It does what he says

Sermon

It does what he says.

How God changes everything.

Isaiah 55:10-13 10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.Matthew 13:1-9,18-23 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

As I watched the rain fall and fall this week I could not help but hear Isaiah’s words likening God’s Word to rain falling.

The rain just falls and the water just goes where it needs to go – whether you want to go into that place and flood things or not! So, God’s Word is unstoppable and has a “mind of its own”, like the rain.

The rain also comes down from above and when it chooses. The rain decides when it rains down on us. So, God’s word that comes from only his mouth and “from above”, comes to us in the quantity and areas he determines – sometimes a little in a dry time and sometimes a lot, in a time like this week.

And the rain accomplishes the purpose it comes to accomplish. It sinks into the ground deep. Come spring time the grass, the vines, the trees, the flowers will be flourishing, and it won’t be because of our tending and care, although that is what is required of us by him, it will all happen because he makes it happen for us as a gift.

That is the goal of God in raining down his Word into our ears and hearts – to make us flourish in joy and peace – to change us from tired and scratchy old brambles to beautiful flourishing plants, flexible, able to move and grow and bear good fruit ….

12 You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; 13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.

It is a beautiful image of the Lord and his intentions for his world. It helps me trust that the Lord is unstoppable in his intention to bring this world peace and joy and newness so that we flourish.

Then I hear Jesus, the Living Word of God with us.

As he speaks and lives and dies and rises, his intentions are the same they have always been – to be a stream of living water for our thirsty souls.

While sitting in a boat just off shore of the lake and thousands strain their ears to listen to the rain the Living Word calls you to ponder now what ground is your mind, body and spirit.

4 ….some (seed) fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.

Concrete path – impenetrable by the Word. Peace cannot get in. Joy is shut out. Dry times inside. What is given is quickly taken away and you are missing out of the life you really need.

5 Some fell on rocky places,….. and they withered because they had no root.

Some open and soft ground letting some of his Word into your soul and mind but still some hard heartedness.

You are receiving some of God’s good gifts of peace and new life but the gifts are never allowed to get down to your very fabric in how you actually make decisions, conduct yourself in relationships, invite God’s wisdom and his forgiveness into your very soul. So, things sprout from time to time but the fad never lasts.

7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants

Then there are the thorns among whom you live – voices striving for your time, idols calling you to bow down and sacrifice yourself to them in the hope that they can deliver what you think you need.

The voices are drowning out the Living Voice – the Viva Vox Dei – the Living Voice of God, and it is not because his Word is not falling, it is because you are finding shelter in other voices and values and victories you make.

8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

And then there is the good soil – open, listening, aware, eager to receive the mind of Christ on everything……. In you he grows the fruit of peace in relationships, joy in the soul, an awareness of God as the one from whom all blessing flow and to whom all praise is due.

You know that all of this comes “from above”, from His mouth as he will and you are grateful for every word that and every gift his Word brings into your life.

9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

Yes, hear this….

The farmer and the one who sends the rain are indiscriminate in their gift giving.

The rain comes down on the just and the unjust and the seed falls on all kinds of hearts – impenetrable, proud, idolatrous, open, fertile…..

And the Word does what it says anyway – just like the rain goes where it goes and brings what it brings – despite the state of the ground, despite the state of our hearts today.

And that my friends in Christ, is the great gift of gathering together here in worship.

Worship is the place where the indiscriminate Saviour scatters his life-giving Word in his life-giving gifts on the weeds and the wheat, the just and the unjust, the poor and the rich, the fertile ground and the baron ground – unstoppable, indiscriminate, gracious, relentless in love and completely desiring our joy, our new life, our new hope, our flourishing.

What we do and say here is not some life-less, spiritless religious habit, but the ancient Word – the modern means of the Living Word’s rain for the soul and peace for our families, our friendships, our work and our town.

In this big boat called the nave; • When the word says, “In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit”, you are in the name and presence of the Father, Son ad Holy Spirit. • When the word says “I forgive you”, you are forgiven. • When the raining word says, “the body and blood for forgiveness, life and salvation, you have forgiveness, life and salvation in that eating and drinking. • When the Word says “The Lord bless you and keep you”, you are blessed and kept!

Worship is the indiscriminate grace of the Living Word raining on you and the rain has is falling to bring gifts of peace, joy and changed life to you today….

In the name of Christ Amen

CONVERSATION STARTERS

Read the Isaiah 55 text out loud slowly. Consider the imagery the prophet uses of rain for how God’s word works in our lives. Share your thoughts on this beautiful imagery and what the prophet is saying about the power and the use of God’s word for us as Christians.

When you hear God say that his Word always achieves the purpose for which it is sent, what do you think about that?

What in your estimation is God’s desired outcome of sending his Word like the rain. Can you see his intentions in those verses 10-13? Share what you find….

Read the first 9 verses Matthew text slowly working through the various characters in the parable and what they are doing. Who is God and who is the sower and what is the seed in your estimation? In verses 18-23, actually tells us all of this. This is most unusual. usually he leaves the parables unexplained so that we have to really ponder what they mean. Why do you think he explained this parable so much? (No right or wrong answers on this question – there is no great consensus on it).

Ponder the soil and yourself and what kind of soil you would describe yourself as at the moment.

4 ….some (seed) fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.

Concrete path – impenetrable by the Word.

5 Some fell on rocky places,….. and they withered because they had no root.

Some (but not all) open and soft ground.

7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants

The thorns among whom you live

8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

The good soil

9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.” What are you hearing for yourself in this Word from Jesus? Share what you are hearing. PRAY:Heavenly Father, we live in your presence and are baptised into your name. You continualy forgive us our hard heartedness and lack of responsiveness to your Word. You give us your holy body and blood to eat and drink for forgiveness, new life and salvation from death. You bless us with your mighty power and grace and we live in your blessing everyday. Help us receive all these seeds of your love and compassion and bear good fruit today. Amen

#seed #1823 #Matthew1319 #Isaiah551013 #Pentecost4A #soil #sower #parable

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