A Sower Went out to Sow - Part 1
A Sower Went out to Sow
-Those by the Way Side-
“And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable: A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
Jesus often taught in parables (as in the verses above). A parable is simply an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. It is a powerful teaching tool because it uses something that is already understand to help us easily understand something similar but not yet understood. This particular parable deals with very foundational issues (God’s word and man’s heart) and is therefore very important. Let’s look at the verses that follow the verses above:
“And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be? And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.”
Jesus’ disciples were eager to know what this parable meant. I hope that you are just as eager today. Jesus explains the parable in the following verses:
“Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.”
The seed is God’s word. It is a “constant” in this parable (it doesn’t change). What varies in this parable is the place upon which the seed is sown and the result of the seed being sown there. The four different places represent four different kinds of people – and the condition of their hearts. All of them hear the word of God. Today we take a look at the first group….
“Those by the way side”
The heart of these people is “by the way side”. This is a place of human traffic where God’s word is “trodden down”. These people hear God’s word but the devil removes it from their heart and so it never has an opportunity to take root and grow. There are three things that work together to ensure that God’s word will not grow or produce fruit in this case:
1. The heart of the hearer: When a person chooses to place their heart “by the way side” (where God’s word is trampled upon) they have chosen to listen to those who wish to dishonor God’s word. This results in a false view of God’s word. It appears commonplace, flawed - without its God-given glory. It is not accepted as the life-giving, eternal word that it truly is:
“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”
I Peter 1:23
2. They that tread upon God’s word: These people are doing the devil’s work (whether they know it or not). There are many that do so today (and they can be just as persuasive as the serpent was with Eve in the garden). Many of these “word-treaders” call themselves Christians and many stand in pulpits. Some attack God’s word directly, others subtly.
“For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.”
II Corinthians 2:17
The modern Bible versions are one example of the fruit of these accomplices of the devil because they contain thousands of deletions, additions, and changes to God’s word. Key doctrines are affected. If this isn’t treading upon God’s word then I cannot imagine what is. God pronounces sobering warnings against these people in Revelation 22:18-19.
3. The devil: The devil’s task is now easy because God’s word is dishonored or despised. He can easily snatch God’s word out of the heart. This is the tragic state of those who choose to place their hearts by the way side.
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