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"The Sower, the Seed, and You"

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
August 15, 2021 5:00 am

"The Sower, the Seed, and You"

So What? / Lon Solomon

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Hi there, this is Lon Solomon and I'd like to welcome you to our program today. You know it's a tremendous honor that God has given us to be on stations all around the nation bringing the truth of God's word as it is uncompromising and straightforward. And I'm so glad you've tuned in to listen and be part of that.

Thanks again for your support and your generosity that keeps us on the radio. And now let's get to the Word of God. When you go out and try to share Jesus Christ with people, you never know how it's going to turn out. But Jesus is going to talk to us about that this morning in the Bible. He's going to talk to us about how different people react in different ways to the message of Jesus Christ. And I'm going to ask you as you go along with me this morning to do something that takes a lot of courage. I hope you're up to it.

I think you are. I'm going to ask you as we pick our way through this, not only to talk about and think about how other people respond to Jesus Christ, but how you do. It takes a lot of courage to do some healthy self-examination, but I'm going to ask you to do it. So let's take a look. First, for while a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, Jesus told this parable.

Now, remember that what's going on here? Jesus has appeared and presented himself as the Messiah of Israel to the nation. The rabbis have rejected him. The religious leaders have completely disassociated themselves with him. They've thrown him out of the synagogues.

He has to preach in the streets now. The people have come to him and then they've not come to him. They followed him and then they changed their mind. They fickle one way, then fickle the other way. He says something they like, then they follow him. He says something they don't like, they all go away. The Romans haven't been thrown out.

No army of liberation has arisen. Meanwhile, his disciples are saying to themselves, why is all this happening? I mean, we thought when the Messiah came, the whole nation would rally to him and and everybody would believe in him. And there would be this enormous groundswell of support. And it's not happening. I mean, why are people reacting the way they are? Jesus tells this parable to help his disciples understand why people react to him the way they do.

But it's also great for us to know as we go out there and try to talk to people about Jesus Christ. Look what he said. He said a sower went out, a farmer went out to sow his seed. In those days, farmers didn't use tractors. They used bags of seed around their neck. And what they would do is they would walk along and they would reach in the bag and they would toss their seed out. And the seed would fly all over everywhere, landing on all different kinds of ground. And Jesus now goes on to describe the different kinds of ground the seed might fall on. First of all, he says there was hard soil.

Verse five. And as he was scattering the seed, some fell along the pathway and it was trampled on and the birds of the air ate it up. In Palestine, there were narrow strips of unplowed land three or four feet wide that ran between the fields and dissected them. And these are the little paths that the farmers would use to get in and out of the fields so they didn't trample all over the crops. Well, over the years, of course, all of that foot traffic beat that dirt down hard. And after a while, it became like asphalt, like concrete. As you would throw seed, seed landing on that didn't have a chance to sprout.

It was like landing on the road and the birds that would often follow the farmer as he went through the field would just come along and just gobble it up. The hard soil. Second, Jesus said, there's shallow soil.

Verse six. Some fell on rock and when it came up, when it sprouted, the plants withered because they didn't have any moisture. And they said, Lon, something makes sense here. If the seed landed on a rock, it wouldn't sprout. Things don't sprout on rocks.

Well, that's right. But what Jesus is talking about, he makes a little clear in Matthew's gospel when he tells the parable. He says there it fell on rocky ground where there wasn't much soil. There wasn't much depth of soil. You see, in Palestine, there are places where you have an inch or two of soil lying on top of solid bedrock.

And this is what Jesus is talking about. And the seed that fell there would sprout very quickly and it would begin to grow. But as the summer wore on and the ground began to dry up and the sun began to beat down on it, it would try to send its roots down deeper to get moisture. But one or two inches down is solid rock and there's no place for the roots to go. So when they hit there and they can't go anywhere and they can't get any moisture, they burn up in the sun and they wither and they die.

This is what Jesus is talking about. Shallow soil. There's a little bit of dirt there, but not enough to support life. The third soil is contaminated soil.

