A three-fold Harvest
In my Sermon today entitled “A three-fold Harvest”
I want to speak to you about three joyful harvests
and of three sorrowful harvests.
First, I will speak of the THREE JOYFUL HARVESTS
that there will be.
The first joyful harvest that I will mention is the harvest of the field which Samuel alluded to when he said, “Is it not wheat harvest to-day?”(1 Sam 12:17) We should not forget nor take for granted the harvest of the field, nor the work of the farmers to bring it in. It is not fitting for the Christian, that these things should be forgotten; we ought not to let the fields be covered with crops, and to have their treasure stored away in the barns, and all the while remain forgetful of God’s mercy. Ingratitude, that worst of ills, is one of the snakes which makes its nest in the hearts of men. God who feeds the ravens, has fed his people, and has not deserted our land. We bless God who has given us regularly more than enough.
When we ask; “Give us this day our daily bread;” we should remember that whatever blessing we have, food and clothing, home and family, health and wealth we must attribute our daily blessings to Almighty God. Man may sow, another may reap, but it is God who gives the increase.
Whether we acknowledge the Harvest of our food as being from the “field” or the “Garden” or the “Sea”, (for there too is bounty and blessing), we must offer thanks to God for it, and although an obvious Harvest, there are others not so obvious? Now, the second joyful harvest is the harvest of every Christian. In one sense, the Christian is the seed; in another, he is a Sower. In one sense, he is a seed, sown by God, which is to grow, and ripen, and germinate, till the last great harvest time.
In another sense, every Christian is a Sower sent into the world to sow good seed and to sow good seed only. I am not saying
that Christians never sow any other seed than good seed, for sometimes, in unguarded moments, they may take the wrong seeds into their hands and unwittingly sow weeds instead of flowers. Christians sometimes make mistakes, and God at times sees his people fall, so that they sow sins; but the Christian never reaps his sins; Christ reaps them for him. He often has to have a correction or discipline applied on account of that sin, but he never reaps the fruit of it; Christ has borne the punishment.
Yet we should always bear in mind, that if you and I sin against God, the Holy Spirit grieved and quenched will take our sin, and make a medicine from it that will be bitter to our taste – though he does not make us eat the fruits, yet still he will make us grieve and sorrow over our sins. But the Christian, as I have said, should be employed in sowing good seed; and doing so, he shall have a glorious harvest. In some sense or other, the Christian must be sowing seed. If God calls him to the ministry, he is a seed Sower; if God calls him to the Pew or the Pulpit, he is a seed Sower whatever his office. Every week I am sowing seed while I am broadcasting all over the immense field that is these air waves, and the internet on the world-wide-web; I cannot tell where this seed goes and to whom it reaches. I know that the seed goes way beyond this Sunday broadcast. I know that this week, there are those who will listen to my voice in recordings on Tuesday, or on Friday, some will listen to repeated programmes in the middle of the night, some listening in Canada, some in Japan, and some in Scotland.
Some listeners are like barren ground, and they refuse to receive the seed that I sow. I cannot help that. Yet I have had a joyful harvest, even in this world, when I see souls challenged, converted and changed.
I have had many harvest times when God’s children are edified, and built up, and become the means of saving one soul. God will not allow his Word to be wasted; it shall not return unto him void, but shall accomplish that which he pleases. (Isaiah 55:11 )
Maybe today I speak to a concerned Mother, who has often been sad. She has an only son, and has been always praying that God might convert his soul. Mother, your son is wayward still; he grieves your heart; still God sees the tears on your cheeks on account of him. And you, Father, may have corrected him often; yet he is still running on the road to his ruin. Do not stop praying for him; for parents, too shall have their harvest!
You will have a harvest, whatever you are doing, and I trust you are all doing something. I hope you are all serving God in some way; and you will assuredly have a harvest wherever you are scattering your seed. But suppose the worst,— if you should never live to see the harvest in this world, you will have a harvest when you get to heaven. If you live and die a disappointed man in this world, you shall not be disappointed in the next.
I think how surprised some of God’s people will be when they get to heaven. They will see their Saviour, and he will give them a crown, “Lord, what is that crown for?” They’ll ask him “That crown is because one day you gave a cup of cold water to another” “What! a crown for a cup of cold water?” “Yes,”
says the Master, ” that is how I pay my servants. Matt.10:42
First I give them grace to give that cup of water, and then, having given them grace, I give them a crown.” “What Wonders of Grace belong to God?” He that sowed liberally shall reap liberally; and he that sowed grudgingly shall reap sparingly. And, if there could be grief in heaven, (thankfully there cannot be) I think it would be the grief of some Christians who had
sown so very little. After all, how little the most of us ever sow? I know I sow but very little compared with what I might. How little any of us sow! Just add up how much you give to God in the year compared with what you receive from God in a year?
