How to Live a Fruitful Life
The Parable of the Soils
Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20, Luke 8:1-15
God gives us what we need for fruitful living in seed form
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. 9 He who has ears, let him hear."
Parables are fictional stories drawn from everyday experiences which communicate spiritual truths.
18 "Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When any one hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. 22 The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries oft his life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. 23 But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown."
2 Peter 1:3-4
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises,so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
Fruitfulness is determined by the condition of the soil
The sower sowed the same seed on all the soils. The only difference between the fruitful life and the unfruitful life is the condition of the heart in which the seed of the God’s Word is sown.
Everybody has the potential for fruitful living, no matter their circumstances. The crucial issue is the condition of the heart.
Fruitful living is descriptive of a life transformed to be like Jesus
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast,it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes,always perseveres.
8 Love never fails.
the fruit of the Spirit is love,joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness andself-control.
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness,righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness
The Four Soils
Matthew 8:19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path.
· The soil of a hard heart – completely closed to receiving God’s Word. God does not grant understanding to those with hearts hardened to His Word.
Matthew 8:20-21 20 The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away
· The soil of a shallow heart – superficial reception of God’s Word. When the testing and persecution come, they wither quickly.
Matthew 8:22 The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.
· The soil of a divided heart – the heart receives the Word, but competition from the world eventually chokes it out.
Worries of this life – not placing the Kingdom above all else, this person tries to manage with their own resources. This is about trying to control rather than trusting God.
Deceitfulness of wealth –trying to manage their life apart from God, trusting in worldly resources.
1 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.
2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.
Matthew 8:23 But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.
· The soil of a receptive heart – the heart receives the Word, is giving understanding, and allows it to take root when testing comes, experiencing fruitful living.
How to Live A Fruitful Life
2 things needed: God’s seed and good soil
God’s seed is His Word, the message of His Kingdom; expose yourself to generous portions of the seed
Prepare the soil of your heart:
Don’t let your heart harden against receiving God’s message, no matter how challenging. Understanding comes after receptivity. Note well: If we reject His Word until we fully understand it, we will neve runderstand it.
Don’t let your heart be like rocky soil. If we receive God’s message when we hear it, but turn away when difficulty comes to test the word, we have rocky soil. Persevere when the Word is tested.
Don’t let your heart be like thorny soil – divided. A divided hear is enticed by the illusion of control (worry) and the deception of wealth and world resources to meet our challenges.
Do have faith that there is life in the seed of God’s Word. It will begin to germinate when planted in good soil. Like natural seed, the growth is invisible at first, but persevere;fruitfulness is coming!