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Sow What? Sowing Seeds of New Life


"That day Jesus went out of the house and was sitting by the sea. And large crowds gathered to Him, so He got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd was standing on the beach.

And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, “Behold, the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. And others fell on the good soil and *yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear."
Good Morning my beloved, 
We welcome you to worship in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are privileged to come together today and study God's Word. I am grateful to God for those of you who have joined us today, whether it's your first time or you are a faithful member of our family in Christ. I would like to thank each of you who have faithfully continued yourselves to sharing the ministry website, and social media platforms with your family and friends. God, through His amazing grace, has continued to bless your efforts in reaching the lost and the deceived. People from all around the world are responding. We are reaching people and places never before imagined, bringing them to Christ. I pray that you will continue to join us in praying for this ministry to reach the lost, the broken and the hopeless in even more places.
If you have recently received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please write or text to let us know so that we can pray for you. Also, let us know if you would allow us to share your story. Each one of us have been blessed with a unique testimony. We'd love to hear from you.
As we continue in our study of the Gospel of Matthew, we embark on a new chapter, chapter 13, beginning with a new train of thought. We know that Jesus often taught using parables, some of the people He told the parable to had the ability to hear and understand, but others of them were not able to understand because they required some thought, in other words, people truly wanting to know more of the Kingdom of God. I believe this parable is one of His most well-known and important parables, is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. The seed is of course the Word of God. And the soils He describes  represents the condition of the heart of the person who hears the message. The principle of the story then tells about ways the gospel message is received and ultimately what it will produce in those in which they are planted.
Throughout Matthew's Gospel, he has been faithfully working to present Jesus Christ as the prophesied Messiah, the King who is the rightful heir to the throne of David, the Son of God. Allow me to try to give you a quick recap. It all began back in chapter 1 by showing Jesus as being in the Messianic line of David, indeed the son of David. In chapter 2, His right to reign was affirmed by the oriental magi, who we know as the wise men, who through the direction of the Spirit of God, were led to confirm that this was the King by their own understanding of prophecy. In chapter 3, John the Baptist, the forerunner to the Messiah, affirmed it again. Then in chapter 4, it was affirmed again with a clear testimony to the fact that He was God’s chosen anointed King by overpowering Satan. Because only God's kingdom could overpower Satan's kingdom of darkness. 
In 5, 6 and 7 in His Sermon on the Mount, He spoke with the authority of a King about Kingdom principles. In chapters 8, 9 and 10 you have three chapters full of miracles marking His supernatural power, which are the prophesied credentials of the King, proving Himself to be the King. The mounting rejection giving even greater the evidence that He is the King. Then, in chapter 11, He denounces the nation of Israel for their sinful rejection and promises them that there will be severe judgement for rejecting Him. And out of His message of rejection, an invitation comes at the end of the chapter. "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
In chapter 12, their rejection reaches a climax when they accuse Jesus of healing by the power of Satan. At which point He says "You’re beyond the point of being forgiven." Then He closes chapter 12 with another invitation offered to whoever will believe, "And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, "Behold My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother."
For centuries Israel had awaited the Messiah, yet when He arrived, in not seeing the Messiahship of Jesus in His words and works, they reject their prophesied King. And since you cannot separate the kingdom from the King, they rejected the kingdom of God. They blindly separated His power from the reality of who He was. Not only did they reject their Messiah, and His Kingdom, they had reached the point of wanting only to kill Him. So here in chapter 13, we can really see the looming shadow of the cross.

First, let us pray

Heavenly Father,
Father, as always we thank Your for the overwhelming clarity of Your Word. Lord, thank You for bringing us all together. We know it didn't happen by accident. We pray that You would do a mighty work in every believing heart receiving this message, bring us to the place of confession, repentance, and a deeper commitment to our obedience to You. We ask that You would bring those who have yet to believe the Gospel, who have rejected Christ, may they come to Him today in belief, in confession and repentance, turning from their sin and towards You. Forgive all of us of our sin. Fill our hearts with great anticipation of Your return and the fullness of Your blessing. May Your Spirit speak to us as we study Your Word. All for Your glory and for Christ's sake.
In His precious name we ask and pray

Today's Message: Sow What? Sowing Seeds of New Life

Open your Bibles with me to the thirteenth chapter in the book of Matthew. Matthew 13:1-9. This is really a monumental chapter. As Christians, I believe that most of us are aware of that, apart from the Sermon on the Mount, this is some of the most profound teaching by our Lord ever recorded. Jesus always starts His parables with something that’s natural and then moves to something supernatural. I pray that we would open our hearts to hear what the Spirit of God is saying to each of us.  

