The Sower and the Soils

For those who teach, you will undoubtedly known that there are some days when it seems that your teaching is…well…off. Its not that the teaching was necessary ‘bad’ or that the material was hard… it is just that something was…off… I can’t explain it as it is more arbitrary than defined…

Either way, it is enough to say that I have felt off on my teaching the last few weeks with things not really flowing as normal. Yet something (again, nothing ‘defined’ per-say…just felt) changed over the weekend hanging out with the youth. God just opened my heart and allowed words to spill out in a way that felt right. Yeah…it was good. 😀

The Passage

Public Reading: Luke 8:1-18

Audio recording can be found on the PRV website.

•    Traveling band

o    The 12
o    Some women

*    Very strange as women were not typically mentioned
*    Nor allowed to travel with men, especially men who were not their relatives
*    These ladies also provided the funds for Jesus and the 12 to travel and share the Kingdom message

o    Jesus message reached all levels of society

•    The Parable
•    The Mystery of the parable

o    The 12 did not understand what Jesus was saying
o    The mystery or the secrets of the Kingdom of God was given to them

*    Quotes Isaiah 6:9 which is where Isaiah receives his marching orders from God
*    Some folks have taken this to mean that there are levels of secrets and power that are given to those who follow God.

•    I don’t think this is what Jesus is saying
•    Look at the context of this verse – i.e. within the parable of the sower

*    I think Jesus is reminding the 12 how blessed they are

•    In Gospel of Matthew adds two verses to the parable that helps underscores this point (Mt 13:16-17):

16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17 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.

*    I am reminded of some missionary stories about people who, after hearing about Jesus for the first time, ask them why didn’t they come during their fathers, or grandfathers time as they needed to hear this

•    Explaining the parable

o    All of these feeds into Jesus’ explanation of the parable
o    The seeds are the word of God that is spread throughout the world

*    Jesus came to restore relationship with God for all people; not some, but ALL
*    The idea of God’s word being a see goes back to Isaiah 55:

8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

*    God’s word will achieve what he has set it to do
*    Yet it may look different than what we think

•    The Jewish people at the time thought what when God’s Kingdom came it would destroy the Romans and restore the nation of Israel
•    Yet, God wanted to do something bigger – he wanted to destroy evil, sin, and death
•    i.e. the Kingdom of God came and people rejected it

o    Which brings us back to the parable of the sower

•    Four soils and four plants

o    Path

*    The message of deviancy from bondage is heard by some but is taken away by the Evil One before it can be understood
*    This is true bondage!!!
*    We have to pray for the Lord to break up the soil so that His message can get in

•    We also have to remember this as we live and proclaim the message of Jesus
•    The Evil One is real and he is working to stop the Kingdom of God for taking root

o    Rocks

*    There are other times when folks hear the message of Jesus and shout for joy
*    Perhaps they heard about Jesus at a conference or a tent meeting…

•    Maybe they were healed
•    Or found Jesus when they were at rock-bottom

*    Yet, when the time of perseverance came, they fled

•    Perhaps they went to the next ‘best’ thing
•    Or they returned to their old way of thinking

*    Sadly, many of them left thinking that they know all about Jesus and Christianity

•    They probably even think that it does not ‘work’

*    This is sad because they share this ‘does-not-work’ message to others while not realizing that it was because of their own lack of steadfastness

•    I also have to point out that following Jesus is not a ‘quick fix’ or something that ‘works’
•    It is a relationship with the Creator God who is loving pursuing us

o    Thorns

*    While the ‘rocky’ folks are sad, to me these folks are the saddest
*    Jesus said that these folks who follow Jesus and are his children

•    They did not ‘fall’ away or leave the message of the Kingdom

*    Instead, they simply did not reach ‘maturity’

•    They allowed the worries, the riches, and pleasures of this world – of this current age – to distract them from fully pursuing the Lord

*    Think about it – Jesus is standing here with open arms asking us to come and work with Him

•    He is asking us to help Him change the world
•    We get to play!!
•    How cool is that?

*    And yet…instead of jumping in and joining God in His mission, we get side tracked into our profession, hobbies, families, etc….and miss the bigger picture
*    Yes, these folks are still Jesus followers = they just stop short of the fullness that Jesus had for them

o    Good Soil

*    Like Isaiah 55 said, God’s word will produce fruit!
*    Part of the seeds of the Lord – the message of the Kingdom of God – will fall on soil that will take root and will endure

•    Wind, rain, storms, drought,
•    Things of this world and the attacks of the evil one
•    It takes perseverance

o    Not always through bad times, but through the ok and good times as well

o    Keeping our eyes on the Lord so we do not lose focus

*    Jesus left us with the local body of the church in order to help us keep this focus and not to get off track

•    Ephesians 4:11-16

11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

•    Light on a hill

o    Jesus finishes his explanation with another short parable
o    Followers of Jesus are to be a light to a dark world – a lighthouse for those in the storm
o    All that is hidden will be made known…
o    So think carefully about how you are going to react to the message of Jesus

*    Whoever has been given much

•    As we have (i.e. we have the Bible, the ability to read, freedom to worship, TONS of resources, etc.)

*    Much will be required

•    If you are tired, keep on walking
•    Stay steadfast!!

Here is a trustworthy saying:

If we died with him,
we will also live with him;
If we endure,
we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
he will also disown us;
If we are faithless,
he remains faithful,
for he cannot disown himself. (2 Tim. 2:11-13)

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