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THE PARABLE OF THE GROWING SEED
Intro: Being involved in the spread of the Gospel message can be a discouraging thing. Often, it seems like your efforts are ineffective and fruitless.
Preachers preach the Word of God and there is little or no response from either saint of sinner. The message of life is shared with those who are dead in sin and they reject it out of hand. The light of salvation is given to those in darkness and they prefer their darkness to the light. You labor in the Word for hours, seeking the message of God for His people, and then when the message is preached, no one seems to care. The glories of Christ and of the Bible are preached to those who profess to know Jesus and they just sit there and look at the preacher as if he is sharing the most boring news imaginable. That can be very discouraging.
Some of you are in the business of sharing your faith with your friends, family and co-workers. When you do, you are ignored, ridiculed or attacked. The people you love and desire to see saved seem as though they could care less about what you have to say to them about the condition of their souls. That can be very discouraging.
This parable offers some hope to those who take the time to share their faith with others. This parable teaches us that the Gospel seed has power. It teaches us that, while we may not see immediate results for our efforts, the Gospel will bear fruit in the Lord’s time.
When the Gospel is shared, whether it is from a pulpit or from a personal witness, a mysterious process begins to take place. This process is a sovereign work of God. This process is often hidden from the view of man. Yet, this process results in changed lives and saved souls.
I would like to take these verses and share the message of this parable with you today. It may not speak to everyone in this room, but there are some here who may get some help from these words of the Lord Jesus. Let me share some of the processes that are involved in this business of sharing the Gospel, as I preach on The Parable Of The Growing Seed. Please allow the Lord to speak to your heart today.
I. v. 26-27 THERE IS A
A. Jesus depicts a farmer sowing seed into his field. When he has sown the seed, he has done all that he can do. He returns home and goes about his business. The image of him sleeping and rising night and day is a picture of the farmer living his life. He places the seed in the soil and then he leaves it to do what it will.
For the farmer this is a work of faith. He does not return to the field every day to dig up the seed to see if it has germinated. He may water the field. He may remove the weeds. He may keep the soil worked up, but he does not bother the seed. After it has been planted, the farmer has no control over what the seed does. He sows his seed and he leaves the results in the hands of God. The farmer knows that the growth of the seed is God’s business. Therefore, he sows it and trusts the Lord to make it grow.
The farmer’s task is to sow the seed. When he has done that, he has fulfilled his primary duty.
B. There is a sense in which we are like that farmer. We have been called to sow seed. We have not been called to sow wheat seed into a plowed field, but we have been called to sow the Gospel seed into the hearts of other people. (Matt. 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8; Rom. 10:13-18)
We have been sent into a lost and dying world to tell others about what Jesus has done for us. You may not be a preacher, a missionary or a Pastor; but if you are saved, you have a testimony. You have been saved by the grace of God and you have a story to tell.
We should be like the great examples we find in the Bible, a get busy telling others about Jesus, Ill. Paul, 1 Tim. 1:12-15; The Blind man – John 9:25; The woman at the well – John 4:28-30.
When we share the Gospel with another person, we have no control over the results. In fact, the results are not our worry. Our duty is to sow the seed; the results are in the hands of the Lord.
C. We all worry about our efforts. There is a temptation to check on the seed. We want to help is to grow and check on its progress. Our responsibility is to sow the seed, water it when we can and let the Lord do His work in hearts and lives. Like the farmer in this parable, we should be faithful to tell a lost world about a saving Lord.
If you are a witness for the Lord Jesus, keep sharing His story with others. He will honor your efforts. If you aren’t sowing the seed as you should be, then I challenge you to make a personal commitment today to get busy doing what the Lord saved you to do.
II. v. 27-28A THERE IS A
A. As the farmer goes about his business, an amazing thing happens. The earth that appears to be dead suddenly begins to show signs of life. One day there is nothing in the field but dirt. The next day there are little sprouts everywhere. As the days pass the blade appears, then the ear is formed and, eventually, in the ear there is row upon row of corn.
How all of this happens is a complete mystery to the farmer. All he did is sow some seed into the barren earth and now he is about to reap a harvest. He cannot see or understand the process the seed is going through underground. All He knows is that he is about to benefit from a secret work.