"That day Jesus went out of the house and was sitting by the sea. And large crowds gathered to Him, so He got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd was standing on the beach. And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, "Behold, the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. And others fell on the good soil and *yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear."
Many Christians today go to church on Sunday morning because it is the "Christian thing to do." They hear God's Word through the message the pastor teaches and it doesn't change the way they live because they have no real desire to truly understand the message, therefore they fail to apply it's principles to their lives. They make it for Satan to steal the seed away from their hearts. Whispering a word of temptation in their ear, they blindly follow him.
Like it or not, the church and those claiming to represent the kingdom of God, are being watched, studied, scrutinized, analyzed, blamed, and criticized for their ungodly behavior. The discussion of their observations are taking place everywhere from the boardroom to the classroom and every where in between. In short, Satan is doing all he can to stop the growth of God's Kingdom. I pray that you’ll understand before we’re through with this message, because it is very important. The pastor’s message is not to beat you up, as some may think, but to edify and strengthen your faith, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
Before Jesus began His earthly ministry, John the Baptist was preaching the message "Repent for the kingdom is at hand." When Jesus arrived on the scene, His message was the same, because they were both preaching the Kingdom of God. When the apostles began preaching they were again preaching the same kingdom message. I'm often asked the question "How can we make the church what God wants it to be today?" The answer I believe is straightforward and simple; Preach the Kingdom of God! "Repent for the kingdom is at hand." 
Jesus begins talking about the mystery form of the kingdom by telling parables. He talks about the things that are going to come to pass in the church age, from His viewpoint. I believe it is important that we understand the nature of His message, because this is the age in which we all live. This parable is very simple to understand. What makes chapter 13 so profound, is Jesus is describing the parenthesis period in which we live. This is the first description of that period of time. If we can understand what Jesus says, then we can understand what He wants us to do and how we are to be doing it. This is the period where the kingdom goes on with the King being present. I'm not speaking about His being present in our midst, obviously He is and the Bible says that. But at this point, Jesus is in heaven, sitting at the right hand of the Father interceding for us, waiting for the time to return to earth. He Himself personally in His glorified form is absent from His kingdom.

In order for you to understand this you need to understand that there are two aspects of God’s kingdom, the first is God's universal kingdom. God is the sovereign creator, He is the sustainer, He is the beginning and the end of all things. God rules over everything and everyone. Yes, before you ask, He rules over Satan and the fallen angels. And God rules over hell just like He rules over everything else and everyone. That's why Jesus says in Matthew 10:28, "Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."
Then there’s a second aspect of God’s kingdom, which directly refers to God’s rule on earth mediated through human instruments. Humans mediate God's rule on earth. That's the way He designed it, beginning with Adam and Eve. That is the kingdom we see in Matthew chapter 6 when Jesus says "Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven." The "as it is in heaven" perceives the universal kingdom of God; the "on earth" perceives the earthly mediated kingdom of God. In other words, we're praying asking God, rule on the earth the way He rules everywhere else.
When Satan became the god of this world, men fell prey to Satan's power. But God still says "I want My Word known, I want My moral standards known, I want My will known." In the book of Genesis, God mediated His rule on the earth through godly men who knew the heart and mind of God. They gave expression of His will to the people at the time. For example, Israel’s calling was to give the Word of God to the world. Then, in the New Testament, God directly gets involved in mediating His kingdom through Jesus Christ.  
Jesus comes into the world in the form of a man, and He tells us what God is like and He tells us what God’s standards are and He calls for people to be subjected to the kingdom of God. When He is rejected, He goes back to heaven and the church becomes the mediator for God through the believers who are indwelt with the Holy Spirit. We are called to be God’s agents to speak the Word of God, telling people the standards of God, uphold the moral values of God, calling people to enter into God’s kingdom. There are some who have suggested that the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God are different, that's simply not true. God is synonymous with heaven.
The kingdom operates on two facets; the true and the false. That's why it's become more and more challenging to know who’s real and who isn’t. We see and outward profession and inward possession of faith, which is why today it's easy to get very confused. We are seeing within the framework of the kingdom the true and the false. Those who outwardly profess Christ, who quote chapter and verse and those inwardly profess Christ, living under His Lordship.
Before we begin, let's look at Zechariah 12, "I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn. In that day there will be great mourning in Jerusalem." There's going to come a day when the people of Israel will look upon the one they pierced and they will mourn, they will be bitter that they ever had Him crucified. Isaiah 53 again tells us essentially the same thing. 
So does Psalm 22, "I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It is melted within me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaves to my jaws;
and You lay me in the dust of death. For dogs have surrounded me; a band of evildoers has encompassed me; They pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones. They look, they stare at me; They divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots."
Now, with all of that in mind, let’s go back to Matthew 13, where we will see growing together in the field is the wheat and the tares. The true and the false.  In verses one through four, "That day Jesus went out of the house and was sitting by the sea. And large crowds gathered to Him, so He got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd was standing on the beach. And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, "Behold, the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up." Keep in mind this chapters transitional nature. Jesus went out of the house and to the sea, turning from Israel to the Gentiles.
I find it interesting that in the beginning of His ministry, Jesus was in houses a lot. And towards the end, He seemed to be more outdoors. I can't help but wonder if that's some sort of symbol as the kingdom is preached to the nations. It certainly appears to be a turning point. I believe Jesus really wants us to understand what He’s trying to teach us through this parable. By God’s grace and by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we'll be able to understand it. The reason some people don’t understand it is because their hearts are hardened against God and His Word.

