What Type of Ground Are You? Part 1
Jesus often taught His disciples using parables. In Luke 8: 5 He presented a parable to his disciples concerning sowing. Definitions of the word sow, according to the Free Dictionary include: 1. to scatter (seed) over the ground for growing; 2. to spread (land, for example) with seed; 3. to strew something around or over an area.
Luke 8:5-8 (KJV)
5 A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.
6 And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.
7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.
8 And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
His disciples questioned Him about the parable and He explained it this way:
Luke 8:11-15 (KJV)
11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
12 Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.
14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.
15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.
In this parable Jesus helps us to understand what can happen when the Word of God is presented to men. A minister preaches the Word of God, spreading that Word out to the congregation just as a sower would do. The hearers all hear the same Word but what happens after that depends on the condition of the recipients. The key and critical point of the outcome of the entire sowing session depends on the state of the individual’s heart. The Lord lets us know that we were all made of the dust of the earth. The question is just what kind of ground are we?
The first type of ground presented in the parable is the type that is so poor that it allows the devil to come and steal the Word of God. This is wayside ground and it isshallow, silly, unfertile, and superficial. This represents the person who hears the word, and refuses to obey it. While there are many people who fall into this category, a good example is the person that I will call the church hopper. The church hopper is an individual who moves from one church to another, ever learning but never coming to the knowledge of the truth.
2 Timothy 3:7 (KJV)
7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
When you talk to the church hopper they are often able to give you a complete and personal overview of every denomination there is. They “know” all of the churches in the city and have personally met many of the pastors. They often know some gossip about each of the churches and can tell you why they chose not to remain at each. Often they have caused confusion wherever they’ve been and may have even been asked to leave some of the churches. To them nobody anywhere they have ever been is saved. The church hopper puts in many miles looking for a church that suits their “requirements” but in their mind each has failed. The church hopper does not want to be pastored, yet they want to appear to be “religious”. Their heart of unbelief tells them that no church meets their “high standards” and they look down with disdain upon everyone. The church hopper is so busy trying to pick up something negative when they visit a church that even when the Word of God tries to penetrate that heart the church hopper can’t receive it. The precious Word of God falls upon that shallow heart and before the church hopper leaves the congregation; everything that the Minister preached is gone. They might say, “The music was too loud” or”, the preacher preached too long” or “the babies cried too much.” Something is always wrong in every church but the net result is they allow the devil to steal the Word right out of their hearts.
Sometimes the church hopper is aware of why he has a personal problem with some churches but simply refuses to acknowledge it. For example, he or she may know that God has called them into true holiness but they just do not want to walk therein. So they spend all of their time trying to find a substitute. The problem is this. When God has called you to a certain level in Him, nothing else will satisfy your spirit. Consequently, the church hopper spends all of his or her available time bouncing around, trying to find fulfillment for the hole that is in their soul that only God can fill. My word to the church hopper is this. Earnestly seek God about the appropriate place for you to attend church, but the day you hear His voice please do not harden your heart. Go to where He sends you, then sit, listen and learn so that you may believe and be saved.
Sometimes the wayside grounder is a person who has been raised in the church. Actually, they have been raised around the church but not truly in the church. I’ll call this person the silly church child. Sometimes the silly church child is the pastor’s own children. The silly church child knows all of the songs and has practiced a shout so long that they can shout on demand. Some can even speak in some kind of made up tongues. They can beat the bells off of a tambourine and may be able to quote some scriptures. But the trouble is, they have never been saved. They don’t have a clue about what the Word of God means for their live. Some have even been baptized in water but they went down a dry devil and came up a wet devil. They have a form of godliness but they deny the power thereof. When you try to witness to them they know more than you do. You can’t get a thing across to them because they are so calloused. At the funeral of the late Whitney Houston, I heard an example of the silly church child in action. A well-known actor humorously related his childhood experiences in church. Then, he actually used an expletive in the house of God. He cussed in church! Apparently he was so calloused and disrespectful and lost that he felt that he was above the need to respect God’s house. As a result, this wealthy, well known world-acclaimed actor stood behind God’s holy pulpit and did the unthinkable. He cussed! I hope and pray that God will save him.
Some silly church children make fun of everything spiritual. The gospel comedians fall into this category. Sometimes you’ll see children and teens in the balcony or back of the church making fun of how the Saints praise God. What they don’t realize is that salvation is no laughing matter. Some are going to laugh themselves right into hell. But I promise you, one second in Hell will slap all of the silliness right out of them. These are wayside grounds and they are as lost as they can be. Some are on their way straight to Hell from the church.
