Harvest Time is Coming

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ss=MsoNormal align=right style='text-align:right;line-height:150%'>Northwood Baptist Church, August 17, 2008, A.M. 

Harvest Time is Coming: Sowing Righteousness

 

Sometimes when we plant we get the unexpected:

Illustration:

When I was a teenager, living in Pegram, we grew a garden the first couple of years that we lived there.  I remember growing watermelons.  I have always loved watermelon.  A few years earlier while living on the family farm I remember picking my grandfather’s watermelons and eating them right off the vine.  So back to my watermelon vines.  One day I went out to check on their progress and low and behold there was a full grown watermelon sitting next to the vine.  What you don’t know is that the vine was not fully mature and neither was the fruit.  Our next door neighbor had decided to pull a little trick on me.

 

I had no reason to expect a full grown watermelon to come up over night.  No that was an unexpected harvest.

 

But most of the time we get exactly what we sow and there are no surprises.  If I were to sow briars, I would have no reason to expect grapes. 

 

·    If we sow good seed and we cultivate it with care then we have every reason to expect a fruitful harvest.

 

·    But if we sow weeds and thistles then we shouldn’t be surprised when weeds and thistles are all we get.

 

·    The same thing goes for our spiritual lives:

 

We are in the middle of our 30 Days of Prayer:

 

We are Praying for Rain:  If we expect it to rain then we would do well to sow what will bring the rain.

 

God’s word instructs us as to what will produce the rain of God’s presence.

 

Turn with me to Hosea 10:12 (page 906)

 

Sow with a view to righteousness, Reap in accordance with kindness; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the Lord Until He comes to rain righteousness on you.

 

What we have here is . . .

 

God’s 3 Step formula for a Harvest of Rain:

 

1. Sow with a view to righteousness

2. Reap in according with kindness / steadfast love

3. Break up your fallow ground (cultivate the tillable)

 

For it’s time to seek the Lord: until He comes = salvation

 

The context of this passage:  God challenges Israel to seek righteousness, mercy, and God himself.

 

This takes us back to God’s initial complaint against Israel in Hosea 4:1, Israel lacked moral integrity, compassion, and the knowledge of God (4:1).

 

Listen to the word of the Lord, O sons of Israel, For the Lord has a case against the inhabitants of the land, Because there is no faithfulness or kindness Or knowledge of God in the land. - Hosea 4:1

 

The fundamental characteristics of life in God are . . .

 

1. Moral integrity:               righteousness (people of truth)

They divorced themselves from God in unfaithfulness

 

2. Compassion:                  mercy (loyalty)

They refused to receive or give compassion

 

3. Knowledge of God:         relationship (knowing God)

They had become like strangers before God

 

Unless they turn and begin to sow unto righteousness they were destined to experience a harvest of unrighteousness:  A barren crop of wickedness and self-righteousness.

 

So God, in His compassion, reveals the only remedy for their unfruitful lives:

 

Seek the great physician of their souls:

·    Seek His Righteousness

·    Seek His Mercy

·    Seek to know God

·    Seek the Lord until He comes to rain righteousness

 

Turn again with me to Hosea 10:12 (page 906)

Here we have God’s instructions as to what we should sow?

 

Sow with a view to righteousness, Reap in accordance with kindness; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the Lord Until He comes to rain righteousness on you.

       - Hosea 10:12

Harvest Time is Coming:

A harvest according to the measure of faithful love

How do we prepare for the Harvest?

 

1.   Seek Righteousness: Sow Righteousness

 

Solomon wrote, “The wicked earns deceptive wages, but he who sows righteousness gets a true reward.” – Prov. 11:18

 

The harvest will always be in proportion to what we sow.

 

Basically, we reap what we sow.

 

“According to what I have seen, those who plow iniquity and those who sow trouble harvest it. - Job 4:8

 

Get a vision of God’s holiness in your life

Fix your mind on being a man or woman after God’s heart: For right living in all you do. 

 

Otherwise: If we sow unrighteousness we reap the same.

 

They that sow the wind will reap the whirlwind. - Hosea 8:7

 

Jesus explained this concept in a parable: Matt. 13:24-30

 

“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. “But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. “But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. “The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ “And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’ “But he said, ‘No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. ‘Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.”

