Sermon Transcript — October 25, 2003
Sow the Kingdom
by Mr. Richard Pinelli
About twelve years ago I had a unique funeral in a place just out of Terre Haute, Indiana. A
lovely lady who had been in the Church for many many years died and I had the opportunity to
do her funeral. But what was unique about it was the fact that I was one that was going to have
an epiphany. Now what an epiphany is simply a vision, a reality, it's not necessarily that you
have some vision like some people call it but a reality that sets in as a result of what happened
during that funeral service and service that proceeded afterward to be conducted. This particular
lady had...we did what we call a graveside funeral for her and as I opened up and what we did
was make a sermon that fit her particular situation, we talked about her, that her works would
follow her, we talked about how she had lived her life, some basic things, but the basic overall
sermon for all of the people that were around the casket was projecting toward the future. And I
talked about what the hope of the dead would be, talked about Job 14:14 — "If a man die, shall
he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait until my change come."
Beautiful scripture, fantastic concept about the way Job felt about the future. Job 19:25 said
another thing, he said, I know that my Redeemer lives, and in the latter days apart from my flesh,
I'm going to see God. So I talked about that, I talked about I Thess. 4, I talked about Revelation
21 and I was projecting everybody into the future and we had the committal prayer and then the
family outside of the Church members decided back a few days before that they wanted to have a
meeting at their church with their pastor and the families meeting together and we went and we
sat down and the pastor came out and he gave a short sermon in which he talked about the lady
and he talked a little bit about life and he talked a little bit about a number of things, some very
nice things that were said about the person. But it was most interesting then, they finished with
the sermon, the prayer and then we all sat down and had a discussion about the lady and her past,
who she was and the good things that she did and they spent the entire time there discussing all
of the things about the past. And I sat there and all of a sudden I began to realize, now I know,
it's not a question of heaven, it's not a question of hell, it's not a question of the immortality of
the soul that we're dealing with, we're dealing with purpose. We're dealing with a lack of ability
for them to project into something that is really a fantastic future. And so what they did was, they
spent almost the entire time talking about the past and I began to realize that the Church really
projects in a forward look about the future. It answers the questions, the hard questions of life
about who we are and all of these different things and it explains how this God that we serve is
going to bring forth a kingdom and a government and a way of life and it just made you realize
that as you preach to those people, they weren't getting it and when they went over to have
discussion they went from where we were in the future, they went to the past. That's no criticism,
please understand, they do what they felt they needed to do for the sake of the family and I
understand that. But I began to realize, it hit me very very hard that particular day, that the
Church of God really is aimed for the future — our purpose. Even when we have the funerals,
many that Mr. Smith has conducted, he said some very nice things about the people in our
Church here who have died and yet the whole overall thrust of that was to raise our eyes up to
see something that is going to occur in the future.
About nine years ago there was an article that was written in Cleveland, it was written in the
Cleveland Plain Dealer and I got a copy of that particular article back about 7 or 8 years ago and
it discussed the concept of where so many great people are in their lives and why they can't seem
to get it together in their lives personally. This particular article talked about two men, both of
these men are dead today — one of them was named Kurt Cobain. Many of you know who he is,
especially the younger people and for those of us who are oldsters like me, I will explain who he
is. For those of you who didn't live in the past, I'm going to talk about another man, his name was
Mickey Mantle and he was a baseball players in the 50's and into the early‘60's. But let me tell
you a little bit about these two men and then let me show you what this man said in this article
because I think it opens up what we need to understand as we move back into a world that we
have to live in for the next 365 or so days.
Kurt Cobain was a rock star, his band was called Nirvana. Rolling Stone magazine called him the
"John Lennon of his generation." Not everybody of course agreed with that. About 9 years ago
Kurt Cobain committed suicide, in fact this spring, in the month of April, Newsweek magazine
had another write up about him. Very interesting in what they had to say about this particular
gentleman. So he committed suicide, the reason given for his committing suicide is that he felt
bad all the time, he was severely depressed. Some said he was out of his mind with sadness, drug
addiction and more. Some of his fans called him their "poet of hopelessness." Newsweek
magazine wrote the following of him: "Few stars were ever more uneasy with fame than Cobain.
One rock musician was quoted as saying, ‘I'm glad he's dead, I've been struggling all my life to
get where he got and he throws it away. I have no sympathy' the man said.
Now Mickey Mantle was a professional baseball player. I can remember him as a superstar when
I was in high school. I remembered how a fantastic a hitter he was. He was what we call one of
the pure hitters of baseball. He and Ted Williams and George Brett and a few others like that
were just fantastic baseball players. Some felt that these were the only men who could ever hit
400 in baseball and of course they came very close and I think Ted Williams did at one particular
time. Now I'm not a Yankee fan. In Chicago we called them the "_____Yankees" and you can
fill in the blank if you wish, but we didn't care too much for them but you have to say you have
to love to watch some of these people play baseball. He was on the cover of Sports Illustrated in
1994 and he was not honored for his baseball heroics, he was highlighted in an article he wrote
entitled, "I Was Killing Myself, My Life as an Alcoholic." In his story Mickey described 42
years of abusing his liver through alcohol abuse. He and a fellow Yankee by the name of Billy
Martin, another sports figure of course that many people knew back in those days before he died
in an automobile wreck, would begin their days with what they called "The breakfast of
champions." Not Wheaties and of course those of you who know that used to be called the great
breakfast cereal, the breakfast of champions. He wasn't referring to that, it was a drink made by
mixing brandy, kaluha and cream. Then they had wine for lunch, vodka for dinner and then the
two of them got on with some serious boozing after that.
