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- Good morning (evening).

o And welcome again; into the house of God; everyone.

I pray that the Lord will; indeed, be with us in this place.

And that all of us will be changed

As we encounter the presence of Godtogether.

- Today, were going to be opening our Bibles to the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 13.

o And were going to be spending some time there;

For the rest of this month; of July.

- Matthew Chapter 13:

o Is a well-known series of parables

That Jesus presents;

In order to explain the nature of the Kingdom of God.

- The Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Heaven:

o Was the most central theme of Jesuss entire ministry on Earth;

Over 100 different verses in the Gospels;

Make mentionGods Kingdom.

o And the book of Matthew; itself.

Tells us that Jesus went around preaching:

Repent! For the Kingdom of Heaven has come near.

And that he told us to seek first; the Kingdom of God.

- However, Jesuss teachings about the Kingdom;

o Arent always entirely clear.

Matthew 13:13 says.


(That) This is why I speak to them in parables.

Although seeingthey do not see;

And though hearing; they do not hearnor do they understand.

- I like to say that Jesus probed his audiences spiritual senses: w/mysterious parables.

o Rather than giving them easy or trite answers about Gods Kingdom.

Because the Kingdom of God cant be reduced;

To a simple fact that we learn.

Or a subject; that we become an expert in.

- The Kingdom of God refers to the rule and reign of Christ;

o That is changing the lives of everyone; and everything.

On Earth as well as in Heaven

Its hard to pin down exactly what the Kingdom is and isnt

Because its constantly growing and its constantly changing.

o The parables of Christ; and the message of our Gospels:

Invite us to respond to Gods Kingdom.

Repent! Because of the Kingdom of Heaven;

Has already come near.

- Our reading today is found in Matthew Chapter 13; Verses 1-9 & 18-23.

o Well also be reading from Isaiah 55; Verses 10-13.

The Bible tells us

- That (the) same day; Jesus went out of the houseand he sat by the lake.

o Such large crowds gathered around him

That he got into a boat; and sat within it


While all the people gathered on the shore.

- And then he told them many things in parables.

o (Such as) saying; that a farmer went outto sow some seed.

- As he was scattering the seed: some of it fell along the path;

o And the birds came and ate it up.

- Some of it fell; on the rocky placeswhere it did not have much soil.

o It sprang up quickly; because the soil was shallow.

But when the sun came up;

The plants were scorched.

And they witheredbecause they had no root.

- Other seeds fell among the thorns; which grew up and choked the plants.

o And still other seeds fell on good soil.

Where it produced a crop;

A hundred, sixty, or even thirty times what was sown;

Whoever has earslet them hear

- The Bible continues in verse 18

o Listen to what the parable of the sower; means.

When anyone hears the word of the kingdom

And does not understand it

The evil one comes and snatches away; what was sown in their heart.

o This is the seed; that was sownalong the path.

- The seed falling on the rocky ground;

o Refers to someone who hears the word;


o And at once receives it with joy!

But since they have no root

They last only a short while.

o When trouble or persecution comes because of the word; they quickly fall away.

- The seed falling among the thorns; refers to someone who hears the word!

o But the worries of this life;

o And the deceitfulness of wealth chokes the word.

Making it unfruitful.

- But the seed fallingon the good soil;

o Refers to someone who hears the word and understands it!

This is the one who produces a crop;

Yielding a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown.

- Turning to the prophet of Isaiah Chapter 55; Verses 10-13.

o The Bible tells us

- (That) As the rain and the snow come down from heaven:

o And do not return there; until they have watered the Earth

Making it bring forth and sprout;

Giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater.

- So is my word that goes out from my mouth:

o It will not return to me empty.

But it will accomplish what I desire.

And achieve the purposes for which I sent it.

- You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace.


o The mountains and the hills will burst into song before you;

o And all the trees of the fieldwill clap their hands.

Instead of the thorn-bush; will grow the juniper.

And instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;

- And it shall be for the Lord a memorial

o An everlasting sign;

o That will endure forever

- Thanks be to Godfor these Scriptures.

o Given to us, this morning (evening).

In the name of Jesus Christ; we prayAmen.

- Im sure that many of you have heard the parable of the sower

o Who goes out to sow some seed.

o Many times before

Its an old classic that we hear referenced;

Often in the church

Its a very popular parable to preach on.

- And perhaps; thats becausein one sense; it seems so clear-cut.

o Theres a very simple moral to the story! That tells us (that):

Theres all these kinds of soil!

And you should be the good soil; and notthe bad soil.

- But Im always quite suspicious whenever the moral of a parable.

o Seems very clear.

Jesus himself told us that his parables werent meant!


To be easily understood.

- And when he explains the meaning of the parable; to his disciples.

o He tells them (in verses 16-17):

Blessed are your eyes because they see.

And your ears because they hear.

- For truly I tell you; many prophets and many righteous people;

o Longed to see what you see;

o But did not see it.

And to hear what you hear

But did not hear it

- I dont think that Jesus meant that many people longed to hear

o The explanation of a parable; that he had never told before.

But rather that they longed to hear some inner truth within his words.

That they longed to see the face of God on Earth.

And thus truly understandwhat the Lord was doing.

- Im reminded of what the Apostle Paul said; in 1 Corinthians 3:2.

o When we he wrote:

(That) I gave you milk! And not solid food.

Because you were not ready for it yet.

And indeed! You are still not ready.

- Or the book of Hebrews 5:13-14; which says:

o (That) Everyone who lives on milkis still an infant

Inexperienced in the message of righteousness.


But solid food is for the mature;

Who by constant usehave trained their sensibilities;

To distinguish good from evil.

- When we look at Matthew Chapter 13:

o The parable of the sower who goes out to sow some seed;

Is the milk;

That Jesus offers the crowds.

o Whereas the explanation of the parable

That he shares only in private!

Is the meat.

That Jesus gives; to the disciplesU

Who have the wisdom and the experience to chew on out.

Instead of taking itat face value

- Its easy to point out the several different kinds of soil; in the story.

o Theres four categories that Jesus highlights.

- The first is the seed that falls along the path.

o Which Jesus says the evil one snatches away

Before it has a chance to do anything;

The parable uses the imageof the birds; who eat it up.

- I like to think of the path as the busy road in our lives;

o Those places where were so focused on the things we have to get done!

Our busy schedule and our many plans! Our errands; and our chores.

o If God were to speak to us in those places


Would anyone hear him? At all.

Or would we be so distracted by the everyday rigors of life?

That we never paid any attention; to God might have to say

- The second type of soil is the rocky places.

o Which Jesus says might set some roots!

But theres no depth

And when the sun comes up; the plants are scorched!

- I dont know what the rocky places might be; for every person.

o I feel like the answer is probably unique;

o For every individual.

What kind of major: problems, or conditions, or features of our lives?

Feel like rocks; to us.

Big, heavy thingsthat take up a lot of space.

o Whenever God speaks into those places;

o Sometimes; we might receive it with joy!

But soon enough; were back to where we started.

The plant withered

Because the rocksfelt bigger; than Gods word.

- The third type of soil represents the thorns;

o Which Jesus describes as our worries and the deceitfulness of wealth;

When God speaks into this kind of soil.

He tells us that it gets choked by our worries!

- The most common kind of stress that Americans suffer; today.


o Often derives from financial stress.

We worry about our money.

And we plan for the future based on our money.

The term financial security is very telling.

How many of us even feel just a little bit better;

After hearing those words.

o Becoming financially secure is the American dream.

We often chase liberty and peace; through the means of our wealth.

Rather than through our God.

- Even though we knowin some small part of ourselves;

o That the rich suffer just as much; if not even more stress;

o Than the poor because of their money

Money grips us; in ways that are unhealthy.