 

Sow with a view to righteousness - Hosea 10:12

 

The Marines may be looking for a few good men but God is “only” looking for good men and women.

 

We know that Christ supplies the righteousness because we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glorious standard.

 

Brother and Sister in Christ,

                               “Sow with a view to righteousness.”

 

This is the standard for all we do, say, and think

 

Brethren, whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and commendable, if there is any excellence and anything worthy of praise, think about these things. - Philippians 4:8

 

When Paul instructed the church at Corinth, he said, “this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; as it is written, “He scattered abroad, he gave to the poor, His righteousness endures forever.” Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; - 2 Cor. 9:6-10

 

If we expect a bountiful harvest, then we must purpose in our hearts to sow bountifully and abundantly.

 

Harvest Time is Coming:  Seek Righteousness

Sow with a view to righteousness  

 

2.   Seek Mercy: reap in accordance with Mercy

 

Sow with a view to righteousness, Reap in accordance with kindness; - Hosea 10:12

 

Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. - Matthew 5:7

 

Mercy isn’t just something we desire for ourselves; mercy is something others need from us.

 

I’m going to suggest something here that I believe with all my heart:

 

Unless you have received mercy, you will never be merciful to others.

 

And if you and I are not merciful to others then we must ask ourselves a question:

 

·       Have I really experienced mercy?

 

If so, what is keeping us from being merciful?

 

·    To the two blind men, who cried out , “have mercy on us Son of David” Jesus extended mercy (Matt. 9:27)

·    To the Canaanite woman, whose daughter was sick, Jesus extended mercy (Matt. 15:22)

·    To the man who came up and fell on his knees before Jesus and pleaded for his son who was mad, Jesus had mercy (Matt. 17:14)

·    David wrote, “His mercy is upon generation after generation of those that fear Him.”

·    Jesus said, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:36)

 

Every person in God’s word that sought God’s mercy was given mercy save one.

 

The mercy and Grace are only available for a season:

 

Another time, Jesus told a story about a man who possessed everything except mercy:

 

“Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day. “And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores, and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man’s table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores. “Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. “In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. “And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’ “But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. ‘And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.’ “And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father’s house— for I have five brothers—in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ “But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ “But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ “But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’ ” - Luke 16:19-31

 

“You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect.” - Luke 12:39-40

 

·    Maybe you don’t feel worthy of God’s mercy?

·    Maybe you don’t feel that someone you know is worthy of God’s mercy?

 

God’s mercy is not based upon our worth but on Jesus worth

 

The Apostle Paul said,

It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. - 1 Timothy 1:15-17

 

For this reason I found mercy: because of Jesus perfection and immeasurable worth.

 

Harvest Time is Coming:

·    Seek Righteousness while it may be found

·    Seek Mercy while it may be obtained

·    And finally, Seek the Lord

 

3.   Seek the Lord:  Cultivate your relationship with God

 

Sow with a view to righteousness, Reap in accordance with kindness; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the Lord Until He comes to rain righteousness on you.

       - Hosea 10:12

 

The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men To see if there are any who understand, Who seek after God. - Psalm 14:2

 

Glory in His holy name;

Let the heart of those who seek the Lord be glad.

Seek the Lord and His strength;

Seek His face continually.

Remember His wonders which He has done, His marvels and the judgments uttered by His mouth, - Psalm 105:3-5

 

Seek the Lord while He may be found;

Call upon Him while He is near. - Isaiah 55:6

 

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,

To the person who seeks Him. – Lam. 3:25

 

Remember this,

We seek the Lord because He first sought us

 

We love [Him], because He first loved us. - 1 John 4:19

 

Has your heart been hard in any way toward the Lord?

 

Perhaps the Holy Spirit has tilled some fallow ground in your heart today?

 

Invitation: 

Come, even if you can only sit upon these front pews and seek the Lord with me. 

 

Seek Righteousness,

Seek Mercy,

Seek the Lord that He will come to us like the rain,

 

That we will reap righteousness, mercy and an abiding relationship with the Father through Jesus.

Introduction

Sermon text with italics and bold and John 3:16 and v. 20.

Heading 2

Text with an outline.

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