Truth Seekers Ministries Presents...
The Parable of the Sower
“Know ye not this parable? And how then will ye know all parables?” ...Jesus Christ
Before I begin this lesson, I first want to thank, as usual, Dr. Gene Scott for his lessons on this subject and many, many others. I try to make these lessons my own and I do write them in my own words, yet it is inevitable, that other students of Scott will recognize him coming through. I pray that everyone that has learned from the Doc, worldwide, be given a measure of faith, grace and the wherewithal, to spread to others, the truths that we have learned from him.
I will first give the passages in scripture, that cover this parable. I’ll start with Mark, which was written earlier than the other two synoptic gospels. The term “Synoptic” means “Together”, referring to the similar and parallel aspects of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Mark is the original one though, the source that the other gospel writers used in writing their works. And, Mark is the most concise of the three. By the way, Matthew, Mark and Luke, are all quoting from an unknown source of the “Sayings of Jesus”. This hypothetical “Q” document, called “Q” from the German “Quelle” meaning “Source”, is assumed to have existed, by the conclusions gained in comparing the writing styles and quotations from the different authors. It is speculated that Matthew wrote down Jesus sayings as he followed him, and this collection of sayings is what Mark used. The other writers copied from Mark, and from this other “Sayings of Jesus” document.
“When God says something more than once...you better pay attention” ...Dr. Gene Scott
This parable is repeated three times, so we had better pay attention to it. The parable of the Sower, is a difficult lesson to absorb, because with it we are given the tools to measure our own faith by. No one really wants to do that. We really don’t want to believe this parable is true. We may have heard it taught many times, but do we really think that it applies to us? I know that every time I look at my faith, which is the only thing that believers should be judging, I always see areas in which I fail, and if you are being honest with yourself, you will admit the same. However... if we take the proper understanding of this parable, plant it deep in our spiritual being, as a rock or foundation, to base our discernment and understanding of the rest of scripture on, and if we use this knowledge to measure and correct aspects of our own lives of faith, we are then doing as Jesus said that we should. “Repentance”, meaning, “to turn from, to”, is afforded us, but it is also a requirement when we do stray, in order for us to turn back to God, and continue this walk with our Lord. Jesus states plainly, that if we can’t understand this parable, we can’t understand anything He teaches. This parable is the key to understanding all other parables, and indeed everything that the Word of God teaches us. Lets now go to the passages...
And he began again to teach by the sea side; and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land. And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine, (Literally, “The Teaching of Him”). Hearken; Behold, there went out a Sower to sow: And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, (the “Path”), 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 choked it, and it yielded no fruit. And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred. And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable. And he said unto them. Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: That seeing they may see and not perceive, and hearing they may hear and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them. Know ye not this parable? And how then will ye know all parables? The Sower soweth the Word. And these are they by the way side where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended. 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, (“desires”),of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. 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.
I’ll include these next two statements, for they immediately follow the prior statements in both Mark and Luke, hence linking them to the parable, and they are beneficial to our search for understanding.
And he said unto them. Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? And not to be set on a candlestick? For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was anything kept secret, but that it should come abroad. If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. And he said unto them. Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given. For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.
Now let us read Matthew 13:1-23
The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side. And great multitudes were gathered together unto hum, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a Sower went forth to sow; 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 some fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. And the disciples came, and said unto him. Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 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 prophesy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and 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. Hear ye therefore the parable of the Sower. When anyone 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. 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 endureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. 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. 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.
Now for Luke 8:4-18
And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable. A Sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be? And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables: that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. Now the parable is this: The seed is the Word of God. 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. 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. 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. 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. (“endurance”) No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light. For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither anything hid, that shall not be known and come abroad. Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.
“A child can understand what He just said,...it’s just hard to accept it..” Dr. Gene Scott
John 3:16; One of the most familiar bible verses in the Church today, and is used to bring people into the kingdom. “...that Whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”. This is the churches call to the world, Traditionally, we have been taught that everyone can be saved, However this is not what Jesus is teaching us in the parable of the Sower. Another thing of importance, that we should recognize, is that the word “Believeth”, does not mean what most people think it does. The word is Faith, “Pisteuo” in the Greek. Faith is a verb, not a noun. Mere belief does not get it. Satan believes, and he is damned to hell. The A,B,C’s of Faith are this. Faith, is an Action, based on your Belief, and sustained by your Confidence in God’s Word. It is the hanging of your body on what God has said, and regardless of the circumstances, you’re going to hang on even if the process kills you. That’s what God requires of us, not just belief. Whosoever “Faitheth” in, or into, Him, to create an appropriate word, is how the text should read. Also recognize, that we can have faith in anything… people, gravity, science, etc. But any faith we have, that is not directed towards God or His Word, is what God calls, Apistis… the opposite of Pistis, it is Dis-Faith. I threw that in free, now back to the parable...
