The Seed - The Sowers - The Success!

Bible Book: Psalms  126 : 5-6
Subject: Witnessing; Soul Winning; Evangelism
Introduction

It is fitting that we look at our own personal involvement in sharing our faith in Jesus Christ with our generation. It is too easy for us find a comfortable place in the church organization and to fail to witness to those outside our church walls. This is an affront to the nature and plan of God for reaching the world with the gospel of his son Jesus Christ. Today we shall learn anew of our responsibility to share the good news of Christ with those around us.

Actually, the Lord has promised those who witness that they will enjoy success. There are few sure things in this world today. There is no sure thing in the area of finance, politics, work, health, etc, but we have a sure thing in the area of our personal witness.

In our text today we note that the people of God are promised that a harvest will take place if we will go forth with the seed of God’s Word and share it with others. This is our task today. Every person who is saved has been delivered from bondage and has something to shout about and something to tell the world about. Let me share several thoughts with you today on the subject of being a personal witness for our Lord.

I. A Personal Witness Is Saved

We cannot share what we do not know and what we do have possess. The Psalmist tells us that we must go forth bearing precious seed. Only those who have received God's grace possess the "precious seed" to sow in the world. Sadly, many Christians are unsure of their own salvation and that keeps them from sharing their faith with others.

A. Be Aware of your Condition

Are you sure - really sure - that you belong to Jesus? According to the Bible, you can be sure you are saved. In 1 John 5:13 we are told of this wonderful assurance. When we are saved, we are born again – born into the family of God. His Spirit lives within those who are redeemed. This is not a matter for guessing, wondering or hoping. If you are not sure, you should settle it today by giving your life to Christ. Just confess your sin and profess Him as Savior and Lord.

Some years ago I was in the pastor’s office on Sunday evening preparing to walk out toward the worship center to preach the evening sermon when the chairman of deacons in our church stopped by to see me. I told him that it would be better if we talked after the service since we were just minutes from beginning the evening service. He said, “Preacher, I need to talk to you now. What I have to say is critical.” I told him to take a seat and he proceeded to tell me that he knew he was a Christian. I was taken aback, but I tried by best not to show it. He went on to tell me his story, which I will not repeat today, but it was apparent that he had never truly trusted Jesus as His Savior and Lord. Right there in the office we bowed together and we trusted Christ to save him. That night he went out to tell the church of his decision to accept the Lord. Like me, most of the members were a bit shocked. Some years after the incident, I was back in that church to preach a special service. That chairman of deacons came to see me after the service. He said, “Preacher Mike, the fruit remains. That night in your office I was truly saved and His salvation has been sure to me since that day. I just wanted to come back and thank you for not trying to talk me out of the decision I needed to make.”

Friends, you can hold any position of leadership in the church and still not be saved. Don’t misunderstand me, I am not trying to talk you into thinking you are lost, but I would be amiss if I didn’t remind those of us who are members of the local church that being a member of the church does not necessarily mean that we are members of the Body of Christ. God wants us to be sure about this matter.

B. Be aware to the Condition of the Unsaved

A person without Christ is separated from God. Sin stands as a wall, a barrier to a relationship with Him. Christ is a door in the wall that allows us to walk in and have a relationship and fellowship with Him. If we die in our sins, we remain separated from God forever. This is difficult for people to understand and sense. We are in God’s world and we are enjoying God’s blessings whether we are saved or lost. God sends the rain on the just and the unjust. We all enjoy His sunshine, the food his earth produces, the 5 senses He gives to all of us and many other blessings that belong to all human beings. But, to die in one’s sins is to be separated from God’s blessings forever.

I don’t have time today to explain the issue of eternal separation from God, but you can be sure that Christ would not have died at Calvary unless the consequences of human sin was such horrible thing for us to face. He gave His life to provide forgiveness, peace and eternal life. It is the Gift of God! You can’t earn it. You can live a good life and secure it. If you had cancer, being a good person would not get rid of it. You would need a cure! That is the way sin is in our lives. It is a spiritual disease and there is only one cure. Jesus provided the cure at Calvary. Effective medicine left in the bottle will not help a patient who is ill. All that is needed to die lost is to ignore the gift that God provides through His Son.

II. A Personal Witness Will Share

For those of us who are saved, and have the assurance of salvation, there is a solemn duty and a marvelous opportunity to share it with others. Imagine that you had the cure for cancer at home in your closet. Then, consider that your neighbors are dying with the disease. What kind of person would you be if you kept the medicine hidden from those who were dying with cancer? Ask that same question concerning your salvation. You have knowledge of the “cure” for sin. You have experienced it. You know the joy of God’s peace and forgiveness. We simply must share it with others. Jesus said that no man lights a candle and puts it under a basket. You have the Light of the World and you must not hide Him from view!

