Faithlife Sermons

Parable of the Sower

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Good morning welcome to our online Service.. We are going to be finishing up our summer sermon series The Greatest Stories Ever Told.... ..
Over the past several weeks we have been looking at the parables that Jesus taught.
One things that has become evident to me is that Jesus had high expectations of his followers
Jesus expected his disciples to be those who are activity pursuing a life is focused on the priority of His kingdom
That they would be Kingdom seekers and Kingdom doers…
That seeking first the Kingdom of God would translate into our every day lives— where we would be reflecting His Kingdom in the World…
In the parable of the Sower we are going to see that there are barriers to us being Kingdom seekers and kingdom doers
As we pursue God and His Kingdom there are challenges and set backs and we may get stuck and frustrated…along the way...
But we should persevere because we have been given this powerful weapon in the word of God - that can help overcome any barrier that we face.....…
We have all experienced a set backs in our lives.. I was thinking of some of the places that I have been literally stuck...
-- I have been stuck in elevator during of a power cut...
— ---I have been stuck in a Rip Tide pulled out to sea and had to be rescued by a life guard ..
— I have been stuck on a plane in a holding pattern after 16 hour flight.
-- I have been stuck because we have locked our car keys in the trunk of the car
There are many ways we can get stuck.....
— I have also had seasons of being stuck in my personal and spirtual life……The sense of being stuck often leaves us feeling frustrated...
Have you been stuck?
Over the last several months we have been in this holding pattern of Covid 19.... and now we are dealing with fires all around us… Coming Elections —
These are challenging times..—
It seems that the more we try find answers and solutions…the more questions we have…
One thing, I have noticed is that… we are so used to being able solving problems and move to the next thing… We analysis the problem --- strengths, weaknesses, obstacles and threats.... and then we devise a strategy… on how to fix it..
but that method is not working so well for us right now ...
When things happen around us that are out of our control… We reminded that of the Sovereignty of God… and to be honest — we can struggle with letting go...
Like the story of a captain on the bridge of a large naval vessel saw a light ahead on a collision course. He signaled, “Alter your course ten degrees south.” The reply came back, “Alter your course ten degrees north.”
The captain then signaled, “Alter your course ten degrees south. I am a captain.” The reply: “Alter your course 10 degrees north. I am a seaman third-class.”
The furious captain signaled, “Alter your course ten degrees south. I am a battleship.” The reply: “Alter your course ten degrees north. I am a lighthouse.”
We are living in a time that...
… Instead of trying and taking charge it is going to take faith for us to submit to God’s Sovereign plan and let God… and say— God you are in control and I am not...
.. Jesus in the parable of the sower --- shows us that it is not our own ability but the power within the ability of word of God that Saves and delivers us.
The parable of the sower is about the potential of the seed — Which is the word of the kingdom… and the condition of our hearts to receive that word… some have called it the parable of the Soil…
Jesus uses this Metaphor of the Seed…to illustrate the Word of kingdom… In Matthew chapter 13..
Jesus tells three parables that have to do with the seed..-- the parable of the sower..- parable of the mustard seed - the parable of the weeds…
They all have to do with the potential and the obstacles of the Word of God.
a. In the parable of the mustard seed.
The Kingdom of Heaven is compared to a grain of mustard seed…the smallest of seeds - but when the seed is sown in the ground it takes root and grows into large tree where the birds of the air come and make their nests…
Jesus told the parable to build our faith… sometimes things that are seemingly insignificant…to us are huge..
— like the loaves and fishers — God does much with the little...
something small quickly gain momentum and huge kingdom impact.. One conversation, One gift, One kind word, one encouragement, One glass of water in the name of Jesus… can have huge impact..
There is life giving potential in just one seed...
I was reading an article in the National Geographic that a Russian team of scientists discovered a seeds buried by a squirrel in the Ice Age…not sure how they know that....
They reported that the seed was some 32000 years old. This team extracted tissue from the frozen seeds, placed it in vials, and successfully germinated the plants… The plants grew, flowered, and, after a year, created seeds of their own.
That shows you the power of seeds.. Here is the thing seed has to be planted in the right kind of soil to germinate… That seed sat for 32000 years…
The Potential lies in the seed… but in order for that seed to germinate it has to be planted in the soil… seed has to be sown into the ground…seed has to die before it germinate…
When the seed germinates it unlocks its potential…
Jesus chooses the smallest seed possible to say that, yes, these are seemingly small beginnings, but the fruit that is born in the kingdom will lead to an extravagant end.
In Matthew 13 we have the parable of the sower... We are told that Jesus was by sea of Galilee when a large crowd gathered and he sat in a boat and began to tell parables..
Jesus told the story of a sower goes out to sow seed in the field.. and he sowed some that fell along a path... and the birds came and devoured the seed. Some seed is sown on the rocky ground and they did not have much soil and immediately they sprang up, but since they had not depth when the sun rose it scorched the seed and because they had no root, they withered away…
Others of the seed fell among the thorns and when they grew up the were choked… Then there was the seed that fell on the good soil that produced a bumper harvest…some 100% other 60 and 30…
… Jesus ends the parable with the phrase - He who has ears let him hear… take time to study the parable the sower..
Key to understanding the parables is hearing..
A few years back, there was a new ringtone that children younger than 18 were using. It was called the "Mosquito Tone." The reason young people used it was because it was too high for people over the age of 25 to hear, so individual's under 25 could text and call each other and any teacher, parent, or boss over 25 wouldn't know it.
Inside our ears, we have microscopic hairs that move with the impulses of sound waves, and those hair movements send electrical signals to our brains. As we age, those hairs get worn down and damaged, so our hearing becomes increasingly less sensitive, and we lose the ability to detect sounds of high frequencies.
Regardless of how old we are, are we open to hearing what Jesus has to say? How's our hearing when it comes to listening to God's Word?
When Jesus said, ‘He who has ears, let him hear’, the word ‘hear’ has the full meaning of shamar in the Old Testament. He was asking not only for hearing in the physical sense, but for acceptance of his word as a word from God and obedience to it…
The reason we need to pay attention to the Word is because there are Barriers to responding in obedience.
T/s The first Barrier?

