Dean Affleck - Gardens and Seeds - Mudgee, Australia - 2016

Hymn 62, “Sweet Words of Jesus,” sowing. It is like summer time, naturally and spiritually. We still have the privilege to sow in our own hearts, that things would be sown in our hearts, things that are “eternal and true,” things that “make us whole,” and will “breathe life to our soul.”  “Precious the message sent from above all of His beauty, cause me to see.”  As these words fall from Heaven into our heart over these days, like rain, we want the lid off the top of our heart.  That would help us to choose.  There are so many choices, things we deal with from day to day.  What is sown here will help us. God can bring it back to our memory in the days and weeks after Convention.


 

Genesis 1:11-13 tells of the third day of creation. “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. And the evening and the morning were the third day.'”  Matthew 7:15-20, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits, ye shall know them.”



That was a fundamental principle that God established on the third day when He was creating: that the herb would yield seed and fruit would yield seed and those seeds would produce the very same thing. It is absolutely evident that when you sow an apple seed, you will get nothing else but apples. That is a principle that runs throughout the whole natural kingdom. Whatever you sow, that is what you get and whatever you sow, you get more. Whatever you start a little bit of, the result will be greater, whatever it is. We are here to look at the fruit we really want in our lives and get little pictures of fruit that all of us are desiring. There is nobody here that wants bad spiritual fruit. Nobody wants unhappiness or sorrow.



Matthew 7:17, “Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.” Jesus was helping them see the difference between good and bad. Sometimes we have many choices and we don’t always understand where our choices will lead. In Belgium there are two languages: French and Flemish. The last couple of years, I have been attending class to learn Flemish or Dutch. Everyone was asked to make a presentation on the subject of their choice. Whatever can you say that would be feasible, but so there could be a little bit of something in it? “I will talk about seeds.” I found lots of pictures of seeds, from before they go into the ground until they become a plant.



I bought some seed packages of different kinds, put them in little bags and gave them with no names. “Can anybody guess which seed is which?” It is impossible. I had peas, and that is fairly evident. There are some seeds that are very, very small and you don’t know what they will become unless you look on the package. You get a picture of the fruit in the best light, and the flower also, to make it attractive to buy the seed. What the Lord is wanting of us here is that we would see enough here to give us courage to buy the seeds that are really going to produce the something we want, and avoid seeds that will bring misery and unhappiness. There are false prophets and true prophets. You will know them by their fruit.



Galatians 6:7-9, “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. And let us not be weary in well doing for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” This is my first time to come to Australia. We have been eating watermelon and different fruits. I have not tasted watermelon like I have tasted here. It has such a deep, intense taste. In France, you can buy it, probably picked green and put in the stores to ripen. The taste is more shallow. You can taste the difference. That didn’t come from a big bang.  God puts so many distinct tastes in fruit and vegetables that come from the ground. All you have to do is plant seed and it grows.  



There are so many spiritual seeds we could sow, that would also bring a very distinct result, positive or negative. I am so thankful that we have a God that has pre-programmed all the aspects in the seed: the colour, the size, the taste, the smell is all in the seed, but you don’t see it. When it grows up, it becomes something really nice. The Gospel is, “Speak, speak the message that maketh me whole; the words of Jesus breathe life to my soul.” When something is living, it is so much nicer than a dead thing. No man can create what God first has, naturally or spiritually. We cannot put on happiness, joy or peace; it is not something we can create ourselves.


 

Children that sit in meetings, things are being planted in their little hearts.  There is a new little boy that has come to France, five years old. He is learning to get to know his parents, Friends, meetings, and everything that happens in meetings. He had some little Lego men and drove them somewhere in the living room where he had them in a circle. His mother asked him what were they doing? “They are in meeting.” “What happens in meeting?”  “We sing, we pray, speak, but Isaac not speak.” He came in August. Already in a few months, he is absorbing seeds that have life.


 

Proverbs 15:1, “A soft answer turneth away wrath but grievous words stir up anger.” It is like the seed and the fruit. I was with a companion in Paris, getting to know each other. We were from different cultures and backgrounds, got into some difficulties and misunderstandings.  I went quiet, was upset in myself. It went for a day and another day and at the same time, when you are sitting at the table giving thanks, it is like a big cloud. My companion said, “You probably think I’m a pretty mean fellow, don’t you?” In myself, I was ready to fight. It totally disarmed me. He came in the back door when I expected him in the front door. We had two years together and we became the nicest friends and are so to this day. We enjoyed the fruit of friendship, just because of a soft, peaceable answer.


 

John 12:24, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” We could perceive the will of God to be difficult and heavy for us. Maybe, it is not our choice, what God is asking us to do but if you don’t die to yourself, if you don’t fall into the ground and let it die, just do His will and we will find out we have far more friends than we thought we had. It doesn’t bring loneliness, it brings friendship with God and with others.



