Parable of the Sower

“And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, “Behold, the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. “Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. “But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. “Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. “And others fell on the good soil and *yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. “He who has ears, let him hear. Hear then the parable of the sower. “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. “The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away. “And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. “And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.” (Matthew 13:3-9 18-23)

As we discussed previously one of the primary subjects of the Parable of Jesus is the Kingdom of God. After the temptations from Satan that Jesus endured in the wilderness He began His three year ministry to sow the seeds of the kingdom truth that the Father could cause them to grow. From the beginning of His ministry Jesus took of the banner of His forerunner John the Baptist and began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17) The crowds that gathered to see and hear Him were not always receptive and many a hardened heart came only for their amusement. Jesus denounced them for their rejection of the truth. “Then He began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent.” (Matthew 11:20) Many who were satisfied with their own self-righteousness refused to listen and sought to trick Him and searched for reason to accuse Him.

Jesus was faced with the problem that people had ears but were hard of hearing. They wanted everything He taught plainly spoken. Jesus wanted people to think about what He was teaching them. Other hearts were hardened to the truth and they would never understand what He was teaching. Jesus further explained to His disciples. “In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, ‘You will keep on hearing, but will not understand; You will keep on seeing, but will not perceive; For the heart of this people has become dull, With their ears they scarcely hear, And they have closed their eyes, Otherwise they would see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, And understand with their heart and return, And I would heal them.'” (Matthew 13:14-15)

As an illustration of this problem Jesus told the Parable of the Sower. Which is our text for this discussion. This Parable is also found in Mark and Luke. It is also one of the Parables that Jesus gave an interpretation as His disciples did not fully understand its meaning. “And He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How will you understand all the parables?” (Mark 4:13)

As we look at this Parable we first must identify who the sower is. To do this let us look to the parable of the “Tares among the Wheat.” Here Jesus said, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man,” (Matthew 13:37) So it is Jesus who is the sower and it would be fair to say that anyone who proclaims the message of the Son of Man is also a sower of the seed.

The seed would be the “word of the kingdom” as we read in Matthew 13:19. This would be the gospel of the kingdom which is the theme of Jesus’ teaching. “Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.” (Matthew 4:23)

The gospel of the kingdom was an important element of the apostolic teaching of all the Apostles. We see an example of its power in Philips teaching in Samaria. “But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike.” (Acts 8:12)

In this Parable the wayside is the first soil and represents to one who hears but does not understand. Therefore the evil one, Satan, comes and takes the seed away. Most likely these are the one whose hearts have been hardened towards the truth. “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road.” The birds are the “wicked one” who has come a snatched the seed away. “Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved.” (Luke 8:12)

If our hearts are hardened to the truth of God’s Word, then Satan will take it away. “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4)

The seed also fell on the second soil which is the rocky places. “Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil.” But his life is already filled by the world and there is no soil for the seed to take root. “Yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while.” When the trials and persecutions come he quickly falls away. “When tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.”

We must not rely on emotions as they only live in the moment. The good news of the Kingdom of Heaven must be nurtured in growth. A baby feeds on milk but an adult needs meat. We must build a good foundation for our faith to thrive on. “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.” (Matthew 7:25)

The third soil is the soil that was filled with thorns. “Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out.” This is the one who hears the word and receives it. But the soil has not been plowed and the sends of sin, the thorns, are still imbedded in the soil. The desires of the flesh remain strong and there has not been a true repentance from living for this world. He cannot produce the good fruit because he is still tied to the “the cares of this world” and it choke out the word. He trusts the security of this world and does not fully trust Jesus for his salvation. He is caught in the “deceitfulness of wealth.” The hearer continues to live for the pleasures of this life and not for the riches of His glory. “The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity.” (Luke 8:14)

There are three thorns that can cause our fruit to be unfruitful for the Kingdom of God. We can forget our perspective for the eternal world we are bound for and become distracted by our cares for this passing world. “Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap; for it will come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth. “But keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:34-36)

The desires for the world can fill our hearts with great anxieties that will take our minds off what is truly important. We are to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and these things that we need will be added to us. (Matthew 6:33) “And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying. “For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. “But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:29-32)

Wealth is one of the greatest deceptions and yet people love to live their lives gathering it. No matter the wealth one may have it will be of no benefit once you depart this world. The more wealth you have here the more worry you will have to keep and increase it. “But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1 Timothy 6:9-10)

If we live for the flesh and strive to fulfill its desires we will fail to have an eternal spiritual life in the Kingdom of Heaven. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” (Galatians 6:7-9)

The seed falls upon the fourth soil, the good soil. “And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it.” This is the one who is poor in spirit, (Matthew 5:3) knows that he is broken and desires to restore a relationship with God his Creator. He is seeking God and “hears the word and understands it” as the keys to the kingdom.

His heart desire to know and serve his Lord, he loves God with all his heart and wants to share that love with his neighbor. He is concerned that they too are a broken as he is and he knows that Jesus is the “the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” He goes out into the world and in service to his Lord he “indeed bears fruit and produces.”

The fruit he produces in the power of the Holy Spirt is sharing the good news of the Kingdom of God. (Romans 1:13) He lives his life in the fruit of practical holiness. (Romans 6:22) He shares in the spiritual things as well as the material things which God has given him that His name will be glorified. (Romans 15:27) His character is filled with the fruit of the Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)

He has the fruit of good works, (Colossians 1:10) and praise and thanksgiving. “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.” (Hebrews 13:15)

I leave you with these words from our Lord and Savior, “He who has ears, let him hear.” (Matthew 13:9)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, September 29, 2016

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