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The Five Laws of Sowing and Reaping, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
June 19, 2024 9:00 am

The Five Laws of Sowing and Reaping, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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June 19, 2024 9:00 am

As Christians, we know that the blood of Jesus has completely washed away all our sins. And sometimes when we hear that, we might start thinking of God’s grace as a “get out of jail free card.” But Pastor J.D. reminds us that being forgiven and justified before God, doesn’t mean we won’t still face consequences for our actions here on earth.

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Today on Summit Life with J.D.

Greer. It is time for you to start sowing different seeds so you can reap a different harvest. What do you want to reap next year? What do you want to reap five years from now? What do you want to see in your kids? What do you want to see in your heart and your marriage? What do you want to see with the finances God has given you? Whatever you want to see tomorrow, you've got to start doing it today. Welcome to Summit Life with Pastor J.D. Greer.

I'm your host, Molly Vidovitch. Okay, any Monopoly fans out there? One of the most valuable cards when you're playing Monopoly is the get out of jail free card. I mean, who wants to sit turn after turn desperately trying to roll doubles to get out?

You can't amass wealth usually while sitting in that corner jail cell, right? Well, as Christians, we know that the blood of Jesus has completely washed away all of our sins. But sometimes when we hear that, we might start thinking of God's grace kind of like that get out of jail free card. But today, Pastor J.D. reminds us that forgiveness for sin doesn't mean that we won't still face consequences for our actions here on earth. He titled this message The Five Laws of Sowing and Reaping, and it's the conclusion of our study in Galatians called Freedom in the In-Between. Let's return to Galatians one last time. Here's Pastor J.D. 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 says 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. 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.

This principle is explicitly stated more than 66 times in the Bible. Well, see, here in Galatians six, 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. 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. 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. That's going to be true for lying. Every time you lie, it gets easier and easier to be dishonest. It's true about pride. Every time you act on pride, it feels more natural. It's true for any sin.

Act on it, and it becomes part of you. Righteousness also works that way. The more you act on righteousness, the more it becomes a part of you. Well, 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, 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. So Paul is going 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 gonna call it the five biblical laws of the harvest, right? Number one, the harvest is limited, Paul says, to the planting. You can only harvest what you plant, right? Some of you think if God multiplies what I have, I'll give some to his kingdom.

And God says, you're putting in the wrong order. It's not gonna multiply until you give it to my kingdom. Law number two, we see that 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. It takes weeks, months, sometimes even years for us to see the harvest.

Equally as important to the law of later is law number three, the law of greater. The harvest is greater than the planting. 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. 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 and 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.

It means the first and the best, the first 10% 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 dust. Just test me. I'm gonna draw a line in the sand.

I'm gonna 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 out give me. 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. You 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. Now let me ask you to do a little thought experiment.

Hang with me. Genie in a bottle appears to you and says, I'm gonna give you a wish, but you got to choose between two things. Choice number one is you can have $10 million. Choice number two is I'm gonna give you the ability to be really truly, truly happy, overflowing with joy with what you already have. You can only choose one of the two. Which one would you choose?

Think about it. Only a fool would choose the money because the reason we want the money is because we think the money is gonna 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. One of the most important passages in the Bible that talks about money, Matthew chapter six, Jesus said, be generous with your money. And here's this reason, watch this, because where your treasury is that your heart will be also. I normally think of that in reverse. I normally think that where your heart is, well, that's where your treasure, your treasure follows your heart.

And that's true. Where your treasure is shows where your heart is, but it's also true in reverse. Watch that where you place your treasure, your heart will always follow that. Which means one of the ways that you can train your heart to love God and not the world is to give money in a way that transfers your treasure from the world to the kingdom of heaven.

C.S. Lewis always said that wealth has a way of knitting a man's heart to this world. And Jesus said, there is nothing more dangerous than having a heart that is knit to this world. First of all, you'll always be miserable and unhappy. Second of all, he says, listen to this, second of all, you can't love God and money.

If you love one, you'll hate the other. And so if you love money and you cherish money, you're going to find your love for God really begin to dim. And one of the ways you can actually train your heart to love God is to give away some of the things that train your heart or tie your heart to the world.

Again, generosity is an invitation for God to infuse blessing into your finances. I heard a great example of this. Tom Monahan, who was the founder CEO of Domino's Pizza, shared that what drove him to succeed in life was a desire to have more than everybody else and to be better than everybody else. But after succeeding, after winning, after getting to the top of the chain, he said that he looked around and realized how miserable he actually was. And he said, I decided to take a whole new approach. He said, I adopted a very simple lifestyle.

