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The gospel of Luke chapter 8 verses 4 to 15. English Standard Version*
And when a great crowd was gathering and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable, “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold.” As he said these things, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
And when his disciples asked him what this parable meant, he said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’ ”
Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. 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.
*The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
The Parable of the Sower and the soils: a key to the parables © Parva Press
The parable of the man sowing his seed is one of the best known of all the parables. With minor variations, it is found in each of the first three gospels and is the first of a series of parables. May I invite you to look: Firstly, at the setting. Secondly, at the quotation between the parable and the Lord’s explanation of it, for, taken together with this particular parable, that quotation offers a key to understanding the reception given to all the parables and explains why the Lord chose to teach in this way. Thirdly, at the parable itself ‘soil by soil’.
(To make group study easier, there is a break after looking at the fate of the seed falling on the pathway.)
First, the setting
Great crowds flocked to the Lord Jesus. People were there for various and mixed reasons, many out of curiosity, some to see amazing miracles of healing and others to hear the Lord’s teaching. Those who were sick would be desperately hoping for healing as would those who brought them. So many of these wanted to press forward to catch his personal attention that it became almost impossible for him to preach and teach. In Matthew’s and Mark’s account of this parable, we read of our Lord taking a boat and moving out a little from the shore in order to distance himself from the crowds. He was then much freer to teach – the shore-line makes a perfect auditorium; on a still day speech can carry a great distance.
Second, the quotation – why did the Lord use parables?
When he was alone, his disciples and those with them asked Jesus about the meaning of the parable. He said to them, ‘To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘’seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’’ ‘ This passage from Isaiah is quoted or alluded to several times in the New Testament, in the context of the truth being hidden from those listening with determined hardness of heart and unbelief. The parables let them have their own way. It is a fact that as our Lord spoke there were people in the crowd who did not wish to understand, let alone turn or believe.
The Lord taught in parables so that these striking word pictures might catch the people’s attention and awaken their interest. However, he also did so because, by using parables, the roles are reversed. We like to sit in judgement on what we hear and assess it by our own opinion. But parables do the reverse; they sit in judgement on us. Rather than us sitting in judgement on the parables, we ourselves are judged by our reception of them.
The parables distinguish between different groups of hearers. A great many of Jesus’ hearers loved to hear his stories, yet ‘had no ears’ to really hear what he was saying; his teaching about the kingdom of heaven just meant nothing to them. Others really did begin to hear and understand but reacted strongly against it; the implications with regard to their lifestyle and social status were too disturbing. They would not hear because they did not wish to do so. Still others, stirred to enquire further and bringing an open mind, were eager to understand and respond to his teaching.
The disciples wanted to dig deeper, they wanted to understand. Then, as now, for those with this God-given spiritual hunger, the parables offer great insight. They display the King and his kingdom, they show how to enter the kingdom of heaven and how to live as a member of it. They show how we resist the Lord God and his purposes. They also show the evil one’s activity and how, even with the best of intentions, we can be deflected or grow cold.
Third, the parable explained and applied
To the disciples and those who gathered with them to ask its meaning, he spelled out the parable in detail. (It has been suggested that this interpretation was added by the early church at a much later date, but that seems hard to justify.) The sower, said the Lord Jesus, sows the word. This is what the Lord himself was doing; he was proclaiming the kingdom of God. That same word would subsequently be sown by his chosen apostles and those who came to believe through their witness. So Luke could write of the apostle Paul, that he spent his time in Rome ‘preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ’. In our own day, it is sown wherever the kingdom of God, in accord with the teaching of our Lord and his apostles, is faithfully proclaimed from a public platform, shared with a friend or whispered at a child’s bedside.
The parable has been called ‘the parable of the soils’ because what differs is not the seed but the reception it receives. Typically, as the ancient sower sowed his seed he would scatter it over the whole area by flinging handfuls of seed taken from his basket or sling. He would then plough shallowly to embed the seed in the soil. Modern farming allows for very precise drilling but here is indiscriminate sowing and so, inevitably, the eventual fruitfulness of the seed is according to the nature of the ground on which it falls.