Remember, you reap according to what you sow. My dear friends, what surprise some of you will feel when God pays you for sowing one single grain! I might say in that regard, the soil of heaven is rich in the extreme for the more we sow, the more shall we reap in heaven. Yet remember it is all of grace,
and not of debt.
Now, I must mention the third joyful harvest. We have had the harvest of the Field, and the harvest of the Christian. and there is another, and that is the harvest of Christ.
Christ has had his sowing times. What bitter sowing times they were! Christ was one who went out bearing precious seed. I picture Christ sowing the world! He sowed it with tears; he sowed it with drops of blood; he sowed it with sighs; he sowed it with agony of heart; and at last he sowed himself in the ground, to be the seed of a glorious crop. What a sowing time his was!
He sowed in love, in poverty, in sympathy, in grief, in agony, in woes, in suffering, and in death. He shall have a harvest, too. Blessed be his name!
Jehovah swears it; the everlasting predestination of the Almighty has settled that Christ shall have his harvest. He has sown, and he shall reap; he has scattered, and he shall gather in. “He shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days; and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hands.” ( Isaiah 53:10)
And Christ has begun to reap his harvest. Yes, every soul that is converted is part of his reward; every one who comes to the Lord is a part of it. Every soul that is brought out of the miry clay, and set on the King’s highway, is a part of Christ’s crop.
And he is going to reap more yet. There is another harvest coming, in these latter days, when he shall reap armfuls at a time, and gather the sheaves into his garner. Now, (at this hour) today men come to Christ in ones and twos and threes; but soon, they shall come in flocks, so that the Church shall say, “Who are
these that come in as doves to their windows?” (Isaiah 60:8)
Then there shall be a greater harvest when time shall be no more. In the 11th chapter of the book of the Revelation, and the 13th verse: we read “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” (Their works do not go before them, and win them heaven). “And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud. Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.” This is Christ’s harvest. But observe one fact. That when Christ comes to reap his field, he comes with a crown on. There are the nations gathered together before that crowned Reaper! There they stand, as one great army before God. Then comes the crowned Reaper from his throne; he takes his sharp sickle, and see him reap sheaf after sheaf, and he carries them up to the heavenly garner. Let us ask ourselves the question , whether we will be among those reaped ones,— the wheat, the harvest of the Lord?
Notice again, that there was first a harvest, and then a vintage. The harvest is the righteous; the vintage is the wicked. When the wicked are gathered, an angel gathers them; but Christ will not
trust an angel to reap the righteous. “He that sits in the clouds thrust in his sickle” Dear Christian friend, when you come to die, Christ will himself come after you; when you are to be cut down, He that sits upon the throne will cut you down with a very sharp sickle, in order that he may do it as easily as possible. He will be the Reaper himself; no other reaper will be allowed to gather Christ’s saints in, but Christ the King Himself. Will it not be a joyful harvest when all the chosen race, every one of them, shall be gathered in? Make sure you are among them!
But now I am obliged to turn to
THE THREE SORROWFUL or Sad HARVESTS.
The first sad harvest is the harvest of death.
We are all living, and what for? For the grave?
I have at times sat down, and thought: Man, what is he? He grows and matures till he comes to his prime; and if God spares him, what does he do then? He continues where he is a little while, and then he goes down hill; and if he keeps on living, what is it for… but to die? Do we not all live to die? The Christian is always ready for glory whenever death, the reaper comes, and the wicked are always ripe for hell whenever God pleases to send for them. Well have they named death
the grim reaper; for he sweeps through the earth, and mows his hundreds and thousands down! It is all still; death makes no noise about his movements, and he treads with velvet slippers over the earth; that ceaseless mower, none can resist him. He is irresistible, and he mows, and mows, and cuts them down. Sometimes he stops and whets his scythe; he dips his scythe in blood, and then he mows us down with war; then he takes his whetstone of disease or epidemic and mows down more than ever. Still he cries, “More! more! more!” Ceaselessly that work keeps on!
And when he may come to reap me, I cannot resist; for I must fall like others;—when he comes I shall have nothing to say to him. Like a blade of corn I must stand motionless; and he will cut me down! But, oh! may I be prepared for Gods scythe! May the Lord stand by me, and comfort me, and cheer me; and may I find that death is an angel of life,—that death is the portal of heaven, the vestibule of glory! In the “valley of the shadow” may I know and see HIM as the light there!
