospel, then you will bear the fruits of righteousness. We'll see in the same way, he is now saying in chapter six, sow to the spirit in your life and from the spirit, you're going to reap a harvest of righteousness. Thanks for joining us today for Summit Life with Pastor J.D. Greer.

As always, I'm your host, Molly Bitovitch. You know, one of the first things we learn as believers is that through the blood of Jesus, all of our sins have been completely forgiven, right? Past, present and future. And yet we still suffer the consequences for our mistakes. What's up with that?

That doesn't seem fair sometimes. Well, Pastor J.D. tackles that question today as he continues our series called Freedom in the In-Between, and he uses an analogy that we're all familiar with, but don't always acknowledge. Now, if you've missed any of the previous messages in this series, we're nearing the end. So you'll want to catch up by visiting our website, jdgreer.com. But right now, let's dive into the message today titled The Five Laws of Sowing and Reaping. Galatians six, we're going to be in verse seven.

Let's take a look. Don't be deceived. Paul says God is not mocked for whatever a person sows that he will also reap, because the one who sows to his flesh will reap destruction from the flesh. And the one who sows to the spirit will reap eternal life from the spirit.

Let us therefore not grow tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don't give up. Now, to be totally honest with you, at first, that sounded to me like Paul was contradicting all the other things he had taught us in the book of Galatians, doesn't it? I mean, throughout the book of Galatians, Paul has explained that the gospel is that God gives to us, thank God, not what we deserve. God gives to us what Christ deserved in our place.

He doesn't repay us according to what we have done. He gives us a gift in the gospel. But don't these verses almost sound like Paul is reintroducing the principle of karma here at the end of the book? But that is the wrong way to read these verses. Paul is simply reminding us of something we all know to be true, a principle, a law, if you will, that God has built into the very fabric of the universe.

And that law is what you sow, you are going to reap. I love how a Bible teacher in Atlanta named Andy Stanley explains this. He says, Paul says, what we all really know intuitively, life is connected.

Where you are today is a result of decisions you made yesterday and where you will be tomorrow is connected to what you do today. There is a relationship between your current irresponsibility and what you can expect in the days and the weeks and months to come. We got to realize what Paul doesn't say here. He doesn't say people reap what they sow unless they ask for forgiveness. See, forgiveness doesn't erase what you've sown.

I run into this all the time as a pastor. He said, somebody comes up to me and they say, Andy, I'm doing my best. I'm doing my best and I'm still struggling. And I have to say to them, well, I'm glad you're doing your best now. But for five years, you didn't do your best.

That was sowing. Now you're reaping from all those years and doing your best now doesn't erase all the sowing that you did then. You see, you can always get forgiveness of sins and still have to suffer some of the consequences of sin. What you sow, you're always going to reap. Tim Keller goes so far as to say this is an absolute principle in scripture. He says it's one that underlies the entire book of Proverbs. In fact, get this. This principle is explicitly stated more than 66 times in the Bible.

And it usually reads something like this. I'll give you just a handful of them. Whoever digs a pit will fall into it. If somebody rolls a stone, it's going to roll back and forth.

It's going to roll back on them. What you sow, you're going to reap. You sow that, it's going to come back on you. The wicked person earns an empty wage, but the one who sows righteousness, reach a lasting reward. By the way, empty wage means it's not fulfilling. It means if you build your life around selfishness and injustice, you might get a lot.

It's not really going to make you happy. And he says if you do it the righteous way, then you end up having a lasting reward. Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity.

That word injustice in Hebrew is a synonym for selfishness. If you live selfishly, you're going to reap calamity. But a generous person, a generous person, he says, will be blessed. In fact, one of the primary ways that Solomon in the book of Proverbs applies his principle is to money. He says things like that verse and this one here, Proverbs 3, 9 and 10, honor the Lord with your wealth. Honor the Lord with your wealth.

What does that mean? It means with the first fruits, the first fruits, the first and the best of all that he gives to you. Give it back to him.

Then your barns will be filled to overflowing and your vats will brim over with nonalcoholic grape juice. He promises that. He's just going to bless you. It's like if you give to me, I multiply and I give it back to you. He even applies it to things like parenting. Proverbs 22, 6, raise up a child in the way that he should go.