1. Spiritual Opposition

Now, the parable of the sower is one of the parables that Jesus explains… He tells the the parable at the begining of chapter 13 and explains it in verse 18...
One of the reasons is that Disciples were struggling to understand what farming had to do with the establishment to Christ’s rule and reign...
Matthew 13:18–19 ESV
18 “Hear then the parable of the sower: 19 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.
Jesus, Hear — or study - pay attention to the parable of the sower… Why because it is the Word of the Kingdom.
Some versions say it is the message about the Kingdom... IT IS The Good News that will establish his rule and reign -- GOD’S WORD ARE KINGDOM WORDS… God’s Kingdom comes to us through the Word of God..
The kingdom of God is nothing less than the power of God in heaven entering the world to heal every alienation and every brokenness in every dimension of human life, whether it’s social or economical or racial or emotional or physical or psychological or spiritual.
The seed is a kingdom word because it is a word of Salvation…
Jesus points out that one of the problems is when the Word remain near us.. but is not received… In order to be received we need to confess and believe in our hearts Jesus is Lord… This is the Kingdom word — because it brings both Salvation and deliverance in our lives..
One of the Barriers to Salvation and deliverance is that...
a. One of the Spiritual Opposition is the condition of our Heart..
What is interesting is the Bible tells us that seed falls on the “Edge of the Path,” Just misses the intended target… what happens when the word misses target is it lands on the wrong kind of soil.
The problem is not with the seed, and it’s not with the sower. But the problem is with the soil — It is the soil that rejects the seed..
Those who hear the message of the kingdom but reject it because of the hardness of their hearts…
a. Word of God near us but not in us.
2. Anther opposition to the word is Evil one.
In his preface to The Screw-tape Letters, C. S. Lewis writes:
“There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence, the other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.”
Paul the apostle spoke of how he desired to return to the church at Thessalonica… Paul was on his second missionary Journey when Jewish leaders stirred up the people and caused a riot … He and Timothy had to escape… Paul says that Satan had hindered him from returning… When we are involved in Kingdom work — we are going to face spiritual opposition...
In the parable the seed falls along the path and the birds of the air come and steal the seed… Jesus explains that the birds represent the Evil One who comes and snatches the good news of the kingdom away...
- The word sieze mean to take something by force for the purpose of taking control
Satan wants to take control and one of the way he does this is through hardening our hearts towards the message of the Kingdom of God...
Satan has a strategy…is that we neglect the word of God in our lives… because, He knows how powerful the word of God is.. Word is the sword of the spirit in the Armor of God… In Matt 4:11 We see this dialogue between Satan and Jesus..
Matthew tells us that
Jesus goes into the wilderness to be tested by Satan.
This is shortly after God declares Him to be His Son—
Immediately Satan challenges this declaration ---- Jesus is on a 40 day fast in the wilderness — He is getting prepared for ministry… Critical time the Evil One.. comes to seeking to steal..
If you are the Son God turn this rock into bread, .. Then he takes Jesus to the top of the temple and says if you are the Son of God throw yourelf down as it is written he will give his angels charge over you....Then He takes Jesus to a tall mountain offers Him the kingdom of this world… He says to Jesus I will give you all these ...if He would bow down to him.
The way that Jesus combated satan it is written… man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God… It is written… you shall not put the Lord your God to the test the Lord your God… Be Gone Satan - Because
You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve
Through reliance on the Scriptures, Jesus overcomes Satan’s temptations and thereby proves Himself obedient to God’s will
How do we deal with Spiritual Opposition?
a..We need to speak the Word of God…Jesus did just think the word — He spoke in Faith… and then He told Satan to go away...
1 Peter 5:8–9 ESV
8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
b. Satan is out to steal our identity in Christ. He want to convince you that you are something apart from God.. than wha he created you to be… He wants to disconnect you and separate you from God and live in doubt...
We need to beware of listening to the word of Jesus with a hard heart, with the intellect only. You see, it says some of the seed falls on hard ground, and it never penetrates. A seed can’t germinate unless it goes underneath, at east the seeds we’re talking about here.
T/s What are the barriers to the Word of God Flourishing?
T/s What are the barriers to the Word of God Flourishing?
1. Spiritual Opposition

