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Jan 09, 2022

The Parables of Jesus | What Kind Of Soil

The Parables of Jesus | What Kind Of Soil

Speaker: Matt Petty

Series: The Parables of Jesus

Category: Sunday Sermons

Keywords: worship, faith, jesus, mercy, sunday, god, sermon, christian, bible, matthew, christ, gospel, scripture, hope, holy spirit, word of god, believe, jesus christ, bible study, live music, the word of god, bible stories, parables of jesus, church online, livestream, burnt hickory baptist church, church live stream, burnt hickory worship, soil of the heart, what did jesus teach, moral stories, church live

We begin a sermon study on the parables of Jesus in the bible with the intention to understand, interpret, and apply the things Jesus taught directly into our lives today. Many times, we can learn truth from these parables, but Jesus also hid meanings inside his teachings, and we have to understand the intentions behind this scripture. Today we look at Matthew 13:1-23, the parable of the Sower. We can learn from this bible study that understanding truth is a gift of the Holy Spirit, and it’s a matter of the heart as well as the head. We also see four types of hearts, the hard, shallow, divided, and the open heart. The hard heart is distracted, the shallow doesn’t follow through. The divided heart is concerned with life, and the open heart represents one who understands and does what the word of God says. The real question is which soil are you? If you feel that you have been blocked from scriptural and godly truth because of unwillingness to change of by cherishing sin, then let us pray with you. Maybe today is the day you take the next step in your faith journey, and choose to accept Jesus as your savior, we’d love to walk along side you, celebrate your decision, and find a place for you to walk out your faith – reach out today –

Well, happy New Year to everybody, and this is our year. Amen, come on. This is it. Hey, a big shout out before we jump into the message to Dr. Alan Folsom for being here last week for the twelve of you that were around last week. He did an amazing, amazing job, and you can really just feel his heart on what it looks like to be a disciple making disciple. And you can just hear that. Well, this week we're launching into a new series, as you just saw in the bumper video. We're launching into a new series for the next couple of weeks that we've just simply titled, because we're not that creative, parables. We're going to look at some of the parables of Jesus. We're going to look at some of the teachings of Jesus. Now, obviously, we're not going to be able to look at all of them because there's like 45 of them. It will be all year, but we're going to look at a couple of them and we're going to watch Jesus teach. We're going to watch these principles that comes from Jesus. In fact, if you do have a copy of scripture or if you've got the app, go ahead and fire that up.

This morning, we're going to be in Matthew. Chapter 13, Matthew, Chapter 13 this morning is where we're going to launch into our first parable, and today is a really special day because here's why. Today we're not only going to see a parable that Jesus gives us, but we're also going to see the reason that Jesus taught in parables. So really today, because this is going to blow your mind. All right, we're going to look at a parable that teaches about parables and how to interpret parables. All right. So, it really and truly is the biblical inception, right? Remember that movie? It is a parable on parable that shows parables and how to interpret parables. It's all of that. I know it sounds confusing, but you're going to get it as we walk through the morning. Let me lay some foundation on parables just for a minute before we jump in.

Parables are, and if you've been in church for a long time, you kind of know this. Parables are where Jesus took earthly things, earthly stories, earthly ideas and object lessons, and he brought them in any use, those earthly things, first century Palestine, to teach profound truths. He would take things like farming, or he would take things like fishing or take things like leadership or just everyday common language or ideas or things that were around. And he would use those to be able to bring profound truth into people's lives. But here's the deal Parables are much more than that, you see. Yes, parables do make truth accessible on one end, but parables do so much more than Jesus, just bringing big truths and putting it on the bottom shelf for us people to get right.

They actually do something else that possibly you've never thought about. Jesus is going to show us in this parable today that in a twist of irony, that in some ways Jesus comes out and tells us that he uses parables not only to bring hard truths to light, but sometimes Jesus used parables to obscure truth, to only allow truth to be seen, catch this, to those in whose heart was ready. Think of it like this, Jesus. His whole ministry had this group of people that were chasing him down all the time called the Pharisees, and Jesus knew that at certain points, in certain situations with certain people that were around him that he had to talk in parables, he had to speak in ways that those whose hearts were ready, they would understand. But the Pharisees would just look at him as talking about something to do with farming or something to do with just something of carnal nature. And he did it because he knew that at that moment, the same message that he was given Oh, this is so good. You're going to see in the text today the same message that Jesus was giving to the same crowd.