(Ill. Modern science has made some amazing discoveries in our lifetimes. Scientists can even take a seed apart and analyze its structure and composition. They can also create a seed that is an absolute duplicate to a seed produced in nature. Their seed had the same size, shape and chemical composition. If you placed a seed made in a laboratory beside a seed produced in nature, you would not be able to tell the difference.
But, when those seeds are planted, the difference becomes clear. Both seeds can be planted in good soil and both can receive plenty of sunshine and water, the seed produced in nature will germinate and grow. The seed produced in the laboratory will merely rot away. Why? Science has learned how to make a seed, but they have never learned to produce life! Only God can do that! The process involved in the transformation from seed to fruit is a work of God!)
B. No farmer, no scientist and no philosopher can clearly explain how a dead, dormant seed can produce life when it is buried in the soil. Yet, within an hour of being sown, the outer husk of the seed begins to swell because it is drawing moisture from the soil. Within 10 hours, the chemical makeup of the seed begins to change. And, often, it is less than 24 hours time that the seed send a tiny root downward and the beginning of as stalk upward! It is a puzzling mystery, yet the seed produces life within a short time.
Sowing the Gospel seed is the same way. When it is sown into a prepared heart, it is a mystery, but that seed begins to germinate. Sometimes in happens in minutes or hours. At other times, it may take months or years, but there is life within that seed and it will begin to germinate within that heart. When it does, life will issue forth. This is the process we call conviction, John 6:44. It is a puzzling mystery, how simple words, received into a human heart, can bring about so profound a change. Yet, all those who have experienced it know the power of the Gospel when it touches the good soil of the heart!
We cast the seed into the hearts of men and women, often without any immediate, visible results. But, when the Gospel falls into the soil of the heart, an amazing, secret work begins to take place.
When the Word of God is planted in a human heart, the Spirit of God uses that Word to produce conviction in the heart of the hearer, John 16:7-11. This process can be seen several times in the pages of Scripture.
· As Jesus talked to the woman of Samaria, she became convicted of her sins, John 4:7-26. She was saved!
· As Saul of Tarsus listened to Stephen preach the Word of God, and as he watched him die, Saul was convicted of his sinful condition, Acts 7:54-60; 9:1-6. He was saved!
· As Jesus spoke to a rich young man about his soul, this young man was convicted, Matt. 19:16-22. He remained lost in his sins.
· This is a secret process, John 3:8. We never where and how the Spirit of god is working.
C. Even though we cannot see the process the seed goes through as it begins to grow, we can sow the seed in confidence knowing that God is in control of what the seed becomes. We are responsible for the sowing, the watering and the waiting in faith, 1 Cor. 3:6-9. He alone is responsible for its germination and growth.
We can rest assured that the Gospel seed will accomplish everything God intends for it to accomplish, Isa. 55:11. Thus, we can sow the Gospel seed with absolute confidence! It will prosper according to the Lord’s sovereign plan.
(Ill. A pastor had served a country church for many years. He had faithfully preached the Word of God and had regularly visited and witnessed in the community. His ministry in that church spanned many years, but there was little fruit and very few conversions.
Eventually the old preacher died. He went to his death convinced that his ministry in the little country church had been a failure.
A while later the church called a new Pastor. He preached the same Gospel the old preacher had preached, but an amazing thing happened. People began to get saved. In fact, a revival broke out and many of the people in that community came to know the Lord.
As they testified about their experiences, the people share on things in common. One new convert after the other testified and said that it was the faithful ministry of the old preacher that God had used to awaken them to their need of a Savior.)
III. v. 28b-29 THERE IS A
A. All the farmer did was cast some seed into the soil. He went about his business and a secret work took place. While the farmer went about his day to day activities, the seed germinated, and a little plant pushed its way to the surface of the earth. The sun favored the little, tender plant with light. The heavens gave the plant rain. The soil provided the plant with nutrients. And, the plant grew. It matured and, in time, it brought forth fruit. When the harvest was ready, the farmer entered the field and gathered his crop. He really did nothing, but he reaps all the benefit!
B. Never think for a minute that your witness for Jesus is in vain. You cannot see what God is doing! He is working behind the scenes and beneath the soil of hearts to bring souls to Himself.
