“The Sower Went Out to Sow!” #4

Sermon Notes (Sunday October 18th, 2015)

Rev. Mouris Yousef, Pastor

 

The Sower Went Out to Sow!” #4

Psalm 126; Matthew 13:1-9

 

This morning we conclude our 4-week series on one of the greatest parables of Jesus, the parable of the sower based on the gospel of Matthew chapter 13. As we examine the last piece today, I believe Jesus saves the best for last. In Matthew 13:8 we read, “Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a cropa hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” This is the soil of fruitful faith. Those people work the soil of their hearts, plow it, weed it, fertilize it and are therefore productive. Down in Matthew 13:23 Jesus explained what He means by the seed that fell on good soil. Jesus explained, “But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

 

The fourth type of soil, the “good soil” brings so much hope to us as individuals and as a congregation. As I reflect upon that last part of the parable, I am reminded of a few lessons this morning:

 

First: Be Assured of the Harvest

When we scatter seeds, when we share the gospel with others, when we lay our prayers and supplications before the Lord, let’s be assured of the harvest. Yes, some of the seeds will land along the path. Some will fall on rocky soil or among the thorns. But we are assured that some will also fall on good soil, therefore we should expect a harvest. Jesus doesn’t call our attention to the seed that is lost. “Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop–a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown”, says Matthew 13:8. Jesus entrusted twelve people with the future of the church, twelve people who launched a campaign that changed the whole world.

 

The mainline church in the United States today is so consumed by worries about the future of the church. The image of the sower is not an image of worry. Friends, sometimes we are reluctant to reach out to people, to cast seeds of hope, grace, and reconciliation because we are afraid of rejection and failure. In the parable of the sower. However, Jesus teaches us there is no room for discouragement. The sower has no option but to keep sowing!

 

Rather than cast concerned eyes on our world wondering where all the good Christians moved off to, the parable of the sower calls us to trust that we are NOT the Lord of the harvest–that the state of our communities, like the state of the sower’s soil, is not ours to worry over. The parable of the sower calls us to sow seeds of grace and mercy over new ground–worried not over where it will land–concerned only with casting as much seed as possible–leaving all the rest up to God. Leave the rest up to God? Maybe it doesn’t sound so American, but it sure does sound so Christian. 1 Corinthians 3:6: “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.”

Second: An Abundant Harvest

Jesus says that the seeds which fell on the good soil grew like mad, producing a harvest beyond the farmer’s wildest dreams. Notice the amount of fruit the good soil produces. Some produce a harvest which is 30 times what was sown, others 60 times, and still others 100 times the amount of seed they received. Yes it varies, but even the least of these is a good crop. Back then, if a farmer had a yield that was seven times what was sown it would be considered a good crop. To have yields of a hundred, sixty or thirty fold would be unheard of, unnatural, even astonishing. Genesis 26:12 notes a crop of Isaac that yielded 100 fold, a mark of God’s blessing. God can do a lot with a little. That’s the encouraging news from this parable. A few seeds sown in good soil can ultimately revolutionize a church, a town, a school, a family, a neighborhood, or when God wills it so, an entire region. Fruit-bearing is the mark of a disciple as John 15:8 says, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

 

Third: Keep Sowing No Matter What

The sower in Matthew chapter 13 kept sowing no matter what. When we share the gospel with others, yes, some of the seed will land along the path. Some will fall on rocky soil or among the thorns. But some will also fall on good soil. Three of the four soils failed to produce any fruit. Is Jesus suggesting that 75% of our efforts will go for naught? I do not know. But sometimes it can seem that way. Some churches are hard to pastor, others are easier. Some soils takes longer to produce fruit, others are not that hard. Some missionaries see amazing results. Others struggle for years with little to show for their efforts.

 

In all cases we need to keep sowing seeds in our community. We need to keep receiving the seeds of God’s Word in our lives. Have you ever noticed a plant growing where it’s not supposed to? Like a seedling in the gutter of a house, or a tree in the side of a cliff, or a tulip that comes up every year in the middle of a bunch of weeds? You never know where faith will take root.  You never know who is listening to what you say, watching what you do.  God can plant that seed anywhere God wants to.  God will take care of it. Our job is to keep scattering seeds.

 

Friends, we should keep sowing faith, though some may refuse to believe. We should continue sowing hope, though cynicism is so very strong. We should continue sowing love, though some are content with less. In spite of the birds, in spite of the rocks, in spite of the thorns, let’s keep on sowing. The Kingdom of God is like that … the sower went out to sow. The seed may seem small and unimpressive, by it has the power of life.

 

You may heard the story of the Minister who came to his new church and on the first Sunday he preached a very good sermon. The second Sunday came and the Minister preached the same exact sermon again. On the third Sunday everyone was amazed to hear the identical sermon yet again. An Elder spoke to the Minister. “Reverend, do you realize,” he said, “you’ve preached the same sermon three times?” The Minister replied, “Yes, and I’ll go on preaching it until someone does something about what I am saying!” We should never give up hope. Keep on casting the seeds. We cast seeds as we encourage and challenge each other this morning to be good stewards of God’s various gifts to us. We cast seeds as we commit ourselves to God’s work in 2016 through our tithes, offerings, and pledges. If you ever get worry about how and when those seeds will grow, listen to the assurance of God’s Word in Psalm 126. In Psalm 126:5-6 the Psalmist says, “Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them. May the God of hope grant us hope enough to go on casting seed and grant us the faith to leave the rest up to Him. In the Name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen!

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