Summary: In an age when the church is becoming increasingly irrelevant to the daily life of people, when the message of the church seems to increasingly fall on deaf ears, and when the truth is mocked as meaningless and unattainable, Jesus speaks to us these words
Seed That Remains
Pt 5 - The Seed that Remains
As we have looked more closely at this parable of the sower and the seed we have looked at 3 of the 4 soils. Wayside hearts hardened by the forces of a broken world that does not allow the seed to penetrate and needs the plow and rain to soften it if the seed is to grow. Rocky hearts are hearts that allow only shallow roots to form. Because there is no depth to the roots the word begins to grow but when the sun comes out they wither away. Then there was thorny soil - soil where the word grows deep and rich but ultimately looses the battle of the completion with worry, riches, and pleasures of the world.
Jesus however ends with a soil that is wondrous to behold. He calls it good ground.
Characteristics: Good ground is marked by rich fertile soil that has been prepared for the seed. It has been tended well and weeded with care. Deep roots lead to healthy and vibrant living plants. Last of all there is fruit.
The Good heart:
1) Hear the word with an honest and good heart - remember the contrast here with the rocky heart that receives the word with joy but does not have deep roots. The good heart hears with a deep, steady, interest in its meaning and application. The good and honest heart is the heart that receives the word as more than just a good idea, or a nice teaching - a good heart receives the word of God as the Word of God. It is the authority not the suggestion for life.
2) Hold it Fast - the word used here means to possess it. They make it their own. This word is not just a word it's a word for me. It's not just a message it's a message for me. This love of God is not just a concept it's love for me. The sacrifice of Jesus is not just a sacrifice it's a sacrifice for me. This Word of God is a word for my life and I must possess it if it is to transform my life.
3) Bears Fruit - The primary difference between good soil and other soil is its results. This is the only soil that bears fruit. So what is the fruit of this seed that is planted in us?
• Transformed life - Galatians 5:22-23 (NASB77) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
• Kingdom Growth - Matthew 28:19-20 (NASB77) " Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Friends this sounds simple but the truth is that most Christians and in fact many many whole churches never see one person come to follow Christ in a given year because of their lives.
Cultivating a Good Heart
• Discipline - the truth is that good hearts don't happen by accident. We grow and produce fruit because we want to. We pursue the Word and we do so attentively and purposefully. 1 Timothy 4:7-8 (NASB) " But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come." Read, Study, Dig, Delve
• Decisions - the truth of our lives is that they are determined by our decisions. Good decisions lead to good outcomes - bad decisions lead to bad outcomes. God has given us the direction for life and we ignore it to our peril. Joshua 1:8 (NIV) Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Get God involved on the front side. I know what God says but…
• Devotion - what is important to you. The Church in our culture is the weakest it has been in our history not because there are not enough churches, not because there are not enough Bibles, or because there are not enough translations of the Bible - it's because there is not enough devotion to the Words in it. We talk about it, study it, preach about it, write books about it, sing songs about it, but do we really do it? What is really running our lives. Romans 12:1 (NLT) And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.