Sow the Seed
Last week we talked about the need for vision. God says it’s important.
Where there is no vision, the people perish: But he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
Jesus Christ exhorts us to have a vision for the lost as well.
Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.
We sing the song, “Rescue the Perishing,” and the message is good. Lost sinners are perishing every day, and entering eternal judgment from which there is no escape. Christ stated it this way.
Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
I. World Statistics
I. World Statistics
The current world population is estimated at 7.96 billion. Back in 2018 it was estimated that the world population is divided up as follows: 59.8% of the world lives in Asia, 16.7% in Africa, 9.8% in Europe, 7.6% in North America, 5.6% in South America, and 0.5% in Australia and surrounding island regions.
The top 10 most populous nations in the world are:
1 China — 1.4 B
2 India — 1.4 B
3 U.S.A. — 334 M
4 Indonesia — 279 M
5 Pakistan — 229 M
6 Brazil — 215 M
7 Nigeria — 217 M
8 Bangladesh — 168 M
9 Russia — 146 M
10 Mexico — 131 M
Why am I giving these statistics? Because the Lord Jesus Christ, who commanded us to look on the fields, also commanded us to reach the lost.
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
Before we get into the Scripture truths we’ll be studying today, I want us believers to consider the need this morning for saturating our world with the Gospel. That starts right where we live.
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Several years ago, it was estimated that 31% of the world population identifies as Christian (Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, etc.), 23% is Muslim, 16% is unaffiliated, 15% is Hindu, 7% Buddhist, 6% Folk Religions, 0.2% Jews, and 1% other religions.
Of the 31% who identify as Christian, 53% are Catholic, 36% Protestant, and 11% Eastern Orthodox. Of course, just because a denomination is labeled “Christian” doesn’t mean it’s actually like Christ is!
If ye love me, keep my commandments.
The vast majority of denominations teach a gospel that is different from what Christ taught. Therefore, they are not obedient to Christ, and are not “Christian”—Christ-like. It was estimated that 9% of “Christian” denominations are Baptist, possibly totaling around 41 million worldwide. Of the Baptists, approximately 33 million are in the USA, including around 14 million Southern Baptists, and including smaller Baptist conventions. Of course, independent Baptists like us don’t keep a coordinated database, so it’s difficult to get accurate numbers. But even if we include all Baptists of all kinds (not all Baptists are the same and preach the truth!), that still comes out to 1 Baptist for every 195 people on Earth. Just over 0.5% of humanity identify with a denomination that might be faithful to what Jesus taught. Of course, we know that many of those who claim to know Christ actually do not, we can be assured that the number of true Christians, true saints of God who know God and serve Him, is far smaller. The ratio of true saints is much smaller than 1:195. Are we starting to see how few true believers are in the world? The need for preaching the Gospel and saturating our world with the truth is great, and it is urgent.
Of course, many folks do not want the Gospel. But as we’ll see at the end of this message, that must not keep us from preaching it.
II. Drawing the Diagram
II. Drawing the Diagram
Our goal in Gospel outreach—personal evangelism—is to find people who are open to seeing for themselves what the Bible has to say. We ought to be willing and ready to tell them what it says (1 Peter 3:15), but it’s better if they are willing to see it for themselves. True Christians have nothing to hide: what we believe is what is found in the Bible. We don’t have church dogmas or church leader doctrines. We follow the Bible, as best as we know how. It’s God’s book, and others may read it…and must read it. Anyone may understand it without a doctorate. Some study is often needed, but what topic is worth knowing if it doesn’t take some work? Work is required, but great intellect and a high IQ is not required. Anyone can give effort. Are we willing?
When meeting folks, we must be careful to present the truth, without pressuring them to accept the truth. All must voluntarily accept God; we cannot coerce anyone to do it. We may be bold, because preaching the Gospel is not shameful, but honorable. We are telling them about deliverance! However, we are not offering a sales pitch or persuading them to “take the plunge” on something they aren’t yet sure about. Instead, we are living the Gospel—dying to everything for which Christ died, and living for everything He did—and we are speaking the Gospel—telling them about the good news of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection from tomb after three days and nights.
When we clearly present the Gospel (which is not the same as inviting someone to church!), we will encounter people who want to hear more. When you find someone who is interested in sitting down to study the Bible, I recommend that you use the booklet “Salvation Bible Basics” that we have available in the bookstore. It is a concise, 4-part study that teaches everything one needs to know in order to come to Christ and be saved. We’ll be examining Lesson 1 this morning.
CLICK TO SHOW DIAGRAM STARTER
As you proceed through Lesson 1, you’ll be drawing a diagram for them, which will serve as a visual aid, and as a way for them to review in between meetings.
