Summary: A look at the Parable of the Four Soils using contemporary illustrations.
I. Seeds fell along the Path (v. 4)
EXPLANATION: The Soil on the Path will not grow a seed.
Or that part of the gospel message that can be sowed in us. This first seed falls by the wayside or on beaten path bordering the garden. This is sun-baked hard ground, completely useless for gardening. It is very similar to the soil in the garden, but because of where it is it will not grow seeds.
A seed needs the right combination of fertilization, good soil, water. This ground is beaten, hard, and has no opportunity to do anything with this seed. So it washes away.
ILLUSTRATION: Raymond & Robert’s Dilemma
If you caught Everybody Loves Raymond a few weeks ago, you saw a poor Robert Romano scraping the bowls of food because his hours were reduced at the police station. When Ray, his brother steps in and gives Robert a check for $1000 to help him with his living expenses. You probably sided with Ray when Robert announced the following day that he would be taking all $1000 and spending it on a vacation to LAS VEGAS! The money he was supposed to eat with….. being spent on frivolous things. It was as if Raymond’s words were not impacting Robert’s mind!
APPLICATION: When we do not truly HEAR the Word of God we do not receive the blessings of His Word.
You see we can be hard headed, have our own agenda, our own needs and wants, but God is NOT going to honor that. ANY time we rebel against God we will not benefit.
When our soul is like this type of soil, it is bare, open, exposed, and beaten down. When we shut out the seed of God, we shut our ears and open our mouths. We receive much and profit nothing.
II. Seeds fell on Rocky Ground (v. 5-6)
EXPLANATION: It’s difficult to be a farmer in Cresson.
When ground is extremely rocky, and I think here even rockier – if that’s possible, than our ground; roots cannot take hold. But because of water availability the plant could spring up quickly!
However, when the sun comes out strong they wither and are scorched because they have no depth to their roots. These plants start strong but die quickly because there is no substance to their existence.
ILLUSTRATION: When the truth eludes us.
“I’ve made my choice,” wrote the basketball star. “I love Jesus Christ and I try to serve Him to the best of my ability. How about you?” No, those are not the words of David Robinson, A. C. Green or any other Christian currently plating in the NBA. That testimony is from a tract written thirty years ago by Bill Bradley, the former United States Senator, who tried to win the Democratic Party’s nomination for President. In an earlier Breakpoint Commentary, Chuck Colson talked about how Bradley professed faith in Christ while he was a student at Princeton University. There he became very active in The Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and by the time he was playing for the New York Knicks, he was a very outspoken Christian. But things have changed. In his 1996 memoirs, Bradley says he was put off by the exclusive truth claims of conservative Christianity and bothered by the uncharitable and racist attitudes displayed by some Christians. He now says he embraces all religions, from Buddhism to Islam, “so long as they seek inner peace.”
APPLICATION: The Cost of Temporary Faith is Lost Faith
This is the reason we are never encouraged to seek the temporary, or short term glories in this life. Rather we are taught to seek eternal, everlasting truth and God’s purpose and will for our lives.
Bill Bradley by his own writings condemn his soul. He has lost his zeal for Christ and gives us a perfect and sad example of what it means to have faith that is strong at first, but then withers away, because of a lack of commitment. The Cost of Temporary Faith, is the loss of Faith.
III. Seeds fell among thorns (v. 7)
EXPLANATION: Weeds choke out the intended flowers
Try as you might, if you continue to plow weeds back into your soil and attempt no removal of the weeds, you will continue to have weeds spring back up. Weeds are resilient little plants that seem not to need the basics that other plants need.
They are always there ready to choke out whatever you desire to plant. They mock you when you have seedlings spring up only to die and wither because a weed chokes its resources away. The thorny weeds will not allow a new plant to be born.
ILLUSTRATION: My poor poor, Kentucky Rye.
All of my life I’ve wanted a nice perfect green lawn, those like you see on TV. Probably one of my ideals is the pastor on WB’s 7th Heaven. He pastors a medium sized church, manages a family of what 7 or 8, and somehow always has the perfect lawn. Well don’t look across the street today, because…. That’s not his lawn – it’s mine.