Summary: How sweet it is when God blesses us with the benefits of reading, hearing, and learning His Word!
Introduction: This week is the first week that there are people selling sweet corn and candy corn at the intersection! I personally enjoy the opportunity to taste these delicious “first-fruits.” It also can be a reminder of how God is working our lives through His Word. How sweet it is when God blesses us with the benefits of reading, hearing, and learning His Word! This parable describes three main elements: the seed, the soil, and the sower.
I. The seed: God’s Word.
A) The nature of God’s Word:
1. God’s Word has authority—it is direct from the source!
2. God’s Word is true—there no mistakes… it is utterly reliable.
3. God’s Word is effective—it is living and powerful. (Isaiah 55:10-11)
4. God’s Word is complete—contains everything God wants us to know about himself.
5. God’s Word is clear—although some sections are difficult, he never “throws a curve”.
B) The purpose of God’s Word:
1. To save people from sin through faith in Christ. “These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:31)
2. To teach believers how to serve God in righteousness and holiness.
3. To give God all glory. (This comes from accomplishing the first two purposes.)
II. The soil: those who hear God’s Word.
A) If the soil is too hard, pests (the devil) can snatch the Word away. (Hardness of heart can cause the message to be lost before it ever even produces faith.)
B) If the soil is too shallow, the heat (persecution) can cause faith to wither. (If our faith is only superficial, it may not stand under fire.)
C) If the soil is too crowded, weeds (wealth and the cares of this world) can choke out our faith.
(A worldly faith may be unproductive.)
III. The sower: God.
A) The sower is generous. He scatters his Word to all people.
B) The sower is patient. He slowly changes our lives from within by His Word.
C) The sower is productive. We always get more out of his Word than we ever put into it!
Conclusion: It says in Colossians, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…” What kind of soil are you? All of us must admit that, at one time or another, we have been less than desirable soil for God’s Word. The amazing thing is that God ever gets through to anyone! (Especially stubborn Germans like me!) Truly, whenever this happens, it is a miracle.
There are many forces at work—both inside and outside of us—that try to rob us of all the benefits of God’s powerful, effective, saving and sanctifying Word. But God does not leave us to face these enemies alone. By God’s grace and with his help, even struggling to overcome these enemies can help us to become more fruitful. We struggle to understand a difficult passages. We face hatred from those who have hardened their hearts against God’s Word. We fight against the temptation of worldly distractions. It says in Hebrews, “Later on, however, it produces a harvest of peace and righteousness for those who have been trained by it.”
We don’t always feel like we’re strong enough to overcome the enemies of the Word. But we know God can, because Jesus did it on the cross! Speaking about his death, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” (John 12:24) That’s good news. Jesus died and rose for us! By God’s grace, we rejoice to taste the fruit of that saving act. By the power of God’s living Word we have been brought into a life of faith in Christ, and each day we can live that new life through faith in Christ. There’s even better news! These are only the “first-fruits.” The real harvest will be in the kingdom of heaven, where no one will be able to rob us of the benefits of God’s Word ever again. Praise God! Amen.