Which Soil Are You? | Matthew 13:1-9


Marvin Walker explains that the focus of the parable of the sower in Matthew 13:1-9 is not the sower, but rather the various types of soil. This parable shows us that the seed of the gospel is not ineffective, but if it’s planted in the wrong type of soil, the consequences can be painful and even deadly.

Marvin WalkerJun 25, 2023

In This Series (11)
Pray Through to God’s Breakthrough | Luke 18:1-8
John ElmoreAug 6, 2023
The Parable of the Pharisee and Tax Collector | Luke 18:9-14
Blake HolmesJul 30, 2023
Don’t Waste Your Life | Matthew 25:14-30
Timothy "TA" AteekJul 23, 2023
The Forgiven Forgive | Matthew 18:21-35
John ElmoreJul 16, 2023
A Warning to Rule Followers | Luke 15:25-32
Timothy "TA" AteekJul 9, 2023
The Forgiving Father and His Two Lost Sons: The Prodigal Son | Luke 15:1-32
John ElmoreJul 2, 2023
Which Soil Are You? | Matthew 13:1-9
Marvin WalkerJun 25, 2023
The Path to Being Built Different | Matthew 7:24-27
Jermaine HarrisonJun 18, 2023
How to Get Into Heaven | Luke 10:25-37
Timothy "TA" AteekJun 11, 2023
Problems, Prayer, and Provision | Luke 11:5-8
John ElmoreJun 4, 2023
Your Best Summer with Jesus | Matthew 13:44-46
Timothy "TA" AteekMay 28, 2023


In Jesus’ parable of the sower, He mentions the seed and four different types of soil. Jesus explains what the types of soil represent in Matthew 13:18-23. He says the seed is the gospel and the four soil types represent four different ways people respond to the gospel. The seed doesn’t change, but its effectiveness is based on where the seed lands. Which type of soil are you?

  • The Path (Matthew 13:4)
    • This represents people whose heart is hard and unresponsive toward the gospel.
    • They do not believe the gospel will make a difference for them, so they reject it.
    • They might think they’re connected to God, but they are not.
    • They do not think about the gospel long enough for it to have an effect and it is “snatched away” by the evil one (Matthew 13:19).
    • 1 Peter 5:8 warns us about the evil one who seeks someone to devour.
  • The Rocky Soil (Matthew 13:5-6)
    • This represents people whose heart is a little softer than the path, but they still have areas of hardness. There are things they are not willing to change.
    • They believe in Jesus, but lack the discipline to spend time with him.
    • When things go wrong in their life, they abandon their relationship with God and the church. This “withering away” proves the gospel was never deeply rooted in them (Matthew 13:20-21).
    • Colossians 2:7 warns us that we need to be rooted and established in Jesus.
    • Matthew 10:22 warns us that we must endure to the end.
  • The Thorny Soil (Matthew 13:7)
    • This represents people whose heart is responsive to the gospel, but is crowded with concerns about life’s circumstances.
    • They believe in Jesus and know that He’s good, but there are other things that are more important to them than walking with God.
    • The gospel impacted their heart, but after a little time, it is choked out by the worries, concerns, and distractions of life (Matthew 13:22).
  • The Good Soil (Matthew (13:8)
    • This represents people whose heart is open, receptive, and willing to obey God.
    • They desire more of Christ in their life so they will continue to grow.
    • They hear the truth, understand the truth and the truth bears fruit in their life.
    • The fruit they bear is the result of continuing to be faithful in a life yielded to the Holy Spirit, rather than their flesh.
    • John 15:8 encourages us that we prove to be a true disciple of Christ when we bear fruit.
    • Galatians 5:22 lists the fruit the gospel produces in our life to help us know what to look for.

