Rooted in God
Turn with me to Matthew 13.
We are going to be looking at this chapter today.
Matthew 13 gives us an interesting concept taught my Jesus… that I think we often miss…
You see, we often break it apart… looking just at the parables individually…
Honestly… How many of you have read it as one section, considering how the parables tie together?
We miss something when we “pick it apart”…
Scripture… especially this chapter of Matthew’s gospel… is meant to be read as one cohesive piece… So that’s what we are going to do today.
Look at Matthew 13:1-52
1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. 2 Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. 3 And he told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. 5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. 6 But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 Let anyone with ears listen!” 10 Then the disciples came and asked him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11 He answered, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For to those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 13 The reason I speak to them in parables is that ‘seeing they do not perceive, and hearing they do not listen, nor do they understand.’ 14 With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah that says: ‘You will indeed listen, but never understand, and you will indeed look, but never perceive. 15 For this people’s heart has grown dull, and their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; so that they might not look with their eyes, and listen with their ears, and understand with their heart and turn— and I would heal them.’ 16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. 17 Truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it. 18 “Hear then the parable of the sower. 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. 23 But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.” 24 He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. 27 And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?’ 28 He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The slaves said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he replied, ‘No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. 30 Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’ ” 31 He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; 32 it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” 33 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.” 34 Jesus told the crowds all these things in parables; without a parable he told them nothing. 35 This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet: “I will open my mouth to speak in parables; I will proclaim what has been hidden from the foundation of the world.” 36 Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37 He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; 38 the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, 42 and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen! 44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. 45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; 46 on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it. 47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; 48 when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. 49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50 and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 51 “Have you understood all this?” They answered, “Yes.” 52 And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”
Did you “see” what Jesus is trying to teach them here?
Jesus is talking to them about the Kingdom of God… about what it is like… how it functions… and how WE are supposed to function within it!
Let’s break it down just a bit:
The parable of the Sower explained:
18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil 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.”
I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this part here… we’re going to come back to it.
But… at a quick glance, it’s easy to see that Jesus is saying that our hearts must be prepared to received God’s Word.
The Parable of weeds
24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. 27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ 28 “ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ 29 “ ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them.
The owner of the field allows the weeds to grow up among the wheat… What does that tell us?
— It is not our responsibility to determine the “belief” of others… or to condemn and remove “sinners” from among us… That is God’s problem!
— It is our place to Love and Grow in Him, among them.
The Parable of the Mustard Seed
31 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”
In another place Jesus said that if we “had the faith of a mustard seed...”
— Here He says “Our Faith will reach a multitude” — that’s about our testimony!
— Our Faith will yield a testimony to the world that will provide spiritual shelter for many.
The Parable of Yeast
33 He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.”
Yeast does not make bread rise if it is not infused into ALL of the dough…
In the same way, Our Faith… the Faith and Love of Christians… is meant to infuse and empower the world to change!
The Hidden Treasure and the Pearl
44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. 45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
Let me tell you: Jesus’s point isn’t about the field.
The field isn’t the treasure… the Pearl is!!!
The point is: “Are we ALL IN for God?”
Have we “sold everything” to buy the Kingdom?
Do you see what Jesus is doing here?
This whole passage… from verse 1- verse 52… is Jesus tell the disciples… telling us… how we are supposed to live and act, within the Kingdom…
Believers are not supposed to separate themselves from the world and be isolationists. Nor are we supposed to “Judge” the world and condemn “sinners”…
We are supposed to “grow up” among them… to infuse the world with the light we have been given…
By living a life “Filled with Faith!”
(A Faith-Filled Life is a Life of Complete and Total Trust in God.)
… a life of complete and total trust in God!
We are supposed to buy the field!!!
Look at John 15:19
19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
God CHOSE US “out of” the world, BUT… He didn’t TAKE us OUT OF it!
We are supposed to “sell everything” to “buy the Field” and Live for Him!
So what does that mean?
How do we do that?
Where do we start?
(I’m glad you asked!)
Psalm 1:3 (NIV)
3 That person (the Faith-Filled believer) is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.
In order for a seed to grow… it must first be planted.
The soil must be good… it must have the right nutrients… the right amount of water… the right environment…
Hence, the Parable of the Sower.
3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “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. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
In this parable, Jesus gives us 4 scenarios of seed being spread…
The seed is the Word… the Gospel… the Good News shared with others…
The soil is the heart of the person…
Have you ever noticed that when you share the Word, sometimes it falls on deaf ears?
That sometimes it seems that no matter how well you love someone… no matter how well you explain something… they just don’t get it!
It’s like they just refuse… or worse… they seem to get it, but quickly let it go…
Jesus makes it clear — The problem isn’t the seed!
