A Sower Went Forth to Sow
Matthew 13:3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;
For there to be the joy of the harvest, for there to be the harvest a sower must go forth to sow. For the harvest festival the singing, dancing and music a sower must go forth to sow. To realise that every time you wake up to put toast in the toaster and enjoy warm bread a sower went forth to sow. Every time you need some food to give you energy to give you activities for the day, every time you need food a sower went forth to sow. A soldier cannot go forth to fight unless a sower went forth to sow. A doctor cannot heal unless a sower sowed. If no one sowed we’d all be dead. If we could understand this, what a package of truth Jesus said. It is of vital importance that the preaching of the gospel is done on this planet.
It is imperative that Gods word is preached for fallen man. The physical life on the planet depends on the sower going forth to sow. We don’t appreciate the effort of the sower and we probably don’t think about the sower much at all. Jesus said behold as the sower went forth to sow. Consider what was done. Consider the physical and apply it to the spiritual. It is important to note that not every sower goes forth to sow and that all his sowing brings forth the harvest. Not every hearer of the word of God brings forth meat for the master’s use. We are here today sitting in our pews and we have come to hear again the seed which is the Word of God. We have come to sit down and let this seed be scattered on our own acreage. We are waiting for this to happen. But mark this, not all that hear the word become fruitful. Not each person that hears the word allows it to grow. This parable is too big to be understood. There is too much to unwrap in this present.
In our last study ‘The Ubiquitous Seed’ the seed spread everywhere which is the word of God. That Word which was in the beginning which was with and God, that seed was cast over the acreage. In this seed was enfolded the life of the plant in the embryo. Not just the plant but the nutrients of the life. In the word is enfolded the life of God. Not just the Word but all the nutrients, the fulness of the Godhead bodily. The seed is the nature of God. It is the divine nature. It is the substance of the matter of what we are hoping for. This seed is the evidence of things not seen. This seed is faith, the faith of Jesus Christ. It is the seed of Christ, the Word. This Word must be allowed to grow. It must be allowed. It must not be hindered in its growth. The religion of ‘let’ where you let God produce in you. Let your ears hear. Do not let your heart be troubled, believe in God. This seed is the nature of God. It is the faith of Jesus Christ, it overcomes the world, even our faith. It is God. The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.
We must unwrap this parable more as a gift as no gift is a gift unless you unwrap it. How many of you get a present and leave it unwrapped? We have been given this present, the word of God and we should unwrap it to see what it is in it. God gets a huge tree and wraps it in a seed. It is a little speck and the Word of God is just a speck of nothing if you don’t look at it. It is just a black book but if you unwrap this present the dimensions are huge. We can unwrap the seed in our personal lives but it is the privilege and duty of everyone who unwraps the Word of God in theory but you must unwrap it in practise. The sower went forth and sowed in three different places. There is discrimination between different characters because the ground represents the hearts of men. It is not discrimination between fruitful and unfruitful people. To be unfruitful you can have a different reality why you are unfruitful. There can be a reason why the seed doesn’t grow in your heart. Jesus gives a parable why the seed doesn’t grow. When he gets to the fourth place, it was what sort of soil? A soil that was ploughed up. Before it was ploughed what sort of soil was it? It was just as hard as the way side and rocky as the rocky place and thorny as the thorny place. The difference between the fourth condition was that there was a plougher that went forth to sow. The fourth condition is not by virtue given to anyone by birth. No one is born with a ploughed field or good and honest heart. It is something that the divine word must do for you.
Then Cometh the Devil
Luke 8:11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
8:12 Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
The word fell and then what? And then came the devil. I’ve never known anyone so punctual as the devil. If you read the gospel of Mark he says IMMEDIATELY came the devil. Jesus is telling us something here. He is saying when the Word of God is being preached, then comes the devil. No sooner does the seed fall and the devil is there. Do not be ignorant of Satan’s devices because if you listen to the word of God the devil will come. He doesn’t worry about his captive prisoners but he worries about those who are about to escape. The devil is so focused that when the seed drops he is there. If only we were half of focused and punctual as he. When the word of God is being preached are we there? The devil is there. Perhaps we stay away from church or prayer meeting and the seed is going out but we are not there but the devil is there. If we would be where the seed is falling, then we would have as much chance to receive.
