Monday, September 28, 2009

Fourth and Goal - TOUCHDOWN!

All month long here at Grace Church we have studied the parable of the sower that Jesus told in Matthew 13 by seeing how the story may have looked had it been told in a football setting. In this parable we have seen that there are three major elements. There is the sower who represents anyone who spreads the message of Jesus. There is the seed which represents the Word of God or the Gospel. And then there is the soil which represents the heart of man as he responds to the message of Jesus he hears. In a football context, the sower would be the quarterback; the seed would be the football; and the four different kinds of soil would be four receivers or four pass plays.

Over the first three weeks of this series we saw the first three types of soil that Jesus described. First, there was the seed that fell beside the road that we said described the indifferent heart. If this were a football pass play it would be the one that results in an interception. Second, there is the seed that fell on rocky places which described the impulsive heart. This would be the pass play that results in an incompletion. Third, there was the seed that fell among the thorns, or the indulgent heart. This would be the pass play that is called back due to a penalty.

Last Sunday we concluded our series by studying the seed that fell on the good soil. In the parable this was soil that was away from the path and was soft and loose. It had sufficient depth to support its root systems and it was free of thorns and weeds. As a result, this is the only soil that results in a harvest. According to Jesus, some of the harvest was thirty fold, some sixty fold; and some a hundredfold. It is interesting to note that in Palestine during the time of the New Testament, the average ratio of harvested grain seeds to those that were planted is said to have been less than eight to one. Even a ten to one crop would have been above average. Jesus was speaking of a phenomenal harvest

This soil represents the intelligent heart. It is the one who hears the word and understands it. This is the only soil of the four that bears spiritual fruit (Matthew 13:23b). This fruit can be evidenced in many different ways including winning souls to Christ (Romans 1:13); practical holiness (Romans 6:22); sharing material things (Romans 15:27); the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23); good works (Colossians 1:10); praise and thanksgiving (Hebrews 13:15); and righteousness (Philippians 1:11)

According to Jesus, we will bear fruit abundantly. Not all bear fruit in the same quantities (hundredfold, sixty, thirty…Mt 13:23), but the Christian is to constantly bear fruit (Colossians 1:6). The Psalmist described one who delights in the Word as being like a tree planted by streams of water that produces fruit (Psalm 1:2-3). True conversion cannot be kept a secret.

So in football terms, this is the only pass play of the four that results in a touchdown. This is the only one that puts points on the board. In spiritual terms, this is the only heart that finds true salvation, true forgiveness of sin and true eternal life.

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