The Farmer - Part 1

Bible Book: Psalms  126 : 6
Subject: Witnessing; Discipleship; Following Jesus
Series: Portraits of the Saints
Introduction

Note Luke 8:5 and Psalm 126:6 this morning. We have been looking at a series of messages entitled, Portraits of the Saints. We come now to a message on the disciple as a farmer. We will look at this in two parts, one this week and the second part of the message next week. The idea of a disciple being a farmer is discovered in both the Old and New Testament; for that reason, it will take two messages to describe some of the aspects of this portrait from the scripture.

The Christian is like a farmer in several ways, but today we are looking specifically at the Christian as a sower of seeds, and a reaper of harvests. In fact, out text points out very clearly that the Lord looks on us as Spiritual farmers who are to plant the seeds of the Gospel in the hearts of men and women and watch for the Lord to provide the harvest in due season.

I am convinced that most Christians do not witness as they should because they fear rejection or fear facing questions they are not prepared to answer. Additionally, many do not witness because they do not feel worthy or qualified. I heard about a preacher who went to make a visit on day. He arrived at the home and knocked on the door. The women inside thought it was her husband and called out, “Is that you, Angel?” The preacher replied, “No, I am not an angel, but I am from the same department.”

Most of us know we are not angels; in fact we are far from it. This can make us feel unworthy of speaking for the Lord. I want you to see today that the potential for the harvest is in the quality of the seed not the quality of the farmer. Lets look at our Christian life as God’s Farmers. To do this, I want to point out four words which can help us understand what planting God’s seeds is all about.

I. The Farmer and the Word GO

Dr. A.T. Pierson said, “A light that does not shine, a spring that does not flow, a germ that does not grow, is no more an anomaly than that of a life in Christ which does not witness for Christ.” Believers are to let the light of Christ shine through them in this world. A true disciple is a witness to the grace and goodness of God!

A. The Scripture States that we should Go

Matthew 4:19 says, “I will make you fishers of men.” If we are being shaped by Jesus, we will be witnesses. We cease to be shaped by the Lord when we cease to share His Gospel message. Frankly, we can’t catch fish if you don’t GO fishing. Jesus leads us to where the fish are – where lost people can be found who need salvation.

B. The Son Shows that we should Go

Jesus left heaven to bring the Gospel to us. He came to seek and to save that which was lost.

C. The Spirit Strengthens us that we may Go

Jesus said that the Spirit would empower us to be witnesses for Him.

II. The Farmer and the Word WOE

A farmer’s work is not easy. He earns his bread by the sweat of his brow. The Christian witness, who spreads the seed of the Gospel, will find it necessary to resist comfort and ease. The only motivation which will cause us to overcome the hindrances to witnessing is to get a passion which resides in the heart of God within us. Just think of it. Jesus wept over a man – a friend who had died. He wept over a nation – he wept of Jerusalem. He wept over the world – in the Garden of Gethsemane. Real men and women do not mind tears in the defense of souls.

A young preacher was concerned that his ministry lacked power. He decided to go to Dundee, Scotland to the church once served by Robert McCheyne. The young minister saw an elderly sexton cleaning the church and asked if he had known McCheyne. The sexton answered in the affirmative. The minister asked if the caretaker knew the secret of his power with God. The sexton took the young preacher to the office that had belonged to McCheyne. He told the minister to sit down in the chair behind the desk. He then told him to put his elbows on the desk and his hands over his face. Then he said, “Weep, let the tears run through your fingers, that is the way McCheyne did it.”

  • No tears, no triumph.
  • No weeping, no winning.
  • No brokenness, no blessing.

The farmer in Biblical days often worked with tears. First, because of the danger of being out in the fields where thieves and robbers could come upon them. This happened to the workers of Job we are told in Scripture. Secondly, because often they were taking their seed corn and accepting the possibility that nothing would remain if the seed corn did not grow. What if it did not come up? What if all failed? They had worked for nothing. Thirdly, because the ground was difficult. It was thorny or full of rocks. It often led to pierced skin or turned ankles. The work was not easy. Tears were often the result of this very difficult task.

