Sowing & Reaping Part 3 - Character

2 Cor 9:6 - 9


Intro We are Continuing our Study in 2 Cor – On Sundays we have camped out here in Ch.9 – Subject of sowing & Reaping / LAST  LOOK

A)Seed time & Harvest –4 Key Principles: 1st Time to sow – time to reap

Reap in DUE SEASON - In between is the season of waiting Ecl 3:2


B) Season where there isn’t much to see – no fruit to behold – but you know that God is working


C) 2nd Reap what is sown –– what you are reaping is going to be determined by what you are sowing-  After it’s kind


D) 3rd The Extent that you sow will determine the extent that you reap

1)   Sparingly or bountifully


E) 4th Where you sow is important – Hosea 8:7 sow to the wind – you will reap the whirlwind –   Need to be aware of the soil we are sowing into –


We have been discussing 3 soils that we as believers in JC should be Sowing in – 3 soils that are guaranteed to reap a good harvest

A)3 Areas that God instructs us in His word to be sowing in


B) 1st – Soil of the Kingdom of God – talked about Finances

     2nd Last week  – Soil of our kids –– talk about Family

     Today 3rd – Soil of Character – Talk about Faith



A)Webster – A distinctive quality, attribute or trait: An individuals personality: moral constitution / moral strength / self discipline


B) Abraham Lincoln said that character was like a tree and reputation like the shadow of the tree. "The shadow is what we think of it," said Lincoln. "The tree is the real thing." Reputation is what people think we are; but  character is what God and the holy angels know we are.

C)  D. L. Moody once said that character was "what a man is in the dark";

1) Place where no one else sees !!!!   - What we are in secret


Character is Joseph saying "no" to Potiphar's wife and going to prison for being honest and chaste.

A)It's Moses giving up the privileges of an Egyptian prince for the perils and problems of a Jewish prophet,

1)  and for forty years sacrificially serving a people who didn't deserve his leadership.


B) It's Jeremiah devoting his lifetime to faithfully pleading with his people, and seeing the nation die before his very eyes.


C) it's Paul saying, "Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day" and getting slapped in the face for saying it.


D)It's Hugh Lattimer saying to Nicholas Ridley before they were burned at the stake, "Be of good comfort Master Ridley, and play the man. We shall this day light such a candle by God's grace in England, as (I trust) shall never be put out."


E) It's Jim Elliot writing in his journal, "He is no fool to give what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose."


Charles Spurgeon wrote, "A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you, and were helped by you, will remember you when forget-me-nots are withered. Carve your name on hearts, and not on marble."

   Integrity is "a better long-term investment than the best Certificate of Deposit known to man!"


F) Character is important &Today we want to talk about Building Christian Character: What seeds are we to be sowing in the soil of Character

 1)  Turn to 2 Peter 1: RD 5-11



When talking about – Growing Character there is our part and there is God’s part – Peter presents that distinction nicely here in our text

A)1st is our Part: GIVING ALL DILIGENCE- take seriously / put forth the effort / make it a priority


B) Farmer doesn’t sporadically or haphazardly sow his seed – random

1)   He has a plan – he knows what fields he is going to sow in each day / he knows which rows he is going to plow –


C) He knows – what seeds he is going to sow in which area –

1)   And he gets up early to do his work !!! That is  DILIGENCE


D) That is the idea that Peter is giving here when it comes to growing in Christian Character – Have a Plan / aim & seriously pursue it

1)   The Building of Christian Character is not to be a Casual pursuit / but it is to be something that we are vigorously pursuing after:

2)   That is our part – but then Peter mentions God’s part:



And ADD TO YOUR FAITH : -Now this word ADD is very enlightening –

A)it was used in that day for the fitting of the Choruses that were a part of the Greek Plays


B)The Word Literally means – to LAVISHLY SUPPLY – meaning don’t old back anything


C)  When a play was being put together there would always be a financial backer – some one who funded the production

1)   Budget would be set & Musicians actors /singers were hired based upon that budget –


D) A generous backer would say here take this – and Lavishly Supply what ever is necessary for the – Production


Like one of you Ladies – getting married – Dad is going to pay for the RECEPTION & HONEY MOON  Your dad who is a Billionaire says

A)Honey because I love you so much do what ever you want for your wedding /reception & Honeymoon it is on me/ Hold back no expense


B) Well you are not going to shop at Pic & Save – not going to be worried about nickel and Diming your way thru { Dress 2nd hand

1)It is not going to put a dent in Dad’s bank account/Nordstroms here I come


C) Honeymoon isn’t going to be at the OCSD Motel Six – More like Maui that place over there – heard 10,000 a night


And  when people come to the reception & they see all the beautiful decorations & fine China – hear about your Honeymoon plans

