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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney

#992. The good soil (16/2/24)

This week, as we continue in our Luke series, we have been using The Parable of the Soils (or Sower) as inspiration for our devotionals. If you find this helpful, please do share it with anyone who may find it helpful. Today we will look at what is meant by being good and fruitful soil. 

‘Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.’ (Luke 8:8)
‘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) 

Lesson: Good soil are those who hear, believe and obey Jesus’ Word. 


To listen to this devotional, go to:


There’s nothing wrong with the seed! As a poor gardener, the seeds I sow often do not grow. I have good intentions but poor results and I’m often tempted to blame the seeds. Let’s be clear, the seed of the gospel and His Word are powerful but the problem is with the soil and maybe my/our lack of sowing?! This week, we’ve looked at the three forms of poor soil and today we will very briefly consider what it means to be good soil for God’s Word - soil in which the seed flourishes and bears a great deal of fruit, even ‘a hundred times more than was sown’!


This parable is about how we hear Jesus’ word. Throughout, how we hear defines the different types of soil. The first bad soil are those who hear but by hardening their hearts they allow the devil to snatch the seed; the stony soil are those who hear but have no root;  the un-weeded soil are analogous to those who hear but are chocked by a lack of repentance from sin; finally, the good soil are those who hear, but their hearing is combined with faith and obedience. Good soil, those with ‘a noble and good heart’, are those who hear and ‘retain’ - hold fast and cling to -  Jesus’ Word. Added to this, they, ‘persevere’ - patiently endure - in faithfulness to Jesus’ Word. These people keep removing the rocks and they keep weeding their hearts because they love Jesus and His Word. They are not those who go to a conference to get ‘revved-up’ for God every so often. They know that it’s not enough to go to church every now and then for a ‘pick-me-up’. Good soil perseveres and is devoted to receiving fresh seed from the sower every day. 


Unlike the first three kinds of people who hear but without any fruitfulness, these, because of their faith, repentance and obedience, bear a great harvest. All, including you and me, if we will be like the good soil, are promised a harvest. A true Christian - one who is born again of the Spirit - will bear fruit. There is no such thing as a fruitless Christian. Jesus wants us to see that the root to true transformation in ourselves and in others is to embrace and share the gospel and the Word of God. The power is in the seed. 


Response

Good soil are those who hear, believe and obey Jesus’ Word. If we want to change and improve, we need to believe that It’s God’s Spirit-inspired and Spirit-empowered Word that will change us. Are we making space for Jesus to speak to us? Like the Israelites who were to collect manna each day, are we receiving freshly sown seed into the soil of our hearts each day? How could you engage with God’s word by hearing it taught, reading it, listening to it, studying, meditating and memorising it?  How could you allow more of His seed into your life? 

As we think about our response to this amazing parable, may these words from Hosea, spur us all on to become to good soil that is truly responsive, fruitful and is a blessing to all. 

‘Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you.’ (Hosea 10:12) 

How will you ‘break up the unplowed ground’ and ‘seek the Lord’ so as to make space for more of God’s seed in your heart? 

 

COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY

1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

Please ensure that the members of your group are aware and familiar with using the daily devotionals.


2. Icebreaker

How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you? (I hope we can see how important this question and practice is to this week's study of being good soil for God's Word).


3. Worship together

Let’s begin our time together by lifting our eyes and hearts to worship our great God. Perhaps you have readings and songs that you would like to use together. Let’s be open to the gifts that the Spirit wants to give in order to encourage one another.


4. Study and pray together

This week, as we continue in our Luke series, we will be using Luke 8:1-15 as inspiration. Here, Jesus teaches the people, and illustrates His ministry, by using the parable about a sower and different kinds of soils. For Jesus, having crowds was not success or His aim; Jesus wanted to teach them that to follow Him and to be truly successful they needed to become ‘good soil’. 


Please read Luke :8:1-15

  1. What were you particularly struck by in Sunday’s message from Luke 8:1-15? 

  2. What would you say is the central teaching of this narrative? 

  3. How does Jesus’, and how should our ministry, follow the pattern of this parable? 

  4. What do the three poor soils have in common? 

  5. Why do the things mentioned - the devil, testing, worries, riches and pleasures - stop God’s Word from being fruitful in our lives?  

  6. How do you, or could you, ensure that you receive the good seed of God’s word into your life each day? 

  7. SIV - Do we see that if we are good soil, we will have a crop? This means that we will have seed to sow. How could you better sow the gospel and God's Word?

  8. SIV - What does this parable teach about how we should expect people to respond as we share the gospel and do we have any experiences of this? 

  9. SIV - Do we have any stories of how we have ‘Served, Invested, and inVited’ recently?

  10. Let’s pray together that, this week, we will have opportunities to SIV; and pray for anything else that’s come out of our time in God’s Word.

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