Now Mantle went on to describe how he used drinking to try to fill the emptiness and the
loneliness in his life. He started abusing alcohol at age 19 to mask the pain and the loss of his
father. He drank to try to overcome shyness at personal appearances and basically to keep any
serious thoughts out of his head. I want you to remember that statement in just a moment because
I'm going to quote from an article that I think is important to us as we begin this new year. He
used alcohol to protect himself from reality. He experienced deep depression and often became
overwhelmed at the expectations of being Mickey Mantle. He wrote that he didn't think he ever
blew a game because he was drunk or hung over, but he admitted drinking shortened his career.
The article said Mickey went on to go to Betty Ford Center for help with his alcoholism and he
was sober and he recovered. The sad part about it is that he died from liver failure.
Both of these men were considered very successful in their field. What does it say about us as we
begin to evaluate success, as we begin a whole new year? I'd like to evaluate that because I
believe Michael Heaton from the Cleveland Plain Dealer, who wrote this article that I'd like to
share with you this afternoon, really makes some very interesting points and I'd like you to listen
closely to what he said as he highlights it. He said: "Some of us have fantasized about being a
music star or sports hero, the wealth, the fame, the advantages of having all the money and the
popularity. We may have had ideas about what our life might have been like if we were only
lucky enough to realize our wildest dreams, whether it was winning the lottery or winning an
Oscar. Many of us have thought in the back of our minds that success, huge success would free
us from work, stress, concerns and pain of daily existence. From reading about Cobain and
Mantle, maybe success isn't all that it's cracked up to be. In fact, maybe it's just the opposite. We
ought to consider the possibility that success can be a killer because once we've obtained all the
world has to offer, we might find that it still is not enough. Perhaps the scariest realization of all
is that it doesn't solve the problem of being human. It doesn't solve the problem of being human
and being human means doing the hard work involved in finding out who are you, finding out
why you're here and finding out where you're going. These are the three large questions that we
have to answer eventually if we're ever going to have any peace. The option is to spend your life
avoiding those questions and the world provides all the distractions you could ask for." I think
the man has a very interesting insight into some most unusual things about human nature. He
said, "You and I have to eat and wear clothes and find a place to sleep, we have to provide for
our families, we have to support our communities, we have to play and we have to rest and all of
these things suck up our time and energy and take our minds off the big three questions — Who
am I? Why am I here? And where am I going?" Going on he said: "But the questions are always
there and they're always nagging us, they can be forgotten, but only temporarily. That's why
when people achieve the kind of success that most others only dream of and all of the daily
grubbing for rent and food is no longer a problem, they suddenly have all the time in the world to
ponder the questions, who am I, why am I here and where am I going?" He goes on to say that:
"And maybe that's when they start drinking and drugging and doing whatever they can to lose
themselves in the world again. That room at the top may not be as luxurious and comfortable as
we might imagine. It might just be a great place to leap from."
I think he made some profound insights into the problems that we face as human beings. But I
began to realize as I saw that funeral and I saw the needs of those people and the reality of what
they didn't have, made me realize, how fantastic is our future as the people of God.
Who are we? I think we understand that, we are beings created by God in His image, we are of
great value. Right now we're lower than the angels, we're physical human beings. But once given
immortality, we will be greater than the angels. When you asked the question, why are we here?
God is building a family, we're here to develop close and loving relationships with God and with
Christ and obviously with one another, but the thing we have to understand is that we are here to
also learn to obey God and learn His ways and prepare for something that is very important,
which we just observed, Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles and Last Day and that is the
preparation for the kingdom of God.
Where are we going? Into the kingdom of God, into the thousand years, into eternity as children
of God, everything we see, the beauty, the design, the order, everything is a part of the life that
God says was created with this end in mind. Knowing the answers to the big three questions is a
generous gift from God. God's holy days keep us focused because it answers those questions that
we faced at Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles and Last Great Day. I think one of the most
interesting things is that the Last Great Day of the Feast, those two men will come up in the
resurrection and there will be answers, not only from us but from other people who have learned
the very same thing. They will be taught the answers to the questions that they never had the
ability to understand. I'd like you to turn with me to the book of Ecclesiastes for just a moment.
Ecc. 2 and take a look at what is written here in the book of Ecclesiastes 2. We read about the
man Solomon. Solomon, in writing the book of Ecclesiastes is simply showing us that there is a
way of life that human beings can follow just as Solomon did — he was a man that had
everything; he had every pleasure in life that you could ask for, he did everything, there was
nothing that he withheld from himself and we realize that he had a tremendous life as a human
being, as a human king. In fact, he had probably the greatest number of experiences but the book
of Ecclesiastes then brings us to the full reality that there are limitations. This physical life, even
life fully full of physical blessings has its limitations and therefore we recognize that the struggle
of humanity is seen in the book of Ecclesiastes. You can read the first chapter and you can see
where the whole process, the whole concept of law and order is being shown to us and the
overall thing that nothing physical in the world that we live in really satisfies for very long.
We recognize that nothing physical really is lasting, we recognize that there are laws of
diminishing returns as we read the first chapter into the second chapter because human beings
simply cannot sustain the type of thing that happens once, you cannot continue to do that, God
just simply didn't make it possible for us to have that. In verse 12 of chapter 2 he said:
Ecc. 2:12 — I turn myself to behold wisdom and madness and folly; for what can a man do that
comes after the king? Because he's done everything — that's what he's saying....even that which
has been done.
