Forest Park Church
The Parable of the Sower
February 13, 2022

The Parable of the Sower

February 13, 2022

There are about 40 parables of Jesus recorded in the Scriptures.

He would use simple word pictures like;

  • God’s kingdom is like a seed”

  • God is like a Father welcoming home a wayward son,” to teach a deep truth about God and what it means to know Him.

  • And as we are going to find out in today’s passage, there were a couple reasons that he used that form.

The first recorded parable of Jesus is “The Parable of the Sower” the sower and the soils.

You can find The Parable of the Sower in the Synoptic Gospels: Matthew 13:3-9, Mark 4:3-9, and Luke 8:5-8

  • A great crowd listened to Jesus but almost nothing was taking root.

  • Seed-stealing birds,

  • Shallow soil,

  • Choking thorns meant most of them would be “ever hearing and never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven” (Mark 4:12).

Earlier that day He’d had a confrontation with the Pharisees and religious lawyers about His claim to be the Son of Man and the great gulf that separated them from God’s Kingdom.

  • They could not bring themselves to believe that Jesus was the Messiah.

  • There had also been a demand by His mother and brothers for a private talk – perhaps to persuade Him to call it day.

  • But Jesus declined them special access saying that the only relationship that ultimately counted with Him was what He had with those who do “the will of my Father in heaven” (12:50).

  • Jesus had cast out devils;

  • He’d healed the sick and

  • He taught the precepts of the Kingdom but still they didn’t understand.

The word “Kingdom” had excited the common people with the expectation that a powerful, dynamic messianic figure would drive out the Roman oppressors and restore the national pride once more. But the extraordinary thing is, He didn’t choose that route. He told them a story instead – a parable.

That’s the context of Jesus addressing the crowd about entry into that Kingdom.

  • And what’s more, it was far from straightforward, more of a riddle.

  • His closest friends were puzzled by it and asked Him why He was speaking in this way.

  • His reply was even more perplexing! It was a quote from Isaiah:

The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, “though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand”’ (8;10).

The aim of the parables was to draw out from the masses the few who would grasp what Jesus was driving at.

  • Parables revealed truth to those who were hungry,

  • and concealed it from those who were too lazy to look for it, or too blinded by hatred and prejudice to discern it.

Matthew 13:1

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. 2 And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. 3 And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow.

I. The went out to Sow

We use Gods seed!

  • We don’t make the seed modify the seed or create our own hybrid we are simply the carriers.

  • We sow on the good spots and bad

  • Our duty is not measured by our listeners but by our obedience.

  • We follow in the footsteps of the prophets carrying out Gods’ word to his people.

We are called to Sow the seed not eat the seed!

The young salesman was disappointed about losing a big sale, and as he talked with his sales manager he lamented, “I guess it just proves you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.” The manager replied, “Son, take my advice: your job is not to make him drink. Your job is to make him thirsty.” So it is with evangelism. Our lives should be so filled with Christ that they create a thirst for the Gospel. 

vs: 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them.

II. Hearts

Fields in Palestine were small and separated from one another by paths where the soil was beaten flat and hard as concrete under human feet and the summer sun.

As the sower walked down the field, some landed on this impenetrable soil and “birds came and ate it up” – in other words these are trampled down hearts!

  • By Choice

  • By Life

  • Some even attend Church services

vs18

Hear then the parable of the sower: 19 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 what was sown along the path.

Jesus said the birds will devour the seed.

  • Have you ever said something like I will do__________

  • I need to Change ________ in my life but didn’t?

  • A few days later the reminder is gone and our lives remain the same.

There are many people who respect the word of God. They would never mock it or doubt it….. the real question is does it change you?

The seed fell along the path, and there’s also:

vs:5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, 6 but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away.

III. Seed

There was a thin layer of soil on an outcrop of rock, allowing seeds to germinate

  • but the plants could never get good roots.

  • When the sun beat down, they withered and died.

  • Jesus said it portrayed “the man who hears the word … with joy.

  • But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time.”

vs:20

As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.

It’s possible to make an enthusiastic initial response but it doesn’t last.

  • It’s all emotion.

  • The cost of being a Christian hasn’t been counted.