Some will complain by saying that they just don't like to talk about religion. The truth is that we all talk about what we love. If you love sports, you will talk about sports. If you love quilting, you will talk about quilting. What you love, you will discuss. I remember a story told to me by a preacher's wife. She recalled an incident when she and her husband were members of a church, long before her husband became a pastor. On a Wednesday evening, the pastor asked if there were prayer requests. The ladies had been discussing a daytime soap opera in which a woman was in some deep trouble. They mentioned her name to the pastor for prayer. It became a hilarious moment since the situation was actually fiction from a TV program, but the pastor was unaware of it. If they had not stopped him, he would have prayed for the fictitious character. The point is, the ladies at church were discussing freely what they loved - what they enjoyed. Here is the point, if we are in love with Jesus, we will talk about Jesus. One reason many people do not witness is because they have lost their first love. Their passion for Jesus is grown cold. I promise you that the closer we are to Christ, the more we will be burdened for those who are unsaved.

III. A Personal Witness Will Struggle

The Psalm we read today speaks of going forth with tears. Tears are often a sign of suffering or struggling. Anyone who commits to being a witness will experience a struggle. After all, Satan wants you to remain silent concerning your salvation. He is not going to make it easy for you.

In a parable of The Sower, Jesus told about the seed and the sower. In it he said, "A sower went forth to sow...". Note that the word ‘sower’ is singular, denoting that the sower is an individual. You and I are to be sowers of the seed of God’s Word. It is your personal responsibility to God.

In this parable, Jesus pointed out that only 1 seed out of 4 brought forth fruit. A farmer’s work is not easy. I did not grow up on a farm but many of my friends did. I saw the hard work they performed day after day. When I was a boy growing up in North Carolina, I spent the night on a few occasions with a friend who lived on a farm. I observed him getting up early in the morning to milk cows and feeding animals. In the evening he always had chores to perform. It was hard work and seemed to never end. One could not see immediate results from most of what he did every day. Jesus used the idea of sowing seed to remind us that witnessing is hard work and sometimes it seems that it is yielding little results.

Some of you like to plant gardens every spring. You dig up the soil, plant, fertilize, water, weed and work the garden patch. Then you wait! God’s good earth produces the vegetables from the land. You did your part, but only God can bring about a harvest. Likewise, to be a witness is to plant and water God’s seed (the gospel) and then watch what God does with it. When we share our faith, we will often feel like failures. In fact, we will feel more often than not that we are ineffective in sowing the seeds of the gospel. We need to be reminded of a parable our Lord shared. He talked about the sower and the seed. In that parable, Jesus pointed out that only 1 in 4 seed that is sown brings forth any meaningful results. Those of us who share our faith can sometimes feel that we are not even accomplishing the 1 to 4 ratio of success described in the parable of our Lord; however, you don’t always get to see what God is doing. You may plant a seed that only comes to fruition long after it was planted. In fact, you may never see the results that God is bringing about through the seed (the witness) that you shared. Our responsibility is to sow the seed, or water the witness that someone has already planted, but God brings the increase. Be assured, when we share faithfully, we are being successful. We are doing God’s will. We are being obedient believers.

Another struggle we have in witnessing is that of disappointment. We share our faith with someone we love but they reject the Lord. It breaks our hearts when that happens. It should break our hearts when people reject the Lord, but we must not become discouraged. Witnessing is not about trying to force seed to grow. You plant the seed of God's Word and allow the Lord to bring forth results.

One of the problems in the church today is that many people are only interested in themselves. Christianity becomes a life of asking, “What is in it for me?” The prosperity gospel has been somewhat successful during this period because the preacher simply promises those listening that faith in God will get them everything they want. Since so many people are self-centered, this kind of preaching draws a lot of followers, but this is a false gospel. Have you fallen into this trap? Are you looking for the church to please you at all times? If so, you are not serving the Lord properly. Jesus said to take up your cross and follow Him. That means that we are to commit our lives to following our Master. Just look at His life, what He endured, and what He suffered. If you are only looking for an easy path, you are following the wrong leader!

Yes, sharing our faith is a struggle, but it is a struggle that leads to blessings untold. Imagine meeting one person on the streets of heaven who walks up and says to you, “Thank you for sharing the message of Jesus. Without your witness, I would likely not be here in heaven!” Trust me, it will be worth all the rejections you suffer to discover that your witness has brought just one person to faith in Christ.

IV. A Personal Witness is Successful

Christians who share their faith with others are successful! Now, let’s understand something about the success of being a personal witness. Success does not mean that people will readily accept what you say as being true. In fact, some may even be offended by your testimony and witness. However, you can be sure that you are successful in God’s eyes when you are willing to humbly and lovingly share what God has done for you and what He promises to do for all who will believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.

A. His Presence

First, you have the success of knowing that the Lord is with you. He has promised to be present with us as we go forth sharing the gospel. Look at Matthew 28:18-20. The Lord promised to be with us till the end of the age. This promise is made in direction relation to the sharing of God’s love and grace with others.

