I grew up as a fan of the 1960’s Batman. Batman? Yes, it was campy.
It was supposed to be that way. And c’mon, who doesn’t love the eyebrows painted on to that cowl?
One of my favorite villains was Frank Gorshin’s The Riddler. The Riddler would come up with the lamest riddles that would completely baffle Commissioner Gordon and Chief O’Hara, but Batman and Robin would amazingly figure it out – EVERY TIME!
They just don’t do theatrics like this any more.
You have to love how they work through those difficult riddles…
And that brings us to:
The word of the day: SAY WHAT?
And when a great crowd was gathering and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable, “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold.” As he said these things, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
Jesus gets to play the part of the Riddler! He tells the people around them a parable—a story designed to teach a lesson or a principle. The problem is that even his closes followers don’t get it. Jesus even says, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” That’s an expression that means, “Hey—pay attention!” But the disciples pull a Chief O’Hara and have that glazed over look. At LEAST they have the good sense to admit they have NO CLUE what Jesus is talking about. Privately, my guess is so they don’t look foolish in front of the crowd, they approach Jesus:
And when his disciples asked him what this parable meant, he said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’ Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.
Jesus’ words are a little startling to us. He says that the Word of God doesn’t stick with everyone—even people who seem to take to it. This is startling because we like to believe that people who are “Christian” and follow Jesus are heaven bound. In the end, Jesus says, only time will tell who allowed the word of God to grow and develop, bearing fruit (behavior that matches beliefs).
Of course, those who believe that once you are saved, you are always saved, will argue that those who fall away were never truly heaven bound to begin with. I don’t think we can go there. Jesus even says that some believe, but fall away in times of testing. To me it is an indication that we are secure in our salvation as long as we continue to walk with God. That is what will keep the word growing in “good soil.”
When we walk with Jesus it plays out in real life. Jesus continues:
“No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light. Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.”
If you’ve got Jesus you won’t hide it—you won’t be able to contain it. Don’t be one of the ones who hears the word and falls away. Stay strong in your faith no matter what troubles come. Continue to walk God’s path, and let the his word grow and develop in you!
Our first song is God is Able. It declares the awesome wonder of God – the foundation and rock upon which we build our faith and lives. The song declares,
God is able, He will never fail – He is almighty God
Greater than all we seek, Greater than all we ask – He has done great things
Lifted up, He defeated the grave
Raised to life our God is able
In His name we overcome
For the Lord our God is able
The second song this morning is Mighty to Save and declares:
I give my life to follow
Everything I believe in
Now I surrender
Jesus is mighty to save us. God has initiated the activity and issued us the call. We need to respond and continue to walk with him, letting the Word take deep root in our hearts!
– When am I tempted to walk away from the faith and be the “rocky ground” that doesn’t produce?
– Am I willing to walk with Jesus in the good times AND the difficult times?
– What does it look like practically for God’s word to take root in my life?
MAKING IT REAL:
– This week, be intentional letting God’s word take root in you. This can be in reading the Bible, in your time of worship, listening/meditating to worship songs, or perhaps another way you can think of that I haven’t.
– If you’ve never come to the place in your life where you have decided to be a follower of Jesus and want to know more, please shoot us a message and we’ll be glad to talk to you about what it means to be a follower.
Chris Linzey is husband to Tené, father to the three most beautiful children in the world, movie addict (seriously, if it’s on a screen he'll watch it—doesn’t matter how crummy or low-budget), and a Navy Chaplain, currently assigned to Naval Air Station, Meridian. Chris has a deep desire to help people live lives of faith where the Bible is more than mere words on a page, but the way we live everyday. His undergrad and Master’s studies were in Biblical Studies and he focused on the New Testament (his mentor was a Gospel of Mark scholar). He went on to get a Master of Divinity (MDiv) in Pastoral Preaching. Follow him at @chrislinzey.