As it was with Jesus’ original hearers, wherever the word of God is taught this parable will be working itself out in the lives of those who receive it. The challenge of the parable to the Lord’s hearers then, and to ourselves today, is to ask, ‘What kind of hearer; what kind of soil am I – at present?’ ’At present,’ simply because there is nothing fixed. Many of us will find that we are not one kind of soil for the whole of our lives. We may pass through times in our lives when the reception we give to the word of God will be all too vividly portrayed as one or another of the poorer soils of the parable, and there may also be times in our lives which, under the hand of God, are wonderfully fruitful.
Seed on the path: those who hear and yet the word is taken away
Seed falling on or beside the pathway is trodden underfoot and eaten by the birds. Here the Lord portrayed seed falling where is has little or no opportunity of germinating, taking root, or eventually proving fruitful.
Among the people crowding round the Lord, were there people like that? The religious leaders, the Scribes and Pharisees, were always present but ‘in a professional capacity’. They were there to see what was going on. They were there to test and sit in judgement over what he said. Later, they would be there to see if they could trap him by his words because they came to hate all that he said, all that he stood for and all that he was. They had absolutely no intention of letting his words affect them; no intention of letting the seed grow in their hearts and lives. They certainly heard with their ears. They certainly saw the signs he did with their own eyes but they did not wish to ‘hear and understand’ or to ‘turn and be healed’ let alone to ‘believe and be saved’ – perceive who he really was; the Son of God amongst them, the promised Messiah. They determinedly did not wish to see that. Their hearts and minds were absolutely rock-like; quite as hard as any pathway. Sadly, they reflect the terrifying fact that it is possible to be eminent in religious affairs and yet with a mind closed to gospel truth; held in great esteem in the hearts of men and yet very far from the heart of God.
Helmut Thielicke speaks of ‘asphalted hearts’; people who are hard, busy, efficient, often very influential but ultimately, spiritually blind. Falling on the ears of such people the word of God is simply not received, they seem totally impervious. Each of the first three gospels records the birds taking away the seed, but Luke alone draws attention to the trampling of the seed under foot. The seed has as much chance of growing into a fruitful plant as a wheat or sunflower seed would have on a busy modern road. To those who pass by, the seed is of no value and so is trodden underfoot or crushed by a passing vehicle. Lying exposed on the road the seed is very vulnerable to sharp eyes and ready beaks; as it first falls, or even after it has been crushed, the birds are quick to enjoy the morsel.
Is it hard to think of people among our own friends and acquaintances of whom that is true? Maybe, very painfully, we see it in those very near to us even among family members. Anything godly is ‘as water off a duck’s back’; they seem to be all but ‘Teflon-coated’ like a non-stick frying pan. With them, godly things are brushed aside, trampled and crushed without any awareness at all. Satan delights in such a reception of the word of God and, like birds with fallen seed, makes sure that even the crushed and trodden fragments of a disturbing or awakening, godly ‘seed thought’ are speedily removed!
But what of ourselves? Clearly, from the parable, we have an adversary who is determined that we should not ‘believe and be saved’, receive and fruitfully hold fast the word of God. Here is an adversary who delights when we, those around us, or our circumstances cause ‘the seed’ to be crushed in the busy rush of life and so rendered fruitless. We have an adversary who watches for any opportunity to snatch away the word of God and so prevent our thinking about it or putting it into practice in our lives.
This path-like hardness of heart toward the things of God gives the evil one his opportunity to render the seed of God’s word fruitless. It may be a life-long attitude or it may be for a time, perhaps months or years. Times of hardness come when we ‘do not wish to know’; when we are determined not to turn from a hardened-hearted, God-ignoring, course of action, ‘doing it my way’, living in the manner we choose. Or it may be a particular phase of life when, by our choice or by our circumstances, we are surrounded by those who are deliberately ungodly and who scoff at the things of God. Keeping such company is the spiritual danger described in the opening verse of Psalm One. The computer, television or mobile phone can bring such ungodly thinking and scoffing very directly to our ears and eyes. ‘Television taught me to laugh at Christianity and scoff at Christian leaders,’ was the testimony of one student after becoming a Christian. Or there may be particular days in which, for one reason or another – perhaps because of some great disappointment, or preoccupation, or ill health – we simply are not receptive. We have closed ears and closed hearts to the things of God. They do not thrill us or stir us; we are cold and indifferent to them.
