Hello, we’re coming to the end of this week’s Foundation podcasts but don’t worry, next week Tom will be with us, taking us through the next few chapters of Luke. Before then though, we’ve got a great passage to get stuck into today.
Today we’re looking at Luke 8:1-21. I’ll be focusing on the familiar to many of us Parable of the Sower. The parable itself sees a farmer scatter seed in a field. Some falls on the path, some on rocky ground, some among thorns and some on good soil. We’re going to hear Jesus explain what this all means in verses 11-15.
“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.”
What a great final line to that passage. The guarantee that if we receive the word of God, the Good News of Jesus, and work at putting it into practice we will see good fruits in our lives. There will be a harvest to reap that is way beyond what we can imagine, a hundred times what has been sown! Now, this passage may be familiar to us, but this week is the perfect time to look again at this parable. This week at STC we launched the Grow project. A resource for each us to engage with over the next 12 months that will help us to grow as disciples, as followers of Jesus. This passage helps us to understand why our attitude to this project will be key. First, the passage is clear that the word of God is freely available. The farmer scatters the seed all over, not just in the perfect places of the field, but freely so that all of the ground has the opportunity to receive it. But there was a key word in there, receive. Receive the message we must. We have to choose to say yes to Jesus and all He has to offer. Second, we must do this continually. Good soil doesn’t just stay good soil. If we don’t care for ourselves spiritually then we can allow proverbial weeds to grow in our lives. If we don’t put down good, Godly roots then the good soil we started with can erode away through the seasons of life. The end of the passage is clear, we must persevere if we want to see the harvest that is promised to us.
We must accept the word of God, and each day ensure we are engaging with Jesus, persevering in choosing to be good soil. Three quick thoughts to finish.
One, being good soil is choosing to engage. When we open the Bible, when we click play on the podcast, when we open up the Grow Project email, do we just listen and skim over the content, or do we really process what we’ve heard. Do we just listen out of duty or to tick a box, or do we ask the question for ourselves ‘what is God saying to me today’? It’s not about how much material we get through or whether we’re behind on a Bible plan, but about being open to God as we do those things.
Two, ensuring that we remain good soil is a daily and lifelong project. That’s why we’re not doing the Grow course, we can’t finish it and be perfect disciples from that point onwards! Curveball quote here, Denzel Washington, of Hollywood fame said this. ‘Put your slippers way under the bed so when you get up in the morning, you have to get on your knees to find them. And while you’re down there, start your day with prayer.’ Choosing to say each day, come Holy Spirit, you are welcome in my life today.
Which leads onto number three, as we saw yesterday, we are saved by grace. When we are saved by grace and filled with the Holy Spirit, God empowers us to Grow, to become more like Him. He plants the seed, He grows the seed and He produces the fruit in us. All we have to do is ensure we’re giving the seed the right conditions and try our best to persevere in living out the Jesus life each day.
Thank you God for this passage. Help us to invite you into our lives each day. Thank you God that when we do that we can be sure of your presence with us and you will produce great fruits in our lives. Amen.
READING: Luke 8:1-21
After this, Jesus travelled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.
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.
‘No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them.’
Now Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. Someone told him, ‘Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.’
He replied, ‘My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.’