#243 – BEWARE BAD SEEDS (25/11/20)
The parable of the soils is about our receptivity to God’s word. However, whilst it’s true that God is always sowing good seed, the enemy is always sowing lies! We are all like fish swimming in a polluted sea - we are immersed in an ungodly culture that, it we are not careful, can render us choked and - to change metaphor - unfruitful. We are no more immune to cultural, philosophical and moral viruses than we are to any virus. We must be sober and learn to use the ‘PPE’ that, God provides - the armour of God - to protect ourselves and get healing where such demonic seeds have taken root in us.
Readings and reflections
1. It's imperative that we heed Jesus warning about the poor soil. Here is a summary of what happens to such people,
"When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away....the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful." (4:17, 19)
What are the kinds of seeds -false beliefs- that must have entered into such people's minds and hearts?
Do you sense any danger in yourself of becoming such a person? How will you pray in response?
2. In the parable of the soils (Mark 4), we see that we need to protect ourselves from weeds and being poor soil. To protect ourselves, we must redirect our thinking to things pleasing to God.
‘Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.’ (Philippians 4:8-9)
Each of the words used to describe ideal Christian thinking is like good seeds. Meditate on each word - are these the seeds that you are allowing into your mind?
Paul shows us that good and bad seeds are also planted in us by the examples we allow into our lives. How are you doing at surrounding yourself with ‘godly seed-sowers’?
3. We must all beware of weeds and of becoming those who participate in, and even spreading sin rather than godliness. Paul warns us,
‘Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.’ (Galatians 6:7-10)
Paul urges us, ‘do not be deceived’ about the kinds of seeds you sow in life. What are the different ways that one can sow, and what are the differing results?
What very practical example does Paul give of how we can sow to please the Spirit and what will be the result?
Let’s pray today for protection, healing and repentance
1. Pray together, using The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) for protection from the devil’s schemes; particularly his schemes to teach lies and distractions.
2. Pray, using the armour of God (Ephesians 6:10-18), for yourself, and the church to refuse lies, embrace truth, have victories.
To memorise this week
‘Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.’ (2 Timothy 2:15)
To consider this week
What are your current habits of taking in God’s word? Do you have a balanced diet of:
1. Reading - Getting an overview of the whole story of the bible.
2. Meditation - Reading a passage slowly and repeatedly, leading to prayer, worship and obedience. Writing/journaling is a helpful tool in this.
3. Study - Studying a book, chapter, passage, character, word… using study aids such as a study bible.
4. Memorisation - Only those who regularly memorise scripture will be able to effectively use ‘the sword of the Spirit’!
5. Hearing it taught - Devotion to seriously listening to the bible being taught by leaders you trust.
Maybe you’d like to pick one or two areas to work on this week.
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - GOOD SOIL RECEIVES, GROWS AND SOWS
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
In addition, we have baptism preparation on the 6th of December. Please contact the church office if you are interested in exploring baptism.
Have you ever said something that you wish you hadn't or not said something that you wish you had?
Introduction - please share in your group
On Sunday we saw how Jesus' Great Commission involves learning, doing and passing on what Jesus teaches. Jesus tells us,
‘Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
We saw how The Parable of the soils helps to illustrate this idea that disciples are those who receive the seed of Jesus' teaching, grow in doing/obeying, and then go on on to sow truth into other's lives. Jesus describes the good soil thus,
But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.’ (Luke 8:15)
Disciples of Jesus are to:
i) Receive- they have a devotion to learning God's word
ii) Grow - As they read or hear teaching, they ask the Spirit, "How do you want me to respond?"
ii) Sow - Disciples want to help their brothers and sisters to grow; they have a passion for Jesus to be known by the community that God has put them into.
We all need to regularly reflect on our receptivity to learning and doing what Jesus' teaches. Finally, let's pray for ourselves using the words of Hosea,
“Break up your unplowed ground…” (Hosea 10:12)
1. Would you like to share anything that struck you or something that God spoke to you about from Sunday's message or the devotionals this week?
2. Please read Matthew 28:18-20 and discuss:
In our devotional this week, we have been asked to consider if we have a balanced diet of learning from Jesus. The major ways of learning are:
i) Reading - Getting an overview of the whole story of the bible.
ii) Meditation - Reading a passage slowly and repeatedly, leading to prayer, worship and obedience. Writing/journaling is a helpful tool in this.
iii) Study - Studying a book, chapter, passage, character, word… using study aids such as a study bible.
iv) Memorisation - Only those who regularly memorise scripture will be able to effectively use ‘the sword of the Spirit’!
v) Hearing it taught
Is there any area that you feel that you would particularly like to work on and why?
3. This evening we will taking Communion together. This is a perfect way to renew our commitment to being disciples who listen and obey Jesus' teaching.
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