Which Soil Are You?

March 5, 2023

David Sorn

How receptive is the soil of your heart to the seed of God’s Word?

Which Soil Are You?

March 5, 2023

David Sorn

How receptive is the soil of your heart to the seed of God’s Word?



(Parables of Eternity Series Slide)

Hey everyone. Hope you’re enjoying your Sunday morning.

My name is David Sorn, and I’m the Lead Pastor here.

Our church purchased our original 6.5 acres of land here back in 2017…

…and in the process of purchasing that land, we had to complete a number of “due diligence” items to make sure the land itself was good enough to put a building on.

And one of the tasks we needed to do was to test the soil here

I was so excited about the possibility of getting land at this spot that I actually came out for a little while to watch them test the soil.

And so I have photos from it!

(Soil Test #1 Picture)

By the way, I noticed when I looked at this picture again that gas was $2.39 back then!

And how amazing is it still that God gave us that corner lot that the gas station was on? Wow!

Okay, anyway, they drill deep down and have a device that can pull out a long cylindrical sample of the soil

And then…

(Soil Test #2 Picture)

…they test the soils that they pull out and make sure that the soil is the type of soil that can hold up a building

And in a similar way, Jesus says that you have a soil in your heart.

And that you should test it.

…because your ability to hear and be changed by God’s Word is based on the condition of the soil in your heart.


(Parables of Eternity Series Slide)

We are going to hear more about that as we are starting a new teaching series this morning called “Parables of Eternity” where we will be teaching through Matthew chapter 13 in the Bible.

Most of the chapter contains parables that are focused on thinking long-term, or thinking of eternity

If you don’t know what a parable is, that’s totally okay!

A parable is just a story or illustration that teaches a main point

Jesus gives a bit more reasoning for WHY he tells so many parables in verses 10-17 of chapter 13 if you want to look at that later.

We’re actually going to jump over those verses today, but come back to them in 2 weeks when we teach another parable.


Now, before we read our parable for today, which is the Parable of the Sower, let me explain to you what a few of the things in this parable represent:

The Sower = Jesus or anyone sharing God’s Word

The Seed = The Word of God

The 4 Soils = The different states of the human heart

The Sower, in this original context is Jesus,

(and by the way) a sower, is a farmer.

Don’t picture someone sowing fabric with a sowing machine

And this is probably not how you use a sowing machine.

I’ve obviously never sowed anything in my life.

So the sower in the parable is Jesus, but in our context is could be anyone (you or me) that is sharing about God or His Word with someone

The seed is God’s Word, often His Gospel, the truth that Jesus can forgive and save you

And the 4 soils we’re going to read about represent 4 different states of a heart’s receptiveness to God’s Word, the seed.

So let’s take a look at this parable

Everybody go ahead and grab a Bible

Matthew 13:1-8; 18-23

Page 666

This is what we do here.

It’s not on the screen, we get out our Bibles, and we study God’s word together

Now the Parable of the Sower in Matthew is a bit unique because Jesus actually interprets it for us, which He typically does NOT do with parables.

And so we’re going to jump back and forth in the passage today between the parable itself and His explanation.

Okay, let’s start back at verse 1 now of our chapter, chapter 13

(Matthew 13:1-4) – NIV

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.

(Title: Which Soil Are you?)

In those days, farmers would take a bag of seeds and scatter them across the ground often plowing them into the dirt afterward.

Not every seed would fall on good soil, and so the growth of the crop would be different based on which kind of soil the seed landed in

And that’s true of how God’s word sinks into different hearts.

In fact, even our own hearts can be in a different state in different times.

And part of what I want you to do while you listen today is to examine your heart and see if you can figure out Which soil are you?

So let’s talk about this first soil, the hard soil.

The 4 Soils of the Heart

#1: The Hard Soil

This is the soil that is the walking path alongside the farmer’s field, and because it always gets walked on, its soil is hard

And so the seeds can’t sink in, and the birds come and eat them up!

But what does that mean?

Let’s jump down to Jesus’ explanation of that in verses 18 & 19

(Matthew 13:18-19) – NIV

18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 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 their heart. This is the seed sown along the path.

Have you ever shared about Jesus with someone and it’s like your words are just bouncing right off a concrete heart?

That’s the “hard soil of the heart” that Jesus is talking about here

And I tell you what, that used to be my heart.

The first time a friend shared with me about Jesus, I told him he had 10 seconds to get out of my house.

That’s a heart of stone.

By the way, as an encouragement to you to not give up in sharing about Jesus, God eventually gave me a new heart!

The only way to get a soil soft enough for a seed to sink into is for God to renew a heart!

That’s why prayer is perhaps the most important part of evangelism!

Without a new softer heart, your seed will just bounce off and be snatched away by the birds

By the way, I showed our resident bird lover, Pastor Josh, one of my study Bibles this week, which just said “Matthew 13:4: Birds, i.e. Satan, the evil one”

He did not appreciate it 😊


Let’s take a look at the 2nd soil.

So we are back to verse 5

(Matthew 13:5-6) – NIV

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.