And when he's old, he will not depart from it. Now, that's not a promise that every kid that's raised the right way is always going to make all the right decisions. It's a principle. And that principle is if you sow righteousness into your child, in most cases, that's what you're going to harvest later. We'll see here in Galatians 6, Paul picks up on that principle and he applies it to our life in the spirit. And he says, what you sow to the spirit, you're going to reap from the spirit. This is not in contradiction to the gospel.

Listen to me, this is how you apply the gospel. It's similar to the metaphor he used in chapter 5, where he told us that the quality of our fruits is determined by the depth of our roots. He says, if you drive your roots deeper into the gospel, then you will bear the fruits of righteousness.

We'll see in the same way. He is now saying in chapter 6, sow to the spirit in your life and from the spirit, you're going to reap a harvest of righteousness. That's true regarding, for example, what you put into your mind and heart. If you sow the word of God into your mind and heart, then the fruits of righteousness will grow in you.

You keep the new believer filled, glutted with God's word, and it's going to produce the harvest of righteousness in them. The principle is true regarding what we do with our habits. When you participate in a sin, you are sowing into your life the appetite for sin that results in a greater craving for that sin. I mean, you know, an appetite works, right? An appetite doesn't go away when you feed it. You just satisfy it for a little while. But ultimately, when you feed an appetite, it comes back stronger.

I mean, you know what I'm talking about. You go out to dinner and you just gorge yourself, right? You eat the blooming onion all by yourself and then you cheese fries and then your prime rib and then you get two desserts and eat half your wife's dessert. And at the end of that, well, you've done that.

And everybody's done it at some point in your life. You're like, I've never eaten again. I'm never going to eat that way again. I'm never going to touch anything fried and I'm not going to eat any more red meat. No more carbs. I'm not eating any sugar for the rest of the year. How long does that resolution last?

About four hours. And then four hours later, you're scrounging around in the pantry looking for chips and cookies because you're hungry again, because when you feed an appetite, it just grows. Well, see, sin works like that also. When somebody looks at pornography, for example, the appetite for pornography grows stronger and darker with each indulgence.

Yes, you can get forgiveness, but the harvest of sin remains in your heart. It's true about pride. Every time you act on pride, it feels more natural. You become callous to it until you basically become a ridiculous narcissist who doesn't realize how ridiculous you look to everybody else. It's true for any sin. Act on it and it becomes part of you. Gossip all the time and it becomes natural. We're just sharing prayer requests with each other.

No, you're not. It's just become such a part of you that you don't know what it's like to be cruel anymore. Righteousness also works that way. The more you act on righteousness, the more it becomes a part of you.

You know, listen to me. There are a lot of motivations not to sin, but one of the most compelling motivations to me is that every time I sin, that sin becomes a deeper part of me. Even if I get forgiveness. Yeah, I mean, we have the attitude like, oh, well, you know, if I sin here, I can always pull out that heavenly visa card called Jesus blood. I can swipe it and I'll go back to zero. And I know that's how it's going to end.

Yes. Well, first of all, it's a terrible way to look at grace. But even if even even with that, that sin has now become a deeper part of you and it's still germinating in you.

And that harvest is harvesting and it becomes increasingly difficult to weed out. You can get forgiveness for your sin, but you can't unsin even after forgiveness, the fruits of sin remain. We'll see now here in Galatians six, Paul is going to think about this principle and he's going to think that specifically in regards to money and in our attitude toward money. The reason I say that is if you look at the verses around verses seven through nine, look at verse six, it's about money and verse 10, it's about money. So this principle in seven through nine applies to a lot of places in the Christian life. But Paul is specifically thinking about it in regards to our attitude toward money.

This is not the only place by the way that he does this. Second Corinthians, remember this, Paul says, whoever sows money sparingly will also reap sparingly, whoever sows generously will also reap generously. So Paul is going to to introduce to us the law of the harvest and how it applies in our lives. So what I want to do is using those verses in Galatians six and a little bit in Second Corinthians, I want to give you I'm going to call it the five biblical laws of the harvest, right? Number one, the harvest is limited, Paul says, to the planting. The harvest is limited to the planting. You can only harvest what you plant, right? If you haven't sown it, God can't multiply it.

