John Watt - Prospect of Eternal Life in the Word of God - Pukekohe, New Zealand Convention - Sunday Night, December 17, 2006

There was a question put to a scientist, and that question was, "What's inside a seed?  And how does something so small and hard grow?"  So a botanist answered and said that inside a seed there is an embryo, a plant embryo, which is a new life, which is just waiting for the right conditions to germinate and grow.  That's what is inside a seed.  We know that the natural example of a seed is the one that is used in the Bible that explains the purpose of life and explains how we can get salvation. 

That's the first parable that Jesus spoke - about the sower and the seed.  He said to the people, "If you don't understand this parable, how are you going to understand any parable?"  The lessons that we get in a seed, sowing, and farming are wonderful clear lessons given about the purpose of life in the plan of God's salvation.  Sometimes, when we are having meetings over there, we like to ask the children, "What was the first job that God gave man?" It's in the second chapter of Genesis, the 14th or the 15th verse, and it says that God put Adam into the garden and he was to tend and look after that garden.  That was the first job that God gave man; God gave man the job of looking after the garden.  Things haven't changed much since the time of Adam.  It's not a natural garden now; it's a spiritual garden now.  As we sang in that hymn, "Our hearts are soil for sowing;" that's the main thing in life, that this seed - we'll cherish and obey it and reap life eternally.  We were at a funeral recently, and as I looked down into the open grave I thought, "There isn't too much to this life, is there.  All that we strive for - from the richest man to the poorest beggar - all come to the same level, they all go into a wooden box and get put into the earth."  So the real thing is that my heart is soil for the sowing, and we want to get that seed of eternal life within us now. Jesus, when He explained that parable, said that the seed is the word of God.  So it is true to what that botanist said - that a seed is an embryo, a new life, and it is just waiting for the right conditions to germinate and grow into something bigger.  So, the word of God - that is what this seed is - is something living.  It is not a theory, not a matter of getting a whole lot of knowledge about something; that's not the word of God.  The purpose of the word of God is not to give us knowledge.  The purpose of the word of God is to give us new life.  If it only gives us knowledge, then we have missed the point of the whole thing.  So, it is something living, and the Bible confirms that.  It says in Hebrews 4:12, "The word of God is quick, (it's alive) and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow and is a discerner of the thought and intents of the heart."  That seed that we are talking about is something living, it's alive and it's powerful.  A seed can be powerful, too.  Sometimes seed gets under concrete and slowly works away and can even crack the concrete and come up through it. 

So, if the seed is the word of God, what is the word of God?  The word. If you are writing me a letter, then you are using words, words that express what is in your mind.  The word of God is just a medium to express the mind and the desire of God.  This Bible is just giving written expression a living thing, the mind of God.  The wonderful thing is that, if we want to concentrate on the word of God and what the purpose of it is in relation to my life, we are concentrating on something that was right from the beginning - like it tells us in the 1st chapter of John, "In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God." So, what we are getting is something that was in the beginning, not something that started 2000 years ago.  God is a spirit and does not have a physical form, and the very substance that God is, is expressed in His word.  He allowed men to be inspired by Him and then it got into written form here, and the other form is when the word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us...what we saw in the life of Jesus.and what we saw in the life of Jesus, that's the word of God, that's the very expression of what God's mind on things is.

So, what do we do with a seed?  Do we put it on a shelf and admire it and look after it nicely?  If you do that, then it never achieves the purpose for which it has been created.  The seed contains a life and is just waiting for the right conditions to germinate and produce a plant.  The word of God is looking for soil - soft, clean hearts that it can fall into - and then it's going to produce a new life, eternal life, and that is where we fit into the picture.  Our hearts are soil for sowing; what shall the reaping be?  So, we are the gardener, and the most important thing in life is to look inside - not to look to someone else in life and to their garden, but take heed to our own garden so that the best thing in life, the eternal thing in life, the living word of God is our first priority.  First, look to our own garden before God can use us to help somebody else in their garden.  The big thing is that I have a plot of ground here, and God has planted His word in it, and it's started to grow, and it's meaning more to me, and the other things that were such an attraction to me don't mean so much to me any more.  I love the word of God and what it produces, and the joy and satisfaction and hope and enriching that it's brought in my life, and I long to be careful to do the gardening so that it doesn't die.  It can die - it's not once saved always saved - the plant can die.  We see that - people have a real experience with God and they get new life, but if they are not careful in the gardening and other things come in, it can die and we can lose it.  