It should be obvious to you now, that Jesus is making it clear, by this parable, that not everyone can hear and see truths of God. Everyone can’t have their sins forgiven. Everyone can’t be converted, and healed. God doesn’t want some people to inherit an eternity with Himself. There are some folks that God just don’t want. That is so sad. How can this be? I thought God was a God of Love, that “Whosoever” chooses to, may come. We’ve been taught that everyone can be saved. Other parables address this as well. Jesus bought the whole field, the whole world, but not for the whole field, not for those who are without, but for the treasure in the field. He bought the field for those that are the called of God, that treasure within, that pearl of great price. There are those who have been called, from the foundation of the world, to be one with Christ. These are who are to make up the “Body of Christ”. No one comes to the Father, save the Spirit draw him. If you have the call of God on your life, then God spoke your name before these worlds were formed, and you will have that “Hound of Heaven” breathing down your neck. These people, are those whom God wants to give access back to Himself to. They, are who will to be able, to understand and perceive the things of God. They have the capability to understand God’s parables, inherently built in. Some have it, and some don’t. Just because you have ears on your head, and eyes peering out of it, does not mean that you can see and hear the things of God. So don’t worry too much about those who will never understand your faith, who seem to never get it, but rather put your attention and resources into finding those, who are able to see and hear, who have that receiver, built in, that can receive the signal from the Word of God.
Most of you can understand, that we, the “Church”, meaning, “the Lords”, are also the Ecclesia, or “Out Called Ones”. We are a peculiar people, and are called out from among others who are not called. I’m not talking about a building or any place of worship either. The Church is a body of believers, and wherever two or more are gathered in faith, Jesus is in their midst. We can also understand that there are those who are “Without”, who will never be able to see and hear. But what we often fail to do though, myself included, is to take the rest of the parable and compare it with ourselves. These types of soil that the seed lands on, are in fact of those who can see and hear, they are the called ones of God. The seed, or the Word, wouldn’t have landed on soil that can’t hear. Lets go through these soil types, and pray for discernment in our own lives, to see just what type soil we each are made of.
The “Wayside” Soil:
The word, “Wayside”, in this text is somewhat deceptive in the translation. It doesn’t mean the side of the road, which is what most of us were taught that “wayside” means, but what the word really means, is the “path”, the trodden down, hardened path in the middle. So hard that the seed can only barely penetrate, and immediately Satan comes and snatches away what was sown. Trodden down by the world or the church, or both. Notice, that these people are in fact of the group that have the ability to hear, their receiver is in place. They are a part of the out called ones of God. These are those in the church, who when the Word is delivered, usually only listen for a second, if that. Their attention is drawn elsewhere, or, they’ve heard this before. It’s like how we can listen to the news, but not hear a word they say. The Word never penetrates into their being. One of the problems with many Christians in the U.S. and in many countries that have had a presence of Christian churches for years, is that if they have grown up in the church, they tend to treat the church like an obligation, or they have been just numbed to it. There is no “Zeal”, no eagerness in their lives, for the advancement of the kingdom of Christ. They are so trodden down by the church and the world, that the Word just can’t penetrate. They already know it all, they may catch a glimpse of it for a second, and then their mind goes elsewhere, seduced and caught away by Satan. These wayside people may make an appearance in church, but probably only treat it as a mere social thing, to being seen of others, or to catch up with their friends, rather than taking it, as a serious activity of spiritual significance.
