Life Is In The Seed

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Life Is In The Seed

Sermon Notes –  Ps. Jim White

Sunday, 3rd October 2021

Last week I randomly mentioned about the parable where the farmer plants  seed – goes to bed – and wakes up and a plant has begun to grow – all by itself.

It did seem to me like a random thought to include that in my message at the time – but I really think the Holy Spirit was wanting to get a powerful point across – a message within the message…

So I want to tease out some thoughts about what this parable might mean – because Jesus didn’t give an explanation like He often did when He told these kinds of stories to His disciples.

Here’s the verse:

Jesus is talking about what the Kingdom of God is like.

Mark 4:26-29

New King James Version

The Parable of the Growing Seed

“26 And He said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, 27 and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. 28 For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. 29 But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

We know from previous parables, that the seed that Jesus is talking about here is the Word of God.

And the man scattering the seed represents us as we share our faith, share the Word of God, share our testimony with others.

But the powerful and exciting thing is that the Word of God is a seed that germinates and comes to life in a person’s heart – all by itself.

We can’t do it.   We don’t really know how it happens – why in some people the seed germinates, and in others it doesn’t.

The Holy Spirit is the only One who is knows how this all comes about.

And of course when you see the seed of truth germinate – there’s usually very clear evidence – because the person in which it is planted is born again.

I’ll never forget my experience with that.  All the lights went on – the love of God flooded my whole being – I couldn’t talk to anyone about it without crying…. I remember hugging my friend and minister at the time, Roy Cowin – crying my eyes out, because he was one of the people who not only planted seeds of truth – but watered them, nourished them, and it changed my life – our lives – forever.

So I want to highlight this morning a very simple but extraordinary truth, that the seed carries life in and of itself.

The Word of God has a life of it’s own – and all we are called to know is that if a person listens to what we share – or what they witness in our life – and opens their heart by faith – the seed of the Word will absolutely take root and bring life – eternal life – to the one who hears.

As I’ll mention in a. Moment – sometimes that takes time.

I know that we know how powerful the Word is.  But I just think it’s an extraordinary and supernatural truth, that there is divine life in the Word of God – in and of itself.

It doesn’t mean that we are redundant in the process of salvation.  Far from it.

I was talking last week about this season we are in being a season of building –   which had to be a God thought.  Because my natural man was really happy just to be maintaining what we have as a church during the lockdowns, border closures, reopening – and lockdowns again – on repeat.

But God reminded me through Nehemiah’s story of how in times of difficulty and distractions, that this is a time where God builds and prepares His people – His church – for even greater seasons and challenges ahead.

We will be stronger, more resilient, more united and steadfast together, for having come through Covid-19.

1 Corinthians 3:6

New King James Version

Paul says:

“I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.”

And in the Passion Translation:

1 Corinthians 3:6

The Passion Translation

“I planted the church, and Apollos came and cared for it, but it was God who caused it to grow.”

And we know that is so true – because God says, “I will build My church…”   

We couldn’t build a cubby house without God being the designer and architect and builder.

So Paul planted the gospel in the hearts of the people –  and others watered and discipled them.

The watering could be a number of things – including prayers of faith – words of encouragement – teaching – mentoring – leading – all kinds of expressions of love and support.

But God is the one who causes the growth. 

How seeds germinate and turn into plants and trees, fruit and flowers, is a total mystery.  

You could ask any farmer how that actually occurs – and he’d probably talk about water, sunlight, fertiliser, location…. All the things he has control over.  But in reality – none of those things actually answers the question.

I was reading an article on a science website, and the article was written by a woman with a Ph.D in molecular genetics and biology.

She says that 50 years ago, a seed was taken from a South American, ancient Indian necklace.  It was 550 years old.  The seed germinated and a flowering plant grew from it.

Since then, scientists have been able to grow plants from even much older seeds, including from Egyptian tombs and the frozen permafrost in Siberia.

My point is – if we take the parable of the seed and use the natural qualities of a seed to understand the power of the Word and the gospel – then one quality would have to be that sometimes it takes time for a seed to come to life.

