THE WONDER OF THE SEED
by W. G. Guy
Jesus illustrated some of his teachings by using the agricultural process of sowing seeds in order to produce crops. Although the actual biological process differs among various seed types the basic principal, stated simple terms, is as follows: a seed, be it a kernel, nut or other type, has within it a small part that is the heart or life force of the seed. If you have eaten peanuts perhaps you noticed this small heart of the nut at one end between the two halves of each nut. Perhaps while eating corn you noticed each kernel has at the one end a small light colored heart. Maybe you have eaten wheat germ on cereal; that germ is the heart of a grain of wheat.
At maturity, it is time for the plant to reproduce itself; it does so by producing a seed, or seed-pod that is usually what is eaten because these seed pods are a good source of nutrition or food. We know some of these seed-pods as grains of wheat or oats, nuts, berries, fruit or an ear of corn, etc. If not eaten, these pods will dry out or burst thus releasing the seeds contained within to fall to the ground. While on the ground for a time the majority of the seed actually dies as it gives its life to this little heart which then begins to grow. This new growth bursts forth from the seed body putting out a tiny stem that reaches for nutrient from the soil. As it penetrates the soil this tiny stem becomes a shoot with which to bring in nutrients that allow the seedling to grow. This shoot becomes a root that also anchors the plant firmly in the ground.
The new plant grows to be just like the one that the seed came from. The seed is the plant's means of reproducing itself. As the new plant grows to maturity it too produces seed-pods and repeats the same process. What is important to notice is that one seed produces a plant that has many times more seeds and is able to reproduce many more plants. Now lets' see how this process applies to what Jesus had to say about the seed:
John 12:24 - "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit."
Jesus was referring to himself as being a type of seed. He was telling the people his time had come to offer himself up as the atonement for our sins on the cross. He had to die in order to bring God's kind of life (zoe) to man.
John 12:23 - And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified."
In so doing, he would bring salvation to all who accepted him. Thus he would reproduce his righteous eternal life (zoe) in each person who receives him.
James 1:18 - "Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures."
Those who accept him and trust in him would be as the fertile ground that seed is sown into.
Romans 8:29 - "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren."
In James 1:18 we are told that "he begat us with the word of truth", and as such, Jesus referred to his word as being seed also. His word has spiritual reproductive power that brings forth his (zoe) life in us.
1 John 1:1 - "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard (the word), which we have seen with out eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life."
John 1:1 & 4 - "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. In him was life; and the life was the light of men."
Jesus gave an illustration of how the Word of God is like seed; and like seed it must have the right conditions in order to grow and produce fruit. In his illustration, he shows various obstacles to growing to maturity and producing fruit, (Matthew 13:3-9): he then explains his illustration to his disciples.
Matthew 13:18-23 - "Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. But he that receiveth the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also that receiveth seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. But he that received seed into good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundred fold, some sixty, some thirty."
Just what is it that is produced by this precious seed, the Word of God? It is the likeness of Christ! This seed has special reproductive qualities - spiritual qualities. It contains all of his character and nature, which is the eternal life (zoe) force of God the Father. Just as in natural plants, where some produce more or bigger fruit than others, different believers in various environments produce various amounts of Christ's likeness in them.
Some attain to 100% of his likeness. Some produce 60% of his likeness, and some may only produce 30% of his likeness or image. At this point Jesus does not seem to mind that there are differing amounts of his image produced by the seed; the objective is to produce fruit. Later we will see that God, the Father, works on us in order to increase the amount of Christ's likeness, or fruit, produced in us.
All that Jesus Christ is was contained in the Word of God (the seed) - refer back to John 1:1 & 4 and 1John 1:1 to see this again. The Word of God is seed, and when received in ideal conditions it produces the likeness of Jesus Christ - his character and nature, which is compared to light whereas our sinful carnal nature is referred to as darkness.
Many simply reject this seed; not understanding its significance:
John 1:5 - "And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not."
