Text: Mathew 13: 1-23
The human heart is a marvel to consider. Though it is only the size of a closed human fist, the work it does is nothing short of incredible.
The human heart beats an average of 75 times a minute, forty million times a year, or two and a half billion times in a life time of 70 years. At each beat, the average adult heart discharges about four ounces of blood. This amounts to three thousand gallons a day or 650,000 gallons a year – enough to fill more than 81 tanker trucks of 8,000 gallons each.
The heart does enough work in one hour to lift a 150 pound man to the top of a three story building. It expends enough energy in 12 hours to lift a 65 ton tank car one foot off the ground, or enough power in 70 years to lift the largest battleship afloat completely out of water. The human heart is, indeed, a remarkable part of our created physical bodies.
The Bible speaks often about another “heart” that every human being has. What issues from it is even more important than the energy released by the physical heart. Proverbs 4:23 says of it: “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.”
This reference to your heart does not refer to the pump in your chest that does all the work for the physical body. Rather, it refers to the center of a person’s inner life where all of the moral and spiritual issued are considered and dealt with.
When a person has a physical heart that isn’t working properly, we say he has a “heart condition.” In the same way it is possible to have a spiritual “heart condition” or trouble with that inner place that makes moral and spiritual decisions.
Out text today does some heart monitoring of the spiritual heart in the form of a parable that Jesus told to his disciples and a multitude of people. Although it doesn’t mention the heart but I think you will agree that it is relating to various conditions of the spiritual heart. Let’s begin by examining the text in Matthew 13.
Matthew 13: 3-9
A common spring sight to all the people of that day was watching a man sowing seed in his field. The sower would drape a bag of seed over his shoulder and as he walked up and down the furrows, he would fling handfuls on both sides of himself. As he did this, the seed would land on different types of soil.
Some seed landed on the soil beside the road.
The soil beside the road was packed down tight because in Palestine the fields had no fences or walls so narrow path passed through the fields. Travelers from all over used these paths as they passed through the fields to keep from trampling the crops. The pathway soil was never turned over by the plow. This soil was continually pounded down by human traffic and baked hard by the hot sun. It got to be like a pavement.
Any seed the farmer threw beyond the furrows and onto this hard surface could not penetrate the soil. It would lie there exposed until the birds could pick it up. What the birds did not eat was trampled by many travelers. The point of the story is that the seed that landed here never even germinated.
Some of the seed landed on shallow soil.
Jesus describes it here as “rocky places where they did not have much soil.” This does not refer to soil with loose rocks in it. Any farmer would have removed all of the loose stones he could. In Israel, a strata of limestone rock bed runs through much of the land. In some places it is deep and never reached. In other places it juts up so close to the surface that it is only inches beneath the top soil.
As seed fell on these shallow places and began to germinate, the descending roots would soon reach the rock and have nowhere to go. With roots unable to probe deeper, the young plants would divert their energy into producing leaves, making those plants even more spectacular than the surrounding crop. But when the sun came out they were quick to die because their roots did not go deep enough to continue getting moiswture. This part of the crop would shrivel to nothing long before it produced any crop.
Some of the seed also landed on weedy soil.
This soil looked good. It was deep, rich, tilled and fertile. At sow3ing time it looked clean and ready. The seed that landed here began to germinate, but something else was in the soil. Weeds that had been tilled under during the plowing season were lying there just beneath the surface, either as roots or seeds. Weeds that are indigenous to an area always have an advantage over cultivated crops. Such native plants are adapted to the climate and soil, so they grow much faster than the planted crops. Soon, outstripping the crops. theyi send out their leaves and roots and begin to shade out or choke out the crops. In the end, the planted crops die out.
Finally, some of the seed landed on good soil.
Good soil is soft, unlike the hard roadside dirt. Good soil is deep, unlike the shallow, rocky ground. Good soil is clean, unlike the weedy, thorny land. In this soil, the seed bursts forth into life that brings an awesome harvest- – thirtyfold, sixtyfold or a hundredfold.
