The Sower – Part 2 | Luke 8:1-18

YouTube video sermon

Check your heart!

Introduction

Luke 8:5 ESV “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it.

Luke 8:11-12 ESV Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. (12) The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.

Bring Up Title Slide

  • Take a look at this road going through this forest… look how lush the forest is on either side of the road… there are trees and bushes… flowers and vines… there is all kinds of soil where things are growing, some weeds for sure, some shallow soil for sure… some rocky soil… but regardless there is life there…
  • But on the road there is no life. Not a spec of green… nothing but hard concrete.
  • This is what Jesus is talking about when He is talking about a path…
    • You see sometimes we think of a path like this…

Show Path.png

  • This is a nice little path, a few people have walked here… but it’s not the kind of path Jesus is talking about…
    • See this kind of path wasn’t much of a thing in Jesus time… because the people who use this path, if they REALLY want to go somewhere, they hop in a car and drive along a path like this one…

Show Title Slide again

  • And in Jesus’ time, because there were no cars… all of the paths that people talked about where incredibly well traveled… they were highways… they where pressed down and hard from the thousands of feet traveling over them every day.
    • They could have just as well been concrete, because they were so hard that NOTHING could grow on them.
    • That’s why I chose this image and this title, because I want you to have the proper word picture that Jesus is using here… the proper understanding… NOTHING GROWS ON CONCRETE! NOTHING GROWS ON THE PATH.

Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray

  • So today we are going to talk about the concrete heart… the heart that is so hard that the word of God doesn’t take root… so hard that there is really no life there at all…

Point One – The Concrete heart manifests itself in two ways… the Atheist and the Lukewarm Christian

  • There really are two kinds of hard hearts… the atheist heart and the lukewarm heart.
  • Maybe you have had this experience before… you have a friend, or a coworker, or a loved one who is a staunch atheist… they don’t believe in God and they hate that other people believe in God…
    • For these kinds of people there is no amount of logic, no amount of reasoning, no amount of God showing up in their life…
      • Everything that you throw at them for them to see that God is real… they don’t even consider it…
      • God could show up in the flesh… IN THE FLESH… and do mighty works among them… and they would look at Him and go “Wow… nice trick”
        • If you ever have wondered why nothing seems to work with such people, let me clue you in… it’s because their hearts are hard… they have concrete hearts!

Ephesians 4:18 ESV They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.

  • Look at this scripture! Why do they have ignorance? Is it because they are STUPID? NO! Some of the greatest minds of our time are atheists…
    • It is not because of their IQ or lack there of that they are ignorant… no, not at all.
    • Their ignorance, according to Ephesians 4:18 is due to their hardness of heart!
  • They don’t let anything seep in, they have made up their mind… they are stuburn… So no matter how much seed sits on their heart, it doesn’t matter because they are not letting it in…
  • Thus the Devil sees that seed sitting on the surface of their heart and he comes and snatches it up…
    • Like birds eating seed…
  • And you know what is AWEFUL about that? When birds know that there is a place with free seed, they come back! Again, and again! They hang out there, they wait for it, they tell their friends…
    • Thus the hardened atheist heart becomes a feeding ground for the enemy! And wickedness and debauchery soon follow.
  • BUT HEAR ME CHURCH! The problem, at least for America, is NOT atheism! No, in fact our churches are full of people with concrete hearts… and they are not atheists…
    • Because the problem we face in America is the lukewarm believer…
    • Listen… the Lukewarm heart is IDENTICAL to the atheist heart… It is a concrete heart.
  • Even though they sit in church… even though they listen to sermons and join prayer groups… even though they are literally COVERED with seed… they don’t let any of it in to their heart.
  • NOW HOLD ON PASTOR! You are not saying that a lukewarm believer is the same in God’s eyes as an atheist are you‽
    • No! A lukewarm believer is not the same in God’s eyes as an atheist… a Lukewarm believer is worse!

Revelation 3:15-16 ESV “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! (16) So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.

  • God would literally rather you be an atheist then be a pretend Christian.
    • Because when you pretend… when you are a lukewarm believer… when you come to church every Sunday and buy Christian books and listen to Christian movies… but you DON’T CHANGE… you don’t actually follow Christ… you don’t actually believe in Him (Because if you did you will listen to Him) when you are lukewarm… the problem is you THINK you are saved… so you never come to the alter… you THINK you are a good Christian… so you preach to others, but you preach lies and half-truths… you think you are saved so you carry the banner of Christ… but you don’t carry it into battle, instead you carry it through the mud and filth that is your life apart from Christ! At thus you are no better off for it and Christ’s name has been sullied!
  • Listen church, when Jesus used the phrase “Hard Hearts” he was almost always talking to the lukewarm Jews… the Pharisees and the Sadducees…
    • The people who THOUGHT they were so close to God, but really their hearts were hard…
  • It was these kinds of people… the Lukewarm believers… who demanded Christ be crucified.
    • It wasn’t the atheists who wanted Jesus dead, the romans in fact DID NOT WANT TO KILL HIM…
    • But the Lukewarm Jews… they shouted Crucify Him!
    • The Jews who had a tender heart, they listened to Jesus, they followed Jesus, they allowed Jesus to change them.
    • But those with a hard heart… they who thought they knew better, they brought Jesus before Pilate and didn’t leave until Jesus was condemned to the cross.

