When speaking to the multitudes, Jesus often taught them in PARABLES, simple stories about common events, circumstances and things that His listeners could easily relate to. Most of the people that Jesus addressed were simple folk, and He knew that even the CHILDREN would be interested in His message if He presented it by using such illustrated stories.
The “PARABLE OF THE SOWER” is one of the few parables that is found in three different Gospels: In Matthew 13, Mark 4 and Luke 8. This wonderful parable reveals the four different states in which the hearts of men can be classified. As we now read Jesus’ Own words, you could ask yourself which of these four categories describes YOU!…
“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, (1) some fell upon the PATH, and the BIRDS of the air came and ATE it up. (2) And some fell upon STONY GROUND where there was not much soil. It sprang up quickly because the soil was shallow. But when the SUN came up, the plants were SCORCHED, and they WITHERED, because they had NO DEPTH of ROOT.
(3) “Other seed fell among THORNS, and the thorns grew up WITH it and CHOKED the plants. (4) But other seed fell upon GOOD GROUND, and it came up, grew, and produced a crop–thirty times, sixty times, or a hundred times what was sown.
“And when He had said these things He cried, ‘He that has ears to HEAR, let him HEAR! Listen to what the parable of the sower means.’”
Now Jesus is going to interpret and explain for us exactly what this parable is all about: “The SEED is the WORD OF GOD. Those along the path, are the ones who HEAR, but then comes the DEVIL and TAKES AWAY THE WORD from their hearts, lest they should BELIEVE and be SAVED.”
When the life-giving seed of the Word of God is sown on this FIRST kind of ground, this kind of heart, what happens?–Paths are usually hard and packed earth, and before the seed is able to sink in, Satan comes along and snatches it away before they even understand it, before they can receive it, before they even get saved!
Oh, how the Devil FIGHTS against the Word of God! The Bible tells us that, “FAITH comes by hearing the Word of God” (Romans 10:17), so to try to prevent people from believing in Jesus and getting saved, he’ll do all that he can to keep them from hearing or receiving the Truth of God’s wonderful Word! The Apostle Paul says, “If our Gospel is HID, it is hid to those who are LOST, in whom the GOD OF THIS WORLD (the Devil) has BLINDED the MINDS of those who do not believe, so that the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ cannot shine unto them!” (2Corinthians 4:3,4)
We trust that YOU who are reading this are ALREADY born again, that you have ALREADY received the precious seed of God’s Word and have asked His Son, Jesus, into your hearts. If you have received Jesus, then you don’t need to worry about being this FIRST kind of ground, thank the Lord!
But what about the SECOND kind of ground that Jesus describes? He says, “Some, like seed sown on STONY ground, hear the Word and at first RECEIVE it with JOY.–But these have NO ROOT, and for AWHILE believe, but when TROUBLE or PERSECUTION arises because of the Word, they are OFFENDED and quickly fall away!”
This second kind actually receive the Word joyfully and begin to grow, but when a time of TESTING or TRIAL or PERSECUTION for the Word’s sake arises, their enthusiasm wanes, their faith withers and they fade away! This doesn’t mean that they lose their salvation, because once you have received Jesus into your heart, you are His FOREVER.–He says, “I am with you ALWAYS, I will NEVER leave you nor forsake you!” (Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5) But these kind of Christians simply “have no ROOT”, no DEPTH, they are SHALLOW, and they never really STAND UP and GROW and become FRUITFUL. They just sort of die out spiritually and fall away when a time of testing comes, when the hot sun of persecution or tribulation arises. They’re weak and they can’t take it.
How many Christians are like that!–They’re happy to receive Jesus, but they never really study and feed on God’s Word and let His Truth sink deep down in their hearts. They are “easy believers” who gladly accept God’s Gift of salvation; a very convenient fire-escape from Hell and a sort of “life-insurance” for the next life. But when the time comes that they should really STAND UP for their faith and tell OTHERS about Jesus, and be willing to endure reproach, rejection, humiliation, or even downright suffering and persecution for the Gospel, they just wither up and fade away!
