Luke: Good News of the Kingdom (Part 2) 07/23/17

Sermon Series: ‘Encountering Jesus’

Message: ‘Good news of the Kingdom’ pt.2        Text: Luke 8:1-15

 Introduction: Your car, your computer, your laptop, your cell phone, the toys you buy for your children, the clothes and shoes you and your family wear, the power tools in your garage, your watch, the appliances in your kitchen, your TV.

  • Do you know what they all have in common? They were made not to last.

In the 1950’s Clifford Brook Stevens, who designed appliances for the home, coined the phrase ‘planned obsolescence’.  According to Wikipedia ‘planned obsolescence’ is:

  • The practice of artificially shortening product lifecycle in order to influence the buying patterns of consumers in favor of manufacturers).

That doesn’t sound fair does it?

  • Stevens defined it as ‘instilling in the buyer the desire to own something a little newer, a little better, a little sooner than is necessary’

Now that sounds about right because we’ve all bought in to that business practice.

  • Cell phone upgrades. We want something a little never, a little better and a little sooner. And that’s exactly what we get…
  • Something a little better but not made to last. Because we have resigned ourselves to the fact that nothing lasts forever.

With one exception.

  • God’s Word.

God’s Word is eternal. Later in chapter 21 of Luke’s Gospel, he’ll record Jesus saying this: Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. (Luke 21:33)

And it’s the effective power of God’s Word that we’ll examine this morning.

Transition: Open your Bibles, God’s Word, to Luke 8:4 where we’ll find more good news of the kingdom.

Review: As you’re turning allow me to refresh your memory about the good news of the kingdom we found in Luke 8:1-3.

  • First, there is no distinction, no discrimination, in God’s kingdom… all are welcome, by faith in Jesus.
  • Second, the best good news of the kingdom, is that we get to be with Jesus… we get to be with Jesus! Both here in this life, as well as, for all eternity in the next. That relationship lasts forever!
  1. Luke 8:4-15 Secrets revealed
  2. Luke 8:4-10 The Parable & its purpose

Read: Luke 8:4-10

This parable is perhaps one of the best known in the Bible. But what exactly is a parable? It’s a made up story that has its basis in real life.

  • Farmers, sowers, seeds, weeds, soils, they’re real and could be seen by people every day.

But this story itself is made up, it’s an illustration to teach a truth. It takes something known and teaches something unknown.

That’s what happens when Jesus’ disciples ask Him what the parable meant. And here’s where the good news of the kingdom comes in. In verse 10 Jesus told them:

  • To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God…

WOW! Think about that for a moment. Almighty God, Creator and Sustainer of all that is, the inapproachable, holy, righteous, all wise God… is letting you, me, us in, allowing us to know His plans, and by that, inviting us to join Him in His work! WOW!

  • We don’t have to make it up as we go.
  • We don’t have to wander blindly through our journey of faith.
  • God tells us the secrets of His kingdom and they are found in His Word.

So the purpose behind Jesus teaching in parables is

  • to reveal formally unknown truths to those who are His by faith.
  • To make it possible for us to know and understand the secrets of the kingdom found in the Bible.

But, for those not in Christ by faith, there is another purpose. He intended to teach His disciples that:

  • Sometimes, often in fact, it doesn’t matter what you say to the lost, they’ll never understand God’s Word, and there’ll never be any fruit.

Think about it. Don’t you wonder if Jesus’ disciples ever asked themselves

  • Why isn’t everyone following Jesus?
  • Why isn’t everyone placing their faith in Him as the Messiah?
  • Is it because Jesus just isn’t a good enough sell? That He wasn’t promoting Himself in all the right and most effective ways?

Absolutely not! You see, that would have lessened Jesus’ authority and power as God. And that’s not something Jesus wanted His disciples to think about Him. So He taught them a hard truth in this parable…

  • most will not believe in Me, most will not give their lives to Me, most will never understand my Word.

BUT, the good news of the kingdom is that some by God’s grace, will. And that’s very good news.

  1. Luke 8:12-15 The meaning of the parable

Read: Luke 8:12-15

By explaining the parable, Jesus is telling His disciples and other followers,

  • Go, spread the seeds of the Gospel far and wide, don’t leave anyone out because the good news of the kingdom, is that some, no matter how sinful, rebellious, or stubborn some will be saved… not, can be saved, will be saved by the power of God’s Word.

