In this sermon Clayton Waters unpacks the parable of the sower and what it teaches about the state of of our hearts in relation to the Kingdom of God. We all have access to the seed which is the Word of God, and then we have the soil – our hearts. Clayton implores us to check the state of our heart, is it rocky, chocked and full of weeds, how do we have a ‘good soil’ heart that produces the Kingdom of God wherever we go? How’s your heart? Let’s Hear, Accept, Harvest and Invest!
Sermon preached by Clayton Waters on Sunday September 26, 2021.
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- 08/01/23 – Philipians 3:17-4:4 Stand Firm in 2023 – by Peter Brooks
- 18/12/22 – Isaiah 42:5-7 The Light Has Come – by Tim Giovanelli – Christmas
The Parable of the Sower – Kingdom Stories
Good morning everyone
– Again it’s a real honor to be standing up here today to share with you.
– Many blessings to you all at home, I don’t know about you but the last few weeks asthe light in the tunnel gets a bit brighter it’s been hard but keep at it, we are close and hopefully sometime soon we can turn around and face this way, with people in the churchAlso important we honor the staff at Manly Life for all the work they have been doing
– I cant imagine it would be easy caring for all of us, so I say thank you on behalf of all to Tim, Torie and all the staff who make our lives easy and bring us church
In Young Adults at the moment, we have been enjoying catching up on zoom and we have been able to continue some deep conversations about the sermons
– We have had the chance to share with each other, with new members and despite the physical presence of everyone which I know I am missing, it has been a good time.
I am closing out the impromptu Kingdom Series this week before we head into another series in Isaiah which is exciting
– The funny thing about that is that I am going to bring you today the first parable we see in the 3 Synoptic Gospels called the Parable of the Sower and one that is explained in length by Jesus
– I appreciate there are a lot of sermons on this topic and if you have been in the Christian faith for a period of time you have probably heard someone talk on this before, but I hope today Jesus can bring a new light into this passage for us.
– It’s a big bit of scripture!The encompassing line of this sermon today is that The nature of the heart is key in understanding the Kingdom of God.I had to do a bit more research on this topic as I wouldn’t say I have a green thumb
– My father loved his and still does loves his garden
– I remember him caring for it intently and ensuring that procedures were timed andplants had the right soil or sun etc to make sure it all worked well
– To ensure their growth was to the fullest capacityBut I have to share a story about my girlfriend Beth, her grandma and pa who have one of the nicest gardens I have seen.
– They live in Cowra and we got the chance to head down there for a weekend and see them which was lovely.
– There garden was something to behold, I wish I could show everyone
– They have been farmers in Koorawatha majority of their life and their knowledgearound horticulture was incredible
– I remember doing a tour of the garden and even not being a green thumb being so impressed by the process and the thought that went into the gardeno This plant goes here because it needs this soil
o Can’t put this one next to this plant as they won’t work together.
o Plants need to be on this side of the house because the sun is there most ofthe day
– It was systematic and enhanced the growing potential of these plantso The care shown by them was visible and now their place is one of those ones you slow down to look at.The nature of the soil and the surroundings impact the growth of the seedsBut isn’t this so true with our lives
– The things we invest in determine what comes out
– My Mum used to say ‘Rubbish in Rubbish out’
– Too bad she thought that was my music taste!
– How do we switch this with Kingdom In – Kingdom OutThe nature of the heart is key to understanding the Kingdom of God
– Let me show you.
– Open to Mark 4 which is where I am going to share with you from
– But as mentioned you can also find this story in Matthew 13:1–23, Mark 4:1–20,Luke 8:4–15Ill be reading from v3 to v9 and then later looking at v13 to v20. – I am reading from the NIV
“Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”
9 Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”
So we know Jesus used many parables throughout his time, which were vivid illustrations of spiritual truths, drawn from everyday life. So in this case it was a farmer sowing some seed
So let’s break this parable down and state the key themes
– We have 4 environments/soil types – path, rocky, thorns, good soil.
– The path is the harshest of environments and least likely to grow
– Rocky environment had some chances at the start but the nature of the soil was notready – let me come back to this one
– Thorny area – which when starts to grow is choked out by other things which don’tsuit growing in the area too
– Finally the good soil which produces a good crop and multiplies
So if we are to draw some literal sense to this and start to break it down as stated we have 2 key elements.
– We have the seed which is related to the Word of God
– We have to soil which is the heartThe seed is of vital importance as it is the Word of God
– The Word which comes from God comes in a few different ways which we
experience as a people. Here are a few I consider:
o Transformational Word of God – Hebrews 4:12 – For the word of God is alive
and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12
o Comforting Word of God – Psalm 18:30 – As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.
o Righteous Word of God – Luke 11:28 “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”
o Hope in the Word of God – Psalm 130:5 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope;
1 Thess 2:13
And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe
All different types of words but it now needs to be spread and then sown
So we have the Word of God which is being spread and sown in, albeit landing on different soils.