Discussing and Applying the Sermon

  • What type of soil are you? These questions can help you see your heart more clearly and determine what type of soil you might be:
    • What do you think about most often?
    • What do you talk about with others?
    • How do you spend your time?
    • Are there any sins that you are unwilling to surrender?
    • What is your response when hard times come?
    • What fruit do you see in your life?
  • Are your thoughts, conversations, and time spent on the things of God or on other pursuits?
  • In what area can you take a step to prioritize God and be more open to the gospel?

Watermark, what is going on? Four days ago, summer started, but somehow, it still feels like a winter wonderland up in here because we like to keep the air on 57 degrees. But it's still summertime. It is. So, good morning. Boo. Good morning! That's what I'm talking about. Let me say this. If you don't talk back today, this service is going to end at 1:45, so I'm going to need your help. I'm going to need you. Today, it's okay to "Amen." Amen?

Today, if you need to tap your neighbor in the chest and say, "Mm, that might have been for you," you can do that. If it's the second neighbor on the other side, you can just get your lean on and go, "You listening?" That's for today. Anyway, you're like, "Who is this brother up here talking crazy? I don't even know him." My name is Marvin Walker, and I am coming to you 14 miles south from our South Dallas Campus that just turned 2 last Sunday.

I haven't been with you on a Sunday, so I want to update you and invite you into a few things and all of the things that have been going on in sunny South Dallas. The first thing I want to say, Watermark family, is "Thank you for praying." Thank you for praying for all that has taken place over the last two years, and thank you for giving. Praise God for that. Not just thank you for praying and giving but thank you for believing, believing in us to carry out the vision down there and transform by Christ to love others like Christ. Thank you, thank you, and thank you.

You've shown up big, as a church, but the Lord has also shown up in a lot of big ways, and I want to show you through a series of pictures how the Lord has shown up. The first picture popping up… We had a family picnic, and these are two members who are showing a homeless friend who sits with us, who joins us during our service time, how to play checkers. These are some of the things that happen at 3:00 p.m. every Sunday when we gather.

The second picture… We did a little thing called Popsicles and Prayer. Yes, those things can mix together. Those things can go together. We went to the apartment complex that is behind the church and prayed with families, prayed with kids. This little dude here… He walks to church sometimes. He's 5 years old. He hops on the church van at times, 5 years old, but at 5, last summer, he lost his mother to gun violence. So, just some of the things that are going on there.

Third is an event called Fall Fun in the South where we invite the entire community of South Dallas to come join us. It's a heavy lift, and a lot of you helped us pull that off. So praise God for that. That is just a time where we kind of shut down church and actively be the church on that Sunday. It's actually coming up in 126 days. I did a little bit of math. October 29. You can mark your calendars. That is coming up. Fourthly, as I mentioned, we turned 2. This was after the service last Sunday. All members, attendees, the kids… People were out moving around, traveling, but we got together and took a snapshot.

Now, knowing this is the last week of the Love Our City campaign… I want you to hold tight. We're going to get into the parable. You're like, "What's going on?" You've been invited to serve at one of Watermark's ministry partners. When it comes to South Dallas, I don't want to invite you to serve, but if there is interest, if there is any level of curiosity, what I want to do is challenge you in coming to South Dallas to show up intentionally.

This is maybe the first time you're hearing that Watermark has a South Dallas Campus. When I say, "Show up," I mean I don't want you to just come on one Sunday or come next Sunday or come the second Sunday or come three times. I'm going to challenge you to show up four times in a row, because what we're learning in South Dallas is that ministry takes intentionality, but a part of the ministry is consistency.

So, showing up July 2 (I want to challenge you to do that if there is a level of interest), showing up July 9, showing up July 16, and showing up July 23. I personally would like to sit with you on July 23, if you join us for those four weeks, to hear how God may have moved in your heart, what relationships were built, or what's going on. So, if you do have that interest… You're like, "Wow! Four weeks in a row? That's a little bit much."

