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May 4, 2022 12:30 am
Today Associate Director of Finding Purpose Jim Briggs continues on his lesson in the book of Luke. Are you hearing God today? Hear as he shares what it truly means to Listen to God's word and the lessons we need to share with the world.
This is Robbie Gilmore from the Christian car Diane King in pursuit where we hear how God takes your passion and uses it to build the kingdom your chosen Truth Network podcast is starting in just a few seconds. Enjoy it and share it but most of all, thank you for listening and for choosing The Truth Podcast Network network. This is the Truth Network. This is part two of a special two-part episode. Do you feel like you're on a religious treadmill.
Do you feel like Christianity is just a system of rules and regulations, I can do this but I can't do that.
Do you feel like your efforts to reach God.
Find God, and please God, you, do you feel like your faith is dead or alive today.
Pastor Russ Andrews will walk us through Scripture to answer these questions join us on finding purpose, glorifying God by helping men find their purpose for living. For more information and to connect with Russ Andrews and finding purpose could visit us firstname.lastname@example.org connect with us on Facebook.
Now let's listen to Russ Andrews as he teaches us how to be a Christian without being religious. Today's episode features speaker Prof. Jim Briggs, associate Dir. of finding purpose. They have the effect of blinding eyes and deafening heart deafening years and pardoning hearts.
Now you will notice you've heard this many time the parable is a an earthly story with a heavenly message. Sometimes it could be said it's a it's a story with a sting in the tail. Jesus uses a straightforward story here using very familiar ideas and imagery. The story itself is not really all that complicated, but its meaning and purpose is a little less clear.
Thankfully, Jesus provides his disciples with a clear interpretation and he explains for them and for us. The various responses people had to the message. Now, as we read this parable, we discover that the sower is actually an evangelist. This is the one who is spreading the gospel spread the word. The seed is the word of God, and I think it's interesting although Jesus calls this the parable of the sower in Matthew 13. It's interesting that he makes no effort to describe the seller, no adjectives, there is no descriptive words.
He didn't say what is where he didn't say anything about the bag.
He doesn't say anything about his technique.
He does the same thing about his methods preceding the field is just the sower, the seller simply scatter seed across the field, hoping that his work will yield a harvest some seeds landed on the path some land on rocky ground and some land among the thorns. Some will find the good soil, some seed, is it in the good soil. This picture here is of God's word as it hits a receptive heart. This is a picture of an evangelist about going about declaring the word of God with little discrimination, hopeful of a harvest of souls from another parable. Mark 427 329 is clear that the seller actually has little control over his crops at all. It says that he sleeps and rises night and day in the seed sprouts grows mean is not how Paul picks up the same idea in first Corinthians 3637 I planted Apollo slaughtered, but God gave you growth now.
Neither heating plants or he who waters is anything but God, who gives the growth the only one who gives the growth. The point is that the crops success depends on God, not the sower is overcast to see evangelist proclaims the good news God gives the growth well like the sower and the seed is constant in this parable, Jesus says nothing about a special highbred or genetically modified seed manipulated for a greater harvest. God's word doesn't need to be altered in any way to be effective. What is true about the seed go is that it's only useful when it's planted also like to see the word of God is packed with power. Your thought about how much power is in a little seed plant that seed in the big player comes up if it's an acorn you seen the results of the acorn here in the city of Oaks Paul says is the power the seed is the power for salvation to everyone who believes is Romans 116 in first Corinthians 118 he says to those who are being saved it is the power of God to unlock this power, it must be implanted and the result is determined on the condition of the soils so you seen the sower we see the seed now think look at the soils since the sower and the seed. I do not change. In this parable.
The only variable is the type of soil onto which the seed falls for soil types represent the conditions of the hearts of those who are in the crowd listening to Jesus speak Jesus gives us a soil analysis to help us determine which type of soil will produce the healthy and fruitful crop. I don't know if you know this but it if you're a gardener, or if you just want to know these kinds of things you can actually send off to the North Carolina Department of agriculture for soil test will take a look at it and then they'll send you your results and I'll tell you what needs to be done to your soil so that it might sustain healthy plants will Jesus is going to do the same thing here.
