Behold a sower went forth to sow; and when he sowed, some seed fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they did not have much earth: and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop; some a hundred-fold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear; let him hear (Matthew 13:3b-9 NKJV).
A common scene in ancient times, outdoor baptisms play a vital role in our community of Christ followers. It makes for an intimate connection with Jesus, as He was baptized in the river Jordan, and a perfect time for the hymn Take Me To The Water.
Fellowship is a cornerstone of our community and the bedrock for relationships. At Set Free By The Word, we routinely come together to share time and stories with our fellow worshipers. It's a great way to strengthen bond and build friendships.
What is a parable? A parable is something to lay by the side of one thing to compare it to another. Jesus often took a thing that was known and use it to explain the unknown. in this parable the sower represents God's messenger, the seed God's Word. The ground represents the condition of people hearts; the condition of their hearts determined their responses to the Word. The fowls of the air represent Satan, who is always waiting to take away the Word. Last, fruit represent the productivity of Christians.
This parable teaches that there would be four different responses to the gospel: (1) No response to the seed that fell by the wayside. (2) Emotional response to the seed that fell in stony places. (3) Worldly response to the seed that fell among thorns; (4) A fruitful response to the seed that fell on good ground (Mat. 13:18-23).
1. Some seed fell by the way side and the fowls came and ate the seed. The way side is described as hard packed soil. Because the soil was unprepared to receive the seed, it laid on top of the ground, where the birds came and ate the seed. Wayside people are those with a unrepented heart. They hear the Word but does not understand or receive it; while the Word lay waiting for the heart to receive it, the devil comes and snatches it away the Word before they are converted.
2. Some seed fell upon stony places: because of the stones there were little dirt for the plant roots to grow; and when the sun came up and scorch them, they withered and died. This is the person that hears the good news of the gospel, he or she understand and receives it, but later when persecution comes their way they fall away from the faith.
3. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked the plant; and it became unfruitful. This ground represents the person who understands and receives the Word; and endure hardship and persecution for a while, but by and by they are caught up in the pleasures and riches of the world and began to live a worldly life.
4. Other seed fell on good ground, sprang up and brought some thirty, some sixty and some one-hundred-fold crop. This ground represents the person who has repented of their sin and turned to God. They are rooted and grounded in the faith; therefore, whatever comes their way they are able to handle, they rely on the indwelling Holy Spirit to lead and guide them.
Conclusion: All of the grounds received the same seed, by the hand of the same sower, it was the soil that made the responses different. The same is true with the Gospel when preached; there can be four different responses, it all depends upon the hearts of the people.