A)Response is – YOUR DAD IS INCREDIBLE – AMAZING -  I wish I had a Dad like that


B) So too when the world looks at a Christians life & sees how full they are

1)   See that depth of Character – and Joy in the mist of all kinds of Circumstances – response is – I wish I had a life like that


C) That is what Peter is saying – Take what God has made available in Christ & Lavishly supply your faith – don’t hold back any thing


Well our Lord is the supplier – He is the backer – He has unlimited bank account –

A)What are the resources that He has made available to us ? rd v. 2-4


B) Given us Grace = Undeserved Unearned Favor /  Given us His Divine Power – Comes thru Spirit living in our hearts

1)   Given us the Treasure of Who His Son is & Who were are in Him – treasure that only needs to be mined – dug up to be discovered


C) Given us Exceedingly great & Precious promises of Who His Son is & who we are in{ His DIVINE NATURE } All that is given to us

See the heart of the Christian is likened to soil & God has placed in the

Soil of our hearts all of those things

A)What we need to do now is PLANT w/ in that soil – the seeds that God has determined would grow


B) Another illustration – Farmer – God gives the farm – the Plow the Tractor – everything needed for tilling & preparing the ground

1) He supplies the seed & the fertilizer – and says Now work the field – use what I have given you to produce a crop


C) That is Peters Point - because of Who you belong to & How He has supplied you -I now urge you to ADD to your faith –

1)     LAVISHLY SUPPLY your faith in these things



So what are THE seeds we are to be sowing into the soil of our Character

A)List 7 things / 7 the # of Completion – briefly break down


B) The first seed that Peter mentions  is virtue. it basically means “excellence.”

1)To the Greek philosophers, it meant “the fulfillment of a thing.”

So When anything in nature fulfills its purpose, that is “virtue/ excellence.”


C)  The land that produces crops is “excellent” because it is fulfilling its purpose.

1)   The tool that works correctly is “excellent” because it is doing what a tool is supposed to do.


What is a Christian DESIGNED  to be doing w/ His life? Glorifying God

A)So the Christian who is sowing the seed of Virtue is going to be one who is Concerned about – Glorifying God w/ His Life


B) He is going to be one who is seeking to live his life after God’s standard of Excellence – God’s definition of Character

See The worlds idea of Character is subjective – moves changes depending on who it is you are talking to or hanging w/

A)But God’s view of Character is Not subjective – it is planted firm on the Foundation of His word


B) The Christian who wants to be a person who is growing in God’s standard of Character – is one who wants to be living by the Standard of God’s word { Not Oprah / Dr. Phil or someone else


C) He has an absolute standard of right & wrong one that exists independent of our emotions, experiences of desires


C) God’s word is his Standard And when he is faced w/ temptation – he doesn’t budge because he has already made a decision based upon a predetermined set of Principles


Phil 4:8-  Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy -- meditate on these things.


D)Why do we see this constant exhortation in Scripture ? Where our minds Dwell our hearts go – Dwelling on the word w/ our minds

1)   Hearts take on those Characteristics


In doing so He is glorifying God w/ his life / which is virtuous or Excellent



2nd Seed planted in the soil of Character is Knowledge: Add Knowledge

A)The word Knowledge speaks of a Full Knowledge or a Knowledge that is growing – comes in 2 ways


B) 1st is thru the Knowledge that comes from God’s word ! Listen Bible study is not just about discovering principles to live by

1)   Insights about Marriage Etc{ Secondary to getting to Know God

C) God’s word has been given to us to reveal his Heart that is our  motivation to live by those Principles


D) So the person who is growing in Character is going to be one who makes it his priority to spend time in the Word – hear God’s heart

1)   Seeking to Grow in his Knowledge of God /



The 2nd way we grow in Knowledge is thru Experience : Living the life of Faith

A)Being stretched : Seeing the Faithfulness of God – in each situation


B) Seen in the heart of a man who is so Caught up in the Lord     Psa. 23

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.2He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.3 He restores my soul;




He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.



4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil;For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

David had a SECURE HEART


5        You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

          You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.

6        Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life;

          And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.




C) This was all born out of David’s Experience w/ God – not book Knowledge { Tried & proven

1) Knowledge that is expanding: Jehovah Jireh / Tiskenu / Rapha

Next Peter mentions the seed of Self Control

A) SELF CONTROL-  means to hold the desires & passions of the flesh under control –


B)Although we are born again – as long as we are in these bodies are going to wrestle & struggle w/ our flesh


C) The Devil is constantly using the things of this world to appeal to that old nature – to appeal to our flesh – every turn

1)   Satan would like to see us get out of CONTROL –


D) But the Lord as placed His Spirit in us – given new Nature – so that our lives may be marked by SELF CONTROL 

Prov.25:28 Whoever has no rule over his own spirit

          Is like a city broken down, without walls.


Prov. 16:32 He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty,

          And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.


