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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

6/22/10- Life is Meaningful so we Should Reproduce

10 When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. 11 He told them, "The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables 12 so that, " 'they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!' "
13 Then Jesus said to them, "Don't you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? 14 The farmer sows the word. 15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown."

Life is meaningful, so we should reproduce.  The goal of the Christian is to bear fruit- to glorify God- physically and spiritually.  Verse 20 gives us the very positive image of a person who hears, accepts, and then produces fruit. 
I have some tomatoe plants who are nice and tall and leafy but are not producing any tomatoes.  I did not plant these tomatoes ($7 a piece- bought half grown- to escape cut worms and early problems) for me to just look at how beautiful the leaves are.  I can buy tomatoes in the store for a lot less than what I paid for these half-grown- and now full grown plants.
Some would question why anyone would bring a baby into a world such as ours.  But it is not our world, it is the Lord's world.  He is King of kings.  God makes this world meaningful, and has a plan for each person.  This is a matter of faith. 
In Europe where they have lost much of their Christian faith, the population growth rate is in the negative now.  I have heard people say if I cannot have a bigger house because I have a child, then I don't want a child.  Life is more than bigger houses or having things.  The way of death is to not want to reproduce ourselves.
But Jesus was primarily speaking of spiritual reproduction here.  Yet it is the same principle.  If we think life is meaningless and faith is not all that helpful, then we will not invite another to faith.  So many of us are like the seed thrown on thorns- allowing this world's worries and the deceitfulness of wealth choke out our ability to bear fruit (vs. 19). Our goal is not wealth, or even self-fulfillment.  Our goal is to glorify Him and spread His glory- bearing fruit for Him. Today, invite someone to take  a step closer to knowing Jesus.

Prayer:  Help me Lord, to walk in the ways of meaningful life- bearing fruit;  Keep me from giving up on you, or to retreat into myself without caring for others and for your glory.

John Calvin abridged: "That seeing they may not see"  When persons who cannot see well come out into the sunshine, their eyes become dimmer than before, and that defect cannot be attributed to the sun, but to their eyes.  Similarly, when the word of God blinds and hardens the reprobate, as this takes place through their depravity, the fault is their own, but is accidental to the word itself. Christ gives four kinds of hearers. The first do not receive seed; the second receive it but it doesn't take root; the third are choked out after growing some; and the fourth produces fruit. He was not intending to say one out of four responds and bears fruit. 
Many are like the first kind who come to hear but remain in amazement but do not respond at all. Luke adds that the devil plucks their seed up. This soil is like a hardened road.
The second kind of seed or person differs from the first in that they begin to respond. Everyone should examine their hearts to make sure the root of the gospel is sinking thoughout the whole heart and not just on the surface.  The heat of the cross or persecutions causes such people to fade away from faith.  Such people are not truly regenerated (1 Peter 1:4,25; Isa. 40:8).
The third kind would have grown if they had not permitted other things to get in the way of their growth.  Other things includes the pleasures of this life, wicked desires, and the anxieties of the flesh.  Each of us should endeavor to tear such thorns out of our heart- for all of us are afflicted with such things.
The fourth kind bear fruit.  What matter s is not how much fruit we bear (thiry-fold or hundred-fold), so we should respect all who bear fruit though they are not perfectly free from the thorns of this world. Those who bear any fruit at all are called "good" soil.

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