Parable of the Seed that Dies
— John 12:24 — Andrew Fountain: Oct 27, 2013
- How come the early church spread so quicky?
- Within a generation they were reaching out to the edges of the known world
- If they had continued at the same rate, then in just a few generations every man, woman and child would have been saved!
- So what was different about them compared with us?
- We are supposed to be like Jesus, both in character and in gifting
- We are supposed to be his voice, his hands, his life lived out
- He was the light of the world, and his light shines through us
- If every single Christian on this planet right now, was 100% like Jesus, how long would it take to evangelize the world?
- If we were even 1% like Jesus, it would make a massive difference.
- Two ways they were much more like Jesus than us:
- The level of empowerment of the Spirit
- The self-sacrificial commitment to one another
- So how do we have the life of Jesus flowing out of us?
- We have to die!
- We have to be born of God
- The life of Jesus has to be in us and flowing through us
“Truly, truly, I say to you,
unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone;
but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”
- And whoever does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
- Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life because of me will find it.
- Not technically a parable, but more of an extended metaphor
- But it is an underlying theme that gets repeated many times throughout Jesus’ ministry
- Matthew, Mark and Luke report Jesus repeating a similar saying:
- Joe Crummey Video
- What does it mean to die??
- Primarily this death results in loving others sacrificially
- Just as Jesus died for those the Father loved, so must we
- John wrote a whole letter to unpack Jesus’ teaching on death and life
- we die to the old, and then receive new life from Jesus
1 John 3:14,16
- We know that we have crossed over from death to life because we love our fellow Christians…
- We have come to know love by this: that Jesus laid down his life for us; thus we ought to lay down our lives for our fellow Christians.
- So going back to the early church
- Reverential awe came over everyone, and many wonders and miraculous signs came about by the apostles.
- All who believed were together and held everything in common,
- and they began selling their property and possessions and distributing the proceeds to everyone, as anyone had need.
- Every day they continued to gather together by common consent in the temple courts, breaking bread from house to house, sharing their food with glad and humble hearts,
- praising God and having the good will of all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number every day those who were being saved.
- We love the supernatural gifts given at Pentecost
- But are we prepared to die to self like they did?
- Note that this was an emergency situation
- Later Paul talks about those in the church of Thessalonica who didn’t work and expected other Christians to feed them
- He says, “If anyone is not willing to work, neither should he eat.”
- This was an emergency...
- We are not called here to never have private possessions and always have everything in common
- But in a sense our possessions are never private—they are always to be shared
- See the close connection between v.43—signs and wonders, and v.44 love for one another
- We see exactly the same thing the next time it refers to supernatural power
- With great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was on them all.
- For there was no one needy among them, because those who were owners of land or houses were selling them and bringing the proceeds from the sales
- and placing them at the apostles’ feet. The proceeds were distributed to each, as anyone had need.
- “great grace was on them all” —not “they motivated themselves to be more loving”
Image source: unknown
- The story
- A Chance to Die, or The Story of a Lover and her Beloved
- Much of what this looks like comes under “Hospitality”
- Heb 13:2 Do not neglect hospitality, because through it some have entertained angels without knowing it.
- One example was Abraham (at least to start with)
- Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
- For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,
- I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’
1 John 3:23–24, 4:12–13
- Now this is his commandment: that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he gave us the commandment.
- And the person who keeps his commandments resides in God, and God in him. Now by this we know that God resides in us: by the Spirit he has given us.
- No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God resides in us, and his love is perfected in us.
- By this we know that we reside in God and he in us: in that he has given us of his Spirit.
- So have I made you all feel really guilty now?
- Can you guilt people into loving more?
- Not genuine love!!
- So how does it happen?
- Jesus’ words create life
- As we receive his words, the Spirit causes them to germinate like seeds and create life
- John 6:63 “The Spirit is the one who gives life; human nature is of no help! The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”
- The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.!!!!
- That is why we are studying the parables
- Jesus spoke the words at creation: “let there be light” —his words are not just words, they have creative power
- It’s Jesus words that create the new creation inside you.
- What are you going to do this afternoon with Jesus’s words?
- If you receive them, they are life, they are Spirit and power, they transform
- New creation life grows up in you
- Jesus said that he is our food and drink
What can I do? I don’t have a home to invite people to?
- Something very simple
- One of the biggest scourges in our city is lonliness
- Find a couple of people here who you think might be lonely
- Die to your own shyness and call them
- Ask Jesus for his life to flow out through you
- Or just ask him
- Say “Jesus I am totally committed to following you and dying to myself
I am not sure what this will look like, but I am committed to your life not mine.”
- But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
- gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
- And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
- It’s the flesh or the Spirit
- To be filled with the Spirit, the flesh needs to die (v.24)
- And the Spirit in you looks like 22-23
- Which is the same as saying Jesus in us
- If all of us are just 1% filled with Jesus, we can turn this city upside down!
Updated on 2013-12-05 by Andrew Fountain