But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Matthew 13:8, 23 KJV --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/pastor-lucy-paynter/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/pastor-lucy-paynter/support
<span;> For centuries, human use of land has been one of the major contributors towards the development, persistence, decline and regeneration of civilizations whose backbone has been agriculture. Agriculture, to a great extent sustains and defines our lives. A healthy soil is able to maintain plant health. Both controllable factors such as soil management and the uncontrollable factors such as environmental conditions affect the fertility and health of the soil. A good soil provides everything that is needed for the seed to germinate, take root and flourish to bring forth a generous harvest. The degree of yield of a crop depends on the fertility of the soil, the absence of competing plants, and the efforts put by the farmer towards maintaining, not only the soil, but the crops themselves. A fertile soil is devoid of the weaknesses that we have seen in the other three types of soil that we have covered so far. It must be soft, deep and clear of weeds, unlike the stiff soil on the footpath, the shallow soil spread thinly on the underlying rock, and the thorny ground.
<span;> Such a soil is described in the parable of the sower in Matthew13:8. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! Jesus goes on to explain to the disciples what this part of the parable means in verse 23 “The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”
<span;> this parable illustrates a soil that is both fertile and weed-free. A soil on which good and productive crops would grow. It represents those of us who receive the Word, it takes root in us and bears fruit. It is important to remember that even with crops, not all yield the same quantity of harvest. It is no different even with our reception of the Word of God. While we may all yield generously, we differ in proportions. The fact that we have different yields, even after we receive the same Word, should not become a discouragement to us. It’s only proof that we vary in our capacities and opportunities. We must also remember that even when it seems that only a few respond to the Word of God the sower is still in control. And the seed that falls in the right heart will respond and the produce will be great.
<span;> We must therefore seek to be like the good soil described here; well broken, manured, and tilled. We must seek the Word of God, hear it, understand it, and receive it within ourselves, and then allow it to accomplish its purpose in our lives for this is the only proof of salvation. It is fruitfulness that distinguishes the good ground from the other ground as it does true believers from the hypocrites.
<span;> Hearing and understanding the Word of God goes beyond mere intellect. It involves hearing the Word and discerning its meaning. An honest and good heart will focus on hearing the Word and retaining it. This parable is a confirmation that when the Word of God is sown, it will yield something if it lands in the right soil. But we must also invest into making sure that the environment is right for the crop to grow. The analogy here is that growth is akin to sanctification. It is the formation of God’s image in us when we live according to His Word. It is the outcome of the efforts we put towards ensuring that the potential for a great harvest is maximum and this calls for you to embrace completely the good news with your hear. With the very center of your being. Your mind must be open and willing to learn. You must be willing to put what you hear into action.
<span;> You realize that the Bible does not say that there were no stones and thorns in this soil. The key word here is that the soil was fertile. Thorns and stones might have as well been there, but none of these prevailed to hinder the fruitfulness of the crop. And this happens to be the situation we find ourselves in as believers. Temptation, the lures of wealth, and all manner of pressures from within as well as from without are ever present. It’s only that through grace, we’re freed from their reign. From the reign of sin.
<span;> A person whose heart is fertile for the Word of God is an intelligent hearer. He hears the Word and understands not only the sense and the meaning of it. He understands his own concern in it; like it’s his own business. We must submit in totality to God and let him gain our will and affections by opening our understanding of His Word. We must also aspire to be fruitful hearers, for this is what proves our understanding. The fruits we bear must be reflective of the Word as a fruit is reflective of the seed by becoming its own body. Our fruits must be the products of the Word in both our hearts and lives. It must be agreeable and demonstrative of the seed of the Word we received. Our minds and lives must conform to the gospel we received and to the teachings we continue to receive. And as we continue to grow in grace, we should avoid the temptation and the frustrations of trying to be alike in every way to other believers. We must realize that there are different degrees of grace, and thus different degrees of yields. And while we should aim for the highest degree, we should always remember that if the ground is right, if the heart is honest, and if the fruit is right, what we bring forth shall be graciously accepted for it will be the fruit abounding to our account. The sower has sown His seed into us with grace, and therefore we shall grow and live under grace, for we are not under the law.