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September 3, 2021 4:00 am
The parables of Matthew 13 are given by our Lord to describe the character of the kingdom between his rejection and his return. They describe the church age. As we know, this period of time that is called the mystery form of the kingdom of Christ is still the king's kingdom is here. It's the part of the kingdom, however, that was not seen in the Old Testament taken a test called the Myers-Briggs personality type indicator. It's a series of questions designed to determine which of 16 personality types. A person has.
But while it might be interesting and even helpful to understand your personality better. It's actually far more important for you to know who you are spiritually. So today on grace to you. I invite you to consider for different kinds of people for spiritual personalities. You could say which one describes you find out as John MacArthur looks at four responses to the gospel in his continuing series titled the parables of the kingdom, and with that, let's get to the lesson here is John looking at Matthew 13. We begin an in-depth look at the parables of this marvelous chapter. I confess to you that I waited a long time to dig into these parables because of their tremendous importance to us in this age the parables of Matthew 13 are given by our Lord to describe the character of the kingdom between his rejection and his return. They describe the church age.
As we know it. This period of time that is called the mystery form of the kingdom. Christ is still the king.
His kingdom is here. It's the part of the kingdom, however, that was not seen in the Old Testament the king was rejected. He will return to establish his prophesied kingdom, but in the meantime, there is this mystery form unseen in the past that we know is the age of the church and we ask the question what will this period be like how will it be will the gospel be preached.
Will it be heard.
Will it be believed. What will happen to the kingdom in this. In our Lord gives the answer to his disciples in a series of seven parables.
They are given in this chapter, and wonderfully explained to us the very time in which we live as we pointed out to the Lord knows how to take the natural world and wielded as a weapon of great precision in instructing regarding spiritual truth. He takes something they could understand. Lays alongside something they did not understand and the one explains the other and that is what a parable is, it is a comparison. Each of these stories is filled with profound spiritual truth and I have found that the longer you look at them in the longer you study them. The more rich and full they become another statement the beginning there in verse three behold, a sower went forth to so opens up our understanding of this particular parable Jesus is on familiar territory as he speaks.
In this regard because there was much agricultural life in that part of the world.
Everybody understood the sowing of seed everybody understood what was involved in that it may have been that as Jesus was off the shore of the lake of Galilee and about seated there teaching the multitude gathered on the shore that they could've looked off in the distance and seen this very thing taking place. They could've been watching a man going up and down the furlough sowing seed. They would drape over the shoulder bag in the bag would be full of seed and would have an opening and as the furloughs have been prepared. The man would reach in and take out the seeding with his hand. He would broadcast it. That was the original meaning of that English word to broadcast. He would scatter the seed into the furlough and he would do it with ordered steps in a straight line when he reached the end of the line he would turn to start the other way. Never missed a step and continue throwing the seed and that was how the field was so by throwing the seed the broadcasting method as he throws that seed. Jesus indicates there are four kinds of soil on which that seed will fall.
Let's look at the first is what he calls the wayside soil in verse four and when he sowed, some of the seeds fell by the wayside, and the fowls came and devoured them non-Palestine, which was just literally crisscrossed with field. The fields were usually long narrow strips and men could cultivate those field. The strips were separated from others strips and other fields by paths.
The paths being about 3 feet or so wide narrow path those who are used by the farmer to get in between the fields to get to whatever field he wanted to reach then no doubt this is what the Lord has in mind when he talks about the wayside. The dirt would then be passed down, beaten heart uncultivated never turned over never loosened and by all of the continual pounding and pounding, and because of the dryness of that part of the world it would be compacted to the point where it was like a road. It was as hard as pavement and when the farmer came along and through the seed and it went beyond the furlough and landed on that hard surface, it could not penetrate the ground it would lie there on the top and birds would hover no doubt until the farmer turned his back as he started down the next furlough they would land on the hard surface and they would eat the seed and what they did not eat. Luke says, was trampled by the feet of men who were passing through the field. That's the wayside, the birds and the men removing the seed which cannot penetrate the soil. Then you come to the stony soil in verse five some and this would be very true because of the method of sowing of the seed would scatter and fall in different places in this one would fall on stony places or rocky places, where they had not much earth and forth with a spring because they had no deepness of earth and when the sun was up, they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. Luke adds they had no moisture. There was no root to capture the moisture, not what is this, well, it's not talking about soil with rocks in it because any farmer who cultivated a field would make sure all the rocks were out but basically Israel in terms of its land has running through its streams of limestone rock bed and in very many places this rock bed surges up to become close to the soil so that maybe inches beneath the soil. There would be solid rock bed limestone and when cultivating the field, you might not see that or you might be unable in the cultivating process to break up that rock bed and so right beneath the soil.
