Share This Episode
So What? Lon Solomon Logo

The Sower, the Seed and You - Life of Christ Part 25

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
April 27, 2023 7:00 am

The Sower, the Seed and You - Life of Christ Part 25

So What? / Lon Solomon

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 528 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

Insight for Living
Chuck Swindoll
Wisdom for the Heart
Dr. Stephen Davey
It's Time to Man Up!
Nikita Koloff
Brian Kilmeade Show
Brian Kilmeade

You know, you never know how things are going to turn out, do you? In the summer of 1963, the beginning of that summer, there were six young civil rights leaders who had a meeting with President John F. Kennedy in the Oval Office. Medgar Evers of the NAACP had been shot and assassinated earlier that year, and emotion around the nation was running pretty high in 1963.

And these six men told President Kennedy, they said, Mr. President, the mass is restless, and we're going to have a march on Washington. John Lewis, who's now a U.S. representative from the state of Georgia, but who at the time was the coordinator of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, said, and I quote, we never announced how many people we were expecting, because if we got less, we thought the march would be viewed as a flop. But in our minds, we thought that if we could get 20 or 25,000 people, that would be great.

End of quote. As you know, 20 or 25,000 people showed up. As a matter of fact, a whole lot more than 25,000 people showed up. A quarter of a million people showed up right here in Washington, and they stood between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial to hear Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. deliver his famous speech and give those famous words. You all know them, don't you?

I what? I have a dream. Now I don't care what you think of Dr. Martin Luther King. In my personal opinion, that was one of the greatest speeches ever given in American history. Every time I hear it, I'm moved by that speech. And it was kind of like the Emancipation Proclamation of the Civil Rights Movement. And in looking back, it's really hard for us to overestimate the importance of that March on Washington because it took the fledgling Civil Rights Movement and it literally launched it into orbit.

I don't know that we would be where we are today with the legislation we have today and the advances that we have today had it not been for that March on Washington, D.C. And it was all begun by six young radicals who had a little vision but had no idea how it was going to turn out. One of them said, we were not aware there would be so many people from so many places. We even had families bring children in strollers. It was unbelievable. As far as you could see, there were people of all ages and all races without violence, without struggle, holding hands. It was great, much greater than we ever imagined.

This weekend, of course, we're celebrating the 30th anniversary of that incredible event. But don't forget, it all began with a half a dozen young activists who had no idea how it would turn out but who had the courage and the vision to give it a try. Now, the reason I bring that up is because when you go out and try to share Jesus Christ with people, in the very same way, you never know how it's going to turn out. But Jesus is going to talk to us about that this morning in the Bible.

He's going to talk to us about how different people react in different ways to the message of Jesus Christ. And I'm going to ask you as you go along with me this morning to do something that takes a lot of courage. I hope you're up to it.

I think you are. I'm going to ask you as we pick our way through this, not only to talk about and think about how other people respond to Jesus Christ, but how you do. It takes a lot of courage to do some healthy self-examination. But I'm going to ask you to do it. So let's take a look.

First four. While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, Jesus told this parable. Now remember that what's going on here. Jesus has appeared and presented himself as the Messiah of Israel to the nation. The rabbis have rejected him. The religious leaders have completely disassociated themselves with him. They've thrown him out of the synagogues.

He has to preach in the streets now. The people have come to him and then they've not come to him. They followed him and then they changed their mind. They're fickle one way, then fickle the other way. He says something they like, then they follow him. He says something they don't like, they all go away. The Romans haven't been thrown out.

No army of liberation has arisen. Meanwhile, his disciples are saying to themselves, why is all this happening? I mean, we thought when the Messiah came, the whole nation would rally to him and everybody would believe in him and there would be this enormous ground swell of support and it's not happening. I mean, why are people reacting the way they are? Jesus tells this parable to help his disciples understand why people react to him the way they do.

