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Matthew 13:1-9 NLT
Later that same day, Jesus
left the house and went down to the shore,  where an immense crowd soon
gathered. He got into a boat, where he sat and taught as the people listened
on the shore.  He told many stories such as this one:
"A farmer went out to plant
some seed.  As he scattered it across his field, some seeds fell on
a footpath, and the birds came and ate them.  Other seeds fell on shallow
soil with underlying rock. The plants sprang up quickly,  but they soon
wilted beneath the hot sun and died because the roots had no nourishment
in the shallow soil.  Other seeds fell among thorns that shot up and
choked out the tender blades.  But some seeds fell on fertile soil and
produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much
as had been planted.  Anyone who is willing to hear should listen and
Matthew 13:18-23 NLT
"Now here is the explanation
of the story I told about the farmer sowing grain:  The seed that fell
on the hard path represents those who hear the Good News about the Kingdom
and don't understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches the seed
away from their hearts.  The rocky soil represents those who hear the
message and receive it with joy.  But like young plants in such soil,
their roots don't go very deep. At first they get along fine, but they
wilt as soon as they have problems or are persecuted because they believe
the word.  The thorny ground represents those who hear and accept the
Good News, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares
of this life and the lure of wealth, so no crop is produced.  The good
soil represents the hearts of those who truly accept God's message and
produce a huge harvest--thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much
as had been planted."
This passage of scripture
is unique because it contains a parable of Jesus and His own interpretation
of the parable. This story clearly teaches that the gospel is a powerful
force that will produce fruit.
This parable also teaches
that not everyone who hears the gospel will be saved. The gospel only produces
fruit in good soil. In the parable, the seed did not produce fruit if a
bird ate it, nor will the gospel transform a life if Satan snatches it
from their heart before it can bear fruit.
Believe me, that is exactly
what Satan wants to do, and we must fight him. We must fight him like Lucas
Sibanda recently fought a snake that was trying to eat him.
Lucas Sibanda, a South Africian
was walking along a remote path, minding his own business when a python
slithered out from behind some shrubs. Sibanda froze. Within a few seconds
the snake had wrapped itself around him and began constricting.
Pythons, are large snakes
that suffocate its victims before swallowing them whole.
Sibana was trapped. He didn't
know how he would escape. "I decided the only way to save myself from this
monster was to bite it just below the head," Sabana told the Star newspaper.
He bit, he kicked and he punched the snake until it released him. Sibana
killed the reptile with a stick, took it home and skinned it.
We've got to fight Satan
with the same tenacity, because he wants to steal the gospel we sow.
In the parable, the seed
will not produce fruit if it is choked out by weeds, neither will the gospel
transform a life if the cares of the world or materialism crowd it from
the person's mind.
The seed will not produce
fruit if a rock keeps the roots from spreading, neither will the gospel
transform a life if it doesn't infiltrate the depths of the person's soul.
If it doesn't, the first problem that comes along will discourage the person,
and they'll fall away and never be saved.
The obedient witness can
be assured that the gospel is powerful. Hebrews 4:12 KJV says, "For
the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged
sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of
the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of
the heart." God's word is powerful, make no mistake about it.
Paul said, "For I am not
ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation
to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."
1:16 KJV The gospel is powerful enough to transform someone's life!
It is a powerful force to be reckoned with. Paul knew the power of the
gospel personally. It had transformed him from a persecutor of the church
to an apostle, church planter and biblical writer.
But, when the seed falls
in good soil, it bears fruit!
The sower is not responsible
for the growth of the gospel. He is only responsible to sow the seed and
reap the harvest. Are you sowing the seeds so you can reap the harvest,
or are you simply criticizing the lifestyles of the soil?
"In 1992, a Los Angeles County
parking control officer came upon a brown El Dorado Cadillac illegally
parked next to the curb on street-sweeping day.
The officer dutifully wrote
out a ticket. Ignoring the man seated at the driver's wheel, the officer
reached inside the open car window and placed the $30 citation on the dashboard.
The driver of the car made
no excuses. No argument ensued-and with good reason. The driver of the
car had been shot in the head ten to twelve hours before but was sitting
up, stiff as a board, slumped slightly forward, with blood on his face.
He was dead.
The officer, preoccupied
with ticket-writing, was unaware of anything out of the ordinary. He got
back in his car and drove away.
Many people around us are
'dead in transgressions and sins.' What should catch our attention most
is their need, not their offenses. They don't need a citation; they need
a Savior." (Rowell)
Who should we witness to?
A Witness should broadcast the gospel to all people. We are called to sow
the seed and reap the harvest, not inspect the soil!
It is an intentional action-"go
out to sow." There is a purpose behind the action. He didn't take a stroll;
he went out to sow the seed.
It is an act of duty--a farmer
sows and reaps. A doctor heals, an accountant counts, and a Christian witnesses.
Like Peter and John Acts
4:19-20 KJV we must be compelled to witness, they said, "Whether it
be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge
ye.  For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard."
Is there a harvest to reap
if we are willing to share our faith? Absolutely, this parable teaches
"Many have been 'won by one.'
John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim's Progress, came to Christ by overhearing
three women talking intimately with joy of the things of Christ. William
Carey, the father of modern missions, was won to Christ by John Warr, a
fellow apprentice shoe cobbler. Dwight L. Moody, America's greatest evangelist,
was led to Christ by Mr. Kimberly, a Sunday School teacher, in the rear
of a shoe store on Court Street in Boston. It was an unknown lay preacher
who won Charles Spurgeon to Christ in a little chapel on a snowy morning,
where only few were present, with the text "Look unto me, and be ye saved,
all the ends of the earth" (Isa. 45:22). Afterward Spurgeon said of this
preacher, "The preacher was a poor, uneducated man who had never had a
training for the ministry and probably will never be heard of in this life.
He was a man engaged in a humble business during the week. He was a poor
man, a humble shoemaker or something of that sort." (Browne, p. 38-9)
Going, weeping, sowing, and
reaping. Are you willing to share? This parable assumes something that
I can't assume. That the sower will go out to sow. It assures us that there
will be a harvest, but it assumes the sower is sowing.
Are you involved? Will you