Summary: This sermon is based on the parable of the four soils and is intended to enourage believers to share their faith in Jesus. It is expository and alliterated with Power Point available, just email me.
THE SOWER, THE SEED AND THE SOIL
Scott Bayles, pastor
First Christian Church, Rosiclare, Illinois
In 1886, after the state of Georgia passed prohibition laws, a young man name John Pemberton invented a carbonated non-alcoholic beverage which he thought would appeal to Americans given the prohibition against alcohol. It was marketed as a “soft drink” as opposed to hard liquor and contained a mixture made from coca beans and cola beans, which inspired the name Coca-Cola. John first started selling the soft drink in pharmacies in his home town of Atlanta Georgia, but he had a much grander vision for his invention. He had a dream that within 100 years every person on the face of the earth would have tasted the soda he created. He didn’t quite reach his goal, but I’d still say he was pretty successful, wouldn’t you? Today it is estimated that…
• 51% of the all the people living in the world today have actually tasted Coca-Cola
• 72 % have at least seen a can or bottle of Coke
• 97%, if they haven’t seen or tasted it, have at least heard of Coca-Cola
On the other hand, only an estimated 73% of the world today has heard of Jesus Christ and I guarantee you—a whole lot fewer have actually tasted what he has to offer. I wonder how different things might be if Christians were as passionate about sharing their faith as John Pemberton was about sharing his soft drink—if we tried as hard as he did to put Bibles instead of bottles in the hands of people all over the world?
It’s not easy to share your faith though, is it? Maybe you’re just not an extroverted person. Neither am I. Maybe you don’t know what you’re supposed to say or how to broach the subject. And, of course, there is always the fear of rejection. What if they’re offended? What if it turns into an argument? What if I ruin an otherwise perfectly good friendship?
I wonder if Jesus’ followers had the same questions running through their minds. They lived under a very strict religious order and to deviate from the accepted norm was, well, unacceptable. They must have worried at times about what to say, if they were qualified to say it, and how people might react to them when they did say something. So one day, Jesus left the synagogue to go teach outdoors. He climbed into rough, rickety little boat, tied it to a stake and let it drift just a few feet from the shoreline. Soon, swarms of people gathered on the beach and sat in the sand to listen to Jesus teach. Among those listening were his closest followers and I believe Jesus wanted to give them a bit of comfort and assurance about sharing their faith in him. So he told them the same parable that I’m about to read to you:
“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown… He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Luke 8:5-8 NIV)
Jesus used many illustrations, or parables, when teaching the crowds. Parables are short stories that use familiar scenes and everyday objects and relationships to explain spiritual truths. A parable compares something unfamiliar with something familiar. It compels listeners to discover truth, while at the same time concealing the truth from those too lazy or too stubborn to see it. Later, when they were alone, Jesus would explain the meaning of the seed and the soils to his disciples, but before we talk about those parts of the parable, we have to talk about the sower.
• THE SOWER
Jesus began his story by saying, “A sower went out to sow his seed” (vs. 5 NKJV). Without the sower there wouldn’t be a story. In fact, even though preachers always tend to focus on the four types of soil, Jesus actually calls this “the parable of the Sower” (Matthew 13:18), because it all begins with him. So who is the Sower? It’s Jesus. This story is actually about Jesus himself. It’s about Jesus coming into our world and sharing God’s message of love and forgiveness and redemption. It’s about Jesus reaching into the hearts of human beings and planting a seed that has the potential to grow into something wonderful.
That’s the first thing we need to understand when it comes to outreach or witnessing. It’s about him! We don’t share a religion or an ideology or a philosophy. We share a person. We share Jesus! And even though Jesus is the Sower in the story, each one of us who accepts Jesus as our Savior also accepts the responsibility of becoming sowers in his field.