A PARABLE IS AN EARTHLY STORY CONTAINING A HEAVENLY MEANING – IT HAS APPLICATIONS FOR US TODAY ON EARTH AND IN ETERNITY TO COME.
The Word of God is a book of answers and not a book of perpetual puzzles. The BIBLE was written over 1,600 years, by 40 different authors, on three continents, in 3 languages, on 100’s of subjects, with COMPLETE HARMONY, without CONTRADICTION! The SCRIPTURES have one Central Storyline, GOD’S REDEMPTION OF MANKIND THROUGH JESUS CHRIST (HIS SON) THE WORD OF GOD.
Some people understand and believe His Word, while others refuse to hear it all together. When His disciples asked why He spoke to the crowd in parables, Jesus answered, “Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them, it is not given” (Matthew 13:11). The inability to understand the things of God is not due to a lack of clarity or precise instructions laid out in His Word. But instead a sign of reprobation. People choose not to hear the things of God. Since they do not want to keep God in their knowledge, He will give them over to a reprobate (depraved) mind. (Romans 1:28). So once again, we will reap what we sow. “If we sow to the flesh, we will reap corruption, but if we sow to the Spirit, we shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting…” (Galatians 6:8).
Jesus taught many valuable lessons through parables but, before we look at this parable, let us first explain what a parable is. The Word parable in the Greek is (parabola), which signifies placing beside or together, to make a comparison. A parable is, therefore, literally a story, an illustration of one subject by another. Parables generally teach one pivotal point or principle.
The parables of Jesus are unique in approach and effectiveness because they reflect everyday experiences of people, with emotional endings that bring the message home powerfully. People listened with astonishment and searched for spiritual answers with life-changing applications. Emphasis placed at the end of the story – making a definite conclusion that led the listener to accept the message as Jesus taught these stories.
Parables hold the “mysteries of the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 13:11), as well as “things which had been kept secret from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 13:35). The beautiful Gospel of Christ has revealed these mysteries and secret things to believers.
The Apostle Paul was writing to Roman Saints, who were causing divisions in the church. He was urging them to be wise and continue in prayer. Paul shares a promise: “Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my Gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen” (Romans 16:25-27).
The Parable of The Sower Paraphrased:
A farmer spreads seed that falls into four types of soil. The birds eat the seed that falls on hard soil because it never sunk into the ground. A seed that falls on rocks springs up quickly but withers due to lack root. The seed that falls in weeds are choked out and overtaken for lack of sun. The seed that falls in GOOD SOIL produces much fruit.
This parable explains that the four soils symbolize four types of hearts and the responses after people hear the proclamation of the kingdom of God. The parable challenges us to receive the Word about the kingdom of heaven. To focus on that message and grow. A real hearing and understanding of the message of the Kingdom of God becomes a crucial lesson and can help a believer in producing a productive life.
The purpose of a parable is always to explain the truth. When a person cannot understand or see a fact, then you use a story. You take something familiar to them, something that they can understand, and incorporate this into an account that teaches the principles that you are trying to get across to them.
Jesus noticed that the people were not listening when He spoke simple truths, so He began to tell stories to encourage the people to listen to Him. Jesus spoke in the language of the people – He taught at their level. Jesus taught this way to convey the message of salvation and the kingdom clearly and straightforwardly.
THE SOWER: The emphasis of the parable is not on the sower; it is on the seed, and what happens to the grain when it falls on different soils. A sower went out to sow, and as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside on a stony place among thorns on good ground. In this parable, the seed fell on four distinct types of soil. So, the “sower” in this parable likely refers to Jesus.
THE SEED: The seed is the Word of the Kingdom – (Matthew 13:19a). The seed also stands for the Gospel of the Kingdom, which was the theme of Jesus’ preaching – (Matthew 4:23).
LET’S REVIEW THE FOUR SOILS: 1) Seed that falls on hard soil, 2) Seed that falls on rocks, 3) Seed that falls in weeds, and 4) Seed that falls in GOOD SOIL.
“THE WAYSIDE” (The First Soil)
The wayside was the path where people walked, and nothing could grow there in part because the ground was too hard. Like birds eating seed on the road, the devil snatches the Word away from people’s hearts so that it does not take root there. This seed symbolizes people who are hearers only and never allow the Word to take root in their lives. In Luke Chapter 8, he gives us a few more words of Christ concerning it in his Gospel. “The field is the world, the seed is the Word of God, and he who sows it is the Son of man, Jesus Christ.”
This soil stands for one who “hears….and does not understand” (Matthew 13:19a). Also, these are those who have hardened their hearts before hearing the Word – (Matthew 13:15). God’s Word sown throughout the world; some of it falls on the wayside.
The “birds” represent “the wicked one” (called “the devil” in Luke 8:12) who snatches away the Word from those with harden hearts. Their condition, therefore, is one of being “blinded” by Satan to the Gospel – (2 Corinthians 4: 3-4).
