Will Your Life be a Seed for the Harvest?

by Greg Crawford Apostle

John 12:24…except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit

God requires those of great calling to not only die to self but may at some time call upon them to give their very lives for the cause of Christ. For most of us we do not think in these terms because of such freedom and liberty we have in this nation. But right now a large number of our brothers and sisters are in nations that their lives can be put in harm for their faith. Listen to this most amazing statistic. More than 70 million Christians have been martyred for their faith since 33 AD. This year an estimated 160,000 believers will die at the hands of their oppressors and over 200 million will be persecuted, arrested, tortured, beaten or jailed. In many nations it is illegal to own a Bible, share your faith, change your faith or allow children under 18 to attend a religious service. We need to realize we are not except because of our national freedom. We already are seeing the beginning stages of intolerance towards Christians and the morality they represent. But are we so busy "do the work" not of ministry but of self created monstrosities, that we do not realize what is happening around us. All our good programs will never prepare us for true persecution. Only being willing seeds will we see the true harvest!

Acts 6:1-7 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration . 2 Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them , and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables . 3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business . 4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word . 5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch : 6 Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them . 7 And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith .

This passage we all know and have had it preached to us, especially in time of menial task needing done and no one participating. We have looked at this scripture as a solution to not doing physical work by ministers and lost track of the true meaning. The Grecians were murmuring against the Hebrews because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. The Word of God had stopped growing. The church was coming to a transition point. Would they go forward or remain in the same place? This transition was not about helps ministry, serving, or even waiting tables. It was a transition point of putting in place seed for the harvest and fulfilling the original mandate Jesus had given in Acts 1:8. As we know seven men were selected to serve tables, who were Grecians. This was the first transition in the book of Acts of transfer of power and authority to those looked upon as God fearing but not true believers. It was a type and shadow pointing to the Gospel coming to the Gentiles. Seven men selected to be seed for the harvest but only one would chosen.

The problem at hand was not physical, tables and hungry people, it was spiritual, the Word of God was not increasing. Does this mean no one was preaching the Gospel, or teaching? No they had the physical problem because of those things. No the word of God was not some teaching session, it was Jesus himself, the living word abiding within. People's personal relationships with him were lacking. He was being crowded out by daily chores put upon those leading.

The Apostles had the same problem anyone doing ministry experiences if they have the spirit of God moving. The corporate body or physical structure was overtaking the spiritual relationship. We have experienced this many times in our ministry. To those locally it appears we may not be growing, but our ministry is not locally but more regional, nation, and international. As an equipping center, or resource center the number of people locally in a small community may not desire what is offered. But when we start looking at those outside of the area and scattered the numbers go quickly to the thousands. Each time the demand is put upon us we have to restructure not to maintain or fix a pressing issue, but so we have the time to maintain our spiritual walks.

The LEADERS had determined that they would prioritize their lives and would focus their lives on relationship with Christ and ministry to him. They basically took the problem, told the people they needed to handle it, and modeled how to get things in order in your walk. The Apostles did not dictate what happened but created opportunity for potential to be released. That is what true Apostles have a God given ability to do. The whole multitude made the decision who to be chosen.

When we get this perspective right the amount of growth we can experience is unlimited. You see they had no teaching materials, no Bible. Personal growth was not dependent upon hearing message or reading some book, but was put upon each person to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling. The people themselves were the Bible and Jesus within them was the living word. A better way of putting it was when Jesus increased within them, and then a multiplication came of disciples, not just converts. In other words when the living word, Jesus resident, was allowed to increase in ALL of them, not just the leaders, then they had the solution to the problem at hand, true disciples. Even priest believed. As I have researched this it is believed the number of priest who believed was over 8,000. Now that is influence! That is harvest! That is nothing in comparison to what is coming because the seed has not yet died for the harvest. It now is only being prepared for planting.

As we see this picture we actually see 3 types of groups of people represented postionally in walk and function. Outer Court, Inner court and Holy of Holies. The outer court is a generation of unbelievers who are in great need physically but have not the living word abiding within them. They depend solely upon the faith of others. Even today how many are unconsciously doing this with those who are in the church. We get several calls a week asking to pay utility bills, food etc.

