Good morning everyone and welcome to part 4 of "The Seeds We Sow." For many, they think of sowing seeds as gardening. You know, planting seeds in the flower garden or vegetable garden. As we've seen in the past three studies, sowing seeds can be much more than planting flower and vegetable seeds.
We want to thank each of you who are joining us here on Paltalk in the J and L Ministries room. I'm recording this message, as I have been for the past few months and that includes recording what's been typed in the chat box and I share it on u-tube and many Christian sites, along with a few secular sites. Some of you may be a little shy of that, but please be comfortable. Many times when those who share scriptures that go along with what we're studying, it helps me. It helps those who are watching to get a further understanding of what's being taught.
Here we are in December and probably most of you have gardens out of your minds for a while. Actually, for me, I've had some seed catalogs come and I've been planting the garden in my mind. I know some of you may think I'm strange, but I do enjoy spending time watching plants grow.
"Brother Jim, for four weeks now, you've talked about seed. Why all this talk about gardens?" Maybe some of you are like my wife and want no part of working in a vegetable garden. I like to watch things grow. I also like the taste of fresh picked veggies. Also, because I know that I use no chemicals in the garden for herbicides or pesticides, I know what I'm eating. To me that makes it well worth the bother.
Last week I mentioned this and I think it's important for us to understand just how important seeds sown are. All through the Bible it talks about seed. When we take the time to study and meditate on the Bible, we find that seed is mentioned in the natural realm, but also in the spiritual realm. In fact, in the King James Version, seed is mentioned 280 times and used in 254 verses. Just a little trivia for you.
In the past three weeks we looked into some of how we sow seeds, whether good or bad from our mouth. Blessings and cursings.
Today, we'll go in a different direction. I want us to look at some verses that Jesus taught on seeds. I do hope that each of you will follow along in your Bibles and take notes on what we study, but for those who don't have a Bible close by, or maybe are slower at finding the verses, no worries. My beautiful bride Leanna will post scriptures in the room as we go.
If everyone could turn to Matthew 13:1-9. We will start here, and I do hope that what we learn today will be a blessing to each of you. We all need to pay close attention to what we're going to learn today.
Matthew 13:1-9 KJV The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side. 2 And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. 3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; 4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: 5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: 6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. 7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: 8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. 9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
As I've farmed for most of my life, I understand these principles that Jesus spoke on in the natural realm. It should be simple for most everyone to understand. We have a farmer, and let’s say he was planting corn. I've planted and chopped thousands of acres of corn, so I have an understanding of this. While he was planting (verse 4) some of the corn seed fell by the wayside. Now if we look back to how farmers planted back in those days, they didn’t have nice big fancy tractors and fancy planters like I used to run, where the corn is placed in secure hoppers along with fertilizer and it's set to sow the seed at an adjustable depth (I planted 2 inches deep). They didn’t have all the plows, harrows and rock rakes that are available today. No, no my friends. They sowed seeds by hand, or possibly oxen. I would imagine whatever they used to carry the seed was primitive. Possibly with no cover. When you carry seeds not covered and you haul it by oxen, maybe donkeys with carts that were probably made with stone wheels that had nothing to absorb the shock going over rough terrain and stuff would get spilled. This seed that would have been spilled on the dirt roads or paths, wouldn't be able to set root on the very hard packed soil. It would get crushed by others walking on it, or birds would have a feast with it. Are you all following along with me so far?
Matthew 13:5-6 KJV Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: 6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
A farmer hates stony ground, because it's rough to get over and it doesn’t allow the seeds to get water and nutrition to grow well. For the seeds that are able to germinate, they wouldn’t last long once the hot sun would shine and they would wither up and dry out and eventually die.
Matthew 13:7 KJV And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
For those who've not worked on farms, maybe you've had your own garden. Maybe a flower garden or a vegetable garden. For those who have, you understand weeds. I can grow a great crop of weeds without even trying. In this case Jesus is talking about thorns. Like weeds, they grow quickly and steal from the soil what the seeds need to eat and drink and they shade the sunshine from getting to these tender plants. Eventually, again they either are very weak, or they die.
