Written Sermons & Bible Studies

Seeds of Grace: The Sower’s Journey, Good Soil

We are studying the Parable of the Sower in Luke 8:4-15. Today, we will talk about the seed that falls on the good soil and produces an abundant crop.  This represents people who hear the Word of God and receive it. They produce an abundant crop of:

  • Deep faith
  • Changed lives
  • A growing community of believers
  • Caring for each other and those in need,
  • Following the “Way of Life” as taught by Jesus.

People who hear the Word of God and receive it reap a faith that endures and perseveres through suffering and hardship.

When Jesus told the parable, he was preaching in Galilee and healing people. He was sowing the Word of God among many villages. Many came out to hear the teachings of Jesus from villages far and wide. Many were eager to hear and allow the Word of God to take root in their lives. Many lost the word of God over time. Some accepted the Word of God with an earnest and good heart. The Word of God took hold, flourished as they cultivated it, and produced an abundant crop.
Let’s read our Scripture passages.

Luke 8:8

Some fell into good soil, and when it grew, it produced a hundredfold.” As he said this, he called out, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!” Luke 8:8

Luke 8:15

But as for that in the good soil, these are the ones who, when they hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance.
In Mark’s Gospel, he speaks of the same fruit as Luke, only he has various levels of crop production.

Mark 4:20

“Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”

Both Gospel writers say we should expect a bountiful crop. Mark has us recognize that some of our efforts will produce more than others.

What crop is Scripture talking about? Is it one crop? Is it several crops? Scripture is not clear. Let’s dig into the Bible to understand the crop that comes from the Word of God planted in good soil.
For Luke, and first century followers of Christ, producing crops meant faith and discipleship. Good soil brought forth a life that held on to the gospel message of Jesus. Good soil produced a deep faith in the promise of salvation in Jesus Christ. Good soil produced a life of learning and drawing closer in relationship to Christ. Good soil followed Jesus’s teachings and spread the Gospel to others. The Word of God planted in good soil changed lives and enriched the nearby soil.

The seed of God’s Word sown in good soil produced communities of believers. Christian communities grew, and more individuals came to faith. These communities were supportive and loving. They shared their resources with each other. They helped those outside their community who were in need.

The good soil kept and nurtured its crop. The crop didn’t die in the hot sun. The crop flourished even among weeds. The first century church endured hard circumstances, pressures from society and even persecution. Plants in good soil persevere through bad weather and endure the hot summer days. The community of believers grew steadily through the harsh summer. They continued to grow fruit even in difficult circumstances to produce a bountiful harvest.

In the end, our harvest is salvation and eternal life. This world may pass away, but the word of God produces the crop of people in heaven forever with Christ.

1 Peter 1:23-25

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, ‘All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.’ And this is the word that was preached to you.
Contemporary people think about the crop differently. Today, we think good soil returns a crop of individual growth and moral behavior. Good soil carries out acts of kindness. Good soil desires to serve others. Good soil seeks a close personal relationship with Christ. Some of us see the product of good soil to be personal achievement. These are not necessarily bad or in error, but I think we are missing an important part of growing crops – the yield for our Christian community.

Gone in the contemporary setting is the focus on growing in number. The reason may be that growing in number shifted from a personal responsibility to an organizational responsibility. With the advent of the mega church and modern technology, individual believers have left the fruit of growing in numbers to the church as an institution or big production. As individual Christians, we don’t see it as our job to individually grow the Church of Christ. What are our efforts in comparison to a big church with all kinds of programs? Where is our voice when people can watch Joel Osteen or Andy Stanley on any Sunday?

We are a local, community church. We have a voice in this community. We have a responsibility to invite people into our church family. It’s up to every one of us to share the Gospel and grow our church. We do produce a crop – maybe it’s not a hundred times what we sow, but what if we do thirty times? Wow!
In the Bible, I see three crops growing from the Word of God sown in Good Soil:

They are faith, service, and the good news of the Gospel.

Faith:

Faith is the foundation of the Christian life. Farmers have faith in the seeds they plant to yield a harvest. Believers have faith in God’s promises and the Spirit’s presence in their lives. Our salvation and connection to God come through faith by the grace of Christ Jesus.

Service:

Service is the natural outworking of our faith. Just as plants bear fruit when nurtured and cared for, our faith blossoms when we serve others selflessly and with love. Service demonstrates our faith to the world.

The Gospel:

The Gospel is the seed that brings forth new life and growth in the hearts of people. Farmers rely on good seeds to produce a harvest. Believers share the Gospel boldly, trusting in its power to transform lives and bring salvation to all who believe.
Let me tell you the stories of Farmer Pete and Devout Judy.

