Some men and women fall, Jesus said, not because the seed was not good, but because the condition of their heart did not allow the word to take root (Mt. 13).
Some seed fell by the wayside and was immediately carried away by birds, demonic spirits. The power of the Evil One was never broken over a life. They hardly had a chance to respond to the gospel. They were under the surveillance and in the jurisprudence of some dark spirit. The seed was snatched away. The opportunity to be free was forbidden.
Some seed fell into hearts that were littered with hard trodden thought-paths, so stony and rigid, that resistant thinking to the gospel prevented the growth of deep roots. It only took a day or so, a short season in the sun, some hot test, to wilt their short-lived faith under the heat. They went back to old thinking and acting.
Some seeds sprouted up in a mind crowed with an unbiblical world-view. Far too quickly, the fresh and tender growth was choked not by weeds, by the cares of this life, by a cluttered and unsanctified mind, by a heart that was flesh-bound.
Finally, some seed fell on good ground – and when it did, it gave forth fruit. There was evidence of the inner life.
The same seeds were sown in all cases – but with completely different results. Which one is the Christian? Isn’t it the one who gave evidence of the new life buried deep inside, spouting roots and leaves?
What proof do you have that you are a Christian?
With the spread of Christianity in the third and fourth centuries, and the secularization of the Church by its acceptance by the state, the message of a costly grace faded. In a Christianized culture, grace had become the common property of all. It was to be had at low cost.1 But without discipline, without discipleship – Christianity is only an abstract idea.2 It is not truly a life lived. It is a dead and fruitless seed.
Today’s church is filled with so-called followers who insist on their own terms of understanding and commitment. A disciple does not worship and serve in the context of his own comfort. He is at the disposal of the Master. If he has the right to dictate his own terms, if obedience is only an option, if the intensity of sacrifice is to be negotiated, then discipleship is no longer discipleship.3 Such people cannot call themselves Christians. The seed, Jesus reminds us, must die!
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 Bonheoffer, 49.
 Bonheoffer, 64.
 Bonheoffer, 65-66.