Duane Hopkins - Third Testimony - Williams, Western Australia Convention - 1986

Hymn 282.


These days have meant more to me than I can express. It is wonderful to see the work of God in every place. We sometimes say it is a mystery, but if you take a bushel of wheat, it will produce wheat wherever you plant it. In the part where we labour it will grow wheat, if you bring it here it will grow wheat. The same grain produces the same in every place, the mystery is in the seed. This is the same as the spirit of God, that wherever His people are they think the same, produce the same things in their lives. The same applies to weeds. The weeds that grow in the States would produce the same if they were planted here. All the program is in the seed. What is the most important thing for me to take away from here? Is it a basket full of seed? When I think of all that we have heard, the bread that has been broken to us, what is the most important thing for me to take away? Is it better to have a basket of seed, would I be able to cope better in the future? Then if I had a basket of seed, without bread, I would starve to death, because it would take too long for the seed to grow and produce bread. If I took a basket of bread, by the time I had eaten the bread I would not be very far into the future. So I guess that one is as important as the other, and it all depends what we do with it, whether it strengthens us or not. Luke 8:11, now the parable is this; the seed is the word of God. This is a good message for us. We listen to the word of God, we have seen it manifested, it stirs our soul, and when we take that seed home, planted in our heart, it will produce and reproduce in our hearts. We have a wonderful opportunity to take the word of God and put it in our hearts. This is the story of the soil giving itself to the seed, and producing life. For this to happen the seed has to die. The seed falls into the soil, and the soil has to give to the seed for it to grow and to produce.

Matthew 13 tells us of the seed falling into the good and the honest heart. The condition of the soil made the difference, here the emphasis is on the condition of the soil. The seed was sown on some soil and it did not produce anything. It was not the fault of the seed, but the fault of the soil. It did not lend itself to the seed. We read of some producing a hundred, some sixty and some thirty fold. This was the honest and good heart and this is no mystery. A farmer has one piece of land that can't produce as much as another, but the farmer is perfectly content. There is also land that produces a good harvest and he is also content about that. We know that care and cultivation all makes a difference, but there is a lot in the potential of the soil, some is more limited than other in what it can do. If we do all that we can, if we do all that the Lord expects of us, then we are doing our best. People live in different situations, we have the record of Joseph and Daniel and where we live does not have an effect. Sometimes we hear the saying that we don't appreciate the world that we live in today, and we don't appreciate it because in the human heart it is not possible. We need to grow in appreciation. That is the same with the gospel. God can change our hearts, this rebel nature. When our parents professed, they set before us ideals and the hope of eternal life, and they began to live for that, and I am in the way of God today not because of my own merit, but because my parents set a good example before me. They made decisions for me, and in later years, they still made decisions for me, and that is one of the reasons why God gave us parents - to make right decisions. Because when we are young, we do not have the right judgement, all we want are things that are pleasant, things that are fun. My parents kindly and definitely sowed seeds into my young heart, and if the seed has its way it will produce humility, it will produce the love of God, simplicity, when it falls into the heart, not into the mind only. The seed that falls into our hearts is contrary to our nature. We need to learn to appreciate all that God has given us so that we might use all to glorify God. We should use our God given talents to glorify God. He gives us time, and health, and privileges, to glorify God.

Paul said, "I know how to be abased," and how to abound? We know that many know how to abound, but it is different to know how to be abased, how to behave when we are in trouble. Do we know how to handle the praise of men? Our talents are all right if we know how to use them. The proof of the seed of God falling into our hearts is what is being produced. If all that is being produced is human ability and human satisfaction that is not the seed of the kingdom of God. If all that is being produced is self-righteousness, we might be surprised to know that it is not the seed of the kingdom of Heaven. When people are limited in their opportunities it does not have an effect. It makes it difficult for the seed to mature and produce a hundred fold. God has given us salvation, has given us this seed and we need to give ourselves to the word of God so that we might produce to the best of our ability.

Then we think of a basket of bread. That young boy had 3 loaves and 2 small fishes. He did not have much, but maybe he had enough. Jesus said, "You give it to Me," and He blessed it and broke it and fed the whole multitude. This was all he had, it was good bread, and the Lord was able to bless it. The disciples said that two hundred penny worth would not buy enough bread. It does not depend on the amount that we have, but it does depend on how rightly and how willingly it is offered. This boy had to have bread to be a little help. The Lord's blessing upon the bread will meet the need of the multitude. We are dependent on His grace and His presence, and on His guidance. These days, we have heard some things that are like seed, some things that are like bread. We heard about mid-course correction, and that was like bread to my soul. We see Jesus, and that is like a seed that I can put in my heart. All the ways we see Jesus, it is like seed that is sown in my heart, and shows all the different ways that Christ can be shown in my life. I can grow in that and that will feed my soul. There is some bread that we can use right now, and there is some that we can use in the future. Seed thoughts are more important in the future, because bread becomes stale if it is not used. If we do not use it we lose it.

In John 6, Jesus said, "I am the bread of life." In the other parable that Jesus spoke in Matthew 13, He said, "The field is the world, and the good seeds are the children of the kingdom." This is a whole different thought. In one verse He says, "I am the bread of life," but now He says, "The seeds are the children of the kingdom and those seeds are going into the world, into the field." He is not saying to take the seed, but that you are that seed, you are the good seed. This is something we apply to our lives. You are the seed. Any seed has only one purpose - it is to grind to make bread, to become food. If seed is used rightly, it is planted in the earth, or it is put into bread. It is not designed for the mantel piece, or for show. It is either used for becoming bread, or for becoming seed. If it stays in the barn there is no profit, in that it won't do a thing in the barn except to become ruined.

