Gospel Paradigms – #5


Walk in Wisdom – Gleanings from the Scripture

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Matt. 13.18 – Hear then the parable of the sower. Mark 4.14 – The sower sows the word.

Another very familiar Gospel paradigm is that contained in Jesus’ parable of the sower. It might be worth a short re-visit.

Briefly, He sets a scene of early agriculture. A time when planting and harvesting – especially in the Middle-east was not as sophisticated as today. In fact, that is one of the things which makes this view so hopeful. It isn’t the “science” of evangelism that makes it successful, though we ought to study to do things well. It is the life of the seed – what is sown – that is the vital key. The Word of God, the Gospel, sown into the hearts of men is what brings us a harvest. And that is exciting. For some would make all our success dependent upon technique and skill.

Don’t get me wrong, where we can examine our efforts and improve, we should. There is no virtue in remaining primitive when there is true progress around us. Jesus didn’t have a sound system then – but there is no reason to believe he would not use one now.

Back to our parable.

Farming in Jesus’ day reversed something we take for granted. Seed was scattered first, THEN the soil was plowed up. Nor was it done in nice neat rows. It wasn’t until the 1700’s when Jethro Tull invented the seed drill that uniform seed depth and coverage were widely used.

In Jesus’ day, the sower sowing was the farmer scattering handfuls of seed on a plot of ground – somewhat randomly, and then plowing the field to turn the ground over on top of the seed.

Observe then that such an approach was not necessarily based upon efficiency. I fear we are all too worried about that today. We’re so afraid we’ll plant too deeply, or not deeply enough, or too far apart or too close together or, or, or – that we don’t scatter the seed at all! Its like, unless we can plant that one perfect seed – we just won’t do it. And beloved, it ought then be no surprise we have so little to harvest.

There is plenty of seed. We can’t “waste” it, unless we just plain fail to scatter it. It IS wasted if it remains with us. But never when it is cast abroad.

Observe too that though some of it falls in areas not given to generate crops – this itself is of little concern. The concern is in getting the seed out there. We won’t always know the soil – the heart condition – of those we sow into. But in general, the field is the world (Matt. 13.38). We just need to get it out there. There IS soil prepared. There are hearts waiting. God in His sovereign providence has made it so. We are to sow with the confidence that if we will be faithful in spreading the Gospel – He will be faithful to bring a harvest out of it.

Observe lastly that it is true that some of what we sow will have no, or perhaps just temporary results. That is not to distract us from the reality that God still intends a harvest to be had. Or he would never send us out into the field at all.

There is no such thing as an accidental harvest.

“Go into all the world and proclaim the Gospel to the whole creation” (Mark 16.15) Get to the entire field. Sow. Sow! Scatter My seed. Tell My Gospel far and wide. I have a harvest to raise up. I will send rain. I will give the sunshine. I will germinate it and cause it to grow. As for you – Go!

Now that’s a paradigm for Gospel evangelism!

 

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2 thoughts on “Gospel Paradigms – #5

  1. Reid, what do you think of what I said here in post #64?

    http://ids.org/ids/?p=519#comment-4001

    I thought of it as I read “We won’t always know the soil – the heart condition – of those we sow into”.

    I’ll post it down below;

    In view of where my thinking’s going, I want to proffer a correction to what I said about the “pre-requisite” of salvation being a broken and contrite heart in post #58…even with the qualification I gave. The gospel invitation doesn’t go out to “sensible sinners” only, but, as Spurgeon humorously said, to stupid sinners, too. “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Rev22v17) Repentance belongs to the gospel, not to law in the conscience. Everyone by first birth alone is an heir to the wrath-working of law in the conscience, but trying to answer that can’t possibly make one a Christian. It’s the gospel that’s the power of God to salvation, and it’s responding to that that saves. That’s the instrument of the Holy Spirit in granting repentance to life and freeing the sinner from the power of sin, be he never so insensible. If he’s willing to come, he’s sensible enough. Further; if he wants to be willing, he’s sensible enough. But even if he’s not willing to be willing, the gospel preached is still the power of God to salvation of anyone who hears, and is perfectly suited to making him willing to come, bringing him to His Redeemer, and giving him a contrite heart. The only use of stirring up the law in his conscience is to prove him a sinner on the ground on which he walks; to shatter his fleshly sublimation of the objective guilt that deep down he’s aware of…to “stop his mouth” so that he will listen to the gospel. Though God may use this natural means to stir up his conscience so that he will naturally hear the gospel, it in no way can be preparation to receive grace, nor is it essential. The conviction that saves is supernatural, issues in peace and comfort, belongs to the gospel itself on warrant of the written promise alone, and is supernaturally heard by the inner ear.