V. 13-14— And I saw that wisdom exceeds folly as far as life excels darkness. The wise man's
eyes are in his head but the fool walks in darkness. And I myself perceive also that one event
happens to them all.
He said ultimately whether you're a wise man or a fool, we both go to the same place, the same
event occurs to both of them. He said in V. 15:
V. 15-16 — Then I said in my heart, "As happens to the fool, so happens even to me and why
was I then more wise?" And I said in my heart, "This is also futility." There is no more
remembrance of the wise more than of the fool, forever seeing that which is in the days to come
shall be forgotten. And how dies the wise man? As the fool!
V. 17 — Therefore I hated life because the work that it wrought under the sun is grievous unto
me for all is futility...or we use the term, temporal, it is not lasting...all is a vexation of spirit.
And when you look at people like the two men that I mentioned, you begin to realize that you
amplify that by billions and billions of human beings because the answers are not there for them.
Understanding God's plan, we appreciate it during this Feast of Tabernacles more fully, the need
to rejoice at the Feast. The 1,000 years that we observed in the 8 days plus the Great White
Throne Judgment period, Christ's rule over the earth, wonderful time. But even then, God never
intended for this physical life to be an end in itself, but a means to an end for all of us as God's
people. What they are simply, as we look at the 1,000 years in the second resurrection, they are
not our ultimate goal, they're stepping-stones to the goal that we have. This physical life was
intended to be the training grounds for eternal life in the kingdom of God. Solomon's life and all
that he had in this physical life demonstrated that the physical life cannot, with all of its
advantages and all if its pleasures, cannot simply satisfy the deep cravings of human beings. It
still leaves a person empty inside.
hysical life, even at its best, has so much to offer and no more. It was designed that way, it
simply was designed that way and people like Cobain and Mantle learned, as we say, by the hard
sad experience. Many people have put all of their energies and their talents and dreams into
being a success and there's nothing wrong with doing that, that's not my point. It's not wrong to
be successful, it's not wrong to have the drives and the energies to succeed, that's not my point.
My point is simply that when you have all of those things they do not come to a finality, you do
not get the answers that need to be understood among us and that is, who are we, where are we
going etc. etc.
Those are the things that we have to look at in evaluating the big three questions as we go back
out into the world that we're going to live in for approximately 365 days.
What about us? We've been called by God, we've been given understanding of those three
questions, the question is, are we investing only in this life or are we also investing in the life to
come? What is your pattern of life now that you've moved away from the Feast? What is your
pattern of life? I think we need to evaluate and look at that. We received a wonderful sermon on
the last afternoon of the Feast by Mr. Clyde Kilough. In there he talked about three basic
principles, he talked about vision, he talked about commitment and he talked about sacrifice.
That tape will probably be available in a few weeks, but I think it was one of the most profound
concepts that you could ask for because vision, commitment and sacrifice are very much a part
of what we're going to talk about today in the sermon in the time that we have left.
The question is, are we investing our time, our daily efforts and our energies in being able to
understand the vision and the commitment and the sacrifice that we are going to have to make to
be a part of that particular kingdom? Is this a part of our eternal future? I think we would say
absolutely. Putting it another way, are we sowing everything just in this life alone or are we
sowing for our life in God's kingdom? I think that's where we have to go, we are either sowing
life in this life alone or we're sowing for the kingdom and I think there has to be a balance in all
of this as human beings and we have to evaluate what we need to be doing. Let's go to II
Corinthians 9 and look at a principle that is most important to understanding a law that God put
in motion for the good of all mankind. II Cor. 9:6 — we use this in dealing with holy day
offerings and talking about giving. But chapter nine and verse six I believe is a very unbreakable
living law. Notice what it says:
II Cor. 9:6 — But this I say, "He which sows sparingly shall reap also sparingly and he which
sows bountifully shall reap bountifully."
Now he's talking about giving in the sense of what he was dealing with with the Corinthians but
I'd like to simply take that law and talk a little bit about it as a promise from God in an overall
way of life. We have to ask the question, Are we sowing in this life for this life or are we sowing
for the kingdom of God? In reality what we begin to realize is that we reap much more than we
sow. We actually reap much more than we sow because if you've ever planted a garden or
planted seeds and noticed farming, you will see this principle at work everywhere.
Some years ago when I was very young and that's in the very distant past you know, I remember
just as a little boy, my grandfather who lived downstairs from us gave me a little plot of land, it
was probably somewhere around 20 x 14 or 20 x 12, something like that. But it was that rich
dark black soil like we had in Chicago, it's the kind my uncle used to say, after I played in it that
he described me as noise with dirt on it, as a little kid you know, because we were always just in
the dirt all the time. But it was beautiful rich deep loam, it was a fantastic place to plant and in
the spring of the year what I would do is I would get the Velveeta boxes, now of course that
dates me doesn't it because Velveeta hasn't put a wooden box together for years to put their
cheese in, but back in those days we'd get two or three of these boxes and I would take a seed
and I would take my little finger and push it down and then a second one and a third one and I
would plant seeds in there, cover them over and then I would water them and put them in the
window about February — March and they began to grow and out of each one would come forth
a plant. Then I would take them out once the winter time would pass and I'd put them in the
garden and my grandfather showed me how to do that and as I started growing up I began to
watch something most interesting and that is I saw the fruit of that one little seed produced on the
beautiful vines that produced dozens and dozens and dozens of wonderful tomatoes. There are
two things in life that I love — chocolate is first and number two, tomatoes, those homegrown
tomatoes and the only place you can really grow homegrown tomatoes and I will argue with
anybody on this, is the Midwest because they are absolutely gorgeous. But the point was, I
learned to do that.
