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A Sower Went Out To Sow

Mark 4:1-20

In every age, God declares his truths to all people. In the following parable, Jesus shows us that just as the same seed produces different results depending upon the soil, so the word of God produces different results depending upon the heart.

1. And he began again to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land.

2. And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine,

3. Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow:

4. And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up.

5. And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth:

6. But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.

7. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.

8. And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.

9. And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

God is saying the same thing to us today: If you have the ability to hear God’s word today, then God is telling you to pay attention to it.

10. And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable.

11. And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:

12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.

13 And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?

It seems to me that God is saying that this is a foundational parable, and that if we will not understand this one, then we will not understand the others.

14 The sower soweth the word.

The sower represents a servant whom God is using to give his word to others.

15 And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.

This first group of people are those who hear God’s word but, per Matthew 13:19, they don’t understand it. Satan takes it away immediately.

16 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;

17 And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.

This second group are people who receive God’s word gladly, but in a very shallow manner. Because of this, they cannot “take the heat”.

18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,

19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.

The third group receives God’s word, but the things of this world are more important to them than God’s word, and so ultimately God’s word is choked to the point where it produces nothing of worth in their lives.

20 And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.”

This fourth group is the only group that produces fruit. The farmer sows his seed in order to reap a harvest. God sows his seed for the same purpose. Soil that will produce a harvest is soft and has been “broken up” by the farmer. It is free from stones and weeds. It is enriched by plants that have died and by minerals that have decayed. A heart that will produce godly fruit is similar:

  • It is broken and not prideful (Psalms 51:17)

  • It is soft (Hebrews 4:7)

  • It is free of things that compete with God (Luke 10:41-42)

  • It knows that it has no life in itself (Romans 7:9)

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