Matthew 13:8-9 KJV But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. 9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Praise the Lord!! When I plant my gardens, I till the soil fairly deep. I hill most of my rows so that when I plant whatever type of seed I'm planting, it's easy for me to work in and side dress with rotted manure so that the plants will get much of the nutrients they need while they're growing, it holds the water into the soil and it keeps the weeds down.
Has this got anyone’s attention? Has it sparked an interest? Does it cause you to want to know more about what I, or should I say what Jesus wants you to know? This is what Jesus was trying to say to the listener in verse 9.
Some may be saying, "Brother Jim, I know all about gardening," or they might be ready to totally tune me out because they don’t have any clue about what all this gardening has to do with the word of God. Well my friends, before you shut me out, please listen as we'll see the importance of what Jesus was saying. This was part of what I believe Jesus was getting to. Jesus spoke often in parables. Those who wanted to know about the Kingdom of God would listen intently to His teachings. Others, and especially the religious leaders, thought they knew it all, and because it would cut into many of the laws of Moses, and (this is the big part) it spoke about their man-made laws and lifestyles, wouldn't listen but instead got very angry and is why they searched for ways of having Jesus put to death.
Let’s continue by reading.
Matthew 13:10-53 KJV And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. 12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. 13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: 15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. 17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. 18 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. 19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. 20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; 21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. 22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. 23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
Wow!! Did these verses speak volumes to anyone? When one really reads and meditates on this whole entire chapter of Matthew 13, you learn much about the kingdom of God. I'd love to go over the whole chapter, but because of times sake, we won’t be able to.
I hope that everyone can really get a full understanding of what this parable is saying as it speaks to you and me.
When we study this parable from Jesus about the sower, to me it has this explanation. His message highlights four different responses to His message, the Gospel.
The seed He's referring to is the Word of God. Who's the Word? John 1:1-5 gives us the answer.
John 1:1-5 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. Praise God!!
So we see the Word was Jesus. Let’s keep reading.
John 1:14, 17-18 The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son who came from the Father, full of grace and truth
17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made Him known.
Who is the Word of God? Jesus Christ, the Messiah is the Word of God. The Greek word for the Word of God is Logos.
Back to the parable. And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
The hard ground in verse 4 represents the person who is hardened by sin; he hears but doesn't understand "the word". Satan plucks the message away, keeping the heart dull and preventing "the word" from making an impression.
That's why when we try to witness to some they won't hear us. Satan has them right where he wants them, but when we continue to pray for them and tell God to do with them what He wants, the possibility of seeing them saved is greater. Does anyone have unsaved loved ones?
1 Corinthians 1:18 KJV For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
I had to understand this verse when I first started witnessing to atheists and evolutionists on u-tube starting in 2008. It was a battle. I couldn’t understand why they couldn’t understand the Jesus I knew and loved. I couldn’t understand why the whole Bible didn’t make sense to them. Their hearts were so hard, and it isn’t me that was going to save them. I couldn’t force what I knew on them. Church, that's what we all need to understand about our unsaved loved ones. We can't force the Bible on them. We can't force Jesus on them. We need to continually pray for them and hand them over to God so that He can soften their hearts and keep sowing good seeds into their lives. Amen?
5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
The stony or rocky ground: This was me for so many years. It represents a person who professes delight with "the word". However, this person's heart isn't changed. When troubles come into his life, his so-called faith quickly disappears. Back when I was a junior in high school, I went to a teen retreat up in Canada and heard a message that scared me. It was a message on hell and I knew that I didn’t want to go there. There was an alter call and I went forward and repeated a prayer that someone said to repeat, and that was the end of that. Later in life, while I was in the army, I went to a chapel and heard a message that was similar to the one in Canada. Again, there was an alter call and I went forward yet again. Even then, there was no change in my life.
Mat 13:7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
The thorny ground depicts the person who seems to receive "the word," but whose heart is full of riches, pleasures, and lusts. He ends up having no time for it. The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they're choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they don't mature. I was at this place also.
