Summary: The fourth in a series dealing with the parables found in Matthew. This sermon was preached on Memorial Day and so it somewhat ties in with that holiday.
Soldiers for Christ: (Parables of Matthew Part Four)
Text: Matthew 13:18 – 23
Well it’s Memorial Day weekend; and as you all know, Memorial Day was a holiday created originally for the purpose of honoring the men and women who gave their lives in service to this country. There’s a saying that says, “Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you: Jesus Christ and the American Soldier. One died for your soul, the other for your freedom.” And I think it is good, and noble, and honorable to remember the sacrifices our brave men and women have paid in service to this country. But at the same time, I also agree with General George Patton who said… and I’ll paraphrase his quote because he used some choice words… but Patton said, “The object in war isn’t to die for your country, but rather to make the other guy die for his.” And personally; I wish we didn’t have to have this holiday. Nobody wants to see their brothers in arms give their lives. But the sad reality and fact is – that in wars, lives are always going to be lost.
When I joined the Army, we had a tough… and I mean tough DS. Drill Sergeant Todd. Six feet tall, 220 pounds of pure muscle and anger. And what made it worse was that he didn’t even want to be a DS. He had been a Ranger, then SF, and then Delta Force, and that’s where he wanted to be, but he had been selected for DS duty, but he really wanted to be back in the field, down range not training new recruits. And I’ll never forget one of the first things DS Todd told us. He said, “You can listen to me and live, or not listen and die.” And that set the precedent. Immediately we knew that we were being trained as soldiers in service to the United States of America, and we would be ready and equipped to fight if war ever came.
So as we look at our text this morning, I want to remind you that Jesus was training these men as soldiers in service to the Kingdom of Heaven (See vs. 52). Because whether we like it or not… the Bible tells us that we are in a spiritual war.
So… let’s look at our text – Matthew 13:18 – 23 (READ).
Last time we talked about WHY the Word of God comes in the way it does… today we’re going to look at how it can be received, or I guess we could say, the way we respond to it. And if you remember; Jesus had told the parable of the sower, and on the outside it seemed like a lesson on planting crops, but Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Which was a clue to us that there was a deeper meaning to the parable. And from our text, we see that this is actually a lesson on God’s Word. There are 4 soils, and each one produces a different result. And we see in verse 19 that the soils are the human heart (not this muscle that beats in our chest, but rather our inner most being). The Seed is actually the Word of God that is being proclaimed. And we see also that out of the four, there’s only one way that the Seed ever produces fruit.
I once heard a preacher say, “There are many paths to hell, and I’m sure you can find one that is precisely to your taste.” But the Bible tells us that there’s only one way to God. It’s a narrow way, but it leads to eternal life. And that’s through Jesus Christ. “No one comes to the Father but by Me.” So you understand… this is Jesus saying, “You can listen to me and live, or not listen and die.” Peter understood that… there’s a story in the Gospels where a lot of the people who had been following Jesus got to a point where it was too hard and they turned their backs on Him and followed Him no more, and Jesus looked at His disciples and said, “Will you go away as well?” And Peter said, “Lord where will we go? You have the Words of eternal life.”
So… let’s look at Jesus’ explanation of this parable of the sower.
The first soil (or heart) is there in verse 19 (READ). It’s the seed sown on the path.
And what this is – is a picture of an impenetrable heart. When the seed lands on the path, it doesn’t penetrate the ground at all. It’s just lying there, so it’s easy for the birds to come up and snatch it away.