OceanSide church of Christ
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Part of the series: PARABLES OF JESUS
THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER
Victor M. Eskew
A. Most of the parables have been assigned their titles by man.
B. Some of the parables, however, have been given their titles by their author, Jesus Christ. Such is the case for tonight’s parable (Matt. 13:18).
Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.
C. This is the very first parable we have that Jesus spoke.
1. It is recorded in all three synoptic gospels: Matthew, Mark, and Luke.
2. Mark’s account of the parable is the most thorough (Mark 4:3-9).
Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow: and it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up. And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: but when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and chocked it, and it yielded no fruit. And other fell on good ground, an did yield fruit that sprang up and increased, and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some a hundred. And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
D. Not only is this parable titled by Jesus, it is also interpreted by Him. We will look at Luke’s account of the interpretation (Luke 8:11-15).
1. The focus of Jesus is upon the soils.
2. The soils represent the hearts of men.
3. A subtitle of this parable could be: “The Heart’s Reception of the Word of God.”
4. There are four aspects of this parable we will examine.
I. THE SOWER
A. Behold, there went out a sower to sow.
B. If any seed is ever going to be planted, there must be a sower. LESSON: No sower, no crop.
C. This sower cannot be slothful. He must “go out” to sow. LESSON: No activity from the sower, no crop.
D. We will not delve deeply into this, but the sower will engage in a unique task.
1. Sowing is hard work.
a. A large bag of seed would be strapped upon the shoulder of the sower.
b. He would walk long furrows scattering his seed.
c. Most of the work was done in the heat of the day.
2. Sowing is long work. One could work from sun up until sun down.
3. Sowing is lonely work. One person could be in a field alone almost all day.
4. Sowing is patient work. Sowing did not bring immediate results.
E. Brethren, we must be the sowers of seed.
1. We must be the ones to go out (Mark 16:15).
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
2. Question: If we don’t go out, who will?
3. Remember: No sower, no crop.
II. THE SEED
A. The sower sowed seed. Jesus tells us what the seed is (Luke 8:11).
Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
B. Two lessons:
1. No seed, no crop.
2. The wrong seed; the wrong crop.
C. Jesus’ words of the Great Commission harmonize with the words of the parable (Mark 16:15).
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world (sower goes out) and preach the gospel (the seed) to every creature.
D. Again, we could spend much time on a study of the seed.
1. NOTE: The seed is the Word of God.
a. Paul commanded Timothy to preach the word (II Tim.4:2).
b. We are not to preach opinions, creeds, or self-help theories.
2. The seed is powerful
a. Heb. 4:12
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
b. This word, for our purposes, is able to save the souls of the lost (James 1:22).
3. This seed is incorruptible (I Pet. 1:22-23).
4. This seed produces after its kind.
a. Apple seeds will only produce apples.
b. The Word of God sown into good soil will only produce Christians.
c. NOTE: Member of the church of Christ are not “church of Christers.”
III. THE SOILS
A. The soils represent four different types of hearts.
1. All of mankind falls into one of these four categories.
2. As we study, we should ask ourselves: “Which one of these soils represents me?”
B. The four soils
1. The wayside soil (Luke 8:12)
Those by the wayside are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
a. Wayside soil is the soil of the path. It has been hardened by the feet that have walked thereon.
b. This soul represents a hard heart. It involves one that hears the word, but that does not allow the seed to penetrate. (NOTE: This can involve the alien sinner, but it could involve every individual when it comes to certain truths of God’s Word).
c. Because the heart is hard, Satan can perform his evil work and remove the Word of God from their hearts.
1) Disbelief in what God says
2) Delays in obeying the truth
3) Discussions involving rationalizations and justifications
2. The rocky soil (Luke 9:13)
They on the rock are they, which when they hear, receive the word with joy; and they have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.
a. The rocky soil involves a plant that spouts and begins to grow. Mark’s account says that they “endure for a time” (Mark 4:17).
b. The heat of the sun, however, begins to bear down upon the tender plant.
1) Four words describe this heat.
a) Temptation (Luke 8:13) – a putting to the test
b) Tribulation (Matt. 13:21) – pressure
c) Persecution (Matt. 13:21; Mark 4:17) – persecution
d) Afflication (Mark 4:17) – pressure, same word translated “tribu-lation in Matthrew 13:21).
2) The heat scorches the plant, and it dies.
c. The cause of the death is not the heat. The cause that the plant has no root in themselves.
1) One of the key actions of the new Christian is to root himself deeply in God’s Word (Col. 2:6-7).
As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanks-giving.
2) If a person doesn’t do this, the hot sun of testing will cause him to perish. Matthew states: “…by and by he is offended” (Matt. 13:21).
3. The thorny soil (Luke 8:14)
And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.
a. These plants also spring up, but they never produce fruit.
b. Why? They are entangled by the cares, riches, and pleasures of the world. Work, family, recreation, hobbies, riches, friends, school, etc. crowd out their growth in Christ.
1) The Word of God wants to feed and nourish the plant.
2) The carnal things of the world, however, have a choke hold on the plant and the Word is choked out.
3) Clarke: “…carking worldly cares, with the delusive hopes and provisions of riches, cause the man to abandon the concerns of his soul, and seek, in their place, what he shall eat, drink, and wherewith-al he shall be clothed. Dreadful stupidity of man, thus to barter spiritual for temporal good – a heavenly inheritance for an earthly portion!” (e-sword.com).
4. The good soil (Luke 8:15)
But that on good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.
a. Three key elements of the good soil:
1) Honest and good heart
2) Hears the Word of God and understands it (Matt. 13:23).
3) Hears the Word of God and keeps it.
b. NOTE: this is the soil that brings forth fruit. It is productive and useful.
IV. THE SUBSTANCE
A. Luke merely tells us that the good ground brings forth fruit. Matthew and Mark tell us that the good soil brings forth, some thirty, some sixty, and some hundred fold.
B. Two lessons:
1. It we keep sowing, we will reap (Ps. 126:5-6).
They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.
2. The sower will usually reap much more than he sowed.
a. The farmer plants a certain amount of seed.
b. He reaps enough to
1) Pay all expenses
2) Provide for his living
3) Produce some profit
4) Purchase seed for next year
A. View #1: As soil, I can choose which soil type I will be.
B. View #2: As sowers, we must expect to come into contact with all four soil types.