The farmer puts three seeds in. One for the worm, one for the bird and one to grow. One may not germinate, one may not have enough moisture, and you have to put multiple seed in. You may say when I was young I heard the word of God the seed was put in my heart why must I keep going? When the seed falls the devil is there. He still has some wisdom and if we are there then we can be blessed. When the good seed falls upon the ground, when you have a good thought or desire for something, when you have a good will to do God’s will, when you really want to follow God, who is there? The devil is there. Many a Christian want to do what is good, they have this good idea, this good noble purpose but then the devil comes and snatches it away. In other words you have a good thought and a bad thought, and its gone.
By The Birds
Satan doesn’t just take the seed away but he puts his own seed in there as well. Satan is also a sower. He knows that if he wants the world in his kingdom, he must go forth to sow. We have this condition where we might have some thoughts come up and Satan will snatch these thoughts away from us by all sorts of means.
There is no excuse for the seed to be taken from you. There is no excuse. We are to hide God’s word where? Hide it in my heart that I may not sin against thee. When the seed penetrates and goes in the heart the devil can’t get it. But when it sits on top of the heart, he takes it away. Satan is not just punctual he is powerful. He can take the word out of your heart. unless you hide the word in your heart it will be taken. The devil comes and takes the word from the heart and he has a reason for it. What is the reason why the devil wants to take away the seed out of your heart?
Lest they should believe and be saved. This seed is faith and he snatches the faith from you unless you believe and be saved. Satan has a punctual powerful purpose in coming. He doesn’t want the seed for himself, he is not coming to put it in his own heart. He is coming to take it out of yours when it falls.
The reason why the seed doesn’t go into the ground is why? Because it is by the way side where the traffic of the world runs up and down. Perhaps you think I have heard this sermon and concepts before and hhmm how boring. Or maybe that is the reason why you don’t even come. It is just another prayer meeting and sermon, another discourse, another one. This is the condition of the hard heart and the sensitivity of God’s word is gone and you sit there and sleep away. The highway makes the path hard. It is all the travelling and traffic of the world. When you are away from God you are just thinking about the world and it travels through your brain all the time and what does it do? It makes it hard. The worldly thinking, planning and desires are frequently in your head and when the Word of God comes it is boring and then the devil snatches it away. Matthew gives a different aspect of the hard heated condition.
Matthew 13:19 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. Matthew gives different dimensions. The person who doesn’t understand is like the person who has a hard heart.
Perhaps you have been hardened by the deceitfulness of sin or perhaps your spiritual faculties have been paralysed. Perhaps your understanding has been darkened. Jesus is addressing a character, a class of people who have such hearts whose spiritual and mental faculties are gone. The word of God is profitable for correction and reproof and Jesus is reproving and saying sinner you have paralysed your brain, what are you going to do? Perhaps you paralysed your brain through drugs and the understanding of the gospel is not there anymore because when the word of God comes there comes all sorts of things – opium, speed, marijuana and they make you lose your ability to understand the gospel. Perhaps the sinner is engrossed in exciting novels which dull the brain and when the gospel comes they don’t understand as their mind has been dulled upon novels and fiction. Or poor sinner has been trapped into watching movies and video games and vegging out on the couch and relaxing and allowing his brain to be hypnotised by the media and when the word of God comes he can’t hear and he puts his bible on the shelf and the devil snatches the seed away. They understood not as their brain was dull.
It is easier to watch TV than to read the word of God. Is it easier to press the remote than study the bible? The mind is stimulated by exercise. If you don’t use your brain you will lose it because he that buried his talent in the soil, lost it.
If we bury our head in the world we will lose it. Perhaps we have been brain damaged by perverted desires. There is another pitfall is when you hear Gods word and you are distracted where you put yourself as judge and you look at everyone and not listen to what is going on. Perhaps you make judgments and you look at the preacher and say he has a stain on his coat or he didn’t shave properly and while you are doing that, what is happening? The seed is being snatched. Or if you look at others and criticise and in the sermon you are not thinking about the message but all the problems someone else has. If that is the case the seed is being snatched. Satan really wants to snatch it away lest you believe. Satan doesn’t want you to believe lest you have faith. If you don’t have the seed your garden will be weeds.
