Spread the Word Parable of the Seed
Do you ever look out in the world and wonder what is going on?? We have seen a number of things recently that it appears people are doing what’s wrong and there is no consequence. It seems like people don’t care about justice. It happens politically, social issues. You may wonder how is this going to change. What will it take for people to do what is right and honor the Lord.
And it never stops. Wouldn’t it be nice if we turned on the news one night and the broadcasters said they were cutting the program short because of a lack of things to report. The news never stops, the websites always have something new, and twitter is constantly ringing with bad reports.
Maybe you are sad because you don’t see people going to church like you used to. Maybe you are sad because you can’t seem to get people to church.
And how is God going to work in all of this??? Is it possible to reach these people? You may feel like things are too far gone. Maybe you look at your classmates and coworkers and think there is no way.
We are talking about discipleship today. A few months ago I said we are going to hit on discipleship and our mission because of its importance. Jesus’ commission to his people is that they make disciples of all nations, baptizing and teaching them to obey all he has commanded. It reminds us of how God works in the world, and how he uses us to reach others.
He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. 28 All by itself the soil produces grain–first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. 29 As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” (Mark 4:26-29 NIV)
This parable is about the advancement of the kingdom. He is not telling us this so we are better farmers. He wants us to understand how his kingdom spreads, and it is spreading in the hearts of people.
Slow steady growth: we want change to be like a dot.com boom. But growth is more like scattering seed. Sometimes it doesn’t appear anything has happened. But in time the work begins. Nothing extraordinary about the experience of growth and harvest. But God is at work! And specifically what we see is our role in the kingdom is to spread the word and trust God to work. We need to do something and it is to sow seed. The previous parable establishes the word of God as the seed.
Big idea: God’s kingdom grows by people spreading his Word.
So we should spread his Word.
We love to tell good news to others. The coming of God’s kingdom, which means that in Christ we can be saved from punishment for our sins and brought into God’s forever kingdom where there is no more evil or suffering or pain is the best news we could ever receive. It means our hearts can be changed so that we obey God and desire to do what is right. This is the greatest news ever and it is what can truly change people.
I want to look at our call to make disciples in light of four stages of progression seen in this parable.
The Four Stages
- Go: who can tell me what it means to go?
We have to go out into the fields. This is a major focus of the passage.
- Fishermen don’t catch any fish sitting on the couch. Catch fish in the lake.
- Don’t grow plants in the rocks. Grow plants in the ground. We need to go out into the fields to sow.
What is somewhere we can go to? I hear people in China need the gospel. Is the other side of the world where we need to go.
Wherever you go! This is not a new add to your week. You are already out. You are already around others. Just need to make the most of your time. Need your eyes opened.
Prayer walks in neighborhood. May not see anything going on. Is it becausee we are not asking. Who’s your one. Burdened by the fact no one is praying for this.
If God were to do a miracle in your life what would it be?
- Sow: who can tell me what it means to sow?
The thing we sow here is the Word of God. If you go back a few verses to the parable of the sower you see it establishes the word as the seed.
Sowing is planting seed by casting it. You walk out and sling seed in the ground.
It means God’s kingdom moves by people spreading the word of God. We don’t go and plant full grown oaks. It is a slow but steady process. Small seeds, but have power.
This is primary focus of the passage. Get out and sow. Drop seeds of truth. Let those have an effect on people.
You may feel pressure to do this. You may start breathing heavy. But let me tell you how life giving and life changing this is.
You may feel like why are we talking about this. I have x number of kids, I have so much at work, I come home after working all day and then have to deal with the car, school is pressing down on me, I’m just trying to survive so how am I going to share with others.
- Then this attitude highlights just how much you need changing. Come alive to God’s purposes!
- It means we have to get our eyes off the world and focused on what God is doing. I see someone and I want to share my misery. I need to remember to at least get a but God in there. Experience replanting- knight in monte pythons holy grail. But God.
- Don’t sow negativity, hate, frustration, entertainment. “I’m just real.” make a positive, God–sized difference in someone’s life.
- Got to tell yourself not going to give into Ambassadors of fear, or bitterness. Spread the joy of negativity. Like coming up to someone with bad breath. The negativity just hits you in your face. Why joy is such an important part of the faith and a fruit of the spirit.
You were dead in your sins and transgressions in which you once lived… But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved– (Ephesians 2:4-5 ESV)
Truths that influence and shape you.
Stories of hope.
Talking to a friend about life and sharing what God was doing said, why don’t you share that with the guys we play ball with. They need to hear that.
- Grow: who can tell me what it means to grow?
That seed sprouts and we want to help it grow. We want to come alongside it. If you plant a garden you will take the hose out and water it. Maybe put in an irrigation system. You might put in a fence.
Now the focus on this passage is that God is the one who makes it grow. We need to trust. But we can also want to think about the other commands God gives to his people and church to encourage, to serve, to help, to build up one another.
Bible studies. Small group. Participating in life with other believers so that the seeds planted in our hearts take root and flourish.
Parable of the sower is about our attitude toward the word of God. Worries of life choke it out like thorns choke plants. Seed in rock withers because it has no root.
Call someone struggling and pray for them right there.
