Billy Graham Sermon: Sowing and Reaping (Transcript)

Transcript of evangelist Billy Graham’s sermon: ‘Sowing and Reaping’ which was delivered in Fargo, North Dakota in 1987.

Listen to the MP3 Audio here:


Billy Graham – Evangelist

Tonight I want you to turn with me to a very familiar passage of Scripture to all of you, and that is found in Romans, the first chapter and the 17th verse.

And then I want us to turn over to Galatians, the 6th chapter, wherein the book of Galatians, the Apostle Paul, is explaining what he meant in the 17th verse of the first chapter. And this was the verse that shook all of Europe, a little over 500 years ago, when it was discovered and it was revealed to him in a powerful way to Martin Luther; 1st chapter of Romans, the 17th verse.

Romans 1:17: ‘And therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith, as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.’

The just shall live by faith. Not by our own goodness, not by our own works, but by faith.

By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.(Ephesians 2:8-9)

Then we turn over to Galatians, the 6th chapter. What a marvellous chapter this fifth chapter is, and the 6th chapter.

And the 6th chapter has something I want to speak on. And I’ve never before preached a sermon on this text. Beginning with verse 7.

Galatians 6:7-8: ‘Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap everlasting life.

I want to speak tonight on: ‘Sowing and Reaping’.

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I noticed as we came in the lush farmland that’s here in this Red River Valley, I guess there’s nothing quite like it in the United States. I used to come to Fargo quite often, stop here at Fargo-Moorhead. You couldn’t get to Winnipeg without stopping on Northwest Airlines here on a DC-3.

Back in the 40s, we used to go back and forth to Winnipeg a lot, and we stopped here a lot. And I would see this country and often marvel at its lushness and congratulate you and your grandparents and parents that came here and settled here, because this has become one of the great areas of the entire United States.

I was born and reared on a farm, and I’ve read about families that have been losing their family farms. And I was reared on a family farm. And I remember the days back in the 20s, in the 30s, back during the Depression when my father would look for rain and we would pray for rain and we raised wheat and barley and grain. We didn’t have sugar beets, but we did raise other things that would be familiar to you.

Then my father had what he called a truck farm where he raised vegetables. And then we had dairy cattle and we milked. And every morning from the time I was about seven or eight, I had to get up at 03:00 and go milk cows.

And when I was in high school, I milked 20 cows every morning before I went to school, and milked those same 20 when I came home from school. And so I knew a little bit about farm work.


First, You Must Sow To Reap.

In China, 2000 years old seed were taken from an ancient tomb, and they’re sprouting today and growing tomatoes, even though they were sown 2000 years ago. But it wasn’t until they were sown that they could produce a crop for reaping. We have to sow to reap.

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Now, in Hosea, it says ‘sow to yourselves in righteousness.’ Think of it; sow in goodness, sow in righteousness, reap in mercy. If you sow in righteousness living a good life, putting your faith in your confidence in Christ, you are going to reap the mercy of God and the grace of God and salvation.

‘For it is time’, the scripture says, ‘to seek the Lord till He come and reign righteousness upon you.’

Has righteousness reigned upon you? Because unless you are clothed in the cloth of the righteousness of God, you’ll never enter heaven. And that suit of clothes or that dress of righteousness was provided by the Lord Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for you.

We have a cross on all of our churches, whatever our denomination may be. We agree on one thing that the cross is the central fact of Christianity. And it’s on the cross that Christ hung for our sins and died for us, and provided for us a righteousness that you cannot provide for yourself.

In Psalm 126:5, it says, ‘They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.’

Our Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross in tears, as it were, so that we might have the joy of salvation.

Now, if you want to become a lawyer or a doctor or a scientist or professor, you have to spend years of study. You sow study and you reap professionally.

There was a hillbilly from the south who felt lost at Times Square in New York. So he asked a young fellow with a long beard: ‘How do you get to Carnegie Hall?’

And snapping his fingers, the bearded man replied, ‘Practice, man, practice’.

And to be a great musician like Pavarotti, you have to practice passionately and perpetually. You reap excellence if you sow effort, but you have to sow in order to reap.

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Have you been sowing in good deeds? Have you been sowing in repentance? Have you been sowing in faith? Have you been sowing in Bible reading and prayer and church going faithfully? Have you been sowing so you can reap the grace and the mercy of God? Or have you been sowing the wild oats that so many people sow, or been sowing things for your own lust and your own pleasures?

And you’re going to reap someday that which you have sowed.

And then the second thing: If You Sow, You Will Reap.

Every person is a sower and a reaper. Now, the Bible teaches that Satan is a deceiver. And in Galatians 6, it says, ‘be not deceived’.

Many of you are already deceived. He that soweth to his flesh, (that is lust, drugs, wrong kinds of sex, too much drink), shall of the flesh reap corruption.

In Proverbs 6, it says, ‘a wicked man soweth discord, therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; Suddenly shall he be broken without remedy.

The Bible warns that if we continue that kind of life, we will be broken. We’re going to reap what we sow.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, in his ‘The Reaper and the Flowers’ says, ‘though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceedingly small.’

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