9/28/14 – A Gospel God Must Cultivate

MATTHEW 13:1-23 (ESV)

1That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. 2And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. 3And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. 4And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. 5Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, 6but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. 7Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9He who has ears,let him hear.”
The Purpose of the Parables
10Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 13This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:
“‘“You will indeed hear but never understand,
and you will indeed see but never perceive.”
15 For this people’s heart has grown dull,
and with their ears they can barely hear,
and their eyes they have closed,
lest they should see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their heart
and turn, and I would heal them.’
16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. 17For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
The Parable of the Sower Explained
18 “Hear then the parable of the sower: 19When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. 20As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. 22As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 23As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

Used to make complex things easier to understand.
Parables are possible because God has His fingerprint on creation and virtually every human institution. (Psalm 19:1-2, Rom 1:18-19)
Jesus tells Parable of the Sower to help followers understand how people could miss Him.

Farmer throws seed on 4 types of soil:
Rocky soil that does not allow the seed to penetrate it.
Thin topsoil hard underneath that will not allow roots to be put down.
Good soil full of weeds that choke seed and plant out.
Good soil in which the seed flourishes to varying degrees.
The Parable of the Sower only frustrates the 12. Why would Jesus not just tell the crowds who He was straight out?

All never intended to get it. To some, the parables revealed God. To others they kept God hidden.
Knowing God is a gift from Him, which multiplies over the years.
Those who refuse to see God in His creation, His Word, and His Son will only know less of God over the years and not more.

Our discomfort that God must reveal Himself for salvation is because we wrongly assume God denies Himself to those who desire Him.
Total depravity is a blindfold that makes it impossible for a person to see God without God taking that blindfold off.
God promises to be found by those who seek Him.
God wants to be found. He is plain sight. (Acts 17:26-27)
If God is not found by someone, it is because they refused to see Him. (Romans 1:20-26)

The rocky soil is the person who hears and sees the Gospel but it never penetrates that heart at all.

The second soil hears the Gospel & without roots at the first sign of hardship they quit on Jesus.
The weed filled soil looks the part but are too concerned with cares of the world.
The good soil hears, understands, & buries the Gospel in their heart where it blossoms and produces richly.

Unless God works the soil and keeps the weeds out, our hearts will not produce the fruit of the Gospel.
God uses others as instruments to prepare the human heart to receive the Gospel.

1. If your soil is not what you desire, ask God to make the necessary changes.
2. Live in gratitude at the grace of God extended to you.
3. Do more than just scatter Gospel seed. Cultivate the hearts of others, especially your kids, for the reception of the Gospel.