God is generously planting seeds.
Everywhere Jesus went, people flocked [kept coming over and over] to him from town to town. Jesus tells the crowd a parable (an earthly story with a heavenly meaning) of a farmer sowing seed. The farmer would have sown “broadcast style”. He would have had a shoulder bag of seed, dipping his hand into the bag to grab seed and then to spread out in a generous manner. Then, of course, the seed would fall land on various types of soil. The farmer would have had to wait to see if the seed would take root and produce fruit.
This earthly story of a farmer generously planting seed relates to a kingdom principle. God’s followers are to plant seeds in a generous manner. We are to be sent out and spread the message of the gospel to everyone, everywhere. We are meant to have a GLOCAL strategy that reaches both locally and globally. Choosing between the two is not an option.
SPBC and generous planting of seeds
– Teaching & Preaching of the Word
- Sunday AM – when is last time you invited someone to church?
- Transformational Bible Groups Training (March 17)
- Children: Movie & Egg Hunt (March 31)
- Adults: April 8 – BIG INVEST & INVITE
– May Children’s Fair @Big Vanilla – Meet & Greet 1K+
- Car Show
– August 16-23 SENT 2012Nicaragua
BUT, This parable is not just about God’s planting but also about our hearing. The phrase hear/hearing is mentioned 8x in this passage. This is seen in several ways:
1. Sandwich of Jesus’ words explaining this parable:
– v.8 “He who has ears to hear, let him hear”
– v.18 “Take care then how you hear, for the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he things that he has will be taken away.”
2. Soil responses to the planted seeds
– Seed among path (8:12). Remains on surface and Satan steals it away
- Callous Heart
– Seed among rock (8:13). Superficial growth, when test of time and trials come it withers
- Counterfeit Heart
– Seed among thorns (8:14). Short-lived growth as the environment hinders maturity
- Cluttered Heart
– Seed among good soil (8:15). Sustained growth to produce and multiply fruit
- Compliant Heart
The theme of hearing and obeying is overwhelmingly important in the Scriptures. It’s so important; the rest of this message will focus on some practical tools for you to take care how you hear.
James 1:21b-25 “humbly receive the implanted word, which is able to save you. 22 But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his own face in a mirror; 24 for he looks at himself, goes away, and right away forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer who acts—this person will be blessed in what he does.
2 Timothy 4:3-4 “the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”
1. Be sure, be very sure of your salvation.
When you consider that the last 50 years of Christianity has been very cultural and traditional and the fact that we are now 12 years into a new century, it would seem there remains an almost haunting question. Are there people who think they are Christians but only fooling themselves and their friends? Don’t mistake American Christianity for following Jesus. Be sure you know Jesus as Savior from sin and Lord of life.
John 10:27 “My sheep listen to my voice and I know them and they follow me.”
Matthew 7:21-23 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but [only] the one who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to Me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in Your name, drive out demons in Your name, and do many miracles in Your name?’ 23 Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you! Depart from Me, you lawbreakers!’
2. Start with the heart.
The greatest obstacle of growing in one’s faith is oneself. Strangely, we can approach the holy and almighty God with such casual mediocrity. Pray, pray, pray this attitude away! I think one of the greatest fuels to having a right heart before God to hear Him is to read the Psalms. The Psalmists’ have such raw emotion and passion that they have a way of stirring our soul to be real with God.
Psalm 119: 18 “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.”
Psalm 119:162 “I rejoice at your word as one who finds great treasure.”
Psalm 19:10-11 “More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned, in keeping them there is great reward.”
Psalms 42 – 43
3. Read with purpose.
Many people have difficulty reading the Bible because their laissez faire approach. To be fair, there are some who do seek to read the Bible with sincerity yet without great understanding. One of the great tools for reading the Bible with purpose is the simple principle of having a plan.
Here are two recommendations:
1) Each time reading ask the questions: What does this tell me about God? Why did the author write this passage? How should I apply this passage to my life?
2) Read book by book. This produces exegesis (meaning out of) rather than eisegesis (meaning into).
– Purpose of an appetizer: to stimulate hunger
– John Piper, A Hunger for God, pp.14-15
“The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie. It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven, but endless nibbling at the table of the world. It is not the X-rated video, but the prime-time dribble of triviality we drink in every night… ‘choking with worries and riches and pleasures of this life (Luke 8:14)’”
Our souls are stuffed with small things and no room for the great. p.23
John 20:31 “But 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.”
Romans 10:17 “So faith comes from hearing and hearing through the word of Christ.”
Proverbs 3:13-14 “Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold.”
4. Love God with heart, soul, mind and strength
Spiritual growth happens when we realize that everything is spiritual. The soul and the body cannot be divided. Loving God may start with the heart but it continues through a human life and body. Each person must realize that life is about discipline. As much as we growth through spiritual disciplines, we must also discipline our bodies and desires. Things life sleep, hunger, emotions, education are not to be minimized in relation to spiritual growth. Consider sleep – the lack of it causes you to lose focus, dull your energy and emotions and creates complacency rather than readiness and alertness to the Lord.
Luke 10:27 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
1Corinthians 6:19-20 “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God with your body.”
5. Sing like Aretha even if you sound like Urkel.
Some may have trouble with this one, but the point is that singing has a way of uniting your heart to God and your ears to God’s voice. It doesn’t matter how you sound… well maybe slightly, but when you have opportunity to sing you should do so unto the Lord.
In our worship services, singing is not filler before the sermon but is intended to prepare us individually and corporately to hear from God. It is creating an environment and inviting the Spirit to be present and have free reign in our lives.
Psalm 100 “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Acknowledge that the Lord is God. He made us, and we are His people, the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good, and His love is eternal; His faithfulness endures through all generations.”
6. Digest, Discuss, Dwell and Do
Lastly, those who want to hear from God must be people who dwell on things of eternity. We must be people who marvel at the grace of God in our lives and moved by His Spirit. After worship, rather than rushing away or talking about latest news and sports, talk about what God taught you through the sermon message. Encourage and strengthen each others faith. Pursue answers to questions among friends, teachers and pastor. Utilize social media (FB, blogs, twitter, text, email) to share what God is doing in your life. There are so many ways to learn and grow spiritually but it will never happen if we stay superficial; we must dwell deeply into the gospel and live that out in powerful witness.
Colossians 3:1-4 So if you have been raised with the Messiah, seek what is above, where the Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with the Messiah in God. 4 When the Messiah, who is your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
May God gives us ears to hear that we may be rooted in the gospel to produce fruit and shine the light of God’s grace to a world need