Growing in Faith – Matthew 13

Matthew 13:2-9, “…A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

At the end of most sermons, a pastor will end his Sunday service by asking if anyone would like to accept Jesus/Yeshua into their hearts. After leading them in a simple prayer, church members applaud those who were brave enough to accept their savior into their hearts publicly. In their minds, they have successfully brought people into fellowship with the Father; however, when the moment ends and the last song is sung, everyone begins to make their way to lunch and continue with their day, leaving the people who had just prayed the ‘prayer of salvation’ wondering to themselves, “So, what’s next?”

Opening our eyes to the reality of the Messiah is an awakening experience, but what do we do once we hear the Good News and accept the Messiah as our savior? Our relationship with God might have begun with a simple prayer, but until we lay our lives at Yeshua’s feet and welcome him wholly into our lives to guide and speak to us, our roots will not be planted deep enough into the soil.

I hear people proclaim that salvation is a gift from God, and while he has opened his heart to those who desire to follow him and forgives us of all of our sins when we ask, our salvation comes at the cost of the worldly lives we were living. To be a follower of the Messiah and fully embrace the calling he has placed on our hearts, we must not only proclaim that Yeshua is Lord but remove our carnal beings, putting on our new identity in Yeshua. This means turning away from our sinful desires and setting our hearts on the Father. (Galatians 5:16-26)

The call to salvation is so much more than attending church, accepting Yeshua into our hearts, and saying that we believe; but, where are the disciples who will minister the truth to these new believers, sowing them into good, fruitful soil?

The call to salvation is so much more than attending church, accepting Yeshua into our hearts, and saying that we believe; but, where are the disciples who will minister the truth to these new believers, sowing them into good, fruitful soil?

Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear!

The first step of faith is opening our ears to hear the Word of the Lord. All over the Bible, it speaks about inclining our ears to hear God’s Word; but, once we hear the gospel, we must continue to grow and mature, keeping our roots firmly planted in the soil of the Word!

A new believer is like a child in need of guidance. One would never expect a newborn baby to have the ability to fend for itself, so why do we not think the same for those who accept Yeshua?

Maturity comes through discipleship and relationship; however, the growing process never stops! A person needs more than one teaching to lead them into a life of promise. While we must sow the seeds of God wherever we go, we should also be the workers who not only scatter but till, water, and harvest the crop!

A farmer went out to sow his seed

As Believers in Yeshua, it is our duty to speak the Word of God and disciple people when they begin their walk of faith. God uses us all to sow seeds of his Word into people’s lives, but our work is far from done when a person says yes to Yeshua. In fact, it is only the beginning!

The sun-scorched path

“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.” Matthew 13:19

Speaking to a person about the Bible or Yeshua is a great way to open people’s ears to his truth; but, unless a person is ready to hear the Gospel of Truth and have a two-sided conversation, the seed will ultimately be thrown on the sun-scorched path.

Asking the Father to show us who to speak to and what to say gives us spiritual insight to know who has ears ready to hear the Word of God. Many of us have people on our hearts who we want to see saved, but until their ears are opened to understand the love of our Heavenly Father, all we can do is continue to pray for them and show them who our savior is through the testimony of our lives.

On rocky ground

“The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the Word and at once receives it with joy. 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.” Matthew 13:20-21

The road to salvation is a rocky path. Unless our roots have taken ahold of the soil, the moment persecution or trials come our way; our faith will be uprooted and tossed aside.

One of the statements preachers or other believers say to bring people to Jesus is that the Lord is a loving and accepting God, and being in fellowship with him brings complete freedom, joy, and forgiveness! While these are all true statements, there is no doubt that being a believer opens us up to major attacks from the enemy. Tiptoeing around this reality causes people to hear the truth under false pretense and will lead them to turn away from the joy they have found in the Messiah when the first trial comes their way.

Unless prepared by the farmer, a seed will not be protected from the world’s harsh elements, and its root will have nothing to keep it in place when storms come it’s way.

Deep in the thorns

“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.” Matthew 13:22

Raise your hands if you’ve ever fallen captive to the thorns of this world? ✋

The world is an unforgiving place, and we must fight to survive. There is no comfort in the unknown, and the devil uses that worry to fill our minds with reasons why we need to take care of ourselves rather than trusting in the Father. Worry, entertainment, wealth, success, fulfillment, acceptance, comfort, and possessions are just some of the thorns that stifle us from growing and connecting closer to God. There are enough worries and distractions in the world to last us a lifetime, but let me ask you, how often have you seen your doubt or decisions hold you back from the calling God has placed on your heart?

