Table of Contents
SPECIAL SUNDAY SERVICE WITH PASTOR (DR) MENSA OTABIL (GENERAL OVERSEER, INTERNATIONAL CENTRAL GOSPEL CHURCH (ICGC) CHRIST TEMPLE, ACCRA GHANA)
TOPIC: THE PRINCIPLE OF GATHERING – PART 3 (WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, HOW)?
DATE: 24TH SEPTEMBER 2023
BIBLE TEXT: MATTHEW 7:16-17
Let us rise up together as we make our “DECLARATION OF GATHERING” in this “YEAR OF GATHERING”.
Are you ready? Say with me:
I Proclaim Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour. The Lord is the Shepherd of my Soul, my Shelter by Day, my Light by Night.
In His Name, we Plough our fields, by His Spirit we gather the Harvest, in His Light we seek and find.
In this Year of Gathering, the Lord of the Harvest has commanded: Launch Out into the Deep. At His Words, we cast our Nets, we gather in Souls and Substance for God’s Kingdom.
The Lord is our Reward; in this Season I receive God’s Portion set aside for me: Full Measure, Pressed down, Shaken together and running over.
Nothing is Lost and Nothing is wasted in Jesus Name – Amen!
I am doing Part 3 of my Series: “THE PRINCIPLE OF GATHERING”
And today I just decided to do something more Fundamental to the Concept of Gathering.
And I will be covering some of the things that we have already touched on, regarding Gathering. But I believe that it’s important to just get the Principles right.
So I have Subtitled it as: What, Where, When, How? – About Gathering.
And I consider Seven (7) Rules that guide our Gathering.
Many times God brings us to what we’ve been Praying for: We Pray and God brings it to us. Or we seek and then we find. We expect and it happens.
And sometimes when God brings us to that Place, it’s for us to gather, for us to harvest, for us to harness, for us to take what He has given to us.
And it’s always important for us to know the best way to take advantage of the things that we’ve Prayed for.
For all you know, the things you are Praying for have already happened; what you are asking God for, He has already answered. But you have to know how to gather, how to put together the Blessings that He has brought to you.
I am going to talk about Seven (7) things, concepts regarding Gathering, so that when your time of harvest comes, you don’t Postpone the harvest. You’ll know how to take advantage of it; you’ll know, “this is my moment, and I am able to go and Possess it”.
SEVEN (7) RULES FOR GATHERING.
1. WE GATHER FROM WHAT WE HAVE PLANTED.
This is the root of everything – We gather from what we have Planted. We don’t go seeking to gather from something we haven’t spent time investing in.
If you want happiness, you have to invest in happiness. You want to be treated well, you have to invest in treating People well.
You gather from what you Planted – If you have not Planted it, it’s going to be difficult gathering.
For everything we want to enjoy in Life, we have to invest in it. We have to Pray for it, we have to make time for it.
Matthew 7:16-17 (NKJV)
16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?
17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.
In the immediate context, Jesus is talking about False Prophets and how to identify them. And He is saying that you are going to know them by their fruits. But the fruit doesn’t appear by itself; the fruit appears from a tree.
There is something that has been implanted; and that which has been Planted Produced the fruit. You don’t just think about what you see, you also think about where it’s coming from. And Jesus says, you don’t gather from thorns and you don’t gather from thistles.
The Passage (Matthew 7:16-17) talks about Thornbush and Thistles: both Produce things that Pierce us; whereas grapes and figs nourish us.
So Jesus says, you don’t expect to receive Nourishment from something that is designed to hurt you.
If it is a tree that is Producing thorns, don’t expect Nourishment from it.
You know, many times in our relationship we expect People to treat us well, who are designed not to treat us well.
You just know, this Person is never going to treat me well. But we still hope that they will treat us well one day. One day they’ll be nice People!
Get it in your head – Some People are thornbushes, some are thistles; they will never Produce figs, they will never Produce grapes.
When you see a thornbush, know it will always Produce thorns!
That’s what Jesus is saying. Because sometimes we expect things from People who would never give it to us. They don’t have the Capacity.
Some People have no Capacity to love you.
The tree is not a “Love tree, it is a ‘Pain tree’. And if you marry ‘it’ (Laugher); expect Pain.
So Jesus is saying, in gathering, you are only going to gather from the thing what it s designed to Produce – “We gather from what we have Planted”.
That’s the first Principle of Gathering – Don’t have Expectation from People who cannot give you what you are looking for. They are nice People, but they can’t give it to you.
Some of you want your husband to be romantic; have you looked at your husband? (Laughter). You call him Darling, he says, “Dar – what?” What are you talking about? He is law a raw African man. Just accept it – this ‘tree’ will never be romantic, and move on with your Life.
