Summary: Not everyone you share the gospel with will have hardened hearts. You should have hope. There are those who will receive the gospel for what it is, the words of eternal life.
Why is it that one person responds to the gospel and is deeply moved and all they can think and talk about is sharing Christ with others while at the same time another person seems unmoved that Jesus died for them?
You find one person moved to tears by the gospel and another cold and distant. Not everyone responded the same way to Jesus message. Do you notice in evangelism that someone people responds enthusiastically and another is hardened and even antagonistic.
Some thought Jesus was the son of God, their awaited Messiah. There were others that thought Jesus was a deceiver, even the devil. Why do people respond so differently? Jesus sheds some light on this in His Parable of the Sower. This parable gives insights on the various conditions of the heart.
Jesus came out of a house along the Sea of Galilee. There was such large crowd that gathered to listen to Jesus that he is preaching from a boat to the people on the shore. The large crowd was there listening. But what kind of hearers were there? What kind of hearers are there today?
Jesus tells us about four ways people respond to the gospel. This is one of the parables that Jesus himself interprets. It tells how truth enters or fails to enter the hearts of men.
Jesus uses an every day truth of farmer sowing seed. As Jesus spoke this he may have seen a farmer off in the distance scattering seed.
Here is what we find out about what Jesus really means when he tells the story of the farmer sowing seed:
The Sower is the one who preaches the gospel.
The Seed is the Gospel.
The Soils are the conditions of the hearts of men.
The main point of the parable is the effect of the Gospel is determined by the heart of the hearer. Because this is the main point some people like to call this the parable of the soils. But Jesus called this the parable of the sower in verse 18 when he says, listen then to what the parable of the sower means.
Why do preachers of the gospel get discouraged? It is because they have the most important message of all and yet so many people have little regard for it. If you had the cure to cancer, you would tell it to all. But it would be discouraging if no one acted on your message.
But there is encouragement to all who share the gospel from the parable of the sower. Not everyone will respond to your message, but some will. That is something to be encouraged about. You can expect people to respond in various ways.
The hard hearted hearer
As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.
When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path.
We sometimes speak of someone as hard-hearted. You just can’t get a message into their hearts. This kind of person is represented by a trodden path. This is the person who is closed to the gospel. They may have a million different reasons but the bottom line is that this is a person that is not interested to receive the gospel.
We find in Vs 4 that some of the seed fell along the path. The path is hard and not easily penetrated so the birds came and ate the seeds sown along the path. Paths along the field become trampled by foot. Soon these paths become as hard as pavement. What if you planted a corn field in a paved parking lot?
You would not get any crops. It is not the kind of soil that will support the seed to grow into a mature plant. The path is the hard heart of men. The bird is the devil that snatches away the Gospel.
The heart often becomes hard over the years. After rejecting the gospel so many times they become hardened. I talked to a man saved at age of forty years. He said the odds of his being saved were one in three thousand.
There are so many people who have hardened their heart to the gospel. They have become too hard hearted to respond to Jesus message. They are the ones that make evangelism unpleasant.
It is dangerous when the young person thinks; I am young so I will live my life according to the world’s ways and then in my later life receive Christ. They may come to find out the moment of opportunity is past for them and they have become hard hearted. Satan can snatch the gospel from them, as easy as a bird eats the seed that falls on the hard path.