Grow Strong in God’s Grace – Wk 29

Learning How to be a Faithful Farmer for God’s Harvest!

Reap a Harvest of Praise!

(Part 2 of 2 of Series Conclusion)

Hebrews 12:1-3 (NASB)


The full title of today’s sermon is, “Reap a harvest through the faithful strategy of a hardworking farmer.” Today, I am finishing our 2023 sermon series called, “Grow Strong in God’s Grace: Learning How to be a Faithful Famer for God’s Harvest!” Allow me to continue the conclusion of this sermon series, which I began on October 22. Listen to the poem, “How Great the Yield from a Fertile Field”:[1]


The farmer ploughs through the fields of green

And the blade of the plough is sharp and keen,

But the seed must be sown to bring forth grain.

For nothing is born without suffering and pain.

And God never ploughs in the soul of man

Without intention and purpose and plan,

So whenever you feel the plough’s sharp blade

Let not your heart be sorely afraid.

For, like the farmer, God chooses a field

From which He expects an excellent yield –

So rejoice though your heart is broken in two.

God seeks to bring forth a rich harvest in you.


How true this poem is, in each of our lives – “God never ploughs in the soul of man without intention and purpose and plan, so whenever you feel the plough’s sharp blade let not your heart be sorely afraid.” God’s intent for your life is that you would reap a harvest of praise to His glory. To participate with God’s work in us, we must follow the faithful strategy of the hardworking farmer. Paul taught in Philippians 2:12-13, “So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” God is at work in us through His Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence. Hope in God’s work for us, and in us, is the key ingredient when following the four steps that every hard-working farmer must follow to experience a large crop yield:


  1. Cultivate the soil.
  2. Sow the good seed.
  3. Care for the maturing plant.
  4. Reap a harvest.


To be a fruit-bearing branch, we must maintain our focus on Jesus Christ, the vine through which all the life-giving nourishment of the Holy Spirit flows, as Jesus testified in John 15:1-5:


I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.


As hardworking farmers, abide in Jesus and He will bear much fruit upon your branch! As C. H. Spurgeon preached in 1871, “Preaching is sowing, prayer is watering, but praise is the harvest.”[2] It is my desire to see First Baptist Church of New Castle, Indiana witness a large crop yield of praise to the glory of God. That we will be an epicenter of revival. Until all worship, let us continue to be faithful to the Lord of the Harvest and respond to His call upon our lives to be hard-working farmers!


As we learned in part 1 of the conclusion, the faith stories of God’s people summarized in Hebrews 11 inform our lives and our lifestyles by calling us to live according to Hebrews 12:1-3:


Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.


Let’s take a couple of minutes to review Hebrew 11, and the lessons from the transforming stories of faith we have learned this year. Learn from these men and women of faith how you can be a witness to the transforming power of faith in your life. This is the faith we get to live when we are set free from sin to live with our eyes on Jesus:


  • a faith, which pleases God.
  • a faith, which gives substance to your life.
  • a faith, which trusts God’s promises.
  • a faith, which bears fruit.
  • a faith, which passes the test.
  • a faith, which blesses the next generation.
  • a faith, which gives us a limp.
  • a faith, which lifts us out of the pits.
  • a faith, which makes us humble.
  • a faith, which toots God’s horn.
  • a faith, which saves the day.
  • a faith, which takes God at His Word.
  • a faith, which invites partnership.
  • a faith, which invites us to be weak.
  • a faith, which overcomes obstacles.
  • a faith, which demonstrates God’s own heart.
  • a faith, which listens and obeys.
  • a faith, which calls people home.


If you minimize the Bible to a moralistic rule book filled with one-dimensional people, then you miss God’s extravagant love and scandalous grace. If you miss love and grace, then you miss Jesus, who is the only way to know the Father (John 14:6). Jesus didn’t die on the cross so that you can make a good human effort at living according to the Ten Commandments, doing and saying all the right things by your own strength. Jesus did not die on the cross so that you can go around living a good moralistic life and be filled with pride and self-righteousness. Jesus died on the cross so that you could be free from sin to love others as God first loved you; not to earn anything, but from the fertile field of a transformed heart.


Working hard, like a faithful farmer, we are to strive to be like Him and like those who have come before us to show us the way of faith – the great cloud of witnesses. Jesus gives us our right standing by grace – a relationship with God that comes with the responsibilities of righteousness. As Paul taught in 2 Corinthians 5:21, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” This is our calling; we have been made new by His love to join with Jesus in His ministry of love to reconcile all people to Him. Listen to Paul explain this in 2 Corinthians 5:17-20:


Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.


Does your life tell the story of Jesus Christ and how He is seeking to transform stories through His gospel of love and grace? You are being invited into the next class of the great cloud of witnesses. Until the Day you are inducted into the great cloud of witnesses and join with the saints that we have learned about in this sermon series, you are called to “not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:3). No matter the struggle, and the fight is real, we are to keep our eyes on Jesus, just as He told a better story with His life and death – “who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).


When all our stories point to Jesus Christ as the main character of each of our stories, then we will find unity in the body of Christ, and each of us will mature so that the entire body will be built up on love (Ephesians 4:11-16). Jesus is the only Hero of this story! Paul testified to this in 1 Corinthians 3:5-9, and I conclude with this appeal:


What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field….


Today, God is calling to you, choosing you, extending His love to you. Trust Him today and experience the joy of why Christ endured the cross and despised the shame. For the joy set before you, live strong in God’s grace and reap a harvest of praise to the glory of God. Never forget, that what we do in this life is a witness to what Christ did to give us the life we live, once for all.


What does your transforming story of faith look like? Jesus is interceding for you at the right hand of the Father, so do not grow weary and do not lose heart. Go from this place telling a better story, His Story, the transforming story of God’s grace, and together we will see our communities thriving to the glory of God!



If you would like to watch Pastor Jerry present this message, Click HERE.


If you would like to watch the entire service including music, click HERE.




[1] Written by Helen Stiner Rice. This poem was reproduced from the memorial folder for Avon Dwight “Scotty” Scott, an Indiana dairy farmer (February 5, 1929 – October 28, 2023). His daughter, Delora Hartsock, found this poem in his hymnal along with instructions for his funeral. I had the honor of doing his services on Saturday, November 4; he was a faithful follower of Jesus and a Korean War veteran.


[2] C. H. Spurgeon, “The Joy of the Lord, the Strength of His People,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 17 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1871), 717.