“Wonder Filled Growth”

Luke 8:8,15

June 20th, 21st, 2009


            Are some people more prone toward “religious activity than others”?  According to a 2005 article in the Journal of Personality, a large study was done with twins raised apart, and it concluded that 40% of religious inclination might in some way be based on genetic understandings.   Well that “may”makes sense, it does seem that some people are more into religious practice then others.  However, in a story Jesus told about a farmer who sowed the seed, the farmer  didn’t bother to read this Journal of Personality article.      He didn’t plant his seed into just the right dirt, with just the right amount of rainfall.  No this farmer, is throwing his seed all over the place.  I mean its landing on roads, in bushes, even on some rocks.  Can you imagine a farmer, planting corn in lawns, across highways, on gravel roads?   Today, we encounter a God who is determined to be heard, and to bring his Word to bear on everyone   who is in ear shot of his message .   Jesus planted his message on people like tax collectors, prostitutes, religious  outcasts , the rich and poor disenfranchised, and yes a whole bunch of sinners.  It’s a message that he matters, and that because Jesus matters so do you, and so do I.

            Why does this Word matter to everyone?   Well on the first day of VBS we heard again the account of our beginnings.   How God spoke and things came to be.   How like an artist he created everything from nothing .  This matters because there is no such thing as a self made man or women.   Rather, according to Genesis 2 we are made in his image.  Mother earth wasn’t made in his image, animals were not made in his image, but humanity, male and female are meant to be connected to him.    Whether we like it or not, all of humanity is “under” the One God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.   The problem is many people don’t know about it, and many others don’t find it all that important.  Yet we do.  Which is why we started each day of VBS with “Father I adore you, simply reminding each of us that it is the One God, Father, son and Holy Spirit who made us, redeems us, and keeps us going.   

            We should all love hearing from the one who made us, and gave us such a privileged status.  I mean to go in this world on our own would be tough.  The fact is, we don’t naturally love hearing from the one who has authority over us.   We like to make gods in our own image, and these gods merely are extensions of ourselves.   Since our ancestors Adam and Even chose to go their own direction, we have believed that somehow we are self sufficient.   Or how about this one, that because our lives have fallen short of God’s ideal, somehow we are less then.   Sure God’s mercy has been placed on me, but somehow we are less than others in God’s eyes.  It’s sort of like a child who knows he is loved or at least acknowledge by his parents, but he is convinced that the one who is truly loved in his family is the older sister.   Because of our sins, our failures, or lacks in so many ways we are less then.    This is the Word that falls on the road, and the devil quickly starts spouting out lies, that we are somehow less then in God’s eyes

            Well why aren’t we less than in God’s eyes?  On Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday we heard about Jesus who comes along and does some pretty amazing things.   You see somehow knowing we are created by him, isn’t enough, knowing we are made in his image isn’t enough.   On Tuesday, we heard about Jesus transforming work seen in his changing water into wine at the wedding of Cana.   We also saw the power of Jesus, as he was transformed in all his glory among his followers at the Mount of Transfiguration.   Here we hear of a real Savior, who gives more than the eye can see.    In fact his is the first born of all creation, John says he is the word made flesh.   His changing water into wine, was merely a sign so something far greater.  A pointer to his ultimate work.   His transfiguration, while powerful and awesome to experience was also merely a sign to something far greater.   While Moses and Elijah spoke of his exodus, he alone would now be the new exodus, the new Savior for the Red Sea of Sin.  

            Yet, even this Divine Word   can become rather hum drum.   In the parable of the seed and the sower, this seed falls on a rock, and nothing grows.   The message that God is our creator, and that we are accountable to him and others he has made, and that Jesus is the ultimate in power and mercy, is to be heard and apprehended again and again.  Yet, for the disciples and for us, there are going to be those who shoot out of the gate with Christian zeal and devotion, but they just don’t have enough in them in regards to the Word to make it around the track.  

            Another thing that stops up our ears to the word of God are the worries and pleasures or life.  .   “The seed that feel among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches, and pleasures, and they do not mature.   We tend to take our cue from the timeframe and value system of the world rather than the word of God.  I remember as a grade school riding the bus with Harry  , he was in 8th grader, and he had all sorts of views on the world which   were much more entertaining than my parents.  Yet, in retrospect I’m not sure what I heard from Mr. worldly 8th grader was much good.   Isn’t it true that not only do sorrows and troubles that keep people from God’s word, but sometimes it’s the pleasures.    How often having the car, the house, the bank account gives us freedom to pursue what we think really matters, pleasure.   Pleasure isn’t bad, it is good, but it can take over.

            Yet, there is some seed that falls on good soil, and it produces an abundant crop, much more than what it looked like at the beginning.  On the last day we heard the Word concerning Jesus resurrection.   He became the seed that went into the tomb, and he was the one who grew up out of the grave, and now spreads his grace all around.  He is the one who took on himself, our tendency to hear God’s Word and not think of it as a big deal.  His death and resurrection rendered mute that satanic voice which says that when it comes to God we are just not enough.   His resurrection power, brings life to those of us who have grown accustomed to the pleasure principal defining our lives.    Wonder filled growth means we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Wonder Filled growth happens solely and completely by the grace of God in Christ Jesus. 

            It is not our genetics that brings or keeps us in the faith.   Rather it is the powerful Word of a God who sees fit to bring the grace, mercy, and love of Jesus into your life and mine.  That is wonderful indeed!  Amen.