He's given us this soil analysis, and I want to look briefly look at each sample to see if we recognize some of the characteristics may be in our own hearts tonight. So the first soil in the fields in Jesus day were not fenced in a were often very long fields and they were surrounded and divided from each other by walking paths in these paths were well-traveled and they were baked every day in the hot sun, and over time the soil became really compacted hardpacked and a and baked by the sun in the seed when it was cast by the sower would bounce off the surface of this soil is just rest their exposed to the elements, and then it was trampled on by feet and as we read eaten by birds. This soil represents a person with a stone hard heart he hears the word of God but is completely resistant to it were God just bounces right off of sin and unbelief is made his heart solid stone and unreceptive to God's truth shows no sorrow for his sin. He he he shows no repentance and he shows no fear of God in this person says the gospel is is is completely failed to him because in second Corinthians 44 know this passage well the God of this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers in any doesn't to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. This person's heart is at the mercy of Satan and Jesus says in verse 12, the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts so that they may not believe and be saved. This person listens to the word that they may even come to church. In fact, if you're one of those people. You're welcome. It's great to have you here. They listen to the word but they're completely indifferent, even what they receive is quickly snatched away less the first soil the second soil describes a shallow heart throughout Israel there is a limestone that runs under much of Israel and is under a thin, typically a thin layer of soil and SC lands on this particular type of soil, sometimes maybe a few inches if not an inch deep. It will route but there's no room for the roots to grow downward.
It comes in contact with his heart hard rock, the only thing the plant can do is grow upward and so it quickly grows upward. It it leaks out is green and sleepy and looks healthy was shallow roots. When the moisture evaporates in the heat of the sun. Plant withers and dies without producing any fruit.
This soil illustrates the shallow hearted person who response to the word immediately, perhaps even joyfully, but only superficially, he may, in verse 313 it says he may believe for a while but in time of testing times of trials will fall away. This person has all the outward appearance is like that plan big leaves, green looking healthy have all the outward appearances of a true believer when trials arise, it becomes apparent that his faith is merely superficial. Jesus says in John 831 if you continue in my word, you are truly disciples of Mark, so if he's fallen a way that shows that he's not a true disciple person's initial response to the word of God ultimately doesn't matter his faith is not rooted in Christ when the trials find any falls away. Having never truly believed in the first place. Well the seeds, the seed may also land in the thorns in the third soil so we seen the first two soils are soil shallow soil.
This third soil is third soil actually looks pretty good. It's it's deep, it's habitable soil, and the seed quickly takes root and grows, however, is a problem. The bigger thorny plants block out the sun and their roots robbed this young plant of all the moisture and nutrients in the soil.
The plan is choked out by its prickly neighbors in his left fruitless. Third, soil represents the person who receives the word but his heart is so preoccupied with its verse 14 says the cares and the riches and the pleasures of life, that the word is actually strangled to death.
Jesus describes an adverse three things to choke out the word, the cares, the riches in the pleasures of life. These things preoccupy all of our minds from time to time but what what Jesus wants to put his finger on. Here is the fact that if they take the place of God.
Then they'll strangle anything that we believe anything that we have been drawn to these things preoccupy the mind of the heart of the person crowding out the very truth of God's work linked in his in chapter 18 gives a great example of a person just like this example he gives there is the rich young ruler, remember he came seeking eternal life from Jesus. He has this remarkable encounter with Jesus.
In any case all in. He appears all in, he's heard the things that Jesus has to say says I want to be. I want to be a follower of you what.
Tell me what I have to do but then he's unwilling to leave his riches behind his mind. His heart preoccupied with the things of this world. This person makes a profession of faith and for a time even seems to be growing spiritually. However, something else comes along and draws attention or attention away attention away. This could be a new relationship. It could be a favorite past time.
Perhaps it's a favorite getaway spot a new career.