Luke 8:6 And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.
Luke 8:13 They on the rock [are they], which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.
What is Jesus really saying here? Here is another class of people. Maybe they do understand God’s word. Maybe they don’t engage in the media of the world. Maybe they don’’ engage in secret vice or criticising others so they understand as their brain has some faculties here. The word of God comes in and with joy they receive it. They are happy about it. But there is a twofold reason why it doesn’t last;
1. No moisture
2. No root
This is a danger that faces every Christian. Are you a Christian that has no moisture in your life? Are you dry? Or perhaps you are just too shallow. Here are two different extremes. The left wing and the right wing. To have a form with no moisture is like having correctness with no forgiveness. To be correct with no forgiveness is to lack moisture in your life and you will only last a little while.
Doctrine but No Grace
It is dry and hot in my life, there is no moisture anymore. My life is a drag. Perhaps you have dry doctrine with no grace. Perhaps you understand all the mysteries of God but you are not kind. We are to be humble when people fail and they don’t understand. To have an experience without humiliation is to be dry. Or to have practise without love or belief without repentance. To believe the truth but to never repent for what you have done. Or to have action but no spirituality or to have zeal without communion with God. This is all the danger of the right side of the bridge. Whether you fall of the right side or left side of the bridge you end up in the same place. Either is just as dangerous as the other. Whichever you fear you move to the left or right and fall in the same position. You fear to become too correct so you become liberal and fall off.
Do you have dryness? Or perhaps you have no depth. Perhaps you are a cliché Christian who can say all the good things like Jesus is to come in our heart and all these things but they are all cliché’s as you don’t even know what they mean and you don’t understand the depth of God’s word. You read the stories but they are just many stories like David killing Goliath or the coat of many colours and you know the stories but there is no depth. This type of religion is superficial. It is sentimentalism, romance and pie in the sky to have this imaginary religion. What made the plant wither in the parable? When the sun and heat came then the plant languished. Many people that come to Christ receive the gospel to escape suffering but his gospel is a way to escape sin not suffering. I want to be a Christian to escape the sufferings of life and to be a Christian is lovely as everyone hugs me but when persecution comes they wither away as they haven’t counted the cost. Jesus died on the cross to take away my sins but you must suffer with him if you will be raised with him. People rejoice for a while.
Luke 8:13 They on the rock [are they], which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.
Perhaps you have been in this church for a while and then what will happen? Perhaps you have been the organist, teacher or leader for a while. A while doesn’t mean much. I’ve been in this church for a while now, are you saved? They believe for a while. I was kind for a while. I was long suffering for a while. I was patient for a while. I cared for people for a while. I had some friends for a while. I had a marriage for a while. A while doesn’t mean anything. You can be kind for a while until it’s too much and say I’ve had enough. I’ve been kind for a while and that is too much. There is a class of people that for a while do what is right and in that while they think to themselves now I have ever lasting life. I understand and receive the word and it has come into my life. Perhaps you are only halfway through that while. What will that future bring? Have you counted the cost to be a Christian? Do you realise to be a Christian is to go without the camp bearing his reproach? To be cast out of the world? The world hated Jesus therefore it will hate you. The servant is not greater than the master. Look at Jesus life and ask can I do the same? To follow Jesus for a while is to not bring you to the celestial city. Formalist and hypocrisy walked the path for a while and then they withered and died.
Jesus Speaks Of another Class
Luke 8:14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of [this] life, and bring no fruit to perfection.
