Summary: The love of God is impartial, the word of God is essential, our response is crucial.

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Stories Jesus Told - 1 "The Four Soils" Lk. 8:5-15

INTRO.: Today, we begin a series of messages on "The Stories Jesus Told." some of them are identified as parables. Others are not and may be true stories He used to illustrate spiritual truth. Jesus was the master story teller and used stories often. There is much we can learn from them

As Jesus traveled from town to town preaching and teaching, He sometimes attracted very large crowds. Matthew and Mark give us the detail that this story was told from the deck of a boat just offshore. The crowd that followed Jesus was so large He couldn’t make Himself heard from the shore. There were many kinds of people in the crowd and they came with different motives. After hearing Jesus, they reacted in different ways. No doubt the disciples were pleased with such a large crowd. Jesus is telling them not all will hear in the same way. What He says may well fall on deaf ears for some in the crowd.

In Jesus’ day, farmers lived in the city for protection and many fields were unfenced and used as common property. Hence, the expression, "a farmer went out to sow." Fields were long strips of land divided from one another by pathways on which people walked. Planting was done by hand and often in the "broadcast" style. Perhaps Jesus saw such a sower at work in the distance as He spoke to the people.

What can we learn from the parable of the sower and the soils?

I. God’s love is impartial.

A. There are four kinds of attitudes seen toward God’s word:

1. Seeds sown along the path represent hard hearted people who refuse to hear the word. Satan has blinded them to it.

2. Seed on the rocks are of shallow faith with no real conviction.

3. Seed among the weeds are those so busy with the things of the world they have no time for God or His Word.

4. Seed on good ground found receptive hearts of people who gladly receive the Word then persist in following it. They become mature and bear fruit.

B. God wants to reach all these people, even though some will not accept His Word.

1. Most interpreters think the seed was accidentally thrown where it wouldn’t grow. I differ.

2. It is easy to control seed thrown by hand and the farmer would be very careful for seed was expensive and hard to get.

3. The farmer would certainly know where weeds and rocks were and would avoid them.

4. God loves men so much He wants all to hear, even if they don’t accept it.

C. I’m convinced many of Jesus’ parables are meant to teach us God’s way is different from ours.

1. We wouldn’t plant in path, weeds, rocks. We’re inclined to avoid speaking to some people about Jesus.

2. We can’t know the hearts of men, judge their attitudes, or foresee their response.

3. So, it becomes our responsibility to spread the Word wherever we can.

II. God’s Word is essential.

A. It is the seed of the Kingdom:

1. It has come to us in three different ways:

2. The spoken Word came from prophets, poets, historians, etc., writing by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. II Peter 1:20, 21

3. The written Word came as these same men wrote down their message.

4. The Living Word was Jesus who perfectly revealed God’s nature and love.

B. In the parable, the seed is not at fault, the soil is.

1. In my garden I tested the soil and found it to be deficient in Nitrogen. My plants wouldn’t grow. It doesn’t matter how good the seed was.

2. The Word is able to save, but the heart must be prepared.

3. We should recognize not all who hear the Word will accept it.

C. God has commissioned us to carry the Word to the entire world.

1. Jesus told His disciples to do this and teach us to do it. Matt. 28:19, 20

2. God’s love is impartial. His Word is essential. Our task is overwhelming.

III. Our response is crucial:

A. James 1:21 The Word planted in us can save.

1. The seed of which we are born is imperishable. I Pet. 1:23

2. God’s word has the power to save us, but He will not take away our free will.

3. The choice, then, is ours. We must decide which type soil we want to be.

B. Notice, salvation requires a cooperative effort.

1. James 1:21 and 22 makes that very clear.

2. God expects us to repent and listen to His Word, then do what it says.

3. The jailer at Philippi is a good example of God and man working together. Acts 16:30-33

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