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Evangel Tabernacle | June 19, 2019

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Sowing and Reaping

Sowing and Reaping

| On 16, Dec 2015

Scripture Reading: James 5:7; I Corinthians 3:6

James 5:7 ‘So be patient, brethren, (as you wait) till the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits expectantly for the precious harvest from the land. (See how) he keeps up his patient (vigil) over it until it receives the early and late rains.

I Corinthians 3:6 ‘I planted, Apollos watered, but God (all the while) was making it grow and (He) gave the increase.’

This message is for our church as a whole. Etab is in the business of sowing and reaping. In this sowing and reaping business we need to understand a few truths. First, we are servants. We are simply God’s mouthpieces through whom people come to believe. Second, we all have different roles and responsibilities in God’s house. Third, God is the One who causes the growth. Twice in I Corinthians 3:6, Paul states, “…but God was causing the growth.” We are the means by which people believe, but God is the cause. He alone determines if and when a person believes in Jesus Christ. Fourth, we are all one in God’s program. We are not to compete against each other; instead, we are to complement each other. We all need one another to fulfil God’s work. Finally, we work for God. We do not work for ourselves or even for one another; we work for God. I feel that God is speaking to our church in this sermon. What is God’s word for ETab?

1. Patience

James 5:7 ‘So be patient, brethren, (as you wait) till the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits expectantly for the precious harvest from the land. (See how) he keeps up his patient (vigil) over it until it receives the early and late rains.

James describes the attitude of the Farmer

I hope that Evangel Tabernacle believes and waits for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. That was what James was focusing on in this verse. At the meantime, our motto should be ‘Occupy Till He Comes’. Luke 19:12-13 ‘He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.’ The certain nobleman is Jesus who went to heaven to receive His kingdom. But he left his servants with ability and instructed them to occupy till He comes. While we live in expectation of the immediate Second Coming of Jesus Christ; we are exhorted to confirm our faith, concerning the ministries God has placed in each and everyone of our hand. The farmer has to wait for his crops (which represents the fruits of our ministry) until the early and the late rains have come. I believe the early rain refers to the Day of Pentecost when the church was born in the book of Acts. The latter rain in no inferior to the early rain and actually the latter rain is a double portion of the early rain. I have always believed in the double Pentecost. Both are all important to the farmer. The Christian needs patience to wait until Christ comes. During the time of waiting we must not blame one another for the troubles of the situation in which we find ourselves in as a result of the ministry. The ministry has given this church untold troubles. I mean during our ministry here, Pastor Lily lost both her parents, her three brothers. I lost my eldest sister. Jan had a vehicular accident. Pastor lily had dengue fever; the palate was so low it almost cost her, her life. She has 5 packets of Filipino bloods in her body. We lost our jobs and the lists go on. Pastor Lily always tells me, that it was only three years ago that we were left on own. The results and the rewards will come. We must not force it. Good Things will come to those who wait.

In sowing and reaping, we have to observe the characteristics of the farmer. Two words accurately describes the farmer: Patient and Persevering. James uses two words for the word ‘patience’ in Greek.

1. Makrothumia – which means long-suffering
2. Hupomone – means endurance under stress or adverse situations.

If you combine these two it means patient endurance

I feel that this is the word specifically for Etab. We have just officially launched SDC in February this year. To be accurate it is less than a year. Whether it is the DJCG, the Youth Church, the TKC, there is a lot of processing and less projects. Two nights ago, Pastor Lily and I came to watch the rehearsal of the Dance Choreography (there are 31 of them), that will be presented along with the Bahanig Choir group on Christmas Eve. As we were watching them, we realised that we have moved away so much from projects until we are somewhat weak in that area and the church has been classified as boring. Well, the emphasis is still on small group. We need times for processing, for the fruit to grow. Of course the DJCG, the Youth Church and the TKC must not forget the small group. It is a discipleship journey with all members of our church. And I believe the fruits will be shown one day. It needs patient endurance. Pastor Lily has always reminded me to be patient.

Going back to the farmer, concerning the crops, we have to be patient. In our land in Barbaza, I just found out that our caretaker has just sprayed on 13 mangoes trees. He has yet to spray the Centennial Mango tree which will give the most fruits. It is too big and too high. He needs longer hose for the spray. The mangoes trees were planted there 7 years ago. Now for some mango trees, flowers are starting to come out. Even when the caretaker has sprayed the trees, the fruit will not manifest until the month of March. It is said that when the flowers disappear, then in exactly 120 days, we can harvest the mangoes. That is the information I obtained from Juan Dayaon and Pastor Carlos. There is a lot of taking care, waiting. Because of the size of the land we are also starting to plant 200 mango seedlings on that mountain. Another 200 mangoes seedling will be bought, making it a total of 400 mango seedlings from Guimaras. It takes 5 to 7 years for it to be ready to bear fruit. We will also be planting chia seed in that land. Rosalie Basanes, an expert in Chia Seed planting will be guiding them on how to plant the chia seed. But the process is important. It is tedious, hard work. It cannot be forced upon. The process for the TKC, the Youth Church and the DJCG is important. The leaders needs to believe and seriously guide and brings every members to a process of growth, discipline, teaching and nurturing them.