There are some nice verses in James 1:21, "Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls."  It uses the word "engrafted" here, but actually to get in faithfulness, back to the Greek word where it came from, I asked our Korean friends and they said, in the Korean Bible, it is implanted, and I asked Alan and he said, in Spanish, it is implanted, and most other translations it says implanted.  And this is just a nice simple summary of the parable of the sower and the seed:  with meekness - which is just brokenness - for us to become like broken soil and to receive the implanted word within us, and just put out all the rubbish and then with humbleness, meekness, brokenness receive this word in us which is able to save your souls.  Now that's the gospel, isn't it; that's the most wonderful message.  We understand our lives consist of two parts.  We have our body, which is just like a tent, a temporary dwelling for the real you and me which lives inside the body, our immortal soul.  And very quickly the time is going to come when the tent is going to be packed up and put back down in the earth and the real you and I, the spirit within us is going to go back to God.  Here is the most wonderful thing - the word of God within, when the garden is done in the tent stage, this word - if we cherish and obey it - will reap life eternally.  "Lay apart all filthiness, superfluity of naughtiness" - all that's just like rubbish.  I remember one home in Bangladesh where we went  for meetings - in the front bit there was a plot; it was the local rubbish dumping place and everyone used to come along and dump all their rubbish and plastic bags, and what a stink and what a mess. Then one time we went there and I noticed some boys with carts starting to take all this rubbish away, and when we came back the next week all the rubbish had gone, all the weeds had gone and they were starting to break up the ground.  Then as the weeks went by, they were sowing, and the time came when there were nice vegetables growing in that place which was at one time just a rubbish dump.  And that is just a picture of what God wants to do with our lives.

Our lives - we can produce nothing by ourselves; it doesn't matter how fertile the soil is, without the seed planted in us, there can be nothing.  It is none of our own goodness, it can't be that way; it needs the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.  We have got to do the gardening part, looking after it, and God in His faithfulness will plant the seed.  What does it produce?  If you plant carrots then carrots will come up, and if you plant cabbage then cabbage comes up.  What is the word of God?  It is the mind or the very substance of what God is that was in the very beginning. And what a wonderful opportunity in life that what was right from the very beginning, what was in the very substance of what God is, He through the gospel, through the word of God, we've got opportunity that that can be implanted in our lives.  And what's the plant that's going to grow out of it?  It's going to be true to its type, like it tells us in the first chapter of the bible about seeds producing after their kind.  And to think that we are just creatures of the dust and we've got no value - that within us something that was in the beginning, that was of eternal value, of Christ-likeness, of Godliness - that's God's faithfulness to us and to His word - that He will plant a very part of Himself.  That's what it is to be born again.  The seed contains a new life. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven; He'll plant Himself in us and that new life will grow up.

And what happens at the harvest time?  Does the farmer gather the earth up and put it into his store house?  He'll gather the crop, and that is just a picture of life, isn't it.  There is nothing of the earth that will go up into the eternal storehouse. Just as our lives have been a garden and God has planted a seed of eternal life there, and the crop comes and then death will come and He will take the harvest.  That is the only thing that will go, and nothing relating to the earth will have a place there. 

