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Miracle Grow

May 24, 2017

it's been awhile. spring is here. 

 

Let's begin with something from the words of Jesus. This is something we likely heard as a child in Sunday School...or if you're like me, you know this story because of the musical (drum roll, please) Godspell... {young Victor Garbor has my heart} 

 

 

Matthew 13:1-9

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.”

 

Amen.  So, what is so great about these words? Do they really have meaning beyond a second grade Sunday School classroom? 

I'd say YEAH. THEY DO. 

Let me set this up: 

 

 

Dylan and I are going on 2 years of marriage, And we’ve learned a lot in the past year and a half about married life, and responsibilities, and laundry, and bills, and cooking...actually come to think of it, I just learned those things.

But I think I can safely say that I have a handle on this whole married life thing, but there is one thing that I have been trying and trying and I simply can not seem to succeed at. And that would be trying to have a green thumb. Ever since moving into our own little townhouse, I have had these wild fantasies about becoming a plant lady.

In my mind, my back patio in the summer time will be luscious and over flowing with bright, beautiful, leafy green plants and flowers and glory. And in my mind my house will be filled with charming potted house plants that bloom and grow and thrive. And anyone who comes to my house will see that I am capable of taking care of another living thing, besides Dylan.

But that those daydreams just don’t seem to be coming true, because I literally can not take care of plants. After the service, I would love to hear any advice anyone here can give me because, I’m starting to think I’m a lost cause. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wasted money on plants and a few days will go by and Dylan will say to me “Did you know all of the plants out back are dead?”

 

I mean God calls each of us and I am just starting to realize that maybe gardening isn’t my calling. But I will not give up! Jesus did say the harvest is plentiful and the laborers are few, right? Although maybe He wasn’t referring to gardening….

 

Nonetheless, in the midst of my green thumb trials, I recently heard a sermon that talked about the seed of God’s word and the soil where it is planted, the soil of our hearts. And it really got me thinking. While I might not love gardening or understand it, God’s word is the one seed that I truly sow, and nurture, and grow, and reap the blessings of. So, today we are going to think about the word of God and how we whether or not we have green thumbs in the garden, we can successfully tend to the seed of God’s word.

I want to share with you the words of Jeremiah 15:16 which talk about the word of God, “When I discovered your words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart's delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God of Heaven's Armies.”

Mhm. I love this verse, I love the imagery here. It says I discovered your words and I devoured them. What a beautiful thing that is, to eat up and delight in the word of God. They are my joy, my heart’s delight.

 

Think with me!

 

When did you first discover the delight of God’s word? Was it maybe as a child in Sunday School class? When you discovered that the adventures of Bible Stories are even better than the most exciting fairy tales? Or was it maybe in your older years, when a verse directly spoke to something you were going through and it gave you wisdom and guidance? Or maybe God’s word became your delight when you set aside time every day to spend devouring it. And His words are etched in your memory and they flow out of you as if they are your own words.

 

Where did you first receive the seed of God’s word? Who planted it in you? A teacher, a friend, a pastor, a parent, a loved one? We need to thank God, praise him, for those people who planted the word of God in us. Who taught us its power, its beauty, its strength.  I know my Momma (and Godspell, duh) is responsible for planting the seed of God’s word within me. Not only did she joyfully share God’s word with me thousands of times growing up, but I watched her spend time in it quietly on her own every day. I saw her turn to scripture when she was happy and I saw her turn to scripture when she was desperate and crying out. If God’s word, His holy Bible is a seed and our hearts are the soil, then my mother has a garden just overflowing and blooming with healthy, beautiful life. And I hope to continue in that legacy she’s started for me.

 

You know, Psalm 119:105 declares “Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”  And I love Isaiah 40:8 which says “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”  Amen!

 

So, we are talking about this seed, the Holy Bible, which I believe is the living, inerrant word of God.  2 Timothy 3:16 says this about the word of God, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Jesus talked about the word of God when he preached by a seaside in the book of Matthew. What I love about this chapter is that for one thing Jesus has been preaching ALL DAY, He shows us that devotion and dedication to spending time in God’s word is very important. And, I love that He is preaching at a seaside, not a synagogue. The seaside is where a lot of poor people gathered and basically anyone who wanted to hear Jesus preach the word of God had to go out of their way to hear him. It was their priority, they were eager, they were hungry to hear the word of God. If we want to grow this seed we have, we have to make it a priority, we have to be eager, we have to hunger for it and devour it. Together, we are going to break down these verses in Matthew 13:1-8, and with the help of the Holy Spirit and the guidance of God we are going to learn what kind of sower of God’s word we should be. 

