Read Matthew 13:1-30
Hard Soil – Hard soil has been trampled under foot and packed down. People can be hard soil because they have hardened their heart or because God has hardened it. In the case of Pharaoh, God hardened his heart after Pharaoh hardened it. When scattering the seed, the seed is wasted on hard soil as the birds eat it before it can take root.
Shallow Soil – There are rocks just beneath the surface of shallow soil. Plants can spring up but they have no deep roots to support them. A plant may be able to survive a long time with shallow roots but when a drought strikes or a storm comes they are destined for disaster. People who are shallow soil pop up at church until trouble comes and then they disappear showing their faith to be worthless in the end.
Weedy Soil – In weedy soil, a plant takes root once again. Everything looks to be okay until the cares of the world come. Cares take as many forms as there are people, whether it be work, sports, family, or sleep. Whatever the case may be, these people appear to be genuine believers until something better comes along (or something else that they believe demands more attention than God.)
Looking for fruit
The first three soil types all fail to produce what God is looking for, fruit. As Christians we sometimes mistake seeing a plant as evidence of salvation. People can make professions all they want, it doesn’t make them a Christian. The adage, “actions speak louder than words” rings true. God is looking for fruit and the only way we can be sure of a true Christian is whether their life has produced fruit. We can debate about good or bad soil and whether a person can lose their salvation or if they are eternally secure but the fact of the matter comes down to if a person’s life does not show evidence of spiritual fruit, they are in trouble.
Good Soil – When the seed falls on good soil, it produces not only a plant but a plant that produces fruit and bears a harvest many times what was originally invested in it. A farmer would not plant a seed if he did not expect to get back more than what was planted. An investor would not invest if they did not plan on getting a return for their money. Good seed produces a significant crop. Not everyone produces the same amount. There are Christians who are less productive than others – the most important thing is that they are producing.