Summary: This sermon stresses the difference of being a genuine believer and a counterfeit one.
Matthew 13:3-8, 18-23
Intro: One day Jesus was by the seashore when He became accompanied by multitudes of people. There were so many that He had to go offshore and sit in a boat. He then began to teach the people. What He taught them was the Parable of the Sower, among others. I believe the reason He started with this parable was because they were living illustrations. Undoubted, among the people there were represented each of the soils/grounds described.
Jesus said that the Sower is the person preaching the Gospel. The Seed is the Word. The different soils described represent the different hearts of the people who hear the Gospel, which also represent their receptivity to the Gospel. I believe that each of the first three soils represent lost souls while the fourth represents one who was truly saved.
This sermon may challenge many beliefs. I know it challenged my own. But I believe the Lord is telling us that it is time that we stop preaching ‘easy believism.’ I do believe in once saved, always saved. But that applies to those who persevere in their faith. Saying a prayer and living in sin, or living sinfully, are incompatible with salvation. I don’t believe you can lose your salvation but I believe that you can renounce it. I believe the Bible teaches this. I don’t teach denominational doctrine. I teach the Bible and I try to let scripture interpret scripture. In other words, the Bible agrees with itself or says the same thing in more than one place, as we shall see.
I. The Wayside
a. Jesus said that some of the seed sown by the sower fell along the wayside—the road, the path, the highway, the footpath. This is a trail that was worn by foot traffic. The ground had become impacted due to the foot traffic. Therefore, it was hard so the seed could not penetrate the ground. He said that the Wayside heart is one that hears the Word and rejects the Word because he/she did not understand what they heard. The word “understand” means to put together, to comprehend. To them, the Gospel makes no sense so they reject it.
b. Perhaps you’ve seen ground where people feed birds. They throw out the seeds and immediately a flock of birds come and eat it up. This is the scenario described by Jesus.
II. The Stony Ground
a. Some seed fell on stony ground. This ground is that rocky ground. It is similar to driveways that are paved with gravel. The seed falls between the gravel where it is able to take root. From there a plant springs up but the sun kills the plant because its roots are not deep and it doesn’t get the nourishment it needs to survive. Jesus said this is a heart that hears the Word, receives the Word, but dies out or forsakes the Word because of tribulation or persecution. The term used is “skandalizo” from which we get scandal, shame. Because of persecution (ridicule) tribulation (trouble), that person becomes ashamed of the Gospel. Literally, he/she falls away.
b. Can you image of person of Jewish, Muslim, or atheistic parents telling them that He has become a Christian? “Not if you’re going to be a part of this family, they would say. Renounce or I’ll disown you.” Or “we don’t believe in any God in this household. Religion is a crutch for the weak.”
c. Jesus tells us in Matthew 7 that if we are ashamed of Him, He would be ashamed of us. If we disown Him, He will disown us. Jesus tells us this in Matthew 10:33, Mark 8:38, and Luke 9:26. Hebrews 6:4-6.
III. The Thorns
a. Some seed fell among the thorns. Thorns are predator plants. Their roots move in and steal the nutrients out of the soil from the roots of other plants. Jesus said that this type of heart is one that hears the Word, believes the Word, receives the Word, but because of worldly cares and the deceitfulness of riches, turns his/her back on the Word, thus becoming unfruitful. Worldly passion chokes out passion for the Lord.
c. I believe we are on the edge of and may be into the beginning of the Great Apostasy spoken of in the Bible. People do not go to church like they used to. They don’t call on the Lord like they used to, until something bad happens. People, Christians, in particular, have left the church in pursuit of worldly riches. They can’t come b/c they have to work. They can’t come b/c they are too tired from working. They can’t come b/c they have to wash the car. They can’t come b/c they have to wash clothes. They can’t come b/c they have to clean the house, mow the lawn, go to the lake, go to the casino. Question is, why don’t they do these things during the week? It is because they value their jobs above God. They have forsaken Him for worldly passions. Remember the rich young ruler.