They could be something that you're really struggling with finances relationship problems how you make payments on the house of the car the kids trying to get into the right college. Those are all things that we deal with that are our minds focus on from time to time, not the things of God. When our minds are preoccupied over time they start to become a little less interesting little less important. He stops with this person stops making time for God besides making time for studying the Bible no longer has time for quiet time he he is church attendance starts to to slack off in his prayer life fades away. John writes in one John 215 do not love the world nor the things in the world everyone. If anyone loves the world, the love of the father is not in him.
As we love the things of the world, the love that we have if we had any for the father fades away.
To be clear, material wealth, that is not inherently evil nor his pleasure for that matter. However, it is evil if the things of this world take the place of God in our lives now.
Did you notice the one thing in the stony heart and the shallow heart and the strangled heart. The one thing that they all have in common. They are all unfruitful.
All three soil types represent an unbelieving heart. One of the marks of a true disciple of Jesus is that he is fruitful and so this question comes up all the time.
There a lot of things about the soil.
Sometimes I feel like I'm in that camp.
Well, the real question is, is there any fruit in your life. We have tendencies to go back but the real question is how are you moving forward. And so it Jesus says in John 15. Eight this is my father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciple. So if you are a follower of Christ. There should be evidence of fruit so seen the first three soils now.
The last soil the good soil is either stony is not shallow it's not spoiled by thorny weeds.
When the seed falls on this well cultivated and will properly prepared soil. It flourishes and it produces a an astounding crop 100 times more than what was sown this soil. It symbolizes the person who comes with a soft heart that receives the word and and according to verse 15 holds it fast and honest and goodness hard to bear fruit with patients or Lord.
Perseverance. This person is. His heart is open. It's receptive to the gospel.
Moreover, he seeks to understand it. He seeks to want to put it into practice. This person is not just a hearer of the word.
This person is a Jew or of the word, and he lives out his faith, and as he lives it out. He begins to produce spiritual fruit. Now every true disciple according to the Bible will consistently bear the fruits of the spirit in his life. There are listen. There are no fruitful Christians. So it is probably a good thing to check out. We should all be at some point, not just soil inspectors, but also fruit inspectors taken a look at our lives and say is very fruit in my life.
It was interesting in Mark and Matthew's account. It tells us that not all Christians are equally fruitful. Remember, it says that some produce 30 fold some 60 fold in some articles are different different amounts of free the key is not the amount of fruit. It's only that it's evident in spiritual fruit should be obvious in the life of you and me fruitless. This is the is only power for fruitfulness. Rather, is only possible in the soft and receptive heart only in a well cultivated a well-prepared heart that receives the implanted word of God. But here's the problem is the problem. This is something we can do ourselves. We can't, we can dig up our own soil. We can't amend the so we can add to it. We can't do anything about the soil because the Bible tells us that our hearts are naturally stubborn their harder shallow and there strangled by sin. Jeremiah Jeremiah 79 says the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick. Who can understand it, were helpless to do anything about our hard and sick hearts. Here's the good news God alone plows and prepares the heart to receive his word shows that we are utterly dependent on him to do work in our hearts to make them soft and receptive, and fruitful closing the soil with you some of the sower, we see that the seed now and say they look at the product that what what comes as a result of this, and we talked about already is fruit just follows this parable with another parable that helps. Maybe help us to understand a little bit what is this fruit look like played out.
He shows us that is crucially important to listen again versus 16 through 18, he begins. Consider carefully how we approach God's word whether we listen to the sermon whether we read a Christian books whether we read the Bible whether we attend discussion groups, whether we need people in coffee shops. We need to be careful about how we approach God's word in this parable is a comparable agricultural imagery is now replaced with that of an oil lamp that that shines a bright light. Light helps us to see what was once hidden in the darkness, and it would be foolish to hide the light that we been given under our bed or under a cooking pot that you know that's what we do when we hear God's word and then we put it away for later.
We hide it.