I read some time ago of the Egyptians opening some of the old tombs and they found wheat that was just dry kernels, it had never produced a thing. It had not made bread. God has put His people into the world as the seed of the kingdom, the children of the kingdom, who fall into the ground and die. We fall into the ground, we lose our identity, and we become useful. If we are not willing to lose our identity, it will not amount to much. I have seen farmers buy expensive seed, and they have thousands of acres of land, and they plant that seed in the ground. On the one side, it has lost its identity, but on the other side, there is the visible sign of life, and when the seed is planted, after a few days the field is green, the seed has died and it has produced new life. The visible part comes up. The life that comes up is not the same as the seed that was planted, but it produces the same thing. A brown seed goes into the ground, but a green stalk comes up. God is looking for this kind of seed, human beings who will fall into the ground and die, who will sacrifice their own ideas, their own human ways, who will lose all that belongs to the human side of life, and produce the likeness of Christ. I have heard farmers talking together when the seed comes up and they always want to know what kind of seed has been planted, not about the soil. When harvest time comes and it produces so many bushels of wheat, they say, "What kind of seed did you plant?" What is produced is visible. What is planted is what belongs to the flesh and is no credit to the kingdom of God, but what comes up is nothing like human nature, it is the righteousness of Christ that comes up. The seed has fallen into the ground to die, and I would like to know in a deeper sense what it means to die to my own human nature, my own ambition, that through the dying life, the struggle, the righteousness of Christ will be produced.

Then it tells us in the parable that the servants came and said, "There are tares among the wheat." The first thing the servants thought was that there was something wrong with the seed. They said, "Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field, from whence then hath it tares? An enemy hath done that." Sometimes when I see weeds in the kingdom of God, I get the feeling that there is something wrong with the kingdom, but that is not true. These are only weeds and an enemy hath done that. It wasn't the fault of the righteousness of Christ, but while we were careless, sleeping, there came up these tares. Every seed produces after the same kind, and I know that human nature, that which pertains to the natural inclination: what is good, what is nice, what is acceptable is society, that is like a tare, but it does not produce one thing for our eternal destiny. Jesus did not bring about a better way to live, that may be all right, but that has nothing to do with eternal life. It is only the seed in the heart that is going to produce and endure to everlasting life. There is not another thing that is worth our effort apart from serving and worshipping God. Sometimes when we see tares in the lives of others, we forget, we see weeds in a brother's life, and we see weeds in our own lives, and it is the enemy that hath done this, our enemy. If he has a foot hold in my brother's life, he can also get a foot hold in my life, and we need to learn to fight the enemy, and not fight our brother. It is not the fault of the seed. The master did not go out to look at what was sown. We have the tendency when there is a problem to deal with it, but many things come to prove us, to see what is our first love. We need to all learn to fall into the ground, because this is the only thing that seed is good for. When I was home, my father would sell seed corn, and when he would send out a calendar, he would put a little bag of corn on the calendar. It was kept nice and dry and clean, but it did not produce a thing. Later on, people would just throw it away. Then there were bags of corn in the barn and it was planted in the earth, and thousands of bushels of grain were produced.

In Matthew 13, God is showing that His seeds are the children of the kingdom, and it is His desire for them to go into the world, to lose their identity and magnify the Lord. Jesus said, "I am the bread of life - I am." This is the ultimate reason that we have seed, that we would have more bread. There are two things that we can do with wheat. One is to grind it in the mill and it becomes flour, and becomes bread, and we can have a little bread for others. The grain goes through the mill and becomes fine flour, and there is no resemblance in the grain of wheat. Then our lives are bread for the souls of others, in all we do we are bread to others. This goes beyond what we say, but it doesn't come cheap. As the seed goes through the mill, it loses itself. You can't make good bread out of poor flour, and you cannot make good flour without good wheat. We must have the right as we pass through the mill. Unbroken wheat does not produce good flour, the whole thing must go through the mill. This going through the mill is no more pleasant than the seed falling into the ground.

When Jesus was 12 years old, He said, "I must be about My Father's business." Before His earthly parents, He was obedient. He knew what it was to go through the mill, and say, "I am the bread of life. Those that eat of Me shall never die, shall live forever. Those who partake of My way of life, those who drink My blood, shall never die." Jesus spoke to His disciples that they would be bread. In their conduct, their influence, it would lift the spirit of others. That is the deeper meaning of the seed being the children of the kingdom. The children of the kingdom are to produce the life and nature of Christ, and one way to produce this is to fall into the ground and die, contrary to nature. We might think of the cost of the seed, but once the field is green, the farmer hardly speaks of the cost of the planting, but true enough, there is a cost to the service of God, especially in the beginning, but when we see the vision of what we can become in Christ, we no longer speak of the cost. We need to keep this vision before us to see the value of the promise in the future and I would like to keep that before me, that when I am in the corner where God has place me, in lonely days, in difficult days, that I am fulfilling my obligation, that I am seed.

We need to lose ourselves and die that there would be a visible part to our service that will be a benefit unto all, that we cannot hide. What are we hiding, the seed or the light? We could hide the seed, but it would come up a yellow, sticky plant, and we could do the same spiritually, we could put this new life under a bushel. Human nature is the seed in the ground, but we want to be able to demonstrate the green shoot. We do not demonstrate the human life, the human life is dying, but the love of God is being demonstrated in all our actions, not glorifying the old nature, but magnifying the name of Christ. It is not for us to have the seed put in the barn, it is useless. Seed is designed for food or seed. The only reason that we have been put into the world is to produce the likeness of Christ, in our corner, that the righteousness of Christ may be seen. We need to deny ourselves, take up the cross. It is not in us to sacrifice our own nature, but God wants us to magnify His name, to go through the mill, to go through all the processes to come out bread for hungry souls.