But it's also great for us to know as we go out there and try to talk to people about Jesus Christ. Look what he said. He said a sower went out, a farmer went out to sow his seed. In those days, farmers didn't use tractors. They used bags of seed around their neck and what they would do is they would walk along and they would reach in the bag and they would toss their seed out and the seed would fly all over everywhere landing on all different kinds of ground. And Jesus now goes on to describe the different kinds of ground the seed might fall on. First of all, he says there was hard soil. Verse 5, and as he was scattering the seed, some fell along the pathway and it was trampled on and the birds of the air ate it up. In Palestine, there were narrow strips of unplowed land three or four feet wide that ran between the fields and dissected them.

And these are the little paths that the farmers would use to get in and out of the fields so they didn't trample all over the crops. Well, over the years, of course, all of that foot traffic beat that dirt down hard and after a while it became like asphalt, like concrete. As you would throw seed, seed landing on that didn't have a chance to sprout.

It was like landing on the road and the birds that would often follow the farmer as he went through the field would just come along and just gobble it up. The hard soil. Second, Jesus said, there's shallow soil. Verse 6, some fell on rock and when it came up, when it sprouted, the plants withered because they didn't have any moisture.

And they said, Lon, something makes sense here. If the seed landed on a rock, it wouldn't sprout. Things don't sprout on rocks.

Well, that's right. But what Jesus is talking about, he makes a little clear in Matthew's Gospel when he tells the parable. He says there it fell on rocky ground where there wasn't much soil. There wasn't much depth of soil. You see, in Palestine, there are places where you have an inch or two of soil lying on top of solid bedrock.

And this is what Jesus is talking about. And the seed that fell there would sprout very quickly and it would begin to grow. But as the summer wore on and the ground began to dry up and the sun began to beat down on it, it would try to send its roots down deeper to get moisture. But one or two inches down is solid rock. And there's no place for the roots to go.

So when they hit there and they can't go anywhere and they can't get any moisture, they burn up in the sun and they wither and they die. This is what Jesus is talking about, shallow soil. There's a little bit of dirt there, but not enough to support life. The third soil is contaminated soil. Verse seven, other seed fell on thorns, which grew up along with the seed and choked off the plant. This is soil that looks good outwardly. It's deep and it's soft, but hidden in the soil are the seeds of all kinds of weeds. And the farmer's seed, when it hits the soil, it sprouts, it begins to grow. Everything looks great for a while, but the sun warms the ground and all these other seeds, all these other weeds and thistles and thorns also sprout up.

And before long, they overtake the seed, they overcrowd the seed. The seed can't get the moisture it needs. The seed can't get the nutrients it needs.

And they choke the seed off and it dies. Finally, Jesus says, verse eight, there's good soil. Still other seed fell on good soil and it came up and yielded a crop a hundred times more than what was sown. This is soil that's soft enough to take the seed in. It's not hard soil. And this is soil that's deep enough to allow the seed to root. It's not shallow soil. And this is a soil that is clean enough to allow the seed to prosper.

It's not contaminated soil. So the seed bursts to life and it bears all kinds of fruit. And then Jesus ends his parable by saying, verse eight, he who has ears to hear, let him hear. In other words, Jesus said, if you can get my drift, then get it. Now that's the end of the parable. And you know, with so many things in the Bible, you read them and you kind of go, well, what does that mean?

And a lot of times there's not a whole lot right there to help you. I mean, try reading the book of Revelation sometime and going, well, what in the world is this talking about? But what I like here is that Jesus interprets the parable for us. He leaves it no doubt whatsoever as to what this parable means. So let's go to verse 11. This, Jesus says, is the meaning of the parable. Friend, I don't care what you think this parable means or what I think this parable means.

There's no room for what you think or what I think. Jesus is going to tell us exactly what he means by the parable. And here we go. He says, verse 11, the seed is the word of God. So we know that the seed is the word of God. The word of God here, Jesus means by that the message that he is the Messiah of Israel, the message that he paid for our sins on the cross, the message that God will forgive the sins of anyone who will rely upon what Jesus did on the cross with them, not their own works, not their own effort, not their own religious activity, but the blood of Jesus Christ shed on the cross to pay for their sins.

