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Series Theme:  "Faith Sermons"




















































Title:  16. Expectations and Outcomes


A. Readings:


Matt 13:3-8

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.


Matt 13:19-23

  • 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path .
  • 20 The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.
  • 22 The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.
  • 23 But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown."



B. Four Sorts of People – all with different expectations



•  The ‘ground' is the state of heart of the individual

•  The ‘seed' is the word of God – any word He speaks to us

•  We normally only think of it as the word seeking to bring salvation, but it can apply to any and all words that god seeks to bring to us.


1. Those who suffer hardness

•  the seed on the hard ground of the path

a) The nature of this ground

•  the path is hard because it has been walked on

•  our heart get hardened because we have been walked on by people & circumstances

•  this person simply allows the enemy to snatch it away

•  their expectation is that this word is not for them, hard, difficult and unacceptable

•  the hard knock of life, or even the faith-dreams that never came about, have left them with a hard response which means the seed is quickly gone

b) Examples of how it happens

•  the child who has been brought up with unbelieving parents – fixed unbelief

•  the child who has been influenced by an unbelieving sceptical teacher – fixed unbelief

•  i.e. intellectual hardness

•  the person who was abused as a child who questions why God allowed that – hurt & anger

•  the woman who couldn't have a child who questioned why God wouldn't help – hurt & anger

•  the person who has suffered a long-standing illness and wonders why God won't heal – hurt & anger

•  i.e. emotional hardness

c) The effect

•  their prejudices or their pain produce a hardness

•  when a word comes, Satan says, “God's not there, God doesn't care about you, this is rubbish” 

•  they are left untouched, unchanged- locked into ignorant prejudice or injured pain.

•  God allows us to choose our thinking – this person chose prejudices and tolerate pain which stifle their life and they miss out on what could be.



2. Those who give up easily

•  the seed on rocky places – shallow soil

a) The nature of this ground

•  there is soil but it is shallow and it covers rocks

•  this person looks good on the surface but underneath there is a hardness – it's rocky

•  the rocky bits have been tough parts of life that have never been resolved.

•  their expectations are that the present is what counts and the past can be forgotten

•  this person does not let Jesus deal with past failures and past hurts and so deep down there is a level that is impenetrable and God can go no further – a shallowness

b) Examples of how it happens

•  the person who was told as a child they were stupid – living with deep down inferiority

•  the woman who had an abortion secretly and never spoke of it, even to God – living with guilt

•  the person who spent time in prison and fears it being known – living with shame

•  the person who had a drink problem and fears it recurring – living with fear

c) The effect

•  on the surface they look good

•  yet deep down there is a rocky hardness because they have never let Jesus comes and expose it, bring it to the light and bring proper resolution to it.

•  here they are blessed by present experience but as soon as it touches on the reality of the past, they harden up and it goes no further and the word of hope dies.

•  when God's word comes they approve it but it doesn't have effect because it soon reaches the resistance of unresolved issues

•  God calls us to let Him deal with all past issues – this person fears the past issues which stifle their life and they miss out on what could be.


3. Those who are strangled by life

•  the seed among thorns

a) The nature of this ground

•  this ground has stuff in it that competes for life

•  this stuff strangles the life out of faith

•  we speak about oil and water not mixing

•  but there are things that not only don't mix, they suck the life out of faith

•  this person starts well but things are allowed to grow up that drain life

•  their expectations are limited, thwarted by competing issues

•  concerns come, financial pressures or temptations come, and they lose focus and those things crush faith and the word is drained of all power

b) Examples of how it happens

•  the person who succumbs to pornography – sin drains

•  the person who succumbs to financial fears – materialism & self effort drain life

•  the person who takes on more and more responsibility at work without checking it with God and moves into a life-draining job

c) The effect

•  spiritual issues take second place

•  church, prayer, Bible Study, sharing God's love, get pushed out

•  they hold a form of religion but there is no life

•  when God's word comes they approve it but it doesn't have effect

•  it is stifled by the ‘thorns' of life that have been allowed to grow

•  God allows us to weigh our priorities and choose our outcomes – this person chose alternatives which stifled their life and they miss out on what could be.



4. Those who hear, understand and respond and are fruitful

•  the seed on good ground

•  these people think about what they've heard, understand the implications, respond well and bring fruit

•  their expectations are

•  that God will do what He says, if I do what He says

•  that anything can happen as I allow God to lead me

•  the truth is that fruit flows out of obedience


C. The Desired Outcome

A life that is ‘fruitful', i.e. that

  • has received God's word, understood it and applied it
    • isn't afraid to learn, to think through what is heard
  • has come to know the blessing of the relationship with Jesus
    • has entered into the wonder of His love
  • knows his guiding, directing, teaching hand on it
    • isn't afraid to face the path with His love
  • finds character change taking place to mature it
    • doesn't allow competing things to take away anything of this life
  • has a sense of fulfilment and achievement
    • knows God's hand bringing blessing & it's a good feeling
  • has the thrill of being available to God as He reaches out to bless others
    • and see things happening, people changing.
  • revels in divine guidance, blessing and love
    • is a life of joy


D. The Things to be Dealt with

•  inherited prejudices that prevent us seeking for & receiving the truth

•  past pains that Jesus wants to heal up, pains that stop us moving on

•  present competing things that strangle the life out of us.

•  Deal with them!