The Laws of Sowing & Reaping

Introduction: Most of the Bible was originally written to those living in an agrarian society, people familiar with working the land, managing livestock, and raising crops.

Many of Jesus’ parables involve farming life. Not surprisingly, then, the Bible contains many references to sowing and reaping, and here are some of the principles we learn:

I. Sowing and reaping is a law of the natural world. 

On the third day of creation, God commanded the earth to bring forth living plants “bearing seed” and fruit “with seed in it” (Genesis 1:12). These plants were then given to man for food (verse 29). Ever since the beginning, man has understood the process of sowing and reaping and has applied it to his benefit.

IMPORTANT: Very Important to Know/Remember/Believe: Although we no longer live under the Law (to secure/establish our relationship to God) the Principle of Sowing and Reaping remains forever!

Transition: Let’s now consider the blessings that are the results of faithful sowing.

II. God uses the law of sowing and reaping to bestow His blessing. 

God’s blessing comes generally to the whole world as He sends sun and rain to the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45).

  • In some cases, His blessing comes more especially to those of His choosing, such as Isaac. Genesis 26:12 says that Isaac sowed a crop and received a hundredfold in one season because the Lord targeted him for blessing.

The Law of the First Fruits – Yes, I did say law.

First Fruits – Leviticus 23:10

Israel’s gratefulness for God’s yearly blessing was expressed in the Feast of First fruits, when the first of the harvest was brought to the Lord as an offering (Exodus 23:19aLeviticus 23:10).

God called his people to bring the first yield—the first fruits—from their harvest to him as an offering. This was to demonstrate the Israelites’ obedience and reverence for God. It also showed that they trusted God to provide enough crops to feed their family.

Application: That is why I usually pray that God would bless the Obedience and the Faith of our offerings.

  • Back then, there were plenty of rules associated with making first-fruit sacrifices.
    • They had to be brought to the temple priests.
    • No other crops could be harvested until after the first fruits were presented. It was a complex process.
  • The Hebrew word for first fruit is bikkurim—literally translated to “promise to come.”
  • The Israelites saw these first fruits as an investment into their future. God told them that if they brought their first fruits to him, he would bless all that came afterward.
  • God warned Israel that, if they forsook Him and pursued idols, the law of sowing and reaping would be suspended and their crops would fail (Leviticus 26:16b). This happened to disobedient Judah on a couple of occasions (Jeremiah 12:13Micah 6:15).

Transition:  Let me talk about the sowing in the spiritual sense/form.

III. Sowing and reaping is also a law of the spiritual world. 

It is more than just an agricultural principle. It is an axiom of life that we reap what we sow. Galatians 6:7 says, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” There are natural consequences to our actions.

Galatians 6:7-8 ‘Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.) For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life’. (NKJ)

Deceived = planao {plan-ah’-o} Meaning:  1) to cause to stray, to lead astray, lead aside from the right way 1a) to go astray, wander, roam about

The world operates under the law of cause and effect. There is no way around it: every time we choose an action, we also choose the consequences of that action.

Mocked = 1) to turn up the nose or sneer at 2) to mock, deride

Application: God will not let us turn up our noses oh Him or to sneer at Him. Nose – a sign of scorn. to refuse to accept something because you feel that it is not good enough for you.

Question: How does the return come?

A. We reap in kind to what we sow. 

Application: Those who plant apple seeds should expect to harvest apples.

Those who sow anger should expect to receive what anger naturally produces. Galatians 6:8 says, “Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”

Application: Living a life of carnality and sin and expecting to inherit heaven is akin to planting poison ivy and expecting roses.

This principle works both positively and negatively. “The one who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward” (Proverbs 11:18b), but “whoever sows injustice reaps calamity” (Proverbs 22:8a).

B. We reap proportionately to what we sow. 

The rule is, the more seeds planted, the more fruit harvested. The Bible applies this law to our giving. Those who show generosity will be blessed more than those who don’t. “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously” (2 Corinthians 9:6).

This principle is not concerned with the amount of the gift but with the spirit in which it is given. God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7), and even the widow’s mites are noticed by our Lord (Luke 21:2-3).

Transition: One of the disciplines of sowing and reaping is that it takes time.

IV. Sowing and reaping imply a wait. 

Nothing good grows overnight. The farmer must be patient in order to see the fruit of his labors.

When the Bible likens the ministry to planting, watering, and reaping (1 Corinthians 3:6), it suggests a length of time.

God will bring forth fruit to His glory in His time. Until then, we faithfully labor in His field (Matthew 9:38), knowing that “at the proper time we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9; see also Psalm 126:5).

Transition: Sowing is always greater than the seed.

V. We reap more than what we sow. In other words, the law of sowing and reaping is related to the law of multiplication.

Jesus spoke of seed that brought forth “a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown” (Matthew 13:8). One grain of wheat produces a whole head of grain.

Application: In the same way, one little fib can produce an out-of-control frenzy of falsehoods, fallacies, and fictions.

Application: An adulterous act affects a host of people (spouse, children, finance, reputation, etc.)

Sow the wind and reap the whirlwind (Hosea 8:7). Positively, one kind deed can result in a blessing to last a lifetime.

Transition: Just one more thing about sowing and reaping.

VI. Sowing and reaping is used as a metaphor for death and resurrection. 

When Paul discusses the doctrine of the resurrection of the body, he uses the analogy of planting a seed to illustrate physical death. “The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body” (1 Corinthians 15:42b-44a). A seed may “die” when it falls to the ground, but that is not the end of its life (John 12:24).

Conclusion: The Law of Sowing and Reaping is a Law. It cannot be tweaked, ignored, changed, watered down, compromised or neglected.

Our spiritual lives as well as our financial blessings are wrapped up in the Law of Sowing & Reaping!


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