Ace preached about the importance of each individual Christian having their own relationship with God, independent of support from family, friends, church, etc.
Ace preached from Matthew 13:1-9 (this is all three of the synoptic gospels, which means it is important – it’s the same as Mark 4:1-12, Luke 8:1-8),
1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.”Matthew 13:1-9 (NIV)
To provide a clear visual, Ace shared this picture (source: Claretian Missionaries, West Nigeria Delegation):
Type 1, “the path” – Ace describes, for example, the kind of church attendee who comes because they feel forced to but their hearts aren’t really there.
Type 2, “the rocky soil” – Ace describes, for example, someone who comes to church, enjoys some aspect(s) of it during church, but the feeling doesn’t last very long. Another example is someone who “puts on a Christian mask for Sundays”.
Type 3, “the weedy soil” – Ace describes, for example, someone who had a truly transformative experience, but is about to be choked by various secular distractions – “to be honest, the best thing that could happen for you in that moment is that you die right away, because then you’re sure to be in the Kingdom”. It’s important for us to acknowledge that the secular world is fun. Recall Paul in Romans 3:9-12,
9 What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. 10 As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”Romans 3:9-12 (NIV)
Finally, Type 4, “the good soil” – given how impossibly ideal this is, Ace points to Romans 3:22-26 as the explanation,
22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.Romans 3:22-26 (NIV)
An IMPORTANT WARNING Ace marks here is that many (mis)interpretations of this passage by less discerning preachers is to encourage people to “try harder to be good soil”. To clarify, Ace summarises: “our faith is not about what we are, it is about who Jesus is, and our journey is about allowing the spirit of God to impact and influence our lives to be more holy and holy as a daily battle every day”.