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The seed and the tree: the key to spiritual growth for every heart

12/02/2023 - Matt Destry

The human heart has been created with connection and purpose in mind.

We’ve been created:

In the image of God – the desire for belonging (community)

To seek restoration (answers to life’s problems)

And to desire creativity (to make a contribution)

Jesus offers this. So,

Why doesn’t every heart come?

Why isn’t everyone here?

Luke 8:4-15

And when a great crowd was gathering and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable, 5 “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. 6 And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. 7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. 8 And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold.” As he said these things, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

9 And when his disciples asked him what this parable meant, 10 he said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’ 11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 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. 14 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. 15 As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.

Context:

The parable explaining all parables: What Jesus was doing was not commenting on farming problems but explaining the strange way in which the kingdom of God was arriving – NTW

What are parables? ‘alongside’ – para “to throw” – bole

1/ The Word works

Is it a seed or a tree? – the environment will determine that, but every seed can become a tree!

2/ The Word will polarise

The gospel is good news for every heart, but not every heart will hear it

(Inside every heart is a seed, but not every heart will become a tree)

3/ The soil is important

a/ The enemy is against the word (we have a spiritual adversary)

b/ The culture is against the word (we are swimming in muddy water) = (hardship b/c of gospel)

c/ Cares and riches and pleasures of life are against the word (anxiety, money, entertainment)

The culture says:

your heart is truth, so obey it’s desires to become who you really are, and you will be rewarded

The gospel says: your heart is made in God’s image – the closer you get to Him, the more like your true self you will become

a/ God’s great big wells

LG questions:

1/ How many people do I know who are not like me?

2/ What might it look like for me to meet difference with compassion and not fear?

3/ Do I believe that God can reach (and transform) anyone?

2/ Gods great big Kingdom

LG Questions:

1/ What is my attitude towards other church communities?

2/ How might I become an encourager of the Church?

3/ How might I be gracious to believers who see things differently to me?

3/ God’s risk of love

LG questions:

1/ Can I trust God with His process?

2/ How might I cultivate ‘good soil’ in my heart so that the gospel bears fruit?

3/ Who can I disciple to become more like Jesus?

Conclude: the stump is a new beginning

Isaiah 6:8-13

And though a tenth remain in it, it will be burned again,
like a terebinth or an oak, whose stump remains when it is felled.”
The holy seed is its stump.