- Sermon Notes
Ready to Receive
Illus. Soil prep.
In Matthew 13, Jesus, by way of parable, gives an illustrative story about a farmer who goes out to sow his seed. As he is scattering the seed, it falls upon 4 different types of soils and though the seed is all the same, coming from the same farmer, the condition of the soil was the determining factor in whether or not the seed took root.
In Matthew 12, Jesus had been firmly rejected by the religious leaders. They were determined in their decision that Jesus was not their Messiah. The crowds stood in wonder, amazed, asking if He was in fact the promised one they had been waiting for.
While many had determined to reject Him, many would receive, those who did, He likened to ready soil. In light of the varying responses, Jesus gives this parable that represents His Word going out, encouraging all who had ears to hear, and as they heard, to receive His Word in their hearts like the good soil, ready to receive.
Read: Matthew 13:1-23
The word “Parable” in Greek means to “place, or lay, something alongside of something else for the purpose of comparison.” Here Jesus gives a spiritual or moral truth and expresses it by “laying it alongside” a physical example that could be easily understood.
At this particular point, Jesus’ disciples may have found it difficult to understand how Jesus’ teachings, that to which they responded so enthusiastically, was not welcome in the same way by all who heard it. It is here that Jesus highlights four different types of soils, that have the same seed sown upon them, yet, each soil has a different level of readiness to receive.
Readiness to receive is important for you today as well. Regarding the seed of the Word that is sown, so much can get in the way, or move in to draw us away. With each of the four soils, representing a heart condition, one might be tempted to resist God’s Word in certain areas, to receive it only on a surface level, or to let the worries of this world get in the way. But I have good news for you today, the soil doesn’t have to stay the same, and so too hearts can be changed.
I.Cultivate the Right Conditions
Matthew 13:9, He who has ears, let him hear.
Matthew 13:18, Hear then the parable of the sower.
- At the center of this parable lies the importance of hearing and understanding.
- What Jesus had given them was more than just a story, but the reality of what happens when His Word goes out.
- In this parable the sower (farmer) is Jesus, the seed is the Word of God, the evil one is Satan and the four soils represent the heart posture of different hearers.
Illus. The way seed was sown…
- Though much seed was scattered, what was yielded was distinctly dependent upon the condition of the soil.
- This illustration would have been all too familiar to those hearing, but Jesus was drawing a parallel between the soil of the earth, and soil of people hearts.
Proverbs 4:23, Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
- Since everything you do and all that you are flows from the heart, Jesus wants to make sure that what is flowing from your heart and life is fruitfulness for the Kingdom.
- In order for that type of fruitfulness to flow, the seed of His Word has to be deeply rooted. In order for deep roots, there has to be a cultivation of the right conditions.
- Let Jesus till what has been trampled
Matthew 13:19, 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 the one on whom seed was sown beside the road.
- The soil beside the road is illustrated by a path that has been walked on and over, again and again. These “roads” ran right through fields and many would walk on them.
- The soil in these places was so packed down that the seed which fell upon it, would not penetrate the ground at all.
- The illustration is of one who hears God’s Word, and due to hardness of heart, the Word makes no impact.
- This is not due to a deficiency in the message, but their determined indifference and hardheartedness.
Illus. Move closer.
- There are some who have dropped all desire to understand, are determined to be indifferent, and therefore the seed doesn’t stay long.
- It is snatched away, but there is a better way. The Lord promises to change our hearts if we come to Him.
2 Corinthians 4:3-4, And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
Ezekiel 36:26, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”
- In order for hardheartedness to be changed, one needs to put the plow in the hands of Jesus and let Him till what has been trampled, plow what has been packed down.
- Perhaps you feel that your heart has been trampled on. The path so packed down, heart so hardened that you’ve come to believe there is no way one like you could be pardoned.
Isaiah 55:7-9, Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
Psalm 51:17, the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
- Dig deeper
Matthew 13:20-21, The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the Word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the Word, immediately he falls away.
- The seed sown here falls on rocky ground. It has enough soil to receive the seed, however, too shallow for real roots to develop.
- This is the one who due to lack of depth, is tripped up by tribulation, parched due to persecution.
- The particular type of persecution and affliction that comes is because of the Word.
- The persecution comes, and that person falls away. That phrase falls away is in a word in Greek (skandalizo), which is to cause to stumble, or take up an offense.
- The picture is of a person who is offended, stumbles, and falls away when their initial response to Jesus’ Word is put to the test.
- In order to cultivate the right conditions that barrier rocks beneath the surface must be removed.
Illus. “Lord, we are good as long as no one starts talking bad about me because of my faith.” “I’ll receive the seed that’s sown as long as everyone leaves me alone.”
Illus. Are those pink?
Galatians 5:7, You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?
- I am okay as long as nobody sees, knows…as long as nobody is offended to the point where my receiving your Word has to be defended…
John 15:18, If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.
- Are you letting the fear, or the reality of persecution and affliction keep you from allowing the Word of God to grow deeper roots in your heart?
- I encourage you to dig deeper so that deeper roots can be established. Be determined in difficulty to draw near, rather than steer clear.
- Throw out the thorns
Matthew 13:22, And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the Word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the Word, and it becomes unfruitful.
- The thorns in this type of soil prevent the seed from maturing. Specifically, the worries of the world, the deceitfulness of wealth.
- The soil is fertile for God’s Word, but seems too fertile, because all types of other things are taking root.
- Riches, possessions, prestige, and position, are placed on equal footing with faith, rendering their spiritual life unfruitful.
- Jesus here refers to the deceitfulness of wealth which suggests that riches will not deliver what they promise.
Illus. The multimillionaire, John D. Rockefeller, was once asked the question, “How much money is enough?”
Illus. One more thing!
CS Lewis wrote…"All that we call human history—money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery—is
the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy."
- Are the cares of the world chocking out the Word?
Matthew 6:24, No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other; or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
Illus. What will I be known for?
- Be known by the good seed sown
- Those who hear the Word and accept it are compared to the good soil.
Matthew 13:23, And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the Word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.
- The seed that is sown on the good soil bears fruit. Therefore, when the seed has grown, it is known by what was sown.
- Jesus is saying if you want to be fruitful to let His Word take root in your heart.
Illus. Here are several types of fruit specified in scripture: Romans 1:13: Soul winning as fruit, Romans 6:22: Holiness as fruit, Romans 15:27-28: Giving as fruit, Galatians 5:22-23: Fruit of the Spirit as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control., Colossians 1:10: Good works as fruit., Hebrews 13:15: praise as fruit. Colossians 1:6: The Gospel is constantly bearing fruit increasing in the life of the believer…
- The Psalmist rejoiced that the one who delights in God’s Word and meditates on it day and night is “Like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields it’s fruit in its season. And its leaf does not wither; and in whatever they do, they prosper.”
- As you continue to cultivate the right conditions…The weeds will still try to make their way onto good soil, rocks will get kicked or thrown there, thorns will try to make their way in throughout the day…
Illus. Keep it clear.
Proverbs 4:23, Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
That day Jesus went out of the house and was sitting by the sea. And large crowds gathered to Him, so He got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd was standing on the beach. And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, “Behold, the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. And others fell on the good soil and *yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.” And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, ‘You will keep on hearing, but will not understand; You will keep on seeing, but will not perceive; For the heart of this people has become dull, With their ears they scarcely hear, And they have closed their eyes, Otherwise they would see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, And understand with their heart and return, And I would heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it. “Hear then the parable of the sower. 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 the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away. And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.”