The Parable of the Sower
Matthew 13:3-23
Objective Sentence: Everyone can overcome spiritual heart disease by taking the necessary steps in preventing and healing this killer. Aim: My goal in this message is to show how to produce a harvest of productivity and ask people to come forward and commit themselves to God, guaranteeing that they bear fruit in their lives.

Introduction One: Today we will be talking about different kinds of human hearts as they relate to receiving the Word of God. Jesus compares our heart in receiving the Word of God to a field receiving seed from a sower. In this parable Jesus describes four kinds of hearts. Three of the hearts that he illustrates with this parable are diseased and do not bring forth a harvest. There are three remedies implied in resolving heart problems. Paul George: Most of the details of this parable are concerned with soils. In His interpretation Jesus tells us the different soils represent various classes of those who hear the Word of God.

Author Unknown: In part two of the Parable of the Sower we will agains look at how Jesus compares our heart in receiving the Word of God to a field receiving seed from a sower. Jesus describes four kinds of hearts. Three of the hearts that he illustrates with this parable are diseased and do not bring forth a harvest. There was an old Native American Indian chief who was telling a gathering of young braves about the struggle within our hearts. “It is like two dogs fighting inside of us,” the chief told them. “There is one good dog who wants to do the right and the other dog always wants to do the wrong. Sometimes the good dog seems stronger and is winning the fight. But sometimes the bad dog is stronger and wrong is winning the fight.” “Who is going to win in the end?” a young brave asks. The chief answered, “The one you feed.”

Initial Invitation

#1 Hard-Hearted (Preparation Matthew 13:4)

A. Paul George: The Wayside hearers are the ones where seed was sown beside the road. The heart of these persons are compared to a public highway hardened by the constant traffic of the world. Here, the heart is unresponsive and unreceptive. If there is no humbling of the heart before God, no seeking wisdom from above, there will be no “understanding” of the Word; and the Devil will “catch away” what we have heard or read.

B. Pastor Dan: Preparation is a continual process occurring through the different seasons of life so that good crops will grow in the fields of our heart.

1. Repent (Acts 2:38)
a. Pastor Dan: A field not prepared will not yield
b. Wayside Soil (Hosea 10:12): Strongs (hod-os) and Websters defines wayside soil as the soil that has not been prepared or maintained for planting. The wayside is a road, route, or highway; the edge of the road, or an area close to side of the road.
c. Larry Byrd: If you don’t do your homework, you won’t make your free throws.
d. Jim Smith: Personal development is like a wheelbarrow…it stands still until you pick it up and start to push forward [or like a field that has never been planted].
e. Matthew 13:10-16 The reason that people hear but do not understand the God’s Word; the reason people see but do not perceive God’s purpose is because they are not seeking after, they are not following or walking with Christ. The disciples of Christ heard, understood and perceived God’s Word because they developed a relationship with Him. They followed and walked with Jesus down the paths where He led them. They gained an understanding of who He was and received a revelation concerning the things He taught. They learned the meaning of His teaching because they knew Him as their teacher.
f. Oliver Wendell Holmes: The average person goes to his grave with his music still in him.
g. Hamilton Holt: Nothing worthwhile comes easily. Work, continuous work and hard work, is the only way to accomplish results that last.

2. Receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:39 receive the Holy Spirit)
a. Eerdmans: The that is spread on an unprepared field becomes food for rodents
a. 1 Peter 5:8 Satan is like a roaring lion.
b. Luke 22:28-32 Satan seeks to devour our lives. The devil asked God to give him Simon Peter and Jesus prayed that his faith would not fail. In verse 28 Jesus commended the disciples because they had continued with Him in “His trials” and prays that they will continue walking with Him “through their trials”. The implication is that we must continue nurturing our relationship with Christ so that we can overcome the devouring fury of the devil.
b. Eph.4:22-32 Do not give Satan a place in your life
c. Job 1:6-12, Revelation 12:9-10 and Luke 22:28-32 seem to indicate that God, due to the dominion that humanity gave Satan through their fall, can’t refuse Satan access to our lives.
d. 2 Kings 22:19-20 God has council meetings in heaven allowing heaven’s occupants to have input into his will for humanity. It appears from the Scriptures (Revelation 12:9 and 2 Kings 22:19-20) that the devil and certain demons have access to some of these council meetings.
e. Oswald Chambers: God does not give us overcoming life he gives us life as we overcome. God does not deliver us from adversity he delivers us in adversity
f. Pastor Dan: If the field of our lives is not prepared for planting it will not yield fruit for the harvest.
g. Fred Smith, Leadership Volume 3, No.1: It's important, as we go along in life, to create thirsts that death will satisfy.

#2. Shallow-Hearted (Perseverance Matthew 13:5, 20-21)

A. Paul George: Jesus identifies the seed planted on stony ground as the hearer of the word whose emotions have been moved, but the conscience has not been searched; there is a “joy” in the heart but no deep conviction or true repentance. When a Divine work of grace is wrought in a soul, the first effects of the Word upon it are not to produce peace and joy, but contrition, humility and sorrow.

B. Pastor Dan: Jesus compared a lack of spiritual depth in ones life to a field that has a thin covering of topsoil over a rocky surface. Shallow soil sustains life in a plant until it faces the hot sun. Our faith will whither in trial if we fail to sink our roots deep into relationship with God. False expectations, immaturity, impure motives, inconsistency and misalignment of priorities are just a few of the things that result in a shallow walk with Christ. (Strongs: pet ro dace) rocky; stony; a thin covering of soil or earth lying on a sheet of rock.

1. Commit (Proverbs 16:3)
a. Thomas a’ Kempis: There is no means of escaping from tribulation and sorrow, except to bear them patiently ()
a. Billy Joe Daughtery: 2 Corinthians 4:9 Amplified: We are stuck down to the ground, but never stuck out and destroyed. Quitting is not an option for the overcomer. There’s no blessing in staying down. If someone’s mistake put you down, remember that God’s grace can lift you up restore what’s been lost.
b. You will be tested and have trials. James 1:2; 1 Corinthians 10:13; Psalms 7:9
c. West Frankfort Tongues and Interpretation 1984: I have come you to smooth out your places and to rough up your smooth places. I will smooth out your rough places, lest you become discouraged and give up; I will rough up your smooth places lest you become complacent and let up.
d. Robert J. Morgan Sermon: The word perseverance comes from the prefix per, meaning through, coupled with the word severe. It means to keep pressing on, trusting God, looking up, doing our duty—even through severe circumstances
e. 2 Timothy 3:12 If you do it right you will suffer…
f. Pastor Dan: You must come to terms with the facts of faith—there will be tough times for you to endure—know that the testing of your faith produces endurance in your walk with God. Job did not suffer because he sinned; Job suffered because he was living right and honoring the Lord with his life. A false conception I embraced in the beginning was that if I gave my life to God I would rid my life of the temptations of the flesh. Another false conception that I entertained was my idea concerning the baptism in the Holy Spirit. I thought that if I was baptized in the Holy Spirit that I would never be overcome with the temptation to sin again. There are three layers in our being that we must come to terms with. There are surface issues or the flesh issues dealing with the natural desires of our physical desires. There are the soul issues of our lives which include our attitudes and feelings that we must cope with. And there are the heart or spirit issues that deal with our motives and priorities.
g. Romans 5:3-5