Now we moved to Kansas City when my wife and I came down from Canada, we couldn't grow
tomatoes up in Canada because there wasn't a season that you could actually grow them in the
way you could down in the Midwest. We moved to Kansas City and so I said, "I want to plant
some tomatoes Mary." And she said, Oh all right, fine. So I went out and I got twelve plants and
my wife said, "What in the world are you doing with twelve plants, we won't be able to eat them
all." She was right! I ended up, on literally every one of those vines; about 75 tomatoes grew on
each one of those. If you figured about 25-40 seeds in each one of those tomatoes, 75 times 40,
you had almost 3,000 seeds in every plant that I had there and the huge sowing and the fantastic
reaping that came, the multiple of that, was just absolutely awesome. Well the bible says here
that he which sows sparingly shall reap sparingly and he that sows bountifully shall reap
bountifully. Now the church members got the advantage of all that because we ended up bringing
in for the widows and those who didn't have gardens, we'd bring in boxes and boxes and boxes
and boxes! The only other thing you have to be careful of is growing zucchini, I will tell you that
that, when they get out of hand you're in trouble because you get them when they're about this
big and they're very nice but when they get to be about the size of a rowboat, then you know,
they're pretty hard to take to church and zucchini, for whatever reason, we Italians like tomatoes
and zucchini, so nevertheless the problem was how do you try to work the two together and the
end result was we had far too much and we enjoyed giving them away to everybody.
But the principle is simply found here that we harvest and we harvested and we harvested during
that period of time. The same thing you do with potatoes. You don't just reap one potato in the
harvest, what you do is you take one eye, you put that down in the ground and from that one eye
you may get somewhere in the neighborhood of 25-40 potatoes and harvest dozens and dozens
and dozens. Farmers plant one bushel of wheat and they may harvest 25 or 50 bushels of wheat
from that one bushel. Up in Canada we used to have some fantastic harvests of wheat because
that was a country where the ground would just open up, it was virgin country and I saw for the
first time in my life, number one wheat, I never saw anything quite like it, it was just an
awesome grain when you saw what it was because it was produced in a land that was so fertile
just like it was back in the days when we were in Chicago.
So we recognize that we have an accurate analogy that as Christians, you and I are in partnership
with God, very much like a farmer. To have a strong healthy relationship with God it takes effort
doesn't it? The same is true of sowing the kingdom of God. What we're doing is doing the very
same thing, it involves effort, it involves sacrifice, it involves simply the work and the
development as a human being. And since we've been given answers to the three big questions, I
think we use this sermon, in this sense of the word, to transition back into a world that we simply
need to consider some of these things today as we sow the kingdom of God as members of the
church. So I would like to cover four basic ways that we can sow the kingdom. You know God
does in many many ways show that by the efforts of man in a very small way, He turns around
and He gives to man a tremendous increase and I think we in the church recognize that just as the
farmer has his part, we have our part and even though he plows and he cultivates and he fertilizes
and he harvests, yet his increase comes by God's graciousness, by God's mercy, by God's
generosity, not by his efforts in that sense of the word because God made the seed capable of
reproducing the plant from which it comes, God made the soil, God made the process by which
that comes about and so what we're going to see today is what we're doing as members of God's
church, we're sowing — and we're sowing with purpose, we're sowing with the reality of who we
are and we're sowing with where we're going and why we're here and what we need to be
understanding about that.
Number one, let's go over to Matthew 22:36. We start here in Matt. 22 because it is the
beginning place, it is the ending place of all sowing that must be done. This is Matt. 22, as we
move from the Feast, we come back to some pretty basic principles that God tells us here in
Matt. 22:36 that we should follow.
Matt. 22:36 — "Master, which is the great commandment in the law?"
Number one - Our foundational purpose, our foundational way of sowing seed is going to be
found in this:
V. 37 — And Jesus said unto him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with
all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment."
Making this our goal, asking God for help in doing it, desiring to this more than anything else is
the foundational concept of sowing the kingdom of God. It is sowing a relationship with this
great being that is going to allow us to reap benefits in this life and in the world to come. Now I
want you to go to Matthew 6 with me for just a moment because it shows you that one of the
things that we do is to pray. Notice the foundational attitude that we find here in Matt. 6:6-10,
notice what Jesus said, He said:
Matt. 6:6 — "But when you pray, enter into your closet and when you have shut your door, pray
to your Father which is in secret and your Father which sees in secret, shall reward you openly."
There are three times that this is mentioned, once in prayer, once in fasting and once in giving.
What we see is that you have to have feedback to find out where you are with this great being,
you have to have a continuous, ongoing relationship with Him that continues to be built up and
so what we recognize here is that for everything you do there is a recompense, there is a reward
and so Jesus said, "Your Father which sees in secret shall reward you openly." Now that is in the
manuscripts of the Greek, the 4,000 manuscripts of the Greek even though some of the more
modern translations do not have it, because He's trying to show us that when we live —
1. When we live to please God, then we recognize that there is a reward. When you sow
sparingly, you reap sparingly. When you sow bountifully, you reap bountifully; this is what He is
talking about in this particular case. Notice V. 7:
V. 7 — "But when you pray, don't use vain repetitions as the heathen do, for they think they shall
be heard for their much speaking. Be you not like unto them for your Father knows what things
you have need of before you ask Him."
