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The Parable of the Sower

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
March 15, 2021 8:00 am

The Parable of the Sower

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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March 15, 2021 8:00 am

It doesn’t take agricultural knowledge or farming experience to understand the Bible, but Jesus did use an interesting metaphor about sowing and reaping to teach about the Kingdom of God. Today on The Bible Study Hour with Dr. James Boice, we’ll each be faced with the question: what happened when the seed of God’s Word was planted in my heart? Did it bear fruit?


It doesn't take agricultural knowledge or farming experience to understand the Bible. But Jesus did use an interesting metaphor about sowing and reaping to teach about the kingdom of God today on the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce will each be faced with the question what happened when the seed of God's word was planted in my heart did I bear fruit. Welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically reading. The parables can feel like trying to decode mysterious allegory school of signs and symbolism.

Let's listen as Dr. Boyce walks us through the proper way to interpret these teachings of Jesus number of years ago, when our youngest daughter Jennifer was still young. Part of the Sunday school.

We were doing Christian musicals with us on the school. She was part of it and learn a song that contained within its race sentence. Jesus was a storytelling man. First time I heard that I thought it was a bit flip away so many of our contemporary songs are but as I reflected on an it seemed to me that it embodied the real truth because although Jesus was certainly much more than that, he was at least a good storyteller and as a result of the people were told in Mark 1237 flock to hear them gladly. Jesus words were always picturesque, always tell stories, but when he spoke again way that grab the attention of people. The smoke, for example, of sheep among wolves or camels creeping through the eye of a needle of people trying to remove specs from other people's lives while they still have a great big wall plank in their own way, referred to a house divided against itself.

He talked about the yeast of the Pharisees and other expressions like that the strictly speaking, they're not storing some kind of stories Jesus told fall into a particular category of story known as a parable.

Parable is a story from real life or a real-life situation for which you brought out an important moral or spiritual truth. Lots of examples laughing when we think of Jesus teaching is perhaps these parables that come quickest of mind. Jesus talked about the prodigal son for good Samaritan Pharisee and the tax collector of the wedding banquet sheep and goats and others, including the parables that we have come to now and in our study of Matthew's Gospel.

My counselor about 27 probably stories in the Gospels but it's hard to be accurate with account because some of them seem to be variations of the same story the way we have them seem to be about that many of these are important about what makes a parable unique is that it is a real-life situation makes it distinct from a fable fable doesn't have to do with a real-life situation. The best known examples of battery sauce labels in which animals talk Garcia animals are just people in the skies parable is also different from an allegory of allegory is a story in which each part seems to have a special meaning best known example of that is probably that was famous allegory of all time. Bunyan's Pilgrim's progress, where virtually everything that happens along the way points to something spiritual.

CS Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia are basically allegory so it's a rather creative mix of material there levels are drawn from real life and they are intended to bring out one or the most couple important spiritual lessons about that means is that when you study the parables you make a mistake if you try to assign special meetings. All the details about the prodigal son in the floor country.

If you try to explain what the husks word what the pigs represent all that you get off track right away story about a father's love for his son and it's meant to tell us about God's continuing love for his people even when they go astray also is a lesson about the your older brother. Now we have come to hear are these parables in Matthew 13 and it really is striking that we haven't come in A.D. stories until now. Almost halfway through the gospel here for the very first time we have. The stories are going to be more of them.

Once we get to this point. Of course the other Gospels have plenty of them.

That's puzzling and when you look at the waiter introduce you find something else that's puzzling because Jesus says that he is adopting this approach at this time couching his teaching and parables so that the truth might be withheld from some namely the crowds were surrounding is puzzling is that you say why should he do that.

Why should he tell stories that would actually hide the truth from the masses. While the answer is that the masses as a whole of rejected certainly would seem that up till now they were willing to be entertained just like many people are today, but they weren't really responding to his teaching. So what he was doing was couching his teaching, and words that would continue to attract them.