Verse 7. Other seed fell on thorns, which grew up along with the seed and choked off the plant. This is soil that looks good outwardly. It's deep and it's soft, but hidden in the soil are the seeds of all kinds of weeds. And the farmer seed, when it hits the soil, it sprouts, it begins to grow.

Everything looks great for a while. But the sun warms the ground and all these other seeds, all these other weeds and thistles and thorns also sprout up. And before long, they overtake the seed. They overcrowd the seed. The seed can't get the moisture it needs. The seed can't get the nutrients it needs.

And they choke the seed off and it dies. Finally, Jesus says, verse 8, there's good soil. Still other seed fell on good soil and it came up and yielded a crop a hundred times more than what was sown. This is soil that's soft enough to take the seed in. It's not hard soil. And this is soil that's deep enough to allow the seed to root. It's not shallow soil. And this is a soil that is clean enough to allow the seed to prosper.

It's not contaminated soil. So the seed burst to life and it bears all kinds of fruit. And then Jesus ends his parable by saying, verse 8, he who has ears to hear, let him hear. In other words, Jesus said, if you can get my drift, then get it. Now, that's the end of the parable. And, you know, with so many things in the Bible, you read them and you kind of go, what does that mean?

And a lot of times there's not a whole lot right there to help you. I mean, try reading the Book of Revelation sometime and going, what in the world is this talking about? But what I like here is that Jesus interprets the parable for us. He leaves no doubt whatsoever as to what this parable means. So let's go to verse 11. This, Jesus says, is the meaning of the parable. Friend, I don't care what you think this parable means or what I think this parable means.

There's no room for what you think or what I think. Jesus is going to tell us exactly what he means by the parable. And here we go. He says, verse 11, the seed is the word of God. So we know that the seed is the word of God. The word of God here, Jesus means by that the message that he is the Messiah of Israel, the message that he paid for our sins on the cross, the message that God will forgive the sins of anyone who will rely upon what Jesus did on the cross with them, not their own works, not their own effort, not their own religious activity. But the blood of Jesus Christ shed on the cross to pay for their sins.

Rely on that. And God will forgive your sins and give you eternal life. This is the message. Jesus says that's the seed. Now, that's the seed. What's the main point of the parable?

Listen carefully. The main point of the parable is that the condition of a person's heart, their soil determines how they will respond to the message of Jesus Christ, the seed. In other words, the variable here is not the quality of the seed. Any time the seed hits good soil, it grows. So the issue here is not whether the seed is good or not.

It's good. Nor is the issue here the skill of the sower. You know, this guy could have taken his little boy out or his little girl out and let them throw seeds all over everywhere. And any time that seed hit good soil, it's going to grow. So the issue here is not how skillful the sower is or how good the seed is. That's not the variable.

The variable is the condition of the soil that it lands on. And the point is what people do with Jesus Christ when they hear about him has everything to do with the condition of their heart, the condition of their soil. And Jesus says there are four kinds of soil that the word of God encounters when you spread it. And we want to walk through it.

But let me just say to you, when you go out to talk to people about Jesus Christ, everybody you meet is going to fall into one of these four categories. And the success of the seed depends upon the condition of the soil. You can be a really lousy sower.

I mean, you can know John three sixteen and not one other verse of scripture, but it's amazing. You sow the seed and it hits good soil. It'll grow because remember, it's not the skill of the sower and it's not the condition of the seed. It's the condition of the soil. Now, let's look at the soils.

OK, here we go. First of all, there's hard soil. Jesus says, verse 12, those along the path are the ones who hear.

And then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart so they cannot believe and be saved. This is hard soil. This represents the hard hearted person. The seed of the word of God does not penetrate this person's heart at all.