It is not for nothing that godly folk of a former generation taught us to pray, ‘. . . from hardness of heart and contempt of thy Word . . . , Good Lord, deliver us.’ It is only by the goodness of God that we can be delivered – but what an encouragement to pray, for the Lord God is able to deliver both us and those we care about from such hardness of heart.
If hardness of heart is the evil one’s delight, what of those distractions that come straight away after hearing a serious call or challenge from the word of God? The Lord in this parable plainly teaches us that satan watches to snatch away the word. Is opportunity given him to do his devilish work when the hearing of God’s word is immediately followed by announcements, notices and presentations? Refreshments, too, can be very valuable if we buy up the time to speak of the challenge of the word of God and encourage each other to seriously engage with it. But over refreshments it is all too easy to put out of our minds all godly thoughts and chat about the weather, the price of fuel or our ailments. It has been well said that the devil loves coffee! Alexander Whyte tells of a visitor to a crofter’s cottage who, picking up the previous conversation after family evening prayers, was gently but rightly told that after family prayers they kept silence. We do well to afford satan and those who would trample on or snatch away spiritual things as few opportunities as possible!
Other accounts of the parable, Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20
The word of the Lord to Isaiah, Isaiah 6:9&10, John 12:40, Acts 28:26&27
Those who gathered with them, Mark 4:10
Paul, preaching the kingdom of God, Acts 28:31
‘From hardness of heart’, from the Litany, Book of Common Prayer
Questions for reflection and discussion
- What drew such crowds to the Lord Jesus?
- We like to be judge of all we hear, is there an uncomfortable side to the parables?
- ‘Whenever the apostolic teaching is faithfully proclaimed,’ in what ways can the Boreans, (Acts 17:11) help us to be discerning?
- Thomas Lye, on being ejected from All Hallows, Lombard Street in 1662 said, ‘Where God does not find a mouth to speak, you must not find an ear to hear, nor a heart to believe.’ How relevant is that in our own day?
The pathway – 5. Do we have friends and family who just seem impervious to the things of God? How can we help them?
- Times of hardness, coldness, indifference to the things of God, have you been there yourself?
- Do we by choice or circumstance keep company with ‘path-like’ people? What helpful advice does Psalm 1 verse 1 offer?
- In what ways could our Christian meetings better make room for the word of God to do its work rather than the evil one to do his?
The parable of the sower, the seed and the soils – continued © Parva Press
Rocky, shallow soil: those who hear and yet in testing times fall away
In the Holy Land the soil depth is often very shallow and such soil dries out all too easily. Matthew and Mark point us to the lack of soil depth, Luke to the lack of moisture as it dries out. Despite a promising start in the early rains, seed corn falling on such soil will produce plants that are unable to withstand the drying heat of summer. It is an uncomfortable question, but can you think of those who were deeply moved by the word of God, and who, to all appearances, joyfully embraced the Christian faith, maybe with tears or with elation, and yet are now very far from the things of God? They ‘believe for a while’ but circumstances have not been easy; the going has been too tough, faith has withered and they have given up.
There in the crowd listening to the Lord it would have been exactly the same. In John chapter six we read of whole sections of the crowd, who had been following Jesus, now finding it too hard. They could not bear the things he was saying so drew back and no longer followed him. We read of Peter who, at Jesus’ invitation, enthusiastically began to walk on the water . . . and then doubted. The waves were too boisterous and the challenge too great. Or Peter, again, having professed utter loyalty, after the Lord’s arrest faced ‘a time of testing’ and found himself denying his Lord with oaths. So importantly and for our great encouragement, the example of Peter demonstrates that we can be one of these unproductive soils and yet neither fixed as such nor discarded by the Lord. We can be different soils at different times. The restored and forgiven Peter went on to be very fruitful indeed but at that particular point he could well have been ‘shallow ground’.