This is the 2nd soil.

The 4 Soils of the Heart

#1: The Hard Soil

#2: The Shallow Soil

This is a type of soil in Israel that has a rock bed underneath.

And so the roots go down, but they can only go down so far until they hit the rock, and thus the plant withers.

Let’s look at how Jesus explains the meaning of the shallow soil

(Matthew 13:20-21) – NIV

20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.

Once you’ve been a Christian long enough, unfortunately you’ll know people like this

They said they accepted Christ.

They maybe even got really excited about Christianity for a while, but then, their passion disappears, and they quickly fall away

What is that?

Were they saved?

We don’t know.

I’d say probably not.

Jesus, Paul, and John all say that one of the true marks of discipleship is to “remain faithful to the end.”

(John 8:31b) – NIV

Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.

You know we have people make decisions for Christ here basically every week, and when I meet with them afterwards, I never say to them, “Hey, you prayed this prayer, so now you’re saved”

I say to them, “if this is truly real for you, and you actually walk it out, then it will absolutely change your life, and you’ll see the fruit of it being real”

(Title: Which Soil Are you?)

And maybe the more important question for this 2nd soil is “Why does this happen?”

Why are there people who get excited about Christ at first, but then fall away?

Well, what does Jesus say?

Look at the end of verse 21: When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away

We had a guy at our church once who accepted Christ, and he was very excited about Jesus

But then he started asking questions like, “If I’m a Christian, do I have to believe this? Do I need do that? Or what about this hot button social issue?

And we told Him what the Bible said, but encouraged him to just start with following Jesus, don’t get too sidetracked”

And he said, “No, I don’t want to follow Jesus if I have to believe that”

He didn’t want to be “persecuted because of the word” as Jesus says in verse 21.

In a similar but different vein, the type of preaching that’s been done in the American church at large over the last generation, has unfortunately created an entire generation of people who only want Jesus (not for Jesus’ sake), but for what they think Jesus can give them.

So many Americans are following Jesus because they were told in church that Jesus could help them with their marriage, or their job, or finances, or to conquer that next giant in their life, or whatever the sexy teaching series promoted

And then, when trouble came, or suffering came, they said, “If I’m still going to suffer with Jesus, then I don’t believe in Jesus anymore…because He’s supposed to make my life better, not harder!”

That’s the shallow soil.

And to all of you in this room that have been Christians for less than a year, it’s likely that you’re still in this 2nd soil simply because you just haven’t had time yet for your faith to go deeper

And so it’s critical that you keep pressing your roots deeper into the soil.

Keep meeting with Jesus every day.

Be in the Word every day

If you’re not in a House Group yet, and I know a lot of you aren’t, you gotta get in one.

You need other Christians around you to help those roots go deeper

You need to be in a Renovation U class this summer to more deeply entrench your mind in God’s truth

You’ve got to go deeper, so that when the hard times come (and they will), you stand strong, and you don’t whither!


All right, let’s take a look at the 3rd soil.

So we are back to verse 7

(Matthew 13:7) – NIV

Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.

This is the 3rd soil.

The 4 Soils of the Heart

#1: The Hard Soil

#2: The Shallow Soil

#3: The Thorny Soil

Here the seed has penetrated the soil, and the roots even have the space to go deep.

But here there’s a different problem.

This soil is full of thorns.

Let’s read Jesus’ meaning for this

(Matthew 13:22) – NIV

22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.

Now, with the first two soils, we can say that those two types of people aren’t following Christ, at least not anymore.

But this 3rd soil is different.

Jesus even says this seed has become a plant (v. 7)

But it’s not bearing fruit.

This represents Christians who aren’t impacting anyone else for Christ and they’re not seeing any fruit (or change in their own lives)

(Title: Which Soil Are you?)

If you’re testing the soil of your heart today, and trying to figure out which of the 4 soils you are…

This thorny soil may be you if you never sign up for a Faith Update at House Groups because there is nothing you could say about what God is doing in your life.

This thorny soil may be you if you can’t think of anyone that has been impacted by your faith

YET…YET…you believe in Jesus. You’d absolutely call yourself a Christian.

But walking in the faith that Jesus wants us to walk in…the kind of faith that produces fruit and reproduces itself (as we’re going to see in a moment)…

That kind of faith being choked out of your life by the things of this world

Specifically, Jesus says, by the “worries of this life” and the “deceitfulness of wealth”

And so let me give you a few challenging examples of this as your pastor:

-For many of you in this room, you like being here and hearing the Bible taught (the seed dropped into your heart), but if there’s a travel soccer game, you’re there…that wins!

Because the worries of this life, and maybe the deceitfulness of a scholarship, are luring you elsewhere

And as a result you’re not really growing as a Christian

-For others of you, you’ve thought about joining a House Group, but it would cause you to have to make some changes to your work schedule, and maybe the pull of wealth, or the worries of this life…cause you to keep saying no.

