John 18:37-38 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” 38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”
After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him.
Pilate had truth standing right in front of him yet he refused to listen. Some people do not understand the things of God because they keep walking away before He answers. As you look over each one of these responses to Jesus make sure you hear the truth about where you stand with God.
See last blog for the first part (The Path)
The Rocky Places
The rocky places are not what we always think of as if rocks were spread out all over the ground. A farmer would not waste land that way and would have removed them from the area to allow more harvest. The rocky place is a place that looks good on the top but only a couple of inches down it is solid rock. The rock would be below where the till could reach it so the farmer would not know about it. So on the surface the soil look good and the farmer would expect some growth from it.
Immediately sprang up
This means that this type of soil received the gospel and did not reject it outright like the path. These plants for a time could have looked healthier and seemed to grow faster than the other plants. This person gladly receives the word of God without hesitation or resistance and jumps into Christianity with a hundred percent commitment. The problem it is more of an emotional response to Jesus because of something they may get from being a Christian. Maybe they had a sin they thought was real bad so they gave their life to Christ so they felt better. Maybe they were lonely and the Church gave them a place to fit in and be accepted. Many people following Jesus at the time and even today are thrilled to see some of the works of God and the excitement that goes with it.
Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
A person who is poor we say are broke. A person who is poor in spirit is broken deep down over the sin they have committed towards God. The Rocks below mean that deep down the person is not willing to give of their whole life to Christ and only part.
Matthew 7:26-27 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
On the exterior this person looks good but when the trouble comes they crumble.
Because of the word
This person falls away because of the word of God not the pressures of this life. When the situation got tough or they had to decide if they were going to call sin what God calls sin, they withered away. The problems Jesus mentions are due to spreading that Jesus is the only way to Heaven.(John 14:6) It is not popular to say that you have the answer when it comes to religious matters. If you say in math you have the answer that is alright but spiritual matters we are not to search for the truth because that would mean some people would be wrong. So in math it is alright to tell someone they are wrong but in more important things like spiritual matters you are not allowed to tell them that they are wrong.
1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.
When they are harassed by friends, family, coworkers to not follow Christ or tempted to deny Him altogether they cannot help but do so. Persecution is not something many like to talk about but Jesus promised all of His followers that if you follow Him not everyone will accept your message and people will even come against you because of it.
Matthew 5:11-12 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
When they revile you, not if they revile you. If you are going to follow after Christ you are guaranteed persecution.
Notice what persecution does to a true believer
1 Peter 5:10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
Some people are strengthened by the difficulties and others show who they really are by the difficulties. So it is not the difficulties that cause you to grow or wither it is who you really are.
The Thorny Places
The farmer would have tilled this place as well and it would have looked good when He was sowing but then after the seed was planted thorns emerged as well. Thorns that choke out the plant and keep it from growing to its full potential. Jesus is saying that this person does not see that the things of this world are choking out the gospel that is planted in them.
1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
I forgot which millionaire when asked how much money will be enough and he said “Just a little more” This world entices us that if we have this house, this car, these clothes, this job, these type of kids or now even this kind of body we will be happy. We pursue things that eventually will be destroyed and be of no value. We become so consumed by them that they become a weed in our life that chokes the life out of us.
1 John 2:15-16 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life[a]—is not from the Father but is from the world.
“A person who comes to church but never becomes committed to serving, who is continually preoccupied with money, career, fashions, sports, and everything but the Lord’s work is a person with a weed – infested heart. (John MacArthur, Commentary on Matthew)
We all have some of these things in our lives but we better be careful to not ignore the warning here that those things will destroy us. This goes back to the people that want to take care of the things of the world first before they follow Christ like the man who wanted to wait for his father to die.
This person accepted Christ but did not surrender fully to Christ and therefore was shown for who they really were by allowing the world to take precedence over the things of God. I have been asked many times over the years in ministry How do you know someone is really a Christian? The parable of the sower can really show you if you are or if you are not a true follower of Christ.
This person accepts Christ but only on the terms that they do not have to give up certain things. When Jesus said to the disciples to follow Him they had to drop their old life and give all to Him. When you try and follow Christ but do not give Him control over every area then you have weeds that grow up in your life choking the life and eventually destroying you.
The Good Soil
The good soil allows the word of God to sink deep into their lives taking over every part. This does not mean that they do not sin because we are all still working out sin areas in our lives. This person shows a noticeable difference than the others mentioned because over time you really see who they belong to. You also see that Jesus says they will produce a crop that would have been unimaginable.
What is the Crop? The Fruit of the Spirit
Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Psalm 1:1-3 Blessed is the man[a] who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law[b] of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
Remember we are not saved by works but our works will show who we love. If you want to know if you are a Christian look at your life and see what is growing in your life.
The great news if you are a true follower of Christ then you cannot fail. If you obey God then He will use you to make an impact on those around you. God will use you to be a sower in other peoples lives and you will even impact lives you did not know about. Of course we serve God not for our Glory but for His because He is the one who uses us.
1 Corinthians 3:5-7 What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.
One of the reasons you are to be a part of a church is to work with other followers of Christ for the spreading of the Gospel.
Another reason you go to church is to remove some of the weeds that are in your way. (Spur or stir one another on to love and good deeds Hebrews 10:24) Many people today do not want the weeds in their lives called weeds (sin) and so they leave any church that speaks out against their certain weed (sin) that they have. They do not mind if you call out other weeds (sin) but just do not tell them what their weeds (sins) are.
Have you ever pulled a weed only to realize you did not get the root out? That’s how our lives are. We are constantly having to go and remove the weeds from our lives because if we do not they will spread and take over our entire lives.
Of course we come together to worship the one who loves us and we honor Him when we worship together because He is the one who gave us life through Christ.
The key to being used by God is complete surrender to Him. Get rid of the rocks and the weeds. Give Jesus your entire life and do not get wrapped up in this world.
TO be a sower means you will always have to sacrifice. It meant it for Christ and it means we will have to sacrifice as well.
“By surrendering every area of their lives to Christ and using all their gifts to glorify him, they will have an effect unimaginable. Most of us look at ourselves and wonder whether God made a mistake when he made us. WE have so little to offer, so few gifts. We could not be more wrong. “ (Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament)
Psalm 119:11 have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
Some versions say hidden. Planted deep inside of you. When God’s word impacts every area of your life you will see the results of that are the fruit of the Spirit of God.
1 John 1:6-10 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
We all have sin the problem is only the good soil recognizes all of its sins and gets rid of them knowing they will hurt the fruit of the Spirit in their lives.Too many times people do not take sin seriously and they look at passages like this one and think they are alright. Examine your life and see if there is anything in you keeping you from giving your whole life to Christ. If so ask God to remove it so He can have your complete life and use you to impact this world with the good news of Him.
God wants to use you now. Don’t wait for some day when you have no rocks or weeds because until Christ returns we will constantly be tilling up the hard places in our lives and pulling weeds. Surrender to Him and watch what He does through your life.