2. The struggles of Life

We are not only facing a health crisis at the moment by also mental health crisis..
… I came across this article…that reported that more than 1/4 of young adults have contemplated suicide this past month…
The article cited that CDC reported that 25.5 percent, or one in four adults, ages 18-24, say they have contemplated suicide in the past month as a result of the pandemic. That’s more than three times the percentage of people in the same age group who reported suicidal ideation in the second quarter of 2019.
Of those surveyed, more than 40 percent said they had experienced a mental or behavioral health condition in relation to the pandemic. 31 percent reported symptoms of anxiety or depression, while 26 percent of respondents reported trauma and stress-related disorder because of the pandemic. And 13 percent of those surveyed said they have turned to increased substance use to cope with stress or emotions related to COVID-19.
One of the Obstacles to the Word of God is the Pressures of life… Trials and tribulations..
Jesus tells us that some of the seed falls upon the Rocky ground-- where there wasn't much top soil... but just enough to get the seed started and and so immediately the seed sprang up because there was no root ...the sun came out and scorched the seed...
Jesus explains the parable…
Matthew 13:20–21 ESV
20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21 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.
The metaphor of the stony ground represents the person who hears the word and receives the word with Joy…This is talking about people who get very excited about Christ. They have moved beyond the theoretical, in other words - to the place of experience — where they can say, “Christ has changed my life.”
But the problem is that as soon as they hit trials and tribulation their faith wavers..
Larry Osborne says that it is easy to mistake enthusiasm for maturity… There is part of faith that engages our emotions… There is the feeling side of faith… but Jesus warns that the problem with zeal without the word is that as soon as tribulation or persecution arises… Feelings are not going to get you through… Paul in Romans describes this kind of faith that is based upon zeal rather than submission in obedience..
Romans 10:1–3 ESV
1 Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.
Faith that is grounded in experience only is on shaky ground…
The problem is that when we are not rooted and grounded in the word…
when pressure and persecution come, this person falls away..
Here is the thing is that When everything in our lives shakes… the word remains.
Psalm 119:89 ESV
89 Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens.
Peter tells us that we have been born again not by corruptable seed but by incorruptable seed.
1 Peter 1:24–25 ESV
24 for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, 25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you.
Hebrews chapter 12 talks about the Lord shaking the earth and the heavens.. once more… that there will be the removal of some things that are shaken --- in order that the things that cannot be shaken will remain...
Spurgeon talks about - taking a look at the things that can be shaken and the things that cant be shaken… We have many things in our possession at the present moment which can be shaken…
The things which can be shaken will be removed, but things that cannot be shaken will remain
you may derive real comfort from the things that cannot be shaken, which will remain. 1. In the first place, whatever your losses may have been, you enjoy present salvation. 2. In the next place, you are a child of God to-day. God is your Father. No change of circumstances can ever rob you of that. 3. You have another permanent blessing, namely, the love of Jesus Christ. He who is God and man loves you with all the strength of His affectionate nature. Now, nothing can rob you of that. 4. You have another thing, namely this truth, that whatever may happen to you you have God’s faithful promise which holds true that all things shall work for your good. Do you believe this?
Hebrews 12:28 ESV28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,
T/s What are the barriers to the Word of God Flourishing?
T/s What are the barriers to the Word of God Flourishing?
1. Spiritual Opposition

