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Jesus Taught by Parables

(Matthew 13:1-13, 34, 35)

Lesson 6 -- fourth quarter 2001
October 7, 2001

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2001, Christian Light Publications

Our response to God's Word.

When our hearts and minds are exposed to the Word of God, we must choose a response. It doesn't matter whether we hear the Word in a sermon or a devotional, whether we read it in our personal quiet time or discuss it during Sunday School class, or whether we absorb it through memorization. When the Scriptures touch us, we respond.

The parable of the soils mentions four possible heart responses to God's Word. Which of these might be yours?

Rejection. This is the worst of all possible responses because it is the only scenario that's hopeless as far as the seed is concerned. Jesus put it this way: "Some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up" (Matthew 13:4). I ask you, how shall the seed sprout when the birds have snatched it away and eaten it?! My plea to us all is to not ever reject any message of God through His Word.

Cautious acceptance. This happens when the Word does not receive free, full access to our lives. Recognizing it as God's inspired message to us, we readily give it intellectual assent. However, we put some restrictions on just how zealously we will live it. As Jesus said, "Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away" (verses 5 and 6). In this response, we don't want to deny the Word access to the soil of our lives, but neither do we want to be overly radical in living it out. A nice plant results, but it never produces fruit. The plant soon dies in the face of opposition, tribulation, and testing. If you see this happening in your life, confess it to God promptly and surrender yourself to living His ways without restriction.

Distracted acceptance. In this scenario we experience an endorsement of God and His ways. We begin to grow and develop in godliness. Alas, eventually our focus is directed away from Him toward temporal cares and pursuits. With such a distracted focus and value system, our growth in spiritual matters is surpassed by a creeping materialism. Next thing you know, what Jesus said has become true yet again: "Some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them" (verse 7). You know if the cares of this life and the deceitfulness of riches have undermined your faith. If they have, acknowledge it to the Gardener and ask Him to root these thistles out of your life so that you might produce abundant fruit for Him.

Unreserved acceptance. The heart that lives in unreserved surrender to Jesus also practices unreserved acceptance of His Word. It really can be no other way. With such a heart, we delight to meditate on His Word, striving to do whatever He commands us. We not only delight in the meditation part, we delight in the doing part! Thus what Jesus said becomes true in our own lives: "Other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold" (verse 8).

"Who hath ears to hear, let him hear."

Now you have heard the message of Jesus for you. What will you do with it? I challenge you to hear it with unreserved acceptance! The fruit will make the Gardener happy.

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