Money tells us whats valuable and what isnt

Even when its wrong!

- Were accustomed to the voice of money;

o And the stress that it brings

o Even when we should know better.

- Theres a very famous quote; from John Wesley; thats says.

The last part of a (believer) to be converted!

Is their wallet.

- We cling to the power and the voice of money;

o Despite; already having faithin God.


o Because its a very hard thorn to untangle; in our souls.

- The last kind of soil that Jesus mentions is the good soil!

o Very often this is described as someone who hears the word of the Lord!

o And believes it/1

Preachers often compare the good soil

To people who are ready to be: converted. For the first time.

And there may be some truth to that kind of interpretation

- I believe that every parable has manylayers; to unwrap.

o But the primary substance that stands out to me:

Is that the four different kinds of soil;

Dont really sound very muchlike four different people.

- But rather; the four different kinds of soil;

o Sound a bit morelike every person!

o At four different places in our lives.

We all have different forms of rocky, and thorny, and dry places;

Of our souls.

- But what defines the good soil?

o How do we know when & where;

o Were ready to hear the voice of God?

- The reading from Isaiah; Chapter 55 is very illuminating for me.

o Verse 11 says:

(That) my word that goes out from my mouth:

And it will not return to me empty.


But it will accomplish what I desire;

And it will achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

- Im not sure that I always know what part of me is.

o Ready to hear Gods word.

But the Lord knows;

And the Lords word; always finds its home.

- The images used in the parable of the sower;

o Are very striking to me:

The sower scatters seed; freely!

And abundantly.

o And the soils just kind of there passively.

Receiving seed.

- Theres almost nothing that the soil could do to change itself; by itself.

o If it werent for the sower; or the farmer.

o Choosingto change it;

To move the rocks out of the way;

To till up the hard; packed soil.

OR to weed outthe thorns

- I dont think that these are things that we can do on our own.

o They require the word of God; within us.

- In Matthew 4:4 Jesus says:

o (That) It is written:

Man shall not live on bread alone;


But on every word that comesfrom the mouth of God

- I believe that we truly are powerless.

o Without Gods word being planted into our lives.

Maybe we would rather that God change;

Some major problem that were facing;

Before well choose to listen!

To what God has been saying

- But God knows us better than that

o The rocks, and the thorns, and the dry places of our souls

Are exactly the places that were not ready to hear;

What our God has to say.

- More than likely; theres some small patch of ourselves;

o To which; God has already been speaking!

And weve been hearing

But perhaps; we haventbeen paying attention.

- Our God knows exactly where to find us.

o And just how to get to us.

Our job as the Lords people;

Is to receive; and to listen whenever we hear the Lord speak.

- The good soil might seem like a minor;

o Almost irrelevant place; in our lives.

Not as important!

As all these rocks; and thorns; and busy paths we have.


- But if thats where God is speaking to us.

o Then thats where we ought to listen.

Because the seed being planted there

Contains the powerto change; everything else

- Repent! Said Jesus.

o Because the Kingdom of Heaven!

o Has already come near; to us.

The power of God to change us has already been spoken.

And our God speaks freely; and abundantly!

The sower casts his seed in all places

- I hope that our God will give us alleyes to see and ears to hear;

o What the Lord has already done.

I pray that God will produce a crop yielding a 100 times or more;

Of the grace! That has already been planted

Within ever person.

o And I pray that each of us will receive the Lords word with joy

In the good soil!

So that our God can break up the hard, packed soil;

Pull out the rocks!

And unwindour thorns.


- If you would join me in prayer this morning (evening).

o O Gracious & Merciful God!

We call out to you as your people;

Who desperately need your voice!

To speak to us.

o I pray that the word of Jesus Christ will be planted:

Into the heart of every single person;

Who is gathered in this place;

I pray that your kingdom will come near to us;

And that we will be changed.

I pray these things:

o In the name of Christ our King.

O Holy & Gracious God;