We often feel guilty that we aren’t witnessing to others as we think we should. What does Jesus have to say about it? His parable of the Sower gives us insight into this. This summary of a lesson Matthew 13:1-9 and 18-23 may help you.
A. The Sower
1. "A farmer went out to sow his seed.” They were really familiar with farming. This was an agrarian culture. The farming picture is used elsewhere in the Bible too – Paul said, “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.” (1 Corinthians 3:6)
2. The farmer did not plant in the neat rows we have now. He scattered the seed. We are the sowers of God’s seed. We scatter it - exposing people to the Word by our example and conversation. “Go into all the world and preach (talk openly about) the gospel to all creation.” (Mark 15:16). “Preach” in the original Greek means to talk openly – expose people to the Gospel.
3. You don’t have to hammer them, but don’t shy away from mentioning Bible verses, your church, your hope and confidence. You don’t have to be anymore eloquent with this than you are with anything else you talk about. You are simply exposing them to the seed – scattering it.
4. It doesn’t depend on your eloquence – it is up to God – “but God gave the increase.” (1 Corinthians 3:6)
B. The Seed - Vs.19
1. Luke 8:11 “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.” It is actually quite simple – we expose them to the Bible.
2. This is not just a book – It is alive and powerful because it is God’s Word – God’s power is in it. “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12). It is fascinating to watch this happen – to see God completely change a person with the Bible. When I plant it in someone’s mind, in a sense I am planting God there and turning Him loose in their life. “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17).
3. The Soils and His explanation 4-9; 18-23
Remember these soils are hearts – people. The soils: The hard path and the birds, rocky places, thorny soil, and good soil.
Jesus’ Explanation Vs.18-23
1. The hard Path – vs.19 – Those who don’t understand The birds – Satan – “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2Corinthians 4:4).
2. Rocky Places – vs.20, 21 – This person hears, receives it enthusiastically, but has no root, and falls away. About the only way you can identify them is by their falling away. The Lord warns us not to be surprised. There are people who will fall away – be gone – lose interest. Hebrews 10:39 “But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.” So - Heb 10:36-37 tells us “You need to persevere … For in just a very little while, "He who is coming will come and will not delay.” Make sure the Word goes down deep in you – with the root all the way to your toes. Be like the Dandelion – it has a deep tap root. No matter how carefully we try to pull up that root, it is very hard to get rid of.
3. Thorny soil – vs.22 – “…the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.” This is not the same as the rocky places. Apparently there is life – but hard to tell – little fruit – So that he doesn’t really look like a Christian. (That is not for us to decide – God’s realm. We don’t go there. Our job is on the good soil) 4. Good Soil – vs.23 – he hears, understands, and produces fruit. The yield of the fruit is 100%, 60%, or just 30%. This will give you wisdom: help you understand the different kinds of Christians there will be in the church. Also remember who causes the plant to produce the fruit. And – remember that good soil is soil that has been prepared by the Spirit of God through situations and contact with Christians.
Make sure you are good soil, and ask God to make you fruitful.
Scatter the seed.