Is this hard rock bed and as the seed falls in and begins to germinate and tries to shoot its roots down. They hit the rock bed. They have nowhere to go. All of the moisture and the sun that snare generates life upward so they spring up probably higher than the other grain and the other seed which is going both ways and using its energy to go both ways.
This flourishes immediately, but when the sun comes out it dies because it's roots are not strong enough to maintain moisture or to find moisture in the rock bed hinders them and it dies in the heat of the summer.
Now verse seven introduces us to the thorny or better weedy soil.
Weeds are in the soil.
Some fell among thorns, or weeds and the thorns are weeds sprang up and choked them of this soil looks good. It's deep, it's rich, it's turned over it's killed it's cultivated. It looks clean and looks ready and the seed falls down into that area and it begins to germinate, but also there are fibrous roots of weed and they tend to choke that life out you seaweeds are natural to that soil. They belong in that soil they fit in that soil their home and that soil the sowing of the grain is a foreign element into that soil.
It's not natural. It has to be carefully cultivated in the weeds in their natural soil just totally dominate and strangle and choke and grow up fast and send out their lease and shade so that there cannot be the sun nor the moisture is not enough room for everyone to share the nutrients of that soil. And so the good seed dies. Finally, in verse eight, is the good soil.
Other seed fell into good ground and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some 60 fold in some thirtyfold now here is deep, soft, clean soil, it's soft, unlike the hard wayside. It's deep. Unlike the stony limestone ground and it's clean, unlike the weed infested soil and there. The seed bursts into life and it brings forth a tremendous harvest hundredfold 60 fold thirtyfold. By the way, the average would be 7.5 fold were told a good crop would be tenfold.
So were talking about a tremendous flourishing crap numbers nine simply says who has ears to hear letter here was that mean if you can understand this and understand if you can get the message, then get the message because is an important message you say will. Who is this who can hear well that's why he has versus 10 to 17 there which we went into last time whoever has ears to hear, let them hear whoever can understand this. Understand this, and we learned last time that the only people who can understand it, are the people who believe in the king right are the people who are redeemed during the kingdom because if you're in the kingdom. The king promises to explain to you the meaning of it. See the benefit of being a Christian is not that you get some instant academic knowledge. You get some instant wisdom so you understand everything on your own now.
The fact that you become a Christian doesn't mean you understand on your own any better.
It does mean, however, that God promises to teach you the meaning of his word, and so now he says if you can understand and understand. And the question immediately would arise will who can understand and first of all, he says what's for sure.
One thing the people with the hard hearts in the deaf ears can understand and so he quotes Isaiah. There, he says down in verse 15, the people's heart is gross arrears are dull. Their eyes they have closed so for this to be the people that reject me isn't going to be the people that don't accept me who's going to be verse 60 Blessed are your ass for they see in your ears, for they hear who can hear you can hear and only you can hear this is then given to conceal from those who don't believe in revealed to those who do, because the Lord to teach and mark for the disciples came to Jesus and they said tell us the meaning of the parable, and when he had them apart from the multitude he told him the meaning of the parable, but only then who know the king have the promise that he would be their teacher. He begins that in verse 18 to explain the meaning of the parable here therefore he says so. Verse nine says, who hath ears to hear, let them hear who is that verse 16. Blessed are you are ears, for they hear. Therefore, verse 18 says, listen to what I'm saying you are able to take advantage of that. Listen to what I say and I think he's talking about get the spiritual message get the deeper connotation here comes the interpretation was like verse 18 and let's go right into the interpretation here. Therefore, the parable of the sower. Now we have to ask ourselves a question at this point because it's obvious who is the sower who is the sower. While it seems rather obvious that the sower is the Lord Jesus Christ and this is confirmed later on in the chapter as the Lord is seen in another parable doing the same thing. Verse 37 says he that so with the good seed is the Son of Man, the Lord is the original sower. He is the one who first puts the seed in the soil. They say what is the seed well it says in verse 19 when anyone hears the word of the kingdom, the seed is the word the seed is the word of the kingdom is God's revelation. Luke 811.