… So that’s the first Principle: we gather from what has been Planted.
Also see; rccg-yaya-sunday-school-students-manual-for-sunday-19th-of-november-2023
2. WE GATHER WHEN THE FRUIT IS RIPE.
That means there’s a Due Season for reaping what we have sown. And that works at both Positively and Negatively. There’s also a Due Season for the Negative to happen.
28. For the Earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head.
29. But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.
Harvest Time doesn’t happen immediately.
Things don’t get set to be harvested immediately.
When we make an Investment today, we have to wait it. We all have levels of impatience in us. I have it, you have it.
And we want things to happen very quickly – “I Prayed for this last week, I expect this week that it will happen.” That’s not how it works!
You don’t Plant the Seed of a tree today and say, Oh! This will be a big tree next Month. No, it doesn’t work that way. Some trees take twenty (20) years to reach Maturation.
There’s always a time for riping. And as impatient as we are, you cannot Change Seasons with your impatience. Things you must wait for, you would have to wait for.
Sometimes we see People do bad things and it looks like that will get away with it – There’s always a Due Season for their Rewards. And don’t get so confused by that and say “well, I don’t think there’s any Reward for evil things: look at this guy he has done evil thing and got away with it.”
He may get away with it ninety nine (99) times; but there would be one (1) time when the Seed would ripe! And it would be gathered.
And at that time he would not wish to be that Person. Because that one (1) gathering can make up for all the ninety nine (99) times that they got away with it.
Don’t follow bad People because they seem to get away with it. Because there is a time when the harvest reaps! And until it ripes, we wait.
So Positively, wait for your harvest.
Negativity, don’t be discouraged because bad People seems to get on in Life. And sometime it seems so in Life, that bad People get along.
They do the wrong thing and get away with it.
But it’s going to catch up with them one (1) day. And when it catches up with them, you want to be far away from them because it would be very big when it catches up with them.
So there is a Seedtime: we gather when the fruit is ripe. We don’t rush the harvest.
3. WE GATHER THROUGH HARD WORK AND TOIL.
Proverbs 13:11, Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished,
But he who gathers by labour will Increase.
Note: “He who gathers by labour”.
A Gathering time is a time of Labour – A time of hard work.
Anytime God brings us to a Gathering time, it’s going to require hard work.
It’s going to require a lot of labour and hard work for us to reap the things that we are expecting in Life.
You know, many times we Pray and God gives us what we are asking for; we think because God has given that thing to us, there will be no hard work.
For example, you are expecting a Marriage Partner and you Pray and God brings the Right Person your way. You think, “God has brought me the Right Partner, there will be no hard work.”
But the People God gifts you, they come also with their baggage. And it’s going to take hard work to make the Relationship work!
Don’t say, “because God has brought it to me there will be no hard work.”
There would be hard work! You are going to work hard for the Relationship to work.
You don’t have a child and you Pray, “O God give me a child.” Then God blesses you with a child. You are going to work hard to take care of the child. You are going to sacrifice so much. The child will cry and you are going to stay up in the Night; breastfeeding, cleaning the child up.
When they go to School, they are going to get into trouble.
Sometimes they come Last in Class and you have to get extra Teachers and do homework, inspect them. You have to work hard to Protect them from bad friends.
And they grow up and they are eighteen (18) years old, you think they are old and know what to do. Then you will realised that this is another Level of hard work coming. Because now they are dealing with drugs, weed and alcohol; and they are dealing with boys and girls, dealing with Pregnancy, and the likes.
When they are Twenty (20) years old, you say finally I can breath. But they have to choose the Right Partner. You see someone coming and you say, that’s a wrong Person. But you Prayed for a child and God gave you a child.
Did you think you are going to fold your arms and the child would grow by himself or herself? No! Every harvest comes with hard work and Toil.
You Pray and say, God I need Promotion – Promotion comes; that means, more responsibility. At least you are going to close late. After all the staff are gone, you have to stay in the Office and get stuff done before the next day.
You don’t have much time now; but you Prayed for Promotion, God gave you the Promotion.
Every Gathering requires hard work – If you are not ready to work hard, say “Lord, leave me alone, don’t bless me. I don’t want Promotion, I don’t want Favour, Lord keep me as I am; I am happy”.
But if you want God’s Blessings, it comes with hard work.
God’s favour requires Labour – Everytime we Pray, O GOD favour me; it means we are going to Labour.
4. WE GATHER ALONGSIDE OUR PARTNERS.
It is not ‘one man (woman) chop all.’
Many of the things that God blesses us with are more than we can carry – He gives so much that we need other People to help us bring in all that God has blessed us with.
Luke 5:6-7, And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. So they signaled to their Partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.
