The mission of the seventy in our Gospel reading from John chapter 10 was based on Jesus’ instructions to them just as it was given to the twelve. It was not based on the disciples’ own opinions and interpretations (vv 2-11; 9:1-6). These disciples represented Jesus. They did not represent themselves. They were not wise in their own eyes to do or obey evil. There is a fundamental principle of God’s creation. The principle is ‘for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap,’ and this apply to our physical and spiritual ventures. In the beginning, the disciples sowed after the Spirit. They did not operate independent of God and His Words hence, the spread and victory of Christianity over many heresies, false teachers, false doctrine, false prophets, deceivers and mockers especially within the church.
In our new and modern golden age of preaching and discipleship, we are surrounded by self sufficient leaders, disciples and churches shaped by the seductions of today’s culture rather than the conviction of God’s undiluted Word. The result is that “Churches in our day have become obsessed with their own efforts at creating an image that will produce success, which is one way of reading what Paul means by sowing to the flesh. Those of us who cannot rely on such things must continue to sow to the Spirit in faith and hope, which is the only way to maintain a life of self-giving love over the long term.” We sow to the flesh when the church cause the world to sin and faith is reduced to performance rather than being prophetic and counter-cultural.
The story of the 1930 Oke Oye, Ilesa Revival in Nigeria is about sowing and reaping. While the Apostolic Church conference was going on, Apostle Ayodele Babalola was invited for a disciplinary action. He was kept in a waiting room while the conference was going on. In the waiting room where Babalola was kept there was a woman with her dead son waiting for the leaders for next action. Apostle Babalola prayed over the child and miracle followed. The whole town of Ilesa was on fire and that was how the revival overtook the church conference. Babalola sowed in the Spirit and reaped miracle and the conference sowed in the flesh and reaped corruption and decline.
We are in the midst of great harvest, the question is why few labourers for abundant harvest? In the midst of great harvest and population explosion, why is the church declining? Our epistle reading of Paul to the Galatians passionately exposes the errors of counterfeit gospel “bewitching” perversion of the gospel, ‘O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, …’(Gal 3:1). Paul’s message challenges Christians to examine our behaviour and see if we are mocking God. Great harvest, few harvest invites us to examine our habits, values, and behaviour and see if we are mocking God. The contrast between the fruit of the Spirit and the works of the flesh is decisive and beyond any debate.
When we profess Jesus Christ and disobey His Word, we make mockery of God. Trusting our riches, talents, and gifts instead of God are some means of mockery of God. As a church goer, worker or leader, you make a mockery of the death of Jesus Christ every day you refuse to accept him as Lord and Saviour of your life. The most subtle mockery of God, and the most dangerous, comes from those of us sitting in church. We are guilty of mockery when we behave with an outward show of spirituality or godliness without an inward engagement or change of heart.
On the effects of mocking God, Charles Finney wrote “To mock God is to pretend to love and serve him when we do not; to act in a false manner, to be insincere and hypocritical in our professions, pretending to obey him, love, serve, and worship him, when we do not. . . . Mocking God grieves the Holy Spirit, and sears the conscience; and thus the bands of sin become stronger and stronger. The heart becomes gradually hardened by such a process.” The reflection is that the mockery of what is holy will be punished. When the Old Testament announced news of destruction, they also offered the means of escape and protection – turning from sin and walking with God. Prophet Zephaniah predicted the downfall of Moab and Ammon, saying, “This is what they will get in return for their pride, for insulting and mocking the people of the Lord Almighty (Zeph 2:10, Micah 6:8). Prophet Isaiah warns that mockery will cause the chains of Judah’s sin to become stronger and that destruction will follow (Is 28:22).
In the New Testament, the warning given by Apostle Paul to converts in the Galatians church resonates with the need of the converts and the church today. Paul said, “Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow.If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit” (Gal 6:7-8). God would be mocked if a person, nation, family, or church could sow flesh and reap eternal life. The truth is that, ‘do not be deceived; God is not mocked.’ At a point in life, we have been deceived by our friends, preachers, leaders, relatives, ‘… we have been imposed upon in one way or another. False teachers have crossed our path, and under pretence of doing us good, have poisoned our mind with error. They have held out hopes to us that have proved false; apples of Sodom, fair without, but full of ashes within. They have told us that there is … no future life, no judgement to come; or they have said that all men will be saved, that there is ample time to repent, that we may be saved by doing the best we can.’ The reflection is that sin continue to deceive us, holding out to us the corruptions, pleasures and delights that are not pure, true and eternal.
The Good News is that deception cannot and will not last forever. According to the words of Abraham Lincoln, you may be able to deceive all the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you will not be able to deceive all the people all of the time. Death will uncover the deception, if it has not been detected sooner; and the unfortunate victim will stand, undeceived, in the presence of a God who cannot be mocked. We all know what happened to Thomas Andrews, the man who built the Titanic. He died on the Titanic.
Beloved, Do not use your temporary positions to deceive and cause eternal destruction for people, family, nations and churches. Quit mocking God today, stop sowing in the flesh. JESUS IS COMING SOON.