A Good Heart (Luke #32)

Text: Luke 8:4-15

Planting tomatoes and peppers and a couple years later we have septic tank issues. Dig around the tank and empty it. Then a few weeks later we have the most fruitful harvest of tomatoes and peppers we’ve ever seen. The seeds were well watered, in a place with lots of nutrients. 

This is first a discussion of the history of the nation of Israel. How God planted the seed and expected fruit just like anyone who plants a seed. The seed in this case is the word of God. The ground is the heart of the people. And fruit is the only thing that matters. Now, this is just as appropriate to say about people today.

This is God’s way of framing your world and your relationship to His words. It is very helpful in defining a good heart. The parable will give you some perspective on the battles you’ll face to corrupt your heart and destroy the opportunities for God to bear fruit in your life.

A good and fruitful heart isn’t distracted

  • The seed just falls out of the way. It doesn’t even make it into the dirt. It falls on the cobblestone, or concrete, or sidewalk and there really is no chance for this seed to do anything.
  • The trouble is the word of God was never understood, but the implication is that it was supposed to be understood. So the lack of understanding was the fault of those who heard but did nothing with it.
  • According to the Lord, there is one basic reason people don’t have understanding. Generally, people don’t have understanding because they don’t want to understand. It’s not important to them to understand. They don’t see any reason to pay attention to the scriptures.
  • Pawn Stars guy looking at a Bible supposedly signed by Mickey Mantle. He said the Bible wasn’t worth much to him, but if it had Mickey Mantle’s signature on it that would make it worth something.

A good and fruitful heart doesn’t cave to cultural pressure

  • Notice the word is received, but not into good ground only into stony places.
  • Trouble caused it to become fruitless because the seed wasn’t rooted. Look at Ephesians 3:14-19.
  • These are the kids and adults who need to fit into their immoral culture at the expense of Jesus Christ.
  • These are people who love money at the expense of Jesus Christ.
  • These men recognize the truth, but they’re careful not to let the truth of the Lord Jesus Christ cost them anything. They are careful not to let sound doctrine get in the way of their reputation in society.
  • Ultimately, this group is afraid to oppose the cultural standard of righteousness. Notice that these rulers wanted to keep the Pharisees happy in John 12:42-43. They don’t want to upset the politically correct.
  • The outside pressure caused them to abandon God’s revelation before it could bear fruit.
  • The reason this one fails is because it lacks a root. Telling this plant to stand up to the outside forces isn’t going to help it. The way for it to withstand outside pressure is to be rooted.

Thorny ground

  • Notice the word is received, but not into good ground rather into thorny places.
  • In this case, there is just too much competition for the limited resources available in the ground. Because the fruit-bearing seed wasn’t prioritized, there is no fruit produced.
  • Care of this world can feel overwhelming when you have people you’re responsible for.  Look at 1 Corinthians 7:33-34; careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife… careth for the things that are of the world, how she may please her husband. Now look at the context starting in 1 Corinthians 7:27-35 …that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction. Paul just perfectly described the limited resources of your heart. What you’ll find is exactly what Jesus Christ said, the seed and the thorns competing for the same piece of ground will cause the seed to be fruitless.

Good ground

  • The soil is well prepared when the seed is planted and fulfills its purpose.
  • What made the ground good?
    • It’s not distracted therefore the seed is prioritized and made important. It has a good root system. It has not brought other things in to complete.
    • The heart is honest; it doesn’t make excuses.
    • The heart is good and keeps the word with patience.
    • The heart was good ground because it sought the praise of God and not of men. The word of God, the seed, had found a place it could work and grow.
  • What is the fruit? Galatians 5:22-23 clearly defines the fruit of the Spirit that comes with the Kingdom of God.