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Seeds and Soils

Kingdom Come pt2: Stories of the Kingdom  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Spiritual growth only happens with a prepared heart.

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Introduction

We’re moving into part two of our Kingdom Come series, Stories of the Kingdom.
I began to wonder after a while if there was actually flowers in the yard. If indeed this woman was a gardener, why wasn’t I seeing any flowers?
This is the idea of what was beginning to happen here in Matthew’s Gospel and one reason why Jesus told these parables.
In the previous chapter, the pharisees demanded a sign even after all of the things they had seen Jesus do.
Two chapters ago, John the Baptist sent some of his followers to ask Jesus if he really was the Messiah, the King.
Sometimes we have a hard time telling the difference – only it’s fruitfulness will show.
Jesus gives characteristics of the different types of hearts illustrated through soils for us to know how to identify true fruitfulness NOT so that we can judge others, but that we can check our own heart. 
The majority of these are found in which marks a new division in the book. Let’s get a run up to where we are in Matthew’s Gospel.
- Jesus’ kingship was shown as deserved through his ancestry through King David.
- Jesus’ kingship was affirmed through the wisemen who followed the signs and travelled to acknowledge the new King of Israel.
- Jesus’ kingship was tested through his conflict with Satan in the desert.
- Jesus speaks as a king.
Matthew 7:29 ESV
for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.
- Jesus displays his authority and ability as King. Also, rejection of Jesus as King is building.
- Even John the Baptist, who was the first to announce Jesus as the Messiah, begins to question whether he really is the King.
- The Pharisees go beyond simply rejecting Jesus as the Messiah and claim him to be demonic.
However, through all of this, even at the end, Jesus is still inviting people to follow him and become part of the Kingdom of God.
By the time we reach , Israel has rejected her King and there is a clear line between those who follow Jesus and those who do not.
That same day. . .
By this point in the day Jesus had already
Matthew 13:1–3 ESV
That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow.

Stories of the Kingdom
Matthew 13:10 ESV
Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?”
What is a parable?
First, a parable is NOT a simplification of the message - it’s not a way for Jesus to ‘dumb down’ his teaching.
A parable is a simple, practical story used to communicate a profound, spiritual truth.
Parable (parabole) where we get ‘parabola’ - para ‘beside’ and ballo ‘to throw or to place.’
How should we understand parables?
Hear the story the way the original hearers would have heard it.
Look for the main point.
Apply the spiritual truth and make a change.
ILLUST - ‘Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.’ It’s not a story but we can do the same thing. Why do we say it. Inspection of a horses teeth can reveal the horses age and health. The main point is be grateful for a gift. Apply that truth even when I’m not receiving a horse for Father’s Day.
May not work for everything - my mom used to say ‘slicker than snot on a doorknob’ - WHAT?!
Why did Jesus teach in parables?
How should we understand parables?
Same question the disciples asked:
Matthew 13:10–17 ESV
Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: “ ‘ “You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.” For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
Matt 13:10-
Jesus taught in parables to two audiences for two purposes:
two audiences:
Crowds
Disciples
The kingship of Jesus was clearly on display through all of the ways we have previously talked about in Matthew’s Gospel from chapters 1-12, and yet even though the obvious was on display, it seemed many, including many Jews - who had been eagerly waiting for and searching for the Messiah, and Jewish leaders were rejecting Jesus.
two purposes:
to reveal truths about the Kingdom of God to those who believe the ‘mystery.’
to conceal truths about the Kingdom from those who willingly deny the obvious.
(It never has and never will be Jesus’ desire to keep anyone from believing in Him)
The parables explain truth to those who are listening because they believe, and it hides the truth from those who reject Jesus - who have eyes (have the ability to see) yet do not see.