The problem is with what type of soil it falls on!
4 types of soil are described here:
The Hardened or Oblivious Heart.
19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path.
There are some people who are absolutely opposed to the Good News, for whatever reason… and there are others who are just oblivious to it…
They hear the Word… they might even come to church regularly… but, for some reason, their hearts just reject it.
It’s like their hearts are hostile towards it… It may be that they are stuck in their personal beliefs and anything that asks them to step outside of those… to consider another view… is unacceptable!
Let me tell you: “Seed will not grow in inhospitable soil!”
The enemy will come and snatch it away… because he doesn’t want it to grow!
This kind of soil will never reproduce because it cannot produce!
A hardened and oblivious heart is a barren wasteland!
2. The Troubled Heart.
20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Life is a long, and at times, difficult journey!
A heart that is troubled by the obstacles and adversities of life… will fail to produce deep roots.
We all know people like this… we may even be here, or have been here ourselves… They have an interest in the Gospel… They want to know Jesus… to experience Him… to Trust Him…
They even seem to embrace the Gospel in the beginning, but…
Over time, because they failed to tend the seed… when the trials and tribulations of life hit them… when the tough times come… they fall away… (expound)
Just like with plants, shallow roots will not sustain a person through the adverse and difficult seasons of life.
Illustration — “Breathing Forest” in Quebec
It takes deep strong roots growing in healthy soil to weather the storm!
A Troubled Heart Produces Shallow Roots.
3. The Distracted Heart.
22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.
A distracted heart cannot grow roots.
Plain and simple… A heart that cares more for the things of the world than for the things of the Kingdom… is not the healthy soil that produces Kingdom growth!
Money, status, popularity, and other worldly endeavors choke out the ability of the seed to get the nutrients it needs and grow roots.
Have you ever noticed that grass doesn’t seem to grow under trees? — the tree roots take all the nutrients, so the grass can’t grow…
It’s the same with our hearts!
When we start focusing on money… on finances… on works… on popularity… our hearts become unhealthy and distracted…
An unhealthy and distracted heart is not the place for seed to grow… and it’s definitely not the place that creates a harvest!
That’s why Jesus said:
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
A distracted heart will make excuses rather than act, and soon the “thorns” will “choke out” the life that we have gained.
A distracted heart bears no fruit.
4. The Fertile Heart.
23 But the seed falling on good soil 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.”
A Fertile heart readily accepts the Gospel… It nurtures growth and Faith…
It welcomes the Truth of God’s Word, even if that means letting go of long held beliefs… and embraces the change it brings!
A fertile heart is made ready by the prompting of the Holy Spirit… and (now hear this)… THE PARTICIPATION of the individual.
Healthy soil doesn’t just HEAR the Word of God… It does what it says!!!! (James 1:22)
Healthy soil is where seeds have the most opportunity to grow into life giving plants, trees, …
Think about it… a single apple tree can bear enough fruit to feed dozens of people… It gives shade and rest on hot days… It’s flowers nourish thousands of bees every spring… and It’s seed can spread and multiply into an immeasurable amount of other trees over its lifetime…
The same is true with us…
A fertile heart carries the Word of God… the Life He gives… into every part of this world it encounters!
It spreads by not compartmentalizing its work into specific times and places… By not omitting uncomfortable areas… By serving even when it means giving up personal time…
The fertile heart plants seeds everywhere it goes… and actively looks for ways to open doors to new ground to plant more!!!!
What kind of soil describes your heart today?
Are you indifferent to the Good News of Christ?
Are you indifferent to His Word… His direction… His call on your life?
Are you making excuses for yourself instead of looking for new opportunities?
Are you needing to spend some time on the condition of your heart so that the seed of the gospel can grow deep healthy roots?
Are you distracted?
Are there too many things in your life clamoring for your attention?
If you’ve ever taken care of a garden, you know that it takes time… it takes effort… it takes work… to grow and sustain it…
It’s no different for your heart…
The seeds of the Kingdom… of the Gospel… are trying to grow…
They need healthy soil and consistent care.
That means that we have to stop “playing around”… we have to stop just “going with the flow”… and doing just enough to get by…
Do you want to see God move in powerful ways in your life?
Do you want to hear… actually hear His voice speaking to you on a daily basis?
Then we have to get intentional!
That means that SOMETIMES we need to “plow the field”!
We do that by…
— dedicate our time to prayer… and worship!
— Remove the distractions… turn off the TV… get off Facebook, TikTok, YouTube,…
— Turn off the phone…
— Dedicate time to prayer… EVERY MORNING!
— if you don’t have time… stop sleeping so late! go to bed earlier so you can get up earlier and have that time with God…