Next is the stony ground hearer, and this is a fellow with which all observant Christians are familiar.  This is a man who sits attentively under the ministry of the Word, and apparently receives it with joy.  He is excited to hear the proclamation of salvation through the mercies of Christ, that the vilest of sinners may be delivered from destruction by Him Who came to seek and to save that which was lost.  He is a person for whom the most careful and sober believer may entertain fond hopes, for not even the most astute Christian is an infallible judge.  We want to think the best of people, and when we see them receiving the word of God with joy, it inspires great hope in our hearts.  Outward manifestations can look very similar in the true believer and the stony ground hearer.  Feelings and vocal utterances may be very much the same.  In truth, it is only the process of time which will discover the true and the false.  Whereas the truly born again child of God will persevere to overcome all obstacles, the stony ground hearer is one in whom the word has not taken deep root.  It causes some initial joy, perhaps causing him to proclaim himself a follower of the Lamb, and even to participate in the ordinances. 

Nevertheless, because the word has not taken deep root in his heart, it is easily plucked up by the storms of trial which fall upon all professing people of God.  When contention  arises because of the Gospel, he is the first to cast aside his armor and flee away.  When men mock and sneer at the piety of the true believers, he feels himself embarrassed, and dares not open his mouth to proclaim that he will never be ashamed of his Saviour.  He is not firmly planted in the soil of Gospel truth.  Once the initial joy begins to fade, he is once again caught up with the concerns of personal security and reputation.  The words, “We must through much tribulation enter the kingdom of God,” have no appeal for the stony ground hearer.  If it will cost him tribulation, then he will dispense with the kingdom, and return like the sow to its wallowing in the mire.  This is the pitiable case of the stony ground hearer.