2. Connect (James 5:16)
a. Pastor Dan: Connect your concern with the needs of another life.
b. Dan Rather, Counsel for the graduating class of 2001: Passion and persistence will help you reach your goals. Of the two, passion might be the easier to come by. Passion burns hot, bright and quick. But persistence is the hand that nurtures and revives the flame of passion when it flickers, when it is doused by your own limitations or those imposed by others, or by the simple and inevitable passage of time.
d. John 8:31-32; Harriet Beecher Stowe: Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.
e. Calvin Collidge: Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
f. Matthew 26:41; Henry Ward Beecher: One difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one often comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won’t.
g. Samuel Johnson: Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.
h. Psalm 119:165; William Carey: I have God, and His Word is sure…and though the superstition of the heathen were a millions times worse, if I were deserted by all, and persecuted by all, yet my hope, fixed on that sure Word, would rise superior to all obstructions…. I shall come out of all trials as gold purified by fire. I can plod. I can persevere in any definite pursuit. To this I owe everything.

#3. Half-Hearted (Priority Matthew 13:7, 22)

A. Paul George: The seeds on thorny ground represent those whose hindrances are not internal causes but external snares that render the third class of hearers unfruitful through the attractions and distractions of the world. These people once lived for God but allowed the things of this world to come before God. Their heart is divided heart (Matthew 6:24) like the heart of the girl to which a young man once proposed. He said, “Darling, I want you to know that I love you more than anything else in the world. I want you to marry me. I’m not rich. I don’t have a yacht or a Rolls Royce like Johnny Brown, but I do love you with all my heart.” She thought for a minute and replied, “I love you with all my heart, too, but tell me more about Johnny Brown.”

B. Joyce Meyer: The best way I have found to determine if God is first in my life is to slow down and ask myself some simple questions: What do I think about the most? What is the first thing on my mind in the morning and the last thing on my mind at night? What do I pray and talk about the most What subjects fill my conversations with God and with others? What do I do with my time?

1. Seek (Matthew 6:33)
a. Pastor Dan: Natural desires left to themselves will get out of hand. James 1:13-15 Weed the field
b. Brother Lawrence: We need neither art nor science for going to God. All we need is a heart resolutely determined to apply itself to nothing but Him, for His sake, and to love Him only.
c. Judges 16:20 God’s anointing left Samson because he sought to satisfy the flesh at the expense of disobedience God.
d. Brother Lawrence: God cannot be the only possessor of your heart unless it is empty of all else. He cannot put what he desires into a heart unless has been left vacant for Him alone to refill it.
e. Galatians 6:6-8; 2 Corinthians 9:6-15 Joyce Meyer: In order for our lives to be truly fulfilled, you and I need to let God out of our Sunday morning box …. He wants to be a part of our everyday activities like washing the dishes, going to the grocery store, and fixing the car.
f. Matthew 13:7 If you choke you will croak
g. Fields will return to their former if they aren't nurtured and cared for by the farmer Ezekiel 18:21-24; 33:18-20; Hebrews 3:5-19

Frank Pollard, Preaching Today: A young man was driving his BMW around a curve when he realized the car was out of control and about to plummet over a cliff. The young man jumped out and survived the crash, but his left arm was severed from his body. He stood there looking down at burning BNW and said, “Oh, no! My car! My car! My car! A man who had stopped to help said, “Mister, you have just lost your left arm, and you’re crying about your car?” The young man looked down, realizing for the first time his arm was gone and yelled to top of his voice, “Oh, no, my Rolex, my Rolex watch!

2. Sow (2 Corinthians 9:6-12 God loves a cheerful giver)
a. Pastor Dan: Spiritual life grows strong only when it is nurtured. Crandall Miller: What you feed grows and what you starve dies.
b. Martin Luther: Anything that is to be done well ought to occupy the whole man with all his faculties and members. As the saying goes: he who thinks of many things thinks of nothing and accomplishes no good. Prayer must possess the heart exclusively and completely if it is to be good.
c. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
d. Goethe: [If we live to please God] things that matter most must not be put at the mercy of things which matter least
e. John 12:24-26 He or she who loves his life will lose it.
f. E. Stanley Jones: Divided souls are prevalent. We believe in God with the top of our minds, but down deep at the bottom we obey something else as the way of life. We live by what Dr. Thomas Kelly called “straddle arrangements and compromises between our allegiance to the surface level and the Divine Creator. We are trying to live several selves at once, without all our selves being organized by a single mastering life within us.”
g. Brother Lawrence: We ought to help one with encouragement, and yet more by our good examples. As often as possible we should recall that our only business in this life is to please God.
h. The Russian writer Turgenev: It seems to me to discover what one should put in the first place is the whole problem of life.
i. Max Lacado: Undefined priorities are at the root of much of our success—or failure frustration.

