A message summary of June 21, 2015 from Asst. Pastor Travis Jackson:
Crystal (my wife) and I attended a church that was not far from where we live. It was a relatively large congregation. I was curious as to the type of church it was that I was attending, so I leaned over and asked Pastor Gus what type of fruits were present at the church we were visiting, and he responded “good music and entertainment.”
It made me wonder exactly what Fruits of the Spirit were being presented at this church service.
We will discuss today the Parable of the Sower. If another group of titles could be chosen for this parable, we could easily phrase the title the Parable of the Seed, the Parable of the Fruit or even the Parable of the Patient Heart.
Luke 8:4-15 NIV
While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.” When he said this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”
His disciples asked him what this parable meant. He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that,
“‘though seeing, they may not see;
though hearing, they may not understand.’
“This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.
We will examine the parable with emphasis to our different selected titles to analyze the sowers, the seed, the thorns and the patient hearts. From here, we can determine if the fruits being presented are of value in edifying Jesus Christ.
Jesus was speaking to His disciples, whom He projected as the sowers of the Word—the ones who would be proclaiming His gospel to the nations.
Today’s sowers are any pastors, teachers and evangelists. They are Christians. They are also the parents, who are charged with passing on the Good News to their children.
The sower is crucial as to the type of seed that he sows to others. Not all pastors, for example, exercise the appropriate leadership if they are not sowing the proper seeds.
Since today is Father’s Day, there is a challenge for men, who are fathers, to be sowers of the seeds that influence their boys to become excellent young men.
What are you sowing into your children? Are you offering guidance and correction when it is necessary?
Provide for your children godly truths in order that they can learn more about developing their relationship with God.
As a church community, we are to share the gospel to others in the community. I know that we are living in a modern day age, and this is far from first, second and third century Christendom, but are you prepared to live and die for the gospel of Jesus Christ?
That is what the sower of The Word is to do and be willing to do.
The seed is the Word of God.
Hebrews 4:12 NIV
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
The understanding of God’s Word requires the help of the Holy Spirit to enlighten the hearer. God’s grace must open the eyes and ears. Without God’s grace, there would not be any faith.
Matthew 13:14 NIV
In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.”
The seed that fell on the rock could not develop because it had no moisture. A commentary I read said that short-lived faith is not really faith at all. Faith is not exercised by mimicking others who appear to be offering praise to God.
The thorns in the parable represent a choking off of one’s faith. It is a reflection of one’s true priorities. Is it obedience to God and following His will, or is it embracing the world and its priorities? Your priority should always be that of Jesus Christ.
1 John 2:15-17 NIV
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
There are not quick, easy steps. It takes time to improve upon this practice to produce the godly fruits that God would have you to show to others.
Psalm 1:1-3 NIV
Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.
What are the fruits of The Spirit that Christ produces from within you?
Galatians 5:22-24 NIV
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
2 Peter 1:3-11 NIV
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
IV. Patient Hearts
Matthew 13:14-17 NIV
In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’
But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.
All of these things, the sower, the seed, the fruit and the patient hearts require time and effort. The pastors and teachers within the church have to continue to cultivate the hearts of the people. It is a slow process. It will require patience. Within your own heart, you may see something different than what I might see; either way, we must have patient hearts.
The Lord knows the heart of every believer, and He will judge us according to our hearts.
People can preach the Word over and over, but it is the hearts of the people who are receptive that will recognize Jesus as Lord. Those that do not will reject Him.
If you hear the Holy Spirit speaking to you, I implore you not to harden your hearts.
Matthew 13:8 NIV
Still other seed fell on good soul, where it produced a crop–a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.
Just as crop production requires patience for results, the cultivation of God’s Word will produce many to accept the gospel of Christ. The evidence is in the fruits that you produce.
What is being cultivated in your life? What are you praying for as a believer? Are you praying for Jesus Christ to cultivate your heart and the hearts of those who do not know Him?