Mark 4:1-14 (KJV) 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.  And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine,  Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow:  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.  And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth:  But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.  And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.  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.  And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.  And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable.  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:  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.  And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?  The sower soweth the word.
In order to understand spiritual truths God must be in the process.
I want to say that again.
You can hear Spiritual Truth. You can read it. But unless God explains it, unless He is present, nothing is understood.
I was listening to a well known pastor and preacher the other day explain why Jesus spoke in parables. This pastor said that the reason Jesus used parables was to make the message more understandable. But that’s not true. When His disciples asked why He spoke in parables Jesus said read verses 11 & 12 again with me ….
“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:  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.”
The parable is a story given to those who have ears to hear, a story given to the Children of God by faith in Christ. Only those who stayed with Jesus – hearing His Word, feeding on His Presence – only those understood the parable. Christ gave the parable – then explained the parable. The critics – those who are without – who came, listened, and departed heard nothing.
There is no salvation without Christ.
Religion will not save, but relationship with the King of Kings DOES. Outward presence of self does not save. You must listen and be in HIS presence. You must ask HIM that He, through the Spirit, may explain the truth to you. This is why Jesus said:
“He that hath ears to hear let him hear”
Anyone can learn. Anyone can be saved. This is a whosoever will Gospel. But hearing means putting self to the side in favor of the Savior. God saves not the nominal, but the ones who love His Name. Pastor Boyd Bailey said:
“You cannot live in the presence of the Lord and not be changed. Christ is combustible. His expectation is Lordship over His followers. This is why we submit to Him each time we enter into His presence.”
God calls broken people to Himself. There will be no cultural Christians in Heaven, but only CONVERTS CONVICTED and CALLED to be CHILDREN. The parable weeds out the insincere but blesses those who are – as Galatians 3:26 – says “the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus”.
There Went A Sower To Sow
Mark 4:3 Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow:
As Jesus stood preaching on a ship out at sea a crowd listened. Jesus said Hearken – LISTEN; Behold – LOOK. Pay attention because these are God’s Words, not man’s words.
There went out A sower to sow.
Notice first of all that this is “A Sower”. Jesus came preaching and “said unto them in HIS DOCTRINE”. The Eternal Word of God came preaching the way to life, and those who follow Him love Him and His Word. Jesus is THE Sower, but every believer is A Sower. We come together and gather the seed of His Word, then we – each and every one of us – go out to sow.
We are not PLANTERS but SOWERS. Planters prepare the soil. They break up the soil. They remove the obstacles to the seed. Planters place the seed carefully so deep in the soil, water the seed, and keep weeds from the field. A planter works hard over the prospective garden. The sower however just broadcasts the seed he has been given.
Many Christians do not witness out of fear. We have been told by false feelings and false prophets that we are responsible for the growth of the seed. God gives us the seed of Christ’s Word. We take that seed and broadcast it. What we are given by God’s Spirit we share with others. We do not make the seed, but we take the seed and broadcast it.
“What if I fail” self cries out. You cannot fail. The sower sows, our God Grows. Our duty is to broadcast, to sow the ground, not to worry or work it. We unapologetically sow what we have been given. We sow HIS DOCTRINE, WHAT CHRIST HAS SAID. WE BROADCAST HIS GOSPEL. Our God Grows what we faithfully sow.
A Sower Is Someone Who Plants A Specific Seed.
The Sower doesn’t go out with just any seed. He takes the seed that is given him and sows that seed. The Seed We Christians Sow Is The Word Of Christ.
Mark 4:14 (KJV) The sower soweth the word.
The sower sows THE WORD. Not OUR Word, or MY opinion, or What Some Great Person said (even if it is Billy Graham). The “seed” that God has given us as Christians to sow is the Word of Christ.
In the Great Commission our Lord Jesus said:
Matthew 28:18-20 (KJV) ….. All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. (19) Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: (20) Teaching them to OBSERVE ALL THINGS WHATSOEVER I HAVE COMMANDED YOU: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
What has Jesus commanded us? We sow LOVE.
John 13:34-35 (KJV) A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
We love as Christ has loved us.
John 15:12-13 (KJV) This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.  Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Romans 13:8-10 (KJV) Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.  For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
We Love God.
Matthew 22:37-40 (KJV) Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Mark 12:30-31 (KJV) And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.  And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
We are to love God and love others enough to where we will sow the seed of the Gospel. To tell others that the way to life is to repent – to turn from living for ourselves – and to walk following Christ. Jesus Christ died NOT to just get people to Heaven, but He died to get Heaven into people.
We sow the Gospel Christ gave us
Luke 24:46-47 (KJV) And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: (47) And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
The Gospel seed we have been given to broadcast is that people are to …
Acts 2:38-40 (KJV) …. Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (39) For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. (40) …. Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
God is calling a people out to Himself, a family of God, children adopted and changed, indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God. As Sowers we are to preach the whole Gospel, not a partial Gospel. We are to preach and witness that ….
Acts 10:43 (KJV) … through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
God is raising up, through the sowing of His Word, a people that are found, whose sins have been remitted, who love Him and want to serve Him.
We Are To Teach Boldly That Jesus Alone Is The Way, The Truth, And The Life. That no man comes to the Father but by Him. (John 14:6). We broadcast His Word because Jesus Christ died for whosoever will believe in Him.