Those whose hearts were ready. Those who were seeking after Jesus. Those who knew what was going on. They would get the message. But on the other end, they were just looking at him and go, why is he talking like that? Why is he talking in circles? It's actually pretty profound. You see, today's parable is going to answer some questions for us that I quite frankly, think that a lot of us have had for a long time, but we've never had the guts to ask them, or we've never kind of felt the liberty to ask them, or we've just always felt, man. You can't ask that question in church. They'll kind of look down to you if you ask that question. In fact, I think today's parable in just a minute, it's going to answer some questions in our minds that we've had for a long time.

Like this one? How is it that that person can just be so smart, but they just can't see the truth about who Jesus is? Have you ever though that? Have you ever looked at just some of the cultural leaders or some people whose IQs are just kind of out the roof smart? But when it comes to biblical things, you're just like, I don't understand. It's incredibly clear. Why can't they just grab on to it? Why can't they just get it? They have a Ph.D., for goodness’s sake. It seems like they could get the gospel. But here's the truth in that you're going to see in the parable today what Jesus teaches, why that truth is. In fact, you're going to see in the parable today why it is that as soon as I get up here, sometimes some of you automatically start suffering from narcolepsy.

I mean, right off the bat, you get comfortable, you get warm, and you get sleepy. Amen. Listen, I got a really good vantage point up here. Just let me tell you that I can see you. All right. Some of your, your head, your head bob game is strong. I mean, it's strong. You're fighting, you're fighting it. Your wife is nudging you cause there's always the dudes, all right. And you're, I mean, you're fighting that habit. This is this parable today is actually going to teach us this. This was profound, too. It's going to teach us why some of you middle school and high school students. As soon as I start reading the word of God, you automatically have to go to the bathroom. It's just how it was like a Pavlov's response for you. I mean, sometimes up here because I said I got a good vantage point, right? Sometimes it looks like a relay race, all right of people going in and out and in and out and tag. Except for girls. You go with other people; it's just how it works. I don't know why, but I'm just telling you this. You're going to see today that you go into the bathroom during the message might just be a symbol of you being possessed by a demon. I don't know if that's true or not, but I'm going to give you the permission today. Just listen, if somebody gets up and starts walking out, you need to give them one of these or hiss at them or something. I don't know. All right. I'm just kidding. I'm just kidding. Don't. That was not for real. All right. Those of you online, that is not real. All right. I didn't mean that. But that is true, right? What this? Oh man, I shouldn't have said that.

What this parable is going to show us is, why is it? Why is it that people can hear the same message and some of them will grab on to it with their hearts, with their lives, it changes them and some of them, it just goes flat, and it just doesn't do anything. In all seriousness, it's going to show us that when God's word is being taught, when his principles are being brought out, when his message is being spoken, there are some spiritual things happening there that are beyond our control and are out of our understanding even. Let's get to the parable right. There was enough. Here we go. Matthew, 13. So look at the parable. I want to show you the context, says this verse one says, that same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such crowds gathered around him that he got into the boat and sat in it while all the people stood on the shore. Now, get this in your mind just for a minute. There's a ton of people around Jesus. They're backing him up toward the water.

He doesn't really have anywhere else to go. He looks behind him. He sees a boat. He hops and he pushes out into the water a little bit, and he creates what we would just kind of call a modern-day overflow room, right? He uses the sound of the water to help project his voice. Hey, man, you ever been in that situation where you're talking bad about somebody on the dock and the neighbors hear you? That's how Jesus is doing in this situation across the lake. He's using it to amplify his voice, which, by the way, a couple of years ago, I was teaching this part of this and student ministry, and I was like, You know what? This church needs. We need a boat. I mean, Jesus had a boat right here. Jesus used a boat for ministry, and I will be the procure and the care for the boat that the church has. So went to the Finance Committee said, We need a boat. They said, Matt, that's not what the text says. I just called them hard hearted. All right, let's move on. Verse ten, or verse five says this. Then Jesus told them many things in parables, saying a farmer went out to sow a seed as he was scattering the seed. Some fell along the path and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on the rocks where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.