If you haven't put it in the ground, God can't grow it. One of the clearest multiplications, clearest pictures of multiplication occurs in John chapter six, where Jesus finds himself standing before a crowd of 5000 hungry people. Actually, scholars say is about 15000 people because they only counted men in those days. So Jesus is in front of 15000 people and they're hungry.

Nobody has anything to eat. So Jesus finds a little boy with five loaves and two fish. And Jesus takes the five loaves and two fish and he blesses it and he distributes it and it multiplies so that not only is there enough for all 15000 people to eat to their full, to their satisfied, there's 12 baskets full that are left over. That is the principle of multiplication. The miracle demonstrates the pattern of multiplication. You put it in the hands of Jesus and as it is distributed, it multiplies. People, I think, have the wrong idea of this miracle, by the way. They think that Jesus took the bread and vision, multiplied it. So now there's like a mountain of bread and a mountain of fish.

And everybody just came up like a big golden corral buffet. That's not how it happened. It says in John six, it says that as Jesus gave it to the disciples, it multiplied, which means technically the miracle happened in their hands as they gave it away, not in his hands.

You say, why are you pointing that out? Here's why some of you think if God multiplies what I have, I'll give some to his kingdom. And God says you put it in the wrong order. It's not going to multiply until you give it to my kingdom. When you put it into my hands in the kingdom, that's when it multiplies. So stop waiting around on God to act first.

He's not going to act first. He says, when you put it into my hands and when you give it away, that is the point at which it multiplies. Here is a phrase I'm going to come back to again and again today. Generosity is an invitation for God to infuse blessing into your finances. Generosity is when you say to God, I need blessing in this part of my life. Maybe it's actually financial blessing.

Maybe it's God just needs to change your heart in regards to money and your contentment. This is a declaration. Generosity is a declaration.

That you need God's help and his blessing in this area. This is Summit Life with J.D. Greer. You know, our goal on this radio program each day is to keep you saturated in the truths of the gospel and hopefully meet you right where you are. But did you know that we have other free resources available online that have the same goal in mind? One of our most strategic ways that we hope to keep the gospel front and center is through our daily email devotional from Pastor J.D.

Greer. I know the busyness of life can quickly choke out any joy that we feel in our walk with God. So let's remind ourselves moment by moment of his love and devotion to us and engage with his word even more. And the best part, it follows along with our teaching here on the program.

So if you miss a day, you can catch up quickly and easily. Sign up for this free resource at J.D. Greer dot com slash resources. That's J.D.

Greer dot com slash resources. Thank you once again for standing with us. Now let's return for the conclusion of today's teaching on Summit Life.

Once again, here's Pastor J.D. Law number two, we see that the harvest comes later than the planting. The harvest is limited to the planting and the harvest comes later than the planting. This is the hard part of harvesting is that it takes a lot of time to see your efforts pay off. And quite honestly, that's why many people just don't do it, because we are an instant gratification generation.

Are we not? I'm like that. For example, when I diet, I want to see the results immediately.

Right. I mean, I want to I want to eat salad for dinner one time and be able to go to the mirror and look and just see a tremendous difference. I want to do one set of 30 push ups and take my shirt off and look like a Greek God, but that is not how it works. It takes time. It takes a lot of of sowing in order for you to reap the harvest. Well, it's even more true when you think about how it works out in agriculture. You sow in one season and you don't see the return until the next season. Sometime the next year, our harvest today is the result of decisions that you made yesterday. John Muller, Pastor John Muller, who's our campus pastor over our North Raleigh campus, told me that one of the best practical jokes he played when he was a teenager was he said, you know, during that time in the fall when everybody aerates and seeds their yard, he said, my buddies and I, after dark, would go out with a bunch of random seeds, you know, watermelons and corn stalks and weed and sunflowers. And we would just distribute them in people's yards. He said the hard part of the joke was there was no instant gratification.

The next morning, everything looked the same, he said. But in six months, it was awesome because people would have watermelon patches and corn growing in their yards. But the law of later is why we so often give up on doing the right thing.

