Sermons

Summary: WHAT WE AS CHRISTIANS NEED TO DO TO HAVE A HEALTHY HEART, BASED ON THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER.

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HEALTHY CROPS HEALTHY HEARTS

MATTHEW 13:3-8; 18-23

SEPTEMBER 15, 2002

Parkersburg Baptist Church

WE LIVE IN AN AGRICULTURAL COMMUNITY; MANY OF YOU MAKE YOUR LIVING BY RAISING VARIOUS CROPS. MANY OF YOU WHO DEAL WITH LIVESTOCK, KNOW ABOUT THE CROPS BECAUSE YOU DEPEND UPON GRAIN TO KEEP YOUR ANIMALS ALIVE.

IN FACT, EVERYONE?S LIFE IS TOUCHED BY THE FARMER.

WHAT DOES IT TAKE FOR CROPS TO GROW? HARD ROCKY GROUND? WEED AND THORN INFESTED AREAS? GROUND THAT IS NOT PLOWED UP SO THAT THE ROOTS CAN STAY EXPOSED? BAD SOIL?

IT TAKES NONE OF THESE THINGS FOR CROPS TO GROW. IT TAKES GOOD SOIL, SOFT PLOWED GROUND. SOIL FREE FROM WEEDS AND THORNS THAT CHOKE OUT THE CROP. IT TAKES FOOD, (FERTILIZER) AND WATER TO KEEP THE CROP HEALTHY.

AND WHEN THE SEEDS ARE PLANTED IN GOOD FERTILE SOIL THEY SPROUT AND GROW. DURING THIS GROWTH THEY MUST BE FED AND WATERED?THE WEEDS MUST BE KEPT AT BAY. HARMFUL INSECTS MUST BE KEPT AWAY.

THE PLANTS MUST BE KEPT HEALTHY IN ORDER TO AVOID DISEASE.

IF ALL OF THIS IS DONE METICULOUSLY THEN WHEN THE PLANT IS MATURE IT BEARS FRUIT. A PLANTS GOODNESS IS EVIDENCED BY THE FRUIT THAT IT BEARS.

IF THE PLANT IS UNHEALTHY, IT MAY YIELD SOME FRUIT, BUT IT WILL BE VERY FEW, AND THE FRUIT WILL USUALLY BE BAD. IF THE PLANT IS HEALTHY THEN IT USUALLY YIELDS AN ABUNDANCE OF GOOD FRUIT.

THE FRUIT IS THEN USED TO KEEP US HEALTHY AND FULL OF LIFE.

DO YOU AGREE OR DISAGREE WITH EVERYTHING THAT I HAVE JUST SAID?

NOW THAT YOU AGREE WITH WHAT I HAVE SAID, I WANT US TO APPLY THESE PRINCIPALS OF GROWTH AND PRODUCTION OF FRUIT TO OUR LIVES AS CHRISTIANS.

WE HAVE MENTIONED SEEDS, SOIL, WEEDS, THORNS, HARMFUL INSECTS, FOOD OR FERTILIZER, WATER, AND FRUIT.

LETS LOOK AT EACH OF THESE IN A SPIRITUAL POINT OF VIEW.

FIRST LET?S LOOK AT THE SEED. THE SEED REPRESENTS GOD?S WORD. GOD?S WORD IS PRESENTED TO US IN MANY DIFFERENT WAYS. THROUGH THE BIBLE, THE PREACHED WORD, TEACHING IN Sunday SCHOOL AND BIBLE STUDY.

THESE SEEDS OF SALVATION ARE SOWN TO US AS A LOST PERSON.

SECONDLY, I WANT US TO LOOK AT WEEDS AS DIFFERENT BAD INFLUENCES IN OUR LIVES. THERE ARE MANY WEEDS THAT CAN INFEST THE CROP AND DESTROY THE PLANT IF THEY ARE NOT TAKEN CARE OF AND DONE AWAY WITH.

THE SAME HOLDS TRUE IN OUR LIVES AS CHRISTIANS. WE CAN DESTROY OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR FAMILIES, OUR FELLOW CHRISTIANS, AND THE MOST IMPORTANT RELATIONSHIP OF ALL, OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE SAVIOR.

LETTING WEEDS CREEP INTO OUR GARDEN, WHICH REPRESENTS OUR LIFE, WEEDS CAN BE IN THE FORM OF PEOPLE, (FRIENDS, FAMILY, and CO-WORKERS), IT CAN BE IN THE FORM OF TV.

IT CAN BE IN THE FORM OF BOOKS OR ANY OTHER ENTERTAINMENT THAT COMES BETWEEN US AND WHAT WE SHOULD BE DOING AS A CHRISTIAN.

WHAT WEEDS DO WE LET COME INTO OUR LIVES AND ALLOW THEM TO INFLUENCE US IN THE WRONG DIRECTION.

I PUT THORNS INTO A SEPARATE CATEGORY, BECAUSE THESE THINGS CAN GRAB US AND REALLY GET INTO OUR SKIN, THESE ARE THINGS THAT WE LET KEEP US OUT OF CHURCH AND CHOKE THE SPIRIT RIGHT OUT OF US.

IT ALL BOILS DOWN TO EXCUSES. OUR FAVORITE SPORT IS ON THE TV OR IN TOWN, THE WEATHER IS TOO HOT, OR TOO COLD. I?VE GOT TO WORK TODAY. I?VE JUST GOT TO OR MY LIFE IS GOING TO COME TO A STAND STILL. MATERIALISM. FEELINGS ABOUT OTHERS.

WE CAN GO ON AND ON. WE CAN?T PUT THE WORLD ON HOLD FOR AN HOUR OR TWO. WE HAVE GOT TO LET IT CONTROL US. THE BRIARS ON THIS THORN BUSH HAVE SUCH A HOLD ON US THAT WE JUST CAN?T BREAK FREE.

WE DO BELIEVE THAT IF WE DON?T DO WHAT EVER IT IS, INSTEAD OF GOING TO CHURCH OR SERVING THE LORD IN SOME OTHER CAPACITY, THAT OUR LIVES WILL JUST COME TO A COMPLETE STANDSTILL.

THE DEVIL HAS PAINTED SUCH A PRETTY PICTURE THAT WE JUST CAN?T MISS WHAT IS GOING ON OUTSIDE OF THE CHURCH. WE FEEL THAT WE WILL BE DEPRIVED, IF WE MISS OUT ON WHAT THE WORLD HAS GOING ON AT THE SAME TIME CHURCH IS GOING ON.

ALL THE WHILE, WE ARE NEGLECTING OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD, AND THE WORLD IS CHOKING THE LIFE RIGHT OUT OF US, BECAUSE WE ARE LETTING IT.

WHEN WE LET OTHER THINGS COME IN BETWEEN US AND GOD, THINGS THAT COULD BE PUT ASIDE FOR A LITTLE WHILE, IT IS OUR OWN FAULT. WE LET THE WORLD WIN. WE SAY THE WORLD IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE ONE WHO GAVE ME ETERNAL LIFE.

FOURTHLY, LET?S LOOK AT HARMFUL INSECTS. I CATEGORIZE THIS AS THE THINGS THAT COME AND GO IN OUR LIVES, THAT KEEP US FROM DOING AS WE SHOULD FOR A SHORT WHILE.

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