B. His Purpose

Also, anytime we are fulfilling God’s purpose in our lives we are successful. You don’t measure success in His work by results but by your obedience. When we share our faith with others, we are obeying Christ and carrying out His purpose.

C. His Power

In Acts 1:8 our Lord told His disciples that His Spirit would propel them into all the world as His witnesses. When we go forth in love and obedience to share Jesus with others, the Spirit of God is in the very act itself. After all, the ministry of witnessing is not our work, it is God’s work. Never think that witnessing is based on how smart, how intelligent, how gifted or how impressive you are. Trust God’s Spirit to empower you. It has been my experience to see God redeem people that I considered impossible to reach. That happened because of His power and not my ability. Once you experience His Spirit at work in your witness, you no longer share your faith thinking that you have to overpower people or impress them. You simply share in love and let God do the work of convicting and saving.

Conclusion

How long has it been since you shared the gospel with a friend, co-worker, family member or stranger? For some of us, it has been a long time. We wonder why the world is in such a terrible state but we fail to realize that part of the cause is likely the silence of God's people. Our unwillingness to share is part of the problem. If a spiritual tsunami is to sweep over our nation, it will begin with God’s people. If we are not who we should be, we can never affect change upon our society.

Some of you will say that you don’t witness because you don’t know how. We have a small pamphlet to share with you today that will help you. The information in this booklet tells you how to share a gospel tract, how to give your testimony or how to go through a Biblical presentation of the plan of salvation very quickly. For those willing to make a new commitment to your witness, I am going to ask you to come forward during the invitation today and pick up on of these pamphlets. Take it home, read it and pray about ways you can share your faith in Christ with others.

Others do not share because you feel unworthy. You don’t feel that you are good enough to witness. On the contrary, we are not saved because we are good; we are saved because of His grace. It is a good thing for a Christian to point out to the person you are talking with that you are unworthy of the salvation that God has given you. Never witness with the air of a snob. Let others know that you are a sinner and that your salvation came about through the mercy and love of God. None of us is worthy! It is a gift. We don’t earn it. He gives it freely to those who turn to Him in repentance through faith!

A preacher went to make a visit one day and knocked on the door of a home. The lady in the house thought it might be her husband coming home and called out, “Is that you, angel?” The preacher said, “No, I’m not an angel but I’m from the same department.”

You and I are not angels. We don’t witness because we are good enough – we witness because we have received salvation as an incredible gift through Christ.

For some of us, the invitation today is an opportunity to confess our fear. For others it is a good time for us to confess our failures. But, for all of us, it is a perfect time for us to recommit to faithfulness in the area of sharing our faith.

We must close the service. But, let me ask you, is your heart broken over one lost person today? Maybe it is a family member or friend. Are you burdened over just one soul today that is without Christ? If not, you are not close enough to Jesus. Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem. He wept because He cared. We must get near the heart of God in order to feel a burden for a lost world.

In the early days of the Salvation Army, a worker in that ministry sent word to William Booth, the founder of the organization, saying that his work was getting so hard that he could make no progress. Booth sent back the following two word message: “Try Tears". We will have no tears unless we get close to the Lord and feel His burden for those who are unsaved.

In his book, Every Member Evangelism For Today, Roy Fish wrote concerning a missionary secretary who wrote a confession to a major missionary magazine. In it she explained how she been a part of helping to set up a big missionary convention. It was at a time when her aged father had come to the convention himself. They went out to lunch together. She tells that she poured out her heart to him about how hard her work on the missionary convention had been. Just then he pointed out a waiter whom he had been talking to and told her to pray for him because he had been talking to the waiter about giving his life to Christ. The woman told how she fell under conviction because she had not spoken to anyone in the city though she had been there for days working on setting up the Christian convention. She had failed to try to win one person to the lord. Her father had arrived and on the first day there he had practically led a man to the lord.

She went on to tell how she and her father went back to her apartment. There was a man at her apartment cleaning the windows and she recognized him because he had been working around the apartments since she arrived. She hoped his work would not interfere with her visit with her father. In no more than a few minutes her father had engaged the man in conversation and had led him to faith in Jesus Christ. She had seen the man many times, but had not spoken to him once. This lady wrote to the magazine to confess that she talked about missions, taught missions, and even helped set up missionary conferences but she had not been sharing her faith.

How about you? Are you part of the church, perhaps even a leader, but you are passing by people daily that need Jesus without sharing a word with them about the Lord? Today is the day for us to make things right. Those who need to have the assurance of salvation, come to the Lord today. Those who know Him, but you are been negligent in this matter of witnessing, make a new commitment today! Those who need help in being better at your witness, come forward today and pick up one of these pamphlets and put it to use in sharing your faith. Now is the time for decision!