It takes it takes time. It takes weeks, months, sometimes even years for us to see the harvest. The law of later is why we envy people who are doing it the wrong way and still seem to be enjoying so much success.

And we're like, is there any use for me actually even doing the right thing? But see, sowing is not about the present. Sowing is all about the future. And in fact, that's why Paul in verse seven in Galatians six says, don't be deceived, don't be deceived. That word deceived is a really interesting word in Greek. It's the word plano and it's where we get our word planet from. You see, the ancient Greeks use the stars for navigation, but they learned that there was a certain kind of star that was unreliable for navigation because it moved. Of course, they didn't have a concept of planet. So they just called them wandering stars or stars that would lead you astray. And so they like you can't base your directions on those stars because they'll take you the wrong direction.

And that's what we ended up calling planets. Here, Paul says you can look at moving circumstances and forget that God has indeed built a law into the universe. And that law is what you sow, you will surely reap. It just takes time, but it is inevitable. Do not forget the law of later. God will not be mocked.

He has built it into the universe. And what you sow today, you are going to reap in days to come. Equally as important to the law of later is law number three, the law of greater. The harvest is greater than the planting. It's greater than the planting in the harvest. What comes back to you is always greater than what you sowed. If you plant a wheat seed, it'll turn into a wheat stalk that will produce hundreds of wheat seeds, plant an acorn.

It will turn into an oak tree that can produce thousands of acorns. That also, of course, works for things that we don't want to see multiplied. Anybody who's ever tried, for example, to grow a nice lawn of fescue grass knows that if you get even the smallest amount of Bermuda grass in there, it's going to take over. Where I previously lived, my neighbor planted Bermuda grass.

And my dad said, well, unless you put down some kind of barrier, that pretty much means that your lawn is going to be Bermuda grass in a few years. So I just moved. I didn't know how to deal with that, so I changed houses. That's the law of greater. What starts small multiplies into something a lot bigger than you began with people sometimes I found feel like this is unfair. Like, you know, I made some bad decisions and then their life falls apart. And they're like, I know I haven't been the wisest person in the world, but I didn't deserve all of this. Can I tell you something? You are exactly right.

You're exactly right. You didn't deserve all that. But what you're receiving is not punishment. What you're receiving is harvest. And the law of the harvest doesn't operate according to exact proportions. What you reap today comes back greater than what you've sown.

I mean, Jesus talked about the harvest is 30 fold, 60 fold, 100 fold. That's going to be true with the sinful habits you sow into your lives. It's true with corrupt thoughts that you fill your minds and hearts with. It's true with how you raise your kids. I remember Billy Sunday, the old professional baseball player turned evangelist, used to say to dads, for every one lap you take around the devil's track, your kid's going to take 30.

I see Christian parents who sometimes are surprised when their kids go off to college, for example, and their kids walk away from the faith and they always say, they always say, but we raised them in church. Yes, but church and your walk with God just wasn't that important to you. You came sporadically. You didn't volunteer. You weren't in a small group. Your family didn't do missions together. Your kids never heard you share Christ with somebody else. You didn't read the Bible together. You didn't pray together. Your kids weren't involved in the student ministry. You frequently missed church for sports events or dance or trips to the beach or whatever every weekend you raised them around God.

But you only did so with God as a second tier priority. And see what happened is that multiplied in your kid's life so that when they went to college, they left the faith behind because they figured getting up early and going to church or living a pure and God pleasing life in the face of such a hostile culture was just not worth the hassle. It's what you did that multiplied in their heart.

Your half committed heart multiplied in them. By the way, I know sometimes a kid walks away from the faith and has nothing to do with that. Let me just say that I get very concerned when I watch some of you because I see that what you're sowing into your kid is a little bit of Christianity and a whole lot of materialism and a whole lot of churches of convenience. And I'm telling you, don't be surprised when it harvest a whole harvest of unrighteousness in your kid. Do not be deceived.

God will not be mocked. What you sow, you will reap and you will reap greater than what you sow. By the way, when scripture applies this to money, it teaches us that the harvest is greater than the planting in at least two different ways. First, the magnitude of what you reap is greater than what you sow. I mean, you think about that verse we looked at in Proverbs, that if you give God the first and the best of your crops and it'll multiply and so your barns being overflowing, your vats being filled with new wine. It's repeated in things like Malachi 3 Tim, Malachi is the only Italian prophet. Bring the full tithes.

