Thesis:Maximizing fruitfulness is heavily dependent upon how much "moisture" gets to the seed and the ensuing plant from germination to harvest.
Introduction:In our study last week, we considered the second of Jesus' parables. In that study we saw that understanding the purpose for light was considered by Jesus to be of significant importance. His declaration was that no one -- including God -- provides light for any reason other than to make it possible for those exposed to it to see what the darkness was hiding. A major part of that study was given over to God's process of giving light: creation, revelation, manifestation, and participation. The point that we made is that God's process is designed for one purpose: to enable men to get into the Life of Light.
We introduced that study by making the summary claim that there are only two hindrances to the fruitfulness of the seed: an absence of sufficient moisture; and an absence of necessary nutrients in the soil. In developing those issues, we made the claim that "moisture" for the word of God consists of a sufficiently close relationship to God to allow His "water of Life" to flow to us, into us, and out from us to others.
Now, this morning we have come to one of two sub-set truths contained in Jesus' second parable. It is contained in 8:17 and consists of a declaration of final transparency. It is my contention that this declaration is directly related to the "moisture" issue in the prior parable and I would like to show you the significance of this relationship today.
I. The Elements of the Picture.
A. The biggest issue: the purpose of the proclamation of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God.
1. This purpose is identified by Jesus as "for" those who have accepted His summons to discipleship.
2. This has to mean that the purpose is to extend greater privileges in the blessedness of the Kingdom to those who are His disciples.
3. Thus, the "big picture" issue is "enabling disciples to enter into more of God's Life than they currently experience."
B. The next issue: the purpose of the parable of the soils as a presentation of the mysteries.
1. This parable is fundamentally about explaining why the words of God get the reception they do from men.
2. This has to mean that Jesus wanted His disciples to take the explanation to heart so that they could bear much fruit.
3. Thus, "entering into more of God's Life" is contingent upon dealing with the hindrances to fruitfulness that are explained by the parable.
C. The next issue: the purpose of the parable of the lighting of a candle/lamp.
1. This parable is fundamentally about God's reason for the sowing of His words.
2. This means that this is a return to the biggest issue of the picture: extending the participation of disciples in Kingdom blessedness.
3. The major addition of this "return" is a matter of clarification at the level of "intention".
a. Giving light so that others may see means that the "intention" is to use "light" so that men might live more effectively.
b. Effective living has one "definition": developing the ability to walk with God in the light so as to not be deceived by the darkness into departing from Him.
D. The issue before us today: the contribution of Jesus' "explanation" for His declaration that no one lights a light except to make sight possible.
II. The Details of the Explanation.
A. The statement regarding "secrets".
1. The "setting".
a. All people everywhere try to keep secrets.
b. This means that all people everywhere think such a thing is possible.
2. Jesus' contradiction of what "everyone" thinks about keeping secrets.
a. He says that there is "no secret" which shall not become manifest.
b. This has to mean that God has no use for concealment.
1) Concealment consists, at a very fundamental level, of using darkness to restrict sight.
2) Darkness is absolutely contrary to God's essential nature.
3. The significance of the contradiction is that it exposes men's motivations.
a. No one keeps a secret about himself but for one purpose: to manipulate what will happen in respect to the "secret thing".
b. Human manipulation is nothing more, nor less, than the attempt to control what is going to happen -- a realm of power that God has retained for Himself alone.
4. The significance of the exposure is that the motivations of men are, at root, the reason for fruitfulness, or fruitlessness (this is the major point of the parable of the soils).
B. The statement regarding "what is determinedly concealed".
1. This declaration indicates relative degrees of "secrets".
2. People intuit the damage that can occur from what "gets out".
3. Jesus declares that it will all come out.
III. The Link Between the Parables.
A. The issue of trying to hide things is a big theme in the Bible.
1. It began in Genesis 3:8.
2. It surfaces in multiple places in respect to sin: Proverbs 28:13; Psalm 32:5; Job 31:33; 1 John 1:9.
B. The prior issue of "moisture" is, I believe, related to the permission to allow a sin to stand between a man and God.
C. Thus, the issue of the attempts to be secretive is the issue of refusing to acknowledge sin to God: this cuts off the flow of the water of Life.