Isaiah 53:1-2, “Who hath believed our report?  And to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?  For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground; He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.” A tender plant out of dry ground. All flowers have to grow through dirt. All fruit have to grow through the dirt. That is how God meant it. Jesus, in spite of all the hardness and filthiness around Him, something very, very clean and tender grew. That is a miracle. That is also something that God has put into the seed of the Gospel that makes it resistant to disease, resistant to harsh weather, to harsh things, resistant to hardness and filthiness. 



Jesus, His whole life was lived amongst people with hard hearts, trying to find fault with Him. Sometimes people find fault with us, we could feel burdened. It might be true or false. If somebody is finding fault, don’t forget they found fault with perfection in Jesus, yet He stayed tender. As long as the plant’s roots are in the water, it will stay alive, but once it is no longer drawing from the water, it will become hard.



Proverbs 18:24, “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly.”  It is like the seed and the fruit. It is logical. Seeds are sown in meeting, in our home. I admire parents; my life is like a garden and we are responsible for what happens in that garden, responsible for the weeds and what is planted. I had a companion and he took some avocado seeds and put them in a glass of water. Amazing. After a couple of days, the shell breaks open and a little white root comes down. Later, he transplanted them into the dirt. Every day he would look at his avocados and after a while there were several green shoots from the avocados. Just as soon as the shoots came up, there were weeds. Will you pull them out? Wait and see. It was very deliberate to plant avocado but all by themselves, these other little weeds came.  


 

In our life, we have a garden. My mother, our parents, they have their own garden, their own life. All parents who choose to have children are choosing another garden. They may have another child, then they take on another garden, and really they are responsible for this other little child as well. The things that grow there all by themselves and the things that need to be planted there have to be planted very deliberately and not just leave things to chance. Sometimes, you talk to people about the family and several times we have heard, “We will see how it goes.” They are hoping children will make right choices, but it is very true that sooner or later, everyone is responsible for themselves, but really, there is a big responsibility on the parents, that the right things would be planted deliberately and the weeds pulled out while there is a chance.  



I remember conversations around the table: What kind of job? Where would we live? I remember one day it was said, “It is not that children can choose what place in God’s family they would have, they can’t.” We were two boys and two girls and in passing, our mother said, “So none of you would consider the highest calling?” It was just like a seed, that little sentence. That is the one and only time she ever said something like that. She planted a little seed, and in doing so, let us see she would be very pleased if one of her children would carry the Gospel.  It is not as if we would consider one calling higher than another but God’s calling for our individual life is the best. She sowed a little seed in our hearts.


 

When we were taken to meeting as children, there was never a choice about going to meeting on Sundays and Wednesday nights. There was never a choice if we had homework that we wouldn’t go to meeting.  It was not even a question. Now, having seen a little more of other children and young people at university with a huge load, so much homework, it becomes a reason to not come to meeting. Good marks and a degree seems just everything, but yet those seeds are producing today, the very thing that those parents, who go along with this reasoning see, that they are distancing themselves from the meetings, and from their relationship with God, because something else has taken the place of God.


 

We were staying with friends in the country. They’d been away a few weeks, they had a garden. The weeds were so high, we helped them. It is what took over all by themselves. It was because nobody was pulling them out, nobody was looking after it. We heard about taking risks and sometimes there could be pressure at work or school or in other friendships, to give those other sides of our life a lot of pressure. In taking risks for God, for our spiritual welfare, every time we take a risk in favour of God, He is never indebted to us.


 

We heard about staying at the table, they were the ones who sat with Him. In a more natural sense, what does it mean to stay at the table? When we were children, we would get company. We would get talking. The subjects being talked about you might not understand them, go off on the wrong road. I remember several times asking, “Could you stay a little longer at the table?” An exchange, natural and spiritual, is like a seed being sown, the whole reason that the Workers would come, so that He could give them a gift, so they would be established and mutually encouraged through visits around the table, the fellowship.  



We enjoy sitting in meetings, but sometimes a visit with somebody about spiritual things is so enriching, the fruit of fellowship. Children could be encouraged about looking after their own garden and planting nice seeds. The peas in our garden at home rarely made it out of the garden. Sometimes we would help our mother, but not too much. If children have the chance to taste the spiritual fruit, they can make their own garden. When they see the fruit of joy, happiness, and peace, will that also not affect them?


 

Galatians 5:22-23,  “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; against such there is no law.” These fruits come from the Gospel being deliberately sown in our lives. If we are fighting hatred, the opposite is love; the opposite of joy is unhappiness; the opposite of peace is worrying; the opposite of longsuffering, impatience; the opposite of gentleness, roughness; the opposite of gentleness, meanness; the opposite of faith, doubting. If we have the opposite, we have not planted enough in our hearts so we ourselves can enjoy these fruits and it can be a glory to God.