Preparing the Ground

Preparing the Ground

SCRIPTURE READING:

Matthew 13:3-8

INTRODUCTION:

Various studies have shown that the condition and preparation of soil when planting any crops, vegetables, fruit trees or even plants is vital. The state of the soil will determine whether the plants will grow, how well they will grow and even whether they will even bear fruit or not.

Crop quality greatly depends on the condition of the soil. The ideal type of soil will be:

  • Balanced
  • Well-drained
  • Fertile
  • pH (Acidity level) ranging between 6 and 7

The wrong kind of soil can cause seeds or plants not to grow at all.

Two examples of poor quality soil are:

Sandy Soil: Too barren in organic matter (Not enough nutrients to feed the plants).

Clay Soil: Too Heavy and compact

It is therefore important to add decomposed manure in order to supply more nutrients to the soil and improve the soil structure and composition.

  1. Key Element of Healthy Soil:

 These studies have shown that soil plays a vital role when planning to plant and grow anything. From flowers to fruit trees, the type and condition of the soil determines whether all the effort going into planting anythingwill deliver successful or “fruitful” results.

  • Just as clay soil will be too compact, sandy soil won’t have enough nutrientsto feed the plants.
  • The key elementto deliver successful results when planting PREPERATION.
  • Poor preparation will deliver poor or even no harvest.

Matthew 13:3-8 (NIV)

3Then He told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed.

4As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

  • In this scripture we again see what a vital importance the condition of the soil has when sowing seed.

Restaurant Owner:

  • If I was a restaurant owner I would love to buy fresh fruit and vegetables directly from a supplier to deliver the freshest dining experience to all my customers.
  • BUT – If I bought from a supplier who sold heads of lettucethat were the size of oranges, or pumpkins the size of apples, I would not buy from that supplier ever again! I would I would be under the impression that that supplier or farmer had no idea how to plant or harvest his products.
  • In this scripture we don’t read about the quality of the seed being bad… but rather about the condition of the ground the seed is sown on.

(Demonstration: Potatoes – Compare small, bad quality to big well grown potatoes)

  • I can have the best quality seedin the world… if the soil is not healthy the end-result would still be a poor harvest.

 

Compared to the life of a believer:

  1. The same applies to us as believers. We need to take responsibilityfor the condition of the soil in our lives. The condition of our hearts, determine the condition of the soil in our lives.
  2. We take responsibility for the condition of our hearts, by making sure that we spend enough time in God’s Word and in His presence to ensure that we nourish the soil in our lives.
  3. If our hearts are hardenedand dense like clay soil, even the best message sown into our lives will have temporary or even no root and eventually wither and die, producing no harvest and no spiritual fruit.
  4. Just as dry lifeless soilprovide no nutrients or conditions for roots to shoot and develop, a broken and dry spirit will provide no nutrients to even grow any fruit in our lives. For us to produce a bountiful harvest, we need to nourish the soil in our spiritual lives.

What is the Purpose of a Harvest?

  1. I have often wondered why the Bible refers to seed, harvest and fruit so often until one day, I realized the following:
  2. Let us look at fruit as an example: Fruit are grown in order to provide food and nutrition to people, and also for our enjoyment – Very few things in life are as satisfying as being able to eat fresh succulent fruit.
  3. Three Elements of a Good Harvest:
  • Nutrition– The moment we as believers carry pleasant fruit because of the relationship we have with God, our lives will assist in the growth of other believers, which we can compare to nutritional benefits of good quality fruit.
  • Enjoyment– The result of healthy spiritual fruit in our lives will also draw others unto God as they will see the pure joy in walking with God daily. It is life changing!
  • Seed – Good quality fruit/vegetables also provide seed for future planting and harvesting. The same applies to the potential in our lives to produce a harvest of souls as other people come to know Jesus and being saved (Discipleship).