This field in which we grow, here on this earth, is a hostile environment and governed by the enemy, called the god of this world - Satan. Jesus explains this as the parable of the tares:
Matthew 13:37-40 - "He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; the field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicjed one; the enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world."
However, the biggest obstacle we face in producing his fruit is or own selfish carnal nature called the "old man". This is the big "I, ME and MINE" that we all have. It is called "flesh" in many passages, but we can best understand it as the "self". It is the "I want"; the "I will", and the "I AM" in each of us. This old nature is the opposite of Christ's nature. It is his nature that is the fruit that must come forth in us, therefore the old selfish nature must die. So we need to realize that what applies to Jesus also applies to those who are now growing up into his image and likeness. In a way, we too have become as seed:
John 12:25 - "He that loveth his (self) life shall lose it; and he that hateth his (self) life in this world shall keep it unto (zoe) life eternal."
Dying to self, the flesh, is essential to producing the fruit of righteousness. Trying to preserve self and its interests hinder spiritual growth to maturity. Being self-serving only produces more self and is easily recognized by those around you. But if you cease trying to do your own thing and seeking your own selfish pursuits, in essence, loosing "your" life, then his life is able to begin showing in you.
Luke 14:33 - "So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple."
Ephesians 4:24 - "And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness."
Galatians 5:24 - "And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh (self) with the affections and lusts."
Luke 9:23-24 - "And he said unto them all, If any man come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross (symbol of death) daily, and follow me. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?"
How does the old nature of SELF die? We have to be willing to lay it down permanently. However death to self does not come easily and requires daily determination and purpose to deal with the fleshly outer man.
2 Corinthians 4:16 - "For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day."
Then allow what is in the seed, that which produces the inner man, to begin to grow in us.
Galatians 2:20 - "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
God the Father helps deal with these old selfish and self centered issues in our lives as we grow to maturity.
John 15:1-2 - "I am the vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
In addition to receiving the blessings of spiritual sunshine, rain and nutrients, God also prunes us by exposing us to trials, tribulations and difficulties in order to reveal what is really in us: his nature or our own. Do we respond to this pruning his way or our way.
Romans 8:28 - And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose."
The life of this spiritual seed, the living word of God, is the life that is in the vine (Christ). His life begins to flow through his people, referred to as branches, and it is his life (zoe) that produces the fruit that our Heavenly Father is looking for - his character and nature, (also known as the fruit of the Spirit - Galatians 5:22-23).
John 15:3-6 - "Now are ye clean through the word (seed) which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you, as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned."
The beauty of this reproductive process is that in the fruit produced by him through the branches is more seed to be sown. That new seed can reproduce even more images of Him as that fruit is seen and received by others via means of evangelism, teaching and discipleship – a form of sowing that seed.
The seed (the Word) is the best there is; the question is, what kind of soil are you and will you allow the husbandman to cultivate, nurture and prune you. Will the seed produce the character and nature of Christ in you?
Colossians 1:27 - "To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."
Galatians 4:19 - "My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you."
Conclusion: The precious seed is the Word of God; Jesus is the same Word that took on human form. In the Word/Seed (Jesus) is ALL that God is and what will be produced and harvested when matured and ready. The Seed/Word reproduces Christ in us; transforming us into the image of Christ, God's Son, so that WE become the Sons of God, joint heirs with Christ.
Just as God intended man to be in the beginning of this world, so shall it be at the end of this world; all resulting from His SEED when planted in us - if we are good and futile ground allowing His life to flourish in us.
Here is some more to think about in terms of this heavenly seed: God planted this same Seed/Word in a woman 2000 years ago. It produced the same thing - JESUS, who is the express image and likeness of God the Father. This same seed works when planted in us - if we receive it, allow the master gardener (our Heavenly Father) to cultivate, nurture and prune us. It produces the harvest He is patiently waiting and looking for. Then we shall be harvested and assembled together with him in His storehouse to abide with him eternally.