www.christdeaf.org


The Parable about
the Sower


Matthew 13:1-23

Resources
Service Notes
Sermon by Rev. John Reinke

MATTHEW 13:1-8 
     1.  The same day Jesus was-leaving the house and went and sat near the lake.
     2.  But many people gathered around Jesus that HE must enter a boat, and Jesus sat-down while the people stood on the shore.   
     3.  Then Jesus began to teach them with a story.
     4.  "A farmer went-out to throw-out seeds.  While the farmer threw-out seeds, some fell on the road.  The birds came and ate it.
     5.  Some seed fell on the rocky ground and couldn't go into the deep dirt.  Then it grew slowly.
     6.  At noon time the sun was hot and burned that plant because the plant had no good roots, and the plant died.
     7.  Some seed fell among the thorns and both grew and the thorns choked the good plants.
     8.  But some seed fell on good ground and grew strong and multiplied 100, 60, 30 times more."

MATTHEW 13:18-23 
   18. Jesus said: "Listen to the story about the farmer.
    19.  When anyone heard the story of the kingdom of God, but doesn't understand that, then the devil comes and takes-out the words of God from his heart.  That is the same as the seed falling on the road.
    20.  Next the seed fell on the rocky ground.  That means a person is happy to hear God's word, but God's word doesn't enter deep in his heart.
    21.  He believes for a short time, but happens trouble comes or persecution comes, then he quickly quits.
    22.  Next the seed falls among the weeds.  That is the same-as a person hearing God's Word, but the worries of the world, temptations, the foolish pleasures, and money are more important than God's word, and God's word can't grow.
    23.  The last seed fell on the good ground.  That is the same-as a person receiving God's Word and understand it and shows God's Fruit in his life, sometimes 100 times more, sometimes 60 times more, sometimes times 30."
 

Farmer =

Seed = 

Road = 

Birds = 

Rocky soil =

Sun =

Weeds =

Good soil =

Fruit = 

Application to me:



When Jesus told stories,
    Sometimes His stories were simple,
        and sometimes His stories were complicated.
    Sometimes He explained what the story means,
        and sometimes He just told the story,
            and finish!  No explanation.

And that's how Jesus told this story about the farmer
    throwing-out seed.

He threw out that story, and He didn't explain it.

What do you think?  Why did Jesus tell this story?
What was His point?

[Allow people to answer with their ideas.]

Did Jesus tell us this story to give us good advice about
    how to plant our gardens?
        -- be careful how we prepare our gardens.
        -- be careful where we plant our seed.
        -- give the seed water and fertilizer.
        -- pay-attention to weeds.

Was that His purpose?

No!  Jesus was not talking about plants and gardens.
He was talking about people!


When His disciples heard this story, they understood that
    Jesus had a deep meaning.
But they didn't understand what was His meaning.
So later, privately, they asked Him,
    and Jesus explained every point in His story.

We are lucky that Matthew, Mark, and Luke -- all three,
    wrote for us Jesus' explanation for this story.
        So we don't need to guess.

Jesus said: "The seed is God's Word."  (Luke 8:11)

SEED = God's Word

...meaning?  ...the Bible?
Well... yes, but we don't go out throwing Bibles, right?

We tell people what the Bible says.

God gives us two really important messages
    that He wants us to share with people:

#1.  God's Law -- what He says about us,
       that He is not happy about our sin and rebellion against Him.
       God's Law is like a mirror that helps us see ourselves
       as God sees us.

#2.  His Good News about Jesus Christ,
       that Jesus took our place,
       He accepted in Himself all the guilt for all of our sin,
       He suffered all the punishment that we earned,
      He forgives us 100%,
      and He opens heaven for us.

Those two messages together become like seeds
    when they become planted in a person's heart and mind.

That person sees that what God says about him is true,
    and he trusts Jesus Christ for saving him.

If the seed is God's Word, who is the farmer?
FARMER = ?

[Jesus does not identify the farmer, so any suggestion people offer may be right -- preacher, Holy Spirit, all of us, etc.]

The farmer means anyone who tells other people about Jesus and shares with them God's Word.  That can mean the preacher, yes.  But that can also mean any Christian who tells other people what the Bible says. 

When we read the Bible privately, the Holy Spirit becomes the farmer, while He tries to plant that Word in our hearts.

FARMER = (1) Anyone who shares God's Word.
                   (2) the Holy Spirit

Jesus said,
"A farmer went-out to throw-out seeds.  While the farmer threw-out seeds, some fell on the road."

ROAD = ?

Can seed grow on the hard road? 
No, the seed just lays there on the road.
It can't go into the soil.
So the birds come and eat it.

That's what happens when people see or hear God's Word,
    but it goes past them.
God's Word maybe goes into their eyes or ears,
    but it never connects with their hearts.

Maybe they don't understand.
Maybe they are focused on other things.

So what happens?  Nothing!

ROAD = People who see/hear God's Word, but don't believe.

And if they don't believe, the devil quickly comes to take away God's Word from them,  the same as birds eat seed on the road.

BIRDS = the devil takes away God's Word so people won't believe.