So those who were chosen by the father would hear and understand while at the same time. In private he would spend time explaining these things that embodied the deeper truths concerning the kingdom with his disciples. These parables are all about the kingdom. After all, it is said an important place to start because that's the theme of the gospel. Sometimes people point out that Matthew was concerned above all, to present Jesus Christ as the king and Luke presents him as the servants and all of our particular emphasis maybe too much to say that, but certainly it is a major theme of this verse, gospel, when Matthew introduces Jesus right at the beginning introduces him as the son of David, that is the great king of Israel and then John the Baptist comes in the essence of his preaching is that the kingdom of God is here in Jesus, he preaches the same thing. Some people of look at chapters 5 through seven. The sermon on the Mount as being the great expression of the ethics of the kingdom, and the doctors and follow back the advance of the kingdom with its power that may be true but certainly it's appropriate to have these parables. Now the begin to talk about the kingdom. People of divided these up in various ways.

Some have said well what you really have here are two obvious blocks. You have the first four are given publicly in their followed by three others were given private to the disciples ask.

I suppose a meaningful way to do it some group them by 2.parables involving planting and harvesting. Then you've got to parables of the mustard seed in the love and they seem to go together. You got parables of stress, the kingdom's value. Parables of the treasurer and the parole and and finally I have a dragnet that talks about the final judgment will those are interesting.

I would suggest 1/3 division and that's what I'm going to follow. I think the first parable currently stands alone shows as of the origin of the kingdom is to do with the preaching of the word is Gore sets with the seed that is thrown into the ground, represents the next, we belong together causes. So I hope to demonstrate as we go on here that all had to do was Satan's desire to thwart the kingdom's growth and you have five and six let go. Together they show the attitude of those who vigorously seek the kingdom. The kind of people you and I should be and then finally you have that dragnet since they are all by himself and it talks about the judgments of what you have in these parables is a description of the nature of the origin. The hindrances to the victory of Christ work in spreading the gospel throughout the world by his preaching. I start with this one of the sower, perhaps among the best known and it's an easy one to understand because Jesus explains that he says the farmer went out to so see and as a soda seed that fell on different kinds of soil from soil was hard was shallow on was decent soil but was filled with weeds and came up and choked the plants and finally only the fourth portion lap.

The last fell on soil where it took root sank down and was nourished grew up in eventually produced fruit fit for the kingdom Jesus explains that he says he's the farmer that sows the seed in the seed is the word and that these different kinds of soil represent different kinds of parks that here it so we come to the story today. That's the way we have to understand we have to think in terms of how people receive the word, and above all, how we receive in our hearts.

In each case, we have to say we like this are hard hard hearts, shallow. We choked by weeds or has a word about actually settle down in Austin begun to produce fruit round. Let's look at the one at a time. First of all this seed falls on these hard plans are passive course to the mayor.

Undoubtedly, for centuries to ground up impact down hard by many millions of feet that had gone that way. Over the years and any soil that landed there did have a chance of sinking and just lay there, what Jesus says is a pretty soon the birds come along.

They see a line there, they pick it up and snatch it up and it doesn't do any good at all. Now that's like some people will have those hard hearts. If you asked what is it that makes the human heart.

Hard answers easily makes our heart heart of sin is what sin does. So this kind of person is the kind of person described in the first chapter of Romans, who has turned his back on God in order to go his own way, but then enters into this downhill path where he begins to worship creatures, rather than the creator in which moral lay, he finds himself increasingly debased of the very end of the process is looking at things that are good and calling them bad things are bad and calling them do it. That's the heart heart when the seed falls on that kind of a heart. It doesn't produce any good at all. Virtually all of God's attributes solvent is holiness is omniscience is power is compassion. Even his love are aided by the natural man if he really understands because of course all these things point to God.

It was God that means we are not God. And that's what we want to be and so heart is hardened by sin and we turn away some time ago I heard two women talking one woman said to the other one.

Why is America such a declining moral state. Her friend answered her friend said it's because people love sin. I can think of anything more profound than that that's exactly what Romans one assignment because we love sin. Sin hardens the heart heart heart rejects the gospel that would soften it so we find that here in these parables. I heard of a man who said on one occasion, I believe that Jesus is the son of God and that he died for sinners.

