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The Principle of the Harvest
Harvest Time!
The Principle of the Harvest, Part 1
Galatians 6:7-9
We began last week a series called “Harvest Time” focused on the fields that Jesus said were white unto harvest.  Jesus said what needed to happen was His followers needed to lift up their eyes and see the fields that were ready to be harvested.  There was no need to wait for the harvest to get ready because those who’ve gone before us have already sown and watered. 
What I want to bring your attention to
Galatians 6:7-9
Now, the scripture tells us there is a law of the harvest. The law of the harvest is illustrated everywhere in life. There are several things we need to keep in mind regarding the law of the harvest. 
First of all, the law of the harvest says
  • you reap what you sow
verse 7
If you plant watermelon, you’re going to get watermelons.  If you plant corn, you will produce more corn.  What you reap, you sow.  The same is true in the spiritual world as well. 
  • you reap more than you sow
You can sow one seed of corn and from that you kernel will come a cornstalk that may have as many as five or six or more ears on the cornstalk. So from one little tiny seed of corn, you get much corn.
Then, the principle says
  • you reap later than you sow
Notice verse 9. 
You don't always plant today and reap tomorrow.  There is a waiting time between when the seed goes in the ground and when the harvest is gathered.   
Now we are looking to a time of harvest in our current emphasis called Connect>1.  We are readying the fields throught he month of September, then in October we’re going to really get started by praying for souls and learning to share our faith and inviting people to come to Sunday School with us and sharing the gospel as God gives opportunity.
But what I want to do today is take this simple principle of the harvest and apply it to three basic areas of life.  First of all, I want you to know
1. The Law of the Harvest is True Regarding Sin
Notice verse 8 in our text. 
So what does it mean to sow to the flesh and of the flesh corruption?  Rather than explaining it, let’s let an Old Testament story illustrate it for us. 
I am thinking about a man who is described in Scripture as “a man after God's own heart”.  He loved God and expressed that love through many of the Psalms that he wrote. He was a great warrior, a great soldier and a great poet. Obviously Kind David was a  man who loved God and yet he came to a time in his life when he sowed to the flesh. 
You may remember the story of how King David was infatuated with a woman named Bathsheba. Bathsheba was married but King David was so taken with her that he had an illicit affair with her, even though she was a married woman.  He sowed the seeds of corruption and a harvest was bound to come.
Before too long, Bathsheba discovered she was pregnant with the king’s baby. To cover this up, King David sent her husband, who was a soldier, to the very front lines of the battle so that this man would undoubtedly be killed and they could get married and cover up the sin of David.
All seemed to be going well until one day Nathan, the prophet, walked in. You find the story in the book of 2 Samuel, the 12th chapter and the 7th verse. Nathan comes in and he confronts David with his sin. He could very well have said, ''David you have sown unto the flesh the seeds of corruption.''
What he actually said was, “David, let me tell you a story. There was a man who was very rich, who had houses and lands, who had many flocks and herds.  And one day a man came to him, journeying on his way, and he wanted to fix a feast for him. But there was another man nearby who had only one baby lamb. This little baby lamb was like a pet. This man loved this little baby lamb with all of his heart.
But when this traveler came to visit the rich man, the rich man didn't slaughter one of his sheep, he had many sheep and much herds and he didn't slaughter one of his. Instead he took that little pet lamb of his neighbor and slaughtered it and that's what he used to feed the traveler.
Nathan said, ''What should be done with such a man?'' David said, ''Such a man as this ought to pay four fold for what he has done.'' Then Nathan said, “Thou art the man.'' And he said, ''Because you have done this, your little baby is going to die and the sword will never depart from your house.”
Harvest time has come to the house of David! The first thing that happened was, just as the prophet said, that little baby died.  And even though David cried and prayed and begged the Lord, true to his word, harvest time came.  And David would never get ober the fact that there was a little grave out in the family cemetery about that long all because he had sowed to the flesh. 
David had a daughter named Tamar. Tamar was a gorgeous, beautiful and lovely daughter. David loved her with all of his heart. He had a son named Amnon. Amnon and Tamar had different mothers. They were half brother and sister.