When people hear these words they seem to go forth with it. They tend to be leaders and gifted and talented of monetary success with the ability to go forth. They are not pew warmers. They hear God’s word and they go forth. They become workers and talented for God. That word go forth says allot. There are people who can’t be bothered using their brain and have wrecked their brain. The seed is snatched away as they understand not. There is a class who seem to have some mental faculties that are above others. They seem to be able to go forth and conquer but these people who go forth pile too much on their plate and make their business too big. They do all sorts of things to have recognition. They want to be respected as they believe money is power. In their pursuit of going forth the cares come up and choke them. It is too much. There is many a rich man who has so many riches that they are like bags of lead around him and he will sink because of his riches. It is harder for a rich man to go into the kingdom of heaven than it is for a camel into the eye of a needle. The lilies are more beautiful than Solomon’s glory. He that goes forth into his vineyard, Jesus says take not purse or scrip. Pray the Lord of the harvest that he will send out labourers into his harvest. I go out, I send you as sheep among wolves and then he says take no purse, scrip, or shoes. Jesus is saying don’t take your credit card or cheque book as you are then relying on your cheque book. You may think I need a big business to support me in the ministry as there comes an idea to depend upon yourself. You may have a platinum credit card but Jesus say don’t take it. In another verse it says don’t take your scrip. Don’t ask for donations so I can go here.
When people have riches or a desire for riches they need help to get there. Jesus says don’t take your cheque book or credit card. If you go into a house take what is given you but don’t take your beggars bag. Travel light and don’t take an extra pair of shoes. Don’t take your burdens of your kitchen sink with you. Don’t take all your possessions. What Jesus is teaching is a radical dependence upon him but the cares of this life eat up people. Jesus covers all the characteristics of the whole planet. Every single person is covered whether they are dull of hearing or those who like to listen or the go and get them type of people. All are manifested in this parable. As we unpack it we find we are poor sinners. We are in need of something. We are in need of the plougher. We have need of the heart to be broken up but this work of heart breaking is up to you and me. It is not up to us to break it but to let it be broken. The reason why the seed doesn’t grow is because of your own heart, not the seed. It is because of you and me that the seed of the kingdom of heaven doesn’t flourish. It is because of our carnal heart.
No one is born with a ploughed field, no one does it naturally. All of us are in one class or another. We must let it happen in our heart. we think of the field where there is the machine that goes out and breaks the ground and the spreader comes and spreads the seed and the spray and the harvester. If we go back to the time of Christ everyone had their own plot of land. Jesus is teaching the parable and what can they see? A field. They didn’t have fences back then but they used rocks around their land. There were lots of rocks but they had to make a gap so people could walk through. There were rocks put by man and their section of field needed to be sowed. But some fell on the rocks. Who put the rocks there? Man. Why was the road so hard? Man trod on it. Why was there thorns? Because of the curse of mans sin but where did the good field come from? It came from the hand of the farmer. We must allow God to deal with our heart as the problem is in our heart. The spirit of God is seeking to break up your heart today. The spirit of God is trying to get you to break your heart. To stop having formalism and, to walk in the narrow way. God is seeking to break up fallow ground.
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.
Hosea 10:12 Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for [it is] time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.
This work he desires to accomplish for us. He asks us to cooperate with him. That is what he is asking today. Come to Jesus to make a stand. Jesus Christ has born the thorns of your field into his brow. He knows the thorns that choke people. He knows the way side as he fell upon the wayside. Jesus Christ had people throw stones at him. Jesus is wanting to break your heart as he broke his upon the ground On earth, the outer court. He wants people to make a stand for him to say I will let God do everything just don’t take the Holy Spirit from me. I will allow him to take the media out of my lounge, the books off my shelf, I will allow him to take away secret vice and I will allow him to take judging.
I will count the cost and I will give everything to Jesus Christ. I will lose my life for his sake because you will find it. I will go deeper than superficial clichés. I will study my bible and allow the seed to go into my heart. That is what he is calling us to do. He wants us to let go of our beggar’s bag. He wants us to let it go. Do your duty and let it go. To be wealthy, let it go. Jesus wants us to make a stand for him, make a decision. Allow God to do it. As we give our hearts to Jesus he will be faithful with that heart. He is the exchanger and he will change it into ten talents. He will give you the wealth of eternal life and the joy of heaven and the ease of the Eden to come. Let us remember that unless you go out to sow, you shall not reap. A sower went forth to sow.