That’s why God can tell us: For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes out from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.(Isaiah 55:10–11)

Jesus expounds on this is John 6: 37 All that the Father gives Me, will come to Me, and whoever comes to Me I will never cast out.

Now, why can the Jesus say all that the Father give to Me will come to Me? It’s because the Father had prepared the soil of their hearts.

  • And when they heard God’s Word of salvation, He caused that seed to take root.
  • And the fruit was to believe and be saved.

Conclusion: Fruitfulness

While this passage is often referred to as ‘The Parable of the Sower’ it can also rightly be called ‘The Parable of the Soils.’

  • To me, it teaches more about the condition of the soil and how that affects the seed,
  • than it does about the sower, the one who is throwing the seeds.

I think we would err if we look at this parable just from the perspective of the lost getting saved by God’s Word.

  • Yes, that’s clearly evident in the text, as Jesus was speaking to a large, perhaps mostly unbelieving crowd.
  • BUT, we also must remember that His 12 apostles and the women who traveled with Him were present as well.

I don’t believe there was no application for them, other than,

  • Don’t worry about how wide you spread the gospel, God will place some of it on good soil.

Here’s my take on it.

What we don’t read in the parable is about the owner of the land. In that day, like today, the farmer/owner of the farm, had people working for him. They would be the ones who spread the seed. It was the farmers job to prepare the soil, to make it good soil for the seeds to grow.

I see Jesus telling us that we are the farmer who has the responsibility to prepare, nourish the soil of our hearts to receive the seeds of God’s Word.

To the extent we care for, nourish and remove the weeds from the soil of our heart, that will be the level of harvest, of fruitfulness as Christians, disciples of Jesus Christ.

  • You see, I think this parable has a lot to do with fruitfulness in the life of the Christian.

It’s not clearly evident here in Luke, but more light is shed in Matthew’s account of this parable, chapter 13 verse 23 we read Jesus say:

  • 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.

As Christians, disciples of Jesus Christ, we’re supposed to live… fruitful lives.

  • I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)
  • Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to Him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. (Romans 7:4)
  • So…walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:10)

But there’s something about fruit we need to understand. Jesus adds in verse 15.

  • …and bear fruit with patience.

Think about the parable.

  • A farmer cultivates and nourishes the soil during the late winter and a worker sows the seeds in the spring.

Do the seeds sprout overnight? Do you get tomatoes you can eat… fruit, in a day, a week, even a month?

ILL: Did you know that some fruit trees won’t develop fruit for up to 15 years? (New Mexico State website)

It takes a season, perhaps many seasons for some fruit to develop.

I believe Jesus is saying fruit in the Christians life can take time to develop. And some seeds takes longer to develop fruit than others. Be patient. If someone is in Christ, there will be fruit… be patient.

Why aren’t all Christians fruitful? Because they haven’t been nourishing the soil of their hearts with the things of God, like:

  • Regular worship, Regular Bible study, Regular fellowship, Regular service

And when we have under nourished hearts, we become like the people the Apostle Matthew talks about in his telling of the Parable of the Sower.

Read: Mathew 13:15

  • For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed…

In Luke 8:13-14 Jesus tells us why that can happen:

  • And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature.

If that isn’t a picture of today’s nominal Christian I don’t know what is.

Their heart has been dulled to God’s Word by the cares and pleasures of the world.

They hear God’s Word and for a while they’re excited, faithful even. Then life happens and the cries of the world and its demands, crowd out the voice of God’s Word in their ears.

  • Making them more and more hard of hearing when it comes to God’s Word.
  • So much so, that it rarely makes its way into their hearts resulting in little to no spiritual fruit.

Remember last Sunday I said the good news of life in the kingdom, the blessing of being citizens of Jesus’ kingdom, does come with responsibility.

Well, Christian, the good news of the kingdom that God will reveal His plan and works to us through His Word, also comes with responsibility:

  • To constantly nourish and feed the soil of our hearts with regular worship, regular Bible study, regular fellowship, regular service.
  • And the good news is, when we do that, God’s Word will bring about eternal fruit in our lives.

So Christian, what kind of soil in in your heart?