CLICK TO SHOW “FACING GOD”
III. God’s Word
III. God’s Word
First, it’s important to know that eternity is God’s domain, and Heaven is God’s home. If we’re going to arrive there, we need to go His way. If we’re going to understand what is true and what is not, we need to see things from His perspective…and He does have a different perspective.
But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.
We must understand and believe that God sees our heart!
So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
We will all be accountable to God, and since He can see our heart, nothing will go unnoticed or overlooked. Are you prepared for this day? If you’re not, you can look in Scripture to find the “answers” to this test. You can be ready! Many people today seem to want to try to figure it out on their own, but that is foolishness. God knows we can’t possibly do that, and so He gave us the answers. He wants us to be ready!
But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.
When we are judged by God, we will be held accountable to a particular standard. But what standard? This verse says God judges according to truth. What then is truth?
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
God’s Word is the standard! We will be judged according to how we measure up to what God’s Word says. How do you measure up? Many people say they are good, and do good things. But what is God’s definition of “good?” The Bible tells us.
CLICK TO SHOW “TRUTH = BIBLE”
Before someone is wiling to trust what the Bible says, they need to see that the Bible is trustworthy. The study of the veracity of the Bible is a very rewarding study, but to explore it in depth would take many hours. However, here are a few pieces of information that illustrate it.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
“Inspiration” here refers not to an outburst of creativity, but that the Word of God came from God’s own mouth, as it were. The Bible is comprised of the words of God. God used men to write down Scripture, but they weren’t writing their own words and wisdom, but God’s words and wisdom. And it is proven in what the Bible accomplishes in our lives.
For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
The writers of Scripture are not the sources of it; they are merely scribes. They are messengers. The Bible is God’s message.
We know it is God’s message, because the Bible, though comprised of 66 books, written by 40 different men, over a span of 1600 years…and in all of this, there is not a single contradiction! (Many claim there are contradictions, but careful study ALWAYS proves the opposite.) The Bible is one-of-a-kind. How many textbooks about a single topic receive yearly revisions from its one or two authors, and each one slightly contradicts the last? Yet a compilation of 66 different writings from 40 different men over 1600 years is perfectly unified in truth, message, and focus. Only God could do that! He is unchanging, and so His message is unchanging.
We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
We would do well to trust God’s Word. It is more reliable than anything else in this world.
IV. God’s Law
IV. God’s Law
After discussing the reliability of God’s Word, what comes next? What does God require of us?
CLICK TO SHOW “10 LAWS”
God was purposeful in Scripture: He took the time to teach us about Himself, and about ourselves. His law does both. We find ten of those laws in Exodus 20.
CLICK TO SHOW “EXODUS 20:1-20”
Let’s read this passage now. Exo 20:1-20
And God spake all these words, saying, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s. And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.
Do you see God’s intent here? He reminds Israel of His nature and His claim on their lives. His power impressed them, and caused them reverence and even some terror. But Moses assures them that God doesn’t want to take their lives, but change and sanctify them. God wants to do the same with every one of us. These laws are His standard! As we progress through these laws, check off each one that you have broken, or make a mental note of each one.
CLICK FOR #1
Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Have you always put God first in your life? Has anything or anyone else ever had more of your devotion and allegiance than God has? Have you ever loved anything more than you love God? If so, you have broken this commandment.
CLICK FOR #2
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
God doesn’t want people to make images of Him to worship, nor does He want us to make images of creatures to worship. Most people probably haven’t sculpted an idol out of metal or stone, but listen to these verses in Romans.
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
God is concerned with your heart and mind; after all, He can see them! When we imagine God to be as we want Him to be, then we are fashioning an idol of Him in our minds! Some people have decided God is a hateful, genocidal maniac who loves bloodshed. That is their image of God. Others imagine God is jolly and accepting like Santa Claus, and isn’t concerned with sin. That is another false image of God. Have you ever fashioned a mental image of God that contradicts what the Bible says? If you don’t know what the Bible says about Him, how can you possibly have the right image of God?
CLICK FOR #3
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
God’s name is to be held in reverence, yet many use it as a curse. Have you ever violated this commandment in that way? Some may not do that, but notice that the verse says, “in vain.” That means in an empty or unimportant manner. Have you ever used God’s name thoughtlessly and casually?
CLICK FOR #4
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
The sabbath day was God’s day, set aside to worship Him. Christ did not reiterate this command in the New Testament, and we find a pattern for Sunday worship. But the spirit of this command may still apply to us. Do you consider all days of the week to be for your purposes, or do you set aside Sunday to honor God? Most people seem to consider Sunday another weekend day for leisure. Does that observe God’s intention for man in this command?
CLICK FOR #5
Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
Children are specifically commanded to obey their parents. (Eph. 6:1; Col. 3:20) Obedience is just one way to show honor. While the command is for children to obey their parents, the command to honor has no expiration! It means to lift up, give glory to, etc. Have you always treated your parents this way? If you have failed to honor both your parents at any point, you have broken this command.
