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The Royal - Book Five: Twists and Turns (Week 3)
Miles McPherson - October 31, 2010

Message Recap

Pastor Miles introduced today’s parable message by describing some landscaping he did upon moving into a new house.  He brought home half a dozen trees of the same kind on the same day and planted them in the same yard.  Although the trees had all these things in common, they grew at different rates. One tree doubled its size, while another didn’t seem to grow at all, and the rest were in between.

How could six trees receiving the same sun and water experience such a different in their rate of growth?   This is because the condition of soil in each planting area was different, causing them to root themselves differently and grow differently.  In today’s lesson from Matthew 13:1-9, Jesus teaches that much like the soil in which we plant things, our hearts have to be ready and healthy so that we can grow.

Remember, parables are like riddles which explain something to us in a way we can understand.  This book of the Royal Series, Twists and Turns, means we read what it is written, reflect on what it teaches, and then respond or act on the lesson.  Here are some basic guidelines for reading parables:

  1. Read: Describe the context of the parable.  To whom is the parable being told and what situation caused it to be told?
    The parable is being told to the multitude.
  2. Read: Describe the everyday illustration being used as the parable.
    The farmer sows seeds in four different conditions of soil.
  3. Read: Identify the single Kingdom of God principle being taught.
    Seeds grow better in good ground.

In Matthew 13:3 Jesus tells a story about a sower who spreads seeds on the ground so that they will grow. Some seeds fall to the wayside and the birds eat them (verse 4). Some seeds fall in a stony place; though they grow, their roots are not very deep so they die easily under the sun (verse 5-6).  Some fall among thorns, which spring up and choke them (verse 7).  And finally, in verse 8, Jesus says, “But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

Reflect: Now we reflect on this meaning and identify what “spoils your soil.”

  1. Satan’s lies are described as “the birds.”

    In verse 19 Jesus talks about the wicked one who snatches away the seeds. Miles likened this to his friend who had a girlfriend. Another guy friend “stole” the girl away by enticing her to leave her boyfriend and be with him. Satan does the same thing by tempting us, enticing us to leave God to be with him.
  2. The ‘stony ground’ prevents spiritual roots to grow deep and compounds personal tribulations.

    Simply put, if your faith isn’t strong when times of trouble come (and they will come), you could be scorched.  You need the strong roots that Jesus talked about (verse 20-21) to withstand trouble.
  3. Worldly pursuits or “thorns” choke out the Word.

    In verse 22, Jesus says, “Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness or fiches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.”

Respond: Develop a biblical perspective on these things.

  1. Read: Identify the “turn” or change in behavior being sought. (Hint: it will be found in the closing line of the parable.)

Discover: Developing good ground or a receptive heart is our responsibility.

Jesus says in verse 23, “But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces…”

Reflect: Are you aware of what spoils your soil?

Respond: Eliminate the things that spoil the soil.

  1. Overcome the “birds” (Satan’s lies) by memorizing, reading, studying and/or meditating on God’s Word.
  2. Remove/conquer the “stones” (personal tribulations) by memorizing, reading, studying and/or meditating on God’s Word.
  3. But out the “thorns” (worldly pursuits) by replacing them with a desire for obedience to God’s Word.

There is nothing more pleasing to a farmer than seeing the sweet fruit of his planting. On the other hand, the tree that doesn’t produce usually becomes firewood.


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