Illust - ** Stories from our house in Oley – I didn’t mow for a while because I couldn’t tell which blossoms were from a weed and which were from a flower. I was told it would flower a few days before Mother’s Day
I began to wonder after a while if there was actually flowers in the yard. If indeed this woman was a gardener, why wasn’t I seeing any flowers?
This is the idea of what was beginning to happen here in Matthew’s Gospel and one reason why Jesus told these parables.
Followers of Jesus accepted the obvious - that Jesus is the King- yet were looking around and seeing many who were rejecting him. How could that be if Jesus was obviously the King? Could it be that perhaps they were mistaken?
In the previous chapter, the pharisees demanded a sign even after all of the things they had seen Jesus do.
Two chapters ago, John the Baptist sent some of his followers to ask Jesus if he really was the Messiah, the King.
Jesus is going to tell a parable that explains how it is that the signs of the King and his Kingdom could be obvious and his message clear, yet there were so many who did not believe.
Sometimes we have a hard time telling the difference – only it’s fruitfulness will show.
Spiritual growth can only happen with a prepared heart.
Matthew 13:3–9 ESV
And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.”
Matthew 13:1–9 ESV
That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.”
Matt 13:1-

Illust - ** Stories from our house in Oley – I didn’t mow for a while because I couldn’t tell which blossoms were from a weed and which were from a flower. I was told it would flower a few days before Mother’s Day
I began to wonder after a while if there was actually flowers in the yard. If indeed this woman was a gardener, why wasn’t I seeing any flowers?
This is the idea of what was beginning to happen here in Matthew’s Gospel and one reason why Jesus told these parables.
In the previous chapter, the pharisees demanded a sign even after all of the things they had seen Jesus do.
Two chapters ago, John the Baptist sent some of his followers to ask Jesus if he really was the Messiah, the King.
This is a story of a farmer who is planting crops. He is sowing seeds with a ‘broadcast method’. Typically, there would be walking paths around the field . In the story , the farmer is sowing the seed and Jesus describes four types of soil that the seed falls on.
Sometimes we have a hard time telling the difference – only it’s fruitfulness will show.
Jesus gives characteristics of the different types of hearts illustrated through soils for us to know how to identify true fruitfulness NOT so that we can judge others, but that we can check our own heart. 
The main focus on this parable - Parable of the Sower - is actually not the sower, but the soils. However, before we get to the soils there are a couple of truths we need to see first.
** Neither the sower nor the seed need to change in order for fruitfulness to happen. The fruitfulness depends solely on the soil.
Picture is of a farmer who would ‘broadcast’ seed across his field. He is spreading the seed indiscriminately - plenty is going out

The Sower

The sower doesn’t change
Picture is of a farmer who would ‘broadcast’ seed across his field. He is spreading the seed indiscriminately - plenty is going out.
The Sower represents Jesus, either physically while he gave the message of the Kingdom while on earth or through his disciples.
**That’s you and me. Since Jesus is no longer here physically, it’s expected that the planting of seeds will continue.
1 Corinthians 3:6 ESV
I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.
Even in this story the sower is not the important factor for fruitfulness.
** Evangelism doesn’t depend on you; however, evangelism is given to you. You can never grow an apple tree if you never plant an apple seed.
the skill of the sower isn’t mentioned, the maturity of the sower isn’t mentioned, the age of the sower isn’t mentioned, the occupation of the sower isn’t mentioned.
It is simply that the sower had seed and was expected to sow. (If you need more on this go back to last week’s message on the King’s Command for us to go and make disciples)

The Seed

The seed doesn’t change
Matthew 13:19 ESV
When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path.
The seed represents the ‘word of the kingdom’ or the gospel message.
Note that all the seed is understood to have the same potential for fruitfulness. There is not good seed and bad seed.
Some, however, feel the gospel needs to be altered in order to help it take root.
If we change the seed a bit, maybe it will grow better among the different soils.
**If you change the gospel so that it might grow more effectively, you may have more sprouts, but it is NOT the gospel that is growing.
The weather is not a factor in this story either. All of this means that lack of fruitfulness - lack of spiritual life and growth cannot be blamed on anything but the soil - the heart.
** Neither the sower nor the seed need to change in order for fruitfulness to happen. The fruitfulness depends solely on the soil.