Rely on that and God will forgive your sins and give you eternal life. This is the message. Jesus says that's the seed. Now, if that's the seed, what's the main point of the parable?

Listen carefully. The main point of the parable is that the condition of a person's heart, their soil, determines how they will respond to the message of Jesus Christ, the seed. In other words, the variable here is not the quality of the seed. Anytime the seed hits good soil, it grows. So the issue here is not whether the seed is good or not.

It's good. Nor is the issue here the skill of the sower. You know, this guy could have taken his little boy out or his little girl out, let them throw seeds all over everywhere. And anytime that seed hit good soil, it's going to grow. So the issue here is not how skillful the sower is or how good the seed is.

That's not the variable. The variable is the condition of the soil that it lands on. And the point is what people do with Jesus Christ when they hear about him has everything to do with the condition of their heart, the condition of their soil. And Jesus says there are four kinds of soil that the Word of God encounters when you spread it.

And we want to walk through it, but let me just say to you, when you go out to talk to people about Jesus Christ, everybody you meet is going to fall into one of these four categories. And the success of the seed depends upon the condition of the soil. You can be a really lousy sower.

I mean, you can know John 3 16 and not one other verse of scripture, but it's amazing. You sow the seed and it hits good soil, it'll grow. Because remember, it's not the skill of the sower and it's not the condition of the seed, it's the condition of the soil. Now let's look at the soils, okay?

Here we go. First of all, there's hard soil. Jesus says, verse 12, those along the path are the ones who hear and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart so they cannot believe and be saved. This is hard soil. This represents the hard-hearted person. The seed of the Word of God does not penetrate this person's heart at all.

The surface is too hard. It's like spiritual asphalt. These people are people who are like that dirt that was beaten down into hard concrete in between the wheat fields. And when this person hears the message of Jesus Christ, for a moment it lies on the surface of their heart. But since the ground has never been plowed by the Holy Spirit, Satan comes along and he snatches that seed away and it never does anything. A person hears the Word of God like this with this kind of heart and Satan comes along and he distracts them or he gets them busy or he gets them thinking about something else or he takes them someplace else and I mean, it's just gone.

Nothing happens to it. And we've all met people like this, haven't we? People who have zero spiritual interest. I mean, you try to talk to them about the Lord and they either ignore you or they walk away or they turn the television up louder or they walk into the other room or they change the subject.

They just don't want to hear it. We've got people in our offices like that. We've got people in our neighborhoods like that.

We've got people that we work with and we live with and people that we're related to who are just like this. They have zero spiritual interest and they're proud of it. The hard soil, the hard heart. Then Jesus said, there's the shallow soil and in verse 13 he says, those who are like the one with the little bit of soil and then the bedrock, they are the ones who receive the Word with joy when they hear it, but they don't have any place for the root to go. And so they believe for a while, but in the time of testing, they fall away. Now, this is a person who has a certain outer sentiment for Jesus Christ, a certain sympathy with Jesus Christ. I mean, they're not against God. They kind of like God. God's all right. Church is all right.

Christianity is okay. They'll come to church a little bit and they'll kind of hang around and do the Christian thing. They'll have a Bible in their home, but even though they've got an outer sentimentality for Jesus Christ, right under the surface is this enormous rock bed of self right below the surface. These are people who've never allowed that rock bed of self to be smashed and broken up by the Spirit of God. These are people who've never come to the end of their own resources, who've never had their self resources and their self sufficiency shattered. These are people who've never had to turn to God in brokenness and in contrition. They've got a little sentimentality for Christ, but they're still running their life and they got the whole thing under control with their own resources and their own sufficiency. And when they're first exposed to Jesus Christ, they may be openly receptive. They maybe go, wow, this is pretty cool. And the seed looks like it's going to sprout up and we say, wow, that's cool. Look at this. This person's really coming to know Christ.

But as soon as the sun begins to beat down on it, getting hot with the pressures of real Christianity, this person withers away. And a year later, you can't find them. They're gone. We say they lost their salvation. No, they didn't.

They never had it. Would you notice in this parable, there's only one soil that ever bears fruit. And that's the only one that ever really knows Christ.