Then there is a second sad harvest, and that is the harvest that the wicked has to reap. What says the voice of inspiration? “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Gal: 6:7)
There is a harvest that every wicked man or woman has to reap in this world. No man ever sins against his body without reaping a harvest for it. Many times I have sat by Hospital beds and watched helplessly as the young die and pass away from us. What a tragedy. The young often think themselves invincible, they never realized that abusing their bodies with drugs, cigarettes and alcohol could dull their minds, damage their bodies and deaden their senses. That little “puff” behind the bicycle sheds at school was never intended to be the catalyst that would destroy their lungs by the time they were 30. The celebratory Birthday Bash at the local Pub was never meant to be the path to addiction and liver failure? The “feel-good” factor of the first party popper was to lead to depression, despair and death? …but you reap what you sow. Who could have imagined that a simple “one night stand” would lead to such agony, heartache and home-break? But he who sins against others, sins against himself; that is Nature. It is a law in Nature that a man cannot hurt his fellow-man without hurting himself. If you have caused grief to another, in any way doing them an evil, do not think that the grief will end there; you too will have to reap a harvest for it.
Many have committed heinous crimes, and to date have escaped the courts of justice and the law of the Land. But make no mistake about it, their Harvest will come, there is no escaping the eye of God, and the hand of the Almighty.
(“long may run the fox”)
But the worst harvest I believe, will be that of those who sin against the Church, the Body of Christ. He that touches one of God’s Children, touches the apple of His eye. It is the greatest insult to a man to speak ill of his children. You speak ill of God’s children, and you will be rewarded for it in everlasting punishment. There is not a single one of God’s family whom God does not love, and if you touch one of them, he will have vengeance on you. Nothing puts a man on his mettle like touching his children; and if you touch God’s Church,
you will reap a Severe Harvest.
The third sad harvest is the harvest of almighty wrath. The greatest threat to our World, the greatest threat to each Nation, the greatest threat today to each one of us, is not from the Muslim or Islamic Extremist, it is not from the Para-militaries nor from the Dictators present or to those to come, but the single greatest threat to our world today is from Almighty God. What will God do to America, what will God do to Britain, what will God do to Ireland? God has been speaking, but the world has not been listening. God has been shaking us, shaking our economies, shaking our securities, shaking our governments, shaking our foundations, but even yet that shaking has had little profound effect upon us.
Yet my dear friends, I say again, as I have repeatedly in these broadcasts over the last few years, God is already in the Harvest Field, God is among us but as yet we do not fully grasp that it is God. The Almighty is angry with our world. We have murdered the unborn, legislated for perversity, hoarded for greed, forgotten the poor, neglected the hungry and closed our ears to His Word. We have isolated and belittled His Israel, We have destroyed His Sabbaths, ignored His Commandments and Rejected His Son. God has stepped in to judge us, and what we have seen in recent times, what we have seen is only
the beginning, the first swath of His Harvest.
The Bible speaks of yet another swath of his wrathful Harvest when the wicked are at last gathered in. In the 14th chapter of the Revelation, you will see that the vine of the earth was cast into the winepress of the wrath of God; and after that, the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out, up to the horses’ bridles;( v20)—a wonderful figure to express the wrath of God! Suppose, then, some great winepress, in which our bodies are put like grapes; and suppose some mighty giant comes and treads us all under foot; that is the idea, —that the wicked that shall be cast together, and be trodden under foot until the blood runs out, up to the horses’ bridles. May God grant, of his sovereign mercy, that you and I may never be reaped in that fearful harvest for it is coming soon; but that rather we may be written and harvested amongst the Children and Saints of God!
NOW THIS FINAL WORD
A few weeks ago in the city, I spent a lengthy hour talking with a young man about the Saviour, and about His need for Gods mercy and forgiveness. I was heartened by his response and left him to “think things over” as he said. On my way home in my car, God gave me such a burden for his eternal well-being
that I wept aloud pleading for his soul. Then I wept aloud pleading for yours, that’s you listening to me right now.
God is my witness today that these sermons are brought to you week by week soaked in my tears. Gods Harvest has already begun, one of these days YOU will stand before him to give an account of your life and particularly, a reason why you have rejected His Son, His Mercy and His Love? My heart is broken for you, for my Neighbours, for this Town, for this Country and for this World. Through my tears, I see that winepress and I see the blood of the dammed. If my cries to you fall on deaf ears, then my crying for you will not.
I was told once: “When you sow seeds in your garden, put them in a little water over-night, they will grow all the better for it.” So, if YOU have been sowing Spiritual and Heavenly seed, put those into your tears first, and it will make your seed germinate the better. The Bible says; “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.” ( Psalm 126:5)
Steep your seed in tears and then put it into the ground, and you shall reap in joy. No bird can devour that seed; no bird can hold it in its mouth. No worm can eat it, for worms never eat seeds that are sown in tears. When you weep the most, then it is that you sow the best. When most cast down, you are doing best. Go on, and in due season, by God’s mighty grace, you shall reap if you faint not. There is no doubt about it! For “He that goeth forth weeping, bearing precious seed, shall DOUBTLESS come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psalm 126:6 )
and may Almighty God have numbered You and Yours amongst his sheaves when the final Harvest is gathered in.