The surface is too hard. It's like spiritual asphalt. These people are people who are like that dirt that was beaten down into hard concrete in between the wheat fields. And when this person hears the message of Jesus Christ, for a moment, it lies on the surface of their heart. But since the ground has never been plowed by the Holy Spirit, Satan comes along and he snatches that seed away and it never does anything. A person hears the word of God like this with this kind of heart. And Satan comes along and he distracts them or he gets them busy or he gets them thinking about something else or he takes them someplace else. And I mean, it's just gone.

Nothing happens to it. And we've all met people like this, haven't we? People who have zero spiritual interest. I mean, you try to talk to them about the Lord and they either ignore you or they walk away or they turn the television up louder or they walk into the other room or they change the subject.

They just don't want to hear it. We've got people in our offices like that. We've got people in our neighborhoods like that.

We've got people that we work with and we live with and people that we're related to who are just like this. They have zero spiritual interest and they're proud of it. The hard soil, the hard heart. Then Jesus said, there's the shallow soil. And in verse 13, he says, those who are like the one with a little bit of soil and then the bedrock, they are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they don't have any place for the root to go.

And so they believe for a while, but in the time of testing, they fall away. Now, this is a person who has a certain outer sentiment for Jesus Christ, a certain sympathy with Jesus Christ. I mean, they're not against God. They kind of like God. God's all right. Church is all right.

Christianity is OK. They'll come to church a little bit and they'll kind of hang around and do the Christian thing. They'll have a Bible in their home. But even though they've got an outer sentimentality for Jesus Christ, right under the surface is this enormous rock bed of self right below the surface. These are people who've never allowed that rock bed of self to be smashed and broken up by the Spirit of God. These are people who've never come to the end of their own resources, who've never had their self resources and their self sufficiency shattered. These are people who've never had to turn to God in brokenness and in contrition. They've got a little sentimentality for Christ, but they're still running their life.

And they got the whole thing under control with their own resources and their own sufficiency. And when they're first exposed to Jesus Christ, they may be openly receptive. They maybe go, wow, this is pretty cool. And the seed looks like it's going to sprout up. And we say, wow, that's cool. Look at this. This person's really coming to know Christ.

But as soon as the sun begins to beat down on it, getting hot with the pressures of real Christianity, this person withers away. And a year later, you can't find them. They're gone. We say they lost their salvation. No, they didn't.

They never had it. Would you notice in this parable, there's only one soil that ever bears fruit. And that's the only one that ever really knows Christ.

The other three soils never bear any fruit. And that's the mark in the Bible of a real Christian is fruit. We say this person was a Christian and they backslid.

No, they didn't. They were never really a Christian to start with because that rock bed of self sufficiency and that rock bed of self reliance was never broken up by the jackhammer of the Spirit of God so that the seed could take root and so it could grow. There was no place for the seed to go. Folks, I've prayed with the sinner's prayer with people like this and I've baptized people like this and I've married people like this and I've discipled people like this. And I've poured hour upon hour upon hour into people like this only to see them disappear.

And six months later, you can't find them. You say, Lon, how does that make you feel when that happens? Well, it makes me feel terrible.

I feel awful. Which is one of the reasons I'm so glad Jesus gives us this information because it helps me understand that the seed has not failed just because it meets this kind of soil and that as a sower, I didn't fail because I met this kind of soil. The problem wasn't the sower and the problem wasn't the seed. The problem was the soil.

Third soil, contaminated soil. Verse 14. The seed that fell among the thorns stands for those who hear.

But as they go on their way, they are choked by life's worries and life's riches and life's pleasures and they do not mature. In Matthew 13, when Jesus tells the parable, he says that these things choke off the seed and it is unfruitful. Again, no fruit.

We might get some leaves here, but no fruit. Now, just like soil number two, things look promising at first for this person, but time begins to show that the soil is contaminated and Jesus tells us what the contaminant is. It's life's worries and life's riches and life's pleasures. What we have here is what the Bible calls a double minded person. That is, we have here a person who wants to please God and wants to serve God and wants to let their life count for God.

But a person who wants to hold on to the things of this world at the very same time. A person that's trying to serve two masters. And Jesus said you cannot serve two masters.

