Bible Truths

 
 
 
Lesson 6 - Sowing And Reaping

Just as surely as everything in nature reproduces after itskind, harvests being as sure as sowings, so every one of us will reap what wesow in this life and be solely responsible for our destiny in eternity ( Ga6:7-8). This is God's law of sowing and reaping and it applies to every aspectof our Christian walk - to the giving of ourselves, our finances and our timeto others; our financial support of the ministry; our moral behaviour and ourChristian service. V8 clearly teaches that anyone who claims to be born againof the Spirit of God while consciously sowing to the flesh deceives themselves.It is folly for them to think that they will reap eternal life while they sowto things that will eternally damn them ( Psa 15:1-5; Pr 22:8).

There is no difference between the Old Testament and NewTestament requirements for salvation. They are the same: only those who sow tothe kingdom will reap the kingdom benefits ( 1Cor 6:9-11; Eph 5:5). Paul istalking to two Churches here so this is for our admonition too. Anyone whopersists in the evils of the wicked faces the same final judgement as thewicked ( Hos 8:7). The seed of their wickedness will produce an abundantharvest of punishment. Sinful actions sow seeds that yield evil fruit ( Pr11:18). Those who sow righteousness shall have a sure reward ( Psa 126:5-6).These verses are generally used to teach the principle of sowing the gospel andreaping souls for Christ, and although that teaching can be applied, it is notwhat the verses mean literally. They simply express the great truth of sowingand reaping. The sowing of seeds accompanied by a spirit of brokenness will beabundantly blessed by God in the future. This encourages us to sow torighteousness through deeds of righteous obedience for a rich harvest of God'sblessings ( Pr 11:30-31). The righteous produce eternal life for sinners bywinning them to God. Both the righteous and the wicked will reap what they sow( Eze 18:20-28). These passages clearly teach that once saved does not meanalways saved as some teach. We can only be assured of a place in the kingdom ifwe are sowing to the Spirit at the end of our earthly life ( Rev 22:11). As weare when we die is how we will be for all eternity. This clearly proves thatthere will be no chance to improve the life and character of anyone after theydie ( He 9:27). We need to know these scriptures in order to share them withothers who do not know this ( Lu 16:19-31).

There is marvellous teaching in this scripture. But firstand foremost it does not teach that the rich go to hell and the poor go toheaven. Where we spend eternity is dependent entirely upon our relationshipwith Jesus, not whether we are rich or poor. What it does teach is that thereis no intermediate state as some believe between death and our finaldestination in eternity called "purgatory". At death the soul andspirit of the righteous go straight to heaven while the soul and spirit of theunrighteous go straight to hell. There is no such place as "purgatory",and neither is there any further opportunity for sinners to repent. The choiceswe make in our earthly life determine where we will spend eternity ( Pr 21:13;22:9).

If we want God to hear our prayers when we are in need thenwe must also hear and respond in love to the needs of others. God has a specialconcern for the weak and the helpless. They are very important in His plan ofredemption and He blesses those who help them. If we share God's pity for thosein need we can confidently expect Him to deliver us if ever we are in troubleourselves ( Pr 19:17). There is no clearer evidence in scripture than this ofhow God identifies with the plight of poor people. The help we give thembecomes God's own debt to us. We should consider this the greatest privilege inlife: to be able to lend to God ( Psa 41:1-3). Poor here means helpless andpowerless, poor in health, weak and gaunt. The blessing promised to the saintshere who minister to the needy is the resurrection. That is what "The Lordwill preserve him and keep him alive" means in V2 ( Psa 112:9). Paulquotes this Psalm to encourage Christian giving ( 2Cor 9:1-15).

This scripture teaches there are four things we must do ingiving: we must give willingly from the heart; we must not give grudgingly; wemust not give of compulsion; we must give cheerfully. Believers who give whatthey can to help those in need will find that the grace of God furnishes asufficiency for their own needs and even more in order that they may abound ingood works for others ( Pr 11:24-25).