The “Stony Ground” Soil:
This next soil type, also has the ability to see and hear. They, in fact, receive the Word with gladness and joy. They are so excited when they learn something new, you can just hear them shouting from the rafters as the message is delivered, they love the message so much. They however have no root. They are truly not grounded in Christ, for Christ is the root system and foundation of the Chosen of God. They are not in a true love relationship, being a recipient of God’s unmerited favor. They don’t walk daily in the relationship with their Lord. They are always looking for something new, a new truth, a new message, and since they are not rooted in Christ, and if they don’t receive something new to tickle their ears, some other fantastic message, then they will soon move on to a different teacher, another church, somewhere they can get their “Fix”. Now I am all for searching for a church home that you feel drawn to in your Spirit, but these people are not in it for the grind, the long haul, and soon as any persecution, temptation, or trouble arises, they immediately turn away. Realizing not, that the only way for us to grow in Christ, and to increase our faith, is to have ever increasing battles, trials and troubles, causing us to train and work out our faith. Faith training, is accomplished in very much the same way that a body builder trains. Our faith increases in its strength, when any opportunity arises for us to use our faith, and we engage it, hanging on God’s Word with that never ending “Death Grip of Faith”.
The “Thorny Ground” Soil:
This third type of soil that the Word of God is seeded into, like the other types, can also see and hear. They have perception and understanding. They truly get it. These people are even rooted properly, for the root system is not the issue with these people. The “Cares of this world”, the deceitfulness, or literally the “Seduction of Wealth”, and the Lusts, or literally, “Desires of other things”, are what hinders growth and fruit production, choking out the Word that was sown in them. This type of soil, has an abundance of people within the church in it.
I even find myself, overwhelmed with the “Cares of the world” at times. Job issues, Family problems, Health issues, Money worries, and anything else you could place in this category; all these things, if we allow them to become central in our focus, worrying about them above our faith in what the Lord can do for our circumstances, will choke out the Word and cause it to be unfruitful. Your light will dim.
The “Seduction of Wealth” is another problem that many Christians have. God hasn’t given me wealth, and I don’t desire it, but maybe God knew that if I were rich or had an abundance in financial assets, then I wouldn’t be so dependent on Him. There are many though, who love their money, or desire to gain wealth, more than they desire oneness with their Lord. If you are a true Christian, then God will change your heart and you will become a giver by nature. You won’t be a greedy person. You’ll want to give to your church for the value of the teaching, and you’ll want to help others when you can as God directs you. I am not saying to give it all away, even though the first Christians did just that, and God kept blessing them for their giving nature. What I am trying to say, is that as we grow in Christ, whenever God presents to us needs of others, the Holy Spirit will prompt you to give to the need. However, if your suppress that urge, because you care more for maintaining your wealth, than to help fulfill the true needs that God sends your way, then your love of money is indeed choking out the Word. Know this as well, that the Holy Spirit, which gives you the unction and desire to give, is also a discerner of Spirits, and you will also know if the recipient truly has a need, and if a need presents itself, you will know whether or not you should help. He will restrain you as well. Realize this as well, that everything you have, whether in your abundance, or in your meagerness, is all given to you by God, and if God prompts you to give to a need out of your abundance, or sometimes even out of your base, then yield to that unction, and the fruits of the Word of God will flourish within you. Don’t forget, that the same Lord that gives you your wealth, can also take it away in an instant if He desires.
The “Desires of other things” are just that. Anything in this world, that you desire, and work towards achieving in life, if placed above your call, above where you put Christ in your heart, will in fact choke out the Word, and cause your spiritual life to be hindered and unproductive. Don’t desire the things of this world so much. We are to be in the world but not of it. God is more than willing to give to you, and even give to you abundantly, however in order for Him to do that, we must first place Him, His desires for us, and what He wants us to do, with what He does give to us, above all other desires we personally seek. Iniquity, means going our own way, doing our own thing. We want what we want, when we want it, and how we want it. Iniquity, means choosing selfishly, and when we do this, these “Desires of other things” will certainly hinder your growth in Christ, and can choke out the call completely, if left to it’s own ends and not repented of.