Other seed fell among the thorns, which the thorns grew up and choked the plants. Still, other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. And look at verse nine. This is important. Jesus says this. Whoever has ears, that's everyone. Let them here. In other words, Jesus looks at all the people or, looks at them and says, Listen, listen to this. Listen, you're going to see this over and over and over through the disciples here in these parables that Jesus, obviously, the disciples had a listening problem is all I can get out of that. But Jesus is always telling them, Listen, listen. Keep going, because that's where most time we stop in this parable. I want you to see verse ten of what it talks about why some people don't get it. The disciples came to him or came to Jesus, and I asked, verse 10. Why do you speak to the people in parables? Why do you speak to the people in parables? So evidently at this moment, Jesus is in the boat.

He's teaching, he's giving them this parable and the disciples are looking at each other. They're like, Why? Why does he do this? Why does Jesus teach like this? Why does Jesus do this? Which is good news for all of us that they ask this question? Because it really means that that if you get confused when the word of God is being taught sometimes or when I'm preaching, sometimes that might be me. But when you're reading the word of God, sometimes just think you would have made a good disciple.

That's what they're saying. And also, it means this. It means the disciples are asking the question that most of us at some point in our life have asked and every skeptic asks. And here it is, Jesus. Why aren't you just more clear? Why don't you just say who you are? Why don't you just show people who you are? Why aren't you just more clear in showing your power to who people are? In other words, the disciples are going, Jesus, if you are true, why are you not more straight forward in what you are teaching the people about all this faith stuff? It's kind of like us saying, God, if you're if you're who you say you are or God, if you are the author of Scripture, why not God, every time I open the Bible, why don't just pop a little angel up in the air? They can just kind of read it over me. Or why not God, every time I begin to read the word, why not the audible voice of God like Samuel L Jackson? Read this thing over me while I'm just reading the word or God?

Why not? Every time somebody denies you one. I just put him in a Darth Vader hold up against the wall or something like that. God, if you're so real, why not just make yourself more clear? Why not just prove you are who you say you are? This is skeptics question, right? This is really where a lot of skeptics get their fruit or get their ground or get their argument. They'll look at the New Testament and go, Oh, Jesus is who he says he is. Why don't they just make it more clear to which we're going? He did. I mean, he said it right there. So, the question the disciples are asking Jesus here, why are you not more clear is really a question that we've asked, God, why don't you just speak to me more? Why don't you just plant more truth in my life? Why don't you to show me who you are more? Why don't you just deliver me and give me more ideas? To which watch Jesus's answer, because Jesus is a great teacher, he answered the question verse eleven.

Check it out, says this, Jesus replied. Because. The knowledge of the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, you can write the word gospel above that, that's what that means. In other words, the knowledge of the gospel, the knowledge of who I am. The knowledge of who God is. It's been given to you. But not to them. It's been given to you, but not to them. Now this is big boy and girl theology right here. All right. So, it's not just, oh, it's a parable. It sounds great. No, because you got to catch this. I’m going to give you a couple of principles to help you. And here's the first one is the principle that Jesus is teaching. He's saying this No. one understanding of the truth.

This is what Jesus is saying. Understanding of the truth is it’s a, it's a gift from the Holy Spirit. It's a gift from God. It's a gift when God allows you to understand the truth. Here's what that means. This is a freeing statement for some of us, and it's troubling for some of us. It doesn't matter how smart you are, it doesn't matter how cool you are, doesn't matter how much money you have. It doesn't matter how much time you spend at it. You and I, we will never understand the heart, the love and the gospel without the grace of God in our lives. That's what it means. It means that you can try all you want to. You can go at it all you want to. But there is a sense that God has to gift you with the understanding of what he is teaching. This is why some people can read to the same language and one it's blow in their minds. And one that seed is just bouncing off of them. It's a gift of the Holy Spirit. In fact, you remember when Jesus came to the disciples and he looked at him, he's having a little powwow with his boy and he's like, Hey, hey, hey, guys, I got a question for you. Who do people say that I am who people say that I am? They gave me a bunch of answers. Well, you're John the Baptist, or you're Abraham, you're Elijah. Whatever. They gave him all those answers. And then all of a sudden, our boy Peter, right?

He steps up in Matthew 16:16. He steps up and he looks back at Jesus and Jesus asks him that question and Jesus, says who do you say that I am Peter? And Peter says this you Jesus are the messiah. You are the son of the living God son of the living God. What did Jesus do right after that segment? It proves this point, right? Did Jesus go, Oh Peter, you are so smart. Here's a gold star for you. You are the best Sunday school student I've ever had. You are the smartest disciple. I don't know what's wrong with these other guys. They've been following me long enough. They should have it. Is that what Jesus said to him? No. Verse 17 gives us insight into this point. In verse 17, says Jesus looks at Peter Matthew, 16:17, and he says, Blessed are you, Peter. Blessed Are your son of Jonah, right? For flesh and blood did not reveal this to you.