  • Comforts will try to stop us.
  • Conflicts will try to stop us.
  • Confidence (of the lack of) will try to stop us. We will fear we are not qualified.

Many people are open to the Gospel. A Gallup Poll revealed that 77% of Americans say they pray almost daily. Since only 37 to 40 % attend church, that means a great praying group of people are out there who are open to knowing more about the Lord. That same poll revealed that 72% of Americans believe in theory, at least, that Jesus is the Son of God. Since only 35% are evangelical Christians in this country, that means about 1 in every 3 persons you meet are open to knowing more about Jesus. The devil would make you think no one cares about God. Actually, of those who are un-churched, about 60 % said they would join a church if they could find the right one.

III. The Farmer and the Word SOW

The farmer must carry seed into the field. It is not enough that he just love the field, that he walk through the field, that he wear nice looking jeans when he is in the field, he must take seed into field.

The Christian must take seed into the world. What is the seed? Jesus told us the answer to that question. Look again in Luke 8:11. The seed is the Word of God. We must share Scripture with people. The Word of God is powerful, it is sharper than any two-edged sword. It can cut down into the life of a man, even dividing bone and marrow, splitting apart the excuses of a man and brining him to repentance.

There is power in the seed because there is life in the seed. A tiny seed can begin to grow and literally break concrete into pieces.

IV. The Farmer and the Word KNOW

God promised results. The farmer knows that good seed, in good soil, will produce a good crop. Of course, the farmer is dependent upon the Lord to send the rain in due season. You and I are dependent upon the Lord to water the seed of the Gospel that we plant. But God has promised to do that.

The work of spreading the Gospel may seem difficult now, but there will be a time of rejoicing. Part of that joy is in the here and now. The churches that win souls are the churches that rejoice. But part of that rejoicing will come at the end time when we see the full extent of the work done by spreading the seed of the Gospel. The word for rejoicing in this passage is not some flimsy word which speaks of light-heartedness. The word means to shout! The same word, for example, is used in Psalm 118:15, which reads, “Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: ‘The LORD's right hand has done mighty things!’” In fact, the joy described is like that experience when a baby is born into a family. Isaiah 54:1 reads, “’Sing, O barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband,’ says the LORD."

There is no way to estimate the joy one will experience on the streets of glory when you meet those who were saved because of your witness, directly or indirectly.

But don’t think of the rejoicing as a joy because of the many who are saved. Jesus pointed out clearly that there is joy in heaven over ONE who comes home to the Lord. In Luke 15 Jesus told a parable with at least three stories in it. There was a lost sheep, a lost coin and a lost son. Whether one out of a hundred, one out of ten, or one out of two, there was rejoicing when the one that was lost was found. If there is one person here today without the Lord, God cares for you by name. He loves you enough to have died just for you. That is how we must think as witnesses. God cares for each one.

Conclusion

A woman was sent by a missionary group to set up an office in a city where the mission organization had previously had no work. She worked for several weeks and one day her aging father decided to fly into the city to visit with her for a couple of days. They went out to eat at a restaurant. She was telling her dad about how difficult her work had been. As they talked, her father pointed out a waiter and said, “Pray for that young man, I witnessed to him a moment ago when we came in and he needs to know Christ.” The young woman was convicted. She had eaten in that restaurant several times but had not spoken to anyone there about Christ.

After the meal, they went to the woman’s apartment. She noticed that a man was washing windows at the apartment complex. She had seen him before and recognized him as a caretaker at the apartment complex. She hoped his being there would not disturb her time with her father. Before they could get inside, her father had stopped and was talking with the window washer. They bowed their heads after a few moments and the worker asked Christ into his life.

This young woman wrote a letter back to her mission organization and confessed that she had been so busy setting up the mission office, she had failed to share her personal faith with anyone. She stated that she had bowed before the Lord and made a new commitment to sow the seeds of the Gospel wherever she found herself.

Perhaps we need to do the same thing today. We need to ask God to forgive us for failing to witness as we should, and we need to make a new commitment of share the seed of the Gospel with the people around us.