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Summary: Differences between growing deep roots in the faith and having a shallow faith.

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Seeds on the Rocky Soil

(Matthew 13:1-23)

2nd in a series on: “The Parable of the Soils”

Introduction:

Over the past couple weeks I’ve been watching grass grow here at the New Song.

Around the building, just like the Sower in the Parable of the Soils, I planted 120 pounds of grass seed. Since then I’ve been able to witness with my very eyes what Jesus was talking about.

As I scattered the seed, some of the seed fell on the sidewalk and hard compacted areas, some seed fell on areas that had shallow dirt or were fully saturated with rock and gravel, some seed made its way into areas with already established weeds and thick overgrowth, and most of the seed fell on the good, nutrient-rich soil.

During this time I’ve been able to see, what we talked about last week, the seed that fell upon the sidewalk and hard ground fail to produce; fail to germinate. I’ve watched hungry little birds come and find a mid-afternoon snack in the fully exposed seed on the hard areas that just won’t grow.

I’ve seen the seed that fell upon the shallow, rocky ground be the first to sprout; and like wildfire shoot up tall and fast. I found myself getting excited about this growth. However, I’ve found that this growth is very deceiving because I’ve watched this seed during the hot, sun-blazing days begin to wither and die because the root structure isn’t able to go deep enough to sustain life and continued growth.

I’ve also seen seed that fell among the weeds and overgrowth get smothered out. I’ve watched it try to grow; I’ve watched it struggle to survive, but because of the competition with the weeds I’ve watched it get stunted and overtaken.

Finally, however, I’ve watched the seed that fell on the good soil; the cultivated soil. I’ve watched how, with good care and water, this seed is able to flourish, to grow deep roots, and maintain healthy growth. This seed will become the cover and support for the ground around the new facilities. Its continued healthy growth will keep the dirt from washing away during torrential downpours. With continued care, this new grass will allow for safe play when our children are on it. Overall, this seed will continue to thrive and multiply into more and more healthy growth.

As we explore this parable further today, I want to dig more deeply by looking at the second type of soil that Jesus talked about – “the shallow/rocky soil.”

Read with me…

Matthew 13:1-9 (NLT)

Later that same day, Jesus left the house and went down to the shore, [2] where an immense crowd soon gathered. He got into a boat, where he sat and taught as the people listened on the shore. [3] He told many stories such as this one:

"A farmer went out to plant some seed. [4] As he scattered it across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. [5] Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The plants sprang up quickly, [6] but they soon wilted beneath the hot sun and died because the roots had no nourishment in the shallow soil. [7] Other seeds fell among thorns that shot up and choked out the tender blades. [8] But some seeds fell on fertile soil and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted. [9] Anyone who is willing to hear should listen and understand!"

Matthew 13:18-23 (NLT)

"Now here is the explanation of the story I told about the farmer sowing grain: [19] The seed that fell on the hard path represents those who hear the Good News about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches the seed away from their hearts. [20] The rocky soil represents those who hear the message and receive it with joy. [21] But like young plants in such soil, their roots don’t go very deep. At first they get along fine, but they wilt as soon as they have problems or are persecuted because they believe the word. [22] The thorny ground represents those who hear and accept the Good News, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares of this life and the lure of wealth, so no crop is produced. [23] The good soil represents the hearts of those who truly accept God’s message and produce a huge harvest—thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted."

What does rocky soil look like today when it comes to hearing the Good News? What is it that causes the soil in our life to become shallow and rocky?

I do believe this is a very valid problem today. I believe that there are people that quickly latch on to the message and find it liberating and hope-filled, but as soon as troubles arise, as soon as difficulties come, they high-tail it out of there. The reason: shallow, rocky soil. I believe there are many things that can cause shallow, rocky soil, and today I want to highlight some of what I believe are the main ones:

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