Isaiah 55: 10-13 (page 615 in our pew Bibles) God's living and active word never returns without watering the earth. So it was with the prophets and so it was ultimately in Jesus Christ.
Romans 8: 1-11(page 944 in our pew Bibles) A great example of how the Trinity functions in the economy of salvation. If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead, dwells in you, you have passed from death to life also!
Matthew 13: 1-9, 18-23 (page 818 in our pew Bibles). The parable of the sower told and then explained. Unusual in its allegorical form; in the mouth of Jesus it may well be a parable about an incompetent farmer who nevertheless reaps a bumper crop prompting the question "Do you begrudge the unmerited, generosity of God?
“There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”. That is possibly one of the best known things that Paul ever wrote.
It is firmly based on the premise that there is a final judgement of course (not something we like to talk about much!), but at this final Judgement, those of us who have put their faith in God’s saving Grace have nothing to fear because all our sins are forgiven in Christ. His sacrifice in our place is sufficient and once and for all.
When Paul writes about living according to the flesh or according to the Spirit, he is contrasting two different ways of living your life – one way under the power of sin and another way that is according to and under the influence of, the Holy Spirit.
And our salvation, our freedom in Christ – that is freedom from the fear of death and raised to life involves the whole of God – the whole Trinity is involved.
It is the Spirit of God the Father who raised Jesus from the dead so if that same Spirit – the Spirit of resurrection – lives in you, you too have been raised to eternal life.
This is the gospel – the Good news of Jesus Christ. And this knowledge transforms our life and the way we live it now. How can it not? It is so earth shattering.
But While Christ’s sacrifice is available to all people, not everyone can accept it in the same way and Jesus told us a parable that explains this to us.
This gospel, this word of the Kingdom, can meet four different states of humanity.
The first state is that the gospel can just not be understood – this is the seed sown on the path.
The message for us here surely, is that as ministers of the gospel, and we are all ministers of the gospel, is that the word must be expressed and presented in as clear a way as possible and I pray for the ability to do that and not wrap things up or obscure them in archaic language and ritual.
The second state of humanity the word reaches is the person who seems to understand and accept the seed with joy but actually it has no root – it is a superficial faith. For them the first sign of either trouble or persecution comes and their faith disappears very quickly.
This is surely a message to us to develop and deepen our faith and is the reason that Alpha and Discipleship explored were designed – to deepen discipleship, knowledge and experience to guard against that happening.
The third state of humanity is the one where God’s word is accepted but the cares and worries of life and Jesus states “the deceitfulness of riches” choke the gospel out of us.
This one is much harder to address, and it affects a lot of us from time to time. We have to learn to place our trust in God and learn not to place our trust in material or financial comfort. We must raise our consciousness to place more trust in God rather than worldly success. Money cannot buy us salvation.
Salvation is priceless and is offered Free of charge and can only be appropriated by faith.
Our money is useless cannot buy us anything in the Kingdom of God.
Those who receive the word with joy, who hears and understands it are the ones in whom the word will dwell and bear so much fruit.
So the message from Jesus this morning is be clear in our presentation of the gospel.
To know what that gospel entails at a deeper level we must learn more and go deeper, and as a result of that we must raise our consciousness to learn to trust God more and don’t put our trust in money or material things.
If we build our church on these principles we are being faithful to God as a person and corporately as a church. We become a Christ centred, Bible based church that seeks to make disciples of Christ and faithfully preach the gospel.