The Soils

The hard heart

Matthew 13:19 ESV
When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path.
The path. The seed that falls on this soil cannot even begin to take root. It sits on the hard, rock-like soil until birds, which represent Satan, come and snatch the gospel message away.
If you are here and have never truly recognized Jesus as King. . .
Interestingly, Jesus is not talking in front of a group of atheists. He is actually speaking to highly religious people. Just because you are on Jesus’ farm does not mean you will be fruitful.
One person noted that the ‘rank atheist’ is in a better state spiritually than the hard-hearted religious man.
This is one of the key points of the Kingdom we will see in other parables - being religious (church-going, tithe-giving, etc) does not guarantee spiritual fruitfulness and entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven.

The shallow heart

Matthew 13:20 ESV
As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy,
Matthew 13:20–21 ESV
As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.
rocky ground
The rocky ground here does not mean a part of the field with large rocks in it. It is talking about a patch of ground that has only a few inches of good soil under which is solid rock.
They ‘receive it with joy’ - they are opposite of hard heart - they SEEM to receive the message of the gospel.
We find out it is all superficial. When difficulties come we find that the seed, the message, had never actually taken root.
Perhaps this type of person expected Jesus to fix everything, and when they find out that Jesus did not promise comfort, in fact, he expected the opposite.
The trick here is that it LOOKED like the seed was fruitful. . . at first. Perhaps there was a ‘Jesus moment,’ a campfire confessional, a card signed, etc.
This is a part of the ‘easy-believism’ - I simply say a magical prayer
Emotion does not equal faith - however, genuine faith will affect you emotion.
**

The divided heart

Matthew 13:22 ESV
As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.
Contaminated Soil
Matt 13:
This time the soil is good and deep enough, it is just polluted.
cares of the world
deceitfulness of riches
1 Timothy 6:9–10 ESV
But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
thorns choke gradually - the growing plant wasn’t pulled or destroyed quickly - slowly over time the thorns overtook.
“The Word of God is a foreigner in such a heart. Weeds and thorns own that ground.”
John Macarthur
** it is far too easy to allow the cares and pleasures of the world choke out our spiritual growth. My heart continually needs tending and cleaning to allow for growth.
All three soils show no true belief, yet for those who do believe you can probably find traces of your own heart’s tendencies.

The fruitful heart

Matthew 13:23 ESV
As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”
Matt 13:
good soil
The mark of the good soil is the fruit that it bears. The same is true for the follower of Jesus. The true mark is fruitfulness displayed in faithfulness.
Matthew 12:33 ESV
“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit.
Not all Christians may be equally fruitful, but all followers of Jesus should have fruit to show.

Conclusion

Remember the third step in understanding parables - to make a change in your life based on the truth found in the parable.
2 Final application points:
1. Receive the message of the Kingdom!!
Don’t have a hard heart - receive the gospel
Which heart are you?
Hard - have you ever even believed the gospel message?
Shallow - Do you come to church for a spiritual high only to see no evidence of change through the week?
Divided -
Don’t have a shallow heart - dig deep in to the Word, water yourself with truth from God’s Word
Don’t have a divided heart - don’t allow the things of this world to pull your affections from Jesus.
Hosea 10:12 ESV
Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.
Spread the message of the Kingdom!!
Jeremiah 4:3 ESV
For thus says the Lord to the men of Judah and Jerusalem: “Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.
2. Spread the message of the Kingdom!!
The seed is left to us. This story tells us that there are some simply waiting for the seed to be planted. If it is planted - it requires no special skill - it WILL grow.
DON’T stop sowing seed!! in the livers of your children, your family, your coworkers, etc. Yes, a lot of seed will fall on hard ground, but Don’t Stop, for the few seeds that will bear fruit - don’t stop.
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