V. 9 — "After this manner therefore pray...showing the overall outline that He's given us... ‘Our
Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.'"
Now we recognize that that's what we're talking about in Matthew 22, you love the Lord your
God with all of your heart, with all of your soul and with all of your mind. That is a mouthful,
there is no way that humanly we can do that without divine intercession, there is no way that you
can ultimately come to that because human beings are so full of self that they only give God,
what we describe as lip service, they give Him only this type of thing because in reality they give
Him a few seconds of that and then they say, Now let's get to my problem. But I think if you stop
and begin to evaluate everything from that perspective, you begin to see a self-less approach that
begins to develop with a human being. But human beings have to begin to realize that you are
now seeking to do something which is normally, humanly, impossible to do without God's spirit
making it possible for you to love God with all of your heart, with all of your soul and with all of
your mind. Desiring to do this more than anything else is the number one point that I'm making
today. You have to live to please God; you have to learn to live to please God. Notice V. 9:
V. 9-10 — He said "After this manner you pray, "Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be
Thy name." And now... "Thy kingdom come..."
So we begin to recognize that you evaluate in prayer your way of life, something that is very
important. You and I don't look at the past in the same way that other people do, we look to the
future. Why we observe the Passover is because we look not only to the now but to the future.
Why do we observe Pentecost? Because we look to the now but we also look to the future.
Trumpets? Again, the same thing, because you're looking to both of those things but the ultimate
end is the future. So He says here:
V. 10 - "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven."
So this prayer is an investment. I wonder if you've ever read over in Revelation 5 that a period of
time is going to come at the end when the prayers of the saints are going to be poured out of
vials, these little bottles that are going to be filled full of the prayers of the saints — it's called
incense. But it's interesting to note, how does the bottle get filled? How does the vial get filled?
It has to be by continuous, ongoing investment in prayer. I'm not talking about time, I'm not
talking about many words, I'm talking about the fact that in this relationship that vial is filled up
and then at the time of the end, God begins to pour that out and it becomes a sweet incense, a
sweet savor to Him of the attitude of those who are living at a time when they have to be
You know I told you before in the sermon that I gave several weeks ago, you cannot, you cannot
make it on someone else's oil, you simply can't. What you have to do is you have to realize that
you have to have both the lamp and the flask in order to make it. You've got to continuously fill
that flask. It's the same way with prayer, it's an investment, it's a way to sow the kingdom. When
you get up in the morning, to seek God's presence and guidance for the day. I know in the
wintertime the bed is warm and it feels like a gigantic magnet that's drawing you to stay in there,
but the point is that we're sowing the kingdom when you get up to pray. It is an exercise in what
Mr. Kilough talked about as sacrifice or to put another word to it that he also gave, discipline. So
we recognize the importance of this particular thing as we look at v. 9 and 10. Now fasting is the
same thing, the fasting that we have to strengthen and deepen our relationship with God, to learn
what God wants us to do, not trying to do or coerce Him into doing what we wish is sowing the
kingdom, it's investing in the kingdom and you realize what it says when you go to the rest of the
section here on fasting in v. 18, it simply says that:
V. 18 — "...your Father which sees in secret shall reward you openly."
Now we're not talking about the times that you're fasting, how many times did you fast this last
year, that's not the question. The question is, what did you do in investing in this fast? That's
basically what He's talking about and I think that's what we have to be looking on, relying upon
God to solve a problem that humanly we are powerless to solve sometimes. Just like other
people, they set aside the time, we need to set aside the time as well to do that very thing. Notice
v. 14 of Matt. 6, notice what it says:
Matt. 6:14 — "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will forgive you, but
if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."
So we realize when we forgive someone who has hurt us or perhaps is still hurting us, we
recognize that we are also sowing the kingdom. So you have two things here in life, you have
your physical life that you have to sow to and you have your spiritual life that you have to sow
to, there has to be a balance, I understand that. But I'm saying to you that when your eyes are
open to the reality of who you are and why you are and where you're going, it's important that we
operate from that premise and keep that foremost in our mind. As many people talk about being
focused. Notice over in Galatians 6:7, we are simply investing in this way of life and as you
invest in the kingdom of God, this is what he says will happen. This is Gal. 6:7, you've read this
scripture many many times, I'm just giving it to you from another perspective, from another point
Gal. 6:7 — Don't be deceived. God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also
This is that law, this is the principle that if you sow sparingly, you'll reap sparingly, if you sow
the wrong thing, you're going to sit down to a banquet of consequences that you're not going to
like. Over the years I have watched that law in effect. It doesn't happen right away, but I will tell
you, it does have its interesting comeback, sometimes it takes one, five, ten, twenty, thirty or
forty years, but it does come back, it is a living law. Notice what it says:
V. 8 — He that sows to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption but he that sows to the spirit
shall of the spirit reap life everlasting. So it's an investment.
