28 June 2016

WHAT ARE YOU SOWING


Gal 6:7-10

John MacArthur said “The Christian has only two fields in which he can sow, that of his flesh and that of the Spirit.” See, to sow to one’s flesh is to ponder to it, give in to it and coddle it….which the opposite of crucifying it as we already read in (5:24)See, John Stott said “Sow a thought, reap an act, sow an act, reap a habit, sow a habit, reap a character, sow a character, reap a destiny.” Holiness is a harvest and every time we allow our mind to harbor a grudge, nurse a grievance, entertain an impure fantasy, wallow in self-pity, we are sowing in the flesh. Sadly many Christians sow in the flesh and wonder why they don’t reap holiness, victory and blessing. We need to be reminded who we serve and what we are to sow on this earth……… because the world is always sowing to the flesh. And this is the battle we face as well and we need to proceed with caution. Why? God will not be mocked! Unfortunately we live in a culture that only desires to sow in the flesh and they are blindly deceived by their works of the flesh. On the other hand! We serve an “awesome God” a God who has demonstrated and revealed Himself to us through His Son Jesus Christ and the Bible. This universe and world screams “Creator” this world “oozes” the handy work of a Holy God.

See, science is not our enemy! Science affirms the Word of God as truth. The bible is not only accurate when it relates to physical facts but it clearly teaches the universe is orderly and dependable and not by some accident or chance. The bible declares “He stretches out the north over the void and hangs the earth on nothing. He binds up the waters in his thick clouds, and the cloud is not split open under them. He covers the face of the full moon and spreads over it his cloud. He has inscribed a circle on the face of the waters at the boundary between light and darkness.” Job 26:7-10. Isaiah 40:21-26 says “Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is He who sits above the circle (sphere) of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. He brings the princes to nothing; He makes the judges of the earth useless. Scarcely shall they be planted, Scarcely shall they be sown, Scarcely shall their stock take root in the earth, When He will also blow on them, And they will wither, And the whirlwind will take them away like stubble. "To whom then will you liken Me, Or to whom shall I be equal?" says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, And see who has created these things, Who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, By the greatness of His might And the strength of His power; Not one is missing.

And as this Post-modern world preaches and argue that there is no moral absolute or a God…..this is very deceiving and dangerous for their souls. Many people groups are greatly deceived today! Sadly this is just as real as it was during the time of Jesus’ ministry. John 6:64-66 we a get a glimpse of this truth! “But there are some of you who do not believe." (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father." After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.” People walking aimlessly trying to ignore or deny there is a God who gives them air to breath and lungs to take in that air. We live in culture of people who claim they are their own gods and they are in charge of their own destiny. We live in a culture that makes up its own rules and morals to live by and anyone who tells them their wrong they cry out “intolerance”What I find said about this way of thinking is that they think they’re in control and there is nothing that WILL get in their way!

What about Nebuchadnezzar? God granted him sovereignty, greatness, glory and majesty to be a King, but because of his arrogant pride, that was easily taken away from him by the One who gave it to him in the first place. God made him become like a wild animal that ate grass. “While the words were still in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, "O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you, and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. And you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will." Immediately the word was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven from among men and ate grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair grew as long as eagles' feathers, and his nails were like birds' claws.” Dan 4:31-33.

There have been many like Nebuchadnezzar who believe the same thing he did. I was reading about Ernest Hemingway in my MacArthur Commentary and it says Hemingway “was famous for snubbing his nose at morality and at God, declaring that his own life proved a person could do anything he wanted without paying the consequences.” Hemingway considered the scriptures as “outdated” and they were completely useless to modern man and a hindrance to his pleasures. Moral laws were to him a religious superstition that had no relevance. It is told Hemingway mocked the “Lord’s Prayer” it something like this…..”Our nada (Spanish for Nothing) who art in nada.” What I found tragic about this life is how it ended for him. Hemingway purposed to live his life according to himself and tried very hard to deny the clear evidence of an Almighty God. And at the end of this selfish indulged lifestyle lead him into complete despair and hopelessness as he put a bullet into his head. Famous authors like Sinclair Lewis and Oscar Wilde openly attacked the divine moral standard and thumbed their nose to God, mocking His Word and His Law. Sinclair life ended as a pathetic alcoholic in a third rate clinic in Italy. And Oscar Wilde ended up an imprisoned homosexual, in shame and disgrace. And near the end of his life he penned these words “I forgot somewhere along the line that what you are in secret you will someday cry aloud from the housetop.”

Sadly this will continue and there will be many who will be mockers! Christopher Hitchens who passed away of cancer, said this “What if I pulled through and the pious faction contentedly claimed that their prayers had been answered? That would somehow be irritating,” Mr. Hitchens wrote. Alexander Hitchens (son of Christopher Hitchens) said “I spent my father’s final weeks and days at his bedside and watched him draw his final breath and die, and can assure you that there was no hint of any sort of conversion (as I’m sure you have already guessed). In fact, we barely spoke about religion at all except for joint expressions of frustration at the god botherers who made the rounds in the ICU and other units where dying people could be preyed upon by vulturous Christians.” This is so sad, and that this how they see us who care for their soul. But as David wrote “The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” Ps 14:1 And as Jude penned "In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions." It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.” Jude: 18-19. So here is the warning to the church and those listening! What are we sowing? And who are we sowing to?

Paul continues in this letter that we are never to be “Deceived” means to be “bewitched” it’s the “Jedi Mind trick”…..as many were led astray not to believe the truth of the gospel.
“O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth…?” Gal 3:1. One of the dangers of this deception, are those who claim to say this in Jesus name” People who claim to teach in God’s name are most destructive. As Paul told Timothy “But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” 2 Tim 3:13. There is something else that is just as deceiving…… our own hearts at times. Some Christians sow in the flesh and never realize it or chose to ignore it…….. just as guilty as their unsaved neighbor.

