Sexagesima Sunday (2015)
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Delivered By
Pr. Mark
Delivered On
February 8, 2015
Central Passage
Luke 8:4-15
Description

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.

People love the parables of Jesus. We love them because we can always make ourselves out to be the good in every parable. Even the unbeliever thinks himself like the Good Samaritan. Even the sinner fancies that his heart will produce the good fruit. The proud are proud that they are like the publican and not like the Pharisee. And here in today’s parable there isn’t one among us that doesn’t think we’re the good soil. Of course we’re the good soil. We get it. The word of God has sunk into us and we understand. We’re producing fruit.

But the parables aren’t given for the believer – for those who produce fruit. They are given for the unbeliever – for those who do not produce fruit. It is as St. Paul says, “Prophecy is for believers and tongues are for unbelievers” (1 Corinthians 14:22).

Our Lord says to the disciples: “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but to others it is given in parables so that hearing they do not hear and seeing they do not see.” Jesus is talking about the crowd that just heard this parable. They are the path from which the word of God is stolen by Satan and never takes root. They are the rocky soil that has no moisture so the word dies and does not grow. They are the weed infested soil that chokes out the word of the Lord with the pleasures and cares and riches of this life.

Jesus has just told a parable to the people about the people. The sad irony is that they hear the parable and think, “Yeah, I’m that good soil. I produce fruit.” They hear the parable – as they hear all the parables – as assurances that they are in good with God and understand what the kingdom is all about. After all, who is going to hear Jesus and think he doesn’t hear?

But they don’t. And taking a cue from our Lord, some of us here don’t either. Consider that today – Sunday, February 08, 2015 – a great multitude has gathered, people from town after town have come to Jesus to hear Him. Not just here, but in Wichita, Topeka, Houston, San Francisco, and throughout the whole earth. Every day a great throng of people crowd around Jesus, a greater throng than was there in Judea. This great crowd that covers the whole globe hears Jesus. There are some that are hardened soil, some that are rocky soil, some that are weed infested soil, and some that are good soil. So it is here today.

The bad soils produce nothing. The good soil produces the fruit of the kingdom of God. That’s because the good fruit doesn’t hear a parable about good works, how we might get in and stay in the kingdom of God. The bad soil hears the parable in this way. The bad soil hears this parable and thinks, “Oh, I hear God’s word, now I will produce fruit.” But they hear and hear and hear the word of the Lord without ears to hear. They hear and do not do. They are like James says, “Hearers but not doers”.

So what does it mean to be a doer of the word? What does it mean to bear fruit with patience? It means to wait upon the Lord. That is godly patience. And godly patience screams in the face of moral-based Christianity, that good Christians are really no different than good people except that the Christian gives a nod to Jesus and goes to church.

People say they don’t steal because stealing is wrong. The Christian doesn’t steal because he is waiting for His heavenly Father to provide for him. People say they don’t commit adultery because it’s wrong, the Christian doesn’t sleep around because he is waiting on His heavenly Father to bring him his wife. People say they don’t lie because lying is wrong. The Christian doesn’t lie because God is the truth and we are people of God, waiting for the truth to be revealed on the Last Day. People say they pray because praying is good. The Christian prays because she is waiting on her heavenly Father who promises to hear her. People go to church because that’s what you’re supposed to do and it’s good to go to church. The Christian goes to church because the Christian is waiting on his heavenly Father to bless him with the eternal Son.

People say that to forgive is good and so they pretend to forgive. The Christian forgives from his heart because his heart is remade in the image of the Son of God who forgave him.

In other words, the Christian is not motivated by what is good or what is bad. The Christian is motivated by God, moved by the Spirit, we might say. The Christian does what he or she does because Jesus died for their sins and rose for their justification; because we have a heavenly Father who knows us and hears us and promises us every good and every blessing. And in holy patience we wait upon Him, waiting upon the Lord.

And in waiting we call out to Him. This, too, is good fruit; for whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. We call out to Him in the bad times for deliverance and patience and mercy, but also in the good times in thanksgiving for deliverance and patience and mercy. We call out to Him because of His great and awesome promises of resurrection, vindication, deliverance, and peace by the blood and obedience of Jesus.

To you the secrets of the kingdom are made known. Not in parables, for parables are for the crowds of unbelievers. To you the Lord speaks plainly and tells you about the Father and comforts you with His promises of life and salvation. To you He has given ears to hear so that you would bear fruit – waiting upon the Lord – with patience, holding fast to the word of the Lord.

+ In Nomine Iesu +