Now let me tell you a story that you probably have heard before but I'd like to share it again
because it has to do with an important principle. It has to do with a story that was told some
years ago, I heard it in God's church several times, you probably have too. It's a story about the
dust bowl in the 1930's when a man was traveling a long seldomly-used trail in the western
desert. He got very tired, he got very thirsty, he didn't realize that how far he had to go or travel
before he could find some kind of relief and he came upon an old water pump near an abandoned
shack. It was his only hope for water for miles around. The story goes like this — the man found
a tin can wired to the handle of the pump. Inside the tin can he found a note and the note read as
follows: "This pump is all right as of June 1932, I put a new leather washer into it and it ought to
last for five years but the washer dries out and the pump has got to be primed. Under a white
rock I buried a bottle of water out of the sun and the lid firmly fixed. There is just enough water
in the bottle to prime the pump but not if you drink some first." Think about that! How thirsty
have you ever been at times? You know sometimes you can't do anything but grab that bottle and
start sucking, you know what I'm talking about, it's just drink it all down as fast as you can go.
So he goes on to say, "But there is just enough water in the bottle to prime the pump, but not if
you drink some first. Pour about _ of the water into the pump to let the leather handle soak and
soften, then pour the rest medium fast and pump the handle quickly. You'll get water; the well
has never gone dry even in the worst of times. Have faith. When you get all of the water you
need, refill the bottle, put it where you found it for the next fellow who comes along." Signed,
Desert Pete. "P.S. Don't go drinking up the water first, prime the pump with it and you'll get all
the water you can hold."
Now let's talk about investing for just a moment. This is scary stuff, I mean think about it just for
a moment, put yourself in the traveler's shoes — what would you have done? Would you have
drunk the bottle of water? Would you say, who in the world is Cactus Pete? What would you
have done with it? Stop and think about it, how could this possibly be? You've got this bottle of
water, you've got the now, but then you ask the question, but what about the future? Would you
invest it by pouring it into the pump? What is your pattern of life as a human being? Do we think
of the future as we go through our daily activities? Do we review regularly the answers to the
three questions, who we are, why we're alive and where we're going? I think it's a part of what
we have to do. You can't drop those things after the holy days brethren, you just simply can't.
You have to be thinking about them, you have to be thinking in terms of sowing for our future or
do we think in the terms of here and now? I think that is the question.
Mr. Kilough said we need vision, we need commitment and we need sacrifice or discipline, then
that's where this story comes into play. Are we willing to pour it all into something we don't see
yet? I'm told the story is true, I'm not sure, but I just simply will say that's what I heard, that it
was true. Are we like him who had to invest the immediate bottle of water in order to reap more
water? He hadn't seen the pump work, he needed faith. Can we be comfortable living by faith?
Investing in the kingdom? There was plenty of water in the well but he had to prime the pump in
order to have access to it. Or do we sometimes say, Do I want to do that or do I want to live in
the now? I think that's a question that we have to ask. Over in Psalm 126, let's go over there for
just a moment. This is a prophecy of the world tomorrow but Psalm 126 shows us the concept
that I'm talking about.
Psa. 126:1 — When the Lord returned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream.
Then was our mouth filled with laughter and our tongue with singing. Then said they among the
heathen, "The Lord has done great things for them, the Lord has done great things for us,
whereof we are glad."
V. 4 — Turn again our captivity, O Lord, as the streams in the south. They that sow in tears shall
reap in joy. What he is saying in essence is sometimes you don't get what you want now, it has to
V. 6 — He that goes forth weeping, bearing precious seed shall doubtless come again, rejoicing,
bringing his sheaves with him.
So that's what's going to happen in the world tomorrow, the future, the positive aspect of it. I
think we can say everybody has trials, everybody has troubles, everybody has grief, everybody
has suffering and sadness, I think that's a fact of life, isn't it? But I think we recognize that if
we're willing to suffer for God's sake now, suffer some of these things now, you really are
sowing the kingdom of God. The apostle Paul said this, he said, "You have not yet resisted unto
blood, striving against sin." So we recognize that we as God's people simply are having to deal
with some of the things through the next 365 days that you need to keep your mind on the big
three questions in life. Genesis 4:6, this is the story about Cain after we see the terrible problem
that he had with his attitude and in v. 6 it says:
Gen. 4:6 — And the Lord said unto Cain, "Why are you angry and why is your countenance
fallen? If you do well, shall you not be accepted? And if you don't do well, sin lies at the door
and unto you shall be its desire and you shall master it."
Very simply talking about mastering the nature of a human being. Have you ever stopped to
think that when one quits smoking that they are pleasing God, they are sowing the kingdom,
have you ever thought about when one quits abusing alcohol, or quits abusing people by losing
their temper, that they're sowing the kingdom?
I think it's most interesting to realize that every time you do that good deed, you are literally
putting one more seed in the ground and from that you will reap, what the bible says, more than
just a multitude, you will reap a tremendous harvest as a result of doing that. Point two -this has
been covered a little bit by the sermonette today.
2. We sow the kingdom by keeping the commandments.
When you keep God's commandments you simply sow the kingdom. The righteousness of each
one of us is to exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees, Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount.
God desires that we do more than faithfully observe every detail of the letter of the law. He
wants us to fully grasp and practice the spiritual intent and purpose of His law. It becomes a
matter not just of the letter, but of the spirit, motivated by a deep love and respect toward God
and responding as a result of His love and His mercy toward us. The bible records many
examples of men, women and teenagers who sowed the kingdom by the way they lived their
lives daily. They now have it made; you can read Hebrews 11 as one example of that. I think if
you and I sow the kingdom just as they did, we will inherit eternal life in the kingdom of God.