Peter had an Abundant Harvest – A Great Gathering, a Great Catch, the net began to break and he signaled to his Partners.
Many times God blesses us in a way that other People must Participate in our Blessing.
And when you ask People to come and Support you in your Gathering; you have to learn to share the Reward with them.
For all of you who always ask for help and never Reward: Come and help me, things work out for you and then you turn your back on the People.
If you can let them share in Labour with you, they are your Partners. You must share the Reward with them.
If you employ People in your Office and they help you to do well in the business, you have to share Rewards with them.
It doesn’t mean you are going to Pay them equally; but you have to be Mindful that; “Without their help I wouldn’t be where I am: And they must receive Reward that expresses the Level of the Support that they have given to me.”
We alongside our Partners!
– When you are married, you gather together as husband and wife.
– If you are in Business, you gather together with your Co-Workers
– When God opens a big door to you, don’t be Selfish.
You want to keep it all by yourself, so you don’t tell anybody. And then you realised, you don’t have the Resources.
If you get a very big Contract, you may realise your Profession is not all that you need.
You need other Professionals, other Consultants.
You need People to come and help you do the Financial Forecast for you.
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You need to People to come and do some Technical Works for you.
You need People to come and do Human Resource for you.
You need People to come and do all kinds of things for you.
If you are a Selfish Person, God will bless you so much, but you will always destroy it because you want to ‘chop’ everything all by yourself. And when you want people to work for you, you pay them Peanuts.
So you are always going to attract Low Level Performers, who don’t know how to get the work done because you don’t want to Pay well.
When God causes you to gather, you have to be like Peter, Signal to your Partners. Say, God has blessed us, come and help us get this work done!
For we gather alongside our Partners.
5. WE GATHER WITH DISCERNMENT.
Matthew 13:47-48, Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into Vessels, but threw the bad away.
Now I want you to get the Picture that Jesus is Painting here – It’s like those who go to the sea and cast their nets deep (in the sea). And then they Pull the nets that brings in all kinds of things. And in these days and age, there would be stuffs you don’t want to see.
And Jesus is saying, when you gather, you will find out that you get what you don’t always want. Even when it is fish, there may be dead fish, there may be other kinds of fish that you don’t want.
All kinds of things, rubber bags are all in your net – You gather all.
And you don’t say because I gathered, I’m going to use everything. Because sometimes in gathering, you would bring in stuffs you don’t need. So Jesus says, you sit down and then sort them out:
The things you need you put them in one area, things you don’t need, you put in another area.
What does that mean?
It means that many times as we go on, God brings so many things our way, or we encounter so many things in our lives. But not everything that comes our way is right.
– Sometimes even in Contracts, not every Contract is supposed to be taken by you.
– Not every Opportunity must be seized.
– Not everybody must be in your net.
Some People come to your net, but you must release them, “because this one is not for me”.
So if you are desiring God to bless you and He is bringing all kinds of People to your Life – Men and Women are coming to your Life; you have to check: which one is the odd one who doesn’t belong to this net? And move them out.
Not every Relationship is for you; not every friend is your friend, not every Opportunity is right.
Sometimes as a Christians, you will be confronted with Opportunities that are totally in conflict with your Faith. And you have to determine whether you will keep that or you will let it go.
There are People who are going to come your way and you will say: God I need a Helper!
Somebody’s husband come to you (Lady), and not only does he want to help you, but he wants to help himself.
Now you have to determine – Is this something I need in my net? Yes, it came into my net. I Prayed and it happened but is it from God?
Just because you Prayed and something happened does not mean God brought it to you. Because the devil can also showed up!
Remember the Book of Job, the Bible says the sons of God were gathered, and good old Satan also showed up. God said, where have you been? He said, I have been going up and down.
I like it – “I go up and down. I am checking People out.”
Sometimes when you Pray, something may come your way that is not from God. It may even happen, right after Fasting and Prayer.
You remember when Jesus Fasted and Prayed, the first voice he heard, “if You are the Son of God, turn these stones to bread.”
Was that from God?
You have to know, not everything I hear are from God – Some I must gather, some I must cast away.
May God give you the Spirit of Discernment in the time of Gathering, to know what must stay in your net and what must not stay in your net – Amen.
6. WE GATHER IN THE PRESENCE OF OUR ENEMIES.
… This is a big one!
Many times we wish that when it is time for us to reap our Great Harvest, everything will be nice around us – That’s far from the Truth.
Luke 10:2-3, Then He said to them, “The Harvest truly is Great, but the Labourers are few; therefore Pray the Lord of the Harvest to send out Labourers into His Harvest. Go your way; behold, I send you out as Lambs among Wolves.”
Jesus said to the Disciples, I am sending you out, you are Lambs. But in the Harvest, you are going to find Wolves.
There will always be Wolves in your Harvest fields.
There is danger in the blessing of God.
There will be enemies around your Table of Blessing.
But that should not stop you from Possessing your Harvest.
And don’t say there’s a Lion in the Streets, so I am not going to go out.
God says He will Prepare a Table before you in the Presence of your Enemies.
Sometimes your Greatest Opportunity and Breakthrough is going to bring you your Greatest Enemies.
And you are going to find People fighting you over your Blessings.
Sometimes God opens a door for you and somebody far more endowed than you is chasing the same Blessing. Don’t leave it for them. God says He’ll bless you in the Presence of your Enemies.
You need some Enemies Present to observe the Blessing of God.
There would be Wolves in your Harvest field, and you will be Lamb.
Lambs eat grass, Wolves eat lambs. It’s a battle of inequality – A Lamb cannot fight a Wolf.
And God says, “I am going to send you to Places where you are going to face Enemies that are so big, you think you cannot fight them: But in the midst of that, I will still give you the Harvest – Amen!
In the midst of your Enemies I will Prepare a Table before you – Amen!
There will be Enemies in your Life – Sometimes they are the Enemies you don’t even know.
The Enemies you know are very good because you can Prepare for them. And are better than Enemies you don’t even know exist.
You start a business and you are Praying, God make my Business Prosper. But the Prosperity of your Business would require that the Customers of somebody would move to you.
And you think the People would fold their arms and say, “Oh! God bless you. Take my customers, take my Business. It will be well with you. A Double Portion (Laugher)!
No! What you Prayed for that God is blessing you will cost somebody else. And that Person will be a Wolf and they will do everything to destroy you.
– Don’t run from a Harvest field because Wolves appeared.
– Don’t run from a Harvest field because Enemies showed up.
Enemies must show up. People would come against you. They would fight you but you will stay in the field. If it’s a field God put you in stay there.
Because if He is sending you as Lambs among Wolves, and you don’t have the Capacity to fight Wolves, then guess who would do the fighting? The Shepherd of the Lamb!
This is a battle you can’t fight, so you go out there and say Lord I can’t do it. He says, stay there! Because I am right here with you. It is the Enemies’ Territory, but I am with you.
Most of you who work in the Corporate World know – When you get Promoted in the Corporate world, you enter danger Zone. The Political Zone where dog eats dog; and People are setting you up for failure.
They smile with you at the Conference Table, and then they scheme that you fail. Because your Success is costing them their Stability.
But don’t get so afraid of that world.
If God put you into that world, He’ll Protect you in that world – Amen.
Because your gathering will bring you in contact with Enemies.
7. WE GATHER WITH JOY.
Isaiah 9:3, You have Multiplied the Nation And increased its Joy; They rejoice before You According to the joy of harvest, As men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
When we are dividing the spoil, when it’s Harvest time, when it’s Gathering time God says, be Joyful: be happy, be glad.
– Now being Joyful doesn’t mean that everything is Peaceful, Nobody hates you, Nobody dislikes you;
– Being Joyful doesn’t mean that there are no Problems.
But being Joyful is being at Peace in your Heart, knowing that God is with you.
Don’t go through your Harvest complaining about how Life is so hard.
Yes, what were you expecting?
That’s why when every child comes into this world they cry because Life is hard. Right from birth you know, this is Enemies’ Territory.
Who told you Life is easy? Who told you it’s going to be easy? God helps us, but it’s not easy. It’s a tough road!
Life is hard, running a marriage is hard, raising children is hard, running a business is hard, raising a Church is hard – Doing everything is hard!
I am yet to find anything that is not hard to do in this world.
Being a Carpenter is hard, being a Tailor (especially in Africa) is hard. Being a Welder, a Singer, a man or woman is hard – Everything is hard!
Tell me something that is not hard?
But although Life is hard, we enter it Joyfully.
We have a Good and Positive Attitude; we are excited about Life, about Opportunities, about next week and a new day.
So as you go to work from Monday be excited:
– The Landlord would come, be excited.
– There is Conspiracy, be excited.
– There are wolves, be excited.
Because that is Life!
And in your Harvest field, learn to enjoy your Life:
– Be excited about Life
– Don’t let Problems bug you down!
– Be Joyful as a Person who has entered their Harvest field.
And may the Lord help us in our Season of Gathering – That we will not faint, we will not lose Heart, we will not be discouraged, we will not run away from the battle.
We will have discernment and that He will bring us the Right Partners to help us do what we have to do.
That He will help us keep our Perspectives; not to be with People who cannot deliver what we are expecting.
But God will bring us to an Harvest field that is designed for us; and it’s going to be Great in your Life – Amen!
Thank you so much for staying all through to read.