24—accomodating bad soil in the church
My name is Tom; this is Simple Church Minute.
In Mark 4, Matthew 13, and Luke 8 appears a parable of Jesus. We call it the parable of the sower. The people of Jesus’ day would have found the beginning funny. Life was hard, and if you were planting crops, you would be careful not to waste your seed—it was your livelihood, just like a person today starting a business must be very careful how he or she uses the initial capital. BUT, the farmer, in Jesus’ story, starts by spreading seed on hard ground and shallow ground, thorny ground and good ground. The seed represent the types of people who hear the message of the Gospel. The seed that lands on hard ground are the people who will always reject Jesus’ message. The shallow ground are like people who like the ideas of heaven, but don’t want anything to do with what looks to them like the hard stuff—letting Jesus run their life, trials, persecution. The thorny ground people are the ones who accept the life Jesus offers, but get distracted by the worries of the world. The last group, the good ground, Jesus calls the seeds that bear fruit. If this was yours or my garden, only the last one would count for anything, and we’d blame ourselves for how the thorny ground turned out.
Much of the traditional churches are concerned, sometimes overtly, sometimes subtly, with how many seeds are on the plot, without regard to fruitfulness. A small amount of people who truly believe Jesus, gather regularly, encourage one another such that all grow regularly to the maturity of faith, God can move through them. In such a situation, any people that to us humans seem to be hard, shallow, or thorny ground will show themselves to be actually good ground, or will get out because of not wanting to repent. That’s OK—the believer does God’s will, the Holy Spirit speaks His truth into the spirits of the people that are truly the church. To the degree any church concentrates on watering infertile seed, to that degree it is growing a mud pie, not a fruit pie.
On the recording, at this time, it says, “house churches.” While that phrasing is OK, to say “organic church” is better. I comment on that in blip 94.