Romans 3:23-26 (KJV) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (24) Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: (25) Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; (26) To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
We Are To Teach Others That We Must DO The Things Christ Said Do. We Are To Teach Kingdom Living. Jesus taught:
Matthew 24:14 (KJV) And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
There will be no end time until the Gospel is preached to all nations. The Sower – that’s you and I – must spread the Gospel thoroughly through the whole world before the end shall come.
Every Christ Follower Is To Be A Sower
We Are Responsible To Sow His Word. We GO And SOW, and God will GROW. Jesus mentions FOUR GROUNDS here that the seed is cast upon.
a Some Seed Will Be Cast Upon “Wayside” Ground. Sow Anyway!
Mark 4:4 (KJV) 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.
Who are those “by the Wayside”? Jesus defined the parable ….
Mark 4:15 (KJV) 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.
Look at the word “Satan”. The name “Satan” means “the accuser”. Satan started out as “Lucifer” which means “The Shining One”. He was beautiful! He was a chief Arch Angel. But he became PROUD and tried to take over Heaven. He failed miserably.
Where ever there is light there will inevitably be darkness warring against it. As Jesus preached His Word the Pharisees came along with the Scribes and Religious Zealots. As He preached these misguided people stood against Him accusing and planting falsehood. They said “This Jesus casts out devils by Beelzebub, the Prince of devils”. They accuse, undermine. They are led of Satan.
I have witnessed Christ to people who, after the Word was broadcast, an accuser, a violator of the 9th commandment – SOMETIMES A MISGUIDED PREACHER – a testified of lies came along and contaminated the witness. The devil often infiltrates Christ’s Church like Judas Iscariot to draw souls from Christ to hell.
This has often discouraged me when a false witness tries to destroy the work of Christ. Satan came. But God is in control. Keep sowing, even though those strange birds come along.
Some Seed Will Hit “Stony” Ground. Sow Anyway!
Mark 4:5-6 (KJV) 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.
Those in Christ’s Presence heard His explanation:
Mark 4:16-17 (KJV) 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…
Some seed landed on stony ground. The seed landed on the hard heart and the hard head. THEY HAVE NO ROOT IN THEMSELVES. Externally religious they are not internally changed. They rely on outward things. Like Nicodemus who visited Jesus by night they outwardly are moral and upright, but as Jesus said:
John 3:7-8 (ESV) Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’  The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
The Christian faith has outward rituals like baptism, Church attendance, tithing, the Lord’s Table. But these rituals are done because we love Jesus. They are not done because we are trying to earn our way to God. We cannot earn our way to Him. We love Him because He first loved us. We love Him because He gave Himself for us – and we give ourselves to Christ.
“But they have no root in themselves”. They are not bound to Jesus. They have not surrendered to Christ. They have made a TRUCE with Heaven, but have not TURNED their lives over to Him. The Savior demands unconditional SURRENDER of His subjects.
Mark 4:17 (KJV) …. afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the Word’s sake, IMMEDIATELY THEY ARE OFFENDED.
Trials come to those who follow Jesus. The world does not like Jesus. I have yet to watch the movie Moses but just finished watching the movie Gods and Generals – Hollywood’s presentation of the life of Moses. What a mess! Hollywood describing God is like a blind person describing the color “red” or “yellow”. It just doesn’t work out.
These “stony ground” hearers love Jesus as long as it is fashionable. But when their friends say “Really? You’re religious? You really believe that Jesus is the only Way to God?” they are offended. They quickly turn from Jesus. They avoid the controversy.
Loving Jesus is what the Christian does. We love Jesus MORE than anything or anyone. Jesus said:
Luke 14:26-27, 33 (KJV) If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. (27) And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. …. (33) So likewise, WHOSOEVER HE BE OF YOU THAT FORSAKETH NOT ALL THAT HE HATH, HE CANNOT BE MY DISCIPLE.
Some Seed Will Hit “Thorny Ground”. Sow what? Sow Anyway!
Mark 4:7 (KJV) And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.
Mark 4:18-19 (KJV) 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.
Those on the Thorny Ground hear the Word spoken, and are respectful to it. Yet they are more concerned with the cares of this world, riches, and the lusts of other things. The Gospel takes root, but these receive the Grace of God in vain, never producing any fruit for God.
Are these “Thorny Ground” believers actually saved or lost? It is often hard for us to tell. They start out looking like the Gospel has taken root. They seem to produce fruit for a time. Then they slip back into the world, following it rather than following Christ. The Apostle wrote:
1 John 2:19 (KJV) They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
Thorns are the cares of this world. They look good, but they prick, the cut, they destroy. Thorns and thistles came into the world when Adam disobeyed God. Thorns were forced down on Christ’s head as a crown. Thorns held Him to the cross of calvary. The thorns of our sins were put on Him and He suffered for us. For our thorns.
One Out Of Every Four Grounds We Sow Seed On Will Be Good Ground, Broken Ground, Receptive Ground. This is why we must sow.
Mark 4:8 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.
Mark 4:20 (KJV) 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.
Some will receive the Word of God and be saved. Some will be good ground, broken ground, prepared ground because of the harshness of this life. Some will hear. This is why we must sow. People need the Lord. So we sow. We trust God. We seek to scatter His Doctrine of love and grace throughout our families, our workplaces, our friends. Sow His Word. Sow His Gospel. Sow it and He will grow it!