Sermon in a nutshell: Matthew 13:1-23
We can bear fruits. We will bear fruits abundantly with the grace of God. Who are we? We are the children of God and citizens of the Kingdom of God. We are created by God, the Father, and saved by the blood of Jesus. We are daily guided by the Holy Spirit. So we can bear fruits abundantly in our lives.
However, there are some things that we have to do to receive God’s grace. God showers grace like seeds on the field. Can you see God’s grace coming down from heaven constantly upon us? Some people can see this spectacle and hear the sound of Grace coming down like the waterfall. Some people simply cannot see and hear. We cannot see or hear with eyes and ears. We can see and hear only through our hearts and spirit.
Then what does block our vision and hearing? Jesus taught us that there were basically three obstacles. The first obstacle is physical conditions. We have to sit still with concentration. If the cell phones keep ringing and doors keep opening and closing, we cannot concentrate on God’s words. If we are too tired we cannot listen to the words of God. We doze off. If we are too hungry, we are thinking about the food that we can eat after the worship and cannot concentrate. The seeds are sown but snatched away right away. Whether we read the Bible, write a spiritual journal, or listen to the words of God, we have to take full rest, find peaceful place, and concentrate. Our God deserves our full attention.
The second obstacles are coming from outside. Sometimes Christians are persecuted. These days, worldwide, there are still Christians whose lives are destroyed because of their faith. In many Communist countries and Islam countries, yes, Christians are persecuted and killed. In such situations, baby Christians, whose faith is not strong enough to endure persecution, give up their faith. Sometimes Christians experience sufferings in life. Terminal illness, natural disasters, conflict in relationships, financial crisis, to name a few, we experience all the troubles that non-Christians are going through. In such situations, young Christians simply give up their faith, saying that God does not protect me or that God punishes me! God does not promise us trouble-free life but a life with final victory. When we endure with faith, we can and will produce fruits abundantly.
The third obstacles are in our hearts. It appears as cares of the world and the lure of wealth. When we are caught by these obstacles, we lose our purpose in our lives. We do not live for the glory of God but for our flesh and desires. We do not focus on mission but seek for our preference. We seek for our own prestige and fame. The word of God is chocked and not able to grow. We have to use the means of Grace (prayer, Bible study, Holy Communion, Service project, journaling, small group, worship, witness) to examine our hearts and strengthen our spirit.
When we open our eyes and see the wonderful grace of God falling upon us and when we hear the heavenly harmony singing the chorus, praising God continuously, when we cleanse our hearts and purify our soul daily, we will be free from anxieties and worries and selfish desires. God will provide basic necessities of life and we will enjoy peace like a river and joy like fire in our lives. Are you ready to live such a blessed life? Are you willing to witness the fruits? May God be with us all in this fruitful life!
- What does help you to overcome the sufferings that make you doubt about God’s love?
- How do you fight against the temptations that follow you all the time?