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The Rocky Soil

The superficial believer appears genuine but withers in difficulty.

Luke 8:4—15 contains one of the most remarkable, unforgettable, and important parables our Lord ever taught: the parable of the soils.

The good news of salvation is so wonderful, so generous, we don't have words to explain all its wonders and glories. Those of us who have received salvation, those of us who have received eternal life and are headed to heaven, understand the wonder of the gift of salvation. We understand what it is to have our sins forgiven, to have the burden of guilt removed, to have a clear conscience, a conscience washed clean of guilt and shame. We understand what it is to have the hope of heaven.

And the more we understand that, the more difficult it is to understand how anybody could reject such a gift. When people come to know Christ, there is an immense transformation in their lives; it is dramatic. They've come to an understanding of the truth, an understanding of God's grace in their lives, which is overwhelming. They then tell the people around them, who are not believers, and they often run into indifference and hostility. This is one of the biggest struggles new Christians have. It's seemingly impossible to understand how anyone could reject such a gift.

Who would turn down forgiveness? Who would turn down joy? Who would turn down peace? Who would turn down eternal life? Who would turn down heaven and in exchange receive hell? Why do people reject the gospel?

The parable before us answers that question. It's not a matter of the quality of the message, and it's not a matter of the skill of the messenger. It's all about the heart condition of the hearer. That's the issue. So let's simplify this whole matter of the Great Commission, of world evangelism. Let's ...

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John MacArthur is pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, as well as an author, conference speaker, chancellor of The Master's University and Seminary, and featured teacher with the Grace to You media ministry.

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Sermon Outline:


Salvation is so wonderful we find it hard to understand why anyone rejects it.

I. Superficial hearts initially receive God's Word with joy.

II. Superficial hearts respond to God's Word for the wrong reasons.

III. Superficial hearts quit when trials come.

IV. True believers remain in Christ and bear fruit.


If you didn't come to Christ because you were overwhelmed with your sin, you're not going to survive.