2-26-2022 The Sower and the Church
Most of us who have some knowledge of the bible are familiar with the parable of the sower. Some seed falls by the wayside, some on stony ground, some grows up intermingled with thorns and of course some comes forth on good ground and produces much fruit.
Jesus basically tells his disciples that they are to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God. Because they are learning, Jesus explains His parables to them, as He does so here. He explains this parable in the last three verses of this passage.
The seed is the word of God. On the wayside are the people who hear the word and the devil comes immediately and takes that word out of their heart. The seed that falls on stony ground has no depth for moisture or soil so when problems arise, it quickly dries up and falls away. The seed grows that together with the thorns (like the parable of the wheat and tares – Matt. 13:24-30) is eventually unproductive because of the cares of this world. And at last, the seed on good ground which thrives and produces fruit.
Let’s compare this to the church. An evangelist comes into a church, a town, an area and preaches the word from God and everybody hears it but there are those for whom the word goes in one ear and out the other. That is, if they haven’t forgotten all they heard by the time they get out the front door, it won’t be long after it will become a distant memory, if that. They go on about their lives having retained nothing from the experience. These folks not only do not experience any growth, but they have rejected our Lord Jesus, or at best, ignored Him. Oh, they say He exists, but He’s not for them or they may not even care what He has done for them They go on living their life just as before.
Now, the seed on stony ground, that which is choked by thorns and that which falls on the good ground represent people who joyfully received what they have heard. They start attending a church on a regular basis and are now happy campers. They believe that their eternity is secure.
However, stony ground represents a surface relationship with Jesus. These people have been baptized for the remission of sin and are enjoying the blessings of God. Cool, so far. THEN something happens. Maybe a job is lost. Maybe a parent, sibling or a close friend unexpectedly passes away. Maybe they find themselves buried under the burden of heavy debt because of poor planning. I don’t know, but whatever it is, it shakes the person because they really have no foundation in their life. They’ve never truly made a commitment to get to know Jesus, develop a relationship with Him through reading scripture or even nurturing a relationship through prayer. Their world is falling apart and there’s nothing there to help and they don’t even consider asking God for help. They quit church. They quit God because they think He ‘abandoned’ them. Understand, God never abandons us, we walk away from Him.
Other people grow in the church, get involved in ministries, whatever. BUT they keep looking at the world around them. They see how entertainers, pro athletes and others have great success. Big, or even multiple, houses, fancy cars, big parties, living the ‘good life’ and they wonder ‘why can’t I.’ in an effort to try to achieve these ‘dreams’, God gradually is set aside and these people try to achieve their dreams in their own strength. Remember, the devil doesn’t mind helping you gain success – as long as it either keeps you from getting to know God or takes you away from God. But, also remember that this success lasts only as long as it benefits him (the devil). When a person becomes no longer ‘useful’ to the devil, he dumps them! And that can be manifested in loss of health, wealth or even life (dying). The point here is that, in this situation, there is the tendency to put God on the back burner, then eventually forgetting to even turn the back burner on. Result – any relationship we may have had with Father fades out into nothingness. A relationship with Him n longer exists! Has God abandoned us? No! Again, we walked away from Him – for whatever our reason.
Bear in mind, the stony ground and the thorns are like the ten virgins (Matt. 25:1-13), five were always ready and waiting for the bridegroom and five took only enough oil for what they needed at that time not considering how long it may be before the bridegroom actually showed up. The bridegroom came and took the five virgins who had always been prepared for Him. The other five later went looking for what they had just lost – a relationship with our Lord. Take note that the five foolish virgins knew where the bridegroom lived and came knocking on the his door. “Let us in.” and what does the bible say He said to them? “Truly, I don’t know you.” He didn’t let them in.
Consider, some people we ‘know about. Some people we know in social or casual situations. Some people are our ‘friends’. But others are our ‘best friends with whom we share our life and confide in. We trust them.
The stony ground and thorns represent situations, at best, where there was only a surface relationship. Jesus was considered less than a best friend much less even than a friend. These people never really took the time to get to ‘know’ Jesus. So, thinking that just going through the motions was enough, when it became too late, they came to Him, and our Lord denied them access into the eternal promise. There was no ‘real’ relationship. Jesus says my brother, my sister, my mother are those who hear and do the will of my Father (Matt. 12:47-50).
“Do the will of my Father!” That brings us to the final segment of this entry. The seed that falls on good ground are those who become a brother, a sister or mother to our Lord Jesus. Notice that no ‘father’ is mentioned. There is only ONE Father and if we recall the passage of lineage, Jesus being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, the son of Heli (Luke 3:23). Joseph was not the father of Jesus (as Jesus was conceived of the Holy Ghost, Matt. 1:18), but He was born of Mary who represents Jesus’ human connection. When we compare Matthew chapter one with Luke chapter three, Matthew (Matt. 1:1-6) begins with Adam and ends with Jesus – who “begat” whoim. Luke starts with Jesus and cites “who was the son of’ back through Adam who was the son of – GOD.
Paul tells the Romans that we need to be conformed to the image of God’s Son (Jesus) so that He could be the firstborn of many brothers (and sisters) (Rom. 8:29). And just what is the image of God? God is love (1 John 4:8-11). So we ought to love as God loves. Bear in mind that love is deeper than just the ‘10 Commandments’! Read the bible and discover the fullness of what love involves and remember Jesus IS the personification of love.
Jesus tells us that if we love Him, we will keep his commandments (John 14:15). What are those commandments? To love God above all else and our neighbor as ourselves! That is with all our heart, mind, soul and strength (Mark 12:30-31). Again, Jesus tells us that when we love even the ‘least’ of His brothers, we have shown our love for Him (Matt. 25:40). As we do this, we find ourselves abiding in God’s will.
So, we have seen where the enemy prevents people from entering into God’s kingdom because they never have the chance to get to know the Lord. We’ve seen that even some receive Jesus into their heart, they just don’t hang in there with Him. They can’t take the heat of growth of being a Christian or just can’t let go of the world, either way, they forget their original commitment. Yes, we all will stand before God. some at the mercy seat where rewards are given for obedience and faithfulness, some at the judgement of ‘the great white throne’ where they will be shown all the opportunities they had to receive Jesus or where they rejected Him and walked away. Peter tells us it would be better to have never known God’s righteousness, than to have known it then turn away (2 Peter2:21).
BUT, PTL! Those who abide in God’s love and remain faithful and obedient to His Word and will, experience that eternal bliss with the Father, through our Lord Jesus Christ. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John, 3:16)!
And, yes, God wants to bless us even while we are here in this world (2 Corinth. 9:8).