Fourth, where there is no root, there is no fruit. If you fall away because of the pressures of the world, the word of the kingdom is not rooted in your heart. If you fall away because of your love for the world and your love for money, the word is not growing in your heart.
You cannot blame the forces that attack you. You cannot say, “Oh, it’s because of the world, the flesh, and the devil, that I have fallen away.” Oh, it’s because of my husband. Oh, it’s because of my job. Oh, it’s because of my friends. People fall away, not because of the devil, or persecution, or the concerns of this world or the love of money. Rather, according to Jesus, people fall away because the word has not taken root in their hearts. The word is not growing in their hearts. They did not believe the word. They did not obey the word. They did not submit their hearts to the word. The question is whether the word has taken root and growing in your heart.
Fifth, spiritual fruitfulness is a mark of true followers in the kingdom. False believers bear no spiritual fruit. But true believers bear spiritual fruit (Matt. 7:16-17). The most emotional or the most dramatic outward response to the gospel is not a guarantee that you are a true believer. The only guarantee that you are a true believer is the spiritual fruit of persevering faith in Christ.
Sixth, it is not the profession of faith, but the perseverance of faith in Christ that matters in the kingdom. Those who understand the word are those who live a life of discipleship. The true followers of the kingdom are long-term disciples.
It is not the short term that matters, but the long term of following Christ. You may cry for joy upon receiving Christ. You may appear to believe Christ for a while. But if you do not persevere in Christ, the word is not growing in your heart.
It is not how you begin the race, but whether you finish it. If you do persevere in Christ, your heart is the good soil.
What are the signs of persevering faith in Christ? Look at the parable once again. One sign is perseverance in Christ despite the troubles and trials of the world. Another sign is forsaking the love of money. Another is prioritizing Christ over the cares of this world. Another evidence of true faith in Christ is spiritual productiveness for Christ.
Seventh, expect a lot of unbelief and falling away, but expect also a great harvest. As we sow the seed of the word, expect rejection by many. Expect many to receive Christ but fall away along the way. But expect also to reap a great harvest. Expect great fruitfulness in the lives of people who persevere in Christ. Such is the kingdom of God.
 Craig L. Blomberg, Matthew (NAC; ed. David S. Dockery; Nashville: Broadman, 1992), 214.
 Craig S. Keener, Matthew (INTCS; ed. Grant R. Osborne; Downers Grove: IVP, 1997). Cited June 24, 2013. Online: http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/IVP-NT/Matt/Only-Disciples-Who-Understand.