Amnon burned with lust for Tamar and time after time he would try to enter into a physical relationship with Tamar and she would refuse. But there came a time when he feigned sickness. He acted as though he was ill and he sent word to Tamar, asking would she bring him something to eat because he was sick.
When she came into the room, he overpowered his half-sister and sexually assaulted her and she was shamed before all of her family because of what had happened.
What was it Paul said to the Galatians?  Sow to the flesh and of the flesh you will reap corruption. David’s harvest is even now being gathered into the barn.  His won beloved daughter has been raped by his son.
When Absalom, another son of David, heard of what had happed he was full of rage and he decided he would get back at Amnon. So he had a big party making Amnon the guest of honor.  Right in the midst of that banquet when Amnon was suspecting nothing, Absalom stabbed him and took his life.
They brought the news to David, ''Your son Absalom has killed his brother Amnon.'' David wept and cried out to God because the second crop was in the barn.
Then, Absalom, who was so handsome and so talented, the king's son, grew tired of waiting to become king instead of his father. So every day he would stand at the gate where the people came in to be judged.
He would stand there and woo the people and say to them, ''Ah, listen, King David has forgotten you. King David has grown old and he doesn't care about you anymore and all he cares about is taxing you and putting on you bigger and bigger burdens. But if I were king, it would be far different. If I were your king I would hear your cases and judge you fairly and righteously. If I were king, I would lift the taxes from off your back.''
So, Absalom finally led a rebellion against his father, against King David. He put an army together and he came to take the throne from his father. Absalom had this great army and David was forced to get his army under Joab, his commander, to go out and to fight against his own son, Absalom.
 David said to his commander, ''Joab, there is one thing I ask of you. I know that God is going to give us the battle but I want you to spare my son. I know what he has done. I know he's betrayed me. I know that he's killed his brother. I know he's done all of these things but I love him. He's my son. Don't touch a hair on the head of Absalom.
But you remember the story, how that in the battle Joab is fighting Absalom. Absalom is fleeing away and went under a tree that had a low hanging limb and his hair was caught in that limb.  Absalom was pulled from his horse and their he hanged, helplessly by his hair. Joab came along and disregarding what David had requested, he threw the javelin through the heart of Absalom.
They brought the news to David and said, ''David, your son Absalom is dead.'' David began to week and he said, ''Oh, my son, my son, would God, would God I have died for thee!’  But the crop is in the barn!  Harvest time has come. David sowed to the flesh and true to God’s Word, he has no, of the flesh, repaed corruption. 
You seen sometimes when we sow the seeds of corruption we think nobody will know or find out; we think it will all be secret; we think nobody will be hurt; but often we sow the seeds of corruption and it not only hurts us but it hurts those we love.
Sometimes it hurts our family. Sometimes it can hurt our church. Sometimes it can hurt our career. Sometimes it can hurt our children so we have to be very careful. The Bible says that if you sow to the flesh, you will of the flesh reap corruption.
But I want you see how this principle is applied not only to sin but also how it applies to soul winning.
2.  The Law of the Harvest is True Regarding Soul Winning
In 1 Corinthians 3, verse 6, Paul is talking about sowing and reaping. As he talks about this principle of sowing and reaping, he is addressing people who worship preachers. You remember that some like Paul and some like Apollos and some liked Peter. Listen to what Paul says in
Verses 5-6
There we discover that the law of the harvest is true, not only when it comes to sin, but also to soul winning. 
It’s true! You reap what you sow.
When you sow a witness or a testimony; when you sow a seed of concern; maybe you have compassion for a friend in need; maybe you invite someone to church; maybe you begin to pray for someone; maybe you give somebody a gospel track; maybe you go out on visitation; you are sowing the seed.
You know who is the best advertisement for this church? You are! You and I, the people who attend and love this church and who believe in what God is doing and who love that the Lord is moving in our midst are to be sowing the seed everywhere we go.
If we sow the seed everywhere we go, the Bible says, ''Whatever a man sows, that will he also reap.'' That's exactly what the apostle Paul said.
Sometimes we think we sow the seed and it is wasted. Listen, you can never witness unsuccessfully in the power of the Holy Spirit. You say, ''I don't know what to say.'' Friend, God gives us what to say and whatever He gives us to say is enough. We can all tell the story of what Jesus Christ means to us, what He has done for us and what He is doing for us. All of us can sow the seed.
