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"Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon him while He is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon." (Isaiah 55:6-7)


Jul 25, 2019

In this episode, Brother Jonathan talks about the parable of the sower.


Remnant Bible Fellowship


The Parable of the Sower

(Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23; Mark 4:1-9, 13-20; Luke 8:4-15)


  1. Introduction
    1. Jesus uses everyday symbols that were common to illustrate heavenly truths. He continuously says, “the kingdom of heaven is like…”.
    2. The meaning of the parables is only truly understood by those who draw close to Jesus and become a part of His disciples, His “inner circle”.
      1. “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. 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. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.” (Mat 13:11-17)
    3. “ And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;” (Mat 13:3)
      1. In other parables Jesus likens the “end of the world” as being like a time of harvest.
        1. “The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.” (Mat 13:39)
      2. But He says that the present time is a time of sowing, or planting, and preparing for that harvest.
  • “And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mat 13:4-9)
    1. This sower does not plow his field first and he sows indiscriminately—everywhere. There may be some applications that we can take from this before even getting to the interpretation:
      1. The sower must sow widely to insure a good harvest.
      2. Not all ground will yield good fruit.
  • The fruitful soil yields enough to make up for the useless soil.
  1. “Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. 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.” (Mat 13:18-19)
    1. We have some of the symbols interpreted.
      1. The Sower is casting abroad the “word of the Kingdom”. Luke plainly states it:
        1. “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.” (Luk 8:11)
      2. The ground is man’s heart.
  • The type of ground illustrates the different ways that people receive the word of God.
  1. The “wayside” hearer is someone who doesn’t understand the Word.
    1. “Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.” (Luk 8:12)
  2. If the person had received the Word then they would “believe and be saved” Luke says.
  3. This person hears the Word and it goes in one ear and out the other. This type of hard-heartedness is attributed to Satan. Paul had said:
    1. “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (2Co 4:3-4)
  4. This person is never converted.
  1. “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.” (Mat 13:20-21)
    1. Luke is much more brief in his account, “They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.” (Luk 8:13)
    2. This is a shallow commitment. The heart is compared to dirt that is very rocky or shallow dirt over a rock.
    3. The “stony-places” hearer is someone who receives the Word but does not allow the Word to truly change them. They haven’t truly embraced the Christian life and what it means to follow Jesus. Because of this, when they are persecuted, or get into trouble for the Word of God, or the name of Jesus, they are unwilling to endure it.
    4. Christians are told that we must endure suffering and persecution if we will be saved in the end.
      1. “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” (Mat 24:13)
      2. “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” (Mat 10:22)
  • “These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.” (Joh 16:1-3)
  1. This person is converted, but does not continue long.
  1. “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.” (Mat 13:22)
    1. “And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.” (Mar 4:18-19)
    2. “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.” (Luk 8:14)
    3. The “thorny-ground” hearer is a person who hears the Word, receives the Word, and gradually other things become more important than the Word. They slowly fall away.
    4. The types of things mentioned that cause them to fall away are:
      1. Cares of this world
      2. Deceitfulness of riches
  • The lusts of other things
  1. Pleasures of this life
  1. This is very similar to what we are told about temptation elsewhere in the NT:
    1. “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (1Jn 2:16)
  2. Jesus warned the Ephesians to not lose their first love—Him.
    1. “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” (Rev 2:4-5)
  3. Jesus’ commandment for those who had lost their first love was for them to repent and do the first works again. Jesus, and His Word, was no longer the first priority and they needed to make Him the first priority again.
  4. Luke includes saying, “…and bring no fruit to perfection.” The word underlying “perfection” here means “bear fruit to maturity”. It’s not speaking of the quality of the fruit per se, but the fact that this person didn’t continue bearing fruit until the time it was needed.
  5. This person embraces the gospel, but gradually other interests—wealth, security, family, and the like—choke it out of first place.
  6. This person is not saved in the end. It actually is a description used by Jude to describe false prophets even:
    1. “These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots;” (Jud 1:12)
  • “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.” (Mat 13:23)
    1. “And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.” (Mar 4:20)
    2. “But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.” (Luk 8:15)
    3. This “good-ground” hearer is described several ways:
      1. They understand the message.
      2. They receive it.
  • They bear fruit.
  1. They keep it, or hold fast to it.
  2. They do this with patience.
  1. This person hears the message of the gospel and, contrary to the others, understands the implications of the message. Jesus’ Word becomes the priority of their lives and they cling to God’s Word and allow it go deep into their hearts and minds.
  • Exhortations
    1. Just like the sower, we must spread the Word of God widely and without discrimination to ensure that we will reap anything. We don’t know the state of the heart of the people we are speaking to. There is nothing obvious beforehand that tells us anything.
    2. We need to expect that some will not care at all about what we say (those by the wayside). Some will at first receive joyfully but will not endure for very long—they won’t allow anything to grow deeply in them (the stony places). Some will receive the Word but will become distracted and gradually fall away (the thorny places). Finally, some will receive and bring forth fruit patiently (good ground hearers).
    3. We can use these examples Christ gave us to examine ourselves.