Becoming the Gospel

  A sermon given on the Gospel Matthew 13: 1-9


learn the Son and the Holy Spirit one
God I'm in good morning I want to thank
Reverend father's abouna McCoy one of
the measures in Abu Nepal for receiving
me back as you know this is my DC family
and I didn't realize what a privilege I
had at this church this morning I was
introduced twice today already not as
Abu Nepal's brother but as Joshua's
uncle and I made two new friends there
are three years old so I feel like other
such a real connection to this church
now we're speaking today about the
gospel that you heard last week we read
it twice already that being said the
fact you've already heard it once a week
ago means that we're preparing ourselves
to be one of the three soils unless we
do something about it it's as if the
church is saying it's not enough to hear
the word of God but it's important for
us to do the word of god and i hope that
since we've heard it last week and we
know the message of this parable right
we know the message of the sower and the
seed its to do something with the word
of god so please tell me you've already
heard his you've already done so much
with the word of god in the last week
right I mean that's you don't even need
to hear it because you already did
everything that was said you're not one
of the three soils right well I'll be
honest sometimes the terminology in this
parable doesn't always move me Christ
hold parables in the language of the
people and so it made sense to them I
have to confess I am a certified plant
killer and my wife is my instructor
we're not good at planting and so it
doesn't it doesn't always make sense to
me so I wonder if Christ could have said
this differently for us the same point
the same exact point but the idea Christ
is trying to get across is this why is
the word of God ineffective
you I'm going to say that again because
it's kind of hurtful why is the word of
God ineffective in you he says there's
three types of people and I think I
don't really know what a wayside is I
don't know if I've been to a wayside I
might even be living on a way said I
don't know but i wonder if he could have
said some seed fell even even better
place in this generation where does the
word of God go with you I mean in this
generation where do you have the word of
God how many of you have one of these
hardly anyone has one of these books
called the Bible anymore because where's
your where's the Word of God now no one
brings these because you bring it on
your on your phone so it's no longer on
the wayside God gave you the Word of God
on your phone it's on your body
practically it's in your pocket is in
your purse it's with you wherever you go
and does the bird need to snatch it no
I'll tell you why the problem is not
that we need someone to snatch it
because we have left it behind because
on your phone you have the app for your
Bible every Coptic person does I know
that but you also have this other app
called Facebook and the reason why the
seed sits there so long is because you
scroll and scroll and scroll not through
the Bible app because you scroll in
skull and scroll through the facebook
app we don't have to worry about birds I
mean we're just leaving it there he
could have said oh you distracted
generation the reason why the word is
ineffective is because you're distracted
even on facebook when the Word of God is
there you scroll and you scroll and you
scroll and you don't stop at that one to
show you how how distracted we are this
country has given us a day off we get
one whole day no work and what is this
day appointed for
spending it with God in Thanksgiving how
many of you have planned from now you've
gone all over the internet how you're
going to spend that day with God
actually on that day where you have no
work no other major necessary
obligations what do we do we plan for
the food we plan for the guests we plan
for which football games to watch and
they've moved Black Friday to thursday
evening we are the most distracted
people the word of God is on your phone
and yet it's not that it's being taken
away it's just that we're leaving it
there no wonder is ineffective we just
leave it there not only are we
distracted generation but there's a
second type of soil I think he could
have called us the shallow generation
the shallow soil where there's no depth
I I know the whole world listens to the
sermons that you guys here in this
church everyone loves to hear a good
sermon then they go and listen to a
podcast then they go watch it on YouTube
then they read a blog about it and you
say aw man i love this word of god it's
so good and you can't wait to hear the
next one then you might even get in
groups you might even talk about it with
each other say oh man i love i love just
talking about it we love to be
entertained by it but last week we heard
it we heard the message of it and it was
to do something about it other than just
hear it then the third kind of soil we
had the distracted generation we have
the shallow generation and then i think
we have the comfortable generation you
know the thorns the riches of this world