For example: When a dating couple gets caught up in the sensuality of the moment and engages in sexual relations outside of marriage, then they are sowing to the flesh. When a man fantasizes about taking control of an organization or a church and decides to scheme and cheat to get to the top, then he is sowing seeds of destruction, not only for others, but for his own soul. When a woman secretly despises another woman in the church, without ever seeking reconciliation, she is sowing to the flesh, hurting her own soul and the fellowship of the church. When a husband and wife allow bitterness and resentment to build in marriage without ever trying to resolve their differences and forgive one another, then they are sowing seeds of the flesh, hurting themselves and the whole family. John Stott said “Holiness is a harvest; whether we reap it or not depends almost entirely on what we sow”"
  
So what are you sowing? Because according to Paul watch out you’re not being deceived with thinking you’re sowing in the Spirit….when in reality your sowing in the flesh. And according to Paul it’s destructive “from the flesh reaps corruption”Listen carefully though! Though a child of God is saved from spiritual death, a sinning believer can “reap corruption” meaning suffer physical death and many other tragic earthly consequences as did some in the early church. “For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. “1 Cor 11:29-30

Act 5:1-11 gives us a clear warning of this sowing in the flesh “But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles' feet. But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God." Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things. And the young men arose and wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him. Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter answered her, "Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?" She said, "Yes, for so much." Then Peter said to her, "How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out." Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband. So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things.”

God will not be mocked! We might be able to hide our motives and our sowing to one another, but God see’s all. God will not be mocked and be sure your sin will find you out as Numbers 32:23 say so clearly. We are to be sowing thoughts and deeds of the Spirit, not the flesh.

For example:

The books you read
The people you hang out with
The things you do for entertainment
The thoughts you possess moment by moment. 
All these things are acts of sowing; and they are to be done in the Spirit.

The question we need to ask ourselves! Are my acts of the flesh or the Spirit? Because to be sowing in the Spirit is a Christian who is preoccupied with the things of God rather than fleshly things of the world. And this produces the fruit of the Spirit. To sow in the Spirit, is to walk in the Spirit and to be led by the Spirit and filled with the Spirit. This is the same idea as to walking in Christ! “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,” Col 2:6. As Colossians 3:2 says “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” When we lose focus of this truth …this is where deception comes in and we are easily led to sowing in the flesh. See the product of sowing to the Spirit is eternal life! Why? Eternal life is primarily a quality not a duration. The moment of genuine salvation you begin to participate in eternal life. It’s not that only Spirit filled believers go to Heaven. Every believer goes to Heaven, because every believer is forever a child of God and child of the Kingdom. But as John MacArthur said “Just as his life does not always perfectly reflect the righteousness he has before God in Christ, neither does it always perfectly reflect the eternal quality of life he has in Him.” Sin and our sowing of the flesh corrupt our reflection and enjoyment of this eternal life (this promise) we have in Christ. This is why some Christians are most miserable people on the planet. Some are even more miserable than most unsaved people.

This is what sin and sowing in the flesh does to a believer. We forget this truth “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Gal 2:20. The believer who sows in the flesh does not lose the Spirit but he loses the fruit of the Spirt which is love, joy, peace and so on. And when this happens the first thing we should be doing is confessing our sin to a holy God……… but also praying like David did“Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.” Psalm 51:12. Restore, renew and refresh my soul to thirst and hunger after you. Restore my soul to sow for your glory and the good of your people. What does that look like?

We are to use every opportunity to sow in the Spirit. (v10) We are to be marked by practical goodness by going out of our way to serve, help, restore, encourage, build up for the glory of Christ and any time and any hour.
  
We are to do good to everyone …yes EVERYONE! (v10) Universally we must love our neighbor as ourselves. We should be sensitive to those these fortunate then us in our community. We are to look for ways to show mercy to ALL PEOPLE! Whether its urgent physical need to not so urgent need.
  
We are to make the local church our first priority. (v10) We are to pay close attention to those within our church family, as we pick up, hold up and build up one another.

That may mean we are to help….. 
Restore a broken brother or sister who has been entangled in sin.
Bear one another’s burdens and show compassion for the hurting.
Supporting your pastor and Sunday School teachers and leaders
Helping with transportation for those who can’t make it on their own.
Paying a bill for someone who lost their job or spouse.
Discipling or coming along-side that struggling teenager or young person.
Baby-sitting for parents in the church, so they can have a date night or something.

We are to be looking for ways to bless those in Calvary Baptist Church. And while you do this never grow weary when you see no results or fruit. (v9) When we sow with a heart of adoration towards God because of what Jesus did for us …Paul says “we will reap, if we do not give up.” We must never get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up. Take it from your pastor! Compassionate ministry can make you weary. Contending for the gospel can make you exhausted. Every one of us, me included can become very discouraged in doing good deeds outside and inside the church walls. So listen to the Apostle Paul, who knows what that feels like better than anyone in this sanctuary…….

Keep sowing in the Spirit.
Continue loving one another and those outside the family of God.
Keep resisting backbiting with one another.
Keep rejecting false teachers and the false gospel they preach.
Keep baring one another’s burdens until He calls us home.
Keep preaching the gospel to others and yourself.
Keep doing good for His glory and your good.

And watch God do an amazing work in and through you. We reap what we sow even though it may take years before you see fruit. If you don’t believe that read the autobiography of William Carey. We are called and set apart to sow in the Spirit, and not in the flesh.
  
The Sunday Question: What are you sowing? Remember what Paul said “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.” Col 3:23-25


CORRECTION ON AUDIO: It is Christopher Hitchens…not David. Sorry for the mistake on my part.

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