The other three soils never bear any fruit. And that's the mark in the Bible of a real Christian is fruit. We say this person was a Christian and they back slid.

No, they didn't. They were never really a Christian to start with because that rock bed of self-sufficiency and that rock bed of self-reliance was never broken up by the jackhammer of the Spirit of God so that the seed could take root and so it could grow. There was no place for the seed to go. Folks, I've prayed with the sinner's prayer with people like this. And I've baptized people like this and I've married people like this and I've discipled people like this and I've poured hour upon hour upon hour into people like this only to see them disappear.

And six months later, you can't find them. You say, Lon, how does that make you feel when that happens? Well, it makes me feel terrible. I feel awful, which is one of the reasons I'm so glad Jesus gives us this information because it helps me understand that the seed has not failed just because it meets this kind of soil. And that as a sower, I didn't fail because I met this kind of soil. The problem wasn't the sower and the problem wasn't the seed. The problem was the soil.

Third soil, contaminated soil. Verse 14. The seed that fell among the thorn stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way, they are choked by life's worries and life's riches and life's pleasures and they do not mature. In Matthew 13, when Jesus tells the parable, he says that these things choke off the seed and it is unfruitful. Again, no fruit.

We might get some leaves here, but no fruit. Now, just like soil number two, things look promising at first for this person, but time begins to show that the soil is contaminated. And Jesus tells us what the contaminant is.

It's life's worries and life's riches and life's pleasures. What we have here is what the Bible calls a double-minded person. That is, we have here a person who wants to please God and wants to serve God and wants to let their life count for God, but a person who wants to hold on to the things of this world at the very same time. A person that's trying to serve two masters. And Jesus said you cannot serve two masters.

Jesus said you cannot serve God and the material things of this world. Folks, you can't ride two horses at once. I mean, I have enough trouble riding one horse at once.

You can't ride two horses at once. And if we were to diagram this person, if we were to diagram the good soil, it would look like a person like this who had both hands holding on to the hand of Jesus Christ. But if you were to diagram this person, this person would have one hand holding on to the hand of Jesus Christ and they would have the other hand holding on to things of this world and there would be a person who no matter how much these two sides pulled at them, they were determined they were going to hold on to both sides.

And if one side had to give, it's this side. But there's something over here in this world they are not going to let go of. These people will fool you if you're not careful. They hang around the church a lot. They seem dedicated enough. They're very loyal. They'll say nice things about you after the sermon. They'll usually do something to help if you need some help around the church. But when push comes to shove, and let me say to you that if you claim to be a Christian, anybody who ever claims to be a Christian, God's going to make sure push comes to shove in your life, not because He hates you but because He wants to make sure He exposes your heart so you and everybody else can see what's there.

God's going to make sure push is going to come to shove. And when push comes to shove for these people, when the chips are really down, they always choose something over Jesus Christ. Maybe it's their career. Or maybe it's money. Or maybe it's some power position that they've got. Or maybe it's their children.

Or maybe it's some pleasure in life. But whatever it is, when the chips are down, they choose it. They're never willing to put it all on the altar for Jesus Christ. They'll put most of it on the altar, but not all. Does Jesus love these people? Sure He does. Can Jesus do business with these people?

No. Jesus Christ can only do business with people who put it all on the altar. If you want to put 80% or 90% on and keep 10 or 15 back, Jesus loves you, but He can't do business with you. A great example of this kind of person in the Bible is a fellow called the rich young ruler. Remember the story of the rich young ruler? If you want to go back and read it, it's in Matthew 19.

You don't need to turn there. Let me tell you the story. A fellow comes to Jesus and says, Jesus, what do I have to do to inherit eternal life? Jesus said, well, you have to keep the commandments. And he says, well, like what ones? And he said, well, don't murder, don't steal, don't commit adultery, love your neighbor as yourself. And this young guy says to Jesus, all of these I have done from my youth up.

Now time out. Okay, let's get real. Could this guy be telling the truth?