Farmer Pete was a diligent farmer. He found himself facing a critical decision regarding his crops. Looking at the price of beans on the commodity market, he realized that he might not be able to make money planting beans. The price of beans had plummeted to an all-time low. Farmer Pete worried about the financial loss of harvesting a low-priced crop. He made the tough decision not to plant beans and instead, he planted just squash and corn.

In Farmer Pete’s church was a woman named Judy. Judy was a devout believer. She was wrestling with her spiritual harvest. She knew the importance of sharing her faith and believed in the power of the Gospel. Yet, she felt the weight of society that pressured her to keep her faith to herself. Judy feared the pushback and people misunderstanding her motives. Judy stopped talking about her faith. She kept working on her inner spiritual life, but she became silent and insulated.

Meanwhile, farmer Pete’s fields thrived with squash and corn. His decision to forgo beans was economically sound. But the decision damaged his soil. Without the beans to replenish the soil’s nitrogen, his good soil turned bad, and the weeds took over. As time passed, he could no longer get a good yield of corn and squash.   Recognizing the problem, Farmer Pete invested time and resources to add nitrogen to his fields to maintain the soil’s fertility.

Judy’s life took a similar course. She served her community with abundant acts of kindness, much like the flourishing corn in Farmer Pete’s fields. Her commitment to service was unwavering because of her deep sense of empathy. However, her reluctance to share the Gospel, akin to Farmer Pete omitting beans, began to take a toll on her soul. The spiritual void within her grew, and her service lost its connection to her faith. She felt her service becoming disconnected from her faith and her security in her beliefs started to erode.

One day, as Farmer Pete worked his fields, he realized the importance of maintaining a balance among his crops. Beans were not as profitable as squash and corn. But beans played a vital role in preserving the health of his soil. He planted beans in his crop rotation, ensuring the long-term sustainability of his farm.

Judy, too, had a moment of reckoning. She recognized that her reluctance to share the Gospel was depleting her spiritual soil. Her faith needed the equivalent of beans to replenish it. Judy began to engage in conversations about her beliefs with love and humility. She discovered God provided opportunities for her to share her story, to be a mentor, and to pray for people. She began to reconnect her service to her faith. As she did so, her genuine spiritual devotion and outward life of faith produced an abundant crop of her actions once again.
Let’s return to Scripture and look at the early church community in

Acts 2:46-47 (NIV): “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
The community lived with deep faith, they served each other, and they enjoyed the favor of all people, which means that they served those outside their community.  Having the favor of all people, they were able to share the Gospel with others. Because of the life they led, the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
The first century church didn’t run the business of church. They didn’t have a marketing plan. They didn’t meet in a big, beautiful building. They didn’t have great worship bands. They didn’t have celebrity preachers. What they did have was faith, service and the Gospel.

Our good soil produces over 100-fold when it comes to service. We are better than even the measures of Scripture. While I personally have no way of measuring your faith, I believe it is strong and rooted deeply. I’ll leave it to you to decide if your harvest of faith is 30-fold, 60-fold or 100-fold. As a church, sharing the Gospel is the harvest I want us to work on. We have the seeds and the good soil. We have everything we need to share the Gospel and grow in number.

Current Christianity may think that the job of the harvest is done by the massive combines of the Mega church. Still, it is the role of smaller churches and every believing member to share the Gospel.

Think of Farmer Pete. Last week, we talked about the American Indian practice of planting beans, squash and corn together. They called it the Three Sisters. The beans added nitrogen to the soil that the corn needed, and the squash covered the ground keeping the weeds down. Farmer Pete learned this lesson the hard way. Our church is nurturing, strengthening, and protecting of people whom God brings to our community. Just like the Three Sisters. Let us be the Sowers of good seed and the wise farmers that feed the soil and help it grow. Let us share the good news of faith and show people in our lives and our neighborhood the way of life.
Heavenly Father, as we nurture the fertile ground of our hearts, we are reminded of the abundant crop we are called to produce. Lord, give us a deep faith anchored in Your grace and a life transformed by Your Word. As your disciples, help us cultivate Your community of believers.

Empower us, Lord, to care for those in need. May we extend Your compassion and mercy through our actions. Help us to persevere through challenges and hardships. Help us harvest not only our personal faith and service but also share the Gospel with others.

May we actively participate in the growth of Your Kingdom. May we be bold in our witness, generous in our service, and unwavering in our commitment to spread Your Word.

Christ, bless our efforts to grow in numbers, not for our glory, but for the expansion of Your Kingdom on Earth and ultimately Your Harvest in Heaven. Let our lives be a testament to Your enduring love and grace. May we attract others to You. Grant us the wisdom to plant seeds of faith wherever we go, nurturing them with Your Word, so they may flourish and produce a hundredfold.

In Jesus’ name, we pray for the courage and strength to share the Gospel, growing in numbers as we walk in the Way of Life You have taught us. Amen.

About Pastor Tim

Tim Holmes

Senior Pastor

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