Sometimes in our workplaces, or maybe even in a family gathering or with our neighbor. We hide it because we know it's going to lead to difficult questions and conversations to be put on the spot. We may even be rejected as a result, so we hide we put it under a jar or a cooking pot but listen God's word must live in our hearts. It is not supposed to stay locked up in our minds we commonly listen to God's word. There a lot of people that will come and listen and they just they hold onto it. They think about. They want to they carried around her is personal to me.
My relationship with God is very personal to me in a locket away, but there must be evidence in our lives that the world has changed our lives is not enough to hear the word we must obey it.
We must live it out and perhaps perhaps this is why the women are mentioned at the start of this passage.
Hearing God's word had changed and did you see that so we see these women that Mary and and we see a Joanna and and we see Susanna all mentioned by name and it says that that they they supported them provided for the honest Jesus and the disciples out of their own means. They gave sacrificially they ministered they were living out what they heard. They had this encounter with Jesus, and their lives reflected that their lives, their lives shown with his with the love of Christ.
So the parable of the soils remind us that these responses that of people as they hear the word vary according to the condition of their hearts.
Sometimes the seed is going to fall on stony shallow or thorny ground and we share faith with others. We can take heart can only that it is really not up to us. There's nothing wrong with the seed that we give as long as we give God's word as God's word. We don't need to alter it.
Don't need to give a hybrid. We just presented. We just give God's word and we can rest easy knowing that the result is a dependent on our style or our methods if we faithfully so the seed we can expect that some of it. Some of it will take root in the good soil and be very fruitful now as a hearer of the word how would you describe your heart not would you describe your heart is soft and responsive to the word you know honestly, there talk. There are times when I find my heart a little resistant the word. There are times when I feel a little weak in the face of hardship. There are times when I get distracted by the things of this world.
My heart cries out to him to turn over the soil in my heart to restore it to amended and to drive me deeper into my faith that you listen today if you hear his voice, if you hear his voice, you know that your heart is still soft enough to receive his work today. If you hear his voice. You know your heart is still soft enough you find yourself resistant to the word or if you find the fact that you're chasing after the things of this world world. You too can cry out to him to do some more work in your heart. Good news is he's Artie started that thing and you can always go back to and ask him to continue. If there's little little evidence of a fruit in your life, why not ask the Lord of the harvest implant his word in your heart and make it fruitful before I finish. I I want you to put on your listening ears one more time one more time. Here is a warning from the author of Hebrews Artie hinted at it. Hebrews 315 listen today if you hear his voice, do not harden your heart (by God. We as we reflect on your word as we reflect on what we've learned this week. First of all thank you thank you that you are a God who speaks thank you that you have sent your son to speak directly to us. Thank you that you've given us your spirit that continues to communicate with us and that allows us to speak with you. Father, we thank you that you have already done work. Many of us in this room. Hopefully all of us. Father, I do pray for man here tonight if he's here and he still not sure if he's been resistant to your word. I just pray that you would continue to work in his heart, helping to see the terrible reality of rejecting your word and tell them or help them to see.
Also, the remarkably joyful good good news that Jesus has come to take care of Tom to do what needs to be done to restore his heart to restore the relationship with you and keep him from facing your judgment had on all we thank you that you have done your work here tonight. We pray for our discussion groups. Now we ask that you would help us as we listen to truly listen to put on our listening years father that we want to really here we want to understand your word want to grasp your word. We want to live out your word.
We want to be not just hearers of the word, but doers of the word.
We know that only you can help us do that.
So we ask you to do it. Father, help us.
Also, as we leave that we might remember how dark this world is and that we would not be tempted to hide the light that we've been given so that it might not be seen that the share with others as sewers to go and cast indiscriminately and broadly with the idea with the knowledge father that the seed is good and the seed is powerful and the seed is affected father you will do the work you will be working pray being a Christian is not about being religious but about having a dynamic alive relationship with Jesus Christ you been listening to finding purpose with pastor Russ Sanders glorifying God by helping men and their purpose for living. You can discover more about finding your purpose in life by checking out the email@example.com will connect to finding purpose on Facebook pastor Russ would also like to extend a special invitation for you to join him in over 300 other local men to study God's word together every Tuesday night at 7 PM in downtown Raleigh.
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