Sermon 2-17-2020

February 17, 2020

Summary

Sower of the Seed + Luke 8:4-15

Let us pray. Blessed Lord, You have caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning. Grant that we may so hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them that, by patience and comfort of Your holy Word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

This is the prayer the church prays that we would receive the Holy Word of God as a gift, that we would hear God’s Word, read God’s Word, study God’s Word, allowing it to create in us clean hearts and right spirits.

We are in the second week of pre-lent, the gesima season, roughly 60 days from Easter and our Lord’s resurrection from the grave.

During this time, we continue to slowly prepare ourselves for Ash Wednesday and the 40 day period of fasting and prayer, the 40 day period of repentance and turning away from evil, the 40 day period of returning to the Lord our God.

But this does not happen unless we come to church to hear God speak to us in preaching and teaching in all His truth and purity, unless we intentionally read His Holy Word, unless we take time to study God’s Word, learn it, set it to memory, and inwardly digest it, allowing it to change us, realizing who God is and what His good and gracious will is for us.

This is why God has given us eyes to see Him, ears to hear Him, hands to touch Him, mouths to taste Him, and hearts to receive Him. That is why Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

In the parable we hear Jesus speak this morning, Jesus said: “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold.”

This parable is the theme, the motto, that I chose for our two congregations, our churches in the country, when I arrived as your pastor over sixteen years ago. Together, we sow the seed of God’s Word.

Jesus’ disciples asked Him what this parable meant, and He said, “Now the parable is this: The seed is the Word of God and Jesus is the Sower. Jesus sows liberally, He proclaims it everywhere. We hear this, when Jesus says, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptize them, teach them, remind them that I am with them always.” The Word of God makes God known to us. Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Jesus is the Way to the Father. He is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love toward us forever. Jesus is the Truth, as God’s Word is Truth. Jesus is faithful, He will gladly do what He says. He keeps His promises. Jesus is the life, there is no death in Him. God the Father loved the world, He gave His only Son unto death, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God the Father did not send his Son, Jesus, into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. This is the testimony, as Jesus has spoken to us in His Holy Word, that God the Father has given us eternal life in heaven, and this life is found only in His Son. Whoever has the Son of God has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

As Jesus teaches, “I am the Bread of Life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. I am the Bread of Life, Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” These words are true because they are the Holy Word of God, recorded for us in the Holy Bible. It is in these holy words and in Him who spoke them that we place our trust, this is what our faith clings to, it is where our hope and comfort as baptized Christians is found.

Jesus continues in His parable by saying that the ones along the path are those who have heard. The Word has been sown in us and around us. Jesus has spoken to us, Father, Son and Holy Spirit has baptized us, we have been forgiven of our sins, we are strengthened in faith toward God and love toward neighbor in our eating and drinking Jesus’ body and blood. God has sown His Holy Word liberally, He proclaims it to all nations.

Then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. The Bible tells us, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” Jesus tells us to watch and pray, as sheep of the Good Shepherd’s pasture, we can go astray, we can lose the gifts the Good Shepherd gives us. We can fall out of faith. We can turn away from our baptism. We can doubt the Word of God. We can stay away from the Lord’s Supper. We can deny Jesus. Sadly this happens too often with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Be careful, do not assume that this will not happen to you. God will not be mocked.

Jesus says, “The ones on the rock, that is the seed of God’s Word that were sown, are those who, when they hear the Word of God, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. These are the ones who have been taught the Word of God, they have gone to catechism instruction, they have come to communion for the first time and then they never enter church again. They think they have done all that is required. But being a Christian is not doing what is required, rather regularly gathering near to the Lord our God. As the psalmist writes, “I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” Be careful, do not assume that this will not happen to you. Do not put the Lord your God to the test.

Jesus says, “The seeds of God’s Word which fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. These are the ones who do not fear, love and trust in God above all things. These are they who, when things become difficult, blame God, turn away from God, have nothing to do with God. They do not take comfort in their baptism, they do not realize their sin and a need for a Savior, they do not proclaim the Lord’s death and resurrection until He comes again. They do not realize the lies the devil, the world and their own sinful flesh are telling them. They do not tell the devil to depart.  Be careful, do not assume that this will not happen to you.

Jesus says, “As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.” Thanks be to God that He sows the seed among us. Thanks be to God that the Word of God produces good soil. Thanks be to God that there are those who hear the Word of God, hold it fast and bear good fruit. As the Prophet Isaiah proclaims, “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” But just as quickly as the Lord gives His Word and produces a harvest 100 fold, so too can He remove it from us, He can take it away from us and the gifts of the kingdom are ours no more. Repent. Do not put the Lord your God to the test. God will not be mocked. Pray that God would strengthen us, defended from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.