you guys have heard of this year in
refugee crisis what to do we will follow
the gospel as far as it will take us as
long as we remain comfortable as long as
we remain safe as long as we remain
healthy as long as we have what makes us
happy will will be Christians but once
it makes us at risk once it takes away
one of our pleasures once it becomes an
inconvenience that's as far as will go
because we are such a comfortable
generation we have this beautiful church
where it's warm whereas in Syria or in
Jordan where people are sleeping outside
it's less warm or maybe it's burning hot
they have nothing and yet they're living
the gospel to the last breath but we're
the comfortable generation were
distracted we're superficial were
shallow and we're so comfortable why is
the word ineffective we've made it that
way we've chosen it but I'll be honest
this sermon is not just about fruit I'm
sorry not just about soil it's actually
about fruit really why plant something
if you're not going to get fruit God
said not only to be hearers of the word
but when you look at what Christ said he
didn't say I just want you to hear the
word you'll know what Christ didn't say
he didn't say I want you to find the
gospel says I want you to just memorize
the word he didn't say that either when
he talks about the Word of God he says
two things he says I want you to abide
in the word I want the word to abide in
you that's what he said and the other
thing he says I want you to obey it he
said two things he didn't say just read
it he didn't say just memorizing he
didn't say just listen to it he said
Obeid it and obey it that was it she
says there's fruits all he wants our
fruits I'm going to read to you this
verse in Colossians when it talks about
the Word of God and producing fruit st.
Paul is talking to this people who who
heard the Word of God he says to them
because of the Hope which is laid up for
you in heaven of which you heard before
and the word of the truth of the gospel
as you heard about this hope in the
gospel says which has come to you as it
has also in all the world and is
bringing forth fruit as it is also among
you since the
day you heard and knew the grace of God
in truth you heard the word just like
everybody else in the world and from the
very first day you heard it it's
producing fruit not it produced fruit
that day that you heard it but it is
producing fruit daily since you've heard
it how is it that in that time where
they didn't even have the books that we
have the explanations that we have how
is it that in them it produced fruit
always then if you just flip over to
more epistles to the first Thessalonians
st. Paul had a very tough time in
Thessalonica they persecuted him he says
for our gospel did not come to in word
only but in power and in this holy
spirit and in much assurance as you know
what kind of men we were among you for
your sake you became followers of us and
of the Lord having received the word in
a much affliction they were persecuted
to hear the word and they received it
with joy of the Holy Spirit listen to
the next part so that you became
examples to all in Macedonia you heard
it and you became an example to everyone
in Macedonia and to akaya who believed
for from you the word of the Lord has
sounded forth not only in Macedonia and
Achaia but also in every place your
faith toward God has gone out why you
received the word during persecution
everyone around you Paul had to leave
within a few weeks he couldn't stay
there because they were so violent
against him and this word and they took
the word and what do they do with it
they became an example to everyone not
only nearby but far away you say well
what is the fruit that God is looking
for there's so many is this ineffective
is the word of God ineffective in itself
how does the Bible describe the Word of
God and if I tell you this you guys will
finish it
the Word of God is like a two-edged
sword you guys know it you know it and
what does it do it splits between the
soul and the spirit it discerns the
thoughts and intents of the heart why
would he describe it as a sword why
didn't he say it is a very nice soft
rubber band no one's worried about the
rubber band it's a two-edged not a
single edge not a dull it's a two-edged
sword he describes it as something
extremely powerful what a great weapon
this is but then i have to tell you the
sword as sharp it as is can be so
ineffective why because it doesn't hurt
the enemy unless the sword goes through
the enemy unless the sword is aimed at
the enemy unless the sword slays the
enemy than it has no effect at all how
many times have you used the word but
you've never Slade yourself with it
you've never pointed it towards you
you've never allowed this powerful sword
to have its work in you was reading
something about Saint John Chrysostom
yesterday and what he says about the
Word of God he says the Word of God
second to nothing hearing the Word of
God a second to knife thing he says you
have a time to eat you have a time
debate but there's no time to read the
gospel he says every moment is a season
for hearing the gospel don't set a