I guess I just don't want to give them my life. Want to make my own decisions. What I say is don't be like that that kind of an attitude is fatal. Kind of an attitude will take you far from God only for this life for all eternity. Knowing of the shallow heart. This is the kind of soil where there is good soil, but it's not very deep underneath you have walks so will the seed sinks into the ground event begins to spring up.

I can't really get its whole strong roots. So when the sun comes along just scorched out. Jesus said what was sown on rocky places.

The man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he laughs only a short time when trouble or persecution comes because of the word quickly falls away many people that fit that description to receive them evangelical churches. Shallow parts are attracted by the excitement of what seems to be going on. Perhaps some entertaining service. Maybe they hear the kind of music they are familiar with it, so they, and they seem to respond to things very deeply, but they seem to be on track but then something comes into their lives and disappointment might be broken engagement loss of the job or bad health or something and they quickly fall away. They may have joined the church may have given what seemed to be a credible profession of faith soon as the hard times, so the hot sun shines find that there's really no repair and so what seems to of been a work of God is quickly scratched out several years ago I came across an extreme case of this newspapers carried the story of the rest of the man in Lakeland Florida named Joseph Paul Franklin was wanted for a year-long series of crimes he had killed people in Salt Lake City Johnstown Pennsylvania Fort Wayne Cincinnati Minneapolis and Oklahoma City story was reporting his plastic grown up in the band homemade dropped out of school at 17 he gotten into trouble and had several arrests for carrying concealed weapons of disorderly conduct, but then as a magazine went on to say at one stage in his life. He became an evangelical Christian.

After that he became a Nazi and then a complex Klansman at one point he told friends he was going to join the best Rhodesian Army. I read that at first I found myself suddenly attention. I have been paying much attention to the story but then I wondered, is this just another case of the secular magazine trying to put down evangelical Christianity thought no probably it's not that bubbly, just a case of accurate reporting. It was a man who actually had gone through the state of what is called evangelical Christianity, but then had gone on in. Eventually a committed all these terrible crimes of the rest of the tragedy isn't that a magazine would report that but that there are so many people like that in the evangelical church.

Maybe that have not committed crimes was shallow. People who heard it, but not really allowed to sink down and change their lives recited being in church alone mouthing the things that you here alone saves no one yours may be a kind of shallow heart, but the third type of soil stands for a strangled heart so hard to strangle my things. Every time I look at one of these. I say well this is really describing the days in which we live in a grossly all the hard hearts got a shallow heart heart strangled by things probably know people in all of history have been more strangled by things and we are yet I realize that it must've been a problem in Jesus day because he spent a lot of time warning people about it. He said on one occasion, I tell you the truth is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven set on another occasion is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

On occasion, a rich man came to him said. Your riches are standing in the why. So what you have given to the poor come and follow me and were told that the young man turned away sorrowfully because the great riches and he was unable to give them up and it was true in Jesus day in a time when we had lived there. We would say virtually everyone is poor, with a few exceptions, all much more true was out in our time were literally choked with things and spend so much of our time pursuing them, trying to earn money so we can get more and more and more .2 you know riches don't choke a person all at once. It's a gradual process, which is why this image of the weeds are so effective they just grow up gradually, slowly, slowly, they strangled the bonding of the spiritual life within a beware of if you have great possessions reviewing the process of acquiring them.

Above all, beware of it, you find yourself saying I need to provide for myself now and when I got older. That's when I really give my attention to Jesus Christ and the gospel. It doesn't happen that way.

Jesus told another story which you describe the farmers fields produce so much that the board on his old bargaining to build big barns and he said well now take your ease you got so much you can really enjoy yourself for me. Call that man a fool because he said he wasn't aware that that very night his soul was going to be required of her and the man died. Jesus said now who will get those things you treasured up things we treasure appear valuable use them well for time like parish the whole heavens of the earth are going to pass away. Certainly, your possessions are going to pass away one who does the will of God is going to stand forever become the last type of soil.

