Summary: It is only as we exercise a healthy will toward God and His Word that we will be able to know and do what is best for us in all of life’s circumstances.
A Will to Know
In last week’s message, I spoke about the human will and the role it plays in our lives as we move toward or away from the will of God for our lives. Each of us has been given a free will to exercise, and God’s desire is that we exercise it toward Him. His desire is Christlikeness – to be more than fire insurance as He rescues us from hell, but to transform our lives by the renewing of our minds.
If you were to read through the list of sins in Romans 1, God wants to transform those who have reprobate minds into men and women of purity; to make the unrighteous righteous; the fornicators and adulterers sexually pure; the wicked holy; the covetous generous and content; the malicious kind; and so forth.
God wants you to be changed, no matter how good or bad you think you are – so that you become like Christ in thought, word and deed. The only way for that to happen is for us as believers to willfully choose that plan for our lives as good and right. It is to make God’s will your will.
This morning as we study Matthew 13:1-23, I want you to see how God’s Word plays an important role in our growth. You should remember that last week we identified four unhealthy wills that we often exercise in our lives: the impulsive will, the obstructive will, the explosive will and the wavering will. As we study this parable of the sower and the seed, I want you to notice how these unhealthy wills keep us from knowing and doing the will of God based on the Word of God. I want you to notice as well that it is only as we exercise a healthy will toward God and His Word that we will be able to know and do what is best for us in all of life’s circumstances.
The Parable of the Sower
"And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; and when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: and when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: but other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixty fold, some thirty fold."
As Jesus sat by the Sea of Galilee, we can only imagine what He might have been thinking about. Obviously the events of this long day influenced the story He told. Jesus had been preaching and teaching and performing miracles in the region for some time now, and yet the people still would not believe. In chapter 11 he said that they had seen and heard enough to have been saved, but still they would not believe. He thanked the Father in prayer that the truth was hidden from the wise and prudent people. On the day we are considering, the Pharisees had accused Him of being possessed with a devil. Later they wanted Him to put on a magic show so they might believe, and then finally His own family appears to have wanted Him to settle down – perhaps they thought He had gone crazy. How was it that the Son of God in the flesh could speak the truth with such clarity supported with the weight of His miracles, and yet people still could not grasp the truths He spoke? Consider how Jesus explained the parable in verses 18-23.
"Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When anyone heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it. Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty."
Now notice first that there are at least two constants in the parable. First is the seed – which Jesus identifies as the Word of God. The second is the soil – which represents the various ways we receive the Word of God. Some want to try to differentiate between which of these represent the lost and which represent the saved. Rather than looking for who is who, I want you to realize that everyone of you here today can and will receive God’s Word in one or more of these ways. What are those ways?