THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER
(Good Soil / Abundant Fruit - February 5, 2023)
Series Big Idea: "Receiving God's truth and following Christ will produce kingdom fruit"
Sermon Big Idea: “Jesus compares receiving the good news to planting seeds on good ground"
Key Scripture (Matthew 13:18-23)
For the last two weeks, we have been discussing the parable Jesus told in Matthew 13. Commonly known as The Parable of the Sower, the message of the kingdom of God is identified as the seed of the parable. The focus then shifts to four ways people react to the good news about God's Kingdom. For one person, “the evil one ... snatches away” the message (13:19). Another person “receives it with joy,” but, lacking deep roots when trouble comes, “they quickly fall away” (13:20–21). For yet another person, the gospel is made unfruitful by “the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth” (13:22, 6:19–21]). Fruitlessness in each instance shows that the gospel was unable to establish itself.1 Let’s read these verses once more this week.
“You, then, listen to the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word about the kingdom and doesn’t understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the one sown along the path. 20 And the one sown on rocky ground—this is one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy. 21 Yet he has no root in himself, but is short-lived. When pressure or persecution comes because of the word, immediately he stumbles. 22 Now the one sown among the thorns—this is one who hears the word, but the worries of this age and the seduction of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 23 But the one sown on the good ground—this is one who hears and understands the word, who does bear fruit and yields: some 100, some 60, some 30 times what was sown.”
Jesus said the rocky areas and the thorny soil (13:7) are both thought to have allowed some early growth (13:20). But, rather than persecution, such as in the rocky soil, the person identified as the thorny soil is pulled away from a steady focus by the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of wealth and the lust for the pleasures of this life. Two prime biblical examples of these two types of people are seen in (Matthew 8:21-22, and 26:14-16).2 The first was a man who said he would follow Jesus if Jesus could wait till his father died. The other is Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.
The point Jesus was making was that just because a person has eternal life doesn’t exempt them from the common problems of this life. “Problems knock at the doors of both believers and non-believers. But understand, believers do have an advantage, problems become a conduit for spiritual growth and grace (Romans 8:28).
Additionally, wealth and poverty can both become a snare in this life. Many people have appeared to accept Christ, only to lose focus on spiritual matters when worldly success calls.3 Oftentimes, genuine joys rob us of time that ought to be spent serving the Lord.
So, the Word had been heard by all three of the previous "soils." The fourth “good soil” hears the message as well, but this one also comprehends. This one decides to comprehend and embrace the truth, as well as the One who is truth (John 14:6), Jesus. All the other soils produced no fruit, but this soil produced much fruit.
Fruit is a sign of a sincere conversion. However, not all genuinely redeemed people reach their full potential for fruitfulness. Some lives display a modest level of growth. They adore the Lord, adore His children, and adore the Bible. They experience real salvation and begin to walk in fruitfulness, yet there are still some parts of their lives that somehow escape the influence of the Bible and the Holy Spirit. Other lives show significant growth. The local church relies on them. They are helpful, cooperative, and passionate. They teach Sunday school, witness to others about Christ, donate generously to the Lord's work, support the local leadership, and are interested in missions. They love the Lord and want to develop in grace and understanding.
Then there are some lives that grow exponentially. They follow God and are Spirit-filled, Christlike, soul- winning Christians. They exhibit love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22–23).
The parable of the sower illustrates this age's seeming failure and miraculous fulfillment of God's plan. The outward kingdom is in suspension, yet God's activity continues. Souls are being saved, fruit is developing, and sometimes amazing fruitfulness is bringing God glory.
Here at Main Street, we are at work every day, cultivating the ground of each life under our care so each person can accept the message of the Kingdom of God and to become fruitful for Him. We exist to help all people take the next step in their journey to Know, Love, Serve, and Share the love of Christ.
Pastor Beaver's thoughts and ideas are inspired by:
Holman Christian Standard Bible
English Standard Version Bible
King James Version Bible
Christian Standard Bible
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