Parable of the Sower

Is it enough to simply see that I am the thorn-choked soil? Jesus’ explanation of the Parable of the Sower in Mark 4:13-20 doesn’t suggest this or refut it–yet, two parables later, starting in Mark 4:26, he tells the parable of the seed growing and how, though the laborers work to scatter the seed (the Word), they know not how it grows.

Two things stand out to me from this:

  1. As a teacher, friends, etc, my responsibility is only to “scatter seed.” I don’t have to fret about whether it grows. I think of my friends Laura and Lindsay meeting with me, a non-repentant, licentious long shot. They simply scattered seed into my life and trusted that it would grow.
  2. The “cares of the world” are those driving things in our hearts, those identity seats. I am a socially just person. I am a moral husband. For me, I am a writer. When these become ultimate–when, were we to lose them, life would be intolerable, we’d melt down–they become cares not of God’s Kingdom, but of the world’s, because in God’s kingdom our identity is secure; we are rock solid.

Tim Keller Sermon Notes — Series: In Christ Jesus How the Spirit Transforms Us — Sermon #1: Perfect Freedom

Sermon preached on November 19, 2006.

Teaching is based on Romans 6:1-7; 11-18.

Please note that these sermon notes are provided only to encourage, and that any or all parts of the notes may contain errors or omissions, due entirely to the note-taker. Full audio of the sermon may be found at the Redeemer Sermon Store.

Intro: If salvation is sheerly by grace, why would you change the way you live?

We’ll be looking at 3 principles to profound life change

I) recognize the shape of your spiritual slavery

Anger: If someone blocks you getting a good thing, you get angry; but if something blocks you getting an ultimate good thing, you get epi-angry

–if you’re having trouble forgiving somebody, at the root of it is a spiritual master

Fear: If someone good in your life is threatened, you’re worried; but if something ultimate in your life is threatened, you’re paralyzed

Sadness: If you lose something good, you grieve; if you lose something that’s ultimate, you want to throw yourself off a bridge, because there’s no meaning in life

Martin Luther: you don’t do anything else wrong in your life if you don’t first break the first commandment; idols motivate all wrong that we do

II) realize the scope of your cosmic unity with Jesus

United with Christ’s past

Died with Christ? Seated at the right hand of God in Christ? What does that mean?

  • Ex: A rich man gets rich himself, but when he gets married, all that wealth becomes the wife’s, too—how come? Legal union; grace.

Christ has accomplished so much in his life, and the text says that everything Jesus Christ has done is now legally attached to you. God sees you as free from condemnation from the guilt of your sins as if you had died yourself

Risen with Christ?

You are connected to Christ’s future.

  • Palingenesia: complete cosmic renewal, and the power of that future, where all sadness will be purged and everything will dance

CS Lewis: Imagine yourself as a house… God comes in to fix it; at first you understand what he’s doing… You thought he was making a decent little cottage, but He’s making a palace, in which He intends to live.

III) Live daily out of your new identity

Get rid of your low goals; get rid of your your goals

Anticipate that you will not be able to anticipate the magnitude of the changes that when they come you’ll be so thankful for, but they’ll be way beyond anything you could ever ask or think; there’s no way you’re smart enough to recognize what it is that you need.

v. 6: We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin will be done away with… Who you once were is gone. You have a new identity.

v. 11: Though the identity is the secret, it’s not right away. You’ve got to treat yourself like you’re a new identity. You’ve got to remind yourself. If you’re not changing, you don’t lack the resources if you’re a Christian—they just need to be deployed. If you ever fail to change, you’re not remembering who you really are, you’re not conscious of who you are.

(This is where my notes on this sermon end, although it does not seem at all like this is where Keller would have ended. The sermon in its entirety can be found at Redeemer’s sermon store.)

Tim Keller Sermon Notes — Series: The Life of David — Sermon #15: David Prepares His People

Sermon preached on September 20, 2009, in the Ethical Culture Society Location, at the 9:00 AM service.

Teaching is based on 1 Chronicles 29:1-20.

Please note that these sermon notes are provided only to encourage, and that any or all parts of the notes may contain errors or omissions, due entirely to the note-taker. Full audio of the sermon may be found at the Redeemer Sermon Store.

