Summary: If we are going to be effective in evangelism, we must know the soil we are planting the Word into.
The way we build God’s church is by reaching people. There is no other way to build the church other than to reach people. We cannot evangelize cats, dogs or any other object other than people.
What is the best approach to use with people? Will we reach all people with the gospel? Why are some people so receptive to the gospel? Why are some so hardened to the gospel? Why are some who look so eager sometimes the ones who fall away the fastest? Why do some seem to never get it, they are always have a reason as to why they cannot deepen their walk with Jesus?
Are we the failure if we plant the seeds of the gospel with a person and then they do not take hold?
I believe one of the keys to reaching people for Jesus is for us to understand the fields that we are planting the seeds of the gospel in.
I also believe the key to helping people grow once they accept Jesus is for us to understand what kind of soil the gospel seed has been planted in.
If we understand what kind of ground we are trying to plant the seed in, it will help us to not get discouraged when things do not go the way we want them to as we try to reach people with the saving message of Jesus.
If we know what kind of ground we are planting in, we will also know what kind of preparation the soil needs before we plant the seed with a person.
As we look at Matthew 13:1-8, 19-23 Jesus is going to share a parable with His followers to try to explain this principle with them. A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.
This parable is not about the seed or the sower, but the four types of soil or ground in which the seed can be planted.
Turn with me to Matthew 13:1-8,19-23 As we look at four different types of ground the gospel seed can be planted on.
I. THE HARD HEART. (4,19)
In the ancient world the farmer would take handfuls of seed and toss them out into the plowed fields. Not many of the seeds germinated at that time.
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Matthew 13:4 (NASB) 4and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up.
As the farmer was scattering seeds, some of the seeds fell along the roadside.
If you walk along a path, you will see that it is hard to get anything to grow on it because the ground has been so beaten down it is hard to get anything to be able to sprout up.
If you go into the woods, you can see the trails the animals use; their paths are usually rather bare.
The problem with the seed that falls along the roadside is not with the seed, but with the heart of the one receiving it.
The problem is a lack of understanding.
The lack of understanding comes from a hardness of heart.
Verse 19 gives us the interpretation of seed that fell beside the road.
Matthew 13:19 (NASB) 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road.
John MacArthur Jr in his commentary on Matthews says the following concerning the person with the hard heart.
The person whose heart is hard is unconcerned with the things of God, completely indifferent to anything spiritual. The word makes no penetration into his mind or heart. He does not give the gospel the least consideration, thinking it to be total foolishness. He has so continually and consistently resisted anything that smacks of spirituality, that the soil of his heart has become pounded down until it is impervious and insensitive.
We are told that since the seed does not penetrate the heart, it is sitting on top of the ground for the birds (the evil one) to come snatch it away.
Satan uses false teachers, who promote spiritual lies and contradict God’s truth. He uses fear of what other people might think about a person’s becoming a Christian.
Satan constantly uses pride to blind people to their sinful condition and need of salvation. He makes them believe they are not really so bad, or that, if they do need improvement, they can improve themselves.
He uses doubt, prejudice, stubbornness, procrastination, love of the world, love of sin, and every combination of those ploys.
Psalm 14:1 says, The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; There is no one who does good.¨