The Sower, The Seed, The Soil

Before continuing to read, take a moment to read Mark 4:1-20.

The parable that is contained in this passage, is a a familiar parable to most, therefore, I want to caution you with what Christ said to the multitude in vs. 9:

Mark 4:9 And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Because it is so familiar, the danger exists that you could choose not to pay attention to the Biblical truth that is contained within it.

I also caution you with the words of Christ in vs. 13:

Mark 4:13 And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?

Oh, how we fail, at times to grasp event the simplest truth! Or, possibly, because it is so “simple,” we fail to grasp the significance of the lesson Christ is seeking to teach us or fail to think about how this Biblical truth should be applied to our lives!

Therefore I challenge you...Pay Attention!

The Sower

Mark 4:14 The sower soweth the word.

The sower in this particular instance is Jesus Christ. Wherever Christ went, He preached the Gospel!

Mark 1:14–15 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
Mark 1:38–39 And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth. And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils.

“…for therefore came I forth...” Christ said, “I came to preach the Gospel!

In the greater context, though, we are now the sowers!

Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

In our Sunday evening Bible study, we have been learning about how the early church “made a difference.” One of the ways in which they made a difference in their world was by sowing the seed!

Acts 8:4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.

The application should be pretty straight forward for us to understand: We must sow the seed!

The story is told of woman who once approached the great evangelist D. L. Moody and said, “Mr. Moody, I don’t like the way you do evangelism!”
“Well, ma’am, let me ask you, how do you do it?” Moody asked.
She replied, “I don’t!”
Moody responded, “Well, I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it!”

When it comes to sowing the Gospel message, we should take heed to an old Nike slogan: “Just Do It!” In fact, you can go ahead and take a moment, right now, to sow the seed of the Gospel. Click here to be taken to an online Gospel tract provided by Lancaster Baptist Church, Lancaster, California. Now, take a moment to "share" that Gospel tract via your social media accounts or simply text that Gospel tract to a friend, family member, or co-worker.

The Seed

Mark 4:14 The sower soweth the word.

I realize that, if you have been “in church” for any length of time then you know that the seed is the Word of God! But did you know...

Life cannot come from non-life. Life must come from life. This is a scientific law!

God’s Word is life. It produces life.

John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

Another scientific law…Kind produces kind!

Genesis 1:11–12 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

God’s Word has the ability to bring to life someone that has been dead in trespasses and sin. In fact, it is only the Word of God that has that ability. Why? Because It is life! If you want to bring someone to life - spiritual life - then you must sow the Word of God!

Also, as a Christian, if you are not please with what you see being produced in your life, you must ask yourself this question, "What am I sowing in my life?"

Galatians 6:7-8 “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

Having grown up in Iowa, I can attest to the fact that whatever seed a farmer plants determines the crop that he will reap. If the farmer plants corn, he'll harvest corn. If you plants soybeans, he'll harvest soybeans. So, take a moment to take stock of the "seed" which you are allowing to be sown in your heart through your eyes and through your ears. What social media content are you allowing into your heart? What type of entertainment are you allowing? Are you sowing to the flesh? Or, are you sowing to the Spirit?

The Soil

In this parable which Christ gives, He speaks of 4 different types of soil. Now, before we look at those different types of soil, the first truth to be reminded of is this...

The Soil is The Heart!

Mark 4:15 And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.

The heart - your heart - is the most vital organ in your spiritual body. Why?

Proverbs 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; For out of it are the issues of life.

When we reflect upon this parable, we generally think in terms of sowing the Word of God into the hearts of others. However, I would like you to make this a little more personal.

While we do act as the sowers of the seed, our hearts are also the recipients of the seed which has been sown - which is being sown!

  • Are we allowing God’s Word to be sown in our heart?

  • Are we placing ourselves in a position where God’s Word can be sown in our heart?

  • Are we in church where we can hear the Word of God proclaimed? Or are you in a church that proclaims the traditions and ideas of men?

  • Are we opening God’s Word on a daily basis and sowing God’s Word in our own heart?

Now, I want you to ask yourself this question:

What condition is your heart in? What type of soil is your spiritual heart composed of?

Let’s briefly look at the different types of soil which Christ describes and make some application.

The Way Side

Mark 4:15 And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.

Satan cometh immediately “where the word is sown” and “when they have heard.”

Satan is waiting right now, as you are reading this article, to snatch the seed of God’s Word from your heart before it ever has the opportunity to germinate!

Satan does not want God’s Word to produce fruit in your life! He’ll do everything - and anything - he can to keep it from bearing fruit!

The easiest soil from which Satan can snatch that seed away is the way side. The way side is ground - a path, a walkway, a road, etc. - that has been set aside for a different purpose other than producing fruit. What is the purpose of your heart?

Colossians 3:1–2 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

Does your heart have a Heavenly purpose or an earthly purpose? Where are your affections?

The Stony Soil

Mark 4:16–17 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.

What is the characteristic of this soil? We are told in vs. 17, “And have no root in themselves...”

The root is that part of a plant - probably one of the most important parts of a plant - which enters and fixes itself in the earth, and serves to support the plant and to provide nutrients for the stem, branches and fruit.

The Greek word that is used in vs. 17 for root is rhiza from which we get our English word rhizome which means a continuously growing horizontal underground stem which puts out lateral shoots and adventitious roots at intervals.

Ephesians 3:17–20 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
Colossians 2:6–9 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

What has taken root in your heart? Is it Christ and God’s Word or is it the philosophy, traditions, and rudiments of this world? Does your heart think like the world or does it think like Christ?

Colossians 3:16 KJV 1900Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

The Thorny Soil

Mark 4:18–19 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.

This soil is characterized by three things: the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts (desires) of other things. All three can be summed up in one word: worldliness!

1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
Matthew 6:31–33 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Is your heart wrapped up in the cares of this world? Has your heart been captivated by the deceitfulness of riches? Is your heart longing for anything other than God? If so, you may have a heart that is comprised of thorny soil.

The Good Ground

Mark 4:20 And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.

This ground is the opposite of the first three. Thus, it is not the way side; it is not stony; it is not choked with thorns. The "good ground" is...

  • A heart that has been purposed - surrendered to God.

  • A heart that has been properly prepared to receive God’s Word.

  • A heart where the seed of God's Word has been rooted and established.

  • A heart that is kept clear of the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desire for other things

How can we properly prepare our hearts to receive God's Word?

Psalm 1:1–3 Blessed is the man That walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor standeth in the way of sinners, Nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; And in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, That bringeth forth his fruit in his season; His leaf also shall not wither; And whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

Is your delight in God’s Word “day and night?”

  • We should be reading God’s Word - daily.

  • We should be studying God’s Word - daily.

  • We should be memorizing God’s Word - daily.

  • We should be meditating upon God’s Word - daily.

  • So that we can live God’s Word - daily - and experience a spiritually fruitful life!

Remember: What we do with God’s Word determines to a large degree what God does with us!

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