Saturday, July 12, 2014

Proper 10

Proper 10
Matthew 13:23
13 July 2014
Good Soil Produces Good fruit

But he that received seed into good ground is he that hears the words and understands it which also bears fruit, and brings forth some hundred fold, some sixty and some thirty. (v.3)

Blessed Lord, You have caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning. Grant that we may so hear them, read, mark, learn, and take them to heart that, by the patience and comfort of Your Holy Word, we may embrace and ever ho9ld fast the blessed hope of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ, Your son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.[1] 

Mary, Mary quite contrary, how does your garden grow? Well, it all depends on a number of things. Not the least, of which is, the soil.

So it’s also for the Christian. The condition and attitude of the soil, that is to say, the condition of the heart, is critical to spiritual responsiveness and fruitfulness.

Good soil produces good fruit. How is this so?

I.        Good soil hears the Word – “He hears the Word
II.     Good soil understands the Word – “and understands it
III.   Good soil lives the Word – “which also bears fruit

1.        Good soil – a receptive heart – hears the Word.
A.      This explains what sort of Sower He is.
1.            He uses His Word to create and sustain faith.  
2.            We listen to this Word, for it is the word of life. When asked if His disciples too would abandon Him Peter responds to the Savior, “Lord, to whom shall we go, You have the words of eternal life.”[2] 
B.      This is why He sows.
1.            That we may hear it. The word, which is preached, taught, read and shared, has a timeless message. It is the message of the cross. It is the message of a changeless Christ for a changing world.
2.      That we may come to understand His message of salvation. It’s such a simple message. Yet one, which has impacted our lives.
a.       That we are sinners.
b.       That we are sinners saved by grace.

Transition: The Sower sows the Word into good earth. His desire is for us to know and understand Him deeply.

2.     Good soil – receptive hearts - understands the Word.
A. This is how He uses the good seed.
1.            We know Him – we have a relationship with Him. Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life and have it abundantly.”[3]
2.             We understand His message – “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except by Me.” [4]
a.            It is a message of the cross – “I determined to know nothing among you save Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”[5]
b.            It is given to us in our baptism. The blessings that belong to baptism are three; forgiveness, life, salvation.
B. Having heard His Word, we respond.
1.            With thankful hearts.
2.            With acts of love, mercy and service.
3.            As witnesses of His mercy and grace.

Transition: We also live our lives in this world.

3.   Good soil – receptive hearts – lives the Word.
A.            This is how we can expect good seed to be productive – to bear fruit.
1.            Sharing His story with others – we all know the Gospel hymn, “I love to tell the story” – question – do we even tell the story? Or, are we embarrassed, or fearful to share the message of Christ with family, neighbors, co-workers? The world was literally turned upside down by twelve men who had a simple yet powerful message – we have seen Jesus alive from the dead. “We are witnesses of these things![6]  That message has not changed in over 2,000 years. People still need to hear that message – and the only person to tell that message is you!  
2.             Serving Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence and blessedness. The 2nd way in which the world was literally turned upside down was by the changed lives of these witnesses.  You might be the only Bible another person will ever read! Our church and school will grow only by people being drawn to the Savior – yet He chooses to work through means – Your efforts will not be in vein.
B.            As He has sown good seed – so we should also demonstrate with our lives His works.
1.            By means of vocation. J. S. Bach would sign every work with three Latin words. “Soli Deo Gloria.”, which translates, “To God Alone Be the Glory.”   This leads us to ask the question, do we give God the credit only when we are successful?  In everything we do – to God be the glory – may He alone get the credit.
2.             By means of serving others – our neighbor – with the talents, abilities, and gifts the Lord has given to each of you.

How true it is. Good soil – receptive hearts – produces good fruit as it is connected to the Word. Be a people who hears the Word, understands the Word, and then, with thankful hearts, live the Word in your daily lives.

Words -870
Passive Sentences – 11%
Reading Ease -81.4
Reading level -4.5

[1] Collect for The Word Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
[2] John 6:68
[3] John 10:10
[4] John 14:6
[5] 1 Corinthians 2:2b
[6] Acts 5:32

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