This describes the open heart heart to receive the gospel like good soil, receive, see understands that it's good news that's it sink in and produces a good crop.

Jesus says it yields hundred 60 or 30 times what was so negative like a lot of minor points here I think are all valid.

One point would be that only a portion of gospel work produces fruit in this case 1/4 so if were engaged in Christian ministry. We shouldn't be surprised if much of what we say is rejected.

Jesus didn't win. Everybody spoke to the masses.

The whole turn from them. Leaders of the people hated his own family thought he was crazy was only later, by the grace of God that came around. So when he preached only be a small group time of his crucifixion were only 11 they were scattering say so as not be discouraged if that happens, on the other hand, let's realize this is also in the parable that this seed that is owned will produce fruit when all we see it right away and I won't be in the life of everybody, to whom you speak with some coherent because God says my work will not go forth out of my mouth vein but it will accomplish that which I please, and prosper in the thing where into our senates.

That's what keeps us faithful as we do the work, knowing that the work is God's work is done faithfully, God will bless it and say in advance how that will happen Does muscles blesses the word that anyone speaks, I suppose we could talk about fruit. One lesson here is that where you have food in the life you have evidence of spiritual life. There is no fruit there is no life way we are to examine ourselves making our calling and election sure. Also there's a point that it's the presence of fruit that's the important thing that the abundance of another percentage good soil, producing some of it produced some of the crew/what really mattered is that it was producing fruit. Life was there, the gospel of been received in the heart as I say those are minor points, but the main point is certainly this is only the open heart that receives the preaching of the word say the hard part about the shallow heart not the heart that is choked out by the riches of this world. The open heart receive Jesus Christ and so at least of the obvious question is yours an open heart, mind, open heart. We receptive to God's truth or are we not, you may find yourself saying as you look in your own heart. So I'm afraid my heart is not open heart. I think it is hard.

I heard the gospel very long time and things really made much of an impact on me and perhaps it's even harder for me to receive an open do it now. It was a year ago, our five years ago or 10 years ago. I can really say that minds of open heart. Somebody else was like I can't say that either. I pray that my heart is shallow heart always been rather shallow and flighty on on things I get in the one thing and another, and I confess I do that spiritual teaching other will say well, Mike is an open heart, either because I really see my life strangled by things people all retardants I have any perception of all is the situation hopeless hope for me to answer courses in every look to ourselves. It's hopeless, but the situation is never hopelessly look to God because of what because God is the divine gardener is the one who is able to work with the soil. He can plow up the soil that's hard become improve the soil that shallowly can take out the weeds work in our hearts that will bear fruit. Not only for this life, but for all eternity. Listen, this is what God said through the prophet Ezekiel, he wrote to the hardhearted of his day. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean.

I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols.

I give you a new heart put a new spirit within you, I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh and I'll put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep all my laws moment ago I spoke of that which a man turned away sorrowfully because he had great riches was unable to give them up in order to follow Jesus Christ when he was gone.

The disciples Jesus said, who then can be saved relearning they were getting to be perceptive and recognize the nature of the problem but Jesus replied what is impossible with men is possible with God. All the words Jesus was signed with God all things are possible and so they are not just for someone else, not just those who are living in his dire reliving of the time of the Reformation or live in another city or another situation in the world is possible for you because with God all things are possible. What you need to do is to turn to Christ and allow them to create in you new heart and open heart that will receive the gospel when it's preached and grow by and admit that yours is a hard calloused grasping, sir. Even a frivolous heart and ask them to save you. Anyway, he does it he has done save money will save you as well. Let's pray our father. We do thank you for these truths embedded in what seems to be such a simple and straightforward story. Yet one spoken by the lips of our Lord that cuts through all our religious pretense exposes the true nature of our hearts and minds and discloses what's necessary we would really partake of spiritual life such which one as we do examine our hearts by your grace creates within us the kind of heart that will be truly open to your truth. Pray in Jesus name. You are listening to the Bible study hour with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals.

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