#244 – GOOD SOIL GROWS (26/11/20)
Jesus, in The Great Commission, tells us to “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.” (Matthew 28:18-20). Here, Jesus makes it clear that we are not only to learn what He teaches, we are also to obey it - this is what I mean by ‘good soil grows'; our lives are to grow into Christ-likeness.
1. In the parable of the soils, Jesus describes our growth as a kind of harvest in these words,
‘Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown” (Mark 4:20).
‘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)
What does Luke say about the heart and response of a person who is growing?
Think back to your bible reading, your listening to teaching… recently. How have you specifically responded and how could you be more deliberate in your response to the seeds that are sown into your life?
2. All Christians are the good soil. One cannot be a Christian and bear no fruit! That being said, Jesus, throughout His word warns and confronts Christians that they are to be diligent in learning from Him, obeying Him and bearing fruit.
‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.’ (Galatians 5:22-25)
Meditate and pray around each of the fruits that grow in a disciple and church community.
What does God urge us to do in order to ensure that our growth is not stunted?
Is the Holy Spirit speaking to you about any way that He wants you to grow?
Let’s pray today for the church’s growth in Christ-likeness
1. Pray for the growth of the church out of Colossians 1:9-11
2. Pray that your church would grow in acts of obedience that serve the church and community (Maybe use 1 Thessalonians 1:3 as a guide)
3. Ask for the growth of specific brothers and sister who come to mind.
Pray for yourself and your church out of Galatians 5:22-25
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)