Ears to Hear

40 weeks of Discipleship  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  36:17
0 ratings
Sermon Tone Analysis
View more →
VBS (we need volunteers every Wednesday)
We also have an online sign up.
If you have children or nieces or nephews or neighbor kids please get them signed up.
We are hoping to have 25 children
Chapter 13 is the chapter of Kingdom parables. It contains 7 of Jesus’ parables and all of them have to do with the Kingdom of God. Today we are going to talk about the parable of the sower. And it is the first parable and rightly so, because it has to do with entrance into the kingdom of God.
What is a parable?
A parable is a short story that uses things from ordinary life to teach spiritual truths. It is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.
So look with me at the parable in verses 1-9:
Matthew 13:1-9 “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.”

There are 4 Different kinds of soils that produce 4 different results

"some seeds fell beside the road”
I want you to imagine someone sowing seeds in a field. And the field has been broken up with a plow so that the dirt is soft and when the seed lands on the ground it can penetrate that soft soil.
But some of those seeds fell on the edge of the field. Now the edge of the field is the hard packed ground that has not been worked. It is nearly impossible for a seed to penetrate that ground so it just sits there on the surface.
And birds who love to feed on these seeds spot those seeds sitting on that hard soil and they swoop in and devour them.
“others fell on rocky places”
Imagine that same field with an area that has a layer of bedrock right under the surface. The soil on top of that bedrock is soft so the seed can penetrate it, but the bedrock prevents any kind of depth. So the seed germinates, but since it has no depth of root, it withers as soon as the sun comes out and it dies.
This picture is a place beside my carport. And if you look real close you can see pea gravel coming through the soil.
That pea gravel is the top of a concrete slab about 1” under the surface.
And because that dirt is so shallow, grass never makes it into the summer because it has no root.
These plants seem alright at first, but they never last because there is not enough soil for the roots to develop and have effective root systems necessary for survival.
“others fell among thorns”
These plants have the soft dirt, they have enough dirt, but its the competition that chokes them out.
Look at this picture of our garden
All of the corn was planted at the same time.
The reason some grew tall and tasseled out is because we took the tiller in between the wider rows and took the weeds out. The other rows were too narrow so we neglected them and look at the results.
This is what happens when seeds grow amongst weeds.
The weeds are competition for nutrients and water and eventually they choke the plants out and keep them from producing a crop.
This corn on this end will be useless.
As Ashley said, that incredible isn’t that incredible
“others fell on good soil and yielded a crop”
This is soft dirt
It is deep dirt
It is dirt that has had the weeds removed so the plants could grow to maturity.
Only the plants in our garden with those conditions that allow for the seed to grow and produce fruit that we can eat.
That is the parable. And Jesus stops right there after telling this to the crowd and says no more. And most of them must have been wondering what in the world any of this has to do with Christianity. Or what in the world does this have to do with the Kingdom of God.
Look at what He says in (v 9) “He who has ears, let Him hear”
Do you think there were people in that crowd who did not have any ears? NO!
Jesus is speaking metaphorically!
This is a call to think about the deeper spiritual meaning of this parable.
Its a call to those in the crowd who truly desire to know God and how to enter His Kingdom.
All human ears hear sounds, but there is a deeper kind of listening that results in spiritual understanding.
Some people in the crowd were only curious about Jesus. They weren’t really interested in Him, just wondering
Others in the crows were looking for evidence to use against him. They hated Jesus and wanted Him gone!
But some truly wanted to know Him and desired to be a part of His Kingdom. And were those who cleared their minds and hearts and opened them up to what Jesus had to say.
Which one are you?
Matthew 13:10–13 NASB95
And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. “For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. “Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.

There are two kinds of listeners: those who strive to understand spiritual truth and those who do not really care about spiritual truth

The disciples ask, “why do you speak to them in parables?”
And I could imagine we have all asked that question before. Why does Jesus not just tell us plainly instead of teaching things in parables that can be so confusing and difficult to understand.
And we can almost be tempted to think Jesus had ill motives and purposely hid the truth to keep people from knowing it.
But that’s not why He used parables.
By speaking in parables, Jesus separated the committed from the uncommitted.
To understand a parable, you’ve got to put forth effort. The payoff in a parable is when we are willing to sit down and really think about what it says.
Sometimes you need to get out a dictionary and look up a word. Or get out a commentary and look up some cultural facts!
And only those who are truly committed are willing to put in that effort.
Look what Jesus says TO THE DISCIPLES: “to you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God”
Who were the disciples? They were those who were fully committed to Christ! These were the men who had left their boats, the tax booth that made tax collectors rich, they left their fathers and mothers and friends and even their own lives and had given everything to Christ!
These were the totally committed, and to these it was granted to them to know the secretes of the Kingdom of God.


