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Parable of the Sower


The parable of the sower sheds great light on what happens in churches when individuals make public decisions to follow Jesus Christ and then drop out of sight. Our situation is not much different than in Jesus’ day when the masses of people had rejected Him (Matthew 11:16-24).  They could not understand the deeper things about the kingdom of God.  However, the disciples responded to His teaching and believed on Him.

It is at that point in His ministry that Jesus began to teach using parables, which are earthy stories with heavenly meanings.  Jesus deliberately chose to withhold further truth about Himself and the kingdom from the masses.  When the crowds heard the parables, it seemed to them little more than an interesting but pointless story that taught no profound spiritual truth.

On the other hand, the disciples heard Jesus teaching the parables and their powers of spiritual perception developed and Jesus' teachings on the kingdom became clearer to them.

In the parable of the sower, Jesus explained that the seed is the gospel of the kingdom, and the soil is the human heart (Matthew 13:3-23).  “The kingdom of heaven” comes with the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the planting of His Word in the heart of the listeners.  The “seed” is God’s Word, and the “soil” represents different kinds of hearers and the response of their hearts to the Word (Romans 10:17; Matt. 13:9; Mark 4:24; Luke 8:18).

The parable tells us that there are some listeners whose hearts are hard as a stone.  They will not hear.  Their hearts are like a packed down road. “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” (Matthew 13:19).  Sin hardens the heart until it is like concrete.

Jesus came preaching God’s sovereign rule in the minds and hearts of men, and they refused to listen to His message and surrender their wills to Him. They do not want God being the boss of their lives.

God says that if we are willing, He will remove from our heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh.  "I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances" (Ezekiel 36:27).

What is the condition of my heart?  Is it as hard as a rock, or is it soft and pliable as tissue?  How tragic when we persist in our stubborn rejection of God’s offerings of grace.

Jesus also said that some hearts are shallow like soil where, “The 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” (Matthew 13:20-21).

These shallow hearts are attracted by the excitement and emotions. They make a profession of faith publicly, but almost as suddenly as they professed they quickly become apostate.  They were never born spiritually.  No spiritual regeneration has taken place in their hearts.  Just joining the church or being baptized does not make you born again.

There are other listeners who are choked to death by worries of the world (vv. 7, 22).  “Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out” (Matthew 13:7).

"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" (Matthew 13:22).

Materialism and humanism is our secular lifestyle, and it chokes us to spiritual death. This kind of spiritual death does not rush upon a person suddenly but gradually. Spiritual weeds grow slowly, but they in time strangle the budding spiritual life that is there. When the Holy Spirit speaks, there is always the reply, “Some other day, some other time; don’t bother me now.”  The life of spiritual ease takes over and “the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the Word, and it becomes unfruitful.  And according to the world philosophy, “The person with the most toys wins,” but he dies spiritually.  So “What shall it profit a man if he gains the world but loses His soul?”

Stony, shallow, strangled, or spiritual—which describes the soil of your heart?

"And others fell on the good soil and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty" (Matthew 13:8). What made the difference?  Jesus said, “good ground” (v.23).  It is the “good ground” that “hears the Word and understands it” and “bears fruit” (v.23).  These are the ones who are born again.

Just as important as the soil is the fruit.  Am I bearing kingdom fruit? (Cf. Matt. 7:16; Rom. 6:22; Gal. 5:22-23; Col. 1:10; Rom. 1:13). When there is saving faith in the heart there will always be fruit in the life.



Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006





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Unless otherwise noted "Scripture quotations taken from the NASB." "Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE" © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission." (www.Lockman.org)

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NET) are from the NET Bible copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://www.bible.org/. All rights reserved.

Wil is a graduate of William Carey University, B. A.; New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Th. M.; and Azusa Pacific University, M. A. He has pastored in Panama, Ecuador and the U. S, and served for over 20 years as missionary in Ecuador and Honduras. He had a daily expository Bible teaching ministry head in over 100 countries from 1972-2005. He continues to seek opportunities to be personally involved in world missions. Wil and his wife Ann have three grown daughters. He currently serves as a Baptist pastor and teaches seminary extension courses in Ecuador.


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