God blesses those who are generous, whether it be in theirfinances or the giving of themselves. We are all stewards of God's gifts and wemust use them for His cause and for the benefit of those in need. God promisesthat those who are generous will get back more than they give ( Ecc 11:1-6). Wemust always be willing to be generous and helpful and not withhold from anyone,for nobody knows when they may need help themselves. V3 illustrates thecertainty of blessing. Just as surely as nature is unfailing, so then whoeverhelps others in need will themselves be blessed in due course. V6 is a similarteaching to Ga 6:9 ( Ga 6:9-10). While ever we keep doing good in spite of theopposition we will encounter, in due course we will reap the fruit of theharvest, and notwithstanding that we are to do good unto all men, we are to beparticularly concerned with the well-being of our brothers and sisters inChrist. In the Greek construction of V10 Paul is exhorting the Church to notonly do good when the opportunity presents itself, but to look foropportunities to do good ( Mt 25:31-46). All of our giving has to be as to Godour source, for whatever we do we are doing it as unto Jesus. Jesus equates ourtreatment of those in need with our treatment of Himself: what we do for themwe do for Him. Our Christian walk is not only a spiritual walk, it must alsoserve the material needs of others, especially our brothers and sisters inChrist ( Jas 2:13-17). Here we are presented with the real test of our faith.Christians are not justified by works, but because we are justified by faith,we do the works. This proves our Christian consecration to God's service andconfirms our love for God and for each other ( 1Jn 3:16-19). The only faiththat saves is that demonstrated by works out of our love for God. Thisscripture is the exact counterpart of Jn 3:16. This is the acid test ofChristianity by which we know whether we are following the example of God'slove to others. If we are not willing to give of material things to others inneed, we certainly would not lay down our lives for them ( 2Cor 8:1-15).

2Cor 8-9 contain the most extensive teaching about Christiangiving in the New Testament. The principles and promises in these two chaptersare a guide for believers and Churches for all time. They teach that we belongto God and what we have is held as a trust for our Lord, that we must make thebasic decision within our hearts to serve God and not money ( Mt 6:24); thatour giving is done to help those in need and to advance the Kingdom of God;that our giving should be in proportion to our income ( 1Cor 16:1-2). It is notimportant how much we give as we learned from 2Cor 8:12, providing we are eagerto give it. We can only give in accordance with what we have. We are not forcedto give what we do not have. Giving is seen as proof of our love. It should bedone sacrificially and voluntarily. By giving to God we sow not only money butalso faith, time and service, thus reaping greater faith and blessing in return( 1Ti 6:17-19).

Here Church leaders are urged to teach against the selfishuse of personal wealth and to persuade wealthy members of their congregationsto give liberally to God's work and lay up for themselves treasures in heaven (Mt 6:19-24; Lu 12:15; 2Cor 9:5-6; Col 3:5; He 13:5). It is not enough thatwealth and material possessions should be acquired simply for our ownself-gratification. They must always be made available for the work of God ( Lu6:38). God's law of sowing and reaping dictates that blessings will always bereturned for generosity. This teaches once more that giving and receiving gotogether, though we should never give in order to receive. That would beself-centredness - our giving would be profit-motivated instead of being motivatedby love. Receiving is not an enticement to give but the law of sowing andreaping is a principle of life already established by God and we have no say inthe matter. It is an assurance that sets us free to give ( Ge 8:22). There area lot of Christians however who expect to receive the kingdom benefits withoutever giving into the kingdom. But how can God bless us with all the fullness ofHis blessings for giving if we do not give in the first place, and how can Hiskingdom be extended if we do not financially support it? ( 1Cor 9:1-14). Paulwas pointing out to the Corinthian Church here that it was their duty to keephim even though he chose to keep himself ( 2Th 3:7-9). It is the Church'sresponsibility to ensure that those who minister the word live off the word (Ga 6:6).

