Summary: This message examines scripture that describes Life’s Greatest Influences. Three influences lead people away from God and one influence leads people to God.

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Three Verses One

-Life’s Greatest Influences-

Matthew 13:18-23

This morning I want to examine scripture that describes Life’s Greatest Influences. I’m titled the message, “Three Verses One.” I want us to look at three influences that lead people away from God and one influence that leads people to God.

The parable of the soils illustrates these influences. Jesus said that a farmer went out to sow seed. Some seek fell on the path hardened by the traffic of life. The seed could not sink into the soil and the evil one, Satan came along snatched the seed (Good news about the Kingdom) because the people are not open to receiving the Word of God.

Some seed fell on rocky soil. There was not depth of dirt and the seed quickly took root but without deep roots the plant quickly wilts in the sun Jesus said rocky soil hearers are emotional hearers and made their decision to go along with the crowd. When hard times came into their lives they quickly gave up.

Other seeds fell on ground that was filled with thorns and the thorns crowded out the plant and it died. Jesus said thorny soil hears are the people who hear the word and accept the good news but the message is crowded out of their lives by the cares of the world the lures of pleasures and wealth and the thorny soil people quickly give up and go back to their old ways.

Some seek fell on good soil. Jesus said the good soil represents those who gladly accept God’s Word and become a fruitful productive Christian.

The three influences mentioned in the parable of the different soils lead people away from God. The three influences lead people to an eternity separated from God.

The first influence that leads people away from God is the Devil.

I. The influence of the Devil

Seed (God’s Word) that fell on hard hearts was quickly snatched up by the Devil. Satan’s mission is to keep people from God. I Peter 3:8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about seeking whom he may devour.”

Satan shows no mercy to anyone. He will use all his tricks and deceptions to lead people away from God. He is a master of deception. Jesus said, “Beware of the Devil – I saw him descending from heaven as an angel of light.” Luke 10:18 Paul declared in II Corinthians 11:14, “Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” II Corinthians 4:4, “Satan, the god of this evil world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe, so they are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News that is shining upon them…”

Satan has many faces and disguises. He is Lucifer, a fallen arch angel. Lucifer rebelled against God and was cast out of heaven and given the names of Satan or the Devil. Satan is a blasphemer, he lied to the first family Adam and Eve and he continues to lie to people today. His mission in the world is to keep people from knowing God and defeat and discourage the people of God.

If you continue to study and know God’s word you will not be fooled by the tricks and disguises of the Devil. Jesus said, “For false Messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform great miraculous signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones.” Matthew 24:24

Satan may offer peace but brings destruction and devastation. Satan’s strategy is diversion. He diverts your attention from the things of God to pleasure, possessions, and the lust of the flesh.

Satan’s strategy is delusion. He tempts people to believe they don’t need God. Have you ever asked anyone if they are prepared to meet God and they told you, “I’m okay, I’ll go to heaven if anyone goes. I’m better than the majority of people I associate with.”

Satan’s strategy is doubt. Satan would have you believe that God is just a figment of your mind. Why pray to the wind? Why read the Bible, it is merely a story book of fables. Why go to Church and waste your time.

Satan’s strategy is delay. He convinces people that there is no hurry. Wait until sometime in the future to get serious about God. You will always have a tomorrow.

Satan is delighted when people hear the Good News of the gospel and time after time refuse to accept the Word and their hearts become hardened. Satan doesn’t want anyone to allow the Word of God to penetrate a person heart and life.

II. The Influence of the Flesh – Carnal Mind

Seed that fell on rocky soil and the response was positive for selfish reasons. The person wanted the benefits of God’s grace without paying the price of self surrender. Accepting the good news was more about receiving the benefits of God’s grace devoid of serving others. There is no deep pondering or weighting the cost of following Jesus.

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