Jesus said you cannot serve God and the material things of this world. Folks, you can't ride two horses at once. I mean, I have enough trouble riding one horse at once.

You can't ride two horses at once. And if we were to diagram this person, if we were to diagram the good soil, it would look like a person like this who had both hands holding on to the hand of Jesus Christ. But if you were to diagram this person, this person would have one hand holding on to the hand of Jesus Christ, and they would have the other hand holding on to things of this world. And there would be a person who no matter how much these two sides pulled at them, they were determined they were going to hold on to both sides.

And if one side had to give, it's this side. But there's something over here in this world they are not going to let go of. Friend, if you haven't come to the place where Jesus Christ is truly number one in your heart, where you're willing to put it all on the altar no matter what God asks for, then Jesus tells us that your inability to do that, my inability to do that, will be like a huge spiritual weed in your life that will choke off the life of the seed from growing inside of you and me. Our relationship with Jesus Christ can never bear fruit until we get to the place that Jesus Christ is number one.

And you know, there are people in churches all over America this morning just like this. They got all kinds of leaves, but they don't have any fruit because it's not all on the altar. Now, finally, good soil.

Verse 15. But the seed on good soil stands for those who with a noble and a good heart hear the word of God and retain it. And by persevering, they produce a crop. Here at last is fruit. We finally get some fruit.

Jesus says this is a noble and a good heart, a heart that's been fully prepared by the Spirit of God. There's no weeds. There's no rock bed.

There's no hard surface. This dirt is soft and deep and clean and fertile and ready for the seed. And man, when the seed hits it, I mean, you get fruit, pal, and you get lots of fruit. You say, Lon, what kind of fruit are we talking about? Well, the kind of fruit the Bible says is proof of genuine salvation. Friends, in the Bible, the proof of salvation is not foliage.

It's fruit. It's Galatians Chapter 5, the fruit of the Spirit that is in a changed character, in a changed lifestyle. The fruit of genuine salvation is 2 Corinthians 5 17. If a person is in Christ, they become a new creature. And one of the fruits of a genuine salvation experience with Jesus Christ is that you begin to become a new human being and there's no explanation for it other than the fact that Jesus Christ came into your life. The fruit of a love for the Word of God and the fruit of a love to be in prayer and talking to God, the fruit of loving to tell other people about Jesus Christ and having a real desire to do that. This is the kind of fruit that comes with real salvation. And this is the climax of a whole parable.

Jesus says, when we go out to sow the gospel, just like those civil rights march organizers back then, you never know what you're going to meet. You'll come across hard soil and you'll go away discouraged. You'll come across shallow soil and you'll get all excited because it looks like it's really going to work and it'll spring up and you'll go, ah, when it just kind of dies away. And then you'll come across contaminated soil and you'll invest and you'll invest and you'll invest and you'll invest in these people. But they'll never let go of the world.

They just will not let go of the world. And finally, they too die away and you begin to say to yourself, man, this isn't worth it. But Jesus says, oh, yes, it is. He said, because I promise you, I assure you, there is good soil out there.

There really is. And if you keep sowing enough seed, you'll hit it. And when you do, that seed will spring to life. And I mean, there will be buku fruit all over everywhere.

You won't have enough baskets to pick it up. And you'll watch somebody's life change so radically that there is no explanation but Jesus Christ. And it'll make all those other soils you had to work your way through worth it to find one piece of good soil out there.

And it'll make life worth living. And may I say to you that you and I living in the 20th century will meet people just like these four soils. And the fact that you might meet hard soil or shallow soil or contaminated soil, don't let that discourage you. Don't begin to doubt yourself and go, gosh, I must not be a very good sower. Look at all these soils I'm running into or even worse, you know, the gospel is not really true. It's not doing anything. Remember, the problem's not with the seed and the problem's not with the sower.

