Inspiration – Understanding the Parable of the Sower (Part 2)

Rev. Terry Goerz,
Redeemer Lutheran Church.

In my last article, I started with some concepts in understanding the Parable of the Sower and invited you to read the parable and Jesus’ explanation. (Matthew 13: 1-23) Today, I want to explore even more.

In this parable, the farmer sowing the seed is us. We are the ones commissioned to “go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. The seed is the message about the Gospel, or the witness of Christians, and the different places the seed falls are the different people who hear the witness of Christians.

So, we should notice that the farmer sows the seed in all places, he does not just look for good soil. God wants all men to be saved, not just those who may look like good prospects.

The seed that fell on the path is not understood. Since it is God who gives us the understanding, those persons represented by the path are not being called by God at that time, or they have rejected the Gospel.

God knows ahead of time who will accept and who will reject the message of the Gospel. Yet He still reaches out to those on the path with the Gospel message.

The next place the seed falls is rocky places. These people become Christians, we can say they are baptized and receive the Holy Spirit, but when trouble or persecution comes they “fall away”. So this portion of the parable lets us know that some will fall away from the faith.

Scripture tells us that all Christians will be tested; and very strongly tells us that once we become Christians we become targets for Satan. All Christians are in a battle for control of their minds. That is a message for us today.

We cannot be fence sitters in the battle for our mind; we must strengthen our faith by cooperating with God in our sanctification.

The next place the seed falls is among the thorns. The thorns are the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth. These are just two examples of the many things today that choke our faith and make it unfruitful. Once again, these are people who become Christians, but do not strengthen their faith by cooperating with God in their sanctification.

And there are an enormous number of things today that get in the way of maturing our faith and making it unfruitful.

Probably the biggest one today is our busyness. In Canada today, we enjoy one of the highest leisure to work time ratios in the world, but so many today cannot find time for church or to read their Bible. Interestingly, here it does not say that these Christians fall away. Their faith is unfruitful, but it does not say it is dead. The message for us today is that God wants us to bear fruit, or sanctify our lives so we can be useful to him as Christians. Christians who do not bear fruit will not become sowers of the word.

“If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.” (2 Timothy 2: 21)

The latter in this instance are things in our house that are not for noble purposes. And once again we cleanse ourselves from them by sanctification, and thereby become useful to God.

So once again we see how important it is for all Christians to diligently cooperate with God in sanctifying their lives and maturing their faith.

How do we cooperate with God in sanctifying our lives? Reading and studying our Bibles is most important.

Participating in Holy Communion, dedicated worship attendance where you hear the Word, have it explained and also have your sins forgiven is important.

Listening and singing to Christian music, having Christians in your circle of friends and so on.

The last example of where the seed fell is the good soil. These people hear the word and understand. God has chosen these people, so they are able to understand the message of the Gospel. God gives them understanding.

Then these Christians do not sit on the fence in the battle for control of their minds. They cooperate with God in sanctifying their lives and maturing their faith. They produce a crop. The crop they produce is the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These Christians are useful to God and are prepared to do any good work.

So there we have the Parable of the Sower. It is seen differently if we understand first that it is God who calls us and gives us understanding. It is a parable for all Christians, and has a message from Christ that reaches across the ages since He spoke these words to us here today.

And that message is that there can be consequences for those who do not cooperate with God in sanctifying their lives and thereby maturing their faith. We need to do that so we produce a crop, the fruit of the Spirit. In this way we become useful to God, prepared to do any good work.


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