  • In a time of trouble or persecution it’s evident that the profession of faith has been superficial.

  • These are people who respond uncertainly to the seed of the Word – it’s “YES AND NO” – they want to keep a foot in both camps, but that’s unacceptable to our Lord.

Procrastination in our faith can be deadly to our souls. We mean to get around to this or that, but we put off the hard work of rooting ourselves in Gods word, the Church and our Faith.

Col 2:6

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

 8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.

The seed fell along the path and on the rock, and there’s also:

vs:7 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.

IV. The Seed

Jesus refers to the soil of the heart where a person “hears the word, but worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.”

This person answers to the call of God by saying “YES BUT”.

  • Their life becomes clogged with the bindweed of materialism and worldliness, as the rival interests sap their energies.

  • At whatever stage of life we’re at, there’s any number of distractions, resulting in spiritual immaturity and arrested development.

  • If we disobey what God intended, ignoring the Maker’s handbook, the Bible, we get the logical result, loss of vital contact with God.

Vs: 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.

We have a great deal to pursue in our culture today.

  • Many things our world tell us are important even essential.

  • I wonder is this is why Jesus Said it easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man to inherit the kingdom-of-God.

  • With God all things are possible

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you … and I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees” Ezekiel (36:26).

He needs us to be willing to receive the treatment.

The seed of the Word of God all too often falls on “bad-soil” but Jesus ends the Parable by telling us that it’s God’s will and purpose that there’s:

vs:8

Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

V.

Notice the soil wasn’t graded by its content but rather it availability. 
  • It must not be hard and unresponsive, uninterested in the message, bored by the Word of God.

  • Our interest in the Gospel won’t be a passing phase or be preoccupied by worldly fears and desires.

  • The good-soil person, said Jesus, “is the man (or woman) who hears the word and understands it”. The reply to the call of the Word is an unequivocal “YES – I want it and will put it into practice”.

Vs:23

As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

Jesus said that the qualification for good-soil is that it “produces a crop”. “Fruit” says Jesus, is “showing yourself to be my disciples”

John 15:8

This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

Eph 5:9,10

It’s the “fruit of the Spirit … love, joy, peace, patience,

Conclusion:

Scarecrows, Rock-Pickers, and Weed-Pullers

“It was 1977, lost half my crop. It was a bad, bad year. It was so wet I couldn’t get half of it harvested and it didn’t develop. So, at the end of the year, in October, I would walk through the fields and try to pick up a bushel here and a piece there. Then, I saw standing by itself a most extraordinary, unusual looking soybean plant. I walked over and I was shocked by its size and its good looks. I went and carefully picked off the pods. There were 202 pods and I opened them and counted out 503 soybeans. I took them home. I kept them in a pan all winter and they dried out. The next spring they just seemed special to me. In 1978 I took those 503 soybeans and I planted them in a little plot behind my house and when October came I harvested 32 pounds! Thirty-two pounds! I dried them out in the winter and in 1979 I took those thirty-two pounds and I planted them on one acre and when October came, I harvested. I had 2,409 pounds and I planted them on sixty-eight acres, which was all the land I had available. In October, just a year ago, I harvested twenty-one hundred bushels and cashed it out for fifteen thousand dollars! 

Now, one plant, four years later, fifteen thousand dollars. Not too bad, is it?

Jesus, as ever, ends the Parable on a note of challenge, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

The Greatest Sower Himself is asking us: “What kind of hearer are you?” Is our hearing impaired by the secular noise level of our busy lives? One day, God is going to hold us accountable for our spiritual productivity. Then we’ll all know what mattered and what didn’t, what had abiding value and what was there only for show.

Whatever is done alone for Jesus’ sake will stand the test at what the apostle Paul describes as “the Judgement Seat of Christ”.

  • Those whose work survives will receive a reward; those whose work is burnt will suffer loss.

  • Paul reassures the believers that they won’t lose their salvation but, as it were, “as one escaping through the flames” (1 Cor 3:14).

  • How sad that would be! Let’s go for gold! Let’s aim to be like Paul who, at the end of his life, could say, “I have kept the faith” (2 Tim 4:7).

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