I want you to pull out your phone, go to southdallas@watermark.org, and shoot an email. If you're here, be here, but if there is maybe something that you and your Community Group could come and do, maybe it's you and some friends, four weeks in a row… On that subject line, as you pull out your phone (southdallas@watermark.org…just shoot the email), put "Look out for me," because that's what we want to do. We want to look out for you to introduce you to others, to build relationships, and all that good stuff.

If you do have questions, write your first and last name in the body of the email, and then put the questions underneath. "What's going on? How do I get more information?" Anything. Or you can say, "Whoa! That was just a whole lot. I'm good on all of it," and that's cool. You can just pray. So, four weeks of faithful visiting. Check the soil of your heart out. Let's pray, and let's get into the parable.

Lord, thank you that your Word is true. As we get into it, we pray, Holy Spirit, that you convict us, you lead us, you teach us, and that we would follow Jesus all the more faithfully. In Jesus' name, amen.

It was in 2015. In 2015, I had just gotten married a few months before, uprooted from Southern California to Dallas, Texas. The Lord clearly directed my bride Amber Walker and me to be here. I mean, I had known this girl since I was a freshman in high school and she was a junior. You're like, "What?" She's down here. You can talk to her. You're like, "What are you doing, Amber?"

But now we're in Dallas. We're one. We're married. It has been just a couple of months, and we've got our own place. We have this one-bedroom loft. We've left family, and here we are. There's a ton of excitement. Oftentimes, Amber is home before me. In this one situation, she's home before me, and I come in, and there's a pregnancy test on the counter. I'm like, "Girl, we've only been married a couple of months. What's going on? I'm about to be a new father. We're about to have to have doctor visits." I'm saying all of these things. It was a lot. Emotions were everywhere.

In a time where I tried to come home before her and kind of set up the room and set up the house and be this good husband, Amber unlocked the door in this particular situation, and it was a lot slower than usual. Then the door opened at a slower pace than usual, and as the door opened up, Amber was on the floor, and she said, "Honey, I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I'm so sorry!" I'm thinking, "What just happened? Did somebody do something to her? Did I do something to her?"

What she said was, "I am sorry. I just miscarried." In that moment, all I could do was drop down with her and shut the door and hold her and pray with her and encourage her and pray with her some more. I just sat and grieved and mourned and cried and sat in silence. This was a hard moment. When God intended life, laughter, love, and joy, we were mourning. This was a heavy moment.

What happened in this situation was the seed… It may have been fine, but the location of the seed had us in the midst of pain. This was turmoil. This was hardship. The seed didn't attach to the uterine lining. It could have been placement. It could have been timing. Here we were, sorrowful and hurt. Church, if you've had miscarriages, I want to pause right now and tell you this: Do not stop believing. Do not stop enduring. Do not stop pressing forward. Do not lose heart.

It's not said enough, and I want to say it now. I am so sorry. This is not how the Lord intended for things to be, but it's because of the fall, because of sin, that we have to experience things like this on this side of heaven. Today I want to talk to you about where the seed is planted in the parable we're going to read, because the seed of God's Word has no problems, but if it's planted in the wrong place, the experience of joy can end in death.

Now, I'm sure you're thinking, "Wow! Why start with such a heavy story?" Before even getting into this parable, I want us to understand and know the potential pain and death that can be experienced if the seed of God's Word doesn't properly take root in a person's heart. I started with life and death because this sermon is about life or death. So now, Matthew 13. Turn there. Get your Bible apps out. Let's read this together. I'm going to start in verse 1, ESV. Let's get it.

"That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: 'A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them.

Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.'"

Then Jesus huddled the disciples up and gave them the answer key to the test. That's verse 18. Here we go. "Hear then the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path.

As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty."

The whole crowd heard what was in verses 1-9, and then the disciples got verses 19-23. For us, we're about to unpack this today. A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. In this parable, the sower is mentioned twice. This is the parable of the sower, but he's only mentioned twice at the top of the story. So, with that being the case, I'm going to suggest this has to be the parable of the soil.

