Plant: Life from Death

Plant: Life from Death

This morning, we continue our message series entitled, “Plant” where we are challenging ourselves to be more intentional about the Biblical life principle that we reap what we sow; we harvest what we plant. 

We want to plant the things of God both into our lives and into those around us.  We want to allow Him to develop and grow good roots within us which produce good fruits.

Galatians 6:7

Do not be deceived:

God cannot be mocked.

A man reaps what he sows.

Here is quite possibly the most challenging part about planting…

For me to reap and harvest anything from this seed, I first have to let go of it and bury it.  I have to do what seems illogical and unreasonable.  I need to shove it down in the dirt and walk away from it.

Essentially, I need to trust God with it by letting it completely go out of my hands and out of my control.

That’ll preach, right???

Paul explained this spiritual and life reality drawn from this reality found in nature here.  The spiritual often mirrors the physical and vice-versa.  After all, whether a plant seed, our natural lives, or our spiritual lives, God is the Creator of them all!

1 Corinthians 3:5-9

5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe – as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. 9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field

God is the only one who can make things grow. 

However, for Him to grow this seed, I have to place it completely and totally in His hands.  If I go back day after day digging it back up to see God is doing anything, it will not grow.  I need to bury it and then patiently trust that God will make it grow and to reach its full potential.

Growth requires faith and trust and patience and sacrifice.

It is a process and often an uncomfortable one.

If I hold onto this seed and safely store it away, it will never become anything more.  It will never, ever reach its full potential. 

I can hope and dream and pray and declare and proclaim and prophesy and do anything else that I can think of over this seed.  However, it will always remain only a seed until I let go of it and bury it.

We must let go of it and trust it into God’s hands.

We may be able to justify holding onto it and even label it as good stewardship.  However, God did not entrust us with this seed just to end up at the end of our life with the same seed in hand. 

Most of us are familiar with the parable of the talents and how it ends for the person who simply returns what was entrusted to them instead of growing and multiplying it.  Jesus said:

Matthew 25:26-30

26 … ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

28 “‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

God entrusted us with this seed so that we might cooperate with Him to break it free from its shell and to grow it and mature it so that it becomes fruitful and multiplies into many, many more seeds all able to do the same.

For this to happen with this seed, I have to let go of it and bury it.

Now to clarify, the wicked and lazy servant was the one who did this with their bag of gold.  They dug a hole and buried it. 

For those who aren’t aware, taking a bag of gold and burying it does not grow a money tree that produces more bags of gold.  Money just doesn’t grow on trees.  🙂  However, this does work for seeds!

Six different times in all four gospels, it is recorded that Jesus taught:

Matthew 10:39; Matthew 16:25; Mark 8:35; Luke 9:24; Luke 17:33; John 12:25

Whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.

For a seed to reach its full potential, it first has to be buried and die.  The seed dies so that the plant lives.  This is the only way for this transformation to happen.  This is the only way for a seed’s full potential to be unleashed.

This is true for us as well.  No, we don’t go out, dig a hole, and literally bury ourselves!

However, we do need to put our seed, our old fleshy selves, to death.  We need to crucify our old selves so that our new life transformation can take place.  We need to take up our cross so that our might roots develop.  We need to lose our life for Jesus, entrusting it totally and completely into His hands, so that it can be saved by Him.

Only then, when we put to death our flesh, can the Holy Spirit within us do a work of transformation to develop us into the new creation that God desires us to be!

Luke 9:23-25

23 Then Jesus said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?

Romans 8:12-15

12 …we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.

Colossians 3:1-10

1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

You have taken off your old self and have put on the new self; just like a seed shedding its shell and bursting forth into a radically transformed life!  You are being renewed in the image of your Creator!  You don’t need that old self with its old practices and old ways. 

I kind of like the picture that is painted by the way that this is translated in the message version of the Bible:

Colossians 3:9-10 (MSG)

9 …You’re done with that old life. It’s like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you’ve stripped off and put in the fire. 10 Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete.

Once we choose to follow Jesus, why would we ever want to turn back?  Once we’ve been set free from the bondage of sin, why would we ever want to return to it?  You are a new creation!  The old is gone and the new is here!

2 Corinthians 5:14-17

14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Too often, we count the cost, we view the loss, we consider the things of the flesh that we are giving up.

How depressing and foolish it would be if a farmer were to go around talking only about the thousands of seeds that they buried.  They once had sacks and sacks of seed, but now those sacks are all empty.  Now all that is left are field of dirt containing the carcasses of those seeds buried away in them.

The focus isn’t on some tragic loss of seed, but on the bounty of the coming harvest.  The sowing and planting of seed is merely a necessary investment made to produce a future harvest!  The sowing of the seed is hard work, but it is work done in faith and trust that it will not be done in vain, but done to grow and produce a bountiful harvest.

Psalm 126:5-6

5 Those who sow with tears
    will reap with songs of joy.
6 Those who go out weeping,
    carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
    carrying sheaves with them.

Our focus should not be on the hard work done to put our old selves to death, on crucifying our flesh.  Sure, it’s a necessary part of us reaching our full potential.  Sure, it’s a part of us living a full and abundant life in Christ. 

Our focus, however, should be on the new life that is emerging and the fruits of the Spirit that will be produced!  We focus not on the seed buried in the dirt, but on the new plant that is bursting forth and the fruitfulness that will be produced as it grows! 

This is what helps us to persevere and keep our faith through challenging times.  Though it may seem to be a season of loss and pain and suffering, it may very well end up just being a season of breaking through our cell and experiencing a whole new aspect of our lives in Christ!

After all, how could I know God as my healer and as the great Physician had I not experienced illness?  How could I know God as my provider unless the lack was greater than my natural resources?  How could I know Jesus as the Prince of Peace without going through an overwhelming season of chaos and confusion?

It may rain on the just and the unjust, but there is a radical difference in how we go through the storms of life.  Through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit within us, we emerge purified and strengthened; not just wet. 

What do we run the water coming into our homes through in order to purify and cleanse it?  Charcoal!  Dead, burned up wood.  Life comes from death!

This morning, let’s allow God to shift our perspective and thought process in regard to life.  We may go through seasons where we go out weeping, sowing in tears, sacrificially serving God and giving Him our all.  However, we will return with songs of joy!  We will receive a rich reward and a bountiful harvest!

Like burying a seed in the ground, we choose to put to death our old, fleshy selves.  We wholly surrender our lives to Christ trusting that when we do so, that He will rise us up into an abundant life as a new creation.  We trust that through the laying down of our lives, that we will be saved and reach our full potential.

Like the seed, we will be transformed into so much more than we ever could have been before.  We trust that God will grow and mature us and that we will produce a harvest of the fruits of the Spirit.

If God can take this tiny seed and grow it to become a full grown plant which becomes fruitful, bearing even more seeds to enable it to multiply from now until Jesus returns, think of what He can do through your life as you surrender it into His hands?