But what? But by my father in heaven, father in heaven. It proves the point, doesn't it? The point is that the Holy Spirit is the one that gives us the ability to perceive truth. He looked at Peter and he's like, Peter, you didn't just figure this out because you try harder. You figured this out because God spoke this into your soul, and I gave it to you. Same thing that Paul said right here, right? first Corinthians twelve three. Paul said it like this. He said No one can say Jesus is Lord, except by my Holy Spirit. Nobody can. See, here's what's happened to us. Sin has made us so skewed against God. Sin has taken our hearts and made them so biased against God that our hearts are naturally slanted against God, and we cannot perceive spiritual truth without the help of God in our lives.

So, some of us, we need to quit trying harder. We need to ask God to illuminate our souls, to illuminate our heart, to show us his truth, to show us his mind, to show us what he wants us to have because we're such a biased people. Have you ever had that one friend in your life that was the most biased person you've ever met in your life? You know what I'm talking about? Don't look at your spouse, because that's bad news right now, right? Have you ever met that person that no matter what you say about someone or something, they're like, No, that's not right? No, that's not it. No way. That can happen. Or they're just so jaded or so just clearly biased. They can't even see the issues clearly. I mean, what Republicans would say, Democrats look like this. Democrats will say Republicans look like this. This is the problem of the racist, right? They can't see through their own bias to see, like the true meaning of who people are.

You can flip this in a in a kind of another way and say this is exactly what happens when somebody falls in love with that person. Nobody cares. I mean, nobody can convince them that it's like Satan's spawn that they're dating at that moment because they're just so biased in that moment. Listen closely before we meet Jesus. Our sinful hearts are so turned or so biased or so jaded against who God is that we can't even perceive how much he loves us and how much truth he wants in our lives. In fact, it's a miracle of regeneration that any of us meet Jesus to begin with. It really is. So, let's quit congratulating ourselves that we found Jesus and realize that it's not our intellect, our righteousness, or it is all from God.

Ephesians 2:8. For It is by grace you've been saved through faith. It is not from yourselves. It's not. It is a gift from God. It's not by work so that no one can boast. And look, when you find somebody who's not convinced, when you find somebody who looks at truth and the seed bounces off their heart, don't speak to them and conviction language. Pray to God that sows the seed that he would soften their hearts. Pray that God would show them through his holy spirit who he is. That's our role. Believers. That's what he tells us to do. Understanding of truth is a gift from the Holy Spirit. But here let's oh man, we got to go. Let's look at number two for soil. What Jesus says, it gets even thicker, that wasn't thick enough. Here it is. Whoever has will be given more and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have even what they have will be taken from them. Now I need you to put your finger there because I don't want anybody to take this out of context, OK?

Here's what this is saying. This is speaking in the context of Jesus giving us insight into truth, not salvation, because Jesus will never take his salvation from you. It is locked in his love and his power, and not you, OK? That's not what it's saying, but what it is saying is this. And I wrote it down because I want to be very clear. When we obey the insight that God gives, he will give us more insight. OK. When we obey the insight that he supplies to us, he will bless us with more. That's what it says. But the converse is just as true when we do not obey, when we do not submit to the insight that God gives us, he will remove insight that he has put into our hearts. College students listen to me.

The reason what you used to hold dear is no longer dear is because at the moment, God put it into your heart, you did not obey what was there and now you're given the opinions of the world more weight than God's weight. And he says, OK, I'm a gentleman and I'll give you the desires of your heart. That's exactly what he's saying, if you do not obey, he will take that insight. This is why our natural position cannot be neutral because we will always drift away. Always keep going. Verse 13 Jesus says this. This is why I speak to them in parables, though seeing they do not see, though hearing hey do not hear or understand. That that's a reference to Isaiah. You can look it up earlier, and Isaiah says the same message We don't have time to flesh it out. But here's the second principle. It's not only is it a gift from the Holy Spirit, what Jesus is saying here is that understanding truth is as much a matter of the heart as it is the head. It's as much a matter of the heart as it is the head.