My question for us this morning is…Which soil are you? The seed in the story is clearly God's Word. That's perfect. It's sufficient. It's immutable. It's not ever changing. The seed is the gospel, the good news. "For God so loved the world…" How much did he love the world? So much so that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. It's Jesus who is our sinless substitute.

It's he who was slain, slaughtered, for our sin, but it didn't end there. He got up from the grave, and right now he's seated at the right hand of God. By simple faith in the Son of God…booyah! Peace with God and forgiveness of sins. So, the sower is Jesus. He's the way, the truth, and the life. If you've placed faith in him, then heaven is your eternal home. Salvation is not something that can be stolen. You cannot be taken from the Father's hand.

In this parable, the seed is the same, but it's the soil that's different. Where it lands is different. So, the success of the seed has nothing to do with the seed, but it has everything to do with the four different soils on which it lands. So, I want to speak to some thoughts before we jump into the first soil. These are thoughts you might not verbalize, things like, "I don't really think the Bible works.

I mean, I've seen Jesus do things in people's lives, but I don't see him doing things in my life the same way. God's Word isn't really doing what it said. I've heard sermon after sermon after sermon. I come to church constantly, but I'm not growing like him or her. I'm not necessarily growing like my wife is. I study all the time, but nothing. I pray prayers often, and I get no answers." You might say this. It might not be a fleshed-out word, but they're thoughts.

What if it's our positioning that's impacting the seed that's being sowed by the sower? Just what if it's our position that's affecting the proficiency of the seed in our lives? Which soil are you? Know that the seed never, ever changes. It's where it lands that determines what it does. So, the difference in the results isn't in the seed but the soil on which the seed falls. If God's Word isn't working, church, we have to check the ground it landed on.

So, the first soil. Verse 4: "Some fell along the path." There are no issues with the seed. There are no problems with the sower, but it's the soil. Here we are at the path. This is the heart that is hard. It's hard for the Word to penetrate this heart. This path is close to the sower, but it's so hard this heart doesn't necessarily believe that the Word of God will even work.

Let's think about when you open up a brand-new iPhone. Man, it's an experience. (No, this is not any shade to Android users in this moment. No shade whatsoever.) You take it out of the box, you unwrap the paper, and what we're told to do is make sure you plug that thing into the wall and to the phone. If you were to have done that and not got a response after you tapped the screen… If you were to have plugged your phone in at night and woke up… "Do I want to go into low power mode? What?" What you thought was plugged in really wasn't plugged in.

What I've realized is with iPhones the charger can rest on the charging port of the phone, but with an extra nudge…Buzz! What you thought was plugged in wasn't really plugged in. There's nothing wrong with the power. There's nothing wrong with this brand-new phone, but there's no connection. There's no buzz. There's no lightning bolt. There was no power.

A lot of you may look like you're plugged in, but there's no buzz. This is the path. Some of you are in here, but you're not really in here, so you might as well not even be in here. It's about the heart. This is the first soil: physically present but comprehensively absent. Those who are in church can be close to the sower, but their heart is so hard their location doesn't depict where they really are.

Think about Judas. Judas walked with Jesus, dined with Jesus, sat with Jesus, learned from Jesus, and all of that time he still had the intent to betray him while he was with him. Some of us have that same exact intent to walk out these doors the same way we came in…with no care. We have that intent. We're already resolved to live the same exact lives. Hearing a word doesn't matter, because the seed is falling on a hardened heart.

You might be close to the sower, but really, that's irrelevant because your heart is so hard. You still don't believe me, huh? We can walk out these doors… Because it's the weekend, we call our family. We call our friends and catch up with them. "Hey, I just left church." "Oh, what was the sermon about?" "I don't know. I don't even remember the first worship song." Snatched away that quickly. The seed got devoured.

That's verse 19. After hearing the Word and not understanding it, it gets snatched away. By whom? Do you see what's up there? The bird, the Evil One, Satan himself. You're like, "What? They've got a satanic bird in the church?" I'm kidding…maybe. This is that 1 Peter 5:8 language. He's seeking whom he may devour. Satan is watching. I mean, he has been sitting there all summer and you haven't even noticed him. He's seeking whom he may devour.

