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How Will You Respond to Jesus?

Follow the King   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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The condition of your heart will determine your response to Jesus

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Introduction

Growing a garden in Franklinton - watching garden grow, pulling weeds, watering, something to talk about. Growing garden in North Augusta - not quite the same result - different soil.
After last week, we’re left with some questions: why aren’t people who should embrace Jesus as Messiah not embracing Him? His family has not embraced him, and the religious leaders have not embraced him. Why?
In , Jesus continues his teaching, but in parables. A story using familiar imagery that contains a spiritual truth.
Story shows why people do not respond to the Gospel - disciples probably wondering why Jesus’ message wasn’t received more eagerly. A matter of the heart - much like the condition of soil determines the harvest, the condition of your heart determines your response to Jesus.
Four heart conditions - only one heart condition will embrace Jesus for who He is and find real salvation.

The Story and Meaning of Parables ()

Jesus began to teach - a large crowd gathered. Got in a boat and pushed out into the sea - a floating pulpit.
His family had tried to seize him, and the Pharisees called him a demon - so Jesus’ response is to tell a story about farming. Jesus’ followers were scratching their heads.
Later, disciples ask about parables. Two purposes: to reveal and to conceal. For those seeking truth, the parables would help them to understand the true identity of Jesus and how His Kingdom was at work in the world. For those not seeking: they would hear the story but be offended by the truth of the story. (Think Good Samaritan or Prodigal Son - both are offensive stories.) The parables are divisive. For the truth seekers - the parables reveal. For the truth rejecters - the parables offend and anger.
Quotes - Isaiah commissioned to go to a people that would not listen. Jesus would preach to people who would not listen - because of refusal to listen, they would not understand the secret of the Kingdom of God - that Jesus was the Messiah. Why? The conditions of their hearts. This parable all about soil - Just as the condition of the soil determines how the seed will be received and ultimately how the seed will grow, the condition of you heart will determine how you will receive Jesus and IF you will grow in Jesus.
What heart conditions keep people from embracing Jesus and what heart condition embraces Jesus as Lord?

A hard heart that never responds

Sower = Jesus or anyone who preaches the Word. Seed = the Gospel message. Notice the generosity. Gospel made available to the masses.
Broadcast sowing - A farmer with a bag of seed scattering it on his field. Field has been plowed, but it’s inevitable that all the seed is not going to land in the ideal soil. Some will fall among hardened paths - paths the farmer has worn out over the years as he has walked back and forth through his fields - paths people have trampled on as they’ve made the fields a shortcut.
Represents hard-hearted people - seed falls but immediately taken away by the enemy. No chance of penetrating.
Who does Satan snatch the Gospel away from?
People uninterested in the Gospel - it’s good for other people, but I’m too wrapped up in my own world to care. Gospel is a waste of time. (Kid sleeping in my class - that’s how some of you feel.)
People who intellectually reject the Gospel - can’t believe the claims of God - not logical. It’s a fairy tale - a myth.
People who live in unrepentant sin - You’re so immersed in feeding the desires of your flesh that you can’t see there is a God who loves you who has something better for you.
If you are hard hearted, you’re right where the enemy wants you - in your hard heartedness you allow Satan to snatch the seed away every time.

A shallow heart that never endures

Rocky soil - familiar sight in Israel - Galilee full of rocks - but, a layer of soil grows over the rocks. Grass shoots up and a seed of wheat or barley might immediately spring up - but no depth for roots. Heat of sun destroys it since no depth for roots.
Some respond to the Gospel but it takes no root. Your response to the Gospel was emotional - and no a decision to surrender your life to Christ.
(Decision to run half - emotional - not based on a calculated, reasonable decision.)
Maybe you’re banking on an experience you had at youth camp 20 years ago when you prayed the sinner’s prayer but no fruit. You had an experience where the music moved you, or an emotional sermon moved you - all emotional experience.
A decision based on emotion - then when tribulation comes - you fall away. When life gets tough, instead of running to God you run from God. When persecution comes - when someone questions your faith or gives you a hard time because of faith (which is what Mark’s readers faced) - you don’t stand.
A decision based on emotion - then when tribulation comes - you fall away. When life gets tough, instead of running to God you run from God. When persecution comes - when someone questions your faith or gives you a hard time because of faith (which is what Mark’s readers faced) - you don’t stand.
A defining characteristic of saving faith is ability to endure difficult times with eyes on Jesus. () The measure of your faith is not how you feel but how you endure.
Questions:
Do you know what you believe? Or, do you simply base your faith on a superficial decision you made years ago?
Is your faith driven by feeling or a longing to know Christ? (I could feel the presence of Christ today vs. I didn’t feel the Spirit today.)
Are you devoted to the church by using your giftedness to further the mission of the church or are you using the church as a place to have religious experiences?

