by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.
Summary: A harvest of souls into God's kingdom is a cooperative effort between God and His people. God has revealed some simple, biblical principles that will lead to a healthy and abundant spiritual harvest.
Genesis 2:4-5 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created. When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens —  and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no man to work the ground...
•• First the natural, then the spiritual — That is a bible principle spelled out in 1 Corinthians 15:46.
•• Planting for an abundant harvest of lost souls is a cooperative effort between God and man.
• Man “works the ground.”
• God “sends rain on the earth.”
•• We can expect a faithful God to do His part.
•• Let’s search the Scriptures for information on how we can effectively “work the ground” and do our part so as to reap a spiritual harvest in the proper season.
Genesis 8:22 As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.
•• “As long as the earth endures,” this principle applies.
• SEEDTIME PRECEDES HARVEST!
• A time of sowing seed precedes a season of harvest.
• So let’s study our God-given seed-sowing ministry.
Proverbs 11:24, KJV There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.
• “The seed is the WORD of God.” [Luke. 8:11]
• “The seed [is the] SONS of the kingdom.” [Mt. 13:38]
(1) Sow God’s Word — “Scatter” it everywhere. Some ground will be fertile and fruitful.
(2) Sow yourself — be out among those who don't know the Lord.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:  a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot.
•• To everything there is a season — a time to plant. Try to be spiritually sensitive.
•• This is not saying, “Don’t plant.” Rather, it encourages us to be alert and look for good planting seasons:
• Crisis times in people’s lives — divorces, deaths in their family, a recent financial disaster — are good planting seasons.
• Transitional times — new to town, new on the job or a recent job loss, empty nest, a first child — are also good seasons in which to sow spiritual seed in people’s lives.
Psalms 126:5-6 Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.  He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.
•• Weeping, bearing precious seed (KJV) — sometimes in reaching out to people we experience bitter disappointments.
• Some may have witnessed to people who still died without the Lord.
• Sometimes relatives die unsaved.
• Jesus spoke of sowing seed in different kinds of soil, with different results. Not all seed bears an abundant harvest.
•• Despite the tears and weeping, keep on sowing!
• Because eventually you’ll return with harvested sheaves.
• Not every seed will bear fruit; but some will, and you’ll rejoice with songs of joy over the spiritual harvest.
Psalms 1:3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.
•• Sow seed so that the plants will grow up in a nourishing environment — that is, in a Christ-centered, bible-preaching, Spirit-filled church environment.
• Psalm 92:13 ...planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God.
• Bring to church those you are reaching out to.
• The local church and its body ministry help water the seed.
• I hope to see our church filled with unsaved visitors.
Isaiah 28:24-26 When a farmer plows for planting, does he plow continually? Does he keep on breaking up and harrowing the soil?  When he has leveled the surface, does he NOT SOW caraway and scatter cummin? Does he NOT PLANT wheat in its place, barley in its plot, and spelt in its field?  His God instructs him and teaches him the right way.
•• Skilled boxers know that, after enough left jabs, you GO for the KNOCKOUT!
• Don’t spend forever plowing the ground of people’s hearts. Once the ground is tilled a bit, SOW SEED.
• Declare the GOSPEL!
• Billy Graham says that we are called not just to proclaim the Gospel, but also to persuade the hearers.
• The apostle Paul declared: “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, I persuade men” and “King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets?”
Jeremiah 1:9-10 ...“Now, I have put my words in your mouth.  See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”
•• Effective planting requires uprooting and tearing down of the previous sinful life and its practices.
• We must include the message of “Repent!”
• Jesus said, No repentance —> you will perish.
Amos 9:13 “The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when the reaper will be overtaken by the plowman and the planter by the one treading grapes. New wine will drip from the mountains and flow from all the hills.”
•• Keep planting, and there will occasionally come times when the planting bears rapid and abundant spiritual harvests.
• We saw that in Abbott Loop Christian Center, the church we attended in Anchorage in the early 1970s. In one year the church doubled from 200 to 400 people. The next year it jumped to 800, then shortly to 1,400 people! We had planted much seed, and God granted a season of abundant spiritual harvest.
• Why not again in our day!
Preached at South Valley Church, Phoenix, Oregon, January 12, 2005
A related sermon outline of interest to soulwinners is Catching Plenty of Fish.
©2005, James H. Feeney. Copyright statement.