No way. I mean, not by Jesus's definition. Remember what Jesus said about adultery, for example, Jesus said, if a man looks on a woman to lust after her in his heart, he's already committed adultery with her. Now there's not a man ever lived that can meet that definition and say, I've never committed adultery. So Jesus knows this guy hadn't kept all these things, but he doesn't argue with him.

He says, all right, I tell you what, here's what you do. If you want eternal life, go and sell everything you got. Remember he was the rich young ruler. Go sell everything you got.

Give it to the poor. You'll have treasure in heaven. Jesus said, come follow me. And the Bible says some of the saddest words in all of the Bible that the young man turned around and went away sad or sorrowful because he had many possessions. You see, he had a choice to make. The choice was between Jesus Christ and between some things that he had in this world. And he made the choice.

He was going to stick with something he had. And you know, he drops off the pages of the Bible. We never hear this guy again. Now contrast him with a fellow named Abraham. In the Old Testament, God calls to Abraham. He says, Abraham, Abraham, Abraham says right here, here I am God, Israel, right here. And he says, Abraham, I want you to take your son. Abraham says, you mean Ishmael?

And he says, no, no, no, no, no, no. I want you to take Isaac. And I want you to take Isaac where I will show you to take him and I want you to sacrifice him to me. Now, Isaac was the most precious thing Abraham had. And I'm sure Abraham must have said something like, but God, why can't I take a camel?

Or God, why can't this be a tent you're asking for? Even Sarah. But not Isaac.

I mean, come on, guys, let's be real, okay? He's been waiting 100 years for this kid. And God said, no, no, no, Abraham, I don't want a tent and I don't want a camel and I want Sarah. I want Isaac. Because I know Isaac's what you love more in the world than anything else. And so it's a very touching story about how Isaac, who by the way, is in his 20s by now, how Isaac and Abraham walk up that mountain and how Isaac's carrying the wood on his back and Abraham's carrying the knife and the fire. And Isaac turns and says, hey, pop. He said, I see the wood and I see the rope and I see the fire and I see the knife, but I don't see the lamb.

What are we going to kill up here? And Abraham says, don't worry about it, Isaac, God will take care of that. When they got to the top, he built the altar and tied up his son and put his son on top of the altar and raised that knife up. And when he got to the top and began swinging down, if you remember the angel of the Lord called out to him and said, Abraham, Abraham, don't do it. Here's what he said to him. He said, now I know that you love me for you have not withheld your one and only son from me.

And of course there was a lamb caught over in the thicket and they killed the lamb. He said, go on. Do you really believe that Abraham would have killed Isaac? Absolutely.

Absolutely. God believed it too. That's why he stopped him in the middle. Now, Hebrews 11 says the reason Abraham was going to do it is because he believed Isaac was going to be raised from the dead by God, but Abraham got that wrong. But no matter what he thought God was going to do, the point is he was going to do it.

Why? Because as much as he loved that boy, he loved Jesus Christ more. Friend, if you haven't come to the place where Jesus Christ is truly number one in your heart, where you're willing to put it all on the altar, no matter what God asks for, then Jesus tells us that your inability to do that, my inability to do that will be like a huge spiritual weed in your life that will choke off the life of the seed from growing inside of you and me. Our relationship with Jesus Christ can never bear fruit until we get to the place that Jesus Christ is number one.

And you know there are people in churches all over America this morning just like this. They got all kinds of leaves, but they don't have any fruit because it's not all on the altar. Now, finally, good soil, verse 15. But the seed on good soil stands for those who with a noble and a good heart, hear the word of God and retain it. And by persevering, they produce a crop here at last is fruit. We finally get some fruit.

Jesus says this is a noble and a good heart, a heart that's been fully prepared by the Spirit of God. There's no weeds, there's no rock bed, there's no hard surface. This dirt is soft and deep and clean and fertile and ready for the seed. And man, when the seed hits it, I mean, you get fruit pal, and you get lots of fruit. You say, Lon, what kind of fruit are we talking about? Well, the kind of fruit the Bible says is proof of genuine salvation. Friends in the Bible, the proof of salvation is not foliage, it's fruit. It's Galatians chapter five, the fruit of the Spirit that is in a changed character and a changed lifestyle. The fruit of genuine salvation is second Corinthians 517. If a person is in Christ, they become a new creature. And one of the fruits of a genuine salvation experience with Jesus Christ is that you begin to become a new human being.