That's not a game…to snatch what you're learning right now out of your heart. That's what he does. He steals, kills, and destroys by devouring your life and snatching the truth that quickly. He has tactics. He has timed attacks. That's what happened in Matthew 4 when Jesus was tempted. But what Jesus decided to do was instead of hardening his heart, Jesus hid the Word in his heart. Satan did it with Job. He did it with Cain. He's going to do it with you as you continue to follow. The seed on this path was snatched away. Which soil are you?

The second soil. There's no problem with the seed. There are no issues with the sower, but it's the soil. The second soil is in verse 5. It says, "Other seeds fell on rocky ground." It's a little bit softer, but it's still hard. Last week, I know if you were here you got to hear about the parable in Matthew 7. Am I going to build on the rock or am I going to build on the sand?

As I thought about this, some of us like a little bit of rocky sand. "Mix it on up. I like me a little bit of God's Word. Mm-hmm. But give me some of that human opinion too." Mixed up…rocky. Looking at verse 20, it says, "Receive the word." This person received the Word, and after some time, a falling away occurred. Think about your New Year's resolutions. We're in June now. Just saying. Without the vision, without the set goals, without the expectations, we quickly fall away.

"I like me some good old church, but I like the Burger King more than the King of Kings, because that slogan is 'Have it your way,' and that's what I'm about. I believe in Jesus, but you know what? I'm still probably going to get high a little bit." Maybe that's not your thing. "I still believe in Jesus, but I'm just going to have me a second, third, fourth, fifth glass of wine, and I know I'm overdoing it." Rocky ground.

Are you responding to the gospel in a rocky way like this? "I like coming to church. I'll listen to that guy up there, but certain things I'm just not going to change about my life." That's rocky ground. "There are certain things that just will never, ever be different." That's rocky ground. "There are certain places I'm still going to go." That's rocky ground. "Young buck, I've been in the faith far too long." Rocky ground.

"I believe in Jesus. He and I are good, but I just lack the discipline of spending time with God." Maybe, as a believer, your circumstances are causing you to doubt the Most High God. Maybe it's job challenges, major life changes, and that trust in Jesus has lessened. We read the verse. This person was interested. This person was converted. So, yes, they're saved. Hear that. But they have no root.

Being at church makes them happy…the band, the lights. All of that makes them feel good, but because they never took root in Jesus, as soon as a circumstance occurred, as soon as somebody in the family got sick, who did they blame? They failed to grow in Christ. They lacked discipleship. They lacked accountability. "God, I stopped for you," whatever that is. You fill in the blank. "You were supposed to bless my business."

As soon as something went down, they left God's church, disengaged with God's people, and never continued to open God's Word. That might be you in the second soil…rocky ground. Look at Matthew 13:21. You see it mentions "Tribulation and persecution arises on account of the Word." Remember, Jesus is the Word. In Matthew 10:22, three chapters before this, Jesus said, "You'll be hated for my name's sake by all, but it's about the one who endures to the end."

If there's no enduring to the end, like the believer in Matthew 13:21… Saved, but there's no root. Saved from hell because you surrendered to Jesus, but Colossians 2:7 calls us to be rooted in Jesus, not diluted. The last words in Matthew 13:6 are withered away. Don't we know some folks who have done that, just withered away from church?

Kid stuff became too much. Just withered away. Stopped showing up to community. They withered away. Stopped serving. They withered away. They used to sit with you at church. They've just withered away. Church, we have to fight to stay rooted in God's church, we have to fight to stay rooted in community, and we have to fight to stay rooted in God's Word. We have to. Which soil are you? Those are the first two.

