God’s Garden – by F.F. Bosworth
A partial copy of an excellent sermon from his book “Christ the Healer”
“I did the planting, Apollos did the watering, but it was God who made the seed grow … you are God’s field to be planted (1 Cor. 3:6-9 – Moffatt’s translation).
How to Get God’s Promises Fulfilled
Every moral being on earth has been “bought with a price” to be the Lord’s garden in which His “imperishable seed” is to grow and be cultivated and produce its wonders. Real Christians are God’s “farm” – His “husbandry” – His “field” – His “garden”. A “field” belongs to its owner. So Paul says, “Ye are not your own; ye are bought with a price.” God holds the title deed. We are absolutely His. We belong to Him by right of creation and by right of preservation. But the greatest fact is that we belong to Him by right of redemption – because He “bought” us with an infinite price, to be His “field”.
The Planting of the Seed
Paul says to the Corinthians, “I did the planting.” In the parable of the sower, Jesus said, “The seed is the Word.” It is the “imperishable seed.” God brings about His wonderful harvests in the same way a farmer does. Jesus said, “e sent forth a sower to sow.” It is God’s Word that lets us know what to trust Him for. “Faith comes by hearinig” – by our knowing what God’s will is for us. Because they can accomplish such wonders, God wants all His “seed” planted. God’s purpose in creating seed was that it might be planted in “good ground” where it could germinate and “grow” and “bring forth fruit”. So Paul said, “I did the planting.” Seed is powerless unless it is planted.
The infinite price God paid for the “field” reveals the importance of planting the “imperishable seed”. All of God’s wonderful works are potentially in the “seed.” David said, “All is work is done in faithfulness,” that is, in faithfulness to His promises. God’s works are prevented until the seed is in “good ground”. His design for us all is that we spend our lives making possible the germination and growth of the “imperishable seed”. Nothing can take the place of the seed, not even prayer. Prayer is not the seed; the Word is the seed. The only purpose of God’s promises is their fulfillment. They are all a revelation of what He is eager to do for us. The Holy Spirit, whose work it is to fulfill the promises, speaks of them as “exceedingly great and precious,” because it removes all reason for doubt and gives us perfect reasons upon which to base our expectations. As “seed,” they cannot be changed. They therefore accomplish their wonderful results at any time and in any garden.
It is the business of Christians to prove to the world by actual demonstration that the promises of od are as true today as they were two thousand years ago. They were given to be known and recognized, claimed, and pleaded in prayer. They are to be sown and tilled by prayer. In Romans 4:12, God speaks of Christians as those “who also walk in the steps of that faith of ur father Abraham.” meaning that we should all treat every promise God has made to us exactly as Abraham treated God’s promise to him. Can it be that God is less real to men of this Holy Spirit dispensation than He was to those who lived in the shadows of these “better things”?
Jesus said to some of the Jews in His day, “My word hath no place in you.” What place should te Word of God have in us? I answer that it ought to obtain and retain an inside place in the thoughts, the memory, the conscience, and the affections. It ought to obtain adn retain in us a place of honor, reverence, faith, love and obedience. It ought to obtain and retain in us a place of trust. It ought to obtain and retain in us a place of authority.
Millions of people sing that glorious hymn “Standing on the Promises of God,” while the fact is that most of God’s promises are never claimed by most modern church members. Standing on the promises of God means to get them fulfilled; it means to appropriate the blessing that each promise reveals; it means to pray “the prayer of faith” for their fulfillment. Neglecting them is equivalent to undoing what their fulfillment would mean if it were already accomplished. Their preciousness should determine our love and esteem of them. Paul was glad to say, “I did the planting.” If all farmers treated their seed as millions of church-members today treat God’s “imperishable seed,” the world would starve to death.
The Possibilities in the Seed
In the seed there are infinite possibilities. This is why it should be said of every one, as it was at the beginning, “They gladly received the Word.” In the plainest Bible text there is a world of blessing, just as in a little seed there is a potential tree a million times bigger than the seed. One verse of Scripture allowed to germinate in a human heart may grow into a harvest of thousands of conversions and the “eternal glory” which follows. One kernel of wheat can, in time, cover a continent and feed nations; and the results of cultivating the “imperishable seed” are as much greater and more desirable than the harvests of material seed as the heavens are higher than the earth. Only the “imperishale seed” can bring about imperishable results. The Bible says, “Every seed bringeth forth after its kind.” Each promise, by the blesing promised, reveals the nature of the harvest of promises fulfilled.
Paul said, “I did the planting; BARNABAS DID THE WATERING.” All the seed and all the plants in God’s garden need watering. Jesus said of the stony ground upon which the seed fell, “It had no moisture.” He said, “The seed had no root.” If the seed is to grown the ground must be kept moist. It is becuse of the lack of constant watering that many of God’s plants are withered instead of growing. A garden is a place for growth. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Your faith groweth exceedingly.” “Your love groweth.” He commanded all to “grow in grace.” Therefore God says to every one of His little gardens, “Be filled with the Spirit” – keep the ground moist. The water is the Spirit “whom God hath given to them that obey Him.” The fullness of the Spirit is the condition of His perfect working.
How David Watered the Seed
Every one of the 176 verses of the 119th Psalm shows David’s attitude toward the Word of God. He joyfully acknowledges his obligations to keep God’s precepts diligently. He promised, “I will keep Thy statutes.” He said to God, “Thy Word have I hid in mine heart … I have rejoiced in the way of Thy testimonies as much as in all riches … I will meditate in Thy precepts … Princes also did sit and speak against me; but Thy servant did meditate in Thy statutes … I will delight myself in Thy statutes … I will delight myself in Thy statutes … I will not forget Thy Word … I have kept Thy testimonies … I haev chosen the way of truth … I will run the way of Thy commandments … I will observe Thy laws with my whole heart … I delight in Thy commandments … I will keep Thy law continually forever and ever … I will speak of Thy precepts … The proud have had me greatly in derision: yet I have not declined from Thy law … Thy statutes have been my song … Thou art my portion, O Lord … I made haste and delayed not to keep Thy commandments … The proud have forged a lie against me: but I have kept Thy precepts with my whole heart