And there's no explanation for it other than the fact that Jesus Christ came into your life, the fruit of a love for the Word of God, and the fruit of a love to be in prayer and talking to God, the fruit of loving to tell other people about Jesus Christ and having a real desire to do that. This is the kind of fruit that comes with real salvation. And this is the climax of a whole parable. Jesus says, when we go out to sow the gospel, just like those civil rights march organizers back then, you never know what you're going to meet. You'll come across hard soil and you'll go away discouraged. You'll come across shallow soil and you'll get all excited because it looks like it's really going to work and it'll spring up and you'll go, ah, when it just kind of dies away and then you'll come across contaminated soil and you'll invest and you'll invest and you'll invest and you'll invest in these people. But they'll never let go of the world.

They just will not let go of the world. And finally, they too die away and you begin to say to yourself, man, this isn't worth it. But Jesus says, oh, yes, it is. He said, because I promise you, I assure you, there is good soil out there.

There really is. And if you keep sowing enough seed, you'll hit it. And when you do, that seed will spring to life.

And I mean, there will be buku fruit all over everywhere. You won't have enough baskets to pick it up and you'll watch somebody's life change so radically that there is no explanation but Jesus Christ and it'll make all those other soils you had to work your way through worth it to find one piece of good soil out there and it'll make life worth living. And may I say to you that you and I living in the 20th century will meet people just like these four soils. And the fact that you might meet hard soil or shallow soil or contaminated soil, don't let that discourage you. Don't begin to doubt yourself and go, gosh, I must not be a very good sower. Look at all these soils I'm running into or even worse, you know, the gospel is not really true. It's not doing anything. Remember, the problem's not with the seed and the problem's not with the sower.

The problem's with the what? The soil. The success of the seed depends on the condition of the soil. So get out there and sow folks, throw that seed everywhere.

And yeah, it'll hit some hard soil and yeah, it'll hit some contaminated soil and yeah, it'll hit some shallow soil, but thank God it'll hit some good soil and that'll make it all worth it. Now that is the end of the parable, but it leads us to ask the question, so what? And in the last couple of minutes I've got, I'm going to ask you to come along with me and let's do some very healthy self-examination.

I hope you've got the courage to do it because it takes courage to do it. Remember I said earlier to you that as we sow the Word of God, we find that not only do we meet one of these four soils in everybody we come across, but that every one of us here is one of these four soils. You're one of these four soils and I want you to leave here this morning asking yourself the question, which one of these four soils am I? When I was a very young college student, I was, well it seems young now, I was 20, I had this man who was trying to lead me to Christ and I was in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and he said to me, Lon, you need to get away from here. I mean you got all your old drinking buddies here and all your old fraternity brothers here and all your old girlfriends here and all your old drug buddies. We need to get you away so you can just think and pray and read, not be distracted. He took me with him and we went camping for a couple of days down in this little park in Southern Virginia and there was a nice lake there and he said to me, now here's what I'm going to do.

He says, I'm not going to bother you. You get up in the morning, go your own way. We'll meet together for supper. You just go spend the day with your Bible and with God. And I'll never forget, I went down by the little lake there and I was reading in Matthew's Gospel and I got to Matthew 13 where this very same parable is and I remember reading it and I remember as I read it being just gripped with fear because as I read it, I realized, you know, I used to be hard soil. I'm not hard soil anymore.

I mean here I am reading the Bible and really thinking about Jesus Christ. I'm not hard soil anymore but there's three kinds of soil where it looks like at first the seed's going to do okay but in two of them, the seed doesn't do okay. And here I am, God, I'm just a young kid and the seed looks like it's doing something in my life but what if I'm soil number two or what if I'm soil number three? I don't want to be soil number two. I don't want to be soil number three. I want to be good soil and I remember even today sitting there on that lake and through tears praying, God, please make me good soil. Don't let me be shallow soil. Don't let me be contaminated soil. Make me good soil, please, God. See, it's important you know what kind of soil you are.

