Jason Helopoulos / Nov 17, 2019 / Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
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Sermon Summary / Transcript
In last Sunday’s sermon, we looked at Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23. Jason showed us first that chapter 13 acts as a transition in Jesus’ ministry, that from this point on, most of his teaching would be in parables and in the open air. The parable of the sower, in which God’s word is seed being widely cast, is a fitting first example of this.
There is one seed – the Gospel – and one sower – the Son of Man (when we sow it is only in his name). But there are many kinds of soil, and the Word is cast to all of them, as far and wide as possible. Jesus describes four types of soil, four types of hearts…
The path. The ground here is packed hard, and birds devour the seed. This is the calloused listener who fails to understand the word. Satan immediately snatches it away. How does he accomplish that? Most often by a heart that is indifferent and self-righteous.
Rocky ground. Here the soil is shallow; beneath it is bedrock. When the seed sprouts it has no root and is scorched and withered by the sun. This is the Word received with joy, but tribulation and persecution prove that there is no root, and the person falls away. Many trust in something shallow: a prayer when they were young, a warm spiritual feeling, but they are far from Christ. They are hearers only, not doers.
Thorns. The seed that falls here are choked by the thorns that grow up around them. Cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches are the thorns. Like Demas, who was “in love with the present world” and abandons Paul (and by inference Christ), a divided heart will not stand. We must tend to our hearts. We must feast on the Word.
Good soil. The world is full of enemies, but this part of the parable is encouraging. The seed that finds good soil yields 30, 60, 100-fold. This is the convinced heart, the heart engaged with the word of God. They listen, receive, understand, and bear fruit continually. What fruit? The fruit of the Spirit, prayerfulness, love, mercy. If these things are not present, then there is no deep root.
1 Seek more than warm feelings; seek a life of continual fruitfulness.
2 Trust in the Word. God works by it. And so our ministries must be Word centered.
3 Not all who receive the word respond. The preacher is responsible for faithfulness and effectiveness, but the success (the fruit) is God’s responsibility.
What kind of soil, then, is our own heart? Not just as we received the gospel, but as we receive God’s word today? Let us tend to our hearts, feast on the Word, and see what kind of harvest God brings.