 

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow."

 

Here, we see that Jesus is going to teach us about different kinds of Christians. And this is the first kind of believer. Jesus is describing someone that you might relate too. Perhaps he is describing who you are or were at one point in your faith journey:

And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. 

Now, Jesus explains later that the path was not suitable soil for the seeds to grow. In fact it wasn’t even soil at all. The word of God was heard, and wasn’t understood—it wasn’t pursued, it wasn’t chased after and devoured. So, the evil one came and snatched it away.

 

Lord reveal to us what our soil is.

 

Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. 

 

Here is what Jesus says about the rocky soil, this is good stuff, “As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.” Jesus’ words really speak for themselves here, I believe He is describing the soil of many Christians today. So many of us receive the word of God joyfully as children, but if we’re honest we aren’t really rooted in it. When difficulties and distractions arise, we’re not clinging to God’s word because it was rooted in rocky soil. It feels like there are so many people who are rooted in rocky soil.

 

Lord, show us what our soil is. Show me what my soil is, because we don’t want to be rocky.

 

 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.

 

Jesus teaches us that this believer hears the word of God and instead buys the lie of world. Romans 1:25 describes this by saying, “They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise!” Lord, we don’t want to be people who plant your seed in rocky soil. We don’t want to trade the truth of who you are for a lie.

 

Lord, show us what our soil is.

 

Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.

 

Now, this soil is good soil. It produced grain, lots of it. Jesus says this about good soil: As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

 

Folks, you know good soil when you see it. And I hope and pray that each of us are good soil. Good soil souls are the people who treasure scripture, who live it out daily, who know it not by mind, but by heart. They don’t wait around for rain or for someone else to water their plants. Good soil souls go after God’s word like it is their only sustenance. They have an awesome, blooming, relationship with their gardener—God Almighty!

 

You know, one of the main reasons why none of my plants survive is because of the soil I give them. This spring I planted my plants in soil that I bought a year ago at dollar tree. For the past year it has sat in my storage closet, collecting dust. When I opened it to use for planting, dried up dust balls fell out of it….and I STILL USED IT. And it is definitely no miracle grow, because shocker---my plants died. I put these great seeds in bad soil, and expected something wonderful to happen. But you know what, a friend of mine gave me some of her already potted and grown house plants. They are beautiful and were cared for greatly, planted in rich healthy soil. She invested in the good soil, the best kind for her plants, and she watered the plants and loved them. AND I INHERITED THEM. And those plants are the only ones thriving in my house, because they are planted in good soil. Friends, we have got to hear the word of God, understand its impact on our lives, and bear fruit because of it- a hundred fold! In the bible the word bear means to carry. So when we have God’s word planted within us, rooted deeply, we produce a crop. We bear fruit. We CARRY his love, his truth, his gospel, with us everywhere we go. That’s what good soil reaps.

 

The problem is never the seed of the word, the problem is the soil. What is the state your soil?

 

Luke 11:28 says to us “Jesus replied, "But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice."

John 5:24 says to us, "I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.”

 

We have access to every truth, every hope, every wisdom, every strength, every peace, every love that God could offer us—right in His word. We hear His voice through this word and we know His voice through this word. Let’s be people, in every season, that has good soil. 

 

 No matter if you just picked up a bible for the first time today or if you have been studying God’s word for 60 years, choose to be good soil—hunger after His word, devour it, make it your delight! Start with a book of the Bible, write out scripture, meditate on it, pray the words of scripture, join a Sunday school class, get in a Bible study, talk about the bible at your dinner tables, sow that seed like it’s going out of style.  And if you are the good soil, which there is nothing wrong with acknowledging that, praise God for that, and I know we have lots of good soil in this church—here is my challenge to you: ask God to bring someone in your path who needs the word of God. Take the time to plant the seed of God’s word in a new believer or young believer. What a great legacy of faith garden that is to grow. Pray today for God to make that happen. 

 

 

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