If we want to truly know Christ, then we must be fully committed to Him!
If we want to understand Jesus, then we must first fully commit to Jesus!
We must not think we can just show up and God is going to infuse our minds with heavenly things!
It takes an active effort on our part and a genuine desire to know.
Jeremiah 29:13 NASB95
‘You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
When Jesus spoke in parables, he was separating those who really wanted to know Him from those who really didn’t care much.
Which one are you?
What place does knowing God have in your life?
Where is all your effort directed to? Is it God or is it the things of this world?
It can only be one or the other. Thee is no neutral ground with Jesus!
(v 12) “For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance, but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him”
Whoever has what? Whoever has spiritual understanding of the things of God. This is a promise to those fully committed to Christ that their understanding will increase.
But it also includes a warning to others.
“but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away
Once we begin down the road of following Christ and then turn back, we lose everything.
The spiritual understanding we once had
The hope of heaven we once had
The joy of Jesus that we once had
Everything is lost when our commitment is gone

THE HARD HEART: Those who hear but do not listen

Matthew 13:18–19 NASB95
“Hear then the parable of the sower. “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road.
The Seed:
The seed is the Word of God. It is the Word of God that changes people’s lives. But many who hear the Word do not listen to the Word....it has no impact. It makes no difference whatsoever. It goes in one ear and out the other.
These are those who have hard hearts!
They do not care what the Bible says, what God says, what Jesus says. They may come to church but nothing that is said makes any real difference int heir lives.
Question: How does one’s heart become hard?
Sin hardens the heart. Sin makes the walls of our heart so thick that the Word of God just sits on top until the enemy snatches it away.
When we have sin in our lives, we become deaf to God. The Word of God loses its impact. It no longer convicts, directs, and guides our lives!
It even becomes a burden to us and makes us want to snarl and grit our teeth at what it says. We hate it because it goes directly against the way of life that we have chosen!

The Shallow Heart: Those who hear and receive the message but fall away

Matthew 13:20–21 NASB95
“The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away.
When the seed fell on shallow ground it sprang up quickly but it withered because it did not have any root. The rock beneath the surface prevented the seed from any kind of depth.
Jesus said these kind of people fall away as soon as trouble arises because of their faith.
They come to Christ because it sounds good but never really sit down and count the costs. And over time they fall away because they decide the trouble and struggle is not worth the Kingdom!
They lose their job because of their faith, they lose a relationship because of their faith, or they feel separated from the world because to follow Christ is to take the narrow path!
And as quickly as they started following Christ, they fall away from Him.
Did they lose their salvation? NO
They never had it in the first place. It never had a chance to take any root in their lives. These are superficial people who put on a good show on the outside, say all the right things, but have nothing in their hearts!
And the key words here: “he falls away”
You cannot determine your salvation by something that happened in the past. An experience, a profession of faith, a baptism, a church membership, a good feeling or experience that we had.
None of that is real evidence!
Scripture always gauges our salvation by where we are at the present moment! To follow God at one time in our life is not evidence of salvation.
You determine where you are by what is happening right now in your life!
Do you live for Christ or do you live for the world?
Do you truly follow Christ or do you live for this world? That will determine whether or not the Kingdom of God is yours!

The worldly heart

This is the heart that the seed grew up in the middle of weeds and the thorns and weeds choked the seed out. It had the broken soil, it had the depth of soil, but there was too much competition for it to survive.
These people hear and accept the word and allow it to take root in their hearts, giving hope of a harvest. But weeds creep in and choke out the growing seed. Weeds rob nutrition, water, light, and space from newly sprouting seeds.
Jesus said the cares of this world! The pursuit of wealth and the things of this world!
James 4:4 NASB95
You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
We cannot live for this world and think that we have the Kingdom of God as well!
Jesus said the seed sown among thorns yields nothing. When we don’t obey God, soon our lives become unusable to him. How easy it is to agree with Christ with no intention of obeying. It is easy to denounce the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth, and still do nothing to change our ways
What can you do if you have weeds in your heart?
Exactly what we did with the corn patch. Pull out the weeds. Get rid of the junk that is choking out the Word! Take an honest evaluation of your life and clean house!
Jesus promises to help us through life’s troubles, not to remove us from them all. Stay with his message because it’s true, not because it makes you feel good

The fertile heart

This is the heart that is open to God, that has depth so the roots can grow, and that produces a crop.
The only sure evidence of salvation is that we are producing spiritual fruit!
We are not saved by what we do, what we do is evidence that we have been saved. We could never work our way to heaven, but when heaven belongs to us we live our lives for it!
The Bible calls this fruit and fruit is visible to those on the outside.

Understanding the Word of God is essential for salvation because it is the basis for our faith

Matthew 13:23 “And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.”
This is why Jesus said, hear! Listen! UNDERSTAND!
How can we truly have saving faith if we do not understand what to put our faith in?
"For by grace you have been saved through faith!”
Faith is not walking blindly, or doing what we think, or doing what everyone else does, IT IS walking according to His Word!
And if we do not know what His Word means then how will we ever put our faith in it?
Jesus said the fruitful heart understands! Which means without understanding there can be no salvation!
This is why I believe little children cannot be saved
They are too young to understand what it means
You will never convinced me that a 3 y/o can come to Christ
My three y/o isn’t real sure how old he is, how could he possibly understand the gospel and his need of it?
Which soil represents your heart?
Think honestly about this!
Does your heart run after God or does it run after sin?
Remember there can be no neutral ground with Jesus!
If we are not for Him, we are against Him!
Are you the shallow ground who started off strong and have fallen away
Does everything look ok on the outside but the inside tells a different story?
Is your heart full of weeds that need to be pulled?
Would God say you are chasing after the world?
Or are you the fertile heart that is producing a crop?
And when the world looks at you can they say by what you say, how you live, and how you talk that you are one of Jesus’ disciples?
What do we do if we do are not producing a crop?
Matthew 13:15 (NASB95)
For the heart of this people has become dull, With their ears they scarcely hear, And they have closed their eyes, Otherwise they would see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, And understand with their heart and return, And I would heal them.’
Understand that if we do not turn to Christ we are doomed. Even what we have will be taken away and we have no hope.
But if we turn from our sin, turn from this world, and turn to God He can heal us and He can save us.
Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more