Summary: The Word of God is sown into our heart & it must come to fruition within our heart. The condition of our heart determines the fruition of the Word of God that is sown.
[Matters of the Heart Series]
RESPONSES OF THE HEART
LUKE 8: 11-15
[Mt. 13:1-23; Mark 4:1-20; Isa. 55:10-11]
Here we have the various responses of the heart to the Word of God illustrated in the Parable of the Sower. The Word of God is sown into our heart and it must come to fruition within our heart. The condition of our heart determines the fruition of the Word of God that is sown (CIT). [If we respond to the Word of God out of a desire to be obedient to God we will become responsible and productive believers.]
The story itself is a simple lesson from every day life. Farmers sow with different results. All seeds, even those hand sown do not hit the target, nor is every seed left alone to germinate in the warm soil. Much seed never germinates. But good seed in good soil brings abundance fruitfulness.
The parable teaches that if we hear God’s Word, believe it and hold fast to it we can be “good soil” in which the Word of God multiplies and bears fruit abundantly. Make sure you are good ground, make sure you have a receptive fertile heart for the Word of God so that you may produce the wonderful harvest the Lord of the harvest so desires you to product.
To Jesus the Word was God’s unique revelation to mankind. Not everyone truthfully embraces its message, but those who do yield a life of God honoring fruitfulness. To embrace and follow the message of Jesus is to become a fruitful blessing.
Jesus ended His parable of the sower, seed and soil by calling out, He who has ears to hear, let him hear. Jesus calling out denotes that He was making the major point. The expression, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear” describes the fact that receptive hearts can discern the intended spiritual meaning of a parable. The implication is that unspiritual people would understand no more than the parable’s surface meaning.
It is also very revealing that right after Jesus told His disciples the meaning of the parable, He says in verse 18, "Therefore, consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him." How we listen and respond to God, as He speaks to us, will determine the amount of growth and spiritual fruit we will produce. The condition of your heart will determine what God’s Word can do in your life Another way to say it is that the condition of our heart will determine what happens to the Word of God’s Word that comes to us throughout our life. Only if we listen with receptive hearts to God’s Word will it produce or yield its fruit.
I. THE HARD HEART, 12.
II. THE SHALLOW HEART, 13.
III. THE DISTRACTED HEART, 14.
IV. THE GOOD HEART, 15.
[BACKGROUND] The parable of the sower contains a mystery that the disciples have the privilege to learn while outsiders are blinded and unable to see its truth. Before the coming of the Holy Spirit the disciples did not fully understand the parable either. But they had the desire and faith to speak up and ask Jesus. What God speaks and what God teaches, He will explain to those disciples who follow Him.
So Jesus turned to the disciples to give them the insider knowledge prohibited to outsiders. His words and actions would not make sense to the uncommitted or lead them to changed or to lead spiritually fruitful lives.
In verse 11 Jesus begins explaining the parable to His disciples. “Now the parable is this: the seed is the Word of God.
This parable references God's redemptive work throughout His world. God gives His Word, but people respond in different ways. The good seed is defined as the Word of God. The words which were being preached by the Living Word, Jesus, was the same message John the Baptist had been preaching. The people’s responsibility was to accept the message which both Jesus and John were preaching. The sower is any Spirit-filled person who shares God’s Word with others.
The picture of the Word as seed is important. Often we think of preaching and evangelism as something that happens in an instant. The picture of a seed makes us think of a farmer who prepares the ground, sows seed, waters and then must wait for the crop. Producing a crop requires time. Often the message of God takes time to bear fruit also. Some of the fruit the Word bears will not be seen until eternity, for it is an eternal Word.
We begin our lesson this morning at the point where the disciples of Jesus asked what the parable meant. Before Jesus told them its meaning, He explained why He used the parabolic form of teaching in verse 10. People who were spiritually discerning, that is, were following Him and acknowledging His message as true, would have the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God. But others who were not responding to Jesus’ message of the kingdom of God would not understand the parable (1 Cor. 2:14). [In support of this Jesus quoted Isaiah 6:9—the people heard what He said but did not understand it. Walvoord, John & Zuck, Roy. The Bible Knowledge Commentary : An Exposition of the Scriptures. Wheaton, IL : Victor Books, 1983, S. 225.]