These are the ones sown among thorns; they're the ones who hear God’s word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in chokes the word, and it becomes unfruitful.
Thorny ground soil is represented by those who haven't matured, they've moved from babies to teenagers, but haven't made it into adulthood. Church, some Christians have mixed up priorities because their lives are tangled up in things they shouldn't be messing with. Jesus says there are two things that are choking them. Anyone have any idea? We just read it. Worries and riches.
Matthew 13:8 KJV But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.
The good ground represents the person who hears. He or she understands and receives "the word" and then allows it to bring results into his life. The person represented by the “good soil” is the only one of the four that we've looked at this morning who is truly saved, because salvation’s proof is good fruit.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, here's where we stand. The present age will be marked to its end by the presence of both professors of religion and possessors—sinners and saints. The believer’s work (you and I who are Followers of Jesus, not fans) is to sow the Word of God in faith, not expecting thereby to convert the whole world, but in expectation of Him, who at the end of the age, will come with His angels to separate the good and the bad—to make an end of sinners and set up His glorious Kingdom.
My prayer for each and every person who's in this Paltalk room today who hears these sermons or reads them will understand the importance of being in God’s Word daily. To be in prayer daily. I pray that we all understand the importance of sowing good seed. I pray that we're all more careful with that little thing in our mouth that can get us into so much trouble. I hope and pray that each will get to the place where God's calling you to be in your actions, your words, your beliefs and with the spiritual gifts that the Lord has blessed you with.
In closing today, I want to take you to a passage that the Lord has laid on my heart the whole time I've been putting this together.
Please turn to Romans 16:24-27.
Romans 16:24-27 KJV The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. 25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, 26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: 27 To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.
Notice Apostle Paul said the Gospel was able to establish you. How are you going to become an established Christian? It’s through the gospel. Let me say it this way. Just coming to church will not cause you to be established. Working in the church will not cause you to be established. Doing good deeds will not cause you to be established. Playing instruments and singing in the choir will not cause you to be established. Even you buying one of those beautiful stained glass windows for the church building will not cause you to be established. It's the gospel that will cause you to be established. You can become so established that you can be unshakeable. It said that He would be able to establish you through His Gospel. Where is the Kingdom of God? It's in you. If you're born again, the Kingdom of God is in you. Do you know where He's going to establish you? He's going to establish you in your heart. And friends, those of you who think that it's that mass of muscle that pumps the blood throughout your body being the heart being referenced here, think again. It is your soul.
Brethren, religion does it from the outside. Jesus changes you from the inside.
The incorruptible seed of God's Word when you read it and believe in faith, it changes you. But my dear friends, first you have to read it. You need to study it. Don't just take what I read to you two days a week to be the truth. Don't just listen to the Bible studies that you hear other nights of the week as the only spiritual food that you need. Read a chapter a day a least. Double up on your spiritual intake. Read the Gospel of Matthew for dinner and then read the book of Ephesians for dessert. Church, we need to diligently get into the Word of God. It's medicine for your soul.
For those who may have trouble reading, there are great alternatives to hear the gospel. Most homes have CD players. There are CDs you can purchase with the whole Bible recorded. Make that a Christmas wish item. For those who are members of either of the Cross Roads Fellowship sites, there's a dramatized version of the KJV of the bible you can listen to whenever you're signed on. You can make files in MP3 format so you can add to your mp3 players, or cell phones and listen to it during work, play, or even when you go to bed.
Do you need power in your life? Plant the seed of the Word in your heart. It'll produce life. It'll produce more than you could ever think or imagine.
Ephesians 3:19-20 KJV And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. 20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.
We thank each of you for allowing us into your homes. We thank each of you who might be listening to this video that was created and posted where you're watching right now. I praise God for the awesome tools He's blessed us with to be able to use in this ministry. Leanna and I thank God for the circle of friends that He's drawn to us. Glory to God.
We love you and may the Lord bless you this week.