Summary: To establish that the good and honest heart hears, receives, believes, and obeys the gospel of Christ--the seed of the kingdom. This lesson describes the type of heart that will be obedient to the gospel of Christ, in order to be saved by grace.
1. The Sower (The Preacher)
2. The Seed (The Word of God)
3. The Soil (The Hearers)
1. There is much admonition in the bible to the hearers of the word of God. Jesus spoke: "of the wise and foolish hearers," Matthew 7:24-27. James declares: "we ought to be doers of the word and not just hearers only," James 1:22. And Paul states: "Not the hearers of the law shall be justified, but the doers of the law," Romans 2:13. Thus, our lesson today is concerning the hearers of the word of God. It's appropriate at the start of this meeting/year to admonish all who attend, that all have a responsibility to respond to God after hearing His word, regardless of how it was presented. It is our purpose to, "speak the truth in love." I trust the listeners will "received with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save their souls,” James 1:21.
2. First, Jesus describes the sower in this parable. He says: "a man went forth to sow seed in a field," Luke 8:5. After that, his job was done. Ministers and teachers are all sowers of the word. We may plant or water, but the job or raising the plant is the work of God. Members and ministers are often discouraged when they see loves one and friends continually visiting, listening to the word of God, but never obeying. Today we are going to learn why! And consider just what the responsibilities of the sowers entail. Paul speaks to the questions of the prophet Esaias. "But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?" Romans 10:16. Further he asks: "But I say, have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world," Romans 10:18.
3. Next, Jesus describes the seed which was sown in the fields. It is the word of God. It is a precious seed. The seed of the kingdom of God. The Lord has placed the life of every seed within itself. God’s word is truly, "quick and powerful...," Hebrews 4:12. It is "the spirit that quickeneth…these words I speak unto you…," John 6:63. And we have His eternal promise, "So shall the word be that goeth forth from my mouth, it shall not return unto me void, but it will accomplish which I please, and prosper in the things whereto I send it," Isaiah 55:11. Jesus said: "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my word shall never pass away,” Matthew 24:35. And somehow, even with uncontrollable odds it always finds root in the "good and honest heart."
4. Finally, our Lord explains the soil. The soil is pictured as four types of hearts. Each in their own way represents the believers, the hearer, as he or she progresses in faith. The "wayside soil" was void of faith; because "the devil came and stole the word from his heart, lest he should believe and be saved." The "rocky soil" is one with a "little faith" because it lacked roots, "he believed for a while and in time of temptation fell away." The "thorny soil" is one of a "weak faith" it is involved in the worlds activities and became chocked with the "cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and did not bring forth fruit to perfection." And lastly there is the "good ground" which represents a "great faith" where the word fell on receptive hearts which "having heard it, kept it, and brought forth fruit with patience." I now ask of this audience, "what type of soil are you?" Only God knows! As we begin, let’s notice the sower’s work in this parable.
BODY OF LESSON
I THE SOWER (THE PREACHER)
A. "A sower went forth to sow...," Luke 8:5. Sowing the seed is the job of the preacher, or teacher. They are charged to sow the seed of the kingdom; to preach the word. Their job is not to plow the field, fertilize the ground, or select the soil.
1. Preachers are sowers however; many attempt to grow the plant. But that's God business. "I plant, Apollos water, but God giveth the increase," 1 Corinthians 3:6-8. The sower is not as important as the seed, or the message.
2. Paul writes: "That ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up one against another,"1 Corinthians 4:6. The teacher has the greater condemnation.
3. Notice James: "My brethren, be not many masters (here he means teachers), knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation," James 3:1. They must be an example of their preaching. Illustrate: Romans 2:21-24. Preach and teach with integrity and in truth.