Many godly parents have spent their lives praying for and witnessing to their wayward children. Many of them have gone to Heaven without seeing their prayers answered. God, however, touched the seed that had been sowed in those hearts and He had saved multitudes because a mom or a dad dropped the Gospel seed in the heart of a child.
Never give up! Never stop telling a lost world about a saving Lord! Never allow this world to silence your witness for Jesus! Keep telling them about Him and trust Him to do His secret work in the hearts and lives of men, women, boys and girls.
You never know, that barren life that you have been sowing seed into might just spring to life on day! You might go to school, to work, to church and see that person profess their faith in Jesus. You might just get to watch them push away from the earth, grow tall in Jesus and bring forth fruit to the glory of God.
(Ill. You might just get to see them move through the stages of maturity as they grow in the Lord. Look at the stages of growth that are mentioned in these verses.
1. The Blade - The new life is tender. As the days and nights revolve, it sinks it roots deeper into the soil and steadily becomes stronger. This speaks of the new believer. They are to be nurtured and loved as we wait for them to grow into maturity.
2. The Ear – When the ear appears the promise of future fruit is plainly seen. Still there is much growing to do. This speaks of the middle stages of the Christian life. The believer is stronger and shows the promise of a fruitful future, but there is much growing to do!
3. The Full Ear - Now the ear hangs over due to the heaviness of the fruit within. Here is the potential for multiplication and more growth. This plant can be used to build up men and it can be used to produce more plants. This speaks of maturity in the Christian life! This is the stage of victory, usefulness and glory! It is here that the farmer receives his reward and his labors are compensated!
4. Remember the woman at the well and Saul of Tarsus? The seed was sown in their hearts and God was doing His secret, sovereign work within them. Soon, however, what God was doing on the inside began to produce fruit on the outside, John 4:29; Acts 9:19-22.)
(Ill. Some people ask me if I ever get discouraged about the lack of response we see. I will admit that there are moments when the flesh is weak and I get a little down and out because there are not many souls being saved and there is a general deadness among the people of God. But, for the most part, I understand that my duty is to sow and to water. If the Lord chooses to let me reap a little here and there, it thrills me to no end.
The business of saving souls is God’s business, not man’s! I can preach as good as I am able, as hard as I please and as often as I have opportunity, but I cannot save a single soul. If I am faithful to sow and water when I am given the chance, the Lord will take care of the saving, in His time and in His way!
I am not wasting my time when I stand before a crowd of people and preach Jesus! I am merely doing what He called me to do! You are not wasting your time when you t ell your friends, family and acquaintances about Jesus; you are doing what the Lord called you to do!
Your job and mine is not to save them. We are to tell them. The saving business belongs to the Lord and to the Lord alone!)
C. There is a precious promise given to every child of God who faithfully sows the Gospel seed, Gal. 6:9-10; Psa. 126:5-6. Therefore, child of God, keep sowing, keep watering, in the Lord’s time there will be a harvest!
Conc: There is power in the seed! Some time ago, archeologists dug into a pyramid tomb in Egypt. In that tomb they found several jars of seeds. These seeds had been buried with the deceased person 3,000 years earlier. Those scientists took the seeds they found and planted them in good soil. They watered the soil and waited patiently. After a time, those ancient seeds germinated and tiny plants pushed their way through the surface of the soil. Those tender plants matured and produced fruit.
Isn’t that amazing? When that seed found its way into the right soil, a secret work took place and life came out of death.
Such is the power of the Gospel we preach here today! If you have never been saved by the grace of God; if you have never trusted Jesus Christ to be the Savior of your soul, you need to know that the Gospel has the power to transform your life. If the Lord has been speaking to you about your spiritual condition and you know you need to come to Jesus, this would be a good day for you to be saved. That seed will germinate in your heart and the Lord will make your a fruitful plant for His glory.
Still others need to get about the business of telling others about Jesus. This would be a good day for you to put aside all your excuses about why you can’t tell others about Jesus. This would be a good day for you to come before Him and make a commitment to be a witness for His glory.
Others here are a little discouraged today because you think your prayers and your witness are in vain. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Why don’t you get down before the Lord and talk to Him about your concerns. Ask Him to let you see a few sprouts in your field.
If He has spoken to your heart through this message, please let Him have His way in your heart and life.