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2007-05-06_Good Soil_Matthew 13.1-23_SL

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Good Soil

Matthew 13:1-23   |   Shaun LePage   |   May 6, 2007

I.       Introduction

A.    Illus: Dirt. Genesis 2 God made Adam from the dust of the ground—not very flattering! Ecclesiastes 3:20: “All go to the same place. All came from the dust and all return to the dust.”

B.    We tend to think of dirt as a bad thing—dirty floors, dirty clothes. Farmers, gardeners know dirt is a good thing. And good dirt is a very good thing. That’s where a good harvest begins.

C.    Jesus—the Master Teacher—said people are like soil. Like dirt.

D.    Review:

1.     Matt 1-11—Jesus presented Himself to Israel as her Messiah-King. Leaders rejected Him.

2.     Matt 12—Israel’s unbelief climaxed in the unpardonable sin (blaspheming the Holy Spirit—refusing to believe Jesus is the Messiah even after the Holy Spirit gave supernatural proof). Jesus responded with strong warnings of judgment for those who reject Him.

3.     Matt 13—Parable of Sower and the Seed is another invitation to respond correctly. And if your heart—your soil—is right, you’ll respond correctly and the results will be eternally important.

II.     Body

A.    The parable spoken. (Read Matthew 13:1-9)

1.     “That Day” ties to previous chapter—don’t forget context; unbelief—formal rejection

2.      “Parables” (transliteration) means “a placing beside; a comparison”—an illustration; teaching tool—Jesus was the Master! He used grapes, builders, wine, children, a pearl, trees, virgins, money, houses—and here a farmer (sower) and seed and soil. [ Explained later. ]

3.     Don’t miss vs. 9: “Hear!” (16X in ch 13; also in 11:15; also “seeing”) Closely tied to belief.

B.    The parable questioned. (Read Matthew 13:10-17)

1.     The Disciples’ Question (10)—you’ve got a crowd here, what are you doing?

2.     Jesus’ Answer (11-17)—2 reasons, stated twice in vs.11-12, then elaborated

a)     (11) “It has been…has not been granted”—God’s sovereignty. Disciples “shall be given” truth, Jewish leaders (them) will have truth “taken away”. Remember the context: Disciples believed, scribes and Pharisees willfully rejected the evidence of the HS—truth would be concealed. |  “mysteries”—truth previously unrevealed; not still “mysterious”

b)     (12) “whoever has”—idea of keeping as something valued (JFB); “does not have”—does not value. | General principles: 1. Reception of the truth is rewarded with greater understanding. 2. Rejection of the truth is judged with less understanding.

c)     (13) Paradox: “seeing, do not see; hearing, do not hear”—thrust of entire section is that of willful unbelief—not inability to understand. They could see, but they covered their eyes. They could hear, but they plugged their ears.

d)     (14-15) Prophet Isaiah (6:9-10) prophesied that this would be the case when Messiah came. This—once again—identifies Jesus as the Expected One (11:3).

e)     (16-17) The disciples to whom Jesus spoke were particularly blessed (e.g., John 8:56), but we are too because we live after the coming of Jesus and can “see and hear”!

f)      3. Open your eyes and ears (receive the truth) and be blessed!

C.    The parable explained. (Read Matthew 13:18-23—chart on back might be helpful)

1.     Response #1: The Hardened Heart. (18-19)

a)     “Word”= “seed”; “Sower”=ultimately Jesus (13:37), also His agents; disciples

b)     “Road” pictures hardened heart (packed down); “does not understand” because he doesn’t even try; Somehow Satan “snatches away” the seed—perhaps confusion, brings someone to mock. Seeds are easily brushed away if not planted. Luke 8:12—unsaved!

c)     1 Cor 1:18-25—What seems foolish is actually the wisdom of God. Ask Him to show you.

Matthew 13:3-8 Observation Matthew 13:19-23 Interpretation Application
Beside road; birds came and ate Hears, does not understand, evil one snatches away the word Do not harden your heart; ask God to show you what is true. (1 Corinthians 1:18-25)

2.     Response #2: The Shallow Heart. (20-21)

a)     “Receives” indicates true belief (Acts 2:41; 1 Th 1:6-7); “sprang up” means “sprout leaves”—picture of new life, regeneration; “no firm root” is a good interpretation.

b)     “Temporary” means his “joy” is temporary until things get hard.

c)     “Falls away”—“stumbles” (NKJV) is better; does not mean “loses salvation”; Nothing about hell, much about fruit-bearing and progression to maturity (Luke 8:14). Best interpretation is “falls away” from progress toward maturity, becomes carnal (1 Co 3:1).

d)     Receive the word with joy, then be “rooted”—Eph 3:14-17; Col 2:6-7; Mat 5:10-12

Matthew 13:3-8 Observation Matthew 13:19-23 Interpretation Application
Rocky places, not much soil, sprang up, sun scorched, no root, withered Hears, receives with joy, no root, temporary, affliction and persecution, immediately falls away Receive word with joy, then be rooted and established in the faith (Ephesians 3:14-17; Colossians 2:6-7; Matthew 5:10-12)

3.     Response #3: The Distracted Heart. (22)

a)     “Unfruitful” is important word—again, not loss of salvation, but carnal.

b)     Distracted by “worry of the world…wealth”—loses perspective

c)     Develop eternal perspective (Word!!)—Ph 4:6-7; 1 Tim 6:8-19; Mat 6:25-33

Matthew 13:3-8 Observation Matthew 13:19-23 Interpretation Application
Among thorns, thorns choked Hears, worry and deceitfulness of riches choke the word, unfruitful Develop an eternal perspective, don’t worry, don’t fix hope on riches (Philippians 4:6-7; 1 Timothy 6:8-19; Matthew 6:25-33)

4.     Response #4: The Good Heart. (23)

a)     “Good soil”—a receptive, fertile, believing heart! Opened up to the things of God! Focus here!!! To “hear and understand” is a choice—get into God’s Word. Accept it as true and authoritative, then obey, live it!

b)     “Bears fruit”!! This is your purpose, your calling—John 15:4-5

c)     Don’t be content with shallowness and unfruitfulness! The point is not to think: “If the shallow guy and distracted guy still got into heaven, then I can be shallow and worldly and still get into heaven!” Jesus’ point is “bear fruit”!! Get “rooted and established” in your faith and “don’t worry or be deceived” thinking wine, wealth or women is going to some how fulfill your desires and make life worth living. No! Colossians 3:16

Matthew 13:3-8 Observation Matthew 13:19-23 Interpretation Application
Good soil, yielded a crop—100, 60, 30-fold Hears, understands, bears fruit Hear, understand—plant God’s Word in your heart consistently (John 15:4-5; Colossians 3:16)Focus here! Don’t be content with shallowness or unfruitfulness!

III.   Closing—There’s an entirely higher level of application we haven’t even explored yet. Jesus is talking to His disciples as “sowers”. Message: Have vision as you sow seed! There will be different responses to the Word of God. As Christians—as the body of Christ—we must faithfully sow the seed of the Word of God and remember that some will reject it. Some will disappoint us. But some will be fertile soil and God will reap a great harvest through them. So be good soil, but also sow into it.

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