Introduction: There is lots of material on David: 2 biographies (1 written by Samuel, 1 written by the Chronicler), making him one of the most written-about ancient figures of all time.


1. The Problem

2. The Presence

3. The Practice

4. The Promise

I. The Problem

  1. Under David, Israel had never flourished so much; he’s dying now; he brings out their fears right away: Solomon is young and inexperienced.
  2. No one has ever sought God on their own; there’s always someone who acts as a bridge.
    1. David is addressing this: What happens when that bridge person dies? Moves away?
    2. Robert McCheyne gets at this in his sermon, “What Have I to do with Idols?”
      1. Warning: Don’t put your minister above God!

II. The Presence

  1. David is saying, “I want you to stop getting God through me, and instead I want you to bring God’s presence into your midst.”
  2. Ch. 28: David doesn’t want to build a monument to himself, but a resting place for the ark of the covenant.
    1. The ark is a major theme in David’s life
    2. Someone touched it, and they died
    3. It was taken into battle at Jericho, and the walls fell
    4. Philistine battle during Eli’s time: Israelites lost the ark; it plagued Philistine villages;
  3. The point is that God is not a God you can put in a box; He’s not a God you can have at hand; He’s not a God you can conjure; He’s not a tame God.
    1. We try rubbing the lamp with good deeds and tithing and being an obedient son
  4. God doesn’t want to be put in a box and taken into battle.

III. The Practice

  1. If the presence isn’t controllable, what can we do?
  2. We can’t control him, but we can invite him
  3. If you try to control God, he departs
  4. If you come with conditions, he departs
    1. If you say, “I’ll be happy to pray if you can get me a good job, etc.”
    2. The If is your real God; He is only your commodity, your money.
  5. If you have conditions, you’re treating Him mechanically, not personally.
    1. Love Him Himself, not as an object
    2. I want to marry you. Why? Because when I think about your trust  fund I get excited.
      1. You would leave if someone did that to you, and He will too.
  6. Say: I don’t care if my life goes the way I want it to.
  7. The only way Solomon will hav ethe presence is wholehearted devotion, complete consecration
  8. William Borden: He took a trip around the world, and wrote “No reserves” in the back of his Bible; then, after Yale, he wrote, “No retreat”; finally, before his death, he wrote, “No regrets.” Borden of Yale
    1. He had no idea his life would impact anyone. He just did his job, no conditions–and that’s why glory fell on him.
  9. Kierkegaard: Purity of heart is to will one thing.
    1. The problem is, no one can give God that!
    2. Ezekiel 8 and 9 describes the presence leaving the temple forever

IV. The Promise

  1. “You will have a son,” God told David, “and his kingdom will last forever.
    1. This wasn’t Solomon; it was Christ.
    2. David wanted to build the temple; Jesus said, “I am the temple.”
  2. Jesus is the only man who ever gave God wholehearted devotion, unconditional consecration
  3. Jesus earned the presence of God, yet He got the absence!
    1. Jesus’ blood was spread on the mercy seat of the ark of the covenant
    2. Jesus was the ultimate David, who didn’t just give us this temple at the cost of his money, but at the cost of his life


  1. If you want to give yourself unconditionally, look at your money
    1. It’s possible to give money while withholding yourself, but it’s not possible to give yourself while withholding money.
  2. Creativity: Revivals have 2 things: extraordinary prayer and communicating the gospel
    1. You can’t get into Narnia the same way twice; God doesn’t want us to think that Narnia is the wardrobe
  3. The possibilities of experiencing God’s glory are immense; if you’re not aiming for that, you’re settling for two little
    1. Repent
  4. Take your hands off your life; give yourself unconditionally

(Notice: the notes below may be partially mine–I can’t tell from my notes)

  1. God, even if you don’t have a calling for my life, even if you never tell me what to do, I love you. The one thing I’ve wanted more than You is a clear calling–forget that. Forget it. I won’t conjure you.
  2. Kill me, if that’s what You want. Renew my heart to “be faithful unto death.” And if you won’t, fine–I’m bound to You. There’s no turning back.