The second group is in the Holy place, ministering to needs, but not yet fully engaged in ministry to the Lord. This is where many today are and especially the next generation. The desire for service is in place but the distraction all around abounds. It is performing out of duty and to please others than to serve out of relationship and because we love God and understand His ways. Most ministers today are letting needs dictate direction of ministry instead of God directing ministry and needs being meet along the way. In the Holy of Holies is the last group the advancers or conquerors. They are the ones who have to first conquer the fear of not meeting the needs and making sure their lives are prioritized correctly. This group is the smallest in the church today. This is where the Jacobs are to be in this hour. Holding the portal of heaven open until Josephs are seasoned enough the needs are met because of the anointing on their lives and not the strength of youth.

Selfishness is the main problem today. What the church is fighting the most is not the devil, not the world, not government, or even faith. The main problem everything upon the earth is affected with is the church itself. If the church was in the right place most of these things would be resolved or in process of being resolved. Reformation will sweep the church once it gets rid of its selfishness. The Church has lost track of the mandate upon it. It is not programs, not conferences, not 24/7 prayer or books and tapes. It is preaching the Kingdom of Christ. We must get back to the Word of God being formed inside of us. The true living word of God, not men's opinions. This is the only solution to every single problem we are experiencing. There has to be an awakening, yes to the word of God, but more so to the already "living Word of God" inside the already existing church. You see as Steven died and his blood spilled upon the earth, he along with the "word of God, Jesus the living word" was also planted once again into the earth. This is what brings great harvest. It is all based on someone being a seed, like Jesus, and planting their lives into the earth.

Once we stop having a task mentality with the things of God and look upon even "waiting tables" as a spiritual service unto God we then will begin the transition into the harvest. The early church looked at everything as eternal and that they were already living in the eternal realm. For them to wait tables, minister to God or give their lives all had eternal purposes within it. The embrace of the eternal purposes of God for their lives allowed them to do service in menial task. We have not taught people this principle as of yet as most do not even realize what the eternal purposes are. This moves us from being servants to being friends. Friends have special privilege and are shown honor. When we realize it is an honor to work in menial task for the Lord we will then know the church is in transition into eternal purposes. Knowing this eternal purpose is what allowed Steven to give his life so freely. His death was not a transition into eternity but only a greater fulfillment of the life and the "word of God" abiding within him to manifest eternity present in a greater way. Read the story in Acts 7 Steven did not go up into eternity until he first brought eternity down into the earth. Once the transition was accomplished the church was moved into the miraculous. Great growth and great signs and wonders. A greater grace or sphere of influence occurred. Next week we will discuss how to be seed for the harvest!

John 12:24… except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit

As we consider the live of Stephen we soon realize a man who has been nameless and faceless suddenly arises to recognition but the recognition holds imprisonment and even death. Like a typical seed planted in a great field no one seems concerned for the one. No one except the Lord. As Stephen is about to be killed he brings eternity into the present before he escapes the present and enters eternity. We see his death not only causes a great stir in the earth but also moved heaven. Lets look at 5 simple points concerning being seed for the harvest.

1. The City takers – the revolution begins based on the sacrificial living and giving of lives.

We must realize that every reformation/change comes from a price paid – death. In Acts 1 – 7, The Church is advancing by outside forces. In Acts.7:54-60, we have the martyrdom of Stephen. This is a transitional point of the church. Now The Church is advancing because of forces of heaven. The church cannot allow heaven to dictate if we continue to empower our circumstances to prevail over us. Someone has to die to the status quo and yield to a higher calling. This requires action over thinking, faith over under-standing. Enoch laid his life down to be taken. Joseph laid his life down to be given. Daniel to be poured out, and Isaiah to be challenged.

Acts 7:56 Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.

We see a tremendous outcome of Stephen death. It does not occur upon the earth but in the heavens. Jesus the Son of God stood when Stephen was killed. Imagine that, the death of a saint causes the Son of God to rise and take notice. But also all heaven is in motion, if Jesus stands everyone stands. I imagine the angels were peering upon Jesus with great expectation concerning the new orders he is about to release upon them! This step is best summed up by saying we need sacrifice instead of selfishness. Stephens death released the same power that raised Christ from the dead and brought great life into the church. It brought heaven from a place of resting to a place of attention!