That means that it has to make sense in here before it will ever make sense in here. It means that the condition of our heart, not the lack of evidence, is what keeps us from seeking truth. Speaking to this matter, Alex Origin of Alexandria in 200 B.C... one of our church fathers, he had a quote that was incredible that says this. He says the same sun that softens the wax hardens the clay. That's what Jesus is saying here. You see, the problem is not in the Sun. The problem is not in the rays of the Sun, the beams of the Sun, the intensity of the Sun. The message that is being preached to us. The problem is in what is receiving that message on this end, the wax, it makes it more palatable.

It makes it more useful. It makes it more pleasing. But on this end, it bakes it into something that is useless. This is what Jesus is saying here. The obscurity and the parables are really there so that we begin to see that God communicates always to those whose hearts are open, who are submitted and who are ready to receive the truth. In fact, I got to thinking this week about God, what are some of the things that blocks your truth from just sinking into my heart? What are some of the things that makes my heart just be baked like this clay? I came up with a list. There's 100 of them, but I just came up with a couple of number one. I just realized this week it's just unwillingness to change. Unwillingness to change really, it's me going God, I'm stuck in my ways. I like my ways. I like what's going on here, and God, I'm just not ready to receive that. John 7:17 says if anyone's will is to do God's will, then he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I'm speaking on my own authority.

You know what that means. It means that submission to God is a prerequisite to understanding all of the depths of God. You see, we got to submit to what we know before God will ever give us anymore. Some of you that are struggling in the faith movement right now struggling, going, I'm just not seeing it and I'm just not doing it. God says, Hey, if you will submit to what you know, I will promise you, I will pour into you more truth.

Some of us approach God with this mindset of God. If you'll just show me your truth, then I'll filter it through this mindset of if I'm going to change or not. And God's like - the audacity. No, it's not how it works. Here's the second truth blocker I thought of this week it's just hidden or cherished sin in our hearts. It's just hidden sin in our hearts. God, I want to. I want to perceive you want to walk after you, but I want to sleep with my girlfriend. God's like, it just doesn’t work. It doesn't work that way. Or I'm going to hold on to my pornography. It just doesn't work that way. Or I'm just going to keep this nasty attitude. Gods like it just doesn't work that way. In fact, King David says like this Psalm 66 verse 18 If I cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. He doesn't listen when we cherish and hold, not just, hey, I messed up. He's talking about habitual sin that we keep in our life, that we leave in our life, that we even celebrate in our lives.

I mean, you see, some of us are trying to seek God, but there's just this un-confessed habitual sin in our heart. And can I just be honest with you? That's why you don't see God. That's why you don't experience God. And God is a gentleman, he's going just turn. Soften your heart. Matthew 5:8, Jesus said it right blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God. Here's number three. Truth blockers, just apathy. Just apathy. God, I want the truth, but I just I want it how I want it on my own terms, at my own point, in my own mind when I can. God, I hear you, but only when it's convenient. No Jeremiah 29:13 tried to give you a reference for each of these 13-14.

Listen to this. God says this. You will seek me and find me. That's good news. When you seek me with all of your heart, I will be found by you. That's a promise from the Lord, OK? I had all my reformed friends on this side for a little while. Now it's like, Wait a minute. All right, here it is. Please know this. Here's what it says. Halfhearted when I get around to it, seeking of truth, never works, never works, God never moves in that mindset. He doesn't. The implication here is quite frankly scary. And it's this when we seek God with 100% of our heart, we will find God. We'll find him, is he hidden, Matt? No, let's not get into that junk, right? It just means we got to submit, and he'll step in.

I think the context here of a college student or a young adult that just says something like this, you know, I think there's a God. I think there's something out there. But I just, you know, I'm not really thinking about a whole lot. I'll get around to that later. You've heard this. God goes that's not how it works. It's not how it works. Can I just tell you this apathy is not a neutral ground? Apathy always moves us backwards. Our natural position is to drift away from God, not toward God. That's what he's saying in the Bible. That's what it's saying right here. Think about it if God is true, which he is, if he came, if he died, if he sacrificed himself, if he rose for my sins, how can I be apathetic toward that?

