Each week on Thursdays we highlight a trustworthy discipleship resource that can help you in your mission to make disciples. This week’s post is “What’s He talking About” from Gospel: Recovering the Power of Christianity At the end of this post there is a link to sign up for a chance to win a free giveaway of this resource!
WHAT’S HE TALKING ABOUT?
Parables are intended to teach one main principle or point. Today we’ll focus on Matthew 13:1-23. Here Jesus taught a parable to a crowd and then explained it to His disciples. He didn’t always explain His parables as He did here, so this passage provides great insight for us. In the well-known parable of the sower, Jesus talked about four different types of soil. He then acknowledged that the seed represents the gospel, and the different types of soil represent the different types of people who hear the gospel message.
The first person hears the gospel, but the evil one comes like a bird and snatches away what has been sown. The second excitedly hears the gospel, but because he doesn’t allow it to take root, he returns to his former idols when he faces hardship. The third person hears and believes, but the gospel gets choked out by the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches. The fourth person has the gospel rooted deeply in his soul; as a result, he produces much fruit over his lifetime.
Jesus’ point is that the evidence of a life transformed by the gospel will be revealed over a lifetime. Notice the three enemies of planting and growing the gospel in someone’s life.
1. The first is Satan. Jesus was acknowledging a real enemy who pursues and attacks people who hear and respond to the gospel.
2. The second enemy of the gospel is the failure to count the cost of following Christ. When tribulation occurs “because of the word” (v. 21), this person falls away. Following Christ for a while is convenient in many cases. But when functional saviors come into conflict with the gospel, many people drop Jesus for something else they think will solve their problem.
3. The final enemy may be the most potent in the church. The “worries of this age” look like anxiety, and the “deceitfulness of wealth” (v. 22) sounds like the promise that money provides security and happiness.
These enemies circle believers, waiting to pounce. But they don’t prevail against the those who yield themselves to the gospel and allow it to take root in their souls and wield authority in their lives.
Excerpted from Gospel: Recovering the Power of Christianity. Published by Lifeway Press®. © 2018 J. D. Greear. Used by permission.