Luke 8:11-12 ESV Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. (12) The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.

Point Two – Don’t Cast Your Pearls Before Swine

Matthew 7:6 ESV “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.

  • Jesus gives this warning… to not give dogs what is holy, and to not throw your pears before pigs…
    • And I want to give the same warning… because it applies not only to this message, but to all of the soils except the good soil…
  • You see sometimes we are tempted to be more than what Jesus was…
    • We feel, in our pride, that we can convert ANYONE to Christ! And that we should fight for EVERYONE.
    • But even Jesus didn’t do that! There was whole cities that He refused to ever minister in again because of the way He was treated…
  • Yet sometimes in our pride we feel like “well I’m not giving up on this person until they become a Christian”.
    • Mind you, I am talking about our pride saying that, not God saying that… I am going to talk about God telling us to not give up on a person in a second…
    • But sometimes our pride tells us not to give up…

Bring Title Slide Back up

  • We stand in the middle of the road and throw seed on the concrete… and nothing happens…
    • WELL I AM NOT GOING TO GIVE Up.
  • So we throw more seed… and more seed… and more seed… we spend hours, and days, and weeks, and months, and years throwing seed on concrete… and the devil rejoices in our follow…
    • Why? Because we could be using that time to throw seed on other soil, some of which will most certainly be good soil. But instead we waist it trying to plant flowers in the freeway.
  • And the worst part is, see, the worst part is that Jesus says the pigs might turn back and trample you…
    • While you are standing in the middle of the road trying to plant roses… one day a car is going to come zooming around the corner and hit you!
    • Now you are in the hospital and the Kingdom of God is in no better shape then when you started… You have just waisted your time and gotten yourself hurt.
  • Hear me very clearly church… DO NOT WAIST YOUR TIME TRYING TO FORCE FEED THE WORD OF GOD TO DOGS AND PIGS.
    • Do not waste your time trying to sow seed in the roadway.
  • Sow the word of God everywhere you go! And when some falls on the path and doesn’t take root… MOVE ON.
    • You will wear yourself out and waste your time, valuable time that could be used advancing the kingdom of God, by trying to plant the seed in the path.
  • So let me say it again, to be very clear… DO NOT SPEND YOUR TIME TRYING TO MAKE THE WORD OF GOD TAKE ROOT IN SOMEONE WITH A HARD HEART…
    • Unless, God tells you to specifically.

Point Three – Tilling the Concrete Soil

  • That brings me to point three, tilling the Concrete Soil.

2 Peter 3:9 ESV The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

  • God is not willing for ANY to perish. That means God does not want anyone to go to hell. Period. It is never God’s perfect will to send someone to hell, He will because He is Just, but it was not His intention when He created man to send them to hell…
    • In fact the Bible says that hell is not even for humans… it was made for the devil and his angels… we just earned a special place there when we decided to turn our back on God and sin…
  • But non-the-less, God is not willing for any to perish, and that includes those with Concrete hearts…
    • So he sends people, his saints, on special missions to work the soil.
  • So if God has put someone in your life with a hard heart… if He has specifically placed them there for you to bring them to Christ… if He has told you not to give up on that person… then in that case and in that case alone, should you spend your time working the ground for that person…
    • What do I mean by working the ground?
    • Well, if you are given a plot of land that is covered in concrete… and you have to plant corn in that land… the first thing you are going to do is remove the concrete and work the soil so that the corn seed will take root.
  • Thus spiritually, if God has placed someone in our live that we are called to witness to and they have rejected the word of God… then we need to work the soil.
    • And I want to give you some tips on how to work the soil.
  • First: Re-rout traffic. You got to put up road closed signs around their lives… otherwise you might work the soil and then a big mac truck comes through and ruins all your hard work.
    • You see one of the reason that people have hard hearts is because they are constantly being walked over…
    • They have bad influences in their lives that are constantly walking up and down their heart hardening.
      • Friends with bad advice, books that are full of new-age heresy, family members who pull them into the pit, non Christian counselors who do more harm then good…
      • All these voices, all these influences, pulling and pushing, and crushing the heart into hard, compact concrete…

Proverbs 13:20 ESV Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.

1 Corinthians 15:33 ESV (33) Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”

  • So your first goal should be getting those bad influences out of their life…
  • Second you need to break up the concrete… you need to soften the soil… how?

Romans 2:4-5 ESV Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? (5) But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.

  • You have to be the kindness and patience of God in their life. You have to show them unconditional love… you have to persevere and not give up on them…
    • If you have ever worked with concrete or cement you know how hard it is… how heavy it is… how tiring it is to work with it…
  • If you have taken the call to work with someone with a hard heart, be ready for a LONG fight… be patient… and please TAKE BREAKS! It is a marathon, not a sprint. Allow yourself rest.
  • And keep those bad influences away.
  • The only way I have seen a hard heart change is with incredibly patient love and kindness…
  • And once that soil is soft again, preach the word… let it take root, and protect it… amen‽

Conclusion – Cry Out for Mercy

Alter Call
-Gospel
-For those who’s heart is becoming hard.