2. The struggles of Life

3. Competing Goals

Jesus explains that the sower sows seeds and some fall upon thorns… and choke the word of the kingdom...
Jesus explains the
Matthew 13:22 ESV
22 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.
So Jesus tells us that this person receives the message of the Kingdom with joy… He becomes grounded in the word…and grows significantly... but there are thorns that grow up along sided of the seed that eventually choke out the life of the seed...
Jesus talks about the obstacle of competing goals… One is the Cares and worries of life...
There is no shortage of things to worry about.... Today this message this message is needed more than ever because … not only are there the “normal” things to worry about… we have the pandemic and fires to consider… These are very real concerns…
But what Jesus was dealing with is that when worries and cares start to creep in… It starts to overcrowd…take up real-estate in our heart and to choke out the word of God… The problem worry is that it no longer is depending on the word in faith… focused on the circumstances.. in stead of trusting in God… Jesus says the other thing that overcrowds is the deceitfulness of Riches…
The problem with riches is that money can become the solution to every problem… The problem with Riches is that --- money will always be a temporary commodity whether you are Bill Gates or whether you are street sweeper… Riches are deceitful is that they give you a false sense of security.. Interesting that Worry and Richess are two things that crowd out the word of God.
Here is the problem..
the Westminster Shorter Catechism tells us... “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.”
If that is an accurate description of what life is about and what our service to God means, it is clear that we cannot either serve or glorify God while questioning his ability to take care of us. We will be working hard to augment our possessions, and if we are doing that, we will not be serving God
b. Crowding out through Worry and Wealth
This is the heart that hears the Word, but there is no room for it because worries of life and wealth of this world are too consuming.
When our attention to drawn to these things - when worries of this life consume our thoughts, when lure of wealth sucks us in - our hearts get distracted from Jesus.
they are like weeds that choke out plants. We can’t get nourished in love and strength and grace of Christ because our focus is elsewhere
c. Spiritual unfruitfulness
The thorns can represent unfruitfulness in our lives...
Charles Spurgeon, who said if you’re a real Christian and you’re on the boat of salvation on the way to heaven, you can’t fall off the boat. But you can fall on the boat, break all your bones, and spend the whole trip in the infirmary.
Jesus said let him who has an ear hear…
Sometimes God can be speaking to us…in bold capital letters — but because we are preoccupied we can miss out on the blessing of the Word..
We have all been driving down a highway and noticed bright orange signs that state, “begin construction” and “end construction.” One thing about these signs is that they tend to remain around long after the construction work is over.
If one of us were to announce that—for the time being—God’s construction in our lives was going to be halted, Would we notice — or would we continue driving on..
Jesus Explains — What can happen when the seed.. the word of the Kingdom falls on Good soil..
Remember.. Jesus is dealing with the heart -- When the heart is right it can receive the word... Conditions are perfect for the seed to germinate and will produce a harvest...
Jesus says,...The person who hears the word and understands it, and it bear much fruit —
What would happen what would happen if all of our lives were transformed by God's Word and his grace? If we opened up our hearts to Gods word…
We idenitfied and with the barriers
Spiritual Opposition
The struggles of Life
Competing Goals
We would see the multiplication of our fruitfulness
We'd be like those early Christians - We would be like the early church, and we'd make a profoundly positive influence in our homes, with our neighbors, in our communities, and in our city all in the name of Christ...
Heavenly Father, we humbly submit ourselves, and fall down before your majesty, asking you from the bottom of our hearts, that this seed of your Word, now sown among us, may take such deep root, that neither the burning heat of persecution cause it to wither, neither the thorny cares of this life choke it, but that as seed sown in good ground, it may bring forth thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold, as your heavenly wisdom has appointed. And because we have need continually to crave many things at your hands, we humbly ask you, O heavenly Father, to grant us your Holy Spirit to direct our petitions, so that they may proceed from such a fervent mind as may be agreeable to your most blessed will.
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