I set a spending limit where I was going to live as a very simple lifestyle. He called it a millionaire's vow of poverty. He said, I'm going to set a limit to what I live on, and I'm going to commit to give away everything else to the kingdom of God. He said that latter approach filled me with so much more joy and meaning and purpose than in all the cars and the clothes and the vacations I used to lavishly spend all that money on. Generosity is an invitation for God to infuse happiness and blessing and joy into this area of your finances. And so those of you who are wise are thinking about how you can invest the fortune of your life.

It is a seed that is given to you to create a harvest of righteousness in others and in you and in your kids. There's a very, very wealthy man at our church who told me, he said, my goal, JD, my goal is on my deathbed to bounce my last check. I just want to get to the end and have given all of it away. Hopefully he won't write that one to the Summit Church, but the one right before that one. But he says, my goal is to bounce my last check.

I want to go out having invested what God gave me for his kingdom. And I know some of you hear that and you're like, well, that's not gonna be a problem for me because I'm bouncing checks all the time. So not a problem. But your question is kind of the opposite. You're like, how can I afford to give when I have so little to spare? Well, see, what I'm telling you is one of the ways that God infuses blessing and multiplication into your finances is for you to give him your first and your best. You see, our attitude is, well, God, I'll give to you once you multiply it. And God says, I'm not telling you to give to me because I'm multiplied it. I'm not telling you to give to me because you can afford it. I'm telling you to give to me, even though you know you can't afford it and watch me multiply it. All right, the law of greater law number four, the harvest is proportional to the planting. Don't hear this one in contradiction to the previous one. It means that the proportion of generosity that God shows to you is directly proportionate in this area to the generosity that you show to him and to others.

Look at this. I know some of you are like, you're already forming little theological arguments in your head. I get that, but don't argue with me, argue with the Bible. Whoever is kind to the poor is lending to the Lord. The benefit of his gift will return to him in abundance. A lot of times when you borrow money, you get it at an interest rate and you have to make it worth the while.

The person who is borrowing, you lend you the money. God says, I give a tremendous ROI on things that are given to me. I return those things with abundance, right?

Or other places. Proverbs 3, 9, and 10, which we've looked at a bunch already. The first fruits, you give me your first fruits and I will multiply it.

The return on investment I give is better than anything else. I give you one other biblical example that hopefully that you'll recall. Remember Solomon's life had this amazing event in it where God appears to him and says, ask me anything, literally anything. I'll give you all the riches in the world if that's what you want.

Ask me anything. Now, what do we also know was true about Solomon? We also know that Solomon was himself a man of extraordinary generosity. The reason we know that, many examples, but one is when Solomon was inaugurated as king, the tradition was, the law was, you had to sacrifice one bull. The king paid for a bull to be sacrificed in your inauguration. Do you remember 1 Kings 8, how many Solomon sacrificed?

1,000. Not because he had to, not because God made him do that. He did it of his own free choice. He was a man of extreme generosity. Is there any coincidence that the only person in the Bible to whom God said, ask me anything and I'll give it to you, was himself a man of extreme generosity. To the excessively generous, God is excessively generous. It's like we often say around here, you cannot out give God.

I'm not trying to create some rich, get rich, name it, claim it scheme or some kind of manipulation. I'm just saying that if you understand scripture, you're gonna ask yourself a question. How much do I want God to bless and multiply me?

That is gonna be proportional to what I offer. God measures our giving, not by how much we put in. He measures our giving by what kind of sacrifice it represents for us. That's why Jesus, when he watched the people making the offer and he looked at the woman who gave two half pennies, two mites, and he says, she gave more than everybody else. That's not because it was more money.

He wasn't even just talking about her sacrifice. He was saying, I can do more with that because at the end of the day, I don't need money. I'm not looking for your money. I'm not trying to get you to fund my mission.

What I choose to work through is a group of people who offer their first and their best to me. That's why we've said that multiply and things like that for us are never primarily about meeting a financial goal because our God does not have financial needs. Primarily our goal is that 100% of you who call this church home be involved giving your first and your best because even if we had all the money in the world, that's still what God wants and it's still what he deserves. That's why I've said if Bill Gates has secretly started to attend the downtown Durham campus, right? And he just says, I'm just gonna write a check and take care of all the summit's financial needs for the next 20 years. Even if that, wait, first of all, Bill, if you're there, I'd love to have a conversation with you, but even if that were true, even if that were true, listen, y'all, we would still do this because we're not trying to meet financial needs of God. God's not impressed with Bill Gates. God's not him going, man, if Bill Gates were on my team, I could do so much.

