Summary: How a beleiver can check the vital signs of their relationship with God.
Intro: It amazes me sometimes when I go to some people’s home and they have all this vegetation growing in their home. I mean real live plants, not the fake plastic stuff. Anybody can have the fake plastic stuff, but it takes what we call somewhat of a green thumb to keep plants alive in your home. Julie and I will have a real living plant in our home from time to time, but our house could be considered a hospice for plants. You see, plants come to our house to die. The only green stuff we any success growing around our house in is our refrigerator. It’s amazing we can put in cream potatoes and leave them in their a few months and take them out and their “cream potatoes and broccoli” it’s amazing! Even though I don’t have a green thumb it’s obvious that when the plant turns brown and the leaves fall off – it’s dead. And I know that if the leaves are dead it’s a good indication that the roots aren’t doing so well.
James 2:17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
Faith is the root of our salvation and our deeds are the fruit of our salvation. So if the fruit of our salvation is dead brown and drying up then something is wrong with the root of our salvation.
The Bible tells us that we should examine ourselves. “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves” (2 Corinthians 13:5). We all need to take regular spiritual inventories of our lives to see where we stand with God.
Illustration: When a paramedic arrives on an accident scene and approaches someone who has been injured the first thing they do is begin to check their vital signs. They don’t’ go directly to the injury they first check to make sure the victim is breathing, heart is beating, blood is flowing properly, blood pressure, check pupils for abnormalities. The broken leg or burned skin or whatever the exterior injury may be is not important if the heart isn’t beating or if they are getting enough oxygen. The paramedic’s job is to get him to the hospital alive and let the doctors take it from there. If an untrained person like myself arrives on the scene the first thing I would be concerned with is the exterior injury. The same is true for us spiritually we are too concerned with the exterior appearance of our faith. We need to take a close examination of our interior relationship with God.
This morning we’re going to look at a parable that Jesus taught called the parable of the sower. Now a parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. In this parable the SOWER represents the one sharing the gospel, he’s broadcasting the seed. He’s taking it and spreading it everywhere, not being particular as to where the seeds land. The SEEDS represent the gospel (the good news of the kingdom of God and the forgiveness of sins). The SOILS represent the recipients, how people respond to the gospel.
Luke 8:12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.
The HARDPATH represents the ones who hear the gospel but don’t respond the seeds of salvation just bounce off their hearts. This happens every week in every church all around the world and this church is not excluded from it. Some people are setting in church and don’t want to be or they’ve been turned off by the music, or something someone said or didn’t say. Turned off by the preacher, the conditions of the room distracted by someone setting near them and so on. Just as you can tell when you’re talking to someone and their not listening – you can also tell when your talking to a room full of people and someone’s not listening.
The next three soils are professing to receive the seed but have different life responses. A life response is how a life is changed after it has received the gospel seeds. All three of these soils are represented here in this church this morning.
1. ROCKY SOIL
Luke 8:13Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.
They receive the gospel with JOY. Nothing wrong with that, we should all experience joy in our relationship with God. But the problem with this soil is there is no room for roots to be established to provide nutrition to the rest of the plant. They receive salvation with great joy, their excited about being saved, still nothing wrong with that. They start off big guns for God but at the first hint of trouble they’re out. They don’t know how to respond to trouble are difficult times because all they know is joy and happiness, that’s how they understand Christianity to be. Anything other than joy and happiness is wrong, so if I’m not experiencing joy and happiness, if I’m not having fun then something’s wrong with the church so I’m getting out.