CLICK FOR #6
Thou shalt not kill.
This word isn’t speaking of self-defense or national defense, but specifically of murder. Probably no one here has murdered another person, but what about your thoughts?
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
Remember, God sees our heart! He doesn’t command only our outward actions. His standard includes all of our being. Have you ever had hatred in your heart for another person?
How are you doing so far? How are you comparing with God’s standard?
CLICK FOR #7
Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Immorality is rampant in our world. Many people have had sinful relations with others before marriage, and many have done so after marriage, with someone who is not their spouse. However, God gets more specific than that.
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
Have you ever looked on another person with lust in your heart? “Oh, but I didn’t touch them. No one ever knew.” God did, and He knows that you have broken His commandment.
CLICK FOR #8
Thou shalt not steal.
Theft is even more common than adultery. Have you ever stolen anything? Have you ever stolen food from the store, or even a paperclip without permission? Have you ever stolen time on the clock from your employer? There are not “tiers” of theft. It is either stealing or it is not. Are you a thief?
CLICK FOR #9
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
“False witness” is a lie. Have you ever lied? There are not big lies and “little white lies.” There are lies, and then there is the truth. Have you ever withheld part of the truth in order to give a wrong impression? That is deceitful and misleading, which is lying.
CLICK FOR #10
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.
Coveting is not admiring someone else’s possession; it is not being happy that they own it. To covet means to lust after something that is someone else’s. People lust after another’s spouse, or their job, or their car or some other possession. They aren’t glad for the other person; they want it. They covet it.
So how did you do? Let’s “count up the score.”
1/2 - idolater
3 - name in vain
4 - sabbath
5 - honor parents
6 - murderer
7 - adulterer
8 - thief
9 - liar
10 - covetous
Not flattering, is it? What do you call someone who breaks the law? A lawbreaker. Is a criminal who is guilty of breaking God’s laws a good person? Absolutely not.
Perhaps some of you are still pretty convinced you’re a good person. There’s more.
CLICK FOR SUMMATION
CLICK FOR MATT. 22
Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Jesus condensed the Ten Commandments into just two, which is easier for us to understand. Have you ALWAYS loved God with ALL of your being? No honest person can claim that. Have you ALWAYS loved others as much as you love yourself? Again, no honest person can claim that. You and I have broken the essence of the entire law. We haven’t just “failed a little bit here and there.” We have trampled on God’s law, repeatedly.
CLICK FOR JAMES 2:10
For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
God doesn’t have a Heavenly scale, measuring our good works against our bad works. He cannot let a single sin into Heaven, and so He is ONLY concerned with perfection. If you have broken just one of God’s laws, just one time, you are guilty of breaking them all. We are without hope, friend! We are not good people, we are not righteous. God is holy and sinless, and His law shows us how holy he is. We are wicked and sinful, and His law shows us how sinful we are. Man has a problem; it’s called sin.
I know this is a somber ending, but it’s important that sinners realize their plight. We won’t be interested in a Saviour if we don’t think we need saving. God isn’t unkind to show us our sin; He is merciful to do so.
He does this because there are only two kinds of people in the world: those who are “related” to God, and are in His family. They are called the children of God. The other kind of person is the person who is not related to God. They are not in God’s family; they are not His child. Which one are you?
As we finish, I want to challenge the saints to saturate the world around you with the Gospel. Christ told us to preach the Gospel to every creature. You and I can’t preach to every creature in far-off places, but we can preach to those in our own place. Are we doing it? Consider the parable of the sower for a moment.
We know the sower was busy sowing seed, and some fell by the way side, some seed fell on stony ground, some fell on thorny ground, and some fell on good ground. In the parable, only the seed that fell on good ground actually brought a crop. That’s a 25% success rate. But the farmer still sowed seed everywhere.
You and I don’t know which individuals are way side hearers, which are stony and thorny ground hearers, and which are good ground hearers. We can’t see their heart. Our job is to sow the seed of the Word of God everywhere. Are we picking and choosing who we tell, or are we saturating the world around us with the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Today’s way side or thorny ground hearer may be tomorrow’s good ground hearer. Today’s good ground hearer may be in the grave by next week. We must be busy telling every creature about what Christ did for them on the cross!
Don’t be discouraged when people refuse it. Don’t be hurt when they mock it. Don’t be intimidated when they don’t like that you’re sharing Scripture. Keep sowing the seed! Every kind of hearer needs to hear the Word, even if they reject it.
How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
Are you sowing the seed everywhere? God wants to use you, child of God, to bring others to Christ. It’s a vast harvest field, and the Lord of the harvest is looking for laborers. Let’s be busy laboring with Him.