Summer 2014, #4
Grow Deep And Reach High
Share the Gospel Widely
Jesus gives a group of parables around agricultural ideas that were familiar to the culture at the time, beginning in Matthew 13. Read Matthew 13:1-23 for the background on the parable of the Sower. Jesus describes 4 types of soil in which seeds had fallen. It is interesting to note that the seeds “fell” on the different types of soil. The seeds were scattered everywhere to help explain this parable. The sower or farmer, scattered seed all over his field but some of the seeds fell along the path, the rocky ground, and among thorns.
The seed that fell along the path had no chance at all. The birds devoured them. The seeds that fell on the rocky ground immediately sprang up but because they did not have much soil, the sun scorched them and they withered away having no root. The seed that fell among thorns were choked out by the growth of the thorns. The seeds that fell on these three soils went nowhere. The seeds that fell on the good soil produced a bountiful crop.
Verses 18-19 explains that the seed was the “word of the kingdom”, and the soil is the heart of the person. When we share the gospel message, the condition and receptivity of the heart (and the Holy Spirit) is the determining factor. We do not know where the Holy Spirit is working until we scatter the seed of the gospel message as widely as possible. The characteristics of a person who is good soil will become evident.
In verses 18-23 we hear the explanation of the parable. Notice that three of the four soils (men’s hearts) where the seed (“word of the kingdom”) fell, were not able to produce fruit because of the various problems and pressures surrounding the human heart. The challenges to produce fruit come from the work of the evil one, tribulation and persecution because of the word, cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches. All of these factors are enemies of the heart.
From an evangelistic standpoint, here are some practical application points to think about:
- As we step out to share the gospel message, we need to do so as widely as possible and as often as we can. We need to scatter the seed everywhere because we do not know whom the Holy Spirit has prepared and is calling into a relationship with God.
- The forces against the human heart receiving the “word of the kingdom” present a clear and present danger. Do we spend too much time trying to reach unreceptive soil? While we do present the word of the kingdom as clearly as possible, we also do not stop at unreceptive hearts. There are many that the Holy Spirit has prepared for us to share the gospel message. Keep working to reach many with the gospel, don’t stop at the few. Scatter the seed widely.
- The Holy Spirit has to penetrate the heart with the word of the Kingdom and produce transformation. When He does, we will see abundant fruit through a changed life, works in keeping with bringing glory to God, and a life of faithfulness. This is the person who will bear fruit and yield a hundredfold, sixty, or thirty.
Only one of the four types of soil represents a hearer who is a genuine disciple of Jesus. Jesus insisted that true discipleship resulted in life transformation and involved the production of the “fruit” of good character and behavior. The sixty and one-hundred-fold crops were remarkable in this era of primitive agriculture.
Some will trust Christ and some will not. Are you continuing to share the gospel as widely as possible and letting the Holy Spirit reveal to you who is the receptive good soil?
Talk to you next week,
Ben with Cru
 Lemke, S. W. (2007). The Academic Use of Gospel Harmonies. In Holman Christian Standard Bible: Harmony of the Gospels (p. 82). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.