The third soil. There's no problem with the seed, there are no issues with the sower, but here's this soil yet again, and verse 7 talks about the thorns. "Other seeds fell among the thorns." This is the soil that's crowded with thorns. This is the heart that is crowded out with life's circumstances. National news seems to be more important.

Look at verse 22. "As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word…" "Kingdom influence? Affluence? Give me some of that." Church, let's rely on God for kingdom influence rather than rely on ourselves for earthly affluence. We have to. This is that person who's saying, "Jesus is good. He might be a good prophet and all, but there are other things that are more important to me than walking with God."

You may not say these things out loud. "There are things that are more important to me than raising my kids up in the fear of the Lord. I think there's an opportunity for me to take this trip because it might bring a little bit more income in. So what if I have to miss a Sunday? Gathering with the saints ain't all that important. If I can be at the ball field with my kids for that extra time, maybe it'll put them in a position to get a… Who cares if I have to miss church or miss this or miss that? God can suffer."

The seed got to the soil in the third soil, but it's crowded in there. After a little bit of growing, it got choked out from what its intentions were. The thorns are the topics of politics, gender, things that can bring about worry, personal worries, personal life circumstances, things that prick you. It may be a wayward child. You're more consumed with that. It may be finances. It may be your personal illness. It may be a family member's illness. These things choke out the Word of God. This is the thorny ground. Which soil are you?

Now, I'm going to put a picture on the screen that's going to be hard. In football, the goal of a defensive back is to keep a receiver from catching the ball, so this is not a highlight moment for me. I know in Texas football is big. Some of you are already hurting for me right now, but there are others, I know, who don't really care for the game, so I just want to break this down. This is a very, very low moment.

I want to be clear because in preparing for this, I have a friend on staff who was like, "Oh, go Marvin. Get it." I'm like, "Girl, he just scored 6 on me. What do you mean?" (That's a touchdown.) In this picture, I did not do my job. I may look the part. I may look like someone who would stop a play, but I got cocky. I got arrogant. I knew I had covered this route from camp. I did it against Texas Tech, did it against Boston College…you name it. But the University of Montana, all schools? (29:31) I started caring about other things.

I recognized this formation, knew it clearly, but the cares of things going on pre-game in the locker room, the cares of what we were going to do after the game, choked me out for a touchdown. I'm still on the team, still saved. (I'm not on the team now. I'm connecting the dots to still saved.) But I got distracted. I got beat. I never turned back to the fundamentals. I may have looked the part. I may have known what was true, but all I did was look the part.

Sometimes that's us in the faith. We get choked out and start living in the flesh, and we care more about the things of the world than what God's Word says. My coach had sown the truth in me. He had sown the seed. He had taught me. He had trained me. I knew what to do, but the seed was choked out by the cares that came in. What worries and cares are crowding out the Word of God for you today? Which soil are you really?

Then we get to the fourth soil. The thing is I know you know this parable. You've read it. You've heard about it. What I don't want you to quickly do is say, "Pfft! I'm the good soil. I already know this. I don't need to hear this sermon. Let me just sit back." Be cautious, because there are four soils the seed lands on.

There's no problem with the seed, there are no issues with the sower, but this next soil is obviously a little bit different in verse 8. "Other seeds fell on good soil and produced." This is what the gospel does when it finds a receptive and willing-to-obey heart. It produces. This is the believer who gladly receives the seeds of God's Word, embraces it, and chooses to walk in obedience. This is what the fourth soil does.

When I think about good soil, there's a story that comes to mind from South Dallas. It starts rocky, so stay with me as I tell it, yet it ends good. There's a man who walked onto the campus, saying, "Hey, I heard this church has a job connection program." That's true. We do. "But, hey, I don't want to hear anything about Jesus. I don't really care about God. I get this is a church, but I just need a job." I was like, "Dang. Okay." Still, I invited him to our 3:00 p.m. service. "Come back to 3400 Garden Lane. I'd love for you to sit right next to me, man."