A parable is an illustration placed along side of a truth with the intention of explaining the one by the other. The Greek word "parabolé," from the root word "paraballó," literally means to throw beside each other, for the purpose of comparison. When the comparison is expressed quickly and clearly, the simile is simple to understand. When the comparison is prolonged as with a story, it is more complex, and not a simple simile. Parables are designed to communicate truth in every day terms. Jesus drew from the common every life of the people to explain some principle or teaching about the kingdom of heaven. However, they also conceal the truth from those who refuse to listen closely.
Jesus came with a mission to reveal truth about the kingdom and call people into the kingdom. Parables challenge the hearers to respond with faith, to determine what kind of soil they were. It was His way of teaching the truth about the kingdom without casting His pearls before swine. 
In verse 1, "That day Jesus went out of the house and was sitting by the sea." "That same day," is clearly linking these parables with the events covered in chapter 12. Verse 2, "And large crowds gathered to Him, so He got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd was standing on the beach." The illustration Matthew gives us of Jesus sitting, first by the sea, and then in the boat because of the crowds, is one of a teacher. So, in view of the conflicts in chapter 12, Jesus now begins to use parables to teach. 
In verse 3, He says "And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, "Behold, the sower went out to sow." Every farmer would've understood the simplicity of this agricultural statement. The responsibility of a farmer was to sow seed, walking up and down the furrows of his field with a leather pouch filled with seed hanging over his shoulder, he would reach in take the seed, measuring the amount in his hand carefully as not to waste seed and scatter the seed in his plowed field. Going all the way to the end, he distributed it evenly, then turning around going back down the next row. I'd like to draw your attention that Jesus now points out that the seed could potentially fall in four different places. Farmers know that in order for the ground to be ready to produce a good crop, the soil has to be plowed to be broken up. 
The heart has to be broken up to receive the Word of God in the same way. The Holy Spirit breaks up the hardened places of our hearts through conviction of sin. The sower here is Jesus Christ or others who go out to spread the gospel. The seed is the Word of God. Because the Word that was given had no value to the hearer, it did not have time to take root in the person's heart. The words are heard but are quickly stolen away by Satan. His purpose in stealing them is so they produce no fruit at all.
Verse 4, "and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up." In Jesus' day, when people traveled they typically walked everywhere they went and they had to go through the fields. The long furrow method of planting is beneficial to growers in that it can make routine garden care and maintenance much easier. This is especially true in the case of large-scale farm plantings. So the people traversing the countryside wouldn’t walk through his fields, there would be beaten paths about three-feet wide around them so that the farmer could have access to all of his fields. Because Israel is very dry the seed couldn’t penetrate that hard, hard beaten path. The seed would lay there until the birds came to eat it. We all know that birds are an unwelcome guest to farmers, that's why they put scarecrow's in the fields to frighten them away before they eat the seed and consume the crop.
In verses 5 and 6, Jesus describes the second type of soil. Verse 5, "Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil." When a farmer plowed a field, he would remove all the rocks and stones to the extent of the depth the plow would reach so that the soil would be free from stones. Beneath the surface there would often be these large limestone rocks, the plow couldn't reach and these were the rocky places. The soil that covered this bed of limestone rock was very shallow. So when seed fell upon them, since the soil didn’t have much depth, when the roots hit rock bed since they can’t go anywhere, they would quickly spring up, unable to penetrate the rock. 
In verse 6, He says "But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away."Because the plant was unable to obtain the moisture it needed from the soil, the sun would burn them, so they were unproductive, the plant died. In other words, the seed grew quickly, because there was no depth to their roots, they later wither and died because it was scorched by the sun. 
