Sermon Notes - Sunday 16th July - Parable of the Sower

Reverend David Frost, Sunday 16th July – Isaiah 55.10-13, Psalm 119 195-112, Matthew 13.1-9;18-23

‘But the one who received the seed that fell on Good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it’

I read the Gospel from back of the church this morning instead of the front on the lectern which is customary in this church I understand. Some of you might have felt ‘wrong footed’ – some turned around to face me, some not. The key question whatever  – ‘were you listening to the Gospel message?’ for the Parable of the Sower is of profound importance. You may have heard it several times before and know it off by heart – yet it’s truth is timeless and eternal.

We can relate I’m sure to the Spiritual conditions that Jesus refers – The Sower sows the seed – the word of God -some take root which is fruitful, some doesn’t with consequences and thwarted growth.

How can we look at this parable afresh? Jesus In Some ways ‘wrong foots’ the crowd. He’s no fisherman – a carpenter speaking from a boat about farming -Enigmatic – Why? He is on the seashore with a huge crowd gathering. It would have been a mixed bunch with different needs, even curiosity, ‘who is this guy?’- His reputation would have gone before him of all the good that he had been doing. We could ask, ‘Were people more occupied in wanting to see him rather than listening taking on a kind of celebrity status?’ Yet he gets into a boat and as many would say to be seen and to get their attention.

The key I believe lies in his opening sentence – ‘ LISTEN’. Jesus is being quite prescriptive. This would not have been said in a limp or quiet way but with conviction and authority as if your very life depended on it – and the chilling almost what seems a patronising conclusion at the end of the story – ‘He has ears let him hear’. How often Jesus reinforced such a comment in His teaching.

What great Truths can we therefore deduce from this simple and yet deeply profound story?

( 1 ) ‘We live by Faith not by sight’ ( 2 Cor . 5.7).

‘Blessed are those’ said Jesus ‘ who believe and do not see ‘. Jesus makes the point how crucial in our faith journeys that we listen and inwardly digest His word. Listening comes before seeing. When we do – we will see Jesus by the Power of the Holy Spirit.

( 2) ‘Faith comes  through hearing the message’ (Rom 10.17)

If we are seriously committed in our faith – How important we read and discipline ourselves to reading and hearing God’s word everyday. It is what nourishes and builds our faith especially at times of spiritual dryness or difficult times. Times of fellowship and prayer can be so  so nourishing and encouraging. As the Psalmist said ‘ Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path ‘.

(3) ‘Faith is more precious than Gold’ ( 1 Peter 1.7)

It is God’s special gift to each of us – more precious than silver and more costly than Gold. We can give most things away in life – our love – our lives – We can sacrifice all that we are and have but one thing we cannot do is give our faith away. It is the treasure within -the Bank of our souls – for ‘where your treasure is said Jesus there your heart will be also’ ( Matt 5 ). How that needs to be nurtured and blessed through the seed of God’s word.

Ultimately Why is Jesus teaching so important – ‘ Simply to be fruitful and to be joyful In His service. To be good soil. That is why we should Listen at all times in all places. It will never be a wasted exercise – When we listen to him – we listen to each other and the deep felt need of our world and hearts – His word nourishes our faith and our Faith nurtures our love for him. In this we will never be ‘wrong footed ‘.

Thus says the Lord in Isaiah – ‘My word shall not return to me empty. It will accomplish what I desire and the purpose for which I sent it – You will go out in Joy and be led forth in Peace‘.


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