Impact of a Poor Harvest:

  • Negative Impact of Poor Quality– Poor quality fruit in our lives, will push other people who have not accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and savior away, just as a farmer or supplier who provides poor quality fruit and vegetables will push potential clients or buyers away.

Quality of the Soil:

  • The quality of the soil will determine the quality of the harvest.
  • Each believer needs to ensure that he/she deposits elements onto their lives that will nourish the soil, in order to grow a healthy harvest.
  • The choices we make daily deposits elements into our spiritual lives that will eventually affect our spiritual fruit.
  • Before doing anything, ask yourself, “What would Jesus do?”, and “How will this impact my spiritual fruit?”
  • If we deposit materials in our lives that do not benefit our spiritual maturity, our spiritual fruit will be affected at the end of the day.
  • The same applies to the tough times we often go through. Even though certain situations might feel like manure is being dumped around us, but tough times develop maturity and character that later nourishes the ground that the seed of God’s Word falls upon.

James 1:2-3 (NIV)

2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3becasue you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

 So many elements of what we go through is part of our development and growth.

  • It is therefore important to deposit into our lives values and principles taught by God’s Word that will develop us and help us grow spiritually… If not, we can just as well use contaminated water to water our spiritual soil.

Matthew 3:7-10 (NIV) (John the Baptist)

7But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of Vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10The Ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

  • John the Baptist told the Pharisees and Sadducees that even though they thought they were justified by being descendants of Abraham, it did not separate them from anyone else.
  • He referred to them directly as a brood of vipers, indicating that they were not as holy as they claimed to be just because they were leaders of the temple.
  • John again put the emphasis on the importance of bearing fruit in a believer’s life.

The Impact of Ground/Soil on a Foundation:

  • The impact of the quality of soil or ground is not limited to planting alone, but also a vital element when it comes to the construction of buildings.
  • The very foundation that a building is built upon is based on the preparation of the ground. Even the best foundation will crumble if the ground it is laid upon is not well prepared.
  • Ground erosion as an example, will cause the very ground under a foundation to wash away, leaving nothing for the foundation to lay on.
  • For this very reason, Christ needs to be our very foundation. NEVER BUILD YOUR LIFE ON A TEMPORARY FOUNDATION.
  • Example: We often see how someone might build their whole life on a relationship with someone. Though relationships are important, they need to be healthy and balanced with Christ as our foundation. If that relationship falls apart and Jesus is not the foundation, that person’s whole life will crumble.

The Wise and Foolish Builders:

  • Most of us growing up were taught about the wise and the foolish builders as we can read about in Matthew 7:
    • One builder built his house on the sand… When the storms came, and the waters rose, his house crumbled, and nothing was left.
    • The other built his house on the rock… The same storm came, and as the waters rose his house stood rock fast and did not crumble because of the right foundation.

 

Psalm 127:1 (NIV)

1Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.

  • The moment we ensure that our foundation is built in Christ the Rock, storms can come, and winds can blow… BUT OUR HOUSE WILL STAND!
  • It is then that the peace of God that that transcends all understandingwill guard our hearts and minds.

CLOSING:

It remains our responsibility to ensure that we invest in that which carries eternal value in God’s Kingdom, as this will ensure that our ground is well prepared for the Spirit of God to do the good work he has started in each of our lives.

  • We need to spend time with God, studying His Word to ensure that the soil in our lives is ready for the seed that He wants to sow in us, as well as the foundation that He wants to build upon.
  • What is the condition of your soil?

As we are drawing closer to Christmas, I would like to share the following video with you in closing the message.

One of the most important elements in our lives that we need to constantly develop so that God can continue His work in our lives, remains THANKFULNESS.

The true essence of thankfulness really opened up for me when Pastor Michael made the following statement:

“It is impossible to be thankful, and angry at the same time…”

Thankfulness and a hardened heart cannot exist in the same heart. I think we can safely say that thankfulness is one of the nutrients that make our lives fruitful in order for our true spiritual fruit and character to grow.

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