The First Parable: The Parable of the Sower
The Parable of the Sower (The Morning Time Age – AD 33)
In the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:3-9, 19-23; also Mark 4:3-9, 14-20; Luke 8:4-8, 11-15), Jesus reveals why those who hear the gospel of the coming Kingdom of God are not always receptive in the same way. People who are called have their minds opened, the Holy Spirit enabling them to take it to heart, yet many see its surface value but do not internalize it. The parable illustrates the church’s relationship to the different groups of people with which it comes in contact.
Jesus uses three components—the sower, the seed and the soils—to indicate the differences. His story shows the fate of the sown seed, the different types of soils on which it fell, and the resulting effects. Though Jesus names it “the parable of the sower” (Matthew 13:18), the subject matter sheds particular light on the diverse soils. Nevertheless, the sower does not play a minor role in the parable, since without Him no sowing would occur, without which there would be no possibility of fruit. However, the sower represents a group, as well as Jesus Himself (Matthew 13:37). The language suggests any typical sower, so God’s ministers may be considered sowers of the gospel as well. The Parable of the Sower is essential because it introduces and anticipates the whole series of parables in Matthew 13.
A farmer places seed in the ground so it will sprout and bear fruit. Some seeds fall on unplowed, unturned, hard ground. This type of soil does not allow the seed to sink in, and the birds easily find and devour the seed.
Stony ground, having little or no soil, has insufficient nourishment for seeds to root and grow into a healthy plant. Initially, they appear to grow quicker because, with less soil to establish a root system, they expend their energy in producing the stem and leaves. When the sun grows hot (representing the light of God’s truth exposing them, or trials and persecution testing them), however, the sprouts wither away, the result of inadequate root systems.
Fertile and rich soil provides nutrients for the seeds to produce a crop that varies in its yield. It is common for crops to produce a hundred, sixty, or thirty grains for each one sown. For example, some strains of wheat will produce a crop twelve or fifteen hundred times the original amount of seed sown.
The Kingdom of Heaven= The Church – The kingdom of heaven, and the kingdom of God are terms meaning the same thing.
The Sower= Jesus Christ
The Seed= The Word of God – 1 Peter 1:23; 1 John 3:9, 10
The Soil= The condition of man’s heart
The Fowl=wicked spirits (The Devil)
The seed represents God’s Word communicated in various ways: in preaching, writing, and acts of divine intervention. Those God chooses understand the gospel because it comes only by the power of His Spirit. Without this spiritual power, the hearer is susceptible to having God’s knowledge stolen by Satan, the accuser and tempter.
1.The Soil Test
The Wayside (Matthew 13: 19) = Hard compress soil is a representation of one who hears the word of God, but lack understanding. This person needs a break through. The wicked one, Satan is present to catch away (snatch) or steal the (the seed/word) person understanding. The word cannot penetrate or pierce the seekers heart.
God’s Word sometimes falls on the ears of people whose hearts are calloused by sin, on whom it makes no real impression. Like seed on a hard-packed road, it is consumed before it ever has a chance to develop. Such hardened people soon lose interest in Christ’s good news and continue in the ways of the world.
The Stony Places (Matthew 13:20, 21)=rocky soil, this is the representation of a rebellious heart. This kind of person receives it (the seed/word) immediately with joy, but he has no root in himself. He endures for a little while, but when test and trials comes, because of the word, immediately he stumbles. 1 Peter 2:7, 8. (He is quickly offended)
The stony places represents those who hear the gospel and feel titillated by its truth. Though their senses are excited, they have no depth of understanding—no rich soil in which it may take root and grow. While suffering anxiety from sin, they respond to the attractive offer of God’s mercy. The truth offers them peace of mind, pardon from sin, and salvation with eternal life. Believing they are forgiven, their anxieties seem to disappear, and temporary peace and happiness fill their lives, but they have no foundation upon which to support permanent joy. Their gladness soon subsides, as does their desire to live righteously. They begin to fade from God’s truth because they have no real appreciation for Christ’s sacrifice or the conviction to resist temptation or to endure trial and persecution. Because they exhibit no true repentance, it becomes evident that they are not true Christians. Excited, human emotion carries them for a time, but it cannot sustain them through the long process of conversion.
Are those who are called beyond being enticed by the world? Matthew 13:7, 22; 7:13-14; Mark 4:18-19; Luke 8:14. What kind of response does God desire to see from those He calls? Matthew 13:8, 23; Mark 4:20; Luke 8:15.
The Thorny Places (Matthew 13:22)=soil with weeds in it, that choke the seed or good plant. This person hears the word. (the seed/word) But he is overly concerns about the cares of this life. He is always trying to get ahead, keep up with the “Jones’”. He wants to have his cake and eat it too. He is trying to follow the gospel of Jesus and follow the gospel of prosperity. Luke 12:15.
Purge=pruning (Cut away) John 15:1-8
Sanctification (To Set Apart) John 17:17
Break up your fallow ground, it’s time to seek the Lord (Hosea 10:12)
The thorny ground symbolizes those who become consumed by the anxieties of this physical life and the deceitful enticement of wealth. The constant pressures of everyday life—providing sustenance, maintaining employment, seeking education, performing social duties, etc.—can be distracting, causing Christians to ignore God and spiritual growth.
