Power of God's Word

Bear Fruit and Fulfill

April 13, 2024

I want to take a look this week at oner of Jesus’ parables, one that is probably pretty familiar to us and which seems to be a bit of an introduction to the parables. It is also the only parable which Jesus actually explained because his apostles could be a little on the dense side. It is usually referred to as parable of the four soils or the parable of the sower .and is found in Luke 8:4-15.

As usual with His parables, Jesus just starts in. He says that there is a sower with a bag of seed who went out to sow it. Some of it fell on the path and got eaten up by the birds before anything could happen with it. And on that particular piece of ground where this seed fell it would have no shot at growing anyway.

Some seed fell on land that had a thin layer of soil but just rock beneath it. It could grow a little but because there was just a bit of soil but it was impossible to put down any type of root because of the rock beneath. So when it got hot, the seed could get no moisture from the soil and died.

The third seed fell on soil that was pretty decent and it could grow there. The problem was that there were already thornbushes growing there and the seed ended up being entwined with the thornbushes and being choked off

However there was good news, as some of the seed fell on good soil that allowed the seed to grow. And grow it did! Up to a hundred fold return! The sower was probably rejoicing over how well the seed did that fell on the good soil.

The apostles, being the bright theologians that they were, had absolutely no idea what Jesus was talking about. They probably got together amongst themselves and asked each other what that story was about and no one could come up with a good answer…so they went to Jesus and asked Him to explain it. And again, this is the only parable that Jesus ever explained.

Jesus says that the seed is the Word of God. This is essential to understanding the parable. If you miss out on this, you won’t understand it at all. By the way Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:6 and Peter in 1 Peter 1:23 also use the idea that the Word of God is a seed.

The first, hard soil that the seed falls on are those who hear the Word of God but this Word is quickly taken away from them. Jesus says it is by the devil. The Word has no effect because it never penetrates and is quickly taken away. The Word of God must be understood if it is ever to bear any fruit.

Jesus says that the second soil is those who at first receive the Word with joy. Buyt at some point, they have no root (The Word has not fully taken hold) and as soon as some sort of difficulty comes, they abandon the Word. This soil reminds me of people who perhaps respond to the idea that coming to Jesus will solve their problems or that God will come and bless them with money, etc. And then when this does not happen, they abandon

Christ and tell themselves that Jesus did not ‘work’, as if He was just a self-help formula or a get-rich-quick scheme.

Then the seed falls on the thorny ground, and even though it does begin to grow, it gets choked off by the thorny bushes…what Jesus calls the cares and riches of the world. These are people who come to the Word but the lure of the world and all of its pleasures is more than they can withstand. Perhaps they think they can live with Christ and the things of the world, but the world quickly takes over the focus and the Word gets lost in all of it. Jesus reminds the people also in the Sermon on the Mount that you can’t serve the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of this world at the same time.

But some of the seed does fall on the really good soil…these are people who do receive the Word with good and noble hearts. The keep the Word and thus bear fruit and fulfill the purpose of the seed.

Remember from this parable that we can a bit of ourselves in all of these soils. Like the seed on the path sometimes we do not make any allowance for the Word in our lives. Like the thin layer of soil over rock, we can have flashes of enthusiasm for the Word but the struggles of the world do not allow it to be deeply rooted. Like the soil among thorns, the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches threaten to choke out the Word in our lives. And like the good soil, the Word can bear good fruit in our lives.

April 13, 2024