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Monday, June 22, 2020

7 Parables of Matthew 13 -- Part 3





Last week we spoke of the seed sown in rocky places. The rocks choked the seed. This week, we will talk about the "good ground."  To see the previous teachings, go to my website: sandrakingministries.com

 Seed Sown in Good Ground 
         Seed sown in good ground are those who, as Jesus explained, “hear the Word and understand it; he bears fruit and yields in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty. This person is susceptible to God’s truth and obeys it. This hearer believes the Word, does the Word and grows spiritually. Mark 4:8 says, the seed that fell in good ground “grew up and increased and “yielded a crop.” In other words, the spiritually mature reproduced and were fruitful. The Seed of God in those who do it (hence do the will of God) will be fruitful for God’s Kingdom and will reproduce others who do the same. At creation, God said all things were to reproduce according to its own kind. The same is true spiritually. Those who reproduce spiritually like kind have put down deep roots and shared their wisdom, knowledge and understanding of God’s Word. 
Jesus was teaching a multitude of people, but only a few heard Him and were good soil. Luke said in 8:15“But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, in an honest and good heart, having heard the Word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.” Jesus in the other gospels talked about hardened hearts, shallow hearts and crowded hearts. Now He speaks of honest and good hearts. 
  The Word of God will never cease bearing fruit through the faithful! The seed sown in good soil (good and honest hearts) represents the faithful remnant who will be fruitful. Jesus wants to multiply through these. God prunes every branch that bears fruit so it will bear more fruit. The more fruit a person bears for God’s Kingdom, the more God is glorified. In Jesus we have the Seed, the Body, the Spirit, the Word, the fruit and the increase.  
Jesus finishes this parable with “he who has ears to hear, let him hear!” Matthew 13:9 Jesus wanted the hearers to wake up, listen and understand. We are to take heed of His Word, understand it and put it into practice in our own lives. Our earthly lives are full of distractions and temptations. We must allow Jesus and the Holy Spirit to prepare our hearts to receive and understand the Word of God and do it. Jesus said, If you continue in My Word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:31  
True Christianity was never meant to be comfortable and easy. Was it comfortable and easy for Jesus? Jesus was criticized and His faith was continually tested yet He remained true and faithful even to His terrible death on the cross. He did it for us. Jesus wants our whole attention and heart as He gave His full attention and heart to His Heavenly FatherHe wants to change our minds and sinful hearts into His heart and mind. This will not be easy for us. Our sinful nature is stubborn and unfruitful for God’s Kingdom. Jesus wants us to let His Word and Ways to have a deep root in us. For it to do so, He must remove the weeds (sin)transform us glory by glory into His image and likeness and instill deep faith and trust in Him and His ways by removing the cares and preoccupation of worldly things. This can be painful. We will no doubt fight against this change. But Jesus wants to turn over every piece of dirt in us and fertilize us with His grace and the water of His Anointed Word/truth so we can bear spiritual fruit from within us outward to others. In so doing, He will plant in others through us what He has planted in us. This is how His Kingdom increases.  
The process of bearing good spiritual fruit is slow and gradual. We are His soil. We must keep our ears and heart with all diligence in order to come to any or a full measure of fruitfulness in the Word of the Kingdom. In these, the seed is multiplied, and they are fruitful for God’s Kingdom. These will produce other seed according to their kind. In Genesis 1:11 God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.”  In the “natural,” the “seed” is in the fruit and reproduces like kind. The same is true in the spiritual. When the Seed of the Word is planted into our hearts and takes root, we will bear spiritual fruit according to our kind. When people live the way of Jesus, they will bear the message of Jesus in their words, deeds and actions and bear the fruit of truth, faith and faithfulness. Fruitfulness is contingent upon how the seed of the Word is received and the degree of our commitment to Jesus. The condition of our heart will determine the type of fruit we produce. This is true of those who lie, cheat, demean, steal, destroy etc. They too will reap what they sowed. Do not follow such as these! 
Jesus is no longer present in His physical body. He must work through His spiritual body of humans. The fruit of our lives – whether good or evil – will determine whether Jesus is glorified in us or brought down by us. We are to be the work of His hands so our Sower will reap an abundant harvest at the time of the end because of our faithfulness to Him and His Word. And when we see Him face-to-face, He will say, “Well done My good and faithful servant.” Matthew 25:21, 23 

Freely we are given; freely we are to give. (Matthew 10:8)