The Elimination of Thorns:
Matthew 13:3–9 (NIV) 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
There is the promise of seed that really does bear fruit. According to this map, the way to that is by hearing and understanding. This takes time, and sometimes hard work. A quick glance at the scriptures, an occasional sitting in church or a study group and being entertained by some new idea, is probably not enough. Care and thought needs to be put in to the task of hearing the word of the kingdom until it has taken proper root. Stones may need moving from the soil; thorns may need uprooting. But when hearing brings understanding, we know we’re getting close to the goal, to the heart of the maze. And the promise then is this: not just that we will, as it were, have succeeded for our own sake, but that we will in turn become kingdom-people, bearing fruit in our own right. – N.T. Wright
Matthew 13:22 (NIV) 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.
Galatians 5:19–24 (NIV) 19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: [e.g. “unfruitful”] sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Worldliness in persons of a serious cast of mind has a twofold aspect—that of worldly cares, and that of the entanglements of property, or of the deceitfulness of riches (personified), 2 Thess. 2:10; Heb. 3:13.—The expression, “deceitfulness of riches,” does not primarily apply to luxuriousness (delectatio), which would rather fall within the range of the other two classes of gospel-hearers. It refers to the deceitfulness of a false confidence in this worldly ground of subsistence, on the part of persons otherwise serious.—And he becometh unfruitful; ἅκαρπος γίνεται.—He does not yield fruit; there is every appearance of fruit—the stalk, the leaves, and the ear; but there is no spiritual life, no full surrender to the word, and accordingly no fruit. – John Calvin
Genesis 2:2–3 (NIV) 2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 38
Q & A 103 Q. What is God’s will for you in the fourth commandment?
- First, that the gospel ministry and education for it be maintained,1 and that, especially on the festive day of rest, I diligently attend the assembly of God’s people2 to learn what God’s Word teaches,3 to participate in the sacraments,4 to pray to God publicly,5 and to bring Christian offerings for the poor.6
Second, that every day of my life I rest from my evil ways, let the Lord work in me through his Spirit, and so begin in this life
the eternal Sabbath.7
1 Deut. 6:4-9, 20-25; 1 Cor. 9:13-14; 2 Tim. 2:2; 3:13-17; Tit. 1:5
2 Deut. 12:5-12; Ps. 40:9-10; 68:26; Acts 2:42-47; Heb. 10:23-25
3 Rom. 10:14-17; 1 Cor. 14:31-32; 1 Tim. 4:13
4 1 Cor. 11:23-25
5 Col. 3:16; 1 Tim. 2:1
6 Ps. 50:14; 1 Cor. 16:2; 2 Cor. 8 & 9
7 Isa. 66:23; Heb. 4:9-11