In school, teachers ask us, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Depending on your age, the answers are usually a profession that obtains success and money. Many of us are raised learning about the importance of finding a path that will bring us enough money to care for our future families, live in a nice home, and have a pension that will keep us comfortable in our retirement years.

For some, life and adventure can wait until retirement, when they have collected enough savings to fulfill the dreams they have had since childhood. However, Yeshua isn’t calling us to wait until we have enough money to do what He is asking us to do; He’s calling us NOW! I believe that everyone has a purpose, but not everyone will have the faith or courage to follow after that calling.

Those planted in the thorns keep Yeshua at arm’s length, proclaiming their faith while continuing to hold onto the worries and cares of this world.

How many years will you remain choked by the thorns before you ask the Father to set you free? There are indeed essentials required to staying alive and healthy in this world, but do you not believe that God will provide and keep you alive while you live in obedience and walk by his leading?

In an era where the world is telling us that being successful is measured by our followers on social media, it is difficult to break the mold and decide on the path based on faith rather than man. Eyes will be watching you as you step out of the status quo and follow the voice of the Holy Spirit; however, whose opinions or thoughts are more important to you, the opinions of this world or God’s?

Growth in the field

“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.” Matthew 13:23

Being a disciple of Yeshua is not only about asking him to dwell in our hearts; it’s also about living by the Spirit, using our time on earth to spread his truth, and following his voice when he calls. Being planted in fruitful soil means that we have the Holy Spirit living in us and rely on Him to direct our footsteps. Our lives are not our own, and while the trials will be many, our faith will not crumble, and Satan will not prevail because our roots are firmly planted in the foundation of the Word and Yeshua!

Growth, faith, and obedience take time to obtain, believe me, so please do not be discouraged if you face a trial and feel your balance shaking. Every day we are growing and learning more about the kingdom of God, and each morning we need to decide if we’re going to continue walking by faith. There are many moments in the day where we will falter, but God is patient and willing to teach us if we are open to listening to his instructions.

The harvest is plenty, but the workers are few

Now is the time to wake up and be the workers in the fields of the earth! We are not called to be watchers and sit on the sidelines, but fighting on the frontline as mentors and stewards to the lost sheep of this world. We cannot do this work alone, and while Yeshua is our ultimate teacher, we should never close the door on the help or challenge of others.

Though the world is shut down during this pandemic, the work continues! We have the amazing advantage of social media and the internet to spread God’s Word and be his disciples, so there is no excuse for using this time to sit at home and keep quiet while millions are scared, tired, lost, angry, needy, depressed, and crying out for someone to relieve their pain and suffering. Let us not be people who are looking to gain another notch in their belts; instead, let us pray for those who are lost, and be a listening ear and helper to those who have ears to hear, eyes to see, and hearts that understand the calling God has set on their lives.

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for revealing your Word to us! Thank you for opening our hearts and accepting the call you have placed on them. Please continue to lead and guide us, so we may walk in your wisdom and understanding and hear your voice each step of the way. Show us the people we are to minister to, whether that’s just by being a friend or reading your Torah to them. Open the ears of the lost sheep of Israel and wake up your people who are sleeping when they should be praying, worshipping, and serving you! Help us remain loyal in these times of unrest, keeping our foundations in you rather than the cares of this world. Continue to be a shepherd and farmer to us, teaching us and helping us mature into the people you have called us to be. May others hear this prayer and feel your presence as they read these words. Minister into the hearts of your people and show us what it means to be in a relationship with you. Thank you for pouring out your Spirit into our hearts and sacrificing your son on the cross so that we may be set free from death and have a personal relationship with you! Please give us the courage not to be afraid or nervous to share your goodness. Lord, you have given us so much, help us not lose sight that this life we live is not our own, but when we gave our hearts to you, we laid our old lives down at your feet. Speak to us, and when others come with questions, please give us the answers. We are your body, Father. Help us come together in this time of need, and spread your love and truth with the rest of the world! In the name of Yeshua Ha’Masiach! Amen!

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