The problem's with the what? The soil. The success of the seed depends on the condition of the soil. So get out there and sow, folks. Throw that seed everywhere. And yeah, it'll hit some hard soil and yeah, it'll hit some contaminated soil and yeah, it'll hit some shallow soil. But thank God it'll hit some good soil and that'll make it all worth it. Now, that is the end of the parable, but it leads us to ask the question, so what? And in the last couple of minutes I've got, I'm going to ask you to come along with me and let's do some very healthy self-examination.

I hope you've got the courage to do it because it takes courage to do it. Remember I said earlier to you that as we sow the word of God, we find that not only do we meet one of these four soils and everybody we come across, but that every one of us here is one of these four soils. You're one of these four soils.

And I want you to leave here this morning asking yourself the question, which one of these four soils am I? Remember friends, every sincere, born again, come to know Jesus Christ, experience results in fruit. Can you point to a radical transformation of your lifestyle and your values where you can say, I used to be like this, but now I'm a completely different person. And the only thing that explains it is that Jesus Christ came in my life.

Can you do that? That's fruit. Can you honestly say you've got intimacy with God? When you get on your knees and you pray, do you sense God's presence and feel his presence? Or is it just routine and rote? If you really feel his presence and there's intimacy there, that's fruit. Can you say you've got a love for the word of God or when you pick it up and read it, you go, What?

What's he's talking about? That's boring. See, people who really know Christ, man, the Bible comes alive. Is there joy in your Christian experience? I mean, are you enjoying this thing called being a Christian? Or is it more of a duty or a creed or a loyalty or an allegiance or a habit? Man, you really come to know Christ.

And I'm telling you, things change. It's not a habit. It's not an allegiance. It's not a creed and it's not a loyalty. There is a joy and a reality that comes into your life because you've met Almighty God of the universe. Is there a passion in your life to tell other people about Christ? If you really have met Jesus, there will be. Or is it kind of like, hey, man, religion is a private thing. I'm not going to go out there and embarrass myself, make a fool out of myself talking to people about Jesus Christ. Forget it. Is there fruit or isn't there? And even if you're a Christian, are you willing to turn God loose to plow your life and get those remnants of soils one, two and three out so God can use you and bear more fruit with you?

If so, tell Him. Let's take a moment and pray. Heavenly Father, ours is not a culture that encourages much healthy self-examination when it comes to these kinds of issues. We hustle. We bustle. We run. We're so busy.

We're so distracted. And part of the reason we don't do much of this is because it just takes too much courage to really confront ourselves for where we really are. We just we just rather skim along the surface, Lord, and not have to deal with it. But I thank you today that your word is demanding from us and asking from us a willingness to take a hard look at where we stand. And, Lord Jesus, I pray that you would assist us with your spirit. May He give us the wisdom and the insight we need to really assess our lives accurately.

Help us not fool ourselves. If we're one of the first three kinds of soil, if we got all kind of leaves but no fruit, help us be honest enough to admit that, that we've never really had this kind of life-altering experience with Jesus Christ that we hear people talk about. And help us to come to you, Lord, to do the change in our soil that needs to be done so we can. And even for those of us who are Christians, bring us to the place where we're serious about rooting out of our lives the remnants of these first three kinds of soil. That we might really see you bear much fruit through our lives.

Remind us, Lord Jesus, we're not here to enjoy creature comforts. We're here to serve the living God and let our life count for Him. And as we get serious about this as a church family, may we see you use us to reach many, many people in a real and genuine way for Jesus Christ right here in this community. Thank you for talking to our hearts today. Lord, help us not be like the hard soil. Help us to listen and do what needs to be done. We pray in Jesus' name.

Amen. You've been listening to So What with Dr. Lon Solomon. So What is an outreach of Lon Solomon Ministries. To listen to today's message or for more information, visit our website, lonsolomonministries.org. Thank you for your support. If you would like to contact us, please visit our website or call us at 866-788-7770. We hope you will join us next time when Lon seeks to answer one of life's most important questions, So What.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-16 01:17:12 / 2023-09-16 01:28:03 / 11

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