I certainly confess to having been very shallow soil. Embracing the gospel when 12 or 13 years old, our family moved the following year – new home, new town, new school, new church – none of which offered any real spiritual encouragement. For years I spiritually withered until, on the point of spiritual extinction, by the goodness of God, someone ‘watered’ me! Only by the grace and mercy of God can any of us stand and it is good to acknowledge that.
Sadly, we will all know folk who would say of Christianity, ‘I know, I’ve been there and done that years ago.’ Yet in view of times of testing, the knocks and disappointments of life or the sneers of ungodly folk around them, they would now consider themselves to have long outgrown the simple, child-like trust that true faith demands.
Opposition or personal tragedy can bring this about but so, too, can spiritual isolation within our own family or community or years of isolation from true Christian fellowship and teaching. It maybe that we have become involved in socially active yet spiritually arid churches; churches that offered teaching that has deflected us from that of the Lord and his apostles and where true fellowship in the gospel was scarce or non-existent and so faith has, ‘withered away because it had no moisture.’ Especially later in life, with decreasing mobility and the failure of sight and hearing, spiritual isolation can be quite desperate – as, of course, it can be for our fellow believers imprisoned for their faith. Only deeply rooted in his word and by the good hand of God can we come through times of testing such as these.
It is always appropriate to rejoice when the word of God is eagerly received and yet it is sobering to reflect, ten years on, on any group of keen and enthusiastic people, to all appearances Christian, and see the proportion of them who have, for one reason or another, given up and fallen away. There is scope here for much fruitless debate as to whether a true disciple can fall away. Only God knows the secrets of our hearts, and the purpose of the parable is not to enable us to judge, or categorise, let alone dismiss the early faith of others but, rather, to give us insight into our own heart’s standing before God. The Lord’s parable shows us the challenges we face and stirs us to examine our own hearts, turn for forgiveness, amend our own way of living and so guard our own reception of God’s word and our own ongoing fruitfulness before him.
So, what of ourselves? It is good to remind ourselves that it is ‘through much tribulation’ that we enter the kingdom of God; that there will be ‘times of testing’. For all kinds of reasons, testing and spiritually dry times will befall us, church leaders and people alike. There will be those who laugh and sneer, block our way and make life difficult for us. There may be people who would actively persecute, crush, imprison and kill us and those we love. Even as I write, a great many of our fellow Christians around the world are suffering persecution as dreadful as that. In the light of this parable and the many other warnings in scripture, it is clear that we need to be prepared for such ‘times of testing.’ If we are taken by surprise, they can easily deprive us of our joy in the Lord and our fruitfulness before him.
How can we be prepared? From the parable, the clear challenge is to make sure that our own faith is not shallow; carried along by the presence and with the encouragement of friends more godly than ourselves, a ‘fair-weather faith’ that will not hold fast through testing, sad, or difficult days.
Using the picture the parable sets before us, to be stable, strong and fruitful we need to let the word of God in all its forms permeate and take root deeply in our lives. It is a life-long process and for it to happen, we do well to follow the early believers’ pattern of devoting ourselves to the apostles teaching; for us, that must mean making it a priority to spend time prayerfully reading and meditating on the word of God. Only then will we be able to hide in our hearts its promises and know and take seriously the commands of the word of God. We will also be able to learn from the examples of scripture, both from those who stood firm and from those who fell away; for the warnings are written there for our protection. We do well to guard a time of unhurried prayer in order to cultivate that close, personal walk or ‘abiding in him’ spoken of by our Lord in the fifteenth chapter of John’s gospel. Finally, but very importantly, we need to treasure true Christian fellowship and partnership in the gospel so that we may support, encourage and pray for one another.
For such things as these it is difficult to find time in our busy lives yet it is worth making time – perhaps very early in the morning, or on our feet as we walk, or, arriving early for work, before we begin. Every opportunity we make for the word of God to permeate our lives, alone or in company with our fellow believers, will contribute to our being increasingly strongly rooted and so able to withstand testing times and be fruitful.
