Sexagesima (Luke 8; Is 55)

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“The Seed is the Word of God.”

᛭ INI ᛭

We’re looking at God’s Word today. Sola Scriptura: by Scripture alone, by the Bible alone. The Bible is God’s Word, and the Bible, only the Bible, is where everything we believe comes from. The Bible is where what we do comes from. How we feel about something or what we think or what we’ve done in the past—none of that matters. The Bible is God’s Word, and the Bible decides what we should believe and how we should act.

This isn’t just some abstract rule, though it should be done. God demands it in the 1st Table of the Law. But Sola Scriptura has to do with its benefit, and the benefit doesn’t just come from the Bible but all the ways God’s Word touches our lives. The Bible is God’s Written Word, but there’s also His Visible Word, the Sacraments.

The blessing and benefit of God’s Word is the same, whether we’re looking at Scripture (the Bible) or the Sacraments. Jesus’ Parable in Luke 8 and His Prophecy in Isaiah 55 couldn’t be any clearer:

GOD’S WORD ALWAYS GROWS.

((I. The LORD sows His Word, His Gospel Word.))

For God’s Word to grow it has to be sown, and it is! Jesus uses a farmer analogy to describe how He gives out the Word: “Sower went out to sow.” But the body part for Words isn’t the hand, even though God’s Word is written down. “The Word goes out from My mouth,” Jesus says in Isaiah. His mouth is all the people He used to deliver it: Isaiah and all the Prophets, Paul and all the Apostles. Jesus Himself came and preached, too.

[[The Holy Spirit of Christ [1 Pt 1] was working through His chosen hands (2 Pt 1:21; 1 Tim 3:16) and mouths (Lk 24:46ff.) to record and keep His Word to successive generations. The Prophets and Apostles served as Jesus’ Spirit-filled amanuenses.]]

The Lord always sows His Word. He sows it everywhere. In the parable Jesus describes Himself sowing in such a way that the Seed, His Holy Word, falls on street and stones, in weedy and farmable land. He uses a slightly different farming analogy in Isaiah, saying that His Word is like “rain and snow:” precipitation for Summer and Winter—and everything in between! So the Spirit also says through Paul: “Preach the Word. Be ready in season and out of season.” (2 Tim 4:2)

No matter where He sows, it grows! (Or would grow. More on that in a minute.) No matter when His Word comes it “will do the thing for which I sent it.” The Word here isn’t just the Word in general, or His Law and His Gospel, but rather it’s His Gospel Word. That’s the Word that grows and gives life: “For the letter [of the Law] kills, but the Spirit [in the Gospel] gives life,” (2 Cor 3:6) as Paul says and means. [[Gal 3; Dt 32:39]] “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ.” (Rom 10) “The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation for all who believe.” (Rom 1)

((II. The problem isn’t the Seed but the soils.))

So, the LORD sows His Word, and it always does what His Word does: grows. GOD’S WORD ALWAYS GROWS, however, when you look at Jesus’ parable that doesn’t seem to fit. But actually it does! The problem isn’t with the Seed but with the soils—not with the Word but with human hearts.

The fact that GOD’S WORD ALWAYS GROWS is actually proved by what the devil does. “The devil comes and takes the Word, so that they wouldn’t be saved by believing (πιστεύσαντες) that Word.” As Paul also says, “If the Gospel is veiled it is veiled to those who are perishing. In them the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers so that the light of the Glory of Christ would not shine upon them.” (2 Cor 4:4) No seed, no crops.

GOD’S WORD ALWAYS GROWS, even in rocky soil. The rocky soil is someone who hears God’s Word, hears the Gospel, and believes for awhile, but the faith is shallow. They might even boast of deep faith, but such boast isn’t true, not their claim of having any faith is true. Dead crops.

GOD’S WORD ALWAYS GROWS, even in thorny soils. Those soils are people who care more about worldly things: their bills, their money, their cars, their homes, their stuff, their careers, their chores, their hobbies, their days off, their vacations, their going hunting, their sleeping in, their spouse, their kids, their family, their friends, their sports, their tournaments fill up their day to day lives and calendars. It’s a long list of thorns that penetrate deep into “heart, soul, mind, and strength.” “Their fruit doesn’t mature.” Dead crops.

((Transition.))

What are we to make of the “pleasant and good soil”? Well, not many will be Christians, that’s one thing. Let each of us examine his own heart and determine to which class he belongs. [[cf. Luther’s Sermons, Vol. 5, 285–293]] It’s a scary prospect. What soil are you? Consider your life. How you treat the Bible, Sermons, and the Sacraments. For the first three soils the Word is of no lasting effect. GOD’S WORD ALWAYS GROWS, but it only grows one hundredfold in the fourth, the “pleasant and good, soil.”

If we look only at ourselves, there’s no hope. Pasture doesn’t become arable on its own. Today, the Lord closes all eyes and opens all ears: “Whoever has ears, listen up!” In goes His Word! The Lord Jesus sows His Word everywhere. He sows continually, “so that we would believe and be saved,” for His Word isn’t an empty word, though we treat it that way, but it’s “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword.” (Heb 4) His Word is powerful enough to fix the soils.

((III. The LORD’s Word fixes the soils.))

His Word drives off the devil. That Word first given in Baptism, but he’s like the crow that goes to and fro over the land made new in Baptism. Any excuse that would prevent you from reading, hearing, listening to God’s Word or receiving the Sacrament is demonic. The devil doesn’t want you here today.

The LORD’s Word fixes the soils. “Isn’t My Word like a hammer that smashes rocks, and a fire that burns?” Declares the Lord. A shallow receiving of God’s Word won’t do. Putting other things before His Word and Sacrament won’t do either. Unless you want to have no moisture, to have things in your life that will choke the Word. “That won’t be me, pastor.” Isn’t that you now?

God doesn’t just want to burn you to dust with the 3rd Commandment, and all it’s implications for how we actually spend our time and Sundays. His 3rd Commandment protects His Word, His Gospel, the forgiveness of sins. He wants to give you new life, a life that’s lived in the power of Jesus’ death and resurrection. “Unless a grain of wheat is buried and dies it remains alone, but if it dies it bears much fruit.”

The Word Jesus gives delivers that to you. In many and various ways! All over the place! Falling anywhere and everywhere: path, rocks, thorns, field. All the time: rain, snow, everything in between. And what will happen? “Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall make a name for the LORD, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.” He’ll do that for you. He’ll do it in His Word.

((Conclusion.))

GOD’S WORD ALWAYS GROWS.

He will give you faith, strengthen your faith, keep you in the faith. The faith that actually trusts Jesus, that He died and rose for you. His Word will do that. He will implant that Word within you—into “your heart, soul, mind, and strength,” and that “implanted Word will save your soul,” (James 1) and heart and mind and strength.

He plants His Word into us at Baptism, in the Bible, through the Sermon, and in the Absolution. At the Supper He places His Word into our ears and His Body and Blood into our mouths! No doubt that He really wants it FOR YOU.

He puts His Word in all these places to drive away the devil, clear out rocks and thorns, and make you into a field that bears a hundredfold. He delivers His Word in all these ways, His forgiveness in all these ways, His Gospel in all these ways, so that it’s received “not only by hearing” but also “feeling and tasting.” “The promise of the Gospel is meant for the whole man.” (Schlink, 187)

The whole of you bearing such fruit. His Word will make you so. After all,

GOD’S WORD ALWAYS GROWS.

᛭ INI ᛭

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