– This analogy is still key
– The seed that was thrown around was all the same. No better seed or worse seedSeed is the word of God.We move to the soil which is represented in our context as the heart.
– I will state the concepts we see here but I want to really focus on today is the role ofthe Good Soil in working for the other soils
– Jesus clearly stateso Each soil reflects the heart of humans
▪ Some disregard the word all together – path
▪ Some hear consider and reject – rocky
▪ Some hear but it gets tangled in things of the world. – thorns
▪ Some hear and it grows within and doubles and doubles and doubles.
● Listen, accept, grow and act – good soil
Quote from Alan Cole in Carson’s New Bible Commentary emphasises the point that the final illustration on the good soil is positive, not negative, a promise to encourage us, not just a warning to sober us.
This is where I want to bring a focus to today
– Good soil is what we strive for.
– We want a heart ready to accept the Kingdom of God
– But we know that in reality there are people with other types of soil.
– I want to drive two points home today
- Good Soil still needs to be looked after
- Good soil needs to work with other soils
Good soil still needs to be looked after
– Soil in the literal sense needs to be looked after. It’s not as simple as put good soil here and everything grows on a continual basis. It needs work
– Farmers in the time this was written each year went to their land and removed rocks/thorns that came to the surface after harvest.
– These things in our life, that appear in the rocky and thorny ground can creep in and impact the next season of our livesJesus explains this where he further expands on the Parable in v19 of Mark 4
– But the worries of this life. The deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other
things come in and choke the work, making it unfruitful.
Jesus specifically names these things – this rocks – these thorns
– but it would relate to so many things in our live that is taking us away fromunderstanding the word of God and letting that seed/ Word of God grow within us.
– Physical and spiritual restoration is an on going process!
– Acknowledge that our lives need continuing feeding of seed. This is important tounderstand.
– Word of God and seeking this consistently is key for our Christian walks.
– But what soil is this landing on?
– Rick Warren and many others have said- “Becoming like Christ is a long, slow processof growth’
– There will be seeds planted and maybe re sowed
– Is the Soil ready?
How are you continually looking after your soil?
– I don’t know about you but I have seemed over the last 2 years in doing college butalso preparing for YA and other things, that the passages and verses that seemed sosimple, have become more profound to me.
– I need in my life to continue sowing the seed given to me from God. I need Kingdomwords in my life. I need to harvest the field
– IDENTIFY rocks and remove them
Good soil stills needs to be looked after
The nature of the heart is key in understanding the Kingdom of God So
The nature of the soil is key in how well the seeds grow in our life Good soil still needs to be looked after
2. Good soil needs to work with other soils
This has been big on my heart during the lockdown period and I know the YA would have heard me say this a lot
– how are we Jesus feet in this time?
– In our understanding of the Kingdom, and in our understanding of Jesus how do webring it?
– Jesus says that the seed that lands on the good soil produces a great crop
– V20 Others, like the seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop – some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown
– We want to produce crop that allows others to see that the WORD is good and then start to make changes to become good soil as well
– At what point do we pick up the pick and shovel and go ‘lets make this soil good’ or let me help you with your soil- This may mean practically assisting
– This may mean evangelism
– This maybe as simple as praying for someone who at the time, can’t pray forthemselves
– How are we interceding on behalf of other people?
– Let me state an obvious, a lot of people need to work on their own soil and just because I may have good soil doesn’t mean the other person will want to hear it
– But turning up and doing something is better than doing nothing.
– You don’t need to solve the questions this person may have, but be there
– You might not be able to fix the persons issue or the rock or thorns in theirlives, but you can listen and be thereReally felt on my heart that this message or more about the impact of the Good soil on others
– i have often read this and thought, ‘yep I hear the word of God, I believe it I am all good’
– What am I doing with it?
– As Tim said last week, Am I having a crack? Who am I inviting to the table?
The nature of the heart allows you to understand the Kingdom of God but the addition to the sentence now is…and then act upon it
If this is true in your life, the next step is bringing this Kingdom down to earth then to others – Thy Kingdom come, your will be done! Not thy Kingdom come into my life and that’s
As we finish – Let me end with these key points:
Hear word, accept the word, harvest your soil regularly and then invest it to impact your life and others!
1 John 4:19 We love because he first loved us.
Are we good soil? Is there rocks that we need to remove and kick out of our land?
Overarching – Coming to understanding the Kingdom of God is what Jesus is trying to do here. He is the King that was/has come. His word is the seed. It’s now time to see if the soil is ready to receive the word..
Next time you hear “the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few,” I hope you will think of the Lord’s grand work.
He is bringing both physical and spiritual restoration. And you—as a laborer—will be transformed in participating in His work of salvation.
The nature of the soil and the surroundings impact the growth of the seeds The nature of the heart is key in understanding the Kingdom of God.
The nature of the heart impact the growth of the word in our lives
Hear, Accept, Harvest, Invest