Now here is Jesus’ explanation of the THIRD kind of ground: “Others, like the seed sown among THORNS, hear the Word; but the CARES and CONCERNS of THIS life, the DECEITFULNESS of RICHES and the DESIRE for other THINGS enters in and CHOKES out the Word, making them unfruitful.”
Being choked-out by the cares, riches and concerns of this life is probably the greatest pitfall for most Christians in the World today! The wonderful way that God could use them is absolutely smothered and choked-out by the MATERIALISTIC cares of THIS temporal life. They get so busy with so many things besides the Lord and His Word and His Work–the “affairs of this life” (2Timothy 2:4)–and their spiritual growth is severely stunted, their strength is sapped, and the thorns of this World choke out their fruitfulness and render them USELESS to God’s eternal Kingdom!
This is not to say that riches are evil. It is “the LOVE of money” that is the root of all evil. (1Timothy 6:10) It is when we value riches and wealth and material things MORE than the LORD that we begin to be choked and fruitless and deceived by “the deceitfulness of riches”!
Finally, the FOURTH kind of ground that Jesus describes: “They who receive the seed that fell on the GOOD GROUND are they who, in an HONEST and GOOD heart, hear the Word and RETAIN it, and with PATIENCE produce a crop yielding thirty, sixty or an hundred times what was sown!”
Unlike the other unfruitful grounds, this fourth kind of ground receives the Word and KEEPS it, RETAINS it, and PATIENTLY PERSEVERES until it grows and matures and becomes FRUITFUL for God’s glory!
What is the ground of YOUR heart like?–Even though SAVED, a good many Christians become like the SECOND kind of ground, stony, rocky and shallow because of their DISOBEDIENCE to the Lord. Their hearts become “HARDENED through the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13), and they never become the strong plants for the Lord that they COULD be, they never grow or mature spiritually or become fruitful. So when the “fiery trials” of temptation arise, their faith withers away because they have no DEPTH, and have never been “ROOTED and ESTABLISHED in the faith” as they should have been! (1Peter 4:12; Colossians 2:6,7)
Or like the THIRD kind of ground, they allow their potential usefulness to God to be CHOKED OUT by the thorny material cares of this life. They never seem to find time-to MAKE time–to prayerfully read and feed from God’s Word, thus they lack the “spirit and life” that His Word would give them. (John 6:63)
How different is the Bible’s description of the man who, like the FOURTH kind of ground, gives the LORD and His WORD FIRST place: “His DELIGHT is in the Word of the Lord, and in His Word he meditates DAY and NIGHT. He shall be like a TREE planted by the rivers of water, which yields its FRUIT in season and whose leaf does NOT wither.-WHATEVER he does shall PROSPER!” (Psalm 1:2,3)
Oh, if we will only realise the ETERNAL IMPORTANCE of yielding to God’s Word and God’s Will–like good, fertile, receptive ground yields to the farmer’s plow, receives the seed he sows and patiently yields a crop–then surely we will DESPISE the thought of allowing our usefulness to God to be choked out by passing material things!-And we certainly won’t allow our faith to wither or fade away because of a little opposition, trouble or persecution for the Gospel!
If your desire is to please the Lord and be fruitful and useful for Him, then YIELD your heart to Him TODAY and let Him make you what HE wants you to be! If you faithfully read and draw strength from God’s life-giving WORDS, you’ll be surprised at how quickly you will grow spiritually.–And if you obey Jesus’ command to “preach the Gospel” and you tell OTHERS about His Love, then the seed of God’s Word that you sow in THEIR hearts will take root and grow, and you will win OTHERS to Jesus, and thus bear FRUIT, thirty times, sixty times or even one hundred times more than was originally sown in your life!–And God Himself will reward you with EVERLASTING saved SOULS and you’ll shine as the stars FOREVER! (Daniel 12:3)
PRAYER: Dear Lord, we sincerely ask You to please help us to yield to You, to be obedient to You, so we can be the good fruitful kind of ground that You desire! You said, “BLESSED are they who do HUNGER and THIRST after righteousness, for they shall be filled.” So please help us to really HUNGER for YOU and Your life-giving WORD, to read it faithfully and to share it with others so they too can find You.–In Jesus’ name, amen.