This week we examine the parable of the sower. Jesus Himself gave the interpretation of this parable and what i want to express is some of the misconceptions i've had (or been taught) about it and offer some scripture that might help someone farther along in their relationship with God. Here then is the parable and Jesus' interpretation, though it is found in the first three gospels we will look at it as told in Matthew chapter 13.
The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side. And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, 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 other 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 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. 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. 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. 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.
Misconception # 1, i was always taught and believed that this parable was all about salvation, until i read it and the Spirit pointed out that in three of the four conditions, the person believed the word. Only one however became fruitful, if this parable is about salvation then the middle two people were saved and lost it. Misconception # 2, i always believed that God wanted everyone to understand all the word, obviously according to Jesus (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.) some people DON'T WANT to know what God has to say and have disqualified themselves from knowing the mysteries of the kingdom. It would be hard to express how much comfort this truth has brought me. Instead of frantically trying to make people believe, i now understand that my job is to tell the truth as i understand it, their job is to believe or not, and God's job is to save those who believe.
This parable describes the condition of peoples hearts, wayward, stony, thorn choked, or good ground. While this could be applied to believers and unbelievers, lets concentrate on the former since most of you are in that category, if you are not, my suggestion and prayer is that you get that way fast, if you have questions about this, e-mail me at the address above. In my growing experience (i consider myself an adolescent who is past the know nothing and the know it all stages and understands that there is a lot more to learn) there have been times when i've been in each of these categories.
Some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up.There was a period in my life when i wanted nothing to do with the things of God, i had a wayward heart and it took a lot to change it. When i would hear something about the word, because i wanted nothing to do with it the devil was able to snatch it out of my thought before it could challenge the lies he was telling me. This is a dangerous condition to be in and if you know someone who is in it, keep praying, you may be their only lifeline.
In Genesis chapter 15, God directs Abraham to make a sacrifice concerning the promises He had given to him. After Abraham prepared the sacrifice God made him wait for His answer. In the mean time buzzards tried to eat the sacrifice and who was watching over it drove them away. If god has put someone on your heart, and you have been praying for them and waiting for God's timing to work it out, perhaps you need to use the authority Jesus bought back for you at the cross to drive away the buzzards that keep them bound with lies. Ultimately they will have to make the choice to believe God or not but if they are under your authority in any way, child, wife, or husband, you have more authority over the buzzards that afflict them than you might realize. Even if you have no authority or responsibility over them every demon in satan's kingdom is subject to you in Jesus name if you believe.
Here are a couple of examples to explore some of the boundaries of this principle. In Mark 6:1-6 Jesus returns to the area He grew up in and because of their unbelief He could not do many miracles there. If anybody had authority over demons and other maladies, Jesus did yet in most cases it takes faith in the person to be prayed for to realize the benefit of that authority. These people watched Jesus grow up and found it hard to believe that this boy who they knew so well was anybody special. Another class of people that has a hard time with belief, those who put faith in a person instead of God. While someone who has practiced the authority given by God may assist another and add his faith to that of another, there is no more or less ability in God to do things in any particular way, or through any particular person. If you have the faith, God will respond, but i'm getting off the subject so lets return.
Another example of the authority we have over the buzzards is found in Acts 16:16-18 read this account; And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.
There are times when demons cross the line and invade your territory (anything that God has put under your authority, including family, business, calling, even piece of mind) and regardless of the wishes of the individual they are using you may exercise authority over them.
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.
This condition has applied in my life in two ways. When i first asked Jesus into my heart it seemed natural to talk to God anytime and anywhere, which it should. One day i was in a competition at school and bowed my head to ask God for a little help. One of the boys near me got really belligerent about it and i let it offend me, even though God answered my prayer. It would be some time before i would recover. It takes DEEP determination to make the word profitable in you.
If you have made a commitment to God about something, satan will make sure it is tested. Read this in Mark 9:49 For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. Also in 1st Peter 4:12-14 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. God will allow this to take place for a VERY good reason, if you want to know what that reason is, ask Him and when you are ready to hear it, you will.
The other way this has applied in my life is when God has led me into areas of His word that are not really popular with the church crowd. For instance the assertion above that satan can use a believer is not popular with much of the church, nevertheless truth is truth no matter if everybody believes it or nobody believes it. By the way, please note that use and possess are two different things. This is a whole other study though. You must determine in your heart that; (1) you don't know it all and only God does, (2) Scripture is the plum line which all must be measured by and (3) If you think God has shown you something, and it checks out in the word, ALMOST ALWAYS in more than one place, that nobody will change your mind in any other way than to show you in scripture where you are wrong, (i go by this rule, if Jesus said it, and other scripture SEEMS to contradict it, Jesus trumps everything else).
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.
Cares of this world (age) and the deceitfulness of riches. You could describe this condition as allowing your flesh to dictate your life. Letting temporary desires and fears have too much weight in your decisions. If we will be honest we have all been in this condition. Popularity or fear or greed or bitterness, or any of the works of the flesh will eventually choke out the word and prevent you from growing. Note that these people have heard and accepted the word but it became unfruitful. The choice is yours, you are the one who waters the word or the weeds. Whatever you meditate on and give place to will grow. The things of the Spirit will last forever, the things of the flesh are temporary.
Did you ever wonder why people who seem to have everything are unhappy? Think of those who have millions, even billions, and still work 18 hours a day, or how about the performers who reach the pentacle of success and kill themselves with drugs and other things. Why? Because the things of the flesh are temporary and do not satisfy. There is always a carrot at the end of the stick that is just out of reach and always in the direction of hell. Always one more deal, one more song or movie or award, or one more experience that beckons you downward and as soon as you achieve that there will be something else because that is now old.
Until you become satisfied with what you have, you will never be satisfied. You only have so much time in a day and if the cares of this life demand most of that time the word will not grow in you. Yes we have responsibilities but we choose the level of those responsibilities, and sometimes those responsibilities can wait.
Read Luke 10:38-42 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
If you are being taught that you can't sit at Jesus' feet for yourself, or that it is unnecessary, that all you need to do is show up at church and pastor will take care of the rest, there is a good chance you ought to seek other council. This whole life is primarily about getting to know God for yourself, everything else is secondary.
So you might ask how do i become fruitful? Well, spend time in God's word; Jeremiah 4:3 For thus saith the Lord to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.
Isaiah 55:6-13 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. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.
The difference between a field of weeds and thorns and a field of wheat is this. Somebody removed the stones and plowed the field of weeds, then burnt the thorns out and made it a field of wheat.
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.
Get in and stay in God's word, keep in touch with God by talking to Him and improve your soil (soul) condition by obeying what you understand and become fruitful. Here is the way this portion of the parable is recorded in Luke 8:15 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.
I'll conclude this weeks study with a verse in Job 28:28 And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.
Until next week the Lord bless and keep you and
cause His face to shine upon you and give you peace, and i might add this week the creator of heaven and earth make you fruitful so that you might multiply!