Here Jesus is saying when the gospel isn't taken into their heart and permitted time to take hold the person will be vulnerable. When the Word of God is delivered, they may be passionate, but when trouble arises their faith quickly disappears. Because their faith has deep no roots it is short-lived.
Then, in verse 7, we see a third kind of soil. " Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out." This soil is deceptive. It has been cultivated and so it looks good, but was infested with thorns. As quickly as the seeds sprouted, so did the thorns. If you've ever been working in your own yard, when you pull a weed and don’t get the root, it comes back quickly and grows bigger than before. I believe we have all learned that weeds grow better than anything else, at least in my yard. The soil may be very rich but when weeds are present they draw the nutrients away from the tender young plant and it too dies. 
I believe it's safe to say that most of us have way too many weeds in our lives today. Work, family, sports activities et cetera. Those things by themselves can be good but they have no eternal value. So when they are all put together, they can be toxic in terms of taking time away from reading and studying the Word and worshiping God. With many things going on in our life, it hinders our spiritual growth, they choke the Word of God in our heart. Making it impossible to develop a healthy relationship with God.
Fortunately, that's not the end of the story, in verse 8, Jesus tells us there is one type of soil left and it good soil. "And others fell on the good soil and *yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty." The ground has been plowed, it was deep, rich, soft and loose. It was also deep enough for the plants to grow. This is a soil where the seed would grow well. Jesus tells us it yielded or produces a crop, but because the nutrients in the soil, the yield it produces varies. Any farmer knows a tenfold crop would be very good. So thirtyfold, sixtyfold, a hundredfold would not only have been abnormal, it would have been astonishing.
When the Word of God is received by this kind of person, it takes deep roots in their hearts, it grows and produces fruit. Their lives become more aligned with the will of God. They can't get enough of God and His Word, always eager to learn more. That kind of faith grows and yields fruit thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold!
After telling the story, Jesus says in verse 9, "He who has ears, let him hear." The character of the hearer that determines the effect of the Word on him. If you hear the gospel and you have an unresponsive heart, it doesn’t say anything about the seed, it says everything about the soil. Satan seizes every opportunity to make sure the gospel never has a chance to penetrate a hardened heart. He uses pride, fear, doubt, procrastination. Most of all he uses a persons love of sin. Some will hear the gospel and and reject it, some will hear the gospel accept for a while and fall away, some will hear it and believe and bring forth fruit. 
We will never win the whole world, I don't believe some people understand that. But in order to have an influence on the world, we have to preach the gospel. The longer you know Jesus Christ, the more faithful He is to reveal His truth. And the longer you reject Jesus Christ, the deeper into darkness you descend. That willful rejection eventually becomes judicial rejection. God confirms men in their own spiritual condition and hardens their hearts.
In Closing..
Jesus was the first to preach salvation through His name, but certainly not the last. What a privilege we have  to have author of Scripture living in us. Truth is only available to those who believe and are taught by the Holy Spirit. If you’re looking at your own heart today, and you don’t know Jesus Christ, you're moving deeper into darkness and the inevitability of the judgment of God. But it need not be too late, God calls you to Christ even now, while you can still hear and can make the commitment to Jesus. 
I have the responsibility to proclaim the message of the gospel. God prepares the hearts of the hearers. I pray that you will not allow sin to drown out God's voice calling out to you today. Those who respond in faith will change their lives forever. I pray you will open our heart, and invite Jesus Christ to come in. However, I am aware that not everyone will, but that's not my business. It is God Who gives the increase.
May it be so..

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,

And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

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