Thorny soil: those who hear and yet as they go on their way are spiritually choked
Thorns, thistles, weeds, not the best or most promising place for seeds to fall! Yet with the ancient practice of broadcast sowing, some of the seed would undoubtedly have landed in just such a situation. The potential for weeds to choke the good seed is always present even on the best land let alone at the field edges. The thorns that are particularly likely to overwhelm our fruitful walk with the Lord are named in the parable: cares, riches, pleasures. Here are competing interests and loyalties that legitimately demand our attention and yet, left unchecked, threaten to choke godly fruitfulness. It could be one great, all-consuming and spiritually-choking ‘thorn bush’ or a great number of small cares, concerns and other interests.
Among the crowd listening to the Lord Jesus, it seems to have been Judas’s love for money that opened the way for the devil to tempt him and cause him to betray his Lord. His great desire for money blinded him to all else, gave the devil a foothold and rendered that man’s life fruitless.
How many of us can think of friends who as teenagers or young adults ‘received the word’ and promised great fruitfulness and yet in middle life are totally absorbed in this world as they climb the career ladder, bring up a family and work every possible hour to finance their chosen life style. They are very busy indeed but there is simply no opportunity, time or emotional energy left for pursuing godly priorities. The challenge of godly fruitfulness is smothered. They, ‘go on their way’ preoccupied with the affairs and pleasures of this world and sadly, ‘their fruit does not mature’.
Fine, we have seen it in others . . . but have there not been times when we have been there ourselves? Here in this picture of the thorny patch is a constantly necessary warning.
Could it happen to us? The trouble is that the weeds grow so slowly and steadily that they are quite unnoticed – until little by little we are swamped by them. It can happen to us. It can be happening to us! Like Judas, could the desire for more money be our undoing? – or a thirst for power and influence or a hunger for self-indulgent pleasure? We do well to recognise our own frailty and the nature of the world in which we live. It offers the seeds of so many enticing ‘thorns’ which, if given the chance, take root and grow very vigorously. John Calvin calls us to recognise how inclined are our hearts to weeds and how careless we are about weeding!
We are enthusiastic about medical check-ups; perhaps we should be more enthusiastic about spiritual check-ups! These might take the form of honest and private answers to a spiritual questionnaire or, if invited to do so, an honest and godly friend might help us to spot a cluster of fruitfulness-reducing weeds we had not noticed or had simply assumed were just ‘part of our current phase of life’. Keeping alert to the appearance of ‘seedling thorns’ by regularly meditating on God’s word, must offer us the best and most frequent use of our heavenly Father’s appointed weeding instrument or ‘hoe’!
How can we make the legitimate concerns of this world take only their rightful proportion of our time, effort and emotional energy? Only, surely, in our wealth creation, responsibilities and pleasures, by determinedly seeking first our heavenly Father’s honour, his kingdom and his will; by ‘seeking first the kingdom of heaven.’
Good soil: those who hear, hold fast and over time prove fruitful
Finally, the seed that fell on good ground, ‘Those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.’ Here is the picture of ground that is fertile, well watered and weeded. Spiritually it depicts people who bring a good and honest heart to the hearing of the word; people who are unprejudiced and willing to learn; people who have no other priority but to hear and embrace the word of God. They hear it, reflect on it, seek further insight into it and put it into practice in day by day living. Having so taken hold of it, even though that is at the expense of the things of this world, they pray for strength to hold it fast through the challenges of life, the scoffing and the times of doubt. These are people whose lives are gradually changed as they, ‘grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ’ – as they trust him, submit to him, walk with him and are empowered by the Holy Spirit to live and speak for him.
In the crowd of people listening to the Lord, who would be like that? After Pentecost when Peter and John were arrested, the authorities were amazed by their holy boldness and wisdom – and noted that, although in their eyes ‘ignorant and unlearned men’, Peter and John ‘had been with Jesus.’ On the Day of Pentecost itself, Peter had spoken with God-given clarity and power, and three thousand turned, believed and were baptised. On that day alone the harvest yield was very great. Later, as Peter was led by God to proclaim the gospel in Cornelius’s house the harvest of God amongst the non-Jewish people was begun. Peter’s ministry in those early days was dramatically fruitful.
In more recent history, John and Charles Wesley, George Whitefield, and Charles Spurgeon were each wonderfully fruitful in their generation as was Billy Graham in the last century. Many others have been exceedingly fruitful, as Matthew and Mark record, ‘some thirty, some sixty, some a hundredfold.’