Now that parable of the sower and the seed - there are some lessons in that about the different types of ground.  What happens when a seed's planted in the soil?  It is looking for the environment to produce this new life.  We were hearing about a jigsaw puzzle and also from someone about the part in our hearts that only God can fill.  Well, our lives are like a jigsaw puzzle.  There is a piece that is missing, and it is only the word of God that can make the picture complete.  People try with all kinds of things to make the jigsaw puzzle complete, and they think with entertainment and different human activities and all kinds of things they can complete the puzzle.  Well, it lasts for a little while but it's nothing eternal; the only thing that can make our lives complete is the seed of eternal life.

It speaks about the thorny ground.  The seed goes into the soil and the soil becomes a slave to the seed.  The new life that is within the seed, to grow bigger, it needs feeding.  So where does it draw its nutrition and its strength from? It draws it out of the soil.  So, the seed of eternal life that God is planting in us is going to grow by us feeding it, by us becoming a slave to it and giving ourselves to it.  In the thorny ground, it couldn't compete.  God doesn't force Himself upon us. We don't have to give God first place and priority above everything else; God doesn't force His truth and His seed on anybody.  In that thorny soil, there were all those other things and they just choked the seed, and the most important thing was not getting what it needed and it just died; that is what will happen.  

There's a sobering thought that we can cheat in the sowing but we can't cheat in the reaping; we can cut corners and not give God what He wants, and we can fool others and still be in the fellowship and all that kind of thing.  We can cheat in the sowing but we can't cheat in the reaping; we will reap what we sow.  If we give first place to God - and that's the most important thing - there are a lot of weeds that we will pull out so that it can get its height, and we will reap life everlasting.  But if we don't, our time and our strength are going out to the weeds and we will reap what we sow.  What value do weeds have?  What does it say about the cares of this life and the deceitfulness of riches? God wants us to take a good look at our lives and not just give all the strength we have to weeds.  What happens to weeds in the end? You just pull them out, they have no value.  We've got to live in this life, and we've got to give time and strength natural things, but remember, the day is going to come when we are going to go back into a wooden box and into the earth and then all the things of this life-what are they going to matter then?  But if you are giving your strength and your time and your love and your priority to the seed of eternal life and you're feeding that well, you will have something that death won't be able to take. 

Maybe just one last thing - in that parable, there is the stony ground. Well, there's the soil and there's another influence, and that is the sun.  It says, "When the sun came it had no depth of root and it withered away."  In terms of a garden, it is in our hand, in our control.  A gardener can keep his garden soft, and he can keep the weeds out, but what he can't control is the sun; he has no control of the sun, whether it shines or not.  That is a picture of our life too; there is our garden, and it is in our hand whether we are going to keep our garden clean and keep out anything that will be taking the rightful place that belongs to God.  But there is something that we don't have control over - the heat of the sunlight, the afflictions that come.  There are different difficulties that come that we don't have any control over in life.  There are tragedies, sadness and ill health, and we don't have any control over those things.  There are two types of ground there.  What did it do to the seed in the good ground?  It ripened the harvest.  What did it do to the stony ground?  It withered the seed up. What it is going to do to us? That which we don't have any control over will depend on whether we have a root system or not.  So, do you have a root system, an unseen part?  Have you got a personal relationship with God?  Is God your friend?  Do you spend time with Him? I like what Trevor told us at Ngaire convention. He was telling us about those on the water that day, and they were caught in the storm.  They didn't learn to row in the storm, they learned to row before that.  And on the normal days we're tending to the private side of our life and we're giving God time, and if you want your roots to go down, well you have to give God time.  In the busyness of life, if you don't set your priorities to give time to God, your roots won't go down and then when the heat comes...and those that do, well when the heat comes, it's wonderful; I've seen that in God's people, and when the difficulties come and what does it do?  There is a wonderful ripening of the harvest, and those that don't, they wither up and die.  So we want to see to that side of our life in having a personal and deep relationship with God.


So may God help us to be good gardeners and give it the first priority in our lives in this wonderful prospect of eternal life, which we receive in the word of God.