By Michael Julian
Pastor, Macedonia Baptist Church, Kenton
Focal Passage: Matthew 13:3-8,18-23
Sharing Christ is a mandate. Sharing Christ is a must. It is not something that can wait. It is a matter of trust. But, the question remains active for our present generation. Are we going to share Christ without reservation?
I love the parables of Jesus. They can be short in length and long in meaning. The parable for this week is one of the better known parables, and it even comes with specific explanations by the Lord.
Here, we discover how people react to the gospel message. The sower sows faithfully, broadcasting the Word of God on all types of soil. That is done without reservation, even though different reactions are elicited. Are we prepared to unreservedly broadcast the gospel wherever we are and to whoever may listen? If we will trust God to work, that will aid our endeavor.
Matthew 13:3-8: I remember from seminary in a class on interpreting the parables with Robert Stein, how he referred to the parable of the sower as the parable of the four soils. Clearly, Christ focuses our attention on the responses to the gospel, represented by the types of soil. Yes, Jesus is the sower and the seed is the Word of God, but the soil’s condition indicates the response to the message of salvation. Only one soil type proved fruitful.
In other words, as we proclaim the gospel we should not seek to determine ahead of time who gets to listen and who doesn’t. What I mean is that we should not be seeking to ascertain which people are the good soil, or who might be the rocky ground, and so forth.
Remember, the gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes. Cast the seed wherever you are. Do it faithfully. Do it persuasively. Yet, trust God to do His work. Success is fulfilling the Lord’s command, not how many might say yes to what you have to say.
Matthew 13:18-22: This parable confronts us with a sad and sobering reality. Not everyone who hears the gospel will respond favorably to the gospel. I know we all wish that every time we spoke to someone about salvation in Christ, that he or she would repent of sin and call on the name of the Lord for salvation. While people may be listening, more is needed than mere listening.
To listen, in this context, is to hear and obey. It means uniting by faith with the Christ of the message. Some listen and do not understand or follow this word. Some respond rapidly, usually an emotional response. Believing things about Jesus is not saving faith. Some listen, but are so clogged between the ears with worldly things that the seed cannot bear fruit. None of these have experienced transformation. But, fear not!
Matthew 13:23: Why should we fear not? Because there are those who listen and obey and bear fruit. This is a cause for rejoicing. It highlights again the necessity to broadcast the seed everywhere we go. God is still in the saving business! The gospel still changes people. Jesus saves is not a cliche. Furthermore, those that hear and understand bear abundant fruit. Trust God and spread the message. B&R