#4. Productivity (Whole-Hearted Matthew 13:8, 23)

A. Bruce Wilkinson, Secrets of the Vine: Jesus loved to convey the deepest truths with simple, earthy examples. In His last message before His death, He wanted you and me to comprehend with our whole being that He has left us on this planet for one compelling reason—and it has everything to do with fruit (John 15:4-5,7)

1. Abide in Christ (John 15:4)
a. Wiersbe: Not all true believers are equally as productive; but from every genuine Christian’s life, there will be some evidence of spiritual fruit. Anyone who has every really lived knows that there is not life without growth. When we stop growing we stop living and start existing. But there is no growth without challenge, and there is no challenge without change. Life is a series of changes that create challenges, and if we are going to make it, we have to grow.
b. James Lane Allen: You cannot travel within and stand still without. 1 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 1:2-5
c. Oliver Cromwell: If I cease being better I cease being good.
d. 2 Corinthians 3:18; 5:17
e. David Livingstone: I will go anywhere as long as it’s forward.
f. James C. Hunter, The Servant Leader: Continuous improvement is crucial for people as well as organizations because nothing stays the same in life. Nature shows us clearly that you are either alive and growing or you are dying, dead, or decaying.
g. Philipians 3:10-15

2. Live in the Word
a. Author Unknown: It’s right to be content with what you have, never with what you are (Ephesians 5:18 Be filled and keep on being filled).
b. Chinese Proverb: Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still Joshua 1:8
c. Bruce Wilkinson; Secrets of the Vine: More is always possible. Why? Because we were created to bear fruit…and still more fruit. The Father wants more fruit from us, so much that He actively tends our lives so we will keep moving up—from a barren to a productive branch, from an empty to an overflowing basket.
d. Helen Keller: Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.
e. Brother Lawrence complained of our blindness. He said that those of us who content ourselves with so little of God are to be pitied. He said: God’s treasure is like an infinite ocean, yet if even a little wave of feeling, which lasts for only a moment, comes to us we are content. By such blindness we hinder God and stop the current of His graces. But when the Lord finds a soul permeated by His living faith, He is able to pour into that soul an abundance of His grace and favor. Such grace and favor flow into the soul like a torrent, which, having been forcibly stopped from its original course, once it has found a passage, spreads and flows again unleashing its pent-up flow.

Closing and Invitation: J. I. Packer in Rediscovering Holiness; Christianity Today: We grow up into Christ by growing down into lowliness. ... Off-loading our fantasies of omnicompetence, we start trying to be trustful, obedient, dependent, patient, and willing in our relationship to God. We give up our dreams of being greatly admired for doing wonderfully well. We begin teaching ourselves unemotionally and matter-of-factly to recognize that we are not likely ever to appear, or actually to be, much of a success by the world's standards. We bow to events that rub our noses in the reality of our own weakness, and we look to God for strength quietly to cope. ... it is impossible at the same time to give the impression both that I am a great Christian and that Jesus Christ is a great Master. So the Christian will practice curling up small, as it were, so that in and through him or her the Savior may show himself great. That is what I mean by growing downward (Matthew 23:12; Psalm 101:5)

Closing and invitation: Phillips Brooks, "Bad will be the day for every man when he becomes absolutely content with the life he is living, with the thoughts he is thinking, with the deeds he is doing; when there is not forever meeting at the doors of his soul some great desire to do something larger, which he knows that he was meant and made to do because he is still the child of God."