Shallow Focus of Sprout

Jesus often referred to the Gospel as a seed. In the Parable of the Sower, the seed is cast in different types of soil and the ensuing growth is either stifled or fostered based on the condition (readiness) of the soil and the conditions surrounding the new growth. A seed is small and tiny. A seed can be crushed. However, a seed can have tremendous potential to create the largest and strongest of trees. This story illustrates the power of a seed.

This was a woman who was a professed Atheist who told her friends, “I shall not continue to live. It is as unlikely that I shall continue to live as that a tree will grow out of my body.” She went so far as to make a challenge to Heaven, saying “If, indeed, there is life hereafter, trees will render asunder my tomb.” When she died, she was buried in a tomb with a strong marble slab in 1713. A young tree made its way through the heavy marble slab and cracked the marble. The tomb was repaired and held together with thick iron railings. The tree tore the railings out of the ground, broke the masonry in two and destroyed the walls of the tomb. The tomb is now a heap of rubble, but the tree is one of the largest in England and has grown 4 trunks in the middle of where the large marble tomb was laid.

The Story of Lady Anne Grimstone

The Parable of the Sower is one of the many parables that Jesus taught to His disciples regarding spiritual growth. Birds many times in the Bible are used to portray demons. There are many competing forces to including this world, our flesh, and the demonic realm. The main focus of this parable demonstrates the importance of the depth that the seed of the gospel has been planted in our lives. See Matthew 13:18-23 for Jesus’ explanation of the parable.

Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

Matthew 13:3–9

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

Romans 1:16–17

A seed can be mighty when strategically placed, watered, and cultivated. The power of the gospel is the amazing grace of God that Jesus offered to us with His death and resurrection from the dead. Jesus paid for all sins for all time, and anyone who trusts in Him alone receives the free gift of eternal life and complete forgiveness of his or her sins. This powerful transformation, eternal relationship with God, and power is received by faith.

Our ability for spiritual growth and experiencing abundant fruit is dependent on the extent that the gospel pierces our hearts. What are some hangups, doubts, or misconceptions that are blocking the gospel from penetrating your hearts?

The first mention of the Gospel was when God cursed the Serpent. God alluded to the Messiah’s heel being bruised, but Satan would eventually get a death blow to the head by Messiah. The bruising of the heel foretold the crucifixion of Jesus and the resurrection (Hebrews 2:14-18). The “Seed” is the Messiah that would be traced through the woman. The “seed” of Satan is any demonic force, anyone who does evil, and the Anti-Christ who is revealed during the Great Tribulation in Revelation.

And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.”

Genesis 3:15

Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.

Hebrews 2:14–18

Jesus bruised Satan’s heel on the cross when He conquered death and paid for all sins once and for all. However, it is yet to come when Jesus will crush Satan’s head, and send him to the Lake of Fire (see Romans 16:20 and Revelation 20:10).

The next passage was a turning point for the Nation of Israel, when the religious rulers accused Jesus of being demon possessed. However, instead of Jesus being on the side of Satan, He was about to bind Satan, “the strong man.” Jesus bound the strong man through displaying His weakness and sacrificing Himself for all of humanity in one defining blow to Satan’s head. This act removed Satan’s authority over death and power over all who believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior.

Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw. And all the multitudes were amazed and said, “Could this be the Son of David?” Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, “This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.” But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house. He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.

Matthew 12:22–30

After this accusation, Jesus removed His offer to bring His kingdom to Earth at that time, and began focusing on equipping His followers for His departure. Later in Chapter 12, Jesus refers to the unpardonable sin. This is the Nation of Israel’s rejection of the Holy Spirit’s witness that Jesus is the Son of God. Those Jews who did not accept Jesus as the Messiah and Savior of their sins would not be forgiven of their sins. Because of this rejection, Christ will have His Second Advent, or Second Coming in the near future. Until then, all humans have the choice to accept the Gospel and all believers have the choice of whether to demonstrate it.

The Apostle Paul wrote about his affliction that he prayed God would remove. However, these verses are the answer to his prayer. There is a supernatural power that comes with the humility and weakness of humans.

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:9–10

Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.

John 9:1–3

Our weakness can either bring us to our knees in dependence before God, or force us to find a way to cover or hide it. Suffering can truly sharpen us and build our character if we allow God to work through it in our lives.

When have you experienced weakness in your life, and how did you deal with it? How can we connect weakness to the power of the Gospel?

Our access to the tremendous power of the gospel is through humility. We follow in the footsteps of Jesus, who showed His power to us through pouring out His life for us. The Apostle Paul pleaded with the Philippian Church to be unified in mind and live out of humility and love for one another, following the example of Jesus. This is truly discipleship. It is one thing to accept the gospel, and it is another thing to let it transform us.

We are eternally secure when we believe in Jesus, but we miss out on an entirely different dimension when we don’t follow Him in humility, like a seed that is planted and produces amazing fruit.

Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

Philippians 2:1–8

These verses illustrate what a life of surrender looks like.

What is something that you have pursued or are pursuing that is competing with God in your life? How can you let go of that pursuit to pursue what God wants for you?

How powerful is the Gospel in your life? Do you see it as the power that binds Satan, that defeats sin, death, and shame? Do you treat the Gospel with the power that it deserves in your daily life?

Here are a couple of challenges for you.

  • Take steps to prioritize God and live through His power.
  • Let go of your desire to hide your weakness (and be compassionate when others expose their weaknesses).
  • Live out the power of the Gospel, and allow others to witness that power in your life.

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