“He who has ears to hear, let him hear,” said Jesus as He finished this parable.
Jesus had something besides a physical hearing in His mind.There was something to be heard beyond what He said, a lesson that was there in the imagery of the parable. The disciples sensed there was something more to this story and asked Jesus about it in verse 10.
When Jesus was alone with His disciples they asked Him, “Why do you speak to the people in parables”? Jesus replied that the secrets of the Kingdom had been given to the disciples but not to the people because the peoples hearts had become calloused and in essence they have closed their eyes and ears to the truth of God’s Word. The multitude was not ready They were dull of hearing, but the disciples needed to understand it so they would be prepared for what the world was going to do to Him. The disciples had remained willing to listen so they were blesses by seeing things no one else has yet seen.
Jesus explained the meaning of the parable to the disciples and they were willing listeners with open hearts to see things that the multitude could not see because the multitude had calloused hearts. That is what He meant when He said in Matthew 13: 13-14, “Though seeing, they do not understand; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. …For this peoples heart has become calloused: they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes…..” In this parable Jesus was explaining what happens in the heart if God’s Word is rejected.
There is a danger to anyone who refuses to do what He or she knows is right. Not only will it keep them from understanding more of the Word of God, it will actually rob them of the things they already know about it. God will tolerate hard heartedness only so long then He starts taking away the ability to understand.
So it can be with the spiritual heart, hardened over time by the process of sin, it can become so hard that it become impenetrable. There is a true implication here. All of us must continue our willingness to hear and to obey. If your spiritual heart can still receive God’s Word and obey God’s Word then God says , “You are blessed. The disciples had remained willing to listen. They were blessed.
Luke records in Luke 8:11-15, The seed is the Word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that theyi cannot believe and be saved. Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for awhile, but in time of testing they fall away. The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but they go their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures and they do not mature. BUT the seed on the good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it and by persevering produce a crop.
Principles with which we monitor our spiritual heart
First we have to recognize what the Word of God declares about our heart.
Jerimiah 17: 9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it”? So our heart need a cleansing and that cleansing can only come from our confession of Christ and asking Him to forgive us and come into our heart to search it and cleanse us by His Spirit and His Word. When Nicodemus asked Jesus how can a man be born again, Jesus answered him with these words, ..”Except a man/woman be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God…marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again” (John 3:5,7).
Second – Delight in the Word of God for Success
The New Birth positions us into another dimension of life. We allow the Lord to light the candle of our spirit, Proverbs 20:7, “The spirit of man is the candle(lamp) of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the heart” Psalm 18:28, “The Lord will light my candle”.
Before the New Birth we stood as an unlighted candle. Now God has lit the candle by the power of the Holy Spirit When our candle is lit by our God we allow Him to see into our thoughts and feelings, and our motives. Now the Word of God can begin a process in us to bring maturity into our being through His Word. Hebrews 4:12 tells us what the entrance of His Word will do. “For the Word of God is quick and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit and of the joints and marrow and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart“.
God’s Word diagnoses our condition with absolute precision. It lays open the spiritual heart and discerns the condition of all the darkness hidden within, exposing the weaknesses an unbeliefs with accuracy. God meets with us in His Word and the Holy Spirit works with power to perfect us and bring health, fruitfulness and success to what we do for Him The Word of God has power to deliver us from oppression, depression and possession. Psalm 107:20, “He sent his word and healed them and delivered them from their destructions”. The Word of God gives us counsel and guidance if we delight in it. Psalm 119:105, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”
The Scripture is certainly plain how a believer observes the importance of the Word of God. One can only grow and mature as they delight themselves in the Word of God. Allow the Holy Spirit to do the work in the innermost parts of our being. To do this we must saturate ourselves in the Living Word of God. It is life to our inward spirit and keeps the heart monitored.
Come and rejoice with me, For I have found a Friend Who knows my heart's most secret depths, Yet loves me without end.