Summary: We may all be dirt, brought out of the dust of the ground, but we have a choice of what kind of dirt we are going to be -- Path dirt? Rocky dirt? Thorny dirt? or Good dirt? We are defined by the way we respond to the Word of God!
A few observations from the passage:
1. All the different kinds of soil received the Word of God. This is a message about people who have received the Word.
2. A complete lack of fruitfulness from all, except one. Among the people in the church, there is no fruit, except in a small group of people.
3. Only ¼ of the people who receive the Word bear any kind of spiritual fruit, 30, 60 or 100 fold. How many plants can come out of one seed, there is no measure of it. “You can count the number of seeds in an apple, but cannot count the number of apples in the seed.”
4. Those who do bear fruit, it is not in percentage or addition, but multiplication.
5. Those who reject the Word of God have failed to realize the potential he plants in them and some become destructive.
6. Those who prepare for the seed embrace that seed and allow God to do what He wants and see phenomenal fruit born in and through their lives.
7. We may all be dirt, brought out of the dust of the ground, but we have a choice of what kind of dirt we are going to be.
8. For those who receive the planting of God, the kind of fruit we bear is certainly the fruit of the Spirit. If you are a ‘human’ tree, and the seed is planted what comes out? People! Who in turn receive the seed of God’s plans and purposes for their lives and they flourish, and they in turn bear fruit. Our lives should be invested in the lives of others to bear fruit.
A farmer went out on Sunday morning wanting to go to church. There was a terrible storm then. He was on one side of the river, while most of the church members were on the other side of the river. The river was swelling and washed out the bridge. The farmer did not know about this and he was the only one who got there to the church. The young pastor preached the full message to this one member church – with fire & brimstones and everything. After the service, he gave the benediction and walked out to greet his congregation of one member church. The farmer said, “Pastor, if I am feeding my cows, and only one of my cows show up, I will not feed him the whole load!”
Many preachers would say that Jesus would teach the crowd and then when He saw that they didn’t quite get what He said, He would tell a story to illustrate His point. But He told this parable to hide the point because people were not listening to His message.
In this parable there are 4 different kinds of dirt mentioned.
1. PATH DIRT
Think about dirt on the path. Some seed fell by the road.
There are people beaten down by suffering, by circumstances and by other people who abuse them and their heart becomes like a stone. You tell them about the forgiveness of God, and they cannot understand.
Jesus’ audience was oppressed by different governments. The Romans were harsh, brutal and mean and even murder some who did not obey. The Jews were even beaten down by their own religious leaders.
They hear the good news of the love of God, of freedom, and of resurrection power and good news sounds like the bad news. The seed first has to die before it sprouts. They heard what Jesus said and they could not understand.
We recently went to a thanksgiving service and visited this special lady. 5 to 6 months back she was emaciated. She had sores on her back and was in constant pain. We were called to pray for her. Now about 5 months later, she looked much better after a treatment she went for and she shared this testimony: “There are things I have been through the past few months and I had to process through several things before I could say anything this evening for the thanksgiving service. Through all of these difficulties, we knew that God was accomplishing His purposes and we could sense His Presence at home. “
I am amazed at such kind of faith - going through such an intense suffering and yet having a soft heart before God. The difficulties of life can either harden us like stones or they can break us into something that God can use to accomplish His purposes.
2. ROCKY DIRT
It is shallow – these are people in the church that love spiritual things. But they do not have deep roots and so when difficulty comes, because of the Word, they fall away.
Have you ever met a shallow Christian or are you one this morning? It is a dangerous place to be because though you might love spiritual things, you are not willing to go through difficult things to accomplish God’s purposes. Shallow spirituality would only result in destruction!