This is the second sermon I’m going to preach on a Sunday night at the church I pastor, Faith United Church – Hempstead Texas. I haven’t even started this series yet, but I will start it in a few weeks, I just wanted to post it, maybe it will bless someone.
THE ART OF BEARING FRUIT PART 2
4 SOILS #A
Matthew 13:1-9 & 18-23.
Matthew 13:1-9 (NIV) – That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop — a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 He who has ears, let him hear.”
Verses 18-23 – 18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. 22 The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. 23 But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
INTRO: This is part 2 in our PM series, “The Art of bearing fruit.” Last time we saw that God wants the Christian to be a garden that produces fruit, flowers, and incense for His pleasure alone.
Donald Grey Barnhouse cites an amazing example of lasting fruitfulness. In Hampton Court near London, there is a grapevine under glass; it is about 1,000 years old and has but one root which is at least two feet thick. Some of the branches are 200 feet long. Because of skillful cutting and pruning, the vine produces several tons of grapes each year. Even though some of the smaller branches are 200 feet from the main stem, they bear much fruit because they are joined to the vine and allow the life of the vine to flow through them. Christ is the vine, and we are the branches. And when we need pruning, the goal is always more fruit. And that is what this time we are going to be spending together on Sunday nights is all about. We are going to be looking at bearing fruit, and what it takes. But we are going to be looking at it from more of a devotional stance, as opposed to a doctrinal stance.
One this that it does take in order to bear fruit is you need soil. It is one of many things that you have to have in order to produce a fruitful garden. Now in the next couple of sermons on this we are going to be looking at the different types of soil out there: (1) The Road soil; (2) The Rock soil; (3) The Thornbush soil; (4) The Good soil.
What is the difference in all these soils? Well, for one thing, the good soil has been plowed. The hardness of the road has been removed; The rocks have been taken out; The thornbushes have been pulled; Only the good soil remains. You see, this soil represents our lives. We have the potential of producing fruit for God, but some just don’t go deep enough in Him.
Let’s start looking at the 4 different types of soil (which represents people) out there. Let’s just focus on two of them tonight. We are going to look at the problems as well as the solutions.
1. Roadway people.
Verses 4 & 18-19 – 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path.
A. In Greek this roadway is described this way: These were paths that we along side the plowed field, that was beaten hard by foot traffic. Sometimes, the seed would fall along these foot-pathways.
B. This is pathway has not had a plow come up and plow up the hardened exterior and broken up the ground.
C. The Message of the Kingdom is the Gospel. These are the seeds that have fallen on this roadway.
D. Notice in says in verse 19, that they hear the message but do not understand it.
1. In the Greek it means, “While listening, they weren’t comprehending, understanding, grasping. They did not regard the message, or take it to heart.”
2. Why is this? Because like a road or path alongside a plowed filled, their exterior was too hard, the message never went deep inside of them.
E. Consequently, the enemy was able to snatch away the word, just like the birds were able to quickly snatch away the seeds that have fallen on a road or path.
F. This type of person is careless in their hearing.
1. They are an open road where evil passions, foolish desires, continually pass their way, uncontrolled, making their lives hard.
G. What are some things that can harden us up.
1. Friends and Associates. It is important to ask some questions concerning your friends: (1) What impact do they have on your thinking? (2) Do they try to get you to compromise your convictions?
2. The Things you read, listen too, or watch. What kind of emotions are produced and are the images in your mind by participating in these activities?
3. Personal Ambitions. Are your ambitions putting you first, or God first?
4. Private thought life. What do you think about when no one is around?
5. The Master’s footprints. Are you letting Him walk through your life, plowing up the hardness, and enriching your soil (life)?
2. Rocky People.
Verses 5 & 20-21 – 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 20 The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.
A. This type of soil is pretty predominate in Palestine. There is a layer of limestone that often is write under a thin layer of soil.
1. In this soil the rocks go deep.
B. Notice that it says that when he hears the word, that he receives it with joy.
1. Now commentators are divided on what this means. Did he truly receive it, or did he just receive the beauty of the message but never allowed the message to penetrate or remove the hard rocky layer under the soil.
2. I feel this is those who perhaps give lipservice to Christ. They may say the right prayers, walk down an ailse, but never allow Christ to change their life, thereby not truly become followers of Him.
3. They don’t allow the Word to penetrate deep and remove those rocks.
C. These fall away because of suffering and persecution. Why? Because he has no root.
1. Clarke’s commentary says, “His soul is not deeply convinced of its guilt and depravity. The ground has not been properly plowed up, nor the rock broken. When persecution arises, of which he did not expect, he soon seeks to abandon the doctrine and people of Christ. He endures as long as there is no difficulty, no cross to bear.”
2. I think the key is that he did not let the word of God take root. Other Scriptures concerning this.
Colossians 2:6-7 – 6So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, 7rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
Ephesians 3:16-19 – 16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
3. Both of these passage talk about the importance of letting being rooted and established in Christ. This is much more than lip-service.
D. What constitutes Rocky People – ultimately unbelief.
E. 3 areas of unbelief that if it is not dealt with will cause any fruit produced to die.
1. Converting to the church as opposed to converting to Christ. We like religion, the service style, the preacher, the sermons, the fellowship, the experiences, the acceptance. While all of these may be needed at times, would we still be following Christ without them? Our faith, belief, and trust should never be invested in a person, or personality, or an organization; but only in Jesus Christ. How do we know if our soil is thinly covering rocks? When things go wrong – do we become hard and cynical?
2. Refusing to actually believe God’s Word. How do we refuse to believe it? (1) By not reading it; (2) By not discovering the true interpretation; (3) By not applying it; (4) By putting our own personal or demoninational interpretations on it.
3. Being preoccupied with self. Are we in church, or even church leadership to fulfill a personal agenda or God’s purposes for us.
F. There are 3 simple steps to plow up the hardness in our lives, so our soil will go deep and produce fruit:
1. Ask God in sincerity to show you Himself. See what He is really like. His holiness, mercy, justice, and goodness.
2. Ask God to show you yourself. Allow the Holy Spirit to show you any hardness of your will; your evil desires.
3. Ask God by His Spirit to give you a true, honest faith in Him. A faith that trust Him completely; a faith that will remove the rocks as the Spirit shows them.
CONCL: Let me leave you with Philippians 2:13 – for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. God wants to plow up the path you’ve allowed in your life as well as the rocks that are buried deep within. He desires absolute surrender. Let’s give it to Him.
We will look at the two other soils next time.