While waiting, at times we have to preserve; endurance under adverse circumstances. We are told that the prophets of old are example of patience in the face of suffering. The other person is Job who we are told ‘You have heard of Job’s perseverance.” Job persevered. What it means for us is a commitment, hard work, patience, endurance; being able to bear difficulties calmly and without complaint and without giving up.

In sowing and reaping we have to be working with God. Sowing and reaping requires partnership between divine sovereignty and human responsibility. “Now faith is the turning of dreams into deeds.” “Seed for sowing” is precious; it contains within it life. When we brought the 200 mango seedlings to Barbaza, they have lives. I was told that we cannot immediately plant the seedlings because the seeds have to adjust to the climatic change from Guimaras to Barbaza. They have to acclimatise to the weather changes. We have to leave the seedlings unplanted for at least a week. Then we need to bring in organic fertilizer. For every seedling, the caretaker need to dig a plot of land two feet length by two feet depth by two feet height. Fertilizer had to surround the two cubic feet plot of land for each seedling. The plot of land has to be watered. It is such a tedious job. The seed is the word of God ~ Luke 8:11 The sowing here is not one of wheat, or barley, but is the sowing of the Word of the Living God, which the Lord will use in bringing people back to Himself. God will not let His Word fail, even when it’s spoken from lips of clay. Just a few days ago, we heard a news that still left me dazed. But God has told Pastor Lily 3 years ago concerning what will happened. I look at Pastor Lily and take a bow. What God told her is coming to pass.

2. Suddenly and Soon

The second word is suddenly. Isaiah says that suddenly you will see the surging birth of the church. Suddenly our church will turn from a tree to a forest. God is going to surprise Etab with many sudden acts. Sudden according to dictionary means HAPPENING, COMING MADE OR DONE QUICKLY WITHOUT WARNING OR UNEXPECTEDLY. God is saying to me that there will be many happening that will be made, done quickly, without warning. It will be unexpected.

Isaiah 29:17-20 “Soon—and it will not be very long— the forests of Lebanon will become a fertile field, and the fertile field will yield bountiful crops. In that day the deaf will hear words read from a book (see, the word of God again), and the blind will see through the gloom and darkness. The humble will be filled with fresh joy from the LORD. The poor will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. The scoffer will be gone, the arrogant will disappear, and those who plot evil will be killed.”

Soon means not very long

1. Soon the forest of Etab will become fertile field and the fertile field will yield bountiful crops
2. Soon, the deaf will hear words read from a book and the blind will see through the gloom and darkness and the poor will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. Today those that are deaf to the acts of God, those who are blind and can only see gloom and darkness around your life, your family, soon you will rejoice in the Acts of YHWH.
3. Soon the SCOFFER of our church will be gone; the ARROGANT will disappear and THOSE WHO PLOT EVIL will be KILLED.
4. Soon those who pervert justice by using trickery will also disappear
5. Soon we will see the surging birth and growth of Etab.

“That is why the LORD, who redeemed Abraham, says to the people of Israel, “My people will no longer be ashamed or turn pale with fear. For when they see their many children and all the blessings I have given them, they will recognize the holiness of the Holy One of Jacob. They will stand in awe of the God of Israel.”

Soon we will stand in awe of YHWH’s holiness because of the surging birth and ALL THE BLESSINGS God has given us! Soon wayward members and church planters will gain understanding and complainers will accept instruction. “Then the wayward will gain understanding, and complainers will accept instruction.” ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭29:24‬ ‭NLT‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Soon I will weep no more because the Lord will be gracious to my cry and he will surely respond to the sound of my cries. Soon the Lord will bless me with rain at planting time and soon there will be WONDERFUL harvest from all the lands we have purchased. Soon the streams of Negev (the restoration that I so crave and believe for – that flash flood of torrential blessing) will flow from mountain and hill (from high places like heaven) down to us

Isaiah 29:20 says ‘The scoffer will be gone, the arrogant will disappear, and those who plot evil will be killed.”

I was doing a research on the life of a Levite and there are some very interesting things mentioned concerning the Levites. We all know that Jacob prophesied over his 12 children (Levi included) before he died. We also know that Moses prophesied over the 12 tribes (Levites included) before he went to the mount to die. The prophesy of Moses on the Levite yields interesting study.

Deuteronomy 33:8-11 says; ‘Moses said this about the tribe of Levi: “O LORD, you have given your Thummin and Urim – the sacred lots – to your faithful servants the Levites. You put them to the test at Massah and struggled with them at the waters of Meribah. The Levites obeyed your word and guarded your covenant. They were more loyal to you than to their own parents. They ignored their relatives and did not acknowledge their own children. They teach your regulations to Jacob; they give your instructions to Israel. They present incense before you and offer the whole burnt offerings on the altar. Bless the ministry of the Levites, O LORD, and accept all the work of their hands. Hit their enemies where it hurts the most; strike down their foes so they never rise again.’

