The mystery of sowing the seed
Matthew 13:3-23; 1/24/2021; BCBC/IOUC; Rev. Paul Wang
The parable of sowing the seed has most of Jesus’ explanations. What does sowing mean? Have you ever thought about this? From the essence of life’s growing, sowing the seed is to leave the opportunity of life in a “hand off” situation, to watch the interaction between God and men.
Let’s see the first point:
The situation of sowing the seed
The seeds are the gospel, the sowers are the children of God. Are you one of the sowers? Have you experienced the following situations?
1.1 First situation is falling along the path
Since these are the seeds of gospel, how can you be so casual? Of course, sometimes our casualness is God’s special will. It is like when we pass gospel flyers to strangers in front of a supermarket. No matter whether we know each other or not, we just compulsively stick them into people’s hands. We do not care if they might throw the flyers away after all. Some people stated it is the best way to practice your faith. Would you agree? The situation of spreading along the path is our unrestrained casualness, but short of an intentional preparation and prayer. In the age of the internet, how would you send the information of our Sunday worship? Would you just forward to every group or send it to each individual you cared about? Actually, we can put our foot in other people’s boots. What type of message will you pay attention to? Group messages are similar to spreading seeds along the path, right? If someone send a lot of messages after you, your message will be forgotten.
1.2 The second situation is falling on rocky places
The soil is shallow and rocky, which means you are not paying attention. If you do not pay the attention, how could you expect others to do so? Even when you are passing the gospel tracts to the pedestrian, the message delivered by eye contacts and attitudes might affect the outcome. I remember in the 1994 Norway’s winter Olympic, I shared gospel with a lot of people. Before we went out, we praised, sang the hymns, read the Bible and prayed, letting God’s words and the Holy Spirit fill our hearts. I was also afraid to share the gospel with strangers, because they might refuse me. I remember there was one phrase on the flyer that caught my attention: “my friend, please accept this blessing, because it might change your life forever. Would you like to do so?” After my heart was touched, other people’s hearts could be changed. If we just speak to their ears, it is like seeds falling on rocky places.
1.3 The third situation is falling among thorns
Thorns are the binding and entanglement from this world. When the gospel came, people who heard it didn’t prepare to accept it. They have one ear for the gospel and one ear for the stock market. They have the upper lip to praise the Lord, the lower lip to curse. They have the left eye to read the Bible and the right eye for lust. They have left brain to work and right brain to game. They have a left hand for video games and right hand for drugs. Why? They just wanted it. Why don’t go die? They just don’t want to. No, this is dying. Being as good as dead has no big difference from death. Thorns originated from Adam, hidden in the hearts, lived at the current stage and died in the future!
1.4 The fourth situation is falling on good soil
Good soil is good for seed’s growth. The seed of gospel has fallen into our hearts and we just believed in Christ and carried out our belief.
These are the situations of sowing the seed. Actually there is no need for talking about the mystery and people would believe so. Mystery is for the disciples.
Let’s see the second point.
The obstacle of sowing the seed
Why do we need to talk about the obstacle? Because it is reality, right? As long as we share the gospel, we will meet obstacles.
2.1 The first obstacle is the attitude of falling along the path
The problem is not where but how we treat the places. Who will you meet along the path? Their names do not matter because they might not have one. If we do care about someone, this person’s situation should be on our prayer list. Mary Magdalene came to Jesus’ tomb on the first day of the seven days. She didn’t find the body there, so she was asking around and even thought Jesus was the gardener. Until Jesus called her name, she suddenly became His coworker. Attitude determines a person’s altitude, it also determines the status and value of the gospel target. How do you treat your gospel friends?
2.2 The second obstacle is superficiality of carelessness
The gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes. Whom do we care about? The churchgoers? Do you care about them if they do not truly believe in Christ? If you are not clear about the gospel, how could your life grow? There are a lot of people who only have one minute of passion for the gospel. New-believer’s passion is not reliable. When they meet conflict of interpersonal relationship and immaturity of church operation and unfair situations, they might just leave. If the Lord sacrificed for you, you didn’t pay attention to Him. How can you truly believe Jesus Christ?
2.3 The third obstacle is the binding and entanglement of thrones
Thorn came from the curse, but people could choose to be bound by the throne. There is one phrase describing Jesus’ growth: He grew in favor with God and man. After the gospel enters my heart, we need to grow. However, thorns would also grow. The Bible says: thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. (Matthew 13:7b) The Sunday worship started and the stock market opened. Where would you go? The piano class and children Sunday school are both here. What is your decision? Disciple training and sluggishness are both here. You also have many reasons against the tithing which is the Lord’s command. Anyway, Jesus’ matters just cannot be placed at the position of formal issues, right?
2.4 The fourth obstacle is not making effort before the good soil
Now you meet the good soil and you have no reason to deny. You can bear fruit 100 times. But, don’t forget that we are Adam’s offspring! I just don’t want to move. I want to see the power of the Holy Spirit, the amazing power of the Bible. No matter how the pastor preaches till his jaw ached, I won’t move. The brothers and sisters in the church are not perfect. I can always find their flaws. If I just don’t want to move and pay any prices, what can you do to me?
Let’s see the third point:
The origin of sowing the seed
Situation and obstacles are the counterpart of the sowing. God gives the mystery in this contradiction.
3.1 The origin of with and without
Once we have the son of God, we have the life. Do you have eternal life? If you have, it will flourish and be rich. If you claimed you believed in Jesus Christ, after 1, 2, 10, or 20 years, you actually didn’t believe Him. You have been lying to yourself and never paid attention. Okay, God would responsibly take off your original skin, preventing you from lying again.
3.2 The origin of confusion in seeing and hearing
You can read the Bible, witness the testimonies, listen to each week’s sermon, but still live out a life of emptiness and chaos. Darkness was over the surface of the deep. It is because they weren’t clear about their life. Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. (Matthew 13:13) Don’t think that God wouldn’t do so, He will! He hardened the Pharaoh’s heart, and He could also let you be blind and deaf. The Bible and the pastor’s sermon explained it clearly, but you just didn’t understand.
3.3 The origin of understanding or not
The reason is simple. God has prepared us a way of return. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them. (Matthew 13:15) God is waiting for us to return. Would you like to?
Dear brothers and sisters, Satan wants to take away the truth in our heart, we are not willing to let God’s truth be rooted in the heart either. We choose worry and are tempted by money, Where else is the room for the truth? Are you willing to let the truth of the gospel healthily grow on good soil?
Let us pray……