SOWING THE SEED OF THE GOSPEL First St Johns July 13, 2014 5

https://soundcloud.com/jim-driskell/what-kind-of-ground-are-youwma

 

Help us Lord to trust you and plant according to your guidance, help us to know that it’s Your will that is important, that You will decide what the fertile soil is and will save who You will save and help us to trust in Your will. We make our beginning in the Name of God the Father and in the Name of God the Son and in the Name of God the Holy Spirit and all those who sow the Word of God in faith in Him said AMEN …
Clearly in today’s readings Jesus is telling us that it is up to us to spread the Gospel, in verse 19 he plainly states that; “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom…” while he tells the crowds about a “sower”, He is talking about evangelizing. Matthew Henry explains: “There are eight parables recorded in this chapter, which are designed to represent the kingdom of heaven, the method of planting the gospel kingdom in the world, and of its growth and success.”
So, who are sowers here?… Yeah, everyone, we are all planters, we are all called to sowing God’s word. That doesn’t have to mean quoting chapter and verse of Scripture, but it does mean, we are all to be a sowers. I know a few of you were raised on farms, I’m sure more than a few others have gone out and actually planted. So I’ve got a lot of veterans here to tell me how “sowing” should go. Jesus is talking about the fact that we are called to sow the seed. Yes, in this day and age a farmer is going to “spread seed” in a more systematic way. He uses big machines to plow up soil and then another big machine to put those seeds into places that he expects will be fertile soil. Does that mean over hundreds of acres that all the seed is going to be in fertile soil?… Probably not, even in a well plowed field there are still going to be places that just don’t work. Does that mean that his efforts are useless? No… John MacArthur points out in his commentary on Isaiah; “Moisture from heaven invariably accomplishes its intended purpose in helping meet human physical needs. The word of God will likewise produce its intended results in fulfilling God’s spiritual purposes…”1 We expect that every seed we sow, as God’s farmer, is going to fall on fertile soil, produce a nice big crop. Matthew reminds us in 5:45: “ESV For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Sure we may be getting the seed of the gospel and God may be providing the rain, but if for His reasons, He has not chosen to make you fertile soil, that seed will not take root. John MacArthur asserts: “…He [Jesus] does not speak to the multitudes except in parables (v 34). Jesus’ veiling the truth from unbelievers this way was both an act of judgment and an act of mercy: judgment because it kept them in the darkness they loved (cf John 3:19); but mercy because they had already rejected the light, so any exposure to more truth would only increase their condemnation.”2Jesus is telling His disciples, which would include … us; despite what you think, it’s not in My plan that everyone will know salvation. There are going to be people who are going to resist God to the end: “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil.” (Jn 3:19) We’ve talked about those people before, those who are condemned because they’ve chosen to do it their way. Jesus is quoted 6 different times saying, “they will be cast into darkness and there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Jesus is telling us, that no matter what we say and do, there are going to be those who are not going to respond to the Gospel, they are so sunk in their sin, no matter how we cast the seed of the Gospel, we will be throwing that seed onto ground that is a path, it’s made so that we can walk on it and not slog around in plowed ground, the seed that hits the ground is only going to lay on the ground, the birds are just going to swoop in after the farmer and eat it. Or will be thrown onto rocks or into thorns and there won’t be a crop.
Jesus finishes this by saying: “He who has ears, let him hear.” Well, we all have ears, is that what Jesus means?… No. Spiritually speaking, none of us has ears. None of us has hearing that is really tuned to what the Holy Spirit says to us. How do we receive ears that are on the proper frequency? How do we get this fancy equipment, that the rest of the world doesn’t have? It has nothing to do with what we do, it has to do with what the Holy Spirit chooses to do. None of us deserves, none of us is smart enough or holy enough or anything enough, but when the Holy Spirit gives us “ears”, puts us on the right frequency, when He makes sure that we are hit with the Word/the seeds of the Gospel, then we grow in that good soil. How are we made into “good” soil? By what Christ did for us. Our soil is hard, we can think of it as our soul, all of ours. Our soul is made hard at birth, nothing that we necessarily did, but in terms of being born into our sinful condition. We are all born that way, our nature is not to be perfect, even at birth, our parents weren’t perfect, how could they produce anything that is perfect? As Paul tells us in our epistle reading; “If you live by the flesh, you will die…” We are born in the flesh. What does it take for us to be reborn into the Spirit?… Baptism. What does it take for us to be renewed in the Spirit? The Body and Blood of Jesus, His preached word. There is no middle ground. We are born in the flesh and the Spirit does not put to death the deeds of the body, what are those deeds? Just being the body that has not been baptized and has not received the Body and Blood of Jesus. When we are baptized, we are led by the Spirit of God, we are sons and daughters of God, our sins are forgiven.
In verse 11, Jesus answers His disciples who are asking, “why does He speak to the “them”, not the disciples, but everyone else, in parables?” We understand they’re talking about everyone other then Jesus and the disciples and Jesus says it’s not for them to know the secrets or mysteries. Strong describes this as: “the secret counsels which govern God in dealing with the righteous, which are hidden from ungodly and wicked men but plain to the godly” God has chosen His people, He is obviously going to talk to them in a way that is unique to that relationship. We understand and accept what He tells us in His Word. We may not always agree with it, we may not always feel comfortable with it, but we understand it. This is the seed that is thrown on to fertile soil. We are the fertile ground, we have been plowed up by baptism, by the Body and Blood, by Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins when He was crucified on the Cross. That has been some hard plowing, but it’s been done in us, who know our Savior Jesus. When we throw out the seeds the Holy Spirit leads us to throw out we have to remember this. We expect success otherwise, why should we waste our time. Therein lies the essence of faith. In faith we do what we are led to do, to sow the seed of the Gospel, it’s not up to us to decide who will, who won’t be saved. That is judging, we are told to discern sin and rebuke those who sin, but we aren’t to judge. He is the one who has prepared the soil. Maybe the soil hasn’t been plowed, maybe it will be and the Holy Spirit is using you to begin the preparation process, or maybe we should in love sow the Gospel and maybe that person just won’t and never will understand. But in faith, we did what we were led to do and whether it was plowed or not, whether it was good soil or not we leave it up to God to decide.
So be a sower this week, throw some Gospel seed out there. Get out your handy/dandy journal and write about how that went. Pray over your planting, because you planted, because you prayed, God may use that to bring someone to Him, to know salvation in Christ. But either way you acted in the way God gave you the faith to act and you can be at peace knowing that God has used and moved you and you faithfully acted according to His will and not yours.
The peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Shalom and Amin.

 

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