   No horse gets anywhere until he is harnessed. No steam or gas ever drives anything until it is confined.  Niagara is Never turned into light & power until it is tunneled. No life ever grows great until it is focused, dedicated, disciplined.


I particularly like to warn my American audiences about this. Freedom is not the same thing as autonomy. Freedom does not mean I am a law unto myself. Prince Philip, the duke of Edinburgh, speaking to a hostile university audience that jeered him, stopped in the middle, and in non-regal language he said, "Shut up! Freedom can be destroyed as easily by making a mockery of it as it can by its retraction." That's precisely what man has done.

   In an attempt to be reasonable, man has become irrational. In an attempt to deify himself, he has defaced himself. In an attempt to be free, he has made himself a slave. And like Alexander the Great, he has conquered the world around him but has not yet conquered himself.


   -- Ravi Zacharias, "


How do we plant that seed of self Control by yielding ourselves to the Spirit : Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints

A) Death to the Flesh – self sufficiency – life surrendered to the Lord



Next Perseverance – Patient endurance

A)James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.


Now this is something that God does – Waters our Faith – trials that help produce Perseverance

A)God’s Part- Watering Planting Process


The story is told of a distinguished botanist who was exiled from his native land and obtained a job as a gardener in the United States.  One cold winter day his employer received a valuable plant.  Unfamiliar with the plant and its needs, he placed it in the greenhouse under the glare of the sun.  When the plant began to die, the man asked the gardener to look at it.  Quickly identifying its origin, he explained, "This is a plant which thrives in cold weather."  He immediately took it outside and exposed it to the frost, heaping pieces of ice around the flowerpot.  Before long the plant became healthy and flourished again.




B) Listen we all enjoy the mountain top experiences where the presence of God is Felt – Blessings are flowing : We love that -

CHAMBERS The true test of our spiritual life is in exhibiting the power to descend from the mountain. If we only have the power to go up, something is wrong. It is a wonderful thing to be on the mountain with God, but a person only gets there so that he may later go down and lift up the demon-possessed people in the valley We are not made for the mountains, for sunrises, or for the other beautiful attractions in life—those are simply intended to be moments of inspiration. We are made for the valley and the ordinary things of life, and that is where we have to prove our stamina and strength.


Patience is important because BUILDING CHARACTER TAKES TIME

Like a great cathedral, character is built a day at a time, a stone at a time, with patience and deliberation, all the while seeking to follow God's step‑by‑step plan.


Life is built on character, and character is built on the decisions we make. The daily decisions of life, small and great, cement each stone into the cathedral of character.


A)How do we sow the seed of Patience ? By not running from the trials but embracing them & relying on the Lord to see us thru


Next the seed of Godliness simply means “God-likeness.” In the original Greek, this word meant “to worship well.”

A)It described the man who was right in his relationship with God and with his fellowman.


B) Psa 15 Another great Passage – dealing w/ Character David asks the Question LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle?  Who may dwell in Your holy hill? Who can enjoy intimacy w/ God


C) Answer: Man who walks uprightly / Lives righteously toward God & man–

D) v.4 They keep their promises to their neighbors, even when it hurts.


ILLUSTRATION: There is a story about a young lawyer named Mr. Black, who is now a judge in the state of Georgia


          As a young lawyer he was invited to give a welcoming address   to the Governor of Georgia. He took great pains to prepare his address. BUT - He got a telegram saying that the governor's arrival would be delayed from Monday until Wednesday. Mr. Black responded at ONCE saying that a previous engagement would prevent him from delivering the address that Wednesday night


              NOTE: Few persons except the pastor of Mr. Black’s church knew that the “previous engagement” was the regular Wednesday night prayer meeting that the young lawyer had committed to the Lord.


          Those who knew Mr. Black noted that “No service to man or state, though it might be for his own promotion or benefit could ever make him swerve from his commitment.”


          A young lawyer invited to a governors meeting said: “NO - I can NOT miss prayer meeting.”


              HOW did a man who threw away a chance to climb the political               ladder in Georgia get to be judge?  The LORD promoted Him


After Godliness – Brotherly Kindness & Love

A)To put it another way : Leads an others centered life / modeled by Jesus – Living life of a Servant


B) Those are the seeds that we are to be sowing in the soil of Character


"Add to your faith, the virtue of Joseph; and to the virtue of Joseph, the knowledge of Solomon; and to the knowledge of Solomon, the patience of Job; and to the patience of Job, the godliness of Daniel; and to the godliness of Daniel, the brotherly kindness of Jonathan; and to the brotherly kindness of Jonathan, the love of John.'"


B) Peter also reveals for us – what the Result is for the person who is adding these things to their Faith / Character   v.8,9

1) Life will be marked by Fruitfulness & Vision


                 Sow a thought and you reap an action.

                 Sow an action and you reap a character.

                 Sow a character and you reap a destiny