The Sower

      "On the same day Jesus went out of the house, and sat by the sea. And great multitudes were gathered together to Him, so that He got into a boat, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, 'Behold, a sower went forth to sow; And as he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth: and they immediately sprang up, because they had no depth of earth:" Matthew 13:1-9

The Kingdom Mysteries

Before we can properly understand any of the Kingdom parables in Matthew 13 we must grasp the truth that Jesus was speaking in mystery language. Jesus explained this truth to His disciples in verses 10 through 15, but their conversations right on through His crucifixion, burial, and resurrection revealed they didnít "get it". Down through the church age there have also been countless millions who "didnít get it!"

The mystery of the kingdom is that there is a period of time between the first and second coming of Christ in which God gathers out of all peoples of the world the citizens for the kingdom over which Christ will reign: "Simon (Simon Peter) has declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for His name. And with this the words of the prophets agree..." Acts 15:14, 15a. "...Which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body and partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel" -Eph 3:5-6.

It is when we begin to grasp this truth that we begin to see that all the parables of the kingdoms are understood in light of the church age in which we live.

Behold, A Sower Went Forth To Sow

That sower is Jesus Christ Himself. "...He that sows the good seed is the Son of man," Matthew 13:37. How can Jesus be the sower during the church age since He has gone back to Heaven? All true believers compose the spiritual body of Christ. We have already seen that in Ephesians 3:6. We can also see it in Romans 12:4,5 and 1st Corinthians 12. We are informed in 1st C all true believers make up His body. When any believer sows the gospel seed of the sacrifice of Christ for our sins it is in a larger sense Christ Himself sowing that gospel seed. As believers in one church send missionaries to sow the gospel seed in places they cannot go it is members of the body of Christ enabling other members of the body of Christ to sow that gospel seed.

It is stimulating to look at the Great Commission from this aspect. Jesus said, "...All authority has been given to Me in heaven and in earth. Go therefore, and teach (disciple) all nations..." (Matthew 28:18).  Jesus is telling us that all authority power in heaven and in earth is ours as we go forth to disciple all nations. This is true because we are a member of His body and He is sowing the gospel seed through us. The word "sower" in these parables is in the singular. The word "reapers" is in the plural. As members of His body we have the privilege of having a part of reaping souls into the kingdom of God.

The Field Is The World

How far and wide does Christ sow the gospel seed? Throughout the whole world. The great loving heart of Christ embraces all the peoples of the world and He will save any soul from condemnation who will receive Him by faith as their Savior.

The Seed Is The Word Of God

"The sower sows the word." Mark 4:14.
"Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God." Luke 8:11.

"...Having been born again, not of corruptible seed, but  incorruptible, through the word of God, which lives and abides forever." .1st Peter 1:23.

The Four Responses To The Gospel Seed.

Jesus uses four different kinds of soil to represent the four different kinds of hearts upon which the gospel seed is sown.

The Hard Heart

On the edge of each field was a footpath upon which men and animals walked. Overtime this soil became very hard. Seed could fall on it but not IN it. This pictures hearts made hard as a result of being trampled upon by the affairs of life. Most of us have known people whose hearts became hard as a result of their experiences in marriage, business, and social areas.

Jesus emphasized that this is a dangerous condition. Just as fowls of the air quickly detect any seed lying on hard ground so they can snatch it up, even so Satan and his evil spirits detect the gospel seed lying on hard hearts so they can "catch it away."

The Stony Ground Hearer

There are places where the soil is shallow because a strata of rock lies just beneath a thin layer of soul. This soil may be loose enough and following a rain it may retain moisture. Seed that falls on this soul may quickly germinate and sprout, but the hot sun causes it to quickly wither away. Likewise, there are shallow hearts that joyfully receive the gospel seed and quickly make a profession of faith in Christ. Alas, there is no root to sustain life, growth, and fruit. The heat of persecution, which always follows a profession of faith in Christ causes the outward profession to wither away. These hearts brings sadness and even discouragement to reapers.

The Thorny Ground Hearer

Here is soil that is rich and deep. It is loose and not hard. It has every potential of being fruitful. But the soil is contaminated with the seed of thorns. The thorns spring up and choke back fruitfulness.

I believe this represents a person who truly gets saved and then "becomes unfruitful". The care of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches choke off spiritual fruit. In our American economy this is an ever present danger and every true believer needs to resist these thorns constantly.

The Good Ground Hearer

The soil is deep and rich. It has been carefully prepared. It is loose and thorns are duly cultivated away. It is fertilized and ready to sprout the seed and nourish it to fruitfulness.

There are hearts that have been made tender by experiences of life and by hearing and meditating on the word of God. The seed falls into the heart and springs into life. The roots go deep and abundant nourishment flows. The hot sun of persecution my slow the growth in some cases, but it cannot wither it away.

The Holy Spirit flows unhindered through this heart and the fruit of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance robustly grow. Much gospel seed is also produced from the fruit of the Spirit and the good ground hearer takes his or her place in being a channel for Jesus to sow the seed through them.

Hopefully, all of us would like to be good ground hearers. Let us learn from Jesus that we must have good hearts that are prepared and free of thorns. Let us also seek Godís face to give us that kind of heart.

Copyright © 2002 Thomas E Berry
All Scriptures quoted from NKJV unless otherwise noted

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