Text Illustrations
THE FOUR SOILS: A PHYSICAL ILLUSTRATION


(The following physical illustration is taken from “Heno Head’s Simple Science Object Talks.” If you decide use it, take note that you need to carefully measure out how much baking soda you use, and how much vinegar you place in each jar.

Since we have “Power Point” capability, we focused a video camera on the jars so that the audience could see the display overhead. I also acknowledge that my interpretation of Jesus’ parable isn’t as strict as it could be).


Now, let’s just pretend that these 4 jars represent the 4 soils Jesus talks about.


The 1st Jar (put no liquid in the jar - “the soil” - and put in as much baking soda “the seed” as you like) represents the stony path. This is the type of person that you try to talk to about Jesus and all they do is turn a deaf ear to you. They don’t want to hear about it. They may be polite, but their hearts are hardened. But the farmer doesn’t care, he casts his seed there anyway. You never know when this type of person will change and turn to Christ.


The 2nd Jar (fill 1/3 water + little vinegar and put in a measured amount of baking soda. The reaction you’re looking for is a little fizz but not much more) represents the rocky ground. The soil reacts with the seed. But because there’s not much top soil, the seed dies out quickly. This type of person is the one that will listen to what you have to say. They’ll even ask questions. Maybe they’ll come to church, but that’s as much you’ll see from them. But the farmer doesn’t care, he casts his seed here as well. You never know when this type of person will turn their lives over to Jesus.


This 3rd jar (fill jar to 1/3 with vinegar and put in a measured amount of baking soda. The result you’re looking for is for the vinegar to boil up almost to the top of the jar and then die down) represents the Weedy soil. This is the type of person who gets all excited about Jesus, comes to church, may even become a Christian. But their faith gets choked out. They never took the weeds of out of lives. They become distracted by something else and Jesus suddenly is choked out of their lives.


The 4th jar (fill jar to ½ with vinegar and put in a goodly amount of baking soda. The result you’re seeking is for the vinegar to boil over abundantly – you’ll want a tray underneath to catch the overflow) is the Good ground yielded a crop 100 times more than was sown. This is what the farmer’s looking for. And that’s what God is looking for. He’s looking for a believer who is more than just a casual acquaintance. A convert who takes their faith seriously and produces a crop.


Now, I didn’t have to be particularly skilled to get the reaction you just saw (in fact my 7 year old son put the baking soda in the jar for me – this added to the “unskilled” part of my illustration). The reaction (the harvest, if you will) depended on the interaction between the “seed” and the “soil.” It was the same “seed” in each case – but the soil was different.


SOURCE: Jeff Strite in "You Can’t Reap them All" on www.sermoncentral.com

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