Summary: Here is the parable of the sower, which we have typically spiritualized to death. What is the bottom line principle exposed in this parable?
Passage: Matthew 13:10-17
Intro: Let’s just dive right into this fascinating and tough passage.
1. right in the middle of the parable and explanation of God’s revelational plan
2. soils, hard to soft, barren to fertile.
3. so the disciples, after this first parable, wonder why Jesus is using this technique that is less than perfectly clear in the middle of resistance and hard skepticism.
4. more revelation would seem appropriate, not less
5. here is Jesus’ answer.
I. God’s Sovereign Choice.
1. few controversies greater, but let’s look at the text.
2. v10, “the people” is very general
3. v11…answer both positive and negative, classic Hebrew form
4. there are two paths for people, and they are from God.
5. “has been given” in both cases, a past event that has an ongoing effect.
6. secondly, it comes to me from the outside, passive. I am the recipient.
7. and what has been given? The knowledge of the mysteries of God’s plan, God’s kingdom.
8. what does that mystery look like?
9. v12, the person who has it will see it increase in the future.
10. the person who does not will even lose what he has.
11. saving grace, bright future with increasing grace for eternity in heaven.
12. common grace, time limit, none in hell. No parties, no fellowship, no food, nothing of God’s grace at all. Only wrath
13. if your eyes are opened to the eternal and spiritual, you have been given an eternal gift.
PP John 18:36
14. if your eyes are shut and you only see the physical/temporal, that is all
you will enjoy, and only for a short time.
15. now we get stuck at v11. Where is the justice?
16. we may get upset about, but Jesus does not.
17. we want to tie election or predestination to something we do, but the Bible does not.
18. can we believe something is consistent with God’s righteousness even if we can’t understand how?
II. God’s Merciful Response to Unbelief
1. He’s laid out the underlying principle of election, now moves to the way it is applied.
2. v13, “here is why I speak in a hidden way” Because they can’t see or hear.
3. they can in the physical world, but are blind to the spiritual.
4. they can see the miracles, hear the words, taste the bread, see who did it, but they can’t make the connection.
5. in response to Jesus’ miracles, this group said, “that’s not enough, show us more”
6. this was prophesied in Isaiah, and we would expect God to turn up the revelational heat.
7. instead, Jesus makes it less clear hidden. Why? Principle we need to see.
PP Matthew 10:14 Rejection of revelation stops the revelational process and starts judgment
8. two examples of when God turned up the revelational heat in response to unbelief.
9. we know the story of 10 plagues of Egypt. And we also know that God “hardened Pharaohs heart”
10. but notice when that happened
PP Exodus 5:1
PP Exodus 7:3
11. God’s response to this unbelief was to give more revelation, but to harden Pharaoh’s heart to it. Why?
PP Exodus 7:5
12. and when Pharaoh stood on the shores of the Red Sea, between his drowned army and the smoking ruin of his country, he knew the fullness of God’s power in judgment because God kept revealing and he kept resisting.
13. the other example is in Revelation, where God continues to intensify the revelation of His power and the uselessness of resistance, and yet people resist with increasing hardness
14. to people who want a sign, for whom God’s revelational plan of salvation is not enough, God has two choices.
15. either have mercy and hide his revelation so that accountability will be lesser, or give people the sign they demand.
16. it is faith that revelation seeks to build, and if God has to cram truth down our throats until we are crushed under the weight of the evidence, then we are not trusting Him, but being forced to admit that He is who He has claimed all along to be. And that is not faith.
17. and instead of that, to decrease judgment, God purposely and mercifully hides revelation from the person who will not believe the revelation he has received.
18. with increased revelation comes increased accountability and increased judgment.
19. God is just and God is merciful.
III. God’s Gracious Response to Faith
1. here’s the other path; the faith path
2. it is characterized not by good works or by effort, but by faith.
3. this is what God builds! This is what God’s plan is.
4. it is a different eye, a different ear