Being Good Soil, Bearing Fruit
16 AUGUST 2020 | Traditional Service
Rev Edmund de Souza
Scripture Passage: LUKE 8:1-21 (NIV)
WATCH | SERMON (Video)
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READ | SERMON NOTES
Summary | God desires that we live fruitful lives. Jesus’ parable on the sower shows us how we can live more fruitful lives.
In this parable, Jesus describes three soil conditions as representing three kinds of people that do not live fruitful lives, and one that does.
Though Jesus did not describe what the fruit looks like, other parts of Scripture describes the fruit as:
a) Character-Changing Fruit of The Spirit – as evidenced by a Christ-like life of Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control (Galatians 5:22-23)
b) Fruitful Ministry Produced through our Good Work (Colossians 1:10) – When we respond to God’s Word, we will seek to bless others by the way we live, including through our acts of service.
THREE STEPS TO LIVING FRUITFULLY
In Luke 8:15 Jesus describes a fruitful person as one who:
1. HAS A NOBLE AND GOOD HEART WHO HEARS THE WORD. Such a person has the right attitude and sincerely desires God, seeks to follow Jesus and is therefore open to learn and be changed. The Berean Jews in Acts 17:11 demonstrated this well. They received the message with great eagerness, sought to examine and understand its truth, came to faith, surrendered their lives to Jesus, allowed God’s Word to transform their thinking and behaviour.
In contrast were pharisees, teachers of the law and those whose hearts, like the hard path were too hardened for the seed to sink in. Though hearing, they were not listening to learn. The devil snatches away God’s Word from their hardened hearts and they cannot believe to be saved (v12). They were either watching to arrest Jesus (Luke 6:7) or came to hear Him for the wrong reasons (John 6:26).
Not everyone is open with the right attitude to allow God’s Word to do its transforming work. The husband and father who was willing to ditch reading his Sunday newspaper for God’s Word preached in church, is today born again and serving as a church leader.
Is my heart hard or openly soft and willing to hear God’s transforming Word to be more like Jesus?
2. RETAINS God’s Word in her heart and seeks to follow it. Holding fast and refusing to let it go (katechousin in Greek), the Living Word changes her. Reflecting often on scripture moulds a Christ follower into a disciple after God’s own heart. She becomes faithfully accountable to God and when tempted with free money, for example, immediately returns what does not belong to her. Allowing God’s Word to sink roots deep in our hearts establishes the LORD’s way in us.
Superficial Christianity, on the contrary, looks like the seed in rocky, shallow soil where its root has no chance to sink in. Momentary is his joy when receiving God’s Word. Without deep commitment, the shallow Christian gives in to temptations and eventually falls away from the faith (v13).
Is God’s Word taking root in me and taking hold of me so that retaining and practicing it I am established upright in the likeness of Jesus?
3. PERSEVERES to grow in God’s Word. Persevering faith intentionally and actively seeks the will of God, faithfully does what God says, and is aligned to God’s purpose. In persevering (hupomone in Greek) one is unswervingly deliberate in purpose and loyalty to faith and piety. Unless we pursue Godly Kingdom treasures more than worldly attractions, we risk being drawn away from Jesus, strangled by life’s thorny worries and concerns over riches and pleasures.
The seed which fell among thorns was choked from maturing. Being two-minded about God and materialism makes us complacent in our walk with God. Faith stagnates, backsliding into a lukewarm state.
Am I choking out God’s Word, or perseveringly seeking to fulfil His design to be all He wants me to be?
Be open to receive God’s Word. Hold steadfastly to it. Intentionally keep faith with the LORD. God’s Word rooted deep in the good soil of our hearts will bear Fruit to reflect Christ to the world, bless our community to God’s glory and pleasure.
(Sermon Notes by Marjorie Tan)
PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS:
1. Why do you think Jesus told this Parable of the Sower?
2. How is this Parable relevant for today?
3. Jesus spoke about being fruitful, in character and in whatever we do (cf. Gal 5:22-23; Col 1:10) and mentioned 4 kinds of soil that determines their fruitfulness. Which soil do you think best reflects your life?
4. Jesus mentioned in Luke 8:15 that “the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” Which of the following aspects do you think you may be lacking in and what do you think you need to do to be more fruitful?
a) “a noble and good heart, who hear the word” - being genuinely open to and wanting to know what God’s Word says about your life.
b) “retain it” – not having a superficial Christian faith, but letting the Word sink deep, take hold of you and shape you.
c) “by persevering” – not being complacent, but intentionally and actively seeking to know the Word, apply the Word, and pressing on to be all that God wants you to be.