He's not doing that. He wants his people to say, here's my first and my best because he, there's no telling what God can do with a group of people that'll like that. Thanks for listening to Summit Life with JD Greer. I wanted to tell you about the latest premium resource we are offering our Summit Life family right now. With your financial gift of $35 or more to this ministry, you'll receive a Bible study through the book of Galatians written by Pastor Tim Keller, who was one of Pastor JD's biggest influences in the faith. Not only will this Bible study help you gain a better understanding of one of the deepest, richest parts of the Bible, but it's also a great reminder of Pastor Tim's years of faithful gospel ministry as he takes us through Galatians. Be inspired to embrace this gospel message and all of its beauty and maybe study with a friend. Remember, we're finishing up our teaching here on the program today, but it doesn't mean that you've gotten all the fruit off the branches from this important book.

To get your copy, call right now with your gift. You can reach us at 866-335-5220 or visit jdgreer.com. Now let's finish up our teaching series with the conclusion of the five laws of sowing and reaping. Once again, here's Pastor JD. Well, number five is we can't do anything about this year's harvest, but you can change next year's. You can't do anything about this year's harvest, you can change next year's. You reaped today, which you sowed yesterday. You can't change, listen y'all, you can't change what you are reaping today, even if you pray about it, even if you ask for forgiveness. And some of you right now today are experiencing the bad harvest that comes from an ungenerous life, dissatisfaction in your heart. For example, Proverbs says, the righteous eats to the satisfying of his soul, but the stomach of the selfish will always be hungry. Some of you are experiencing that in your life, no matter how much you get, no matter what salary you get to, you always feel like, man, 10,000 more dollars and that would be sad.

You just never have, some of you are experiencing financial difficulties in your marriage. And what's happening is both of you have a problem with money and both of you are reaping the harvest of unrighteousness that have come from living a life where you put yourself and not the kingdom of God first. Some of you are seeing a disturbing amount of materialism develop in your kids. And all you're seeing is the harvest of unrighteousness because they're taking a little bit of your materialism and it's growing in them. And some of you have this feeling that you're wasting your life. You're a man, for example, in your late 50s, early 60s, and you're looking at your life saying, I feel like I just haven't done anything that significant. And that's that result of dissatisfaction that's coming from just having sowed an ungenerous life, never feeling like you haven't enough.

Maybe you're going right now through genuine financial hardship right now. Maybe that's all the harvest of unrighteousness and you can't change what you're experiencing today, but you can change what you're going to experience tomorrow. You see the gospel, listen, the gospel is that God will forgive your sin, but he doesn't just wave a wand and make everything go away.

He can forgive your sin. And then what he teaches you to do is start to sow the seeds of the spirit and sow the seeds of grace in your heart. And that brings next year's harvest of righteousness. It's like the old proverb states, the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago.

The second best time to plant a tree is today. It is time for you to start sowing different seeds so you can reap a different harvest. What do you want to reap next year? What do you want to reap five years from now? What do you want to see in your kids? What do you want to see in your heart and your marriage? What do you want to see what the finances God has given you? Whatever you want to see tomorrow, you've got to start doing it today.

Let me tell you why this is so pressing for me. Recent studies shows that one, more than one out of four American evangelicals, which is the kind of Christians they label us as, more than one in four American evangelicals gave away $0 last year to the kingdom of God. The median annual giving for a Christian, an evangelical Christian, is about $200 a year, which is just over half a percent of after tax income. Christians give less on average now than they did in the great depression, percentage wise. In the great depression, evangelicals gave an average of 3.5% of the kingdom of God. Today, we're not in a depression. We're not in a great depression. Giving is 2.4%.

That's the average. And you know, this is such an indictment on us because our money, Jesus said, infallibly reveals what we worship. You can deceive yourself. Jesus said, you can trick yourself as to what you really love and what's most important to you.

You can deceive yourself. But the one thing that will never lie, Jesus said, is your wallet. Your wallet will always demonstrate what you love most, what you treasure most, what you trust most, and what kingdom you are living for. It's an indictment on us and it's a tragedy because y'all God has promised to bless us in this if we honor Him.

And if we don't, it's a curse. When we don't give to God our first and our best, it's like we're robbing Him. You see, it's not that God is saying, give me some of your money. God is saying, I gave it all to you to begin with. It's all mine. And I'm telling you to demonstrate that you understand that by giving me back the first and the best.