The Levites are those who served God. What are their characteristics? They received divine answers in difficult matters represented by the Thummin and Urim. They are the oracles of God. They know the will of God. They also struggle with God and were tested by God at Meribah and Massah. Massah means test and Meribah means arguing. The Levites are all tested by God and at times they argued, contend with God. Yet in the end they obeyed the word of the covenant. Actually they are more loyal to God than towards their family, children and relatives. They teach God’s word; have an educational role in teaching the people of God. They pray represented by presenting the incense before YHWH. But the last part was the most surprising. ‘Hit their enemies where it hurts the most; strike down their foes so they never rise again.’ Because their ministry was so difficult and they had sacrificed so much and yet they have enemies. Because of all that they have given up, and yet their enemies are many and unreasonable, YHWH will strike down their enemies until their enemies rise no more. Don’t touch the anointed of God. Don’t touch those who sincerely, sacrificially serve God. Because God will deal severely with the Levite’s enemies.

3. Expectation

James 5:7 ‘So be patient, brethren, (as you wait) till the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits expectantly for the precious harvest from the land. (See how) he keeps up his patient (vigil) over it until it receives the early and late rains.

The emphasis is ‘see how the farmer waits expectantly’.

Psalms 126:1 says “When the Lord brought back the captivity of Zion, We were like those who dream.”
YHWH instantly and unexpectedly reversed the fortunes of Zion. Zion has already been referred to the Church. I feel that God is speaking to Etab here. The term ‘fortunes’ would denote prosperity. It could only mean a restored covenant with YHWH and its promised blessings. This is possible because of a relationship with YHWH. God will reverse the fortune of Etab. There will be a ‘A Divine Turn-Around.’ The Hebrew word is ‘shoob shebooth’ which means “returned the returning.” It will be like a dream. We must dare to dream big dreams. Without vision, the people perish. The reason why Pastor Lily and I had the staying power in the Philippines, in Iloilo City and in Etab for 30 years is because of a dream. We have a dream for Etab. We know the impact that ‘desert’ experiences have on our heart. We had gone through so much desert experiences. It affected our mind and spirits. But we have a dream. We have great expectations. What is the dream? That God will “Restore our fortunes, as streams in the desert.” The phrase ‘streams in the desert’ is a geographical metaphor related to water channels in the desert (which is actually Negev). They are filled with water; imagery of a great blessing of future agricultural abundance. The Lord can turn a desert into river. There is a stream in the desert of our lives. God can prepare a table in the wilderness. In the 4 hectares land, the previous owner had some problem with the neighbour whose land had spring water. But then when we send a geodetic engineer with his team to the land, the survey came out that there is a spring in our land. There is the promise of abundant water. Abraham also had a dream. ‘Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping–believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!” We have the same dream as Abraham. We dream like Abraham. We look to the future with expectancy. There is a hope for the future of this church.

Why is this possible? Because our God is a God of new beginnings, a God of second chances, and a God of restoration. Jesus’s ministry on earth was one of restoration. God is in the restoration business! God is at work restoring Israel, restoring His Church, restoring you. A powerful process of restoration can be seen in operation in the true Church today. We read about the Reformation Restoration of the great missionary movements during the time of Martin Luther, John Wesley, George Whitefield, and Charles Finney. We see the Restoration of the gifts of the Spirit in the 20th Century during the time of William Branham, Aimee Semple Macpherson, Kathrin Kulthman, Oral Roberts, A.A Allen, and Smith Wigglesworth. We see the restoration of the Harvest. The 20th Century has seen the greatest harvest of soul that the church history has ever seen. Cindy, Pastor Lawrence’s wife, was wondering why the ground in East Timor where 90 percent are catholic is so hard. And how come in Iloilo City it is so much easier to bring the catholic to a born again church. I told her that 30 years ago Iloilo City was the same as East Timor. They throw stones at our church when we preached too loud. Our neighbours are always hostile to us. But the ground has been broken. The harvest has arrived. God is in the business of restoration of the Harvest. I believe we will see the restoration of the Pentecost outpouring (the latter rain) just before the rapture and the second coming of Jesus Christ. So God is in the business of restoration. Likewise God will do the same for Etab. And our dream and our expectation is line with the Word of God. We believe that God is going to restore the Church. They say the greatest harvest for the church is yet to take place and I believe it. What kind of restoration. It will be the restoration of lives. There will be physical restoration, relational restoration, soul restoration and financial restoration. So we live with a dream, a great expectation. Our dreams is not our own. Our expectations comes from the Word of God. God will not let His Word fail, even when it’s spoken from lips of clay.

In conclusion, we are in the business of sowing and reaping. We must be patient. Our blessings will come suddenly, unexpectedly. We look forward to the future of this church with great dreams. Those who plant in faith will reap with certainty.

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