The Good Soil
Matthew 13:23, Mark 4:20, Luke 8: 15
Debbie and I planted some grass seed in the back yard last week. The grass in the back has been struggling for the last several summers. For many years we had a swimming pool in our back yard. When we removed the pool, we filled in the yard with dirt and planted grass. The problem was that the dirt we bought was filled with rocks. So, last week, we dug up some of the rocky, hard soil and replaced it with nice, rock free top soil and planted new grass seed.
Pastor Charlie preached on Mark 4 the other week on the Parable of the Sower. Jesus is proclaiming and spreading the Gospel (the seed). There are four different responses (soil types), and through the mercy and grace of God the Father and the work of the Spirit, only one of the soils bears fruit unto salvation. There is only one good soil type that bears lasting fruit.
Grass can’t grow well and believers don’t bear lasting fruit if the soil is bad. We need good soil.
In the three synoptic gospels, the good soil is described this way:
Matthew 13:23 “As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundred fold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”
Mark 4:20 “But those that were sown on good soil are the ones who hear the work and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”
Luke 8:15 “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.”
Understanding, accepting, and holding it fast are three right responses to the truth about Jesus. To understand (Matthew) means to see Jesus for who He is, the Son of God, to see ourselves as depraved sinners, and to see Jesus as our only hope of salvation. An understanding heart cries out to Jesus, “Lord have mercy on me.” To accept it (Mark) means to repent and to believe in Jesus. To accept Jesus looks like someone who truly understands and lives his life accordingly. To hold it fast in an honest and good heart and bear fruit in patience (Luke) means continuing to believe and persevering in the truth. A person who holds to it fast is someone who can’t live without Jesus every day, and lives to glorify and please him.
The good soil understands the Gospel, believes the Gospel, and lives the Gospel. The good soil represents one who clings to Jesus, from the first day to the last. In fact, this is the most important fruit we bear, clinging to Christ. And by clinging to Christ, don’t we overcome the devil (soil one), the faith that doesn’t last (soil two), and the faith that gets choked out (soil three)?
Grass can’t grow well and believers don’t bear lasting fruit if the soil is bad. How is the soil of your soul today? If you want your grass to grow, you need good, rock free top soil. If you want to continue to bear fruit for Jesus, you need to continue to understand, accept, and hold fast to Jesus. Let us all do some tilling today as we pray and read the Word.
Prayer: Our Heavenly Father, help us to trust in Jesus again today. Till the hardness of our souls. If there is anything in our hearts that needs to be discarded please do that work today. Thank you Jesus for being our Savior and for spreading your Word into us. Hallowed be thy name.
In Jesus Name,