How can I? It's no wonder God says, Hey, I'll be here when you get back. Here's number four. Quite frankly, is just hating, others hating others blocks the truth. You know what I'm talking about? I love Jesus. I just hate her. No, that doesn't work. It's so southern, right? We don't say it with our mouths, but we type it a lot, right? I mean, I love it, but I just hate her. No, that doesn't work. In fact, John, First John 4:20, says for whoever does not love their brother or sister who they have seen cannot love

God, who they have not seen. Clearly hate clouds our ability to perceive truth and actually goes on in First John later on to say the condition of our love towards others is really an indication of what our love toward the father is. You got a love of people problem. You got a love god problem. Here's number five, we've got to keep going. Number five is this. Truth Blocker. It's giving others’ opinions more weight than God. It's just when we give other people's opinions more weight than God's opinion in our life. God starts going, OK, if that's what you want to grow, then I'll give you the time to do that. Listen to this verse. John 5:44, Jesus says this, how can how can you believe, since you accept glory from one another?

But you do not seek the glory that comes from only God. You know that's saying, so this is scary. This is saying that when we value the glory and the opinion and the weight of other people in our life more than the glory and the opinion and the weight of God, we probably are not seeing God. We're probably not experiencing God. How can you believe when you give the opinions and glories of other people more weight than God? The simple rule is this whatever we give weight to, whatever we give glory to in our life, it is those things that grow, those things that flourish. Most often I think about this through the text of the terms of like an older high school or college student or young adult that that really, man, they'll say Right now, Man, I love the Lord. I love the Lord. I love the Lord. And then all of a sudden, their finger changes. Have you seen this? And then all of a sudden, the love and the trust of the Lord are all of a sudden take a back seat to the opinions of the people that they are with.

We exchange truth for the lie. And this is what happens. See the point in all of these, is this the truth is always present. The truth is always shining. The sun is always shining. The question is where is our hearts? And God is not primarily concerned with our minds. It's primarily concerned first with our hearts and what our heart is like. So, watch what Jesus does. He describes the heart. And he's such a great teacher. He explains the parable for us. This doesn't happen every week, but he gives us a gift this week. Look at how Jesus explains the parable. He gives us four types of hearts. Real quickly. Verse 18. Listen, I told you that words are going to be all to the parables.

Listen to what the parable of the Sower means when anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes down and what does he do? He snatches it away. What was sown in their heart? This seed is sown among the path. Is the problem with the message No, is the problem with the seed? No. Is the problem with the seed Sower? No, the problem is with the heart, is what he's saying. The first type of heart that Jesus shows us here, I'm just going to name it the hard heart. It's the hard heart. It's the person that is interested in the word of God says they're just not that interested. They're interested in being around it. They're interested in being around the people of it.

They're just not that interested in it. They're the person that when they leave church, when they leave the word of God, Satan immediately like a bird reaches into their heart and snatches whatever they just read whatever they just heard out of it. And they think of it no more. They think of it no more. It doesn't make a dent. It snatches away plants doubt and distracts them to think about everything else other than the word of God. And listen, it doesn't even have to be naturally bad things that distracts them. It's just things, right? Some of you, this is going to be your experience today. You're engaged with the message. You're here, you're especially not going to the bathroom or sleeping, but you're around, right? You're thinking things like, Man, I've never heard this talk like this or never experience this kind of message with this text. But as soon as I say amen in a minute, it's going to be all about being trafficked out of the parking lot, getting to West Cobb Diner before everybody else and wondering what else is going on today. That's what he's saying.

He's saying the seed just bounces off and it goes to everything else. Some of the other, if you're being distracted like this, all your thinking right now is not about you, but about man. I just wish so-and-so would hear this message. It's our hearts first, C.S. Lewis says it like this. He says distraction sends more people to hell than doubt. I think we can all say amen to that, because we've all lived that at some point. So, here's my question.

What is it that's hard in your heart so the seeds bouncing off to make your heart hard? Let's keep going. Number two keep going. Verse 20 says this. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word it once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only for a short time. Now get ready. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away, the first heart was the hard heart. The second heart, I'm just going to name it, the shallow heart, the shallow heart. This is the person that hears the truth. They move on the truth, right? They literally seem to respond to the truth. But for some reason, there's a lot of different reasons. For some reason, it just does not last that long. Doesn't last that long. Why? Jesus is clear here because there was no root in it. I'm going to call this maybe the summer camp high right. Or maybe the return to church because so-and-so died tragedy in my life. You know what I'm talking about?