The “Good” Soil:
Then we get to the ones who make up the good soil. These are those who have given themselves over to serve Christ in their inmost being. You have been bought with a price, and you are not your own. Praying regularly, in secret, not to be seen of others, they recommit themselves daily, repenting of their short-fallings and seeking that “Oneness” between them and their Lord. Keep that Faith Line open all throughout the day, and you will find comfort comes quickly. These are the “Fruit Producers”. Just what is Jesus talking about regarding the fruit that the good soil produces? It’s not just having a hand in saving others, like notches in your belt, for keeping track of such things tends to cause spiritual pride, which is the worst of sins. What is important, is that if you are a Called One of God, is that you just let your “Light of Faith” shine brightly, so that others may see it and give glory to God. Remember, we are not just supposed to be taking all this in, like a sponge, but we are to be conduits, shining forth that which we have received. We are to be instruments of God, to shine forth truth to the world. It is a wonderful feeling to know that someone has asked the Lord into their hearts, as a direct result of your teaching them, but just letting people see your faith is even more important than that. For, many will ask the Lord into their heart, through your faith and actions, and you will never know about it until we get home. Faith is kind of like wildfires, it will spread to others, which in turn spreads to even others. You won’t even have to work too hard at it, it just happens. Do not be ashamed of your faith, we are called to be peculiar. We are destined to be shine like the stars of heaven. Yet in this life, and at this time in history, you will find yourself ridiculed, and even hated by the world, those that are not called. But we are not of this world, and that is what makes the “Good Soil”, different from the other types of soil. The good soil has no worldly hold on them, they worry not about things of this earth for they have eternity in their hearts. I’m not saying that we should all quit our jobs and find some hole to climb into and die. We are to be “In” the world, just not “Of” the world. What I am saying, is that even though troubles, and trials come, we can run to that shelter of our mothers wing, our Lord promises to take care of us, to watch over us and to never leave us or forsake us. What more, can anyone or anything of this world, do for us, than what God can do? We can not let the desires of worldly things run our lives. Everything in moderation, and nothing mastering over us, should be the norm. Remember this… “Many are Called, but Few are Chosen”. There are four types of soil, and only one part of the four is what makes up the “Chosen Few”. Look at your lives, and judge yourself. Don’t go around judging other peoples soil, even though sometimes it is obvious what type they are composed of, however you can give them the tools to be able to judge their own soil for themselves. If they are among those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, then they will be able to see and understand, and then their choices that they make, are all on them, and not on you.
“How terrible to be among the “Without”, who cannot understand, and cannot perceive. Even more terrible, to see and perceive, hear and understand, and still not make it…” Dr. Gene Scott
No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light. For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither anything hid, that shall not be known and come abroad. Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.
There are certain “Fruits of the Spirit”, that scripture gives to us as evidence of the spiritual well being within ourselves and others. These attributes, are the external evidence of internal growth, our light that shines out to the world. The fruits, are what others see in us, and as we yield to their production, we become more and more like Christ. Becoming like Christ, is the eventual outcome of every chosen one. We are to be made into the “Image and Likeness” of our Lord, which will be completed at the Judgment Seat of Christ. These are traits that every fruit producer will have. Look at what Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:9-11 : “For the fruit of the Spirit, is in all goodness and righteousness and truth: Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them..” And again in Galatians 5:22-23 : But the fruit of the Spirit, is Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness, Temperance: Against such there is no law. Let your fruits shine forth in this world, for if you hide them, and keep them to yourself, then God will take away even what you think you have. If you have a call of God on your life, then don’t treat that call lightly. A great many are being called, but only a few will be chosen, and if you don’t take your call seriously, then why should God. If you take your call seriously, then I admonish you, to “Endure with Patience”, and by pressing on to that mark of the high calling, and running that race to win, our reward surely follows.
And another thing...
“We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places”… Paul the Apostle
Most people don’t think about this aspect of their walk of faith too much. Most Christians either don’t think that they exist, or think that they are not involved in the affairs of men, but be aware...there are spiritual beings, both good and evil out there, in a literal war for your souls. And God has put His Chosen ones on display, being attacked by the demonic forces of Satan, but also being helped by the angelic forces of God, to show off to the universe for eternity, the tested and tried faith of the Saints of God. We are the ones on trial here, we each have to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. Realize, that you are in a battle against forces of evil, whose desire it is, to cause you pain, to stumble, to fall, and to doubt your Lord. You must see them for what they are and know where your attacks come from. Regularly, starting early in the morning, and throughout the day, check in to your command center. Always praying without ceasing. If we take the advice of Jesus, and measure our own faith walk, we can then till our own soil, and de-weed ourselves, which gives us the needed root system, for us to have the strength and ability to fight the good fight of faith against the wiles of the devil. May we prove to our Lord when He returns, that there is still true faith alive and well. And, all the forces of evil in Satan’s arsenal, are no match, and will not prevail against the true Church of Jesus Christ. Keep the Faith, Shine your faith to others, and may you grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
With Love in Christ,
Patrick Robinson, Minister
Truth Seekers Ministries