The stakes are incredibly high. We're talking eternal life versus no eternal life. The only person here that has eternal life, soil number four. So let's talk for a minute and see what kind of soil you are. Maybe some of us here are hard soil.

Probably not too many of us but a few because hard soil probably wouldn't come for the most part to a church like this but maybe some girlfriend or some boyfriend dragged you in here or some mom or dad dragged you in here or maybe your child dragged you in here or maybe you came because you're related to one of the babies that's getting dedicated or who knows, maybe your wife or your husband dragged you here and you're sitting out there saying, what am I doing here? I don't want to be here. I don't agree with the thing this guy is saying. How long is this guy going to go on anyway? How long can he talk?

I'll be done in five minutes, I promise. But I can talk a long time. If that's where you are, that's hard soil. Probably a lot more of us here might be soil number two or three. We're outwardly sympathetic to Christianity. I mean we're not against God. We've been churchgoers all our life. We've maybe given some money to the church. We sang in the choir. We know some theological lingo. Maybe we've even done some service around the church. But the key point is our life shows no fruit. Remember friends, every sincere, born again, come to know Jesus Christ, experience results in fruit. Can you point to a radical transformation of your lifestyle and your values where you can say, I used to be like this, but now I'm a completely different person and the only thing that explains it is that Jesus Christ came in my life.

Can you do that? That's fruit. Can you honestly say you've got intimacy with God? When you get on your knees and you pray, do you sense God's presence and feel his presence or is it just routine and rote? If you really feel his presence and there's intimacy there, that's fruit. Can you say you've got a love for the word of God or when you pick it up and read it, you go, what?

What's he's talking about? That's boring. See people who really know Christ, the Bible comes alive. Is there joy in your Christian experience? I mean, are you enjoying this thing called being a Christian or is it more of a duty or a creed or a loyalty or an allegiance or a habit? Man, you really come to know Christ and I'm telling you things change.

It's not a habit. It's not an allegiance. It's not a creed and it's not a loyalty. There is a joy and a reality that comes into your life because you've met almighty God of the universe. Is there a passion in your life to tell other people about Christ? If you really have met Jesus, there will be. Or is it kind of like, hey man, religion's a private thing. I'm not going to go out there and embarrass myself, make a fool out of myself talking to people about Jesus.

Christ, forget it. Is there fruit or isn't there? Friends, Jesus said, every good tree brings forth good fruit.

If there's no good fruit, something wrong with the tree. I mean, it's pretty much that simple. And maybe the problem is there's a bedrock of self down there right under the surface in your life where you know you can do it. You're self-sufficient.

You can handle it. You're relying on yourself and you've never let the jackhammer of God go to work on you. Or maybe it's worldliness.

Maybe there's just things in this life that you're just not going to give them up. I mean, you'll put 80% on the altar, but you're not putting 100% there. Well, I don't know where you stand, but if you're soil one or soil two or soil three, no matter which one you are, the solution's the same. And the solution is that you need to have the condition of your soil changed. And the good news of the Bible is that God changes the condition of people's soils.

He can do it. Every one of us probably started off as hard soil. I did, but God can change the condition of your soil. He can take trampled ground and he can make it soft again.

He can take shallow ground and he can make it deep and receptive and he can take contaminated ground and he can clean it out if you really want him to. If you're here and you've got to honestly say, gee, Lana, one of those sounds like me, I've got good news for you. You don't have to stay there. If you'll ask Jesus Christ, he can change the condition of your heart so the seed will grow. But even if you're here and you go, well, gosh, I'm a Christian. I know I'm a Christian. I'm good soil.

I mean, yeah, I mean, I'm cool with this. There's still a word here for some self-examination because in Matthew's parable, you know what Jesus said? He said, and the good soil brings forth fruit, some 30 fold, some 60 fold and some a hundred fold.