specific time to it every time is
acceptable and appropriate he says what
is the profit of the scriptures and talk
about the fruits just some of the fruits
the st. John Chrysostom says great is
the prophet of divine scripture
all-sufficient is the aid which comes
from her treasury of all manner of
medicines needful to quench pride to
lull desire to sleep to tread underfoot
love of money to despise pain to inspire
confidence to gain patience from them
one may find abundant
resources what a powerful medicine this
is what are the fruits he's looking for
you to have he doesn't want you to hear
it he doesn't want you to just read it
he doesn't want you just listen to it he
doesn't want to just memorize it he
wants it to have these fruits the reason
why Matthew calls it good news because
of its spiritual benefits st. John
Chrysostom says there's removal of
punishment remission of sins
righteousness sanctification Redemption
adoption inheritance of heaven intimate
closeness to the Son of God intimate
closeness to the Son of God is what we
find in the Word of God but st. John
Chrysostom says just so you know the
grace of the spirit doesn't operate by
compulsion it won't just force itself on
you it does not operate or penetrate on
stony souls he says what is required he
says the indispensable element what
cannot be eliminated or ignored or
overlooked is the human response the
human response so if I were to get you
to remember one thing about today I want
you to ask yourself before you read the
Word of God what will my response be
because Christ gave it to you for there
to be a fruit
st. John says it requires a synergy of
the human freedom we have to be willing
to work with the Holy Spirit to receive
the grace he says you have to have
personal faith the reason why this is
ineffective for many of us is that the
faith in it we don't always accept it as
it is we read them as words but in one
of this epistle st. Paul says you
received the gospel as the Word of God I
mean when Moses one of the mountain and
he received the Word of God that wasn't
just like one of the events in his life
it was like almost one of the premier
events that he received the Word of God
these people & Co Lucy or the people in
Thessalonica when they received the Word
of God it was like water to thirsty
souls with faith they accepted that this
was the instruction and the revelation
and the authority of God he says the
problem is we don't have a regular
engagement with the word of God he says
we don't have this earnestness I began
to think about it and to not want to
read the Word of God as if almost as if
to say I really don't want to know more
about Christ all right i mean that's
where he reveals himself that's where
the mysteries are and to say i don't
want to read is about to say I really
don't want to know more about you which
I know is not what any of us would say
out loud or confess it's just oftentimes
what we do I myself he says this
earnestness I want to ask you how many
of you have read 5 10 20 30 50 articles
on the app
the things that happened in Paris a week
ago I mean we will read almost every
single one we're so earnest to know
about something that's temporary it's
not going to change your life it might
stimulate the mind it might create an
opinion you probably won't act on it at
all and yet you will read it over and
over with no eternal benefit at all with
such eagerness we can read the things of
the world with such apathy we come to
the Word of God st. John Chrysostom says
unless if he says it will mean nothing
to him who has no desire to be livered
to be delivered from a swine ish life I
never heard that a swine ish life you
know in a swine ish life is the life of
a pig unless you want to be delivered
from that it has no benefit for you but
if you do I'm always amazed when the
disciples from mas they're walking to
Emmaus with Christ and they were with
him there's this famous thing they said
he says we're not our hearts burning
within us from what from hearing the
Word of God revealed to them but st.
John Chrysostom said that the power of
the word of God is actually not meant to
just be for you it's supposed to produce
fruit in you but not supposed to be
fruit just for you it's supposed to be
fruit for those who don't yet believe
it's for the power of the mission of the
church a fruit of a life that is a
witness to the gospel so now I'm going
to maybe change it one more level not
only do I want you to read it here it
listen to it memorize it
not only do I want you to obey it but
what if i change this thought and you
I'm not just supposed to obey the gospel
I am supposed to be the gospel when was
the last time you said I was called to
be the gospel how much more intent how
much more earnest would there be if you
said I am supposed to be like a living
Christ through the power of the Living
Word by the grace of the living spirit
in me in here lies the opportunity to be
a very fruitful vine which Christ so so
much desires not to read not to obey but
to be the gospel the good news to the
world go and be may God be glorified in
our lives now and forever amen