Sunday, September 7, 2014

What Kind of Soil Are You?

Matthew 13:1-8 The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side. And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. And he spoke many things unto them in parables, saying, “Behold, a Sower went forth to sow; And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.”

One of the things that I love about going up to Bass Lake, California to visit my dad is going to his church (The Little Church in the Pines) on Sunday to heard Pastor Herk preach. Last Sunday was no exception as he expounded (explained to us), edified (taught us) and exhorted (urged us earnestly) us through one of my favorite parables of Jesus (above). The story is about me and you. It’s not just about casting the seed broadly by hand (which is getting the gospel word of God out into the world), but how is the condition of our heart to receive that Word of God? So, the real question is: “What kind of dirt are you?” Everything that Jesus teaches is helpful for us to understand the kingdom of Heaven. Many of Christ’s parables begin with the words: “The kingdom of Heaven is like …”, but they are also a lesson about life, here and now. Wikipedia (plus my edits) says that a parable is a succinct, didactic story based upon human characteristics, which illustrates one or more instructive lessons or principles about kingdom of Heaven truths – the moral of the story to improve our Christian lives. We learn in basic biology that one of the major factors as to whether a seeds germinates and grows into a plant is up to the soil or dirt which it falls and roots. The different type of soils in Jesus’ parable represents the various responses of being receptive to the Lord and receiving the Word of God.  Mark 4:23 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.”

Luke 8:11 “Now the parable is this: The seed is the Word of God.”

God doesn’t play favorites and so broadcasts His Holy Word on everyone for a chance to hear and respond to the gospel. Just like atrophy of a limb that is not used, there is atrophy of the soul for the soil (the hard-hearted, stubborn sinner) who fails to respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the soil (the heart) that is hard, along the wayside.
What does it take for one to come to the Lord? Repenting is turning away from our sin, making a “U-turn” and humbly saying from the transformed heart: “I’m sorry Lord; I was wrong.” But, some folks hear the gospel Word and really get excited, accepting the Lord’s offer without realizing the cost; meaning, that they don’t really mean it or not really willing to pay the cost of being a disciple (learner/Follower) of Jesus, so when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they stumble then runs away. This is the shallow-hearted person. But, there are also those with divided loyalty, accepting the gospel truth, but keeping one foot in the cares of this world (the thorns that weed into our live). Ever hear of those who want to follow Jesus and also follow the ways of the God-rejecting world system? Jesus also says that the deceitfulness of riches, outside of God, chokes the Word, and they become unfruitful towards God’s purposes, because at the root they have two Masters (God and an idol that they worship) and idolatry is “spiritual adultery”. Are we storing up treasures on earth or in Heaven? Weed your soil daily and be rich towards God in your good soil. What kind of dirt are you?

In Christ, Brian

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