Seeds Reveal Our Response in Salvation
“What must I do to be saved?” asked the jailer in Acts 16:30. Paul replied simply, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved (Acts 16:31).” In the parable of the sower, Jesus expands upon Paul’s answer. Below are the four responses we can have to the Gospel and the adversary most prone to disrupt the growth of the Gospel in the soil of our heart (given in parentheses).
The Path: (Satan) This person does not pay attention, retain, or value the Gospel when it is presented. Satan’s work is to not let the seed sit long enough to sprout. The application for this person is to listen and be willing to consider eternal things—things heavenly seem insignificant compared to things earthly. The battle is one of attention span and embracing conviction.
Rocky Soil: (Trouble or Persecution) This person is attentive and celebrates the goodness of God’s conviction. Yet for this person earthly things (although initially viewed as less significant than things heavenly) like trouble and persecution distract and drown out things eternal. The lack of roots – discipleship and involvement within a local church community – make it too difficult to weather this heat and they wither.
Thorn Soil: (Worry, Success, & Desire) This person weathers trouble and persecution with reliance upon and understanding of God’s Word in a context of Christian community. Yet God’s blessings become their demise. Worries concerning the family, health, finances, and dreams God blessed them with cause them to take their life back into their own hands. God gives them the desires of their heart and then they choose the desires of their heart over God.
Good Soil: (Fruit) This person is content to be a fruit producer. They value things eternal, weather persecution, experience God’s blessing, but maintain their primary identity as laborer/citizen of God’s kingdom. Because God’s blessings did not become their measure of worth (the yield of the crop fluctuates), they could take joy in what they were allowed to contribute to and avoid getting lost in various self-preoccupations.
I pray you are able to use this sheet to take a “soil test” of your life now and to trace your own Christian journey.
Seeds and the Role of the Evangelist (v. 26-29)
Confusion is a common reason for avoiding evangelism. We are not sure how it works, so we don’t know if we have done it right and we sure do not want to foul up someone’s eternal destiny. Jesus says we need not understand how sharing the gospel penetrates a stony, hard heart to bring life from death anymore than a farmer needs to hold a Masters degree in biology to understand how dry and wet dirt combine to produce fruit.
The farmer has one task and that task is not professor, it is sower. Similarly, the Christian sharing his/her faith has one task and that task is not theologian, but witness. It may be helpful for many to consider that the same faith with which we share the gospel (somewhat fearful and uncertain of how it will work) is the same faith with which an unbeliever receives the gospel. In this the Christian models what he/she is asking of the unbeliever while asking them to respond.
If we had to understand more in evangelism than the farmer does in sowing, then our faith would not be in the grace of God and work of Christ but in the system we presented. If we know that we are sinful and that Christ as our substitute is our only hope, then let us sow and be amazed whenever and however the harvest comes.
Seeds and the Impact of Faith (v. 30-32)
“God is doing something large and my life, my abilities, my understanding, or my available time is so small. There has to be a problem.” Have you ever thought something like this? Jesus replies, “That’s the point! That is what my kingdom is all about.”
A major question that this parable raises is, “Where do you find your security?” What is it that you think you should offer God that would make your contribution to His kingdom significant? Those are the very things that fuel our insecurities and hinder the activity of God’s kingdom in our lives.
In light of this thought, read I Corinthians 1:18-31 for another picture of God’s kingdom and the normal object of our security. Our chief mission in life is to bring God glory. When we have done that we have done the highest thing a human (or any other part of creation) can do. Any largeness on our part gets in the way. When God makes great bushes (does awesome works that blesses others—“birds of the air perch”) with small seeds (ordinary folks) then God gets the total glory. The seed is secure throughout the entire process because it was only concerned with its mission (glorifying God) and gets to be the “largest of all garden plant” in the end (which still may not be a Giant Redwood Tree).
Introduction to the “Living Our Faith” series.