Sermon Notes

MATTHEW 13:1-15
1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 
2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 
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.” 
10The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?” 
11He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 
12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 
13 This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. 
14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “ ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. 
15 For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’

Matthew 13 is the third major teaching section of the gospel and it is full of good news about the Kingdom of God.
It is also full of truth about the nature of people.
Jesus was going to teach them that people are people and you have to deal with them where they are and how they are.
He begins with a parable about dirt.
The followers who were there that day asked a really good question: Why does Jesus only use parables / stories for teaching?
Jesus told his listeners that day that he taught in parables because He knows that people are people and the vast majority of them already have their minds made up.
1. A certain amount of people are shallow and hard. No matter what idea or thought or proposal you might present to them they don’t give it much thought or effort.
They become and stay hard and shallow without much chance for change. Whatever hope they had the world eats it up like birds on seed.
2. A certain amount of people are always eager for something new. Every time you see them they have a new job, new car, new hobby or a new bad habit.
They have enough root to get them going on something, even spiritual matters, good stuff, but they don’t last. Even a little bit of pressure and they bail.
3. A certain amount of people can’t finish the job. No matter what it is no matter how deep into something they are they possess the ability to hurt themselves by just walking away.
They do well for years. Then one day they are off the rails and there is no getting them back.
4. A certain amount of people are solid in the Lord. Day in day out, year in year out you can count on them. They love Jesus and they love people for Jesus.
Jesus explains why he uses parables. He uses them because people already have their minds made up.

The disciples were going to run into plenty of people who: 1. See but they don’t see. 2. Hear but they don’t (or won’t ) understand. 3. Whose hearts are calloused and they are not willing to allow God to change them.
Right here right now in this room are plenty of these people.
A certain percentage of people in this room are blind.
Blind to the blessings of God in their life. Blind to how good they have it compared to other people in the world. Blind to the blessings that their spouse and family are to them and others.
All they do is whine and complain, or sulk and pout over how tough their life is.
It hurts our spiritual lives because all we are focused on is the one or two empty spots in our lives while we totally forget to count all the shelves of all the blessings we do have.
If all you can focus on is what you do not have, you are choosing to be the one Isaiah and Jesus refer to.
They are deaf because they choose deafness over facts and truth.
We think that about 1.5 hr a week here in this room is enough to sustain us until we get to heaven.
On average people who attend Sunday School or small group classes are 85% more likely to remain active in their church.
If you don’t make any changes, you are choosing spiritual deafness.
People are choosing spiritual blindness and deafness because they refuse to make changes in their lives.
There are people who are choosing to be deaf to the truth that has been preached from this pulpit for 70 years. You have no intention of changing. Isaiah and Jesus are pointing at you.
Callouses are meant to protect and defend. Spiritually though, they are deadly.
There are people who have observed the destruction of the lives of their family and friends and yet refuse to make changes.
If your heart was tender before God you couldn’t be the person you have set yourself up to be. You would have to yield to the Lord.
There are people that have decided to be hard.
You love God but you keep him at a distance. You love your church and your Christian friends but they can’t influence you. Your mind is made up.
A tender heart before God and others is 100x stronger than a hard heart ever hoped to be.
Too many of us have made up our minds.
We have said this is the way my life is.
Nothing will ever change, nothing will ever get better in your life until you are willing to hear and see what God has for you.
If you want to see and hear him then you have to let the callous go.