2. We must discover the power to prevail over every obstacle.

We cannot reform what still holds power or a grip over us! Where have you positioned yourself? Are you in a place of need or are you ministering to needs and advancing The Kingdom? Just like Stephen death no longer held a grip upon him. It does not even say he felt pain. God has called us to not just get by with a few simple victories, but to be over comers in all things. If demons must give way to us then surely what controls men's hearts will as well! We can not be living in need all the time but must come to a point of growing up and ministering to the needs of others. This will allow leaders to stop baby sitting us and begin to release the advance of heaven. What is bigger in you? Your need or Christ the hope of Glory! When we give God our lives, we then allow him to place miracles inside of us. The miracles inside those chosen to wait tables was not for themselves but for those who yet could not believe. Acts 19:11-12 Paul received, but the people ministered in the miracles! Leaders are to be bringing the power down and people taking the power out!

3. We must be carriers of the flame of God to ignite the fire that spreads.

The flame of God inside us is to be a supernatural fire coming forth. We must be carriers of influence in society. Stephen's life laid down touched the heart of the people and Paul's heart. The entire church was scattered abroad, not just the 12 apostles but THE CHURCH! Every person was equipped according to Eph. 4:11-14. Eph 4:14 Perfect the Saints – outer court. Eph 4:15 Work of the ministry – Holy Place. Eph 4:16 Edify the body – Most Holy Place. This is The Word dwelling inside of us! Acts 8:8 And there was great joy in that city. Stephen's death unlocked joy for an entire city, a region was impacted. His death brought reformation to the church and put them into motion to finally fulfill Jesus mandate of Acts 1:8 upon them. It brought not only harvest at Jerusalem but now it would unlock the harvest of the rest of the world!

4. We must have an accurate message of the Spirit and not the message of men.

Truth does not entertain but confronts convicts, brings change, power, releases destiny release, cause and purpose. The Gospel is abrasive, it was never meant to be pleasing to our flesh. Stephens's message was not his opinion but was the truth. He spoke concerning the actual actions of those who stood before him confronting the contradictions of their lives. The power we all desire to see, comes when the true message of he Kingdom is preached. Truth is more than a technique or 4 steps to whatever. Truth stands alone and needs no private interpretation. Inside the church is the message of the Kingdom. It has just become muddy from all the input of what we think it means. The message in the church is also the very thing to release its destiny. The early Church did not have a Bible, they were the Bible. The true living word of God was alive inside of them. Their lives were closely being watched by the world. Their close relationship with the Lord directly influenced the people around them. The Bible will be alive to you when you let Christ be alive inside of you. Gal. 1:16 To reveal his Son in me that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Paul says the message inside of him was because Christ was alive inside of Him! We need to get a revelation of that. Another way of putting it is the message inside of you is the person living inside of you! The message we are carrying is a message to change the seasons of people's lives and even the earth. What the early church was the final word concerning the issue. Why? Because it was the word JESUS!

5.To carry a reformation, we must reach strategic people's hearts in society.

Phillip left waiting tables and went into Samara and reached Simon who practiced sorcery. The death of Stephen enabled the church to reach keys leaders influencing society in other regions. Now this is reformation. Even Paul was standing and witnessing with approval Stephens's death. But it does not say He participated in the death. I find that interesting. Even in a state of sin God was holding Paul from a future regret. Stephen's life had to have an influence upon Paul. I believe deep in Paul's heart, who knew what Stephen had just declared was the truth of the matter; he was confronted in his death with what he was doing. It only took time to work out the truth Stephen declared to bring change to Paul. After Paul's conversion, he to went into cities and found strategic people to confront with The Kingdom. This is a Biblical pattern of reformation. Today we focus so much on the poor, and there is nothing wrong with helping them. Jesus said we would have them with us always. The problem is we get so focused on them and do not reach the key people of influence who can make ministry to the poor easier. Because of this one sided focus of the poor, past moves of God have died out. We must ask God who is the key people I am to reach in society so the reformation can continue.

The question comes to this. Am I willing to die to selfishness and allow the True Living Word of God to live inside of me? Not what men have told me and I have memorized in my head, but Jesus alive in me! Will I be seed for the harvest? Every time we see a person who has died and lays a portion of their life down, we also see the planting of a portion of the Son of God again into the earth. Imagine if we would die fully and be fully planted as the church, the words of Jesus then would be fulfilled "…. Greater works than these shall you do…."