“And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground;  And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.  For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.  But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.” Mark 4:26-29 (KJV)
In this study of spiritual progression Jesus used (as he often did) the story of a farmer. As we know, farming is a process. A successful season always requires that many different things happen such as planting, waiting, sprouting, growing, producing fruit before there can be a harvest. In each of these processes time is required. Jesus referred to these processes by saying, “So is the kingdom of God.” In other words he claimed that this is the way the kingdom of God works. On the third day in when God created the plants he had a plan for his spiritual kingdom in mind.
“And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.  And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:11-12 (KJV)
As we look at the natural process of sowing and reaping that he established in the beginning we can see the beauty of God’s creation and also the wonder of his spiritual kingdom at work. Just as the natural harvest is a great blessing to everyone by sustaining life so the spiritual harvest is a great blessing to all who will get involved. Our world as we know it exists because of farmers. Without the process of sowing and reaping all cities and life would cease to exist on the earth. Farming is vital to our survival and getting involved in the process of spiritual sowing and reaping is vital too.
Question #1 Would our world survive without sowing and reaping? Can we survive without sowing and reaping in spiritual things?
Spiritual Sowing and Reaping
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.  For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” Galatians 6:7-8 (KJV)
When we sow, we always reap and we always reap what we sow. God made it this way and when we follow his way we will always be blessed. In this scripture the apostle Paul gave us the spiritual principle of sowing and reaping. If we sow to the flesh we shall reap corruption (decay, i.e. ruin) and if we sow to the Spirit we will reap everlasting life (joy, peace, contentment etc.). In the kingdom of God when we sow his word in our hearts and lives a process begins to take place.
“So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground;”
We know from another parable that the ground represents people. In the parable entitled “Different reactions and results” we have brought out this truth. Jesus taught that the ground represents people.
“But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” Matthew 13:23 (KJV)
When the seed (the Word of God) is sown in a persons’ life (the ground) a process of spiritual progression begins. There are a number of ways that the seed can be sown into our hearts they include someone telling you a scripture, reading the Word of God the Bible, hearing preaching. In fact these are the predominant methods of sowing that we find in scripture. I will give you three scriptures to prove this.
“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.” Acts 1:8 (KJV)
Study of the Bible
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Tim. 2:15 (KJV)
“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?” Romans 10:14 (KJV)
When any of these things occur we know that the seed is being sown. Once we hear the word and it gets inside, a progression of events begin to take place. The beginning of a new life takes hold. We don’t know how it happens but spiritual germination takes place and without anyone seeing, life begins. What a wonderful thing it is when truth is sown in a person’s life and the process of renewal and revival begins!
Question #2 What is the result of sowing the word of God in our lives?
The Process of Spiritual Progression
“For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.  But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.”
Once we hear the Word of God and obey it (planting it in our hearts) something begins to take place. As time passes, the Word of God begins to grow. As it grows there is a blade first. This is the infant plant that begins to take in the necessary light from the sun. In the same way when we plant the Word in our hearts it begins to grow and positive changes become evident in our lives. If you would like to experience a better life of power over the things of your flesh that are bringing you down, apply God’s Word in your heart and begin to obey it. The most basic of the Word of God can be found in the first message of salvation in the New Testament.
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Acts 2:38 (KJV)
Repentance is a very powerful, life changing experience. It is the blade that first springs up when we obey the Word of God. Repent simply means to turn around. I have a lesson just on this subject that you should look into entitled “Repentance.” Jesus spoke of repentance and was very straightforward.
“I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” Luke 13:3 (KJV)
Baptism is the next progression of spiritual growth. Baptism according to the Word of God is for the remission of sins. This simply means that it washes away our sins. I have a lesson on baptism that you should look at also entitled “Water Baptism.”.
“and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins”
Next, we must receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost gives us the power to be a true child of God. When we receive God’s Spirit we can then produce good fruit in our lives. I have prepared a lesson on this very subject that you should check out entitled “The Baptism of the Holy Ghost.”
“and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
Producing fruit is the next step in the progression of spiritual things. The fruit of the Spirit is given to us through the Holy Ghost baptism and is the manifestation of his presence in our lives. This fruit produces a harvest of good things that will bless for a lifetime.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 (KJV)
Here is the real exciting part. Wouldn’t you love to have true joy, love and happiness? The truth is you can! When the progression of spiritual growth is followed, the fruit of HIS harvest is made available to each of us. What I have just given you is very basic. There are other deeper things of the Spirit of God and the Word of God and they too follow the principle given to us in this parable. Let’s look at them again. First the seed is sown (the word is preached, read, or studied). Next it germinates in a hungry and honest heart. When this happens the growth appears as a small blade and begins to develop. When it grows in fertile soil (a heart that is honest) fruit will begin to appear and before long the harvest is ready. The fruit of the Spirit and many other things are available and can be experienced when the steps of spiritual progression given in this parable are followed.
Question #3 When looking at the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23, which ones would you like to have? Mind you they are all given to us through the Holy Ghost.
Jesus taught a powerful lesson in this parable of spiritual progression. He taught that we must first hear the Word of God. In fact faith comes by hearing the Word of God.
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17 (KJV)
Next we must allow the word to lodge in our heart and mind so it can germinate and begin to grow. After the Word is lodged in our hearts the process of development begins. This takes time and we may not fully understand how it works. Yet we know that when the Word is lodged in us, things begin to happen for the better. The harvest is not far off. Before the harvest can come however there must be a time of growth and putting roots down into the good ground. As this growth takes place the ears begin to develop and before you know it there is a harvest of blessings! Each of us can experience God’s best! We can know the joy of living life to the fullest and having the peace of God in our hearts. Just take the steps outlined above and you’ll be on your way.
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Focus on Freedom