Sunday, July 12, 2020

Pentecost 6 Proper 10

Matthew 13:23

Good Soil Produces Good Fruit

But he that received seed into good ground is he that hears the word and understands it; which also bears fruit, and brings forth some hundred fold, some sixty and some thirty. (V.23)

Collect for the Word - 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 hold 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.

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 for the Christian. The condition of the soil (that is to say the condition of the heart) your attitude is critical to spiritual responsiveness and fruitfulness.

The point that the Savior is driving at is this – 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

I.        Good soil – a receptive heart – hears the Word.
A.            This explains what sort of Sower He is. He sows His seed wherever and however He can. He sows His seed along the path. On rocky ground. Among thorns. And, of course, on good soil. You would not want someone drilling beans in such fashion. But that’s the point. The Father is reckless. When it comes to His Word He wants it spread that all might hear and understand.

1.            He uses His Word to create and sustain faith.  Again, He’s reckless. Nothing will stop Him; for you to receive His Word with much joy.

2.            You 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.”  [John 6:68]

B.             This is why He sows.

1.             That you may heart 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. And the message is so clear. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  Romans 3:23

b.            That we are sinners saved by grace. Paul continues; “and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,” Romans 3:24

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

II.     Good soil – receptive hearts - understands the Word.

A.            This is how He uses the good seed.

1.            You know Him – You have a connection with Him. Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life and have it abundantly.” [John 20]

2.            By faith you understand His message – “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except by Me.” [John 14:6]

a.            It is a message of the cross – “I determined to know nothing among you save Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” [1 Corinthians 2:2]

b.            It is given to you in your baptism. The blessings that belong to baptism are three; forgiveness, life, salvation.

The Bible teaches that a person is saved by God’s grace alone through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

The Bible tells us that such “faith comes by hearing” (Romans 10:17). Jesus Himself commands Baptism and tells us that Baptism is water used together with the Word of God. – Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”-Matthew 28:19-20

Baptism is one of the miraculous means of grace[1], through which God creates and  strengthens the gift of faith in a person’s heart - Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”  Acts 2:38 (See Acts 22:16; 1 Peter 3:21; Galatians 3:26-27; Romans 6:1-4; Colossians 2:11-12; 1 Corinthians 12.13).

B.            Having heard His Word we respond.

1.            With thankful hearts.  

2.            With acts of love and service.

3.            As witnesses of His mercy and grace.

Transition: We also live our lives in this world.

III.   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. 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 second way in which the world was literally turned upside down was by the changed lives of these 12 men.  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. Mike Davis, the former basketball coach at IU - at the beginning of a post – game interview will begin with the words “I’d like to give God the credit for giving me this opportunity…” Sadly he only says this when his team wins! 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. May we be a people who hears the Word, understands the Word, and then with thankful hearts live the Word in our daily lives.
Words – 1,245
Passive Sentences – 10%
Readability – 80.5%
Reading Level – 5.1
Some fell on good soil, copyright © Ed Riojas, Higher Things
Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

[1] along with God’s Word as it is written or spoken

No comments: