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September 6, 2016

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How God’s parable of reckless grace prepares evangelists

by Dave Malnes

In love and mercy, God is generous with grace. He extends his love with the hand of forgiveness to people though many reject Him. God’s grace pursues. His forgiveness reconciles. His love is so pure that Jesus resorts to parables to describe it.

We are given the word picture of a father who readily bestows grace and forgiveness to a prodigal son. We are given the images of a wife who is frantically looking for a lost coin – and a faithful shepherd searching for that one lost sheep out of a hundred entrusted to his care.

Every person in this world is valued by God. His love, mercy, and grace is so pure and powerful that He sent us His one and only son to die for us.

His grace may appear as a reckless love that continues to sets itself up for rejection. It is a type of love that is foreign to many of us. The message of God’s grace is an invitation without limits or qualifications. It is intended for all people.

It is reckless love that prompts evangelists to spread the message of salvation to the world.

Faith alone receives all the benefits from Christ’s completed work on our behalf. Faith is received by hearing the message of Good News.

Evangelists don’t wait for invitations to share a message, they graciously extend invitations without qualifications or status. They do so knowing full well that they will be rejected or ridiculed. Evangelists model God’s reckless love by stepping out in faith to share their faith with others – even with strangers.

The Lord provides another word picture of what it’s like to be an evangelist. It is a picture of reckless grace despite rejection. And it also serves as a reminder.  Evangelists are not to concern themselves with how people will respond. That is God’s business. Evangelists are to be far more concerned about spreading the seeds of the gospel – no matter where God has placed them.

The parable of the sower provides that picture of reckless grace and promise for evangelists.

“Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge. He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had not root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times. Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”  (Mark 4:1-8)

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This parable of reckless grace did not make sense to the disciples – and it doesn’t make sense to us today. We are offered a peek inside the pureness of God’s love. It pursues. It’s there no matter what. Pure love does not fear rejection. Buoyed by hope, pure love never judges the condition of a heart. Resting in God’s promises, pure love believes that every soil is good soil that will produce a crop. Evangelists realize that they may never know the results of how God uses seeds.

“Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? The farmer sows the word. Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they year it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. Others, like seed sown on rocky places, her the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word: but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop – some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.” (Mark 4:13-20)

ANF

American Needs Farmers

This acronym is popular in the Grain Belt – and even seen on the football helmets of popular college football teams.

GNS

God Needs Sowers

I wonder if I should start wearing a button on my jacket. GNS. God Needs Sowers – and it starts with me.

Notice that God does not ask for judges. We already have a natural tendency to volunteer. It’s not that we judge to condemn, but we judge to withhold. We see people with hard-packed soil and withhold the message of the gospel. They are too far gone [we judge]. Or, we already pre-determine that they will reject the gospel. And by doing so, they may reject me. We think, “Somebody else can take the risk with reckless grace, because it’s not going to be me.”

When we judge to withhold the gospel, we judge the condition of the soil – and withhold the message of eternal salvation.

GNS

God Needs Sowers

He needs faithful farmers who rests in the power of the seed and trusts that a harvest will come.

God sees vast fields; He commissions evangelists to see faces.

God sees vast fields that need to be sown; He asks evangelists to see faces that need a message.

Evangelists takes responsibility for the seeds. God takes responsibility for the harvest.

“He said to [the disciples], “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” (Mark 16:15)

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God has entrusted all believers to proclaim a message of good news to all generations – no matter what the outward appearance of their soil may be.

Jesus is already fully aware of how difficult it is for people to listen to the Word of God. Notice there are four possible responses to the proclaiming of God’s Word – and only one of them is good.

Reckless love continues sowing no matter what.

GNS

God needs sowers.

And it starts with you.

 

Related posts:

Does our image to the world reflect what God sees?

Claiming victory over the hesitancy of sharing our faith with others

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