Summary: In this lesson, we discover spiritual growth is not about our spiritual knowledge or spiritual age, but that our increase directly correlates to our spiritual receptivity. Discover four levels of human receptivity.
Men, I don’t know if we are as receptive as we think we are. I guarantee it. I bet you think you’re the most receptive person in the world, to all kinds of truth. I bet you think that. But as you are listening today, I guarantee that you are not as receptive as you think you are. Jesus is going to challenge us today with this topic. He’s going to challenge our heart, and he is going to till the soil of our heart today as he begins to farm the hard soil in our heart. He’s going to put a hoe to it, and he is going to dig into it and dig down deep.
Now, if you don’t have a Bible, you want to open it right now. Luke, chapter 8, beginning in verse 4 – Luke 8:4 – I’ll read it for you if you’re driving along right now. It says this. “While a large crowd was gathering, and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told them this parable.” I love this about Jesus because we always know that he’s just making these things up on the spot, and they’re fantastic, right? So he says this.
“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path and it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. And then some fell on rocky ground. And when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seeds still fell among the thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still others fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop 100 times more than what was sown.” When he said this, he called out, ‘Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.’ His disciples asked him what this parable meant, obviously bewildered. He said, ‘The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak parables so that – quote – though seeing they may not see, though hearing they may not understand.'”
Now, I love this about Jesus. Because at this point in this life, he’s concealing everything, and giving a few secrets away to his disciples. And I’ve got to tell you, right away – there’s all kinds of observations to be made about– Really, the occurrence of how this is happening. The story that Jesus tells himself, and even the bewilderment of the disciples. Because Jesus is trying to teach us something about our own receptivity. I mean, receptivity is all over this thing, obviously.
So here’s what Jesus imagines – he imagines a farmer who’s got a bag of seed over his shoulder. And he’s taking the seed out of the bag, and he is telegraphing it – or he’s casting it, along a plot of land. Now, if you might imagine a little plot of land where someone might be farming – and if you’re driving around your home area, you’ve probably seen a farm before. Or you’ve seen little plots of land that people rent out to farm, to grow vegetation, or produce, or whatever. You can imagine what that piece of land looks like.
And so that piece of land has four different types of soil on it.
First, it’s got the hard path – that’s the place where you walk, typically it marks the territory, alright? So you can imagine this farmer telegraphing some seed, and some of it falls upon very compact earth that’s as hard as concrete. I mean, the seed is gonna go nowhere. The birds of the air and they capture it, they grab it. They steal it away before it can ever find its way into the earth.
The second soil is this, the rocky ground. Now, for us we don’t really understand what rocky ground means. But people who grew up in Israel understand rocky ground, because it’s like living in a place where a big rock blew up all over the place. For people to farm a plot of land, they had to pull the rocks out of it. Often they would use those rocks as a wall around the place where they were farming. But there were rocks everywhere, and in fact, there were rocks that you could not see. Sometimes there were big pieces of limestone underneath the ground, and even though the ground looked fertile and good, when the heat came up it would start to cook those pieces of limestone underneath the earth. Therefore cooking the roots of the seed that had found its way into what appeared to be good soil.
Then third, you’ve got some thorny ground. You’ve got seed falling among other seed, and the thorny seed is more invasive. And it grows up, and it chokes – because it grows faster and more aggressively – it grows up and chokes off the life of the plant.