For ourselves, the challenge of the good soil is to be receptive and fruitful ground. From the parable, that means being eager to hear and understand the word of God. It will mean being willing to ‘turn and be healed’; willing and eager to ‘believe and be saved’. It will mean receiving the Lord Jesus for the one he truly is; submitting to him as the Son of God and accepting his great work on the cross as essential for our acceptance before Almighty God. It will mean putting the Lord’s commandments and teaching into practice in our own lives. In company with our fellow Christians, it will mean being his willing servants; salt and light in our society and in our world. To be so, we are called to pray that he would fill us, daily, with his Holy Spirit so that we are able to be his ambassadors as we are out and about among friends, neighbours, colleagues and family. That may, or may not, lead to a recognised pastoral, preaching or teaching ministry.
I love that final expression found only in Luke, ‘bear fruit with patience.’ Here is nothing instant, it is like the seed growing, it takes time, great patience and persistence and even then the true harvest is not apparent until harvest time. Only then can it be accurately assessed, and then only by the Lord of the Harvest himself.
The sharp challenge of the parable is to ask, ’What kind of soil am I today? What kind of soil am I likely to be in five years time? Do I have, and will I have, an open heart to turn and be forgiven. Do I now, and will I then, rejoice in the salvation of God? Will the gospel seed have been snatched away, will the devil have stopped me believing and being saved? Will I have fallen away in difficult days because I have not let his word root deeply in my life? Will I have gone on my way, the things of this world smothering and choking my love of the things of God? Will I be found, at the last, to have played my part for the kingdom of heaven; been fruitful before the Lord God?
All God’s work in our lives, awakening us, keeping us and enabling us to be fruitful, is of his goodness, by his Holy Spirit and his living word active in our lives. And yet very clearly, from this parable, we have our part to play: By hungering for these things, making time for them, welcoming them and being actively receptive of them. By letting God’s word take root deeply in our thinking and be expressed in our day by day living and in our treatment of those about us. By keeping our lives well weeded before the Lord and constantly guarding godly priorities. – In short, by seeking first the kingdom of God.
Lord Jesus cause us, like the disciples, to hunger to understand and respond to the word you have sown. Cause us to see for ourselves where we stand before you. Fill us with the Holy Spirit of God and stir us to joyfully hold fast your word and steadfastly hunger, pray and labour for fruitfulness before you.
Peter walking on water, Matthew 14:28-31
Peter denying his Lord, Mark 14:66-72
People giving up following Jesus, John 6:66-69
Devoted to the apostles’ teaching, Acts 2:42
Judas’ interest in money, John 12:3-8
Grow in grace and knowledge, 2 Peter 3:18
Peter and John arrested, Acts 4:13
Peter on the Day of Pentecost, Acts 2:14-42
Peter in Cornelius’ House, Acts 10:43
Questions for reflection and discussion
Rocky soil – 1. Are we discerning in our reaction to what we hear and see on television?
- Would we admit to times of spiritual dryness, when faith all but withered away?
- What encouragement is there to be found in the apostle Peter as his life reflects these soils?
- We love the promises of the word of God but what other facets do we need to heed to be strongly rooted?
- What kinds of testing times might come to us and how can we help one another through them?
Thorny soil – 6. Which particular weeds do you see choking the fruitfulness of Christians in our culture?
- Is it nearly impossible to be fruitful for the Lord when bringing up young children . . . or are they a field for our fruitfulness?
- How common is it to go through times and seasons when the pressures of life make us ‘pretty weedy’?
- How could we help one another with ‘spiritual weeding’?
- Have you ever spent time considering the spiritual ‘thorn bushes’ that are growing and taking appropriate action? They grow in church and national life as well as in personal life.
Good soil – 11. To what extent do we hunger and pray that that God would raise up exceedingly fruitful people for the honour of his name and the building of his kingdom in our own day?
- How can we ‘grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ’?
- How can we encourage one another to be increasingly fruitful?
- How can we better watch out for the opportunities the Lord God gives us day by day?