Sometimes the reason that the Word has been taken from the heart of the waysiders is because others have stomped on the Word sown into their hearts. I’ll call the person who allows this to happen to them the weak waysider. Just as the birds ate the seed that fell on the wayside ground, some individuals may try to trample the salvation out of someone else’s heart. They don’t want to be saved but they don’t want another to be saved either. But, brothers and sisters, you cannot allow anyone to separate you from the love of God. You have to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Just because your spouse or family or so-called friends don’t like it because you got saved, you’d better hold on to God. When I first got saved my husband told me to choose between him and Jesus. When I chose to serve God, he threw me and our then six year old son out, took everything, including our house and divorced me. But I held on to God and he has truly blessed my life. I made up my mind that I’d rather have Jesus than anything that this world had to offer, including a man. God has done things for me that are exceedingly and abundantly above all that I could ever have imagined as a result of my decision to hold on to Him. He gave me more than I had before and a wonderfully saved husband as well. And, above all else, I have Jesus! (By the way, my son and I prayed for the man that threw us out just before he died and God saved him and took him to heaven.)
There is an answer for the church hopper, the silly church child and the weak wayside. You who are wayside ground can ask God to break up your fallow ground. Ask Him to forgive you and to save you. He can change even you because there is nothing too hard for the Lord. If you find that you are in need of salvation, give your heart to the Lord today.
Hebrews 3:15 (KJV)
15 While it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.
The next type of ground in Jesus’ parable is the type that is stony ground. Stony ground is dry and rock hard, through and through. The Bible, in Jesus’s parable, says that this type of individual received the Word with joy, but because it had no moisture, it withered. It is very important that once an individual is saved, that he follows on to know the Lord. When you are baptized with the Holy Ghost you need to be around others who are also filled with the Holy Ghost. While God is well able to keep you anywhere, the moisture of others who are also filled helps you to hold on to your joy. The testimonies, the rejoicing and the victories of other Saints are the moisture that the Word needs to grow in your heart.
Some stony grounders have no depth of consecration, and no stability to withstand persecution, trial or misunderstanding. This is the type of individual that I will call the Big Baby. When these individuals receive the Word they take off running. They are very excited about being delivered out of the world of sin…but they are superficial. They won’t pray and seek God, they refuse to study His Word and they are not faithful to the House of God. When the first little trial hits they can’t take it and they fall away. Let’s say that Ms. Big Baby gets saved and baptized in the Holy Ghost on Sunday. Then, when she gets to work on Monday morning she discovers that she lost her job. Instead of standing firm and trusting God for an even better job, Ms. Big Baby tucks tail and runs away from God, crying, “It’s too hard to live saved.” That individual may not be fit for the kingdom of Heaven because the Word says in Luke 9:62 (KJV)
62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
There is another type of stony ground. Have you ever tried to talk to a person about the Scriptures who is so hard-headed and hard-hearted that you could not get a word across to them? This is the Know-it-all stony ground. The Know-it all stony ground may pretend to be interested in following Christ, if only someone could answer their questions. But as soon as (or even before) you answer their first question, they are ready with two or three more. The tone of the questions quickly takes on an argumentative air. Often this person is a backslider who knows something about the Scriptures but who has no intention of really living according to the Word of God. After a few minutes of talking to this person you realize that he or she has no real interest in the information that you provide, they simply want to argue and debate the scriptures. We are told, however, not to argue the Scriptures.
2 Timothy 2:23-26 (KJV)
23 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.
24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
After you have made an attempt to reach this kind of person, you may soon realize that they are simply wasting your time. Continue to pray for them, but end the conversation. All too often that person leaves you feeling that they have “won”. The truth of the matter is, however, that if they don’t change they actually will have lost all. They have not rejected you, but Jesus.
The next type of ground described in the parable is thorny ground. This type of ground has so many thorns in it that the thorns actually choke out the Word of God. Mark 4: 19 describes the thorns:
Mark 4:19 (KJV)
19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.
It is a sad truth that there are times that some individuals must make a decision that, in order to walk with God, they must separate themselves from others, even family.
2 Corinthians 6:14-18 (KJV)
14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
We know that we can’t be saved picking up Mama a fifth of liquor or a pack of cigarettes for Pops. If an individual works for a distillery when he is saved, he needs to get a different job. A woman who supplemented her income before salvation by sleeping with “friends” must separate herself from that sin. Once you have heard and received the truth you must choose to live according to the truth because you cannot be saved continuing in sin. If your “fiancé” is not your husband, he has to go until you are married. If you were a cigarette smoker or weed head before salvation that stuff has to go. If your former druggy “friends” don’t believe in the Word of God, they have to go. You have to see all of these sins and distractions as thorns. You must get rid of them or they will choke the very Christ out of you and cause you to lose your soul. Get delivered from all of your hang-ups and stay delivered. When God delivers, he does it all the way. He doesn’t deliver you from a pack a day cigarette habit down to a ½ pack a day habit. He delivers completely, but you have to let them go.
And the final type of ground that Jesus spoke of in the parable was good ground. Good ground, according to Dake’s Reference Bible, are those individuals who hear the Word of God, wholeheartedly and eternally surrender to obey it and to please God in all things. They get rid of all shallowness, fickleness, irresponsibility, along with the deceitfulness of riches and pleasures, lusts of the flesh, pride of life, and lusts of other things that would hinder them in living for God. They are honest and true and conform to the letter to all known scriptural light as they get to know it. When we allow the Word of God to fall upon our good ground we will be the fruitful Christians that God would have us to be. Let us all strive to be God’s good ground.God bless.