Abraham did it, Isaac did it and many other individuals. Joseph was a good example; he sowed
the kingdom when he obeyed God by refusing to commit fornication with Potiphar's wife. David
sowed the kingdom when he admitted his mistakes and didn't repeat them again. That's sowing
the kingdom, that's putting that seed in the ground in a positive way that is going to bear the fruit
that it's going to bear. Tenfold, twenty-fold, thirty-fold, a hundred fold, the bible talks about
those terms many many times.
When our young people chose to stay home on Friday night to honor the Sabbath instead of
going to a game, a dance or a party, they're sowing the kingdom because they're doing the right
thing and that is putting a seed in the ground for the future in that sense of the word. When you
tithe faithfully to God, regardless of the circumstances, you're sowing the kingdom of God, it's
just simply keeping the commandments is one way that you sow the kingdom.
3. The third way we sow the kingdom is by serving others.
Let's go over to I Corinthians 15 for just a moment. I think we find here in I Cor. 15 a most
interesting principle that we don't talk about too often but I'd like to share with you a little bit in I
Cor. 15 a principle.
I Cor. 15:35-36 — He said, Some men will say, "How are the dead raised up? And with what
body do they come?" You fool! That which you sow is not quickened except it die.
Have you ever stopped to think about the concept of reaping tomatoes? That when that seed goes
into the ground it has to die. And when you plant that tomato seed it has to die or cease to be, in
that sense of the word, a seed and therefore in order to get a plant that will produce many
tomatoes, it literally has to die. The apostle Paul said, I die daily. The apostle Paul said day by
day we have to die. Jesus talked about how we have to take up our cross daily and follow Him
and I think you have to realize that one of the most important things is that you have to begin to
look at yourself as a servant that is giving yourself, not to please yourself, but to please others
and to give yourself as a sacrifice in need to other human beings.
We need to teach our children God's values and principles of life and as we do that, we sow the
seeds of the kingdom. I think we see this with Timothy, when Timothy had a mother and a
grandmother named Lois and Eunice and they sowed the kingdom when they taught Timothy
and their children God's way of life. And I think that is very important that we realize, that every
time we do those things we are simply showing that we are sowing the kingdom of God.
Jesus said simply in Matthew 25, you can read it for yourself, that when you serve others, it's just
like doing it to Him, and that is a question I think that we always have to face as we live this life
and serve God, how do we do that? Let's go to point #4.
4. We sow the kingdom by simply being patient.
I think we live in a society that everything is so active, so fast, so instant today that it's very hard
to wait. It is a problem being patient. But Jesus said the following in Luke 21:19, you don't need
to turn there, but just listen to what He said:
Luke 21:19 — "In your patience, possess you your souls."
He said at the time of the end that you simply have to realize that when you sow the kingdom of
God, one of the great qualities that you develop is being patient. Hebrews, the entirety of the
book, talks about two specific things — patience and faith. You do have to learn to wait.
Sometimes we don't always have answers but the truth is what Benjamin Disraeli said is true. He
said, "Everything comes if only a man will wait." That is a truism. Someone once said, and I
don't know if it's true or not but I think it's probably true because of what you understand of what
he said. "You can do anything if you have patience, you can even carry water in a sieve. All you
have to do is wait until the water freezes and then you can carry it in a sieve!" But the point is
you have to wait for it to freeze.
The question that you face is how do you respond to the many things that you have to face in the
world today — rude drivers, crabby salesclerks, whining children, all of those things. We have to
struggle to maintain control around certain types of people. God wants us to simply learn to sow
patience and it's a very difficult thing. Let's go over to Colossians 3 for a moment. Col. 3:12.
(You're getting tired because you're not turning very fast! I can hear you!) He said:
Col. 3:12 — Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies,
kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness and longsuffering;
V. 13 — Forbearing one another and forgiving one another if any man have a quarrel against
any, even as Christ forgave you, so do you as well.
So we recognize that we learn patience with all types of situations, with all types of
circumstances, with all types of people. But again, it's a part of keeping the vision; committing
yourself to the vision and sacrificing some of the things that you have to sacrifice or discipline
yourself. The children of Israel talked many times about their soul waiting. David talked about,
"I wait upon the Lord" — concepts like that which have to do with faith and patience. But I'd like
to take you to Psalm 73 and take a look at this because I believe this is an interesting Psalm.
Psalm 37 answers to Psalm 73. Psalm 73 is David speaking; Psalm 73 is Asaph, who was a
Levite and apparently also a singer. But over in Psalm 73 we read a little bit about Asaph and his
problems that he faced in live. Let's notice Psa. 73, beginning in v. 1:
Psa. 73:1 — Truly God is good to Israel, even to such who are of a clean heart...true
principle...but as for me, my feet were almost gone, my steps had well nigh slipped for I was
envious at the foolish when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
Then he begins to explain how in the world that he lived in, he dedicated himself to God's way of
life but yet when he did dedicate himself to God's way of life, he saw the foolish getting away
with murder — he saw them doing things and it wasn't fair. He was saying, Life's not fair,
because they're getting away with all of these things and he said they had goods, they have an
easy time, life is not treating them in the same way that it is treating me! And dropping down to
V. 12-13 — These are the ungodly who prosper in the world, they increase in riches. Verily I
have cleansed my heart in vain; I have washed my hands in innocency.
