Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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The Parable of the Sower

Image Jesus often taught by parable. A parable is a story told, using simple objects or situations, to illustrate a spiritual principle. Such illustrations can be extremely powerful, and this is certainly the case with his Parable of the Sower. The parable is included in all of the synoptic gospels, (Matthew 13:3-9, 18-23; Mark 4:2-9, 13-20; Luke 8:4-15).

The accounts reveal that the disciples were first confused about the meaning of this parable. Fortunately for us, Jesus gave to them and us a clear explanation of his words. Consider the following important points that can be derived from this parable. Citations will be from the account recorded by Luke:

  • The seed is the word of God (11). The parable concerns the salvation of men, and the means by which men are saved is God’s word. It is referred to as the gospel, and Paul contended that it is “the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Romans 1:16). It is an unfortunate thing when men determine the gospel is insufficient, and must be accompanied or altered. It, and it alone is capable of germinating in the hearts of men, to bring them to standing with God.
  • The Sower is the preacher. If the seed is the word of God, then the one sowing the seed is the preacher. Mark records the Lord saying, “The sower sows the word” (4:14). Paul wrote that God chose, “through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21). There is no work that you and I can be involved in that is more important than preaching the precious gospel of our Lord.
    Satan is our enemy. Concerning the seed that fell by the wayside, Luke records, “the devil comes and takes the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved” (12). The world ridicules the concept of the devil, but we know he is a powerful and dangerous adversary (cf. 1 Peter 5:8).
  • You can be converted, and still lose your soul. Other than the seed that fell by the wayside, the seed germinated in each kind of soil. This indicates that in each case, the hearer was converted to Christ. However, the rocky soil represents those who have no courage. When tempted or tried they fall away (13). The seed that fell among thorns represents God’s word initially accepted, but eventually choked out by worldliness (14). In both cases, men received the word, but were not steadfast in their faith. Concerning the possibility of falling, see Hebrews 5:12 – 6:6. May we each avoid the pitfalls of life that could cost us our salvation (cf. 2 Peter 1:8-11).
  • The only positive response to the gospel is a steadfast and fruitful life of service to the Lord. The good soil receives the word, and “keep[s] it and bear[s] fruit with patience” (15). It is obedience that proves our faith to God (cf. James 2:18). Those branches that do not bear fruit? “they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned” (John 15:6).

This parable contains wonderful teaching for each of us. Jesus, after proclaiming it to His apostles, said to them (and by extension, us as well), “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (8).