Thursday, February 07, 2013

The Vision (2/7/13): "Good Ground" Hearers

Note:  Last Sunday I preached from Luke 8:1-15 on Jesus’ Parable of the Sower (or perhaps we might call it The Parable of the Soils).  Here are some notes from my exposition of the final verse in the passage:

But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience (Luke 8:15).


Last, there are those seed which fell on the good ground.  After the first three seed that fell on the path, on rocky soil, and among thorns, we might have been losing hope, but don’t forget there are good ground hearers.  God does not allow his Word to return to him void (Isaiah 55:11).  This should give us confidence in preaching the gospel and in evangelizing our culture.  There will be good ground hearers.

These are they, Jesus says, who have “an honest and good heart.”  But didn’t Jeremiah say:  “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked:  who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).  How then can Jesus speak of those who have honest and good hearts?  This can only be so, if they have hearts that have been remade, hearts that have been transformed by the grace of God.  They have regenerate hearts.  As with Lydia of old, the Lord must open their hearts to heed the things spoken by him (Acts 16:15). 

Jesus says that these having heard the word that is made effectual to salvation for them, do two things:

(1)    They keep it.  The verb is katecho, to hold fast, to possess.  Their belief in Christ cannot be wrenched out of their hands.  Temptations, trials, successes, failures, praise, condemnation … nothing can take their faith in Christ from them.

(2)    They bring forth fruit.  This is shown in their words, in their conduct, in their homes, in their families, in their relationships.  It is shown in their demonstration of what Paul called in Galatians the “fruit of the Spirit” (Gal 5:22-23).  It is seen in the kingdom accomplishments performed through them by the Lord.

Notice the last little phrase.  They do these things “with patience.”  This applies to both the steadfast keeping and the fruitfulness.  The phrase “with patience” also has the sense of “with endurance” and “with steadfastness.”  How sad it would be if a man ran 25.9 miles of a marathon and gave up before running the final tenth of a mile to finish the race.  Sadder still would it be to see one seem to start the Christian life and then run off the course before crossing the finish line.

May we be found to be “good ground” hearers.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle   

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