Summary: This sermon will help you identify hindrances to your spiritual development and how to correct them.
The Parable of the Sower
Matthew 13:1-8, 18-23
Pastor Steve Dow
June 30, 2002
As we look around the church in North America these days we quickly discover that few professing Christians are really living productive spiritual lives. Every where we look we find people who have been exposed to the Bible and its teachings, but their lives have not been changed by it. Many have begun well in the Christian life but for one reason or another they have failed to mature in the faith as their growth was stunted.
An old American Indian tale recounts the story of a chief who was telling a gathering of young braves about the struggle within. “It is like two dogs fighting inside of us,” the chief told them. “There is one good dog who wants to do the right and the other dog always wants to do the wrong. Sometimes the good dog seems stronger and is winning the fight. But sometimes the bad dog is stronger and wrong is winning the fight.”
“Who is going to win in the end?” a young brave asks.
The chief answered, “The one you feed.”
It would seem that too many in the church have been feeding the wrong dog. When we feed the dog of our worldly desires he grows into a ferocious beast that controls and ruins our lives.
Jesus told a parable that illustrates for us why it is that so many of those who have been exposed to the Word of God fail to live productive spiritual lives. In this parable Jesus compares our lives or our hearts to various types of ground on which seed is sowed. From this parable we learn that the conditions must be right for God’s Word to produce a harvest in our lives so we must properly cultivate our hearts to ensure that the right conditions are present.
How To Cultivate Your Heart For A Spiritual Harvest
1. YOU NEED TO PLOW THE SOIL. (13:3-4, 18-19)
The first type of soil described in this parable is ‘the path’. There were paths through and around farmers fields and is was inevitable that some of the seed being scattered would fall upon these paths. The paths were packed down hard because of all the people walking on them. They were so hard that the seed being sown was unable to penetrate the soil and so they remained on top of the ground as easy picking for hungry birds.
Jesus is referring to people whose hearts are so hard that the truth of His word cannot penetrate there lives. Just as a seed cannot grow unless it penetrates the ground so the seed of God’s word cannot grow unless it can penetrate the heart.
Farmers can remedy this problem in their fields by plowing them. The plow breaks up the hard ground so that when the farmer plants the seeds will be able penetrate the soil. Just like those farmers some of you need to plow the soil of your hearts so that God’s word can enter in. You need to prepare your hearts to receive the word of God.
In 1 Peter 1:13 we are told that we need to “prepare your minds”. If you are going to get anything out of coming to church on Sunday mornings you must prepare your hearts and minds prior to the service just as the farmer must prepare his soil prior to sowing. There are several practical things that you can do to prepare yourself for church. First, get a good nights sleep. You’re not going to learn anything if you are too tired to stay awake and pay attention. Saturday night is not the night to stay up late watching movies or playing games or anything else. It is a night to get to bed early so that you can come to church well rested so that you can give God your best. The typical American gets one to two hours less sleep than they need to function at an ideal level. If you haven’t been getting anything out of church lately maybe its because you haven’t been getting to bed. Second, ask God to open your hearts and give you understanding. You need to get to bed early on Saturday night so that you can get up early on Sunday morning and spend time with God before coming to church. It is His word that is preached and taught in our Sunday School and so just maybe you should think about asking Him to help you understand it. Third, seek to learn how it applies to your life and not the person sitting next to you. Anytime you walking away from a service and think, “That was great. I hope so and so was listening because they really needed that” . Anytime you walk away from a service thinking something like that, you have missed the entire point. The point of going to church is to hear from God personally.