Sometimes years – and sometimes – many years.

At the end of 1Peter 1, there is a section with a title – “The Enduring Word.”

1 Peter 1:22-25

New King James Version

The Enduring Word

Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, 24 because

“All flesh is as grass,
And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass.
The grass withers,
And its flower falls away,

25 But the word of the Lord endures forever.”

Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.”

What I’m sharing is of course nothing new.

Scripture reinforces this concept of the powerful, enduring, supernatural Word of God in many places.

It is incorruptible seed.  Just like the 550 year old seed in the Indian necklace was incorruptible.  It just needs the right soil and the loving care of someone who is willing to water it, give it the right amount of sunshine and fertiliser…. That’s all that is needed.

And “somehow” – all by itself – it comes to life.  

Actually, the meaning of that expression – all by itself – means in the Greek – automatically.

I’m not clever enough to work this out for myself, but I was reading that the same Greek word is used in Acts 12 in relation to an experience Peter had.

It has similar themes to the parable of the seed as well.

Acts 12:5-10

New King James Version

Peter Freed from Prison

“Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church. (There’s the watering and the nurturing by the people…)  6 And when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping, bound with two chains between two soldiers; and the guards before the door were keeping the prison. 7 Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, “Arise quickly!” And his chains fell off his hands. 8 Then the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and tie on your sandals”; and so he did. 

And he said to him, “Put on your garment and follow me.” 9 So he went out and followed him, and did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10 When they were past the first and the second guard posts, they came to the iron gate that leads to the city, which opened to them of its own accord; and they went out and went down one street, and immediately the angel departed from him.”

“Of it’s own accord” – means automatically…. And when God does something automatically, it’s usually a supernatural miracle.

It’s interesting in this context that the people of God were praying.  That was their part.

And then Peter had to respond and be obedient to the words of the Angel – “arise quickly.”  

I recall Fiona mentioning something similar to that in her message a few weeks ago – to be ready to arise and move quickly as the Holy Spirit leads.

So Peter had to put on his clothes, his sandals… to gird himself…

And follow the instructions of the angel.

When all that came into place, only then did God’s automatically – supernaturally – of it’s own accord miracle happen.

We’re not talking about seed so much here – but we’re talking about the same principle of God bringing life and hope into a situation that is hopeless and definitely devoid of life!

And we’re not just talking about a principle.  We’re talking about Kingdom life – and laws that govern when the Kingdom of God reigns in a person’s life.

Never stop believing for an automatically placed breakthrough in your life and situation.   Believing is part of the process.

Ecclesiastes 11:5

New King James Version

“As you do not know what is the way of the wind,
Or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child,
So you do not know the works of God who makes everything.”

Isn’t that the truth?  There are so many things that even the smartest people in the world are unable to figure out.

How does a baby grow in the womb so perfectly?  Yes, we know about genetics and DNA and all that stuff.  

We know that in conception there’s a seed and an egg.

But how life comes into being and then matures into a perfectly functioning, intelligent, emotional, decision making and spiritual individual is still a mystery.

We had a nurse of little 2 day old Lakey yesterday – Mark and Hayley’s new baby.   Michael and Jess also bright their little Thea home this week as well.

You look at a little baby and think – only God could do this.  What a miracle of life!

So this all leads me then to ask a question of myself – actually – there are a number of questions that we all need to be asking of ourselves:

What am I doing with the seed of life that God has graciously given to me – and what am I doing about sowing it into the soil of someone else’s life?

Do I really appreciate the supernatural power of the Word of God – in and of itself – to automatically cause a person to become a new creation – to be born again?

Does my faith in this seed match up with its ability to bring life?

And here is a question that is very much connected to all of this:

What seeds am I actually sowing?

Because there are definitely seeds of unbelief.  Seeds of discouragement.  Seeds of hopelessness.  Seeds of negativity.

In fact, as we know:

Proverbs 18:21

New King James Version

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruit.”

Proverbs 18:21

The Passion Translation

“Your words are so powerful
that they will kill or give life,
and the talkative person will reap the consequences.”

