6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: This message emphasizes the importance of a passion for God’s Word in the heart of the believer for growth and maturity.

Matthew 13:1-9 (reader 1), 18-23 (reader 2) – (While the readers read the scripture, I was handing out a small packet of flower seeds to each person in the congregation)

- Seeds suffer different fates

- Open packets

- Tie to seeds in their hands

- Describe their likely fate

But what is the seed Jesus was speaking of? (The Gospel)

- Analogy of the Gospel to the seeds in their hands

- Review recent decisions made to pursue the Holy Spirit, salvation, and God’s game plan

- Will the seed planted in your heart suffer the same likely fate as the seed in your hand?

Because our heart, or emotions, or simple desires will not grow that seed in our hands. We can stare at it. We can tell it we love it. We can tell everyone to keep their paws off of our seed. But until the actions of our hands plant it, water it, and cultivate it, it ain’t gonna grow. Right?

So we are going to look at some areas and gardening activities over the next few weeks together. My current heart and desire is to return to the Sermon on the Mount. To follow-up Easter by diving right back into the Beatitudes (example of the testimony of others).

But I don’t want to continue forward in our Bible Study until we are ready. Ready to take the seed of the Sermon on the Mount and water it, cultivate it, and allow it to spring forth with life in our very beings.

These areas we are going to look at over the next few weeks come to us out of the book of Acts. Following the resurrection and ascension of Christ, the Holy Spirit has fallen over the early church. People are being converted left and right. Great things are happening, and we are given an insight into the atmosphere and environment of that congregation in Acts chapter 2. Let’s pick it up at verse 41 (read through verse 47).

It all started with their mission statement. This would be the early church’s “Connecting People to God and Each Other by Living and Declaring God’s Word.” It says (read verse 42).

First we are told that they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching. They didn’t have the New Testament back then. They were living it out. So their gospel. Their good news. Their Word was coming directly from the mouths of the apostles, those who had lived and walked with Jesus.

The King James version says they continued steadfastly. It comes from a word that means to “attend continually.” To be steadfastly attentive unto. To give unremitting care to a thing. To be in constant readiness for. That was the early church’s approach and posture to the apostles teaching, which was the teaching of God’s truth.

There are so many things that pastors wish they could just make a part of a congregations life. I just wish that everyone was eager to pick-up a book on the Sermon on the Mount, and spend time in personal devotion and study of what we look at on Sunday morning. I just wish that when we schedule a corporate prayer time, the parking lot would be filled with cars, before it even starts. I wish that when the Word was preached people were on the edge of their seats rather than suffering from near fatal occurrences of whip lash.

There are things that pastors wish they could just make a part of a congregations life. Things they wish they could just birth in the spirit of the people in the pews. But more times than not, we can’t. It has to come from something inside you.

That’s what we see in the early church. They individually, of their own constant readiness. Of their own steadfast attentiveness. Devoted themselves to the teaching of the Gospel message.

It all begins with a longing, a drive, a commitment to God’s Truth. If we want to see this seed grow in our lives. Whether it is the seed of the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Or the seed of salvation. Or the seed of freedom from bondage. Or the seed of deliverance from demonic oppression. For the plant to break from the shell and radiate with beauty. For the seed of God’s Word to spring forth in us with life…


As an adult, I have seen, and more than ever as a parent, that learning best happens when we are internally motivated. When we are internally motivated, we engage more thoughtfully. We have more joy. We are more consistent in our learning.

And there are all kinds of things that will keep us from having a driving enthusiasm for God’s truth and word. Maybe we have always used the same approach for Bible reading and study. And it has grown stale. Maybe we have gotten out of the habit. Often, a lack of enthusiasm for God’s word is a sign that we have allowed sin a foothold in our heart. Or maybe we feel some external pressure to live up to a certain standard.

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