Sowing RecklesslyDeacon Sam Marullo, July 16, 2017
Part of the Pentecost 2017 series, preached at a Sunday Morning service
Have you ever created a garden? Do you remember the time and care you put into it to make sure you have the right soil and growing conditions to ensure that your garden would be successful - and the amount of time you spent watering, fertilizing, pruning, and protecting the plants from deer and rabbits and other creatures who wanted to eat your luscious vegetables and fruit before you picked them?
For the past several years, we have been tending to a small urban box garden in our backyard. I am constantly aware of the time and energy it takes for me to care for it properly. Yet, at the same time, if I do absolutely nothing, the garden still grows and produces a wonderful bounty. In fact, that is the thing that amazes me most—how the little seeds that I plant from a packet back in April will produce baskets and baskets full of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, lettuce, radishes, onions, carrots, and more. The volume of stalks and leaves and vines that spring forth from the ground is just a miracle. I often find myself asking, “How did God put all that growth into those tiny little seeds!?!”
These are some of the wonders that I’ll talk about in this sermon, focusing on Jesus’ parable of the sower, in Matthew 13: 1-9, 18-23. What did the crowds take away from Jesus’ teaching back then? And how might his close disciples then—and we today—understand the parable of the sower? Please listen to this sermon as we explore Jesus’ teaching on the parable of the sower.
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8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. (ESV)
13:1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. 2 And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. 3 And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, 6 but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 He who has ears, let him hear.” (ESV)
18 “Hear then the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.” (ESV)