While Satan contributes to their blindness, they confirm it in the hardness of heart! So, there is an immediate rejection. There is nothing, and there is no response. The Word doesn’t take root. It does nothing.
“THE STONY PLACES” (The Second Soil)
This soil stands for the one who “hears the word and at once receives it with joy” (Matthew 13:20), “yet has no root in themselves and endures only for a while.” So, “when tribulation or persecution arises, immediately they stumble” (Matthew 13:20-21b). They’ve never rooted themselves in the truth. They’ve never really studied the Word to any significant degree. They’ve never developed a solid foundation for their faith.
When the time comes to stand and pay the price to be a Christian, many do not pass the test. Their faith was superficial. The righteous person, on the other hand, flourishes like a tree planted by streams of water: According to Psalm 1:3, “He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.”
People with no deep roots are often shallow people – these people tend to lack courage, conviction, stability, and perseverance. Every wind of doctrine that blows their way entices them. They are those who receive the Word with joy having a tremendous emotional experience, but there is no depth. And when trials come, persecution begins to come, they fall away, because they lack depth.
This Stony Place teaches us that an emotional reaction without a solid foundation based upon the Word will not enable one to stand against tribulation and persecution. So, when troubles arise in their lives, there is no endurance and stumbling occur.
“AMONG THE THORNS” (The Third Soil)
This third category of seed is that which fell among thorns. These are people with hearts who have received the Word of God. There has been that development within them through the Word, but thorns have grown up with it. Because the thorns ultimately choke out the life of the Word, it becomes unfruitful. These thorns are the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desire for other things. Unfortunately, this scenario represents many of us today.
This seed seems to have a better chance for growth and development than the other two we previously discussed. However, thorns and thistles come and overtake what has sprouted — depriving the seedings of moisture and light, choking them, and stunting their growth. Likewise, the cares of this world choke out the fruitfulness the Word could produce in our lives. Thus, we are not bringing forth that fruit the Lord desires.
“THE GOOD GROUND” (The Fourth Soil)
The three earlier fields should not discourage God’s workers. Instead, we should take faith that many who respond to God’s Word will grow to full ripeness. For many believers, these three fields could be stages of growth toward fullness in Christ. Believers should take courage during the seasons of life, for in these times, they grow in the knowledge of God. These three stages are opportunities to draw near to God and let His Word guide you toward maturity. Thus, pray to receive an abundant harvest as you acknowledge God in all your ways.
Good ground describes soil that is both fertile and weed-free. A good, productive crop grows in this field. This soil stands for the one who “hears the Word and understands it” (Matthew13:23a), “bearing fruit and producing good works for the kingdom” (Matthew 13:23b).
They hear the Word with a humble and kind heart, becoming doers of the Word and not hearers only. Luke summarizes the outcome of this group of believers: “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” (Luke 8:15).
They received the Word willingly with all readiness while: “searching the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).
One must note the importance of “understanding” concerning “bearing fruit.” Jesus made the connection between the two in this parable: “But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty” (Matthew 13:23). -NKJV
Paul also connects the two and reminds us to fix our eyes on heaven. “Because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel, which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth” (Colossians 1:5-6). -NKJV
When one “knows the truth,” they will more likely “bear fruit,”; but the key to understanding is having a “good and humble heart” that is willing to listen, study, meditate and apply the truths we hear.
WHAT KIND OF SOIL ARE YOU?
Understanding which of the four soils we are planting our seed in will help motivate us one way or another. Remember, it is one thing to understand the principles of parables, and it is quite another thing to apply them to your life. If we are looking to incorporate the Word into our lives, we first need to know which kind of soil our seed is falling on. Redirecting our lives, asking God to heal our hearts, and faithfully seeking the GOOD SOIL should be our mission in life. An ongoing question in life should be, “What kind of soil are we?”
“THE WAYSIDE” – If you have heard the Gospel of Christ and His Kingdom, but are not yet a Christian, you may be hardening your heart. You are susceptible to Satan’s deception in some form, to blind you and not allow the Word of God to have its intended effect!
“THE STONY PLACES” – If you responded to the Gospel at one time, without building a firm foundation in the faith, you would likely fall away when persecution or temptation comes your way!
“AMONG THE THORNS” – If you responded to the Gospel at one time, but are becoming too preoccupied with the cares, riches, and pleasures of this world, you will not be able to bear much fruit!
“THE GOOD SOIL” – If you have responded to the Gospel and are bearing fruit, your seed is growing. “Some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty” (Matthew 13:23). In ‘The Parable of the Talents’ some receive more according to their ability. And the use of what God has given them. – (Matthew 25:14-15). Whatever our talents and gifts, we should exercise them according to God’s leading.
GOOD THINGS HAPPEN IN GOOD SOIL
When your seed is growing:
You have become a “FRUIT-BEARING” BELIEVER when you see the following things happening in your life:
Study God’s Word and Apply The Promises