    Some quotes of interest;

    “The preaching of the gospel to the conversion of sinners, is absolutely free; in no way requiring as necessary, any qualifications, preparations, or terrors of the law, or preceding ministry of the law, but only and alone the naked soul, a sinner and ungodly, to receive Christ crucified, dead and buried, and risen again; who is made a prince and a Saviour for such sinners as through the gospel shall be brought to believe on Him” (article XXV, 1646 London Baptist Confession of Faith)

    “The free unlimited extent of the invitation-” If any man…” The free and unrestricted nature of the invitation, now deserves notice. Not only is the descriptive character of those invited, “those who thirst,” common to all human beings, but the invitation is so fashioned, that no human being can find the shadow of a reason for thinking himself excluded. ‘If any man thirst – any human being, however mean, guilty, depraved, and wretched, wish to he happy – let him, in the belief of the truth about me, exercise the affections which that truth believed naturally produces, and he shall be happy.’ It is not, ‘If any man be deeply sensible of his guilt, depravity, and wretchedness, let him come to me and drink.’ Such are invited;. but if that were all, as some have taught, thus, however unintentionally, clogging with conditions the unhampered offer of a free salvation, men might think that till they had brought themselves, or were in some way or other brought, into a state of deep contrition, and earnest seeking after pardon, and holiness, and salvation, it would be presumption in them to come to Christ, or even look towards the Saviour for salvation. But the invitation is, ‘Whosoever wishes to be happy, let him come to me, sinful and miserable as he is, and in me he shall find salvation. If thou art not a brute, if thou art not a devil-however like the one in sensuality, or the other in malignity-thou art invited. If thou art on earth, not in hell, thou art invited.’ ” (John Brown of Edinburgh)

    “But is it true that the offers of the Gospel, and the commandment to believe in Jesus Christ, are addressed to none but true penitents? Far from it. Christ with his righteousness and salvation is in the Gospel offered to sinners of mankind in common – to sinners as such; and sinners as such are invited and commanded to believe on His name, ‘Whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.’ ‘whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.’” (John Colquhoun of Edinburgh)

    Phil

  2. Subsequent to the post above, Reid, I read this http://freegroups.net/html/?225::16447,at soundofgrace.Do you agree with the article XXV of the 1646 confession? What do you think is the use of law is that’s being referred to in 1 Tim 1v8? I wonder that, in the new covenant era, conviction to salvation belongs to the gospel,not law, but I want to hear what you think. Here http://ids.org/ids/?p=533#comment-5332 I included a thought in post #2 that I’ve posted down below;

    “…Thought (borrowing somewhat from Bunyan and Reisinger, as I’m sure you know!)…if the room [the heart] is full of soot [sin and sinfulness], and it needs to be cleaned out, sweeping with the brush of law just stirs up the soot. We need the damsel [Holy Spirit] to sprinkle water [the gospel] so that she may sweep the room easily. Likewise, we need to have her going on sprinkling the room with water to go on cleansing the room…not hiring in the man with the broom to make a mess again! Further, in this age of redemption, doesn’t the Spirit use the gospel to convict of sin, judgment, and righteousness? I mean, if law and gospel are not parallel tracks,at a personal level, but, as Galatians 3 says, redemptive historical markers, why do we need the man with the broom to even show the room owner that his room needs cleaning? The Law was the schoolmaster to lead Jewish believers to Christ…would it not be more consistent if in the New Covenant era, conviction was by the Spirit, belonging not to law, but to gospel?In accordance with a totally free offer of “whosoever will?” If the damsel with the water turns up to cleanse the man’s room in this age, unannounced, why would she hire in the man with the broom to make a mess again first? The man’s *already* brushing the soot around with his own legal brush, to deceive himself into thinking he’s cleaning the room while keeping it just as it is! Doesn’t her turning up at the door with a full, powerful gospel carry her own intent in conviction? Maybe sending the man with the broom actually hinders her work, sinking the room owner into preparationism, the slough of despond, and an unnecessary Rom 7 experience, before he can come to Christ. So that he can’t even see the damsel at the door with the water, for all the soot flying…”

    I need to understand this clearly. I shouldn’t be “fuzzy” on such important things. I need to be right.

    Phil

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