It is the duty of all who are taught the word to helpprovide material support for those who teach the word. This includes all thosewho pastor the Churches, missionaries, etc ( 3Jn 5-8). This scripture teachesus that no workers of the word should have to seek help from those they aretrying to evangelise. To have to seek help from unbelievers could hinder thegospel and expose the messengers of the gospel to charges of preaching forfinancial gain. Christians have a duty, and it should be seen as a privilege,to contribute to missionary needs and works. Workers of the word must not betreated like beggars, but received, sent and supported in a manner worthy ofGod ( Mt 10:40; Lu 10:3-7; Php 4:10-18; 1Ti 5:17-18; Tit 3:13). Jesus promisesthat "he that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive aprophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of arighteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward." ( Mt 10:41-42).This teaches us how important it is in God's economy for Christians to receiveand support true messengers of the gospel but conversely, we should not receiveand support anyone who does not proclaim God's truth according to the NewTestament revelation, or who do not live godly lives according to God'srighteous standards. If we support them we will bring ourselves into theircondemnation ( 2Jn 7-11).

It should be noted here that none of the scriptures studiedso far concerning the giving of our finances into the work of God are referringto tithes, but to freewill offerings. The New Testament does not stress tithingbut rather, as the scriptures so far studied indicate, invites Christians togive generously in response to the needs of others and as an expression oftheir love for God. A great many Christians believe that tithing is purely anOld Testament concept and does not translate to New Testament giving. Theybelieve that under the New Covenant the supreme law of love has beensubstituted for Old Testament tithing and that New Testament giving is centredentirely around stewardship - the giving of ourselves completely to the work ofGod, which includes our time, our finances, and our material possessions. Theybelieve that we are to give voluntarily, spontaneously and freely, not from asense of obligation, nor with an intent to merit God's blessings. God has givenwonderfully to us and is deserving of all that we might be moved to give Him.Many of these Christians use the tithe as the minimum standard by which theymeasure their giving to the Lord, but they do not accept that the tithe isrequired by scripture. They do not agree that scriptures teach that the titheAbraham paid to Melchizedec established a precedent for tithing that NewTestament Christians must follow. Rather they believe that Abraham's tithe hadspecial symbolic implications related to establishing Christ's eternalpriesthood. They believe this is borne out by the writer of Hebrews when hecontrasts Christ's eternal priesthood with the temporary Levitical priesthood (Ge 14:1-20 with He 6:17-9:17).

Whether or not we agree with that is beside the point here,suffice it to say that at the heart of all giving is the acknowledgement thatGod is the creator, the owner and the giver of all things, and what we giveback to God is only a part of what He has given to us in the first place ( Ge1:1; Ex 19:5; 1Chr 29:11-16; Psa 24:1-2; 50:10-12; Hag 2:8; Jn 1:1-3; Jas1:17). Everything we have belongs to the Lord. No one has anything that theyhad not first received from God ( De 8:7-20; Job 1:21; Jn 3:27; 1Cor 4:7; 2Pe1:3). (Concerning Job 1:21 we must remember that Job did not have a completerevelation of God when he said "... and the Lord hath taken away."Job did not know that it was not God but the devil afflicting him. He knew Godgave him all he had and so he believed it was God also who took it away. But weknow better - we have the book of Job to teach us yet Job's misconception ofGod has been perpetuated in Christendom ever since. Let us not perpetuate itany further.) To sum up here, our stewardship is a valid test of ourrelationship with God ( Mt 25:14-30). This parable of the talents warns us thatour place and our service in heaven will depend on the faithfulness of ourlives and stewardship here on earth. A talent represents our abilities, time,resources and opportunities to serve God while on earth. These things areconsidered by God as a trust that we are to administer on His behalf in thewisest possible way. We will all have to give an account of our stewardship tothe Lord in due course and every work we do in the meantime will be broughtinto judgement ( Ecc 12:13-14; Mt 5:20; Lu 16:1-2; Ro 14:12; 1Cor 4:1-2).Christian giving should always be characterised by what Paul says in 2Cor 9:7,"Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; notgrudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver."

 

These Studies by Dr.B.S.Warwal may be downloaded and freelydistributed but not sold for profit.