-Or maybe you feel God calling you to wake up 10 minutes early and spend time with Him in His Word, but the worries of life (what you need to accomplish at work that day), or the demands of getting breakfast ready for little kids…

…they call you to themselves again…and you miss out on time with God again.

And truthfully, in answering this question of “Which Soil are you?”, most of us as American Christians, are right here in this 3rd soil.

We believe in Jesus, we attend church (as long as nothing else conflicts on the schedule that is)…we’re Christians…

…but you’re not really changing anymore

And God’s not really using you to do anything remarkable

And honestly, many of you are slowly losing your passion for God

And my friends, that’s happening precisely because you have given up prioritizing doing the work of cultivating the soil of your heart.

And so you’ve let worldly thorns grow up and coexist in your spiritual soil

And no one challenges you on it because, well, it feels like everyone else in America has pretty much let the thorns grow in their soil too, so no one’s going to say anything.

But I will. I will.

Here’s what I want to tell you:

Jesus wants to do more with your life my friend!

For so many of you in here, “God has got this call on your life (of what He wants to do through you in your family, your neighborhood, your work…

…He’s got a call on your life!

But you keep pushing it aside to focus on these temporary worries of life that won’t matter a lick in 10,000 years”

And so worries of this life are choking out His word in your heart.

They’re choking you out from doing the more important things that God is calling you to!

And so hear me, it’s time to rip some of these thorns out of your heart.

But I gotta warn you: it’s going to hurt!

Because when you start living differently than everybody else…

And you start having a different schedule than everybody else…

And you start putting away that sin (that everybody else says it’s not really that big of a deal)…

When you do that…it will cost you

But it’s worth it!

You want to feel like you’re being used by God again?

You want to feel that passion for God again?

You want to feel that fire for God again?

Then give Him an undivided heart again.

...because when you do that…then your roots have the freedom to go down deep in an undivided soil, and God will produce a crop from your life.


Let’s see what that looks like:

So we are back to verse 8

(Matthew 13:8) – NIV

8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

This is the 4th soil.

The 4 Soils of the Heart

#1: The Hard Soil

#2: The Shallow Soil

#3: The Thorny Soil

#4: The Good Soil

Not only does this seed sink in here, but it grows to produce a crop.

Jesus explains it further in verse 23:

(Matthew 13:23) – NIV

But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

This is the person where the soil of their spiritual heart is in such a condition, that they can not only hear God’s Word, but they apply it, AND it is impacting other people for Christ!

(Title: Which Soil Are you?)

But it will take work for this to happen.

Think about it: good soil is not natural.

What’s natural is hard soil, rocky soil, thorny soil.

If you just leave the ground untouched, that’s what happens to soil.

And the same is true for the soil of your heart if you leave it untouched.

But a good farmer works hard to cultivate their soil!

What are you doing right now to cultivate the soil of your heart for Jesus?

How is God calling you to do that?

Ask Him right now.

He can do it.

He can do it again.

Come back Him today.


(Title: Which Soil Are you?)

So which soil are you?

Have you ever let the truth of Jesus actually sink into your heart? Or has it, truly, just been bouncing off for a long time now?

Hear me…let this sink in…Jesus came to this earth and died on the cross for YOU!

He saw all of your sins…

I was just reading in Romans this week where it says God knows all of our secrets.

And still, He loved you so much that Jesus offered his life up for yours.

Taking the punishment for your sins.

And the Bible says that whoever believes in Him will not die, but have eternal life

Meaning, you won’t go to hell to suffer for your sins because Jesus will have paid for them on the cross, and you will instead go to heaven, forgiven.

This is the most important truth of your life.

Jesus can save you for all of eternity, but it starts with you letting go of your old life and your sin, and letting Him be your Savior and Leader.

And let me say, one of my burdens as a pastor is that I KNOW there are people in this room that would call themselves a Christian, and they maybe come often with their spouse, or a friend, but you’re not truly saved.

If you were to die today, some of you would not go to heaven…and that just burdens me.

And the proof is in the fact that there is no fruit; there is no evidence that God in your life.

You have no passion for Jesus.

No excitement or love for Him.

Your life looks no different than it did 5 years ago

If that’s you, I want you to earnestly start thinking about the salvation of your soul.

I’m not talking about those of you that are just in a down spot in your faith right now…that happens to every Christian.

I’m talking to those of you who have never really felt those things for God or seen changes in your life.

I want you to take this topic ever so seriously.

Are you truly saved?

If you were to die in a car accident on the way home, are you absolutely sure that you would go to heaven?

If you’re not right with God, and you haven’t truly turned your life over to Him, I urge you to turn from your sins and get right with God.

So, here’s what we’re going to do:

If you need to give your life to God for the first time, or if it’s hitting you like a ton of bricks, that you’re probably not actually saved.

And you’ve truly never surrendered your life to Jesus…I urge you to think very hard about where you are going in eternity.

And for those of you that are ready to give your life over to Jesus right now.

What I want you to do is during this last song, I want you to leave your seat and walk out the lobby, and I, or someone from our follow-up team will meet you right as you walk out and help you with that.

Let me pray

Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN

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