I want to read to you the words of the Lord Jesus found in Matthew chapter 13. The parable of the sower explained. Therefore hear the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who receives seed by the wayside. But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy. Yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arise because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.
I want to speak to the second soil in verse 20. He who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy. Yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. There are some people who hear the words of Jesus and they're overjoyed to hear it. They're overjoyed that Jesus will forgive them of their sins, overjoyed that there is hope for them to be saved, and they're very thankful for that.
But they don't count the cost of what it really means to follow Jesus, and because they are like the seed in the rocky places, as they start to grow up in Jesus, and then their family members and their friends, people at their workplace or their school, all are against Jesus because they're anti-Christ.
They are torn down by all the tribulations of their friends. Tribulation right now, at least for in the United States, is not that bad. It will get a whole lot worse. But right now, the amount of persecution, the amount of hatred towards Christians, is enough to slow down almost everyone. Satan hasn't had to behead people or to line people up to kill Christians in order to scare Christians away from following Jesus.
All he has to say is, your mom and your dad won't approve that you're a Christian. All the devil has had to tell Christians is say, well, all your friends will leave you, who will you party with, who will you have fun with? All the devil has had to tell Christians is, who will you fellowship with? You'll be so lonely, you'll go off and die.
And because this small amount of persecution, or these small little stones and rocks that are making the path bumpy, the Christians that want to follow Jesus, they fall on these rocks, and they stumble, and they fall away from the truth of Jesus. They're not able to walk down the straight and narrow path and produce good fruit.
This accounts for a whole lot of Christians. It's sad to see that people just want to please people, but they don't care to please God. They don't care to do what Jesus thinks is upright and pure and holy. They would rather look good to their pastor, look good to their mom and dad and their church and their friends, and because they care so much what people think, they will never be able to love and obey Jesus and follow Him to the very end.
If you notice, only the fourth soil and the fourth seed produces good fruit. Only that fourth person who chooses to bear good fruit for Jesus and not let the things of the world choke him out, not follow or try to please men, only that person ends up producing good fruit. And only the one who produces good fruit will inherit everlasting life with the Lord.
If the devil snatches away the truth from you or chokes you out, or if you fall on the stony places or on the byway, you're not going to inherit everlasting life. You have to be the good seed in the good soil. So if you are willing to count the cost to separate from bad friends, to separate from things that you know are ungodly, to do the work to detox the world, to detox whatever you need to get the parasites out of your life, if you're willing to do that, there's great hope in Jesus and you will be saved.
But you have to count the cost of what it means to follow the Lord. If you are concerning yourself what He thinks of you and doing what is right, instead of being concerned about people, your friends, all the things of the world, how you will look at your workplace, are we concerned about Jesus and what He thinks of us in everlasting life, or are we concerned with the here and the now?
So I think a lot of people fall into this, into this category of caring too much about what people think. But the third category is the category that we also have to be very careful of, which is the one who fell on the thorns. The one who fell on the thorns is he who hears the word and the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word and he becomes unfruitful.
Unless we're really careful, money becomes a big problem. We start to serve money, we start to serve things, we start to get more and more stuff of this world, and all the worries of this world will consume us. We have to be very careful that people are not distracting us, that we're not concerned just with fellowship, just with trying to get into the right church, or just with how much money we make, or what kind of food we're eating, or where we're living.
Jesus said that the Gentiles seek after all those things, but He said, as for us, seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. If we seek first Jesus and put Him first in our life, then He will give us the clothes we need, the food we need, the money we need to pay our rent and everything else.
But if we seek the things that Gentiles and heathens seek first, then we're no better than a heathen. And a lot of Christians are falling into the category of either the seed that is choked out by the world, they're not producing any fruit at all because they're so concerned with money, clothes and food.
We don't want to fall into that category, nor do we want to fall into the category of being concerned what people think and falling on those rocks. Are you on the straight and narrow path today with Jesus? Are you enduring with Him? Or have you been distracted by other people, by money, and by the things of this world?
I want to pray for those who want to overcome this world and who want to walk with Jesus in peace and endure with Him to the very end. "Lord Jesus, I pray for Your true church, for those who have come out of dead religion, for those who have come out of worldliness. I pray for those who have an ear to hear, that You would speak to them, that You would guide them, that they would hear Your voice and know that You are not the Bible, that they would know that You are the living God who speaks through the Bible, who speaks through situations, that speaks through nature and all the things in our life.
And we pray that we learn to hear Your whisper and Your voice in everything. We pray that we truly have ears to hear and eyes to see, and that our hands would do Your work and that our feet would run to obey. So I pray for the true body of Christ, my brothers and sisters in the Lord who want to do Your work, who want to overcome.
I pray that You give them the power to overcome and that they would endure with You through whatever trials and tribulations come their way. In Your name I pray, Lord Jesus, Amen."