Summary: As a church and as a Christian, it is our job to sow seeds…to preach, teach and witness. It is God’s job to regenerate hearts, save, and mature.
Is anyone here do much gardening? What is the dirty secret among successful gardeners? Loamy soil! Every gardener quickly learns that good soil is vital for a healthy, productive garden. Good soil means it has nutrients to feed the plants and a texture that holds water long enough for plant roots to access it, but well-draining enough that the roots are not sitting in water. The best soil texture for growing plants is what is called "loam." Loamy soil offers a good environment for seeds to sprout, plant roots to go deep, and a blend of air, water, and nutrients to feed the plant so it will produce its intended fruit. The very best soil for gardening contains an ideal ‘loam’…a balance of silt, sand and clay…so that air can get in the gaps and water to drain and suspend nutrients, allowing the plant to flourish. This ideal soil does not stay that way without constant care by the gardener, as the soil is a living layer that naturally changes over time.
Please turn in your Bible to Luke 8:4-8
“While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.” When he said this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” (Lk 8:4-8, NIV)
Let us pray…
What is a parable?
If you recall from my last sermon, Jesus’ parables are stories that were “cast alongside” a spiritual/moral truth in order to illustrate and illuminate the truth. They are teaching aids used as analogies or inspired comparisons. One writer said the parable is, “An earthly story with a heavenly meaning.” Jesus used parables heavily. There are about 35 unique parables recorded in the four gospels, many repeated in multiple books.
Jesus is speaking to a large crowd by the Sea of Galilee. Jesus’ reputation was spreading across the region. Many people came from the surrounding communities and towns. The crowd was so large that he had to get into a boat as a makeshift stage and speak from it.
Today, if a church had large crowds coming from across our region because of what was happening in their services, you and I would probably assume a great revival had broken out. If it were C3, wouldn’t you be ecstatic! It would be amazing if we became so full that we had to expand the parking lot, build an even bigger sanctuary, and offer multiple services. It would be awesome if God were to begin healing people every single service. We would see the lame walk, the blind see, the deaf hear, and evil spirits cast out. That would most certainly draw a huge crowd. I bet Jesus’ twelve disciples were excited and impressed with the huge crowds and following Jesus had at the time.
I don’t think Jesus was impressed with the crowds. He could see the heart of each person in the crowd. Many were likely there to see the show. However, Jesus could also see those whose hearts were humble and broken. He could see those whose hearts were ready to get help. Some were ready to receive healing…not just physical but spiritual healing.
The Parable of the Soil
Luke 8:4-8 is the first of several parables about the kingdom of God. Jesus calls the first one, “The Parable of the Sower.” It is about a farmer who sows seed, but I see this parable as all about the soil.
In this parable, the farmer represents disciples and the seed represents the Word of God…the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In fact, Jesus tells his disciples this later in the chapter. If you are a Christian then you are a disciple that is called to spread the Gospel…to tell your story about how Jesus changed your life and Jesus’ story about how all can have eternal life with Him.
The four different soil types represent for heart conditions: hard, shallow, crowded, good.
If soil is trampled and hard, the seeds won’t penetrate and sprout. If the soil is too shallow over rocky ground, the seed will sprout but the roots can’t go deep and it will wither and eventually die. If the soil is good but is full of weeds, the plants will be crowded out, will wither, and eventually will die. Only good, cared for soil will produce good plants and good fruit.