He took me up on it, surprisingly. He showed up, and he kept showing up. He didn't just keep showing up, but he eventually got a job. We hired him to be on our facilities team. After watching him walk with Jesus for some time, he then started working there. He then rode his bike there daily. He then showed up early on Tuesdays for Tuesday men's Bible study. He then started bringing his son to church. He then started asking people in his life for forgiveness. He then was on his road to making disciples.

How do you distinguish a true follower of the way from a hypocrite? It's what verse 23 says. "He indeed bears fruit." John 15:8 says when we bear fruit, we prove to be a disciple of Christ. Well, what is fruit? Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. This man shifted from selfish desires to the visible fruit of gentleness and kindness. The result of continuing to be faithful is fruit, visible fruit that doesn't just benefit you but others as well.

It's a person who's willing to let the seed constantly transform them…not just a one-time deal but constantly. It's the person who lives a life that's yielded to the Holy Spirit and not the flesh. This is that person whose private life matches their public life. They're consistent rather than drastically different. If your life were to be played on this screen, would you sit proudly in your chair of all of the things you've done over the last week or would you start slipping down?

All of this is next steps to being that good soil, a person who heard, a person who understood, a person who bears fruit, a person who's yielded. Which soil are you? In verse 9, Jesus said, "He who has ears, let him hear." Talking to the crowd. "He who has ears, let him hear." Evidently, it was possible to be part of the crowd and completely miss the story.

It's evident that you could have two of these bad boys and not even hear a thing. It's possible to come to church and get nothing out of the sermon. It's possible to be in God's house and miss God completely. Which soil are you? I really want you to be honest with yourself, because that's the only way we can grow. Because we still have breath, we still have growing to do.

If you've placed faith in Jesus Christ by hearing the Word, understanding the Word…the fruit in your life is affirmed by those you're in community with, you're yielding and producing a harvest where you're serving…praise God. You're the good soil. But everybody hasn't received the implanted Word, like James 1:21 says. It talks about receiving the implanted Word, which is able to save your soul. The implanted Word is the seed.

Every person we encounter every day is going to spend an eternity somewhere. If you're planted in the good soil, great. It doesn't end there, though. You have a responsibility to scatter seeds of the gospel. You may get rejected, but they're rejecting the message, not you as the messenger. Which soil are you, really? If you have ears that are really ready to hear, and you've considered what soil you truly are, don't let this be another Sunday where you just leave church and "How was church?" "It was great" but you miss the Great I Am. That's not what this is about.

At the beginning of our time, I sat down right here and shared something pretty heavy. Horrifically, the miscarriage I talked about… It didn't happen once. It didn't happen twice. It happened on three sad occasions. Some of you who heard that may have just checked out then, and this parable is irrelevant, but I'm glad you're here.

You may be thinking, "Does Jesus still love me? Does God still care?" Yes and yes. Your first love… You're the apple of his eye. The grief could be that. The grief could also be other things, other hardships. Don't let your grief, the grief you're experiencing, choke you out and cause you to wither away.

What just occurred right now is the seed fell on four different soils. The seed fell. I want to speak to the person who's not a believer right now. If you heard the Word, and you had the thought, "Dang! I need a personal sin bearer. I've sinned against God. I've sinned against myself. I've sinned against others, and Jesus and I are no good. I heard the gospel clearly. The seed is there, and I know I need a personal sin bearer…"

Well, the seed just fell on good soil. You heard it. You understood it. After this last song, you're going to get a chance to respond to it as well. Whether it be grief or whether it be coming to know Jesus for the first time, there will be people up here to pray for you. Church, the seed fell. The gospel fell. Which soil are you?

Heavenly Father, I thank you so much for what just took place in your Word. I thank you for the truth of your Word. I thank you for being the sower who faithfully loves us, for giving us your seed. Lord, you don't have to do another thing. You've done enough in giving us your Son. Convict us. Lead us. Help us to faithfully follow you all the more this week and truly consider which soil we are. In Jesus' name, amen.