He said, I was doing all of these things, I was doing the thing that was right, I was fasting, I was
praying, I was doing what the will of God said I should be doing, but he said:
V. 14 — But all the day long have I been plagued and chastened every morning. There are times
when you feel that way; it's a very difficult time, from time to time when you have difficulties
and struggles. He goes on to say:
V. 15 — If I say, "I will speak thus," behold, I should offend against the generation of your
children. When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me. And it is sometimes, sometimes
life's not fair, no one ever said it would be. But notice what he said:
V. 17 — Until I went into the sanctuary of God, then I understood their end.
When you have, when you leave the Feast of Tabernacles, that vision, you commit yourself to
that vision and you simply have to discipline yourself to do the right thing because in the end you
will reap what you sow, if you keep those things in mind. Notice what he said:
V. 18 — You surely did set them in slippery places, you cast them down to destruction. How are
they brought into desolation, as in a moment, they are utterly consumed.
V. 21 — Thus my heart was grieved and I was pricked in my reins, so foolish was I and ignorant,
I was as a beast before you. To put it another way, Boy was I stupid!
That's what he was saying because sometimes when you get down and you get discouraged, you
forget the ultimate end of all things and you've got to go back to that. Then he goes on to say:
V. 23-25 — Nevertheless I am continually with You; You have held me by my right hand, You
shall guide me with Your counsel and afterward receive me to glory. Who have I in heaven
beside You? There is none that I desire beside You.
V. 28 — But it is good for me to draw near to God, I have put my trust in the Lord God that I
may declare all of Your works.
So Asaph saw the wicked prosper, but he also had to come back to the vision that he had and the
understanding of the ultimate end, to where we as God's people sigh and cry for the
abominations as we see them, we groan and we hope for something better. We have to have that
patience, as the book of Hebrews emphasizes, that faith that the book of Hebrews emphasizes, in
order to develop the patience and to have that continuous clear picture even when you're facing
some very grave and difficult times. Let's go to Romans 8:28, a scripture that we all know. But
I'd like to read what a man said, a commentator, said about this particular verse. You know it by
heart; I'd like to read it, as it really is understood.
Rom. 8:28 — And we know that all things work together for a good end to them that love God,
to them who are called according to His purpose.
Sometimes the good doesn't happen right away, sometimes you have to, in patience, continue to
sow the kingdom, but in the end, it will be done. Listen to what one writer said about Romans
8:28, he said: " We will never become patient till the truth becomes more than a cliché to us.
When tempted to act hastily...without patience — you know...or to wallow in self-pity and
bitterness as Asaph began to do, we need to argue with ourselves about what God has revealed
about Himself. We can only have a basis for peace when we are convinced that the Creator of the
universe holds our frustrations with our job, the development of our children and the medical
problems, close to His heart, that He cares and He understands suffering. We can have a basis for
patience when we are convinced that someone wise and powerful is acting on our behalf behind
the closed doors."
I thought that was a priceless comment. I'd like to conclude by turning to I Corinthians 15:58
about patience. It's a scripture here in I Cor. 15:58 and it's talked about in other places, but I
think it tells us that these four concepts and principles are so very important as we come back
from the Feast to continue to remember and have before us, the vision, the commitment, the
discipline, the sacrifice and the reality that what we're doing is sowing the kingdom of God.
I Cor. 15:58 — Therefore, my beloved brethren, be you steadfast, unmovable, always abounding
in the work of the Lord. For as much as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
There are probably a dozen other scriptures that say the same thing. But a friend of mine told me
the following, this is what he said: "Marathon runners come to a point that they can hardly put
one foot in front of the other but if they keep at it, their energy seems to be replenished." Then he
quoted to me from a book entitled The Complete Book of Running and this is what it says: "Over
the years there has been a lot of argument about whether there really is a such a thing as second
wind. There is. Dr. Roy Shepherd reports that when researchers questioned 20 students at one
minute intervals during a hard 20 minute work-out, 18 said their breathing improved after awhile
and 14 said that their legs felt better." I thought that was interesting because Christians are
running the spiritual race. We reflect the same experience. Getting started is no problem; you get
bogged down as the race continues. There comes a time, as we say, when our personal resources
are exhausted, yet as we preserve, God seems to give us what we describe simply as a second
We've been given a second wind in the sense of the word of having the holy days. I think the
four holy days that occur during this period of time, I believe are so important to keeping our
focus and keeping us realizing that the important thing that we need to be doing is when we leave
this room today, we need to be sowing the kingdom because we will reap the kingdom as we
have sown it. But sowing the kingdom isn't a one-time act, it is our pattern, it is our way of life.
So as I say to everybody, invest every hour of every day into eternal life by living to please God,
by keeping God's commandments, by serving others and simply by being patient.
Some years ago in one of our youth publications, this statement was made, it said: "Each day
leads to the Sabbath and each Sabbath leads to the Feast and each Feast leads to the kingdom." I
thought that was interesting how they put it for the young people. Each day leads to the Sabbath,
each Sabbath leads to the Feast, and each Feast leads to the kingdom. I think that's a wonderful
way to help us keep our perspective in the coming year. Let's not forget the principles that we
have been given in the last four holy days and let's try to keep that as the vision and the focus in
our lives as we go into this year. There will come times when they just simply have down times
but let's realize that every time you come back to the reality of what you need to be doing, you're
sowing another seed for the kingdom of God and the end result of that is going to be a
tremendous harvest if we keep sowing the kingdom of God.