Cross and Flame - Christ (cross) and the Holy Spirit (flame).

God Gives the Increase

God Gives the Increase

Introduction

We are called to be co-laborers with Christ. This relationship requires us to know and trust God through Christ.  We die to ourselves as we take on more of Christ.  We learn of his ways in order the carry out our charge the way he wants.  Sometimes get in the way and try to hurry the process.

In our passage today we see “order” of things revealed in a very simple example:  Paul plants, Apollo waters and God gives the increase.  It is a sequence of events designed to give a desired result.  To be a co-laborer with Christ is to move within the ordained plan, purpose, and promises God.

Paul planted the word of God.  He preached the gospel of Jesus Christ.  He expounded on the words of the prophets and he encouraged the people to remember their ancestors and their relationship to God.

Apollo watered or helped with the growth of the new Christians.  But only God could and would touch the heart of one who believed and chose to follow Christ.

If we reorder the sequence of events, the desired outcome is no longer possible. Each event has a purpose and a time.  “to everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven:”.  What if Apollo watered first?  If indeed the purpose of water is to nourish the seed and promote growth, the watering is necessary for the growth of the seed that is planted.  Planting has to be first for the watering to be in the right sequence to affect the result.  If the sequence is broken, there would be no increase.

  1. God is working on our behalf

The order of events is important.  We can‘t always see God working things out but we must know that God is working on our behalf.  In Daniel 10:12-13

12 Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.13 But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia.

 

  1. Problems occur when you try to help God along; when you try to take matters in your own hands.

In 1 Samuel 13, Saul and his army were waiting for Samuel to arrive to offer a sacrifice before going to war. Samuel had not yet come, and the soldiers were preparing to flee rather than fight the Philistines. Growing impatient, Saul chose to offer a sacrifice on his own.

Just as Saul finished the sacrifice, Samuel arrived and said, “You have done a foolish thing. . . . You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you” (1 Samuel 13:13).

In 1 Samuel 10:8: “Go down ahead of me to Gilgal. I will surely come down to you to sacrifice burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, but you must wait seven days until I come to you and tell you what you are to do.”

When we disobey, we reveal a lot about ourselves that we did not even know.  Our weaknesses are exposed, dormant fears some out, our ignorance shows, and sometimes the experiences in life reveal that we have only been giving God lip service.  In Saul’s case, waiting for 7 days had a purpose.  During this time Saul was to learn patience and dependence upon God. He missed it.  He leaned on our own understanding.  What does it say in Proverb 3:6?

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to you own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him and he shall direct your path.

He circumvented the instruction and guidance of God.  “Wait 7 days until I come to you and tell you what you are to do.”  In the Spirit “what you see isn’t always you get.”  Saul revealed that he was weak, impatient and wanted to take charge of the situation himself.

He chose not to work together with Samuel or obey God.  A king was to follow the Lord’s commands, yet Saul felt he could do as he chose and thus made a foolish mistake.

Saul was guilty of so many things but his disobedience to the authorities over him was wrong because Saul was not a priest or Levite. Thus, he could not legally offer a burnt offering or peace offering. Saul was of the tribe of Benjamin and was not to do the work of a priest.

 

He broke the sequence of events.  The offerings symbolized obedience to God and acknowledgement that God was the true commander of the army.  The offerings expressed their faith in God and God’s sovereignty.  This was no mere act of disobedience.

 

However, the direct reason why Saul’s sacrifice was sinful was that Saul disobeyed Samuel’s command. Samuel was a prophet and person of authority, and the word of the Lord had been spoken through him to Saul.  He stepped out of his place and assumed authority that not his. 

 

Obedience is better than sacrifice.  Our lesson this day is to do the work of the Lord in the way God has ordained.  The sequence of events led to a desired result.

 

Trust God.  Look to the mountain that your help comes from.  Acknowledge that all of our help comes from the lord.  We have been called to work alongside of the Lord in the building of the kingdom.  We plant, someone else waters and God gives the increase.  Any other sequence of events denies us the God’s desired results and blessings.

 

 

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