Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 Your Heart & God’s Word

by | Nov 7, 2023 | Matthew, New Testament

God is the sower, the seed is God’s word, people’s hearts are the different soils

I. The Hard Heart Vs. 4, 19

A. The Result Of Hardness

1. The hard foot path cannot receive the farmer’s seed

a. It is exposed to the seed, but the seed cannot enter the soil
b. The birds come and immediately eat the seed, and it is gone

2. The hard heart cannot rightly receive the word of God

a. This person is exposed to the word of God, but their heart is hard
b. God’s word cannot sufficiently enter into a hardened heart
c. Satan makes sure that God’s word is quickly forgotten or disregarded
d. There is no heavenly fruitfulness or abundant life in a hard heart

B. What Creates Hardness? Many Things, But Consider One Thing…

1. The footpath (wayside) becomes hard from people constantly walking on it

a. The soil is compressed, and it is never plowed or broken up
b. Neither water nor seeds can penetrate the hard condition of the footpath

2. People’s hearts become hard when they are “walked on”

a. People that have been mistreated by others often harden their hearts
b. The injury may have been physical, emotional, or some combination
c. The survival/protection instinct tells you to not “open up” again
d. “Hardening” your heart means that you will not allow yourself to be vulnerable to anyone, & you will not take the chance of being hurt again.
e. It means not trusting, not feeling, not giving of yourself, etc.

C. What Is The Remedy For Hardness?

1. The footpath would need water and plowing in order to bring forth fruit
2. The hardened heart needs to be watered and broken

a. Turn to Ephesians 5:25, 26

i. The Word of God is compared to water that washes and cleanses
ii. The Word says that Jesus gave Himself: no survival instinct
iii. Jesus certainly had reason to “harden His heart” against many
iv. God’s word brings eternal perspective, instead of instinct

b. Brokenness speaks of surrender instead of self preservation

i. God’s word reminds us of God’s love, grace, mercy, sacrifice for us
ii. It calls to us to surrender our lives to Jesus, and to trust Him

3. Decide whether or not you have the right to continue having a hard heart
4. Of any person who could justify having a hard heart, it would have been Jesus
5. He didn’t harden His heart against those who hurt Him; His life was fruitful
6. Decide to follow Jesus, and open up your heart to God, and be fruitful

II. The Stony (Shallow) Heart Vs. 5-6, 20-21

A. The Results Of Shallowness

1. The shallow ground doesn’t have deep soil, the seed is sown near the surface
2. Can receive the seed & water; it is easy for the seed to germinate & sprout
3. The rocky subsoil doesn’t permit depth for roots & growth; the plant dies
4. The shallow heart is open to God’s word, and is even excited about hearing it
5. The shallow heart isn’t willing to continue through tribulation or persecution
6. The shallow heart wants fruitfulness w/o any of the hardships
7. The shallow heart is willing to believe, as long as it is fairly easy

B. What Creates Shallowness Of Heart?

1. Perhaps a misunderstanding of discipleship.

a. Turn to Matthew 10:32-39
b. Shallowness wants easy/effortless living
c. Shallowness doesn’t want to endure tribulation/persecution

2. A general unwillingness to endure any difficulty
3. Perhaps a person has been given everything & never had to struggle thru life
4. Perhaps one has had “easy successes” in life, but godliness requires more effort

C. What Is The Remedy For Shallowness?

1. Realize the commitment of following Jesus: lose your life and then you’ll find it
2. If the Shallow Heart wants fruitfulness, realize the cost involved
3. Compare the “benefits” of shallowness w/the benefits of commitment
4. Make the decision to endure tribulation (pressing, crushing) & persecution

III. The Thorny (Divided) Heart Vs. 7, 22

A. The Result Of A Divided Heart

1. The thorny soil is fertile, but not dedicated to only good seed
2. It can grow good seed, but it can equally grow bad seed. Open to everything
3. It doesn’t fully realize what kind of field/garden it is supposed to be
4. It is not cared for properly; it allows itself to be invaded by competitive plants
5. The Thorny/Divided Heart is also fertile; it receives God’s word
6. It begins to be fruitful, but it is careless, undiscerning, pragmatic, & humanistic
7. The Word is slowly choked, suffocated in that heart. A slow but steady process
8. V. 22- That person becomes unfruitful. It happened over time

B. What Creates Thorniness?

1. Lack of maturity, pragmatism, “logical thinking”, and human reasoning
2. The Thorny/Divided Heart begins to be too concerned w/the cares of the world

a. It gives too much attention & importance to things that are passing away
b. It gives ungodly importance to the importance of deceitful riches

3. An expert in worldly things, but an undiscerning novice in godly things

C. What Is The Remedy For A Divided Heart?

1. If you realize your thorniness, then start with the obvious. Weed the garden
2. Be willing to live a simple life, free of many things that pass away
3. Ask God to show you thinking & living that need to be changed/removed
4. Be willing to go through that possibly long & methodical process of cleansing
5. Ask God for a renewed vision of what really matters. Eternal perspective
6. God gives us desires for fruitfulness. Turn to Philippians 2:12, 13
7. We must do our part to be fruitful. Turn to Ephesians 4:17-32

IV. The Good Heart

A. The Result Of A Good Heart

1. It receives God’s word
2. It eventually bears fruit, exponentially greater than itself
3. With God, that person is exponentially better than they would be w/o God

B. How Does A Heart Become Good?

1. The Hard Heart– A person decides to no longer harden their heart

a. They admit and confess hard-heartedness. They quit justifying it
b. They forgive others who have walked on them. Realize God’s forgiveness
c. They become willing to surrender to God
d. They realize and admit that God is not like those who have hurt them
e. They realize & admit that God hasn’t been hard-hearted, but loving

2. The Shallow Heart- A person decides to no longer be shallow

a. They admit & confess that they have chosen shallowness/ the easy path
b. They ask God for a renewed sense of the “rightness” of commitment
c. They ask God to help them look past struggles, & on to blessings
d. They ask God to help them be a person who pushes thru hard times

3. The Divided Heart– A person makes a decision to put Jesus first

a. They admit & confess they’ve allowed God’s word to be choked out
b. They have allowed cares & riches to become too important in their hearts
c. They have lost sight of what a Christian life is supposed to look like
d. They have become like many Christians: Jesus is only a slice of their life
e. They decided to once again put Jesus first: To seek first His Kingdom

C. What Kind Of Fruit Will God Bring?

1. Leading people to Jesus Romans 1:13
2. Holiness Romans 6:22
3. Financial giving Romans 15:28
4. Good works Colossians 1:10
5. Praise from our lips Hebrews 13:15
6. The fruit of the Spirit: Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control. Galatians 5:22, 23