Maybe today you are not confident in leading a person to accept Christ but my Bible says that you and I can be a sower of the seed. All of us can be a part of bringing about a harvest.
Now, with that in mind, I want to tell you that in the latest records that I'm able to get my hands on for 2004, I'm told that 70% of all Southern Baptist churches did not baptize one teenager, not one young person in that entire year. You know what that tells me? It tells me not much sowing is going on because if there is sowing going on, we are going to reap. We are going to reap what we sow, later than we sow and more than we sow. If there is no baptism of one single youth in 70% of Southern Baptist churches then there must not be much witnessing going on; not much sowing of the seed.
All churches like to think they are evangelistic, but that doesn't mean they are evangelistic.
Here are ten signs that your church is not really evangelistic:
10.  There is better attendance at a controversial business meeting than at any evangelism training the church has ever done.
9. The student ministry has the best concerts and trips in town but no one can
 remember the last time they went out witnessing.
8. The senior adult group has enough energy for bus trips to Branson but not
 to witness at the local nursing home.
7. It wouldn't do much good to preach an evangelistic sermon on Sunday
 because everyone there are already believers.
6. The average church member would have trouble naming five unchurched
 or unaffiliated people.
5. Most members get more upset about the music they don't like then about
 the people that are going to hell.
4. There might be money in the budget somewhere that is actually devoted
 to reaching people for Christ but no one is quite sure where to find it.
3. The small groups and Sunday school classes are very concerned about
 going deeper in the Word although no one can remember the last time
 that an unchurched member came to their group.
2. If the church were to disappear today, the average lost person in the
 community would not notice.
1. If the pastor does not visit the hospital for six months he will be fired but
 if he does not share Christ for six months, no one will care.
Those are stinging things to say but those are the top ten things that someone has said tells you that a church is not evangelistic. I'm persuaded that's not true of us. I thank God that it's not.
The principle of sowing and reaping works as it applies to soul winning. There must be the sowing of the seed. There must be the cultivation of friendships, the cultivation of relationships with unsaved and unchurched people and then there must be the means of bringing in the harvest. Sowing and reaping works every time.
Not only is it true in sin; not only is it true in soul winning; last of all
3.  The Law of the Harvest Is True Regarding Salvation
Listen to what Jesus said in
John 12:23-26
Now the obvious application of what Jesus says is His death on the cross. His death accomplished much more than His life ever could because it was that death that purchased our salvation. 
That part of the verse is easy to understand and even better, it leads us to praise God.
But that’s not all there is to that passage. Verse 25 goes on to apply it to us. 
Verses 25-26
What Jesus is saying is, “If you hold on to your life and never let me invest it, then your life will amount to nothing.  But if you will give your life to me as a seed and let me plant it, you are going to save your life and I’ll use you to produce a great harvest.”
Listen:  You have no idea what God could and would do through you is you will just give your life to Him.  What God can do in our lives is far above all that we could ever think or imagine!  Such is the potential of one seed, placed into the soil around us!  But we have to choose what we are going to do with this one seed.
Think about your life as one seed. What are you going to do with it? Jesus said that if it stays by itself, if it abides alone, it will die. But He said that if it's planted under Christ, it will bring forth to life everlasting.
I wonder this morning, is Jesus not only your Savior, but he Lord. Is He Lord of every area of your life? Are you realizing your true potential by sowing your seed unto Him and believing Him to do great and mighty things that you know now?
Maybe you are discouraged a little bit today. Maybe you are a little bit down. Maybe you haven't seen the harvest and maybe you've gotten a bad report. Maybe you've had some kind of disaster happen to you this week. Well the Bible says, ''Be not weary in well doing for in due season we will reap.''
Maybe it's not the season of reaping right now. Maybe you just need to keep on sowing seeds knowing that although it's not the season right now, in due season we shall reap. That's what I like about it. There's no doubt about it. We are going to reap. God wants us to reap. God says we'll reap and God will bring that harvest about in our life if we don't give up.
I pray this morning that you will make Him the Lord of every area of your life. When we do that, we will be the seed that God can prosper and grow and use in His life.
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