And when you do that, I will still multiply it and give it back to you greater than when you gave it to me. Now, one of the best examples of this I've heard is a story attributed to Alexander the Great. I don't know if it's true or not and I have no way to verify it, but Alexander the Great was coming into a city in his empire and there was a beggar standing by the gates. And the beggar had his hands out and Alexander motioned to his treasure and the treasure took out a ladle full of rice grains and put it in the man's hand.

The man turned to walk away, go back to his home, feed his family. And Alexander said, son, stop. God turns around and Alexander said, give me that rice bag. And the man said, but sir, you gave it to me.

It's all that I have to feed my family. And Alexander said, well, I'm not commanding you like you have to obey it, but I'm just telling you, I'm the one who gave it to you to begin with, give it back to me. And so the beggar kind of looked at the rice and looked at Alexander and took two little grains and handed them to Alexander. Alexander motioned to his treasure again and his treasure took two gold coins and threw it to the man. At which point the man was like, tries to offer all of it to him.

By that point, Alexander turned around and moved on. We see in the same way what God does, he gives us everything. And then he says, I want you to show that you really trust me by giving me back the first and the best, even when you feel like you really can't afford it. And I want you to watch how I will multiply that, not just in terms of greater provision, I'll multiply it with a harvest of righteousness in your hearts. You see, I believe that God is saying to us as a church, Summit Church, I believe God is saying, you will not believe what I will do in the generation when it is filled with people who give me the first and the best.

You just won't believe it. Give me back what I gave to you and watch me multiply it. The reason you're not making a bigger impact in your family, the reason you're not making a bigger impact in your circle of friends, the reason we're not making a bigger impact in the world has nothing to do with the generosity and the power of God.

It's because we are not giving our first and our best to God and saying, God, use it, here it is, take it, multiply it, it's yours, use it for your kingdom. And by the way, every time I talk like this, I always say this, and some of you are sick of hearing it, but I will keep saying it because I mean it. If you feel like me saying all this is just a trick to get money out of your pocket into mine, then I want you, I implore you to obey this teaching, which is true, and obey it by giving it somewhere else.

Because maybe you grew up and had a bad experience and maybe you've seen this really abused and you're like, well, I can't really trust that. Okay, you know what? I accept that, that's fine. But I'm telling you that you cannot be a follower of Jesus and not be extravagantly generous.

And do not use this as an excuse for living an ungenerous lifestyle. So if that is the one obstacle standing between you and becoming generous, then you need to find somewhere you can trust and give it to them. Now I will say, I will say you need to be in a church where you trust what's going on. And we would invite you to come and ask whatever questions you want to ask and look through whatever you want to look through. And we want you to feel good about it. We want to be a church that's very transparent. You ought to be in a church where you trust and you feel good about it.

But if this is not that place, then go somewhere where you can feel that good about it. And God give to God's kingdom through his instrument of doing his work in the world, which is the local church. So I want you to hear that.

I mean that. I want you to become somebody who obeys this principle, the law of the harvest, because that is how God does his work in the world. He takes what we give back to him, to his institution, the church, and he multiplies it.

It's time to start sowing different seeds so that we can experience a different harvest. And with that, we've wrapped up our teaching series called Freedom in the In-Between. You're listening to Summit Life with Pastor JD Greer. JD, in the first day of this teaching series, you talked a lot about the 16th century reformer, Martin Luther. And now that we've finished up today, can you remind us of his importance to the study that we've just completed? So Martin Luther was known as the reformer. His posting of the 95 Theses and some of his teaching on the book of Galatians or the book of Romans is what launched the Protestant Reformation. And so, yeah, I felt like it was appropriate as we got into this book to just take a look at his life and what happened. So to help you in your study of this incredible book, we are offering a Bible study that covers the whole book in seven sessions. He used Luther's words. He said he wanted his study of books like this one to be like he was climbing out on the branch of a tree, a fruit tree, and he wanted to shake every branch to get every piece of fruit out of the tree. That's what this seven-part Bible study will help you do with one of the most compact, most fruitful books in the Bible, and that is the book of Galatians.

So don't miss getting a hold of it. Just go to jdgreer.com for a donation. We would love to be able to put this in your hands as we think it'll be a help to you.

And we're so grateful for every contribution. I'm Molly Vidovitch inviting you to join us again Thursday when we move from Galatians to the very next book of the Bible, Ephesians, in a new teaching series called Mystery and Clarity here on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-06-19 13:29:05 / 2024-06-19 13:40:27 / 11

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