Tithe is another way of saying first fruit means the first and the best, the first and the best, the first 10 percent of what God gives you, you give back to him, but there may be food in my house and thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, see if I will not open the windows of heaven. I love this phrase, by the way, thereby put me to the test. Just test me. I'm going to draw a line in the sand. I'm going to tell you to cross that line. Watch what I do if you do this. See if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need, test me and watch what I do.

You cannot outgive me. I think we see it illustrated in John six when Jesus fed the five thousand. Remember, I pointed out that when they got done, there were 12 basketfuls left over. You need to ask yourself, what was the point in that twist in the miracle? And I read one commentator that was like it was to show that Jesus had filled the bread of life to all the 12 tribes of Israel.

I'm like, that's just way too complex. That's not what he's doing. He's trying to do something to show the little boy. You can't tell me that little boy did not take those 12 basketfuls home.

And he's like, look, mom, I gave my pop tart and my fish and look what Jesus did with it. He multiplied it. The principle is you can't outgive God. That when you give to God, he just multiplies it and he pours it back on you. So the magnitude of what is sown is greater.

But the kind of fruits are also greater. Go back to Galatians 6 for a minute, our passage here. Paul says, the one who sows the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit.

Eternal life is a gift that is better than money. He's not talking about just going to heaven here. He's talking about eternal life in your heart. He's talking about spiritual fruits. When you sow generosity, God uses that to produce spiritual fruit in your heart. 2 Corinthians calls that the harvest of righteousness. God often uses generosity to give us gifts far greater than money. Let me ask you to do a little thought experiment.

Okay, hang with me. Genie in a bottle appears to you and says, I'm going to give you a wish, but you've got to choose between two things. Choice number one is you can have 10 million dollars. Choice number two is I'm going to give you the ability to be really, truly, truly happy, truly satisfied, overflowing with joy with what you already have. You can only choose one of the two. Which one would you choose? And don't say something spiritual like I take money and give it away to missions. I mean, like, just for you, just for you, what would you choose?

You think about it. Only a fool would choose the money because the reason we want the money is because we think the money is going to make us happy and joyful and satisfied. That's the only reason you want more money. So if there is a better way to get that than the money, why wouldn't you choose that way to get to the end that you want to use to get money to take you to?

Does that make sense? The point is, what if God says there's a better way to get to that place? This is such an important principle in scripture.

Pastor JD Greer is challenging us to flip the way that we think about our money and resources. Our message on Summit Life today is titled The Five Laws of Sowing and Reaping, and it's part of a series in the book of Galatians called Freedom in the In-Between. JD, whenever we talk about freedom in Christ, some people might think that we're talking about a get out of jail free card, an excuse to just do whatever we want, and since we're forgiven, but that's not what Christian freedom is about, right?

Yeah, Molly, it reminds me of a bumper sticker I've seen on various cards. Just as Christians aren't perfect, they're just forgiven. And then it was a few months later, I saw a bumper sticker almost in response to that one, which says Christians aren't perfect, but they're also not just forgiven, meaning there's more to our salvation than just freedom from sin. We're also freed for something. And that for something is what the book of Galatians is about. We're freed for life in the spirit. We're freed for good works. We're freed for unity.

We're freed for this abundant life that Jesus died to give us. And so this seven part study that we have put together with the help of our friend, the late Dr. Tim Keller, it will help you discover more of the four part of your salvation to show you the life that God wants you to have in the fullness of the spirit field. Just go to JDGRAVE.COM.

I think it's something that will help you. We'd love to send you a copy of this new featured resource, a seven part Bible study written by Pastor Tim Keller, taking you through the book of Galatians. We'll send it to you with your gift of thirty five dollars or more, and you can give right now by calling us at 866-335-5220.

That's 866-335-5220. Or you can always participate online at JDGRAVE.COM. I'm Molly Vidovitch inviting you to join us again tomorrow.

When we wrap up our study of Galatians, applying the five laws of sowing and reaping. See you Wednesday on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-06-18 12:13:53 / 2024-06-18 12:25:45 / 12

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