I'm not saying those are bad things, but a lot of people in those moments make incredibly emotional decisions that are really not responding to God, but they're just responding to an emotion. I know exactly what this is because I've seen it. I did the summer camp circuit speaking a long time and I would watch it. I'd watch little Susie on that middle row right there. Something would happen in her life. She would start to cry and then automatically, you could watch it go down the row. I mean, like the COVID spread. I mean, it would go right down the row fast. And all of a sudden you get the invitation and every one of them jokers would be down on the front. All right there together. And you know the recipe, right? Get them as hard as they can on Thursday night. Give them a good gospel message about the bus crash and how everything works, right? And then they get back to their rooms, they get back to home.

And what happens is just nothing changes. Nothing changes. Now I'm not saying this bad. I'm just saying it's emotional. And here's what's so hard about this and a lot of our lives is it looks so convincing at first, right? The plant comes up. It looks so convincing at first. But remember this, you don't remember anything else and say, Remember this one thing is true about our faith. This this, it's not how it starts, is how it finishes. It’s how it finishes and if it endures to the end. Matt, are you saying that once saved, always saved is not true? No, that's not what I'm saying, but I am saying, is this once saved, there's truly change. That's what I'm saying.

Matt, are you saying there's no backsliding in the church? There's no messing up. There's no sin. No, it's not what I'm saying. We see that all of the scripture, the forgiveness of God is available. What I am saying is this in the middle of those seasons, if there's not a conviction in your heart, there's pushing you back toward the gospel. You are not a believer in Jesus. You're not like, Matt, that's judging. No, that is hopeful for you to get saved today is what that is. Because that's what Jesus is telling us right here. I love J.D. Greer in his book Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart.

He says this. He says it's true that once saved is always say, but it's also true that once saved is forever following. Now, look, that doesn't mean if you mess up, you're not a believer if there's not a season in your life. But listen, if there is not the conviction and the power and the movement of the Holy Spirit to get you back to that point, then you need to know Jesus. Here's number three, ooh we got to go. Verse 22. He said 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 out the word, making it unfruitful. The third one, I'm just going to call this the divided heart. The divided heart is the person that hears the word, they respond sincerely to the word. But then once their head gets above the cloud a little bit, they realize all of their other stuff is worth more than what they thought Jesus was worth.

That's really what it says. Let me unpackaged just for a minute, because this is a lot of us that are interested in truth. We're interested in what the word of God says. But as soon as you leave this place, what consumes you? What consumes your world is the bills to pay the money, to make the image, to keep up and the friends that are around us. And it's never what is for the glory of God. What is moving in the glory of God? Or you really want to be a part of this place. You really are saying in worship, we're going to be a part of this place and then all of a sudden travel soccer and travel baseball and travel cheer and travel dance happens up and we don't see you for months at a time. Or, God forbid, you buy that new lake house and that is such a burden taken care of this place, you know, and it's gone. All right. None of that is bad stuff. I love all that stuff, particularly like us, if you got one, right? I love all of that. But when those things are bigger priorities in our life than watching our faith and hearing the message of God and participating in the family of God, then our heart is divided. Some of us are really trying to follow through with obedience. But the things of this world are just choking it out. It's too inconvenient for me to get involved with the lip service to inconvenient for me to serve. Or how about this one? I did that servant thing for a long time. It's somebody else's turn now, man. If I hear that one more time. That's what it's talking about. Other things are choking it out or you want to be obedient in your giving. But you got to keep up with the empire that you have built.

The other things are choking it out. Remember C.S. Lewis - distraction sends more people to hell than doubt. Here's the next one. This is the goal. This is what we want, right this way. Just get to this one who this. Verse 23, but the seed falling. On the good soil, I want you to circle that. Refers to someone who hears the word. Who understands it? And this is the one that produces a crop. Yielding 100, 60, or 30 times what is sown. Where are just going to call this one the open heart. The open heart. You see, this is the heart that clears a path for the seed. It prepares the heart, desires the word, and this is the heart that God ultimately saves. And there's one thing that distinguishes this heart. This is going to close this up today, and it's the fact that this heart, unlike all the other hearts, produces fruit. Produces fruit. What did Jesus say? He just said 30 times, 60 times, 100 times not percent. I think I said that last hour. And one of you math people correct. I mean, 30 times, 60 times, 100 times. Agriculturalists tell us that in this day and time when you sowed a seed, the yield from that seed would be eight times.

