Lesson 6

CHAPTER SIX

STRATEGIES FOR SPIRITUAL HARVEST

PART I

OBJECTIVES:

Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to:

C Use Biblical strategies which yield abundant spiritual harvest.

KEY VERSES:

They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.

He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. (Psalms 126:5-6)

INTRODUCTION

The previous chapter identified things that prevent spiritual harvest. This and the following chapter details strategies which assure abundant spiritual harvest.

Strategies are principles , methods, and plans to follow in order to reach a certain goal. They are revealed in God’s Word as natural principles which are parallels of spiritual truths.

STRATEGIES OF HARVEST

Here are the strategies of harvest:

EACH PLANT IS CAPABLE OF REPRODUCTION:

In the natural world when God created the earth He made each plant capable of reproducing itself:

And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, WHOSE SEED IS IN ITSELF, upon the

earth; and it was so. (Genesis 1:11)

Just as each plant in the natural world is capable of reproduction, each believer has the ability to reproduce spiritually. Within YOU dwells the potential to be spiritually reproductive. Great knowledge of spiritual things is not necessary in order to become part of the cycle of spiritual harvest. Jesus told a parable which illustrates this truth :

And He said, So is the Kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground.

…and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.

But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come. (Mark 4:26,27,29)

It is not necessary to understand the theology behind the growth and development of the seed of God’s Word in human hearts. It is not required that you have understanding of deep theological truths.

What IS necessary is that you become a participant in the cycle of spiritual harvest.

SOWING IS NECESSARY IN ORDER TO REAP:

In the natural world , you must sow seed in order to reap a crop. In the spiritual world you must also sow in order to reap. God provides the spiritual resources for sowing:

And God, who provides seed for the sower and bread for eating will also provide and multiply your resources for sowing…

(II Corinthians 9:10, The Amplified Bible)

God multiplies your spiritual talents and abilities to make you reproductive.

God multiplies your financial resources so you can invest in His work. He does not multiply your finances for you to accumulate great fortunes. The purpose is that you can reinvest the blessings in His Kingdom .

YOU DO NOT HARVEST IN THE SAME SEASON YOU SOW:

In the beginning God established a seasonal principle in the natural world:

While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest…shall not cease. (Genesis 8:22).

Sowing is necessary in order to have a harvest . But the harvest does not come in the same season as the sowing . Some who receive the vision of spiritual harvest become discouraged because they do not understand this principle.

There is a time of sowing but then you must wait for the seed of the Word to germinate in the hearts of men and women. There is a time to patiently cultivate. You do not harvest in the same season in which you sow .

Psalms l speaks of this process in the life of believers:

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth

his fruit in his season… (Psalms 1:3)

If there are fruitful seasons of life this means there are also periods which appear unfruitful. These are periods of preparing the ground, sowing, and cultivating. But these seasons of "unfruitfulness" are necessary to bring the harvest.

This makes the principle of timing an important key to harvest. You must wait patiently during the time of growth and development. But you must also recognize when it is harvest time and act promptly before the crop perishes:

But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come. (Mark 4:29)

In summary , there is…

A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted. (Ecclesiastes 3:2)

YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW:

Seed reproduces after its own kind in the natural world. If you plant apple seeds you will harvest apples. The same is true in the spirit world:

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. (Galatians 6:7)

Sowing to the flesh brings a corrupt harvest while sowing in righteousness results in a good harvest.

YOU MUST SOW REGARDLESS OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES:

Those who regard circumstances will never become part of the vision of the harvest. Their

circumstances will defeat them just as a farmer who neglects his field because of the cold, wind, and clouds:

He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap. (Ecclesiastes 11:4)

An important strategy of spiritual harvest is that of sowing regardless of the circumstances of life :

Happy and fortunate are you who cast your seed upon all waters when the river overflows its banks; for the seed will sink into the mud and when of the waters subside will spring up; you will find it after many days in an abundant harvest… (Isaiah 32:20, The Amplified Bible)

You must sow beside all waters which means in all circumstances of life. Even when the rivers of difficult circumstances overflow the banks of your life, you must continue sowing. God has promised it will bring abundant harvest.

YOU HARVEST IN PROPORTION TO THE AMOUNT SOWN:

Remember this: He who sows sparingly and grudgingly will also reap sparingly and grudgingly, and he who sows generously and that blessing may come to someone, will also reap generously and with blessings.

(II Corinthians 9:6, The Amplified Bible)

This principle applies in every area of your spiritual life. If you give grudgingly of your time, talents, and finances to the work of God, then your harvest will be small. If you sow generously, you will reap abundantly. There are different levels of productivity in spiritual harvest described in John 15. You can bring forth:

-Fruit: John 15:2

-More fruit: John 15:2

-Much fruit: John 15:4

-Permanent fruit: John 15:16

God’s desire is that you bring forth much fruit and that it is permanent.

Peter identified some qualities you should develop in your life in order to be fruitful:

And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;

And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience

godliness;

And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

For if these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(II Peter 1:5-8)

Peter warns that if these qualities are not developed you will lack spiritual vision:

But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. (II Peter 1:9)

YOU CAN SOW WHERE YOU DO NOT REAP and REAP WHERE YOU DO NOT SOW:

When Israel entered the promised land God said they would eat of vineyards which they had not planted. They would reap a harvest which they had not sown.

The same is true in the spirit world. You can reap the harvest others have sown:

And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth.

I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours. (John 4:37-38)

For centuries believers have sown their lives in the harvest fields of the world . As we near the return of the Lord their sowing is bringing a great harvest in the nations of the world. You enter into their labors when you reap where you have not sown.

But you may also be part of the sowing process and never reap the harvest. Paul speaks of this:

I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.

For we are labourers together with God… (I Corinthians 3:6-9)

YOU WILL REAP THE HARVEST IF YOU ARE FAITHFUL:

Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. (Galatians 6:9)

Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and the latter rain. (James 5:7)

If you are faithful God has promised you will reap the harvest. Do not become weary in the task He has given you to do .

IN ORDER TO REPRODUCE, THE SEED MUST DIE:

A seed looks dead . There are no green leaves, no tender shoots or branches. In order to grow it must be buried .

This is a natural parallel of a great spiritual truth . Spiritual life depends on sacrificial death :

Every time you plant seed, you sow something that does not come to life (germinating, springing up and growing) unless it dies first.
(I Corinthians 15:36, The Amplified Bible)

In order to bring forth life it was necessary for Jesus to die on the cross. His ministry seemed to be in vain because it ended in death.

But it was His sowing time. What an abundant harvest has resulted from His death from that one kernel of wheat which fell into the ground. Through His death millions have found life.

Spiritual life requires sacrificial death. It requires death to sin. It requires death to worldly desires and pleasures.

Jim Elliott, martyred for the cause of Christ in an attempt to reach the Auca Indians of Ecuador with the Gospel, wrote in his diary: "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose ."

In natural life , the ultimate contradiction is death because death brings eternal life to the believer. The only real death is when you do not have anything worth dying for. Be sure the thing you are living for is worth dying for.

At times there will be no visible evidence of harvest. It may appear you are losing your life for a vision which is dying.

But you must remember:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
(John 12:24)

Jesus did not die in vain. Through His death came life. Through his death , salvation came
to the Auca Indians as others stepped forward to take his place and reach them with the
Gospel.

The seed is not dead. Within it is the life force of God. But in order to bring forth life it must die. Hosea speaks of the results of investing your life in this manner:

And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God. (Hosea 2:23)

This verse summarizes the purpose of applying the strategies of spiritual harvest. You labor so God can say to those who were not His people "Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God."