A divided heart that never surrenders.

Thorny ground - full of weeds that grow up alongside the seed. The weeds choke out the seed and it produces no grain.
For the divided heart - the thorns are the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desire for other things. Huge problem in America!
The cares of this world - Everything has your attention but Jesus - your job, your family, your education, your hobbies, etc. If Jesus gets anything from you, He only gets a Sunday here and there because everything else is choking out the work He wants to do in you.
The deceitfulness of riches - Wealth lies to us - wealth says - “I’ll give you security and safety.” That new house will finally make you feel like your at home. Your 401K will assure you of a good retirement. Reality: wealth lies. It doesn’t give you ultimate security because you will not take one penny into eternity. Jesus is our security.
The desire for others things - Something is always more important than Jesus - always more pressing.
Surrender to Christ? How can you? Your heart just isn’t into Jesus - it’s into everything else; divided.

A faithful heart that always produces.

Only one type of soil produces a harvest - the shallow heart, the hard heart, and divided heart all represent lost people. The good soil: hears, accepts, and bears fruit. (John 15:5)
For the one who has a soft heart, when the Gospel comes, there’s genuine change. You let go of everything else and embrace the One who gave His all for you.
Thirtyfold and Sixtyfold - It seems like few are responding, but the Word of God does not return void. Many will respond to the Gospel and be changed.
For the unbeliever:
What is the condition of your heart? Hard like the beaten road? Shallow like soil on the rocky road? Divided like the thorny soil? Has your heart condition kept you from really knowing Christ?
Good news - God is more than able to give you a new heart. He can break up a hardened heart. He can removes the rocks from a shallow heart. He can destroy the thorns (Roundup) in a divided heart. He can cultivate in you a new heart if you will hear this morning. Are you listening to the Spirit? This morning, believe - believe what the scribes and Pharisees failed to believe - believe that Jesus is the Son of God who came to bring you into a relationship with the Father by taking your punishment on the cross and rising from the dead. Believe the Good News that your sins can be forgiven and you can be given new life.
For the believer:
It’s easy to get frustrated when people do not respond to Christ. There’s a mother who’s been praying for her son for years, and he doesn’t respond. There’s a man who’s trying to share the Gospel at work, but no one’s listening. There will be seasons in the life of our church where we faithfully share Christ, and few respond.
Run to remember - honoring those who have gone to battle and made the sacrifice. They expected to come home, but they knew the cost. None of us would say a life wasted. Neither is your life wasted when you invest in Kingdom ministry. Know the cost: You will spend your life investing and may see rejection, and it may seem like you’re losing the battle. But, you are not. God is at work in ways you cannot see or even know. Today, get back into the battle. Your sowing a good and powerful Gospel and God will bring His victory as you sow the Gospel.
Temptation to think that something is wrong with the message or with the messenger - it’s outdated, it’s not relevant, etc. Temptation to change the message - to not preach the hard truth that people are separated from God by sin. That’s not popular!
It’s not the seed’s fault. The seed is good and perfect. The Gospel is Good News for all who believe. Temptation to think that something is wrong with the message - it’s outdated, it’s not relevant, etc. Temptation to change the message - to not preach the hard truth that people are separated from God by sin. That’s not popular!
Expect different responses. People not responding is normal, but Jesus’ Kingdom will prevail. In God’s time and in God’s way, seed will fall on good soil. We’ll see a harvest.
Pray for workers. “And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” () Note the emphasis is on praying for workers - why? We’re easily discouraged - but if we put the hand to the plow, while we will be met with resistance, we will see a harvest.
And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.
This morning, renew your commitment to the mission of Jesus. Pray that God will give you a heart to sow seed and trust that He will do as He desires in the hearts of people.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), .
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