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Summary: I remember sitting, my face wet with tears, as I prayed for God to rescue me and change the soil of my heart into rich, fertile soil. I was tired of just pretending to be a Christian. I no longer wanted to be the person I had become. I surrendered my life to Jesus... and I was forever changed!

INTRODUCTION

God has put a message on my heart to share with you from the Gospel of Matthew. This message is actually very special to me personally. It was April of 1993 when I heard someone preach on the “Parable of the Sower” from Matthew 13.

We had just survived a very serious car accident. God had mercy on us that day. We were battered and bruised, but we were alive. As I was laying in the hospital, I started thinking... One moment, I was in our car... The next moment, I was waking up on a table in the emergency room. It happened so fast.

Then I started thinking... I shouldn’t be alive... Where would I be if I had died in that accident? I began to realize that I didn’t have a good answer. I didn’t know.

We were released from the hospital and went back home. But those thoughts were constantly in my mind... Why am I still alive?... Where would I be if I had died?

There was a church right across the street from the apartment where we were living at the time. We started attending that church a few weeks before the accident. But after the accident, we somehow felt especially drawn to that church. That next Sunday after the accident, we went to church. My face looked like raw meat where the doctor had stitched my face back together, and my wife could barely walk. We were both still in a lot of pain and probably should not have left the apartment until we had spent more time recovering... but something... some kind of need for answers... maybe a desire to try and understand why we were still alive... something was drawing us... pulling us to that church across the street from our apartment.

That Sunday, the pastor gave a message from Matthew 13 on what is called or known as the “Parable of the Sower”. God used this message to change my life forever. Yes, this message is truly special for me... and I’m honored to have an opportunity to share it with all of you today.

But before we go any further, let’s go to the Lord in prayer... [OPENING PRAYER]

Please turn in your Bibles to Matthew 13:3-9. Matthew is the first book in the New Testament, and the first of the four Gospels... Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

I challenge everyone to look up and find the Bible verses during the sermon... Don’t just rely on the Powerpoint slides... If you don’t have a Bible, just raise your hand, and we’ll gladly give you one. I encourage you to develop and grow your knowledge of the Bible by learning and becoming more confident in finding verses in the Bible. You may not be very confident or may even feel a little embarrassed if you’re not sure how to look up a verse... Feel free to use the table of contents or even ask the person next to you for help. We’re all family here... The more you practice, the more confident you will be... And the more you read the Bible for yourself then the more God will open your understanding of who He is and what His plans are for you. I know you can do it!

OK, let's read Matthew 13:3-9...

3 Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow.

4 And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them.

5 Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth.

6 But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away.

7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them.

8 But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

9 He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

A parable is like a story... It’s a story with a purpose... It’s a story that uses commonly understood concepts to explain something... something with an important spiritual message.

In Jesus’ time, the concepts of farming found in this parable would have easily been understood by those who were listening. Farmers would sow (or plant) their crops by casting (or throwing) their seeds on the ground. As they cast their seeds, they would not always land where the farmer may have wanted. Instead of landing in the field that had been prepared for growing the crop, some seeds would land on the hard pathway, some in the rocky unprepared soil, and some in among the thorns and weeds off to the side.

Jesus used this common farming concept to draw a picture of how the same Word of God (the seed) produces different results depending on the state of the hearts of the hearers (the soil).

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