Summary: This message looks at the challenges of mainataining a heart that is soft toward God.
Sermon for CATM – September 20, 2009 – The Sower and the Seed
I admire gardeners. Do we have any gardeners here today? I admire gardeners because they do much more than put plants and seeds in the earth and watch them grow. There’s an art to gardening, to horticultural. My wife Barbara’s father had a doctorate in horticulture. There are huge amounts to know and then there are huge benefits from experience in the field.
Now my tiny experience in gardening has taught me a few things. This past summer we finally dealt with the huge number of weeds on our front lawn. We did that by having someone weed the lawn.
They weren’t too subtle with their big de-weeding devices and as a result they took huge clumps of earth and grass away along with the weeds. So it was my job to fill in those holes and seed the fresh earth with grass seed.
At first I filled all the holes, a good fifty of them with the soil. Then I spread the grass seed over the soil, poking it in a bit with my fingers.
After I did the whole lawn I realized that the seeds were still mostly on top of the soil. They were easily going to be picked off by local birds. So I got out the rake and made sure the seeds were spread deep into the soil and then I stomped the soil to give it a semi-tough surface. So far so good.
In the city, it’s only in rare instances like this that I even think about earth and seeds and the growth process of plant life. In the country, in rural areas, of course, it’s quite different.
In Jesus day of course life was all rural. The towns and cities were tiny and most people lived in farming communities. Jesus, eager to communicate with the people He came to save, would often use agricultural stories or parables to get his ideas across. He would use the most common place things to express the most profound truths.
Play Video: The Parable of the Sower (St. Rock Media – Found on Sermonspice.com)
A field full of wheat would have been a sign of profound blessing and favour. That last image, [PPT: Wheat Field] if we’re able to translate it into our world, is a sign of the blessing God wants you and me and all people to receive.
Now, this is a parable about personal growth, of how it is that Christians grow, and it answers the question: “How can I ensure that my growth in the Lord is steady and strong”.
This is a parable in two parts, the first is the parable itself, the second is Jesus explaining what he means by the parable. We’ll look at the parable and then the explanation Jesus provides.
[PPT] Mt 13:3-4 So, a farmer goes out to sow his seed, to seed the earth. As he’s scattering his seed, some fell along the path, and the birds ate it up.
[PPT]19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path.
The ‘path’ represents the way we travel to get from point A to point B, but there is also a reason that the path is a problem for the seeds. The soil on the path is hard, compacted by the foot traffic that created and then used the path.
The seed lands on the path, dances on the surface, and remains on top of the dirt, never able to go deeper, never able to penetrate the soil beneath.
This is about the hearing of the gospel, the message of the Kingdom. Most people have likely heard some expression of the gospel. They’ve heard it, but, the same way a bird plucks seeds from the hardened pathway, Jesus says the ‘evil one’, a reference to Satan comes and snatched away what was sown in his heart.
A few things to notice here. The message is sown in the heart, by Whom? By God. When the message of the gospel goes out, it is God who at work to plant the hope and life of the gospel in human hearts. And God needs open hearts to receive the message.
This speaks to the condition of the hearts of those who have never heard the gospel, but it also speaks to the condition of our hearts as believers and followers of Jesus.
I remember when I first heard the gospel in its fullness. I recall being profoundly moved by the love of God, that He would send his only Son to die so that I might be born again.
I was moved, moved enough to first say ‘yes’ to the gospel and to give my life to Christ.