HANDOUT FOR SERMON: Pulling Yourself Out of the Slump. Matthew 13:1-9                                                                            September 18th, 2022, 9:30 a.m. Manchester, TN

Introduction: Today’s lesson is to encourage personal growth for the individual. We need to grow as Christians. However, as believers we sometimes hit a “slump”, a “dip”, a “rut in life” and our growth results stagnate or fail completely!  There are two things that are very important in our lives, these are “effort” and achieve “results!”  When you hit that “brick wall” in life what do many people do? They quit, they give up or blame everyone else! Some people live their whole lives like this. We will study a principle found in Matthew 13:1-9 in the “Parable of the Soils” that should help us in this study.

Lesson: We are told to make an effort to grow and develop in Christ Jesus. It is never too late to improve, to change, and to make more progress, more results! You only need to turn to Christ, lean on Him, listen to Him and He will guide you through.

1.MATTHEW 13:1-9 Read the parable.  In this parable the different types of soil represent people, different kinds of people.

THE ROCKY SOIL: VERSES 20-21 This type of soil immediately receives the word with joy but has no root and endures only for a while. When the difficulties or struggles of life come, they quit.

An example of this would be Judas. Mark 14:10, John 13:18 Think of the excitement of being chosen by Jesus. You get to travel with Him, He provides all your needs, and He gives you amazing power to heal others. Judas got disappointed and fell into “his slump.” Things didn’t happen like he thought they would. There would be no earthly kingdom and no riches.

Another example of this would be Demas. 2 Timothy 4:10 He was a Christian with the gift of the Spirit, traveling and working with Paul. The “slump” came with persecution, trials, struggles and setbacks and he deserted Paul having loved this present world more! People do this today. Rather than have to “fight” for it or “sacrifice” for it, they give in and give up.  This is the reason Jesus tells us many will be lost, and few will be saved. Few stay committed unto the end.

THE THORNY SOIL: VERSE 22 This soil produces seed and plants, but it also produces thorns and weeds. Good and positive things in life but also negative things. They don’t quit growing they just grow really slowly because of life’s distractions! They burden themselves with too many distractions and end up living in the “slump” their whole life. Matthew 6:24-25 you can not serve two masters! Riches and worries are identified as the two major challenges for us in this world.  (Worry: verse 25, 27, 28, 31) Slowing down our spiritual efforts, growth, and results. Mediocracy and lukewarmness in the Church is so sad. In the eyes of God there is little difference between quitting and underperforming! Consider the Church in Ephesus: Revelation 2:2 & 4-5. What happened to this church, it started out so well? They left their first love! They were still there defending truth, still doing things, still attending, still singing, but Christ still calls them to repentance!  Consider the Church in Laodicea: Revelation 3:14-19. They let things draw their attention and energy away. Drawing away the nutrients from the effort so production slows down or even stops. The issue was divided loyalties!

THE GOOD SOIL, VERSE 23. The soil existed under the same conditions as the rocky soil and the thorny soil. The same sun, rain and birds flew over all of it. The good soil “understood” something important, that results are worth fighting for! There are things worth devoting you entire life to! Such as serving Jesus, following His instructions, and living the abundant life He offers us!

Paul is a great example of the good soil. 2 Timothy 4:6 Paul had many difficulties, struggles and setback in his life as a Christian. Paul pressed on, he pressed through the slump, through the dip and made amazing results for the cause of Christ.  He fought the good fight, while Demas gave up or gave in! What are YOU fighting for? What category is YOUR FAITH in? I am hoping and praying in the “good soil” category.

Conclusion:  So, what do I do?  Luke 8:18 (the parable of the soil) Jesus tells us that we must take heed or take care of “how we listen” to His teachings!  How do YOU listen to Jesus? Is it in a way which will result in results from your efforts? Our relationship with the Bible, Gods Word will make the difference from success or failure. Are you one who is busy reading, listening to the word of God daily?

The example of Ezra is impressive, Ezra 7-10. I encourage you to read these chapters from the Book of Ezra. He was an amazing man. He started his great work and career by reading the Word of God. Because he spent time reading in the word of God, God’s hand was upon him, strengthened him, guided him and protected him.  This is the God we serve today!

Suggested things to do to help keep you focused and out of the slump!

Focus on daily prayer and study of God’s word.
Speak often of the name of Jesus daily.
Choose daily to be kind and humble in all your interactions/relationships.
Engage in helping and growing with the local Church = the people!
Shine each day as an example of the peace that is found in God’s plan.