Next the seed falls where?  ...in soil that is thin, on rocks.
ROCKY SOIL = ?

That means what?

Jesus said,
"That means a person is happy to hear God's word, but God's word doesn't enter deep in his heart.  He believes for a short time, but happens trouble comes or persecution comes, then he quickly quits." (Matthew 13:20-21)

Jesus said that trouble and persecution is like the hot sun that wilts the plant that doesn't have deep roots.

SUN = trouble, persecution

People that have quick shallow faith only have a "fun" faith--
    "I trust Jesus because He blesses me!"

Then what happens when the "blessing" stops?
What happens Jesus doesn't answer my prayer the way I hope?
What happens my old friends start making fun of me?
       "Well, I didn't really mean it."
or    "Forget it!  That religious stuff is all fake!"

ROCKY SOIL =  People who believe for a short time & quit.

Hard times test our faith,
    that shows if we have only a fun faith,
    or we trust God, no-matter what happens.

Hard times makes true faith stronger.

Next the seed falls where?  ...in good soil that has weeds.
WEEDS = ?

What happens when good seed grows among weeds?
Tall corn... doesn't grow tall.
Big red tomatoes... stay small.
The weeds pull water and food away from the good plants.

The weeds mean what?

Jesus said,
"That is the same-as a person hearing God's Word, but the worries of the world, temptations, the foolish pleasures, and money are more important than God's word, and God's word can't grow." (Matthew 13:22)

WEEDS = temptations, worldly stuff


Those Christians growing among weeds are like "Sunday morning" Christians...  
"I believe, yes. [Sign "yes" with  flat-O handshape.]
But don't watch what I am doing Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Okay?"

That Christian maybe has faith,
    but that faith never grows,
        never becomes strong and mature,
        never touches other people.

They don't lead other people to Christ.

Finally...
"Some seed fell on good ground and grew strong and multiplied 100, 60, 30 times more."

GOOD SOIL = ?

What does that mean?
Jesus said,
"That is the same-as a person receiving God's Word and understand it and shows God's Fruit in his life, sometimes 100 times more, sometimes 60 times more, sometimes times 30." (Matthew 13:23)

GOOD SOIL = Person that deeply trusts God and His Word

Jesus says that this Christian grows His Fruit...
FRUIT = ?

That means what?

Jesus doesn't explain here,
but Paul gives us a good answer in GALATIANS chapter 5:

(Galatians 5:22-23)
"The Holy Spirit makes His fruit in us:
    love
    joy
    peace
    patience
    kindness
    goodness
    faithfulness
    gentleness
    self-control"

These describe attitudes that Christ Himself has.
The Holy Spirit makes His attitudes in us,
    and leads us to do His actions for other people.

That is part of the meaning for the fruit in Jesus' story.

FRUIT = (1) Christ's attitudes & actions in our lives

Also notice that Jesus says that the seed growing in good soil makes "100 times more, 60 times more, or 30 times more."

That means what?

When we receive God's Word,
    that must change our attitudes and actions, yes.
But we don't keep His Word for ourselves.
    We become "farmers."
    We scatter seed.
    We tell other people about Jesus
        so they can trust Jesus, too...
            100 times more,
            60 times more,
            or 30 times more,

FRUIT = (1) Christ's attitudes & actions in our lives
               (2) Tell other people about Jesus

Okay, here have fully analyzed this story --
    four different kinds of soil,
    meaning four different ways people answer God's invitation.

So what?

This story teaches us two important lessons.

First, God wants us to "scatter" His Word, like seeds,
    telling everyone we can about Jesus.

People will receive that seed in different ways.
    Many people will reject God's Word.
    Some people will believe a short time and then quit.
    Some people will believe,
        but they will stay focused on the world pleasures
        and never grow.
    And some people believe, grow, and become seed sowers.

We are not responsible for the way people receive or reject God's Word.  We are responsible for continually scattering the seed.

We maybe know various people that fit those four soils.
But what about us?
What about me?

That's the second lesson we learn from this story:

I want to become that good soil
    that receives God's Word deep in my heart,
    and grows His character in me,
    inspires me to do His works,
    and helps me invite other people to trust Him.

But if I am honest,
    I must admit that I also am like those other three soils.

Sometimes I am like that hard road.
    I read the Bible.
    The words go-in-one-eye, and-out-the-back-of-my-head,
        and misses my heart.
    Or I sit in church hearing the preacher,
        but not really listening,
        not paying-attention.
    My mind wanders somewhere else.
    And the preachers words fly-by-my-ears.

Sometimes I am like that thin soil,
    focusing on the thrill,
        the wonderful feelings the Holy Spirit gives us.
Then when those feelings melt away,
    where is trust?

Sometimes I am like the soil filled with weeds,
    worldly things and temptations that distract me,
        that shift-my-focus-away-from-God,
    my hobbies and obsessions that become my idols.
I don't forget how to say all the right words
    that make me look religious.
But what is really happening in my heart, and in my life?

Good soil needs
    plowing,
    feeding,
    pulling weeds,
    sunshine and rain.

Lord, please do that in me. Amen.

Parables Index