by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
It falls on four types of soil, and three-fourths of the seeds do not grow they die.
There is nothing wrong with the seed, but the soil is the problem.
The condition of the soil is all important as far as the seed is concerned.
Now let’s look at how Jesus interpreted the types of soil on which the seed fell.
He said that some of it fell by the wayside, and the birds came and ate it up.
This is how He explained it to His disciples. “When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.” (v.19)
The birds represent the evil one-the Devil takes away the seed sown by the wayside.
This is something that ought to cause every church member to examine his own heart.
Friends, don’t apply this to the other person, apply it to you.
Someone has written a clever little poem which says:
When you get to heaven
You will likely view,
Many folk there
Who’ll be a shock to you.
But don’t be surprised
Or even show a care,
For they might be a little shocked
To see you there.
The wayside soil apparently represents church members; professing Christians.
They heard the word of God, but it was not the hearing of faith.
The word was not mixed with faith-or if it was, it was a formal, intellectual faith which simply nodded the head.
In other words, to people like this, Christianity is a sideline.
Belonging to the church is like belonging to a lodge or club.
These people are in deep freeze.
Not only do we find them in our churches, but some of them have fallen away from the church and are in cults and “isms.”
The second group is represented by rocky soil. “But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.” (v. 20, 21)
These rocky ground people are the opposite of the first group.
It was the Devil who took the word away from the wayside hearers, but the flesh is the culprit with this group.
Instead of being in the deep freeze, they are in the oven-warm, emotional, shedding tears, greatly moved.
They might be called Alka-Seltzer Christians.
There is a lot of fizz in them.
They make as much fuss during a service as a rocket on a launching pad, but they never get into orbit.
They have a great deal of energy during special services, but they are like burned-out Roman candles after the service is over.
Have you ever watched a piece of paper being blown about by a breeze?
As soon as the breeze stops, it lays dead still.
That is just like a lot of so-called Christians.
When there is a sensational service going on they get all enthusiastic, but they have no relationship with Christ.
It is just an emotional high.
They are the rocky-ground people.
The third group of hearers is like thorny ground-“He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.” (v. 22)
With these people, the world crowds out the Word of God.
The Devil got the wayside people, and the flesh took care of the rocky-ground people, but the world chokes out the Word for this class of hearers.
The cares of the world move in.
Sometimes it is poverty, and other times it is the deceitfulness of riches.
It is quite interesting to note that people at each end of the social spectrum-extreme poverty and extreme prosperity-are people who are most difficult to reach for Christ.
A great many people have let the cares of the world crowd out the Word of God.
Those three types of soil do not represent three types of believers-they are not believers at all.
They have heard the Word and have only professed to receive it.
My friends, it is well for all of us to examine ourselves to see, whether or not we are really in the faith.
Thank God some seed falls on good ground, and our Lord interprets this for us-“But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” (v. 23)
These are hearers who receive the Word (the Gospel) and understand it.
Some of them don’t bring forth much fruit-only thirtyfold, but some bring forth a hundredfold.
There must be an understanding of the Word.
The Ethiopian eunuch, you remember, was reading the Word, but he didn’t understand it.
So the Spirit of God put Philip there as a hitchhiker.
He took a ride with the Ethiopian and gave him a ticket to heaven.
He explained the Word to him-that the one who was led as a sheep to the slaughter was the Lord Jesus Christ; that He was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities.
The Ethiopian believed and received Him.
Philip was sowing the seed of the Word of God.
This is a Kingdom-of-Heaven situation; since it reveals the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, is sowing the seed of the Word of God in the world and that the Holy Spirit applies it to the hearts of those who want to believe.
After giving the parable of the sower, Jesus had some quite interesting things to say.
“Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
Well, if we have these things on the side of our heads called ears, can’t we hear Him?
Yes, but notice the question and his answer-“And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?” (v. 10)
The disciples knew how to get the parables explained to them, but they also wanted the people to understand them.
Someone has said that a parable is an earthly story, with a heavenly meaning.
This is a good definition.
But His disciples asked why did He do it; why did He speak in parables? Well, this is how he answered them: “He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them, it is not given.” (v. 11)
If a man wants to know the Word of God, he can know it.
He, who wants to know the truth, can know it.
But you can shut your ears to it.
There are multitudes of so-called broadminded people who shut their ears to the Word of God.
If you don’t want to hear it, you won’t hear it.
Not only would you fail to hear it, but you wouldn’t understand it if you did hear it.
You must have the kind of ear that wants to hear the Word of God.
Verse 12 says, “For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.”
God uses the same rule in dispensing understanding as he does with all of His other gifts; He bestows them on those who improve them but takes them away from those who bury them.
If you know a little truth, and you want to know more, the Lord will add to it.
If you don’t want to know the truth, the Lord will see to it that you won’t get it.
You see, the Lord will never shut the door to one who wants to hear.
He makes it very clear that this is His reason for speaking in parables.
Those who don’t want to hear them will not understand them.
The Lord drew His parables from commonplace things, things that were at the fingertips of the people in that day.
He gave them great spiritual truths illustrated by things that they knew and could see.
Someone has put this concept in verse-
He talked of grass and wind and rain
And fig trees and fair weather,
And made it His delight to bring
Heaven and earth together.
He spoke of lilies, vines, and corn,
The sparrow and the raven.
And words so natural, yet so wise
Were on men’s hearts engraven.
In the parable of the sower, we see what could be called a Kingdom-of-Heaven condition; that is, it exhibits God’s present ruler-ship over the entire earth as He calls out a people to His name.
And God is carrying out His program today through the church, the called-out body, composed of every true believer.
Therefore, we have a Kingdom-of-Heaven condition today as God is carrying on His program of bringing people to a saving knowledge of Christ.
I hope that you are good soil; that you have a good and honest heart, one that will receive and retain the truth, for in such a heart the Word of God will grow, and there will be new life.
Jesus told Nicodemus about this new life when he told him, “…..Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)
You have heard the Gospel; you know that salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ.
If you have not done so, I would invite you to ask him to forgive your sins and to come into your heart.
Please let me know if you would like for me to pray with you.
Now let’s close in prayer.
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