- Harvest (Mow): who can tell me what it means to harvest?
- End times. We are with Jesus. This is the ultimate view of the parable. An end time is coming.
- Present time: maturity in Christ. church membership. Part of a body of Christ. So we have arrived. We can sit in our small group and Bible study and we are good.
- Cycle: now we are done. We have harvested the seed. Things finish here. No! The seed needs to go back out. It’s all nice and cozy harvested in the bag with other seeds. If it goes out it might get cold and wet. But that is absolutely what is to happen.
*How many of you would go to home depot in the spring to buy tomato seeds,* but then just before you buy them you look and on that box it says these seeds are not for putting in the ground. They will not reproduce.
Many professing Christians are comfortable. Are we focused on being a seed that reproduces or a seed that is comfortable and cozy. And we concerned about being a seed that is used by God or kept in the packet. Are we concerned with being faithful to God or comfortable in life.
I think most people are comfortable thinking they have fully arrived in quadrant 4 and there is no need to go out into the fields. What do you do with seed that is not going to reproduce. What do you do when you go to home depot and you buy tomato seed and read on the back that those seeds will not grow.
Giving ourselves to reach others. It’s hard. Full of heartbreak. Full of pain and sweat. But this is what Jesus did!
Most people content coming to Bible study and never going out. If we have been spared from eternal judgement, have been brought in from a kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light, how can we not go out and tell others.
Our biggest challenge as a church is to engage in discipleship that is hitting these four areas. Churches die because they lose their focus on these. It is our challenge as a church to figure out how to bend our ministries to this.
How do we get our ministries doing these things? How do you and I get focused on doing these things? Pray for the harvest. Are we praying for the lost??? Are we troubled that more people are not coming to know Christ? Are we troubled that more people are not growing and overcoming struggles and maturing. Are we troubled that we are not troubled by that? Jesus received tremendous opposition for his teaching. Do we just ignore it.
Feel like we need more preparation. Jesus spent three years with his disciples and then sent them out to tell the world about him. More often you just need to do it.
Preparing hearts like soil. Epictetus, “It is impossible for a man to learn what he already knows”.
I want us to press into this issue. Pray for this to happen. Yearn for God to use you, and me, and our small groups and others things in greater ways. And for him to show us how we need to change to do this.
15 second testimony. How do we move from Go to sowing something. Let’s throw some seed down. Share two things about how your life was before Christ. How would you describe yourself. Think about a time you struggled and tell me two ways it was like.
There was a time I was ____ and _____, but then I made Christ number 1 and now I have _____ and _____. Have you experienced a change like that?
I was angry and confused but then I found Jesus and made him number 1 in my life, and now I have peace and confidence. Have you ever experienced a change like that?
When people complain about what is hard in their life, share your story. Ask them if they have experienced this. Sow hope for them. Sow seeds that God is living and active. Remind yourself that just as he changed you in the past, he can change you in the future. Remind yourself of the humbling it took and encourage them with it. Prepare to reach others. It will change everything. You might start doing it with you kids in the heat of the moment. You might start doing it with your spouse when they do something you don’t like.
SOS Bible Studies: We can know God’s word but not do it. I was reading Samuel the other day, Saul was removed as king not because he didn’t have God’s word but because he didn’t obey it. I want to get a few things that get our growth focused on going and sowing.
- Say: what does God’s word say. Use a study bible. Don’t have to understand everything, but get the main points. Embrace learning together. Assign someone to find the answer.
- Obey: what do you need to do. We go to Bible study, listen for an hour about what the parable of the good samaritan means, and we conclude and only response is pray for my surgery, pray for this my job. Those are important, but it shows a disconnect. I sat through a lengthy teaching and God has called me to do nothing with that. We need to be doers of the word. If we get done here and only want to pray about getting a promotion are we really heeding God’s word. I think there is a spiritual blanket over the church and we need to take it off!
- Share: It is life giving to talk about where God is working in your life. Want to sow seeds then talk about where God is at work in your life.
I was with a friend and he was talking about his kids. And he said, I just want my kids to love Jesus. I don’t care about college, or sports, or games. Don’t get me wrong I would like for them to minimize their mistakes in life, but if they just love Jesus I ‘m ok with the other stuff being mediocre. Last week the ladies in our small group were texting and Amanda shared how one of the ladies had been thinking through the message and came up with several questions to encourage them.
The parable of the sower points to the environment the seed falls in, and we all want to cultivate our hearts to be a place God’s word flourishes. We have to prove faithful now. We respond to his word, to his call, to make disciples.
*God saturated lives.* People don’t need us to be cool. That won’t matter in eternity. If knowing God is the greatest thing we can experience, then we get to play a part in the greatest thing that can happen to people.
Sometimes you put seeds in and it doesn’t seem like anything is going on. Nothing comes up. Nothing moves. One day you come out and it’s a little stem poking out of the dirt. Next day it seems like the same thing. After a few days finally it is a sprout with two leaves, but nothing big. Gradually it grows and eventually ends up a full size plant, or tree. Growth is slow. But there is growth. The problem is when nothing is happening and we have not sown any seeds. We need to be sowing seeds in others. In those outside the church, and inside the church. What are you sowing in your kids?