A parallel passage giving the same parable, says the seed is the word of God. The message about the king and his kingdom. It is the gospel in the first sower of the gospel was the Lord himself, but may I add this anybody who sows what Jesus first so it is a sower if you repeat the message of Jesus Christ. You become a sower if I repeat the message of Jesus Christ.
I become a sower in Mark 414 it says on the sower. So the word so anybody who sows the word becomes a sower.
Jesus was the first sower, and we will follow by giving his message also are the sower's so we are all the sower's who love Christ who received this message to pass it on. The seed then is the word of God. We are sowing, then the gospel the message of the kingdom, and may I hasten to make a point here. You know seed just in its natural sense seed cannot be created if we ever lost the seeds if we lost seed we could never cause things to grow, we are dependent on what grows and produces more seed because the origination came from God.
God originally created seed and seed reproduces itself. If we ever lost seed, we never be able to reproduce. We can create the same is true in the seed of the word of God. God is not calling us to create our own message God says take that which is already been sown. And so it again. We are not to produce a new supply of information. We are to build upon the revelation of the word of God and we are utterly dependent upon divine revelation as much as we are dependent upon God creating the seed in the first place, which reproduces itself and brings to us the fruit that we even today so the seed is the word seed is the word and not just at as a footnote that the word encompasses the work. The written word, but inside of it is the living word. It's as if the Bible is the husk and the living Christ as the seed within the husk. So initially it's Christ sowing the word of God containing the seed which is himself. He is both sower and we are the sower's who sold the seed, the husk is the word of God and it contains the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. So the parable then is about. This is about preaching the gospel.
That's what it's about. It's about preaching the word about the king and his kingdom telling them that Jesus is the King come to bring the kingdom telling men what the king is like in telling men how to get in his kingdom telling then what his kingdom is like and what it will promise to do in life and death and eternity. It's all about the good news of the king and his king to be in the king to be in the kingdom. Both one and the same. So were talking about preaching.
Now we come to the soils and here is the main import of the parable is how men will respond to the gospel when it's preached. How will they respond.
Now let's talk about the soils for a minute with what we've seen there are four kinds of soils. Let me say this, and I want you to understand it all. The soils are basically the same dirt is dirt is dirt. Whether it's hard dirt softer dirt with rock under or dirt with weeds and it dirt is dirt is dirt.
It's all talk about the same part of the world.
The issue is not specifically the soil.
The issue is what has influenced the soil, the condition that it is in is to say, then, that all men could receive the seed right all soil could receive the seed of it was broken up.
If it was cleaned of weeds. The issue that is this becomes the key to the parable. The results of the hearing the gospel in the life of an individual depends upon the condition of that person's heart, but you get. That's what Jesus is teaching the result of the preaching of the gospel will depend on the condition of the heart of the here that we know the soil refers to the heart because it tells us that verse 19 when anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and understands it not, then comes the wicked one catches away that which was sown in his what part heart is the same as soil CD issue is the condition of the heart that determines the reception of the gospel and Jesus is saying to these disciples who at this point are saying Lord what's going to happen. You've been blasphemed you've been rejected. The kingdom cannot come all is lost.
What is going to happen now. He says something was going to happen. You're going to go out just like I did in your bed is so and euros so the seed which is the word of God, and you can preach the same message about the same king in the same kingdom, but Lord, what is going to happen. All lots of things are going to happen, but it's going to depend on the condition of the heart of the here and I think the basic point of the parable and get this is to encourage the apostles that there will be wayside. So you gotta know that you could really get disillusioned and there will be stony ground soil and there will be weedy ground soil but there will also be good ground soil that will bring four 3060 hundredfold it's an encouraging parable is a parable to help them to approach the ministry with excitement and anticipation that God is going to produce results of the mark of salvation in the soils is fruit and only one out of four demonstrates. And that's very important point. Salvation is noted by fruit, not by foliage by fruit if you don't understand that you get confused in the parable similar meet four kinds of hearers four kinds of responders to the gospel and their characteristic of our day. So these are the things that were going to be able to really identify with number one, we call this when the unresponsive.
Here the wayside here. Verse 19 anyone hears the word of the kingdom understands it not, then comes the wicked one catches away that which was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside seed fell on the hard surface couldn't penetrate the hard surface.
The birds hovered around, waited till the man's back was turned, came down at the surface and ate the seed and the rest is Luke was trampled under feet and what is this this is the this is the man who is hardhearted very simple. This is the man. The Old Testament would call stiffnecked.