Here's what happens when Jesus' seed is sown in our lives. 30 times, 60 times, 100 times. Why? Because nobody realizes when that small seed of God's truth is put into heart, that is prepared. He takes over. He takes over and it produces massive fruit.

Listen, the power of the seed in the right soil will ultimately produce fruit in all of our lives. Nobody will beg us anymore. Nobody will plead with us anymore. Nobody will ask us anymore to serve. Nobody will seek us out to say, Can you be a blessing and help? We will want to do those things. Why? Because our hearts have changed and there's fruit coming from my heart. There's fruit coming from my life and my life is different. The power of the seed in the right soil will always break addiction, will always cure apathy, will always move us to salvation, will always change our hearts, will always break pride, will break down walls that we put around us and we will look at ourselves and not even realize how we got there.

Because it isn’t about us. It's God. Our role is just to submit. Yes, Lord. Here I am. So, here's the last question which type of soil are you? Which type are you? I've given you a bunch of different ones, some distracted and some that are just being choked out. Some that are just bouncing off Ray. But are you willing today, to crack open the heart? And just allow God to plant his seed in you. You know, that's the first step, right? I ain't no farmer, but I know this. You got to till the soil. You got to prepare the soil. And that's all God's waiting on. It's all he's waiting on. So, here's the question this morning. Maybe today you need to draw a line in the sand and say it changes today, God, it changes. I don't care where you bend. Neither does God. That's the cool part. He puts it behind his back and remembers it no more. This Psalmist tells us. What he does care, is you say, God, here's my heart. I submit you give.

That's how we can all live in this thing called theology together. Amen. As he gives us the understanding, we submit our heart, and we grow. I think there's three groups here that need to respond just a second. The first group, quite frankly, is there some of you that need to give your heart to Jesus. You've been playing this game for a long time. You've been walking this thing for a long time. You may even be in a season of your life where you thought you were a Christian, but today you need to meet Jesus. You need to meet Jesus and allow him to plant his seat in your soul. There's some of you that today. You just need to pray that God changes the soil of your heart. He starts to prepare it and help you see how to make it ready. And there's some of you today, quite frankly, you just need to start praying that the Holy Spirit would speak into other lives. Speak over other lives.

Let me raise the stakes just for a second on this. What's the seed in the story? The seed's the word of God Matt, said that OK, yeah, that's primary. But secondary application is this. You remember what Jesus said? Jesus said, I am the seed. I am the seed that dies that is placed into the Earth so that I will produce a fruit of righteousness in your life, the seed. It's when we place Jesus in the tilled heart. Lord Jesus. Today, God, from the parable, the seeds. I just pray that as we have a moment of reflection, an invitation. That God, they're hearts in this room that need to give their life to you, Jesus, let it be today. Let them come seek me out in the front of this room, or one of these counselors and just look at us and just say, Hey, I need Jesus. God, I pray for others that just really need to examine their hearts. And see what it's going to take for them to submit to your truth and God when they do. It's amazing, the fruit that's produced, thank you, Lord Jesus, for this time. Let's stand and sing together for a minute.

Follow Along with the Message

What Kind of Soil?

January 9, 2022

Matthew 13:1–2
1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore.
Matthew 13:3–9
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.”
Matthew 13:10
The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”
Matthew 13:11
He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them.”

PRINCIPLE: Understanding of truth is a of the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 16:16
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Matthew 16:17
Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.
1 Corinthians 12:3
…no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 2:8–9
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
Matthew 13:12–13
12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.”

PRINCIPLE: Understanding of truth is as much a matter of the as it is the head.

“The same Sun that softens the wax hardens the clay.”
— Origin of Alexandria

Truth Blockers:

1. Unwillingness to

John 7:17
If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my one authority.

2. Hidden / cherished in our hearts

Psalm 66:18
If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.


Jeremiah 29:13–14
13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you…

4. others

1 John 4:20
For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.

5. Giving others’ opinions more than God’s

John 5:44
How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?

Matthew 13:18–19
18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path.”

4 Types of Hearts (Soils):

1. The heart

“Distraction sends more people to hell than doubt.”
— C. S. Lewis

Matthew 13:20–21
20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.

2. The heart

“It is true that once saved, always saved. It is also true that once saved, forever following.”
— J. D. Greear

Matthew 13:22
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.

3. The heart

Matthew 13:23
But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

4. The heart

QUESTION: Which are you?

Additional Notes


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