You know what the point is? The point is all good soil bears fruit, but not all good soil bears the same amount of fruit. And friends, the less we're like the first three soils, listen, the less we're like the first three soils, the more fruit God can produce in your life.

You with me? So even if you're a Christian, God help you and God help me not to be content with just 30 fold production. God doesn't want us to even be content with 60 fold production.

God wants us to go for a hundred fold production. And that demands we ask ourselves some hard question, even as Christians, questions like where am I letting some sin trample me hard and insensitive to God in my life so God can't produce any fruit in that area? Where do I still have a rock bed of self in my life that I won't let God go to work on and shatter? Where am I still trying to serve two masters in my life? Even as a Christian, where is my all not on the altar?

Even as a Christian, what am I holding on to? And I wonder as a Christian, if you are willing to pray, God, make my soil softer and make it deeper and make it cleaner so I can bear more food for you. You say, well, Lon, how's God going to do that? I don't know.

I'm not God. That's his business. But I'll tell you this, he's not going to do it with success, I'll bet you.

Not going to do it with success. Plows hurt. I'm not dirt, and I've never heard dirt scream, but I'll bet if it could, when you run a plow through it, it would.

You know what I'm saying? Plows hurt. But if you don't plow, you can't harvest. And when God goes to plowing, it hurts.

But hey, that's the only way you get a harvest. You say, well, Lon, I've got to tell you, you'd have to be stupid to volunteer for God to put a plow in your life. You'd have to be stupid. I'm not a stupid person you think I am.

Wait a minute. If your purpose in life is to preserve all your creature comforts, I'd agree with you. You'd have to be stupid to ask God to put a plow in your life. But if your purpose in life is to serve the living God and bear as much fruit for him as you can while you care, then it makes all the sense in the world to volunteer for the plow. What made you good soil in the first place is that you were willing to say, God, I want my life to count for you, and I'm willing to let go of everything to serve you. And I pray you're still willing to say that. When you get to heaven, no matter how bad the plow hurt here, you'll be glad you let God do it in your life.

Remember what he told the rich young ruler? Let it all go here and you'll have what? Treasure in heaven. I want you to take a minute and I want us to bow our heads. And I want you to take a minute and talk to God if you need to this morning. If you're one of the first three soils, I want you to take a minute and say, God, I really want to be different. Do what you have to do in my life. So the seed of the word of God can really take root and grow in me. I want fruit. And even if you're Christian, are you willing to turn God loose to plow your life and get those remnants of soils one, two and three out so God can use you and bear more fruit with you?

If so, tell him. Let's take a moment and pray. Heavenly Father, ours is not a culture that encourages much healthy self-examination when it comes to these kinds of issues. We hustle, we bustle, we run. We're so busy.

We're so distracted. And part of the reason we don't do much of this is because it just takes too much courage to really confront ourselves for where we really are. We just rather skim along the surface, Lord, and not have to deal with it. But I thank you today that your word is demanding from us and asking from us a willingness to take a hard look at where we stand. And Lord Jesus, I pray that you would assist us with your spirit. May he give us the wisdom and the insight we need to really assess our lives accurately.

Help us not fool ourselves. If we're one of the first three kinds of soil, if we got all kind of leaves but no fruit, help us be honest enough to admit that, that we've never really had this kind of life-altering experience with Jesus Christ that we hear people talk about. And help us to come to you, Lord, to do the change in our soil that needs to be done so we can. And even for those of us who are Christians, bring us to the place where we're serious about rooting out of our lives the remnants of these first three kinds of soil, that we might really see you bear much fruit through our lives.

Remind us, Lord Jesus, we're not here to enjoy creature comforts. We're here to serve the living God and let our life count for him. And as we get serious about this as a church family, may we see you use us to reach many, many people in a real and genuine way for Jesus Christ right here in this community. Thank you for talking to our hearts today. Lord, help us not be like the hard soil, help us to listen and do what needs to be done. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-27 09:03:06 / 2023-04-27 09:20:23 / 17

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime