Sermon podcast: Trinity 510 Jul 2017 By Sermon Podcasts
Mark Wild, Lay Minister in the Worcestershire West Rural Team Ministry, 17 July 2017
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Something over thirty years ago, and am I am not going to say how many over thirty it was, I worked for a local council when the age of the computer for the masses was just dawning.
The council’s computer man tried to explain to those in the building office about hardware, software and how to use this thing to carry out structural design functions.
This technology was very new and most of us, including me, struggled to get to grips with it, let alone considered what else it would do.
When our computer man thought that he was wasting his time trying to teach us about this wonderful technology that was going to change our lives, he would say “and some fell on stony ground”.
Meaning that his knowledge was going nowhere.
It sat on the surface of our brains and very little permeated inside.
It was like the seed that Jesus spoke about that fell onto the path and could not grow at all.
Our understanding was snatched away before we could grasp what we were being told.
It was like a foreign language.
I got better at understanding computers, but I ended up as a Building Surveyor rather than a computer expert.
However, the same thing applies to some of those that we talk to about Jesus.
His concept of life, right and wrong, forgiveness and sacrifice seem totally alien.
They make no sense at all.
Just as computer technology was very new to me all those years ago and I struggled to grasp what I was being told, so the words that Jesus was saying to the people then, were also very new and the meaning difficult to grasp.
Although Jesus walked this earth about two thousand years ago and so the words that he spoke and the message that he was trying give his people have been in the world for a long time, we must realise that for many in this country today they are very new.
They have not heard them before.
Not only that, they strike against a lot of what the world accepts as right and good.
This means that the reasons Jesus gave for His message not being accepted still apply today.
The people in our world have not been prepared to receive the seed of truth that Jesus gives us.
Just as soil needs preparing before a seed is planted with a chance that it will grow and provide a crop, so must the lives of people be prepared as well.
Otherwise what we tell them will also lose the message of Jesus before they can understand it.
Others will not have time to let it root into their lives before troubles or problems come along and they go back to their previous coping strategies.
Growing anything is not easy, but it is possible and good results can be achieved if the ground is well prepared first.
But what does this tell us about how we should live our own lives and possible help others live in the Kingdom of God?
Farmers usually plough their fields before planting to provide good ground to sow the seed into, to give it the best chance to germinate and prosper.
But how do we that with people?
There are several ways, one of which is to show by example the benefits of being a Christian.
We need to celebrate our faith.
I remember hearing someone say, that the trouble with Christians is that they mourn their faith, they do not celebrate it.
Who wants to be part of a group of people who are always miserable?
That is not very enticing.
We can also talk about our faith in a way that makes it relevant.
We then need to make time to carry on encouraging these people when they have started to express a faith.
Encourage them to carry on meeting other Christians, to read Christian books.
To keep things growing they need water and fertilizer and so do people.
Faith needs feeding.
Leading on from that, we need to give our God time in our lives to stop him being squeezed out.
This I find really hard sometimes, but we have to keep on trying.
And we must try and do the same for others.
Include them in some of our God time.
Encourage them to come with you to church.
My friends Mick and Julia did that for me by inviting me to their church.
There I found a living personal faith in Jesus and my life was changed for the better for ever.
The actual germinating is done by God through the Holy Spirit, but we can act as the farmer, tending the soil.
We are God’s people on earth and we must expect Him to want to use us to help Him in this work.
We can sow thoughts and ideas in people’s minds and then help to keep them there.
We can be there for people, we can show them kindness, compassion and listen to them.
And for people to grow and live in good soil they do it by living with and in Jesus and only Jesus.
Any other soil goes stale, loses its growing power, it is in Christ alone where we grow and prosper.
Two questions for us today.
Who we know, that God has put on our heart, who really needs Jesus in their lives today?
What we can do to help prepare them to accept Jesus as their Lord and saviour when the seed of truth about Jesus falls into their lives?