This is the man who is here responsive, unresponsive, inattentive unconcern in different negligent doesn't want anything to do with it. Just hits him and bounces off and Satan is seen as the birds, the wicked one who comes and snatches away so that even as the Lord said earlier in the chapter that which he has his lost because he doesn't respond to self destroying neglect.
In other words, there is a condition of the human heart that has been so pounded and pounded and pounded with the crisscrossing of the mixed multitudes of sins. The traverse the life that there's just no sensitivity at all.
This is the heart that knows no repentance knows no sorrow for sin knows no guilt knows no concern over things that really matter, just allows itself to be trampled and trampled and trampled with the mixed multitude the feet pounding away mark the sins of life day after day after day after day never broken up never softened by conviction, hardhearted, callous indifference. I believe this could be best seen in the fool of Proverbs the fool who hates knowledge. The fool who hates instruction. The fool who despises wisdom. The fluid stiffnecked. The fool who is hardhearted. The fool who says in his heart there is no God.
This is the fool who will not hear whose mind is shot, who does not want to be bothered at all. Who says let us alone and we will men of heavenly menu thrown your seed and adjust bounces nothing. No penetration, and doesn't stay there very long. But Satan comes in and takes it away. He cleans it up say what what is this well this is the same as second Corinthians 4 forward says of Satan, who is the god of this age that he's blinded the minds of them that believe not less.
The light of the glorious gospel should shine under them. In other words, when someone does not respond to the gospel. Initially when there hardhearted and stiffnecked sing to snatches away. He just blinds them to its true value, as he did well allowance. One way he does. That is send false teachers along to say all that stuff was lies don't believe that another way, he snatches the seed is by the fear of man. People don't respond because they're afraid they might lose their reputation or they might be kicked out of their little group work so many might think their religious fanatic.
Sometime Satan uses pride people are just know it all's I just don't want to admit that they need some help that they need some information that there's some things I don't know sometime Satan snatches it away to doubt.
Sometimes he snatches it away to prejudice, sometimes through stubbornness. Sometimes, for the love of sin. The person doesn't want to give up sometimes through procrastination but one way or another, or a combination of ways when it hits that hard stuff.
Satan snatches away and the person so easily forgets it ever came there many people like I guess you I will examine your heart at this point.
Are you that drive hard road on the edge of the field, you may be of on the fringes of religion in activity but sins of just pounded and pounded and pounded down the dirt of your heart until it is utterly unproductive and unresponsive to God.
There are people like and some of them hang on the edges very close and very shut to the truth and so we expect we expect that when we preach the gospel.
Jesus said expect you been listening to John MacArthur, Chancellor of the Masters University in seminary. The title of John's current study here on grace to you. The parables of the kingdom. John, I have to say that personally I think your teaching on the parable of the soils is some of the most important messages you've ever given.
I remember back more than 40 years ago the first time I ever heard you teach on this passage. It revolutionized the way I understand it. I had been taught a totally different view of this, and that view is still out there. There are people who teach that each of the soils represents the true Christian, and these are just different kinds of Christians and so there are some Christians who just don't bear any fruit at all and it's been a key point of your teaching for decades to say no if you're not bearing fruit. You can't be certain you're a genuine Christian right and there are six soils mentioned there are three that don't bear fruit, and through the do 3060 hundredfold so clearly the Lord is distinguishing between true believers and false believers based upon fruitfulness. It's been decades since I address that in the book the Gospel according to Jesus, of all the books that I've written that book probably hit the evangelical world with the most shock because for decades, there had been a gospel floating out there that said, your life may not change, you may not ever bear fruit, but you're still a Christian, and we tackle that from the text of Scripture in the gospel according to Jesus, particularly from the parable of soils but also from a whole lot of other sections in our Lord's teaching. This is no doubt been the most influential book I've ever written related to the gospel and I would just encourage you the gospel according to Jesus is foundational.
It came out first of all, in 1988 really marked a turning point. I think in evangelical thinking right through the years. It has continued to generate amazing response and create a stir everywhere it finds its way. So if you don't have a copy of the gospel according to Jesus, this book will show you the definitive reality that salvation makes for a transformed life and a fruit bearing life. That's really essential get a copy of the gospel according to Jesus, and you can order from Grace to you.
Yes, and this book takes an in-depth look at what the greatest teacher the Lord Jesus said about the greatest subject the gospel. It will help you see more clearly than ever exactly what Christ meant when he said, follow me to order your copy of John's book the gospel according to Jesus, contact us today. The gospel according to Jesus costs $15 shipping is free.
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