My first thought here is that a talkative person is one who babbles away and doesn’t really consider the consequences of their words.   And a person who loves it seems to be a person who is like a gossip – can’t wait to tell everyone everything – and has no filter.

We sow seeds with our words.  And we water them with our faith – whichever direction our faith is leading us.  We water with our emotions and our attitudes and opinions…

We all have so much power to speak words that lead to life – or words that lead to death.

I pray that we can all be farmers who sow good seed – and we rest at night knowing that we’ve done all we can do on our part to encourage, nurture, pray for, and bless others.

And in the morning, we can be expectant that plants will grow and fruit will come.  And in the end, there will be an incredible harvest.

It’s such a simple analogy – but if Jesus thinks it’s a great example, then I do as well.

And the other really cool thing is this – when all is said and done – Paul says, it’s not about me as the seed sower or builder – it’s not about the one who waters…

 

1 Corinthians 3:7

The Passion Translation

“This means the one who plants is not anybody special, nor the one who waters, for God is the one who brings the supernatural growth.”

As we would always want – God is the One who gets the glory.  He is the One who brings a person to life.

We just need to keep sowing, keep watering, keep praying and keep nurturing, keep discipling.   But in the end, it’s not about us…. it’s all about God.

James 5:7-8

New King James Version

Be Patient and Persevering

“Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. 8 You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.”

The fruit is precious.  People’s lives are precious.  And there is always a season of waiting patiently – not only for Christ’s return, but for those who have had seeds sown in their lives to come to germination and come to life.

Psalm 126:5-6

New King James Version

“Those who sow in tears
Shall reap in joy.

He who continually goes forth weeping,
Bearing seed for sowing,
Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing,
Bringing his sheaves with him.”

The Passion says he will bring back armloads of blessing and a harvest overflowing.

This takes us right back to the parable about the farmer sowing seed which comes up all by itself.  It says there also that a harvest will come.

And this is what we are believing for – what we are waiting patiently for.

Whether its for the salvation of your son, your daughter, your mother or father, your husband or wife…

Don’t stop believing and don’t stop sowing and watering and nurturing.

For some of you there have been many moments of sowing in tears.  Crying out for your loved one to come to know Jesus.

Well, Proverbs says, those who sow in tears will reap in joy.

And while you’re sowing tears, you’re also bearing seeds of truth through the words that you speak and the witness of your own life.

Never give up hope!  You don’t now what might be happening in another person’s heart.

Don’t take for granted how powerful the Word of God is – that as you do your bit – God will all of a sudden do something automatically and supernaturally that only He can do.

And remember – the Kingdom of God is not only like that farmer and the seed he has sown.  The kingdom of God is a lot of things.

It says in:

Romans 14:17

New King James Version

“for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

That’s the kind of life that we are called to sow.  A life of righteousness, peace and joy.   

And I know we could find scriptures too that say that we are also called to sow love, generosity, faithfulness, kindness, self control, humility, servant heartedness…

Every one one of those characteristics and qualities of Jesus Christ – they are all powerful seeds that carry life.

So, just in summary:

  • 1. as we scatter the seed of God’s Word, water it, nurture it – God will automatically bring that seed to life when the soil of the heart is ready to receive it.
  • 2. Never lose sight of the fact that the seed of the Word of God is all powerful and well able to accomplish all that it is sent forth to do – and in this context – that is to bring salvation to those we love and care about.
  • 3. Sometimes it takes a while for seed to germinate.  Have patience.  Have perseverance.  Keep sowing.
  • 4. We don’t know how it all works.  The Spirit moves all by Himself and causes the seed to grow all by itself.  But just because we don’t understand  it, it doesn’t make it any less powerful. It will always remain a mystery.
  • 5. Always sow life with your words.    Your words carry power.
  • 6. As you sow in tears, know that those who sow in tears will return with joy, carrying their sheaves – their loved ones – with them.
  • 7. Finally, the Kingdom is about righteousness, peace and joy.  Let those things always abound in your life.

Amen.


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