Week 40: Heart Condition
Matthew Chapter 13 verses 1-9 and verses 18-23. That same day Jesus went out of the house and he sat beside the sea. 2 And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and He sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. 3 And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, 6 but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 He who has ears, let him hear.”
18 “Hear then the parable of the sower: 19 When 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. 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21 yet 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. 22 As 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. 23 As 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.”
Now, in this parable about true discipleship, Jesus gives us some serious insight into deepening our relationship with Him. Did you know that you have a significant role in the preaching and teaching ministry of our church? That’s right, each week when you show up to church to hear the preaching and teaching of the word of God, your job is not just to just listen. In fact, your job is every bit as important as the preacher’s part. If you don’t do your part, then no matter how much the preacher prepares and how well a sermon is delivered, then not much will happen.
Now, the preacher is for sure responsible to deliver the word with great care and great passion and great enthusiasm, but your job is to make sure the condition of your heart is ready to receive what God wants to plant there.
Jesus says that some people hear the word and it is immediately snatched away by the enemy. The ground was so hard that the seed didn’t penetrate the soil and the seed was an easy target to be snatched away. So let me ask you, do you have a hard heart or a soft heart toward the Lord right now? When is the last time God’s grace towards you brought tears to your eyes? When is the last time you were really moved to emotion by a move of God either in your life or in His church?
Next, Jesus says sometimes the word of God lands on people and they get really excited. The problem is when life’s problems pop up, then their excitement falls away as fast as they do. The reason is because they have not rooted themselves deeply in a relationship with Jesus by digging deep into His Word. So let me ask you, are you deeply rooted in God’s word? Are you deeply rooted in God’s people? Are you deeply rooted in your relationship with Jesus Christ? Or, do you simply show up to church when you can, sit and listen, and hope and pray that something sticks?
The third person hears the word and it begins to grow. The problem is that it’s not the only thing that’s growing. This person is more focused on this world and the deceitfulness of riches. Jesus said earlier in Matthew that no one can serve two masters. No one can serve both God and money. This person is choked out by the things of this world as a result of not being fully surrendered to Jesus. This person is looking for this world to provide what only Jesus can.
So let me ask you, are you trying to live your life with one eye on Jesus and one eye on this world? Are you believing the promises of God for your life or are you trusting in the promotions of this world?
Then there’s the good soil. It produces a huge harvest. Now I don’t think this soil just happens to be good soil. If you have ever planted anything, then you know it takes a lot of work to cultivate good soil. So let me ask you, what are you doing to till up the soil of your heart? What are you doing to chop away the thorns, to break up the rocks and to soften that dirt? How is your heart? I pray that you do your part to soften your heart for the word of God so that the next time the seed of the Word of God is spoken over you, that it lands on a receptive heart and God does more in you than you could ever hope or imagine.