The desire for wealth magnifies this distraction. It is enticing but yields the expected rewards: It promises to make us happy, but when gained, leaves us spiritually empty (I Timothy 6:7-10). The temptation and pursuit of wealth produces bad fruit: dishonesty, stealing, oppression of the poor, and taking advantage of others.
The Good Ground (Matthew 13:23)=good soil with nutrients is life in the Spirit.
The Good ground is where the word (the seed/word) prospers because the soil is fertile. It also brings forth fruit= Yield, profit – Galatians 5:16-26
The good ground corresponds to those whose hearts and minds are softened by God’s calling and receive it genuinely. They are a rich and fine soil—a mind that submits itself to the full influence of God’s truth (Acts 22:14;Ephesians 4:1-6). The called of God not only accept His Word—the message of Jesus Christ—as rich soil accepts a seed for growth, they also bear much fruit (John 15:5, 8). Some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, and some thirtyfold
Read: Mark 4:24, 25 NIV
I just wanted to know what make you think you are fortunate enough to be considered 100 fold material? Of course that is a term taken from Mark chapter four where Jesus was talking about the fruitfulness or production of the seed.
Let me first of all explain what 100 fold means. It does not mean 100 times more. That means that the seed has produced to its “fullest potential”. It was interesting to me that the same ground that produced 30 fold also produced 60 and100 fold. We have always assumed that the 30 fold production came from bad ground. That is not true.
The subject of this parable is not the ground. The subject is the Word of God, and the object of this teaching is to see the Word produce to its fullest potential, or 100 fold. It is the responsibility of the hearer to move out of the 30 fold realm into the 100 fold. This teaching shows the law of increase. Here is how it operates.
We measure everything that we hear. When I hear the Word regarding my situation, I determine whether it is received or not, and to what level it is received. I measure everything that I hear. The Word of God responds to my measuring device. Mark 4:24 says, “The way “you” hear it, the way “you” measure and respond to it is the measure that it works in your life. God is not measuring this for you. The man got 30 fold because that is what he heard and responded to. Another man got 60 because that is what he heard and responded to.
You must understand that you respond to everything that you hear. If I told you that you would be a millionaire by the end of the week, you would measure what I said and would either accept or reject it. “I doubt it” is a measure. “I believe that”, is a measure. The point is that everything that comes to us is measured. It is then accepted or rejected based on that measurement.
- The woman with the issue of blood
- Do you remember the story of the woman with the issue of blood? She pressed her way through the crowd to get to Jesus and said, “If I can but touch the hem of his garment I will healed”. She saw it on the inside. Her faith responded to that measurement. Jesus confirmed that. He said, “Your faith has made you whole”. Everything responds to how you measure your circumstances.
- The Centurion Soldier
- Another example is the story of the Centurion soldier who asked Jesus co come and heal his servant. He said, “Speak the Word only”. He did not need to touch the garment. He measured it differently.
- The Twelve Spies
- And then we could look at the example of the twelve spies’ when Israel came out of Egypt. Ten measured it to be impossible. Two measured it differently. They said “We are well able to take the land”. The ten said “I know there are grapes, but did you see the size of the giants?” Joshua and Caleb said, “I know that there are giants, but did you see the size of the grapes?” Both sides addressed the same challenge, but they both measured it differently. The way you measure it is the way that you are going to get it.
- When people say “I can’t do that”, that becomes their measurement. We draw boundaries around ourselves and our potential. Thirtyfold mentalities never excel to 100 fold opportunities. Being negative is a measurement. Born on the wrong side of the tracks is a measurement. I wasn’t born with the right ethnic or social back ground. All of these are measurements. And they become the water mark for your life.
Take heed what you hear
That is why Jesus said, “Take heed what you hear, because the way you hear is the way it is going to be measured back to you”. This is the danger of being hooked up with the wrong people or church. Many of them are famous for believing nothing. They don’t believing in healing; they don’t believe in receiving from God on hardly any level. It is important what you hear. The way you hear it is the way that you will measure it, and that is the level that your faith will respond to.
It is important that you realize this. When we measure something, God operates within the boundaries of that measurement. If you have a grass hopper mentality, that will become the boundary that affects everything that you do. Avoid people who can never see a way out. Stay away from complainers. They will destroy your dream and bring you into captivity.
One man says the tank is half full, the other one says it is half empty. They both said the same thing but they measured it differently. Maybe this is your problem. Maybe you only see the tank as half empty. Maybe you have been disappointed so many times that you are afraid to stretch your faith out there. I want to encourage you to begin to dream again, to pursue your dreams. Let the weak say “I am strong”. Let the poor say “I am rich”. What you measure allows or disallows opportunities in your life. You may have to apply 2 Corinthians 10:5 to your life. It says, “Casting down imaginations and every high things that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and brings into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ”. Change what you see, change what you say and you will turn the direction of your life toward fullness and health