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Parables Explained

A sower, seed, and soils comprise the elements of the story before us.  The story is also known as a parable.  Parables are NOT used to explain spiritual truth as much as they are designed to HIDE spiritual truth. The kingdom parables are specifically designed to bring understanding to the citizens of the kingdom while hiding it from Jesus’ enemies.
The sower, while not identified properly, represents Jesus and all who speak the gospel.  The seed represents the gospel.  The soils represent the heart response to the good news of the kingdom.  The heart response of those who are “path” is that of dullness and non-understanding.  Because they do not understand, the enemy takes it away.  For the rocky soil, a passionate and emotional response to the gospel is normative.  They wilt in the face of external pressures.  The thorny underbrush represents that heart response that is quenched by schedules and resources.  Finally, the good soil is that heart response that humbly receives the gospel which yields appropriate fruit.
We can note some things now.
 
First, God is sovereign in withholding spiritual truth from some while revealing it to others.  This may seem harsh at first.  We do see a divine policy though and it goes something like this:  withhold spiritual truth from those who scoff at it. Jesus calls us to this as well in Matt. 7 when he says do not cast your pearls before swine.
So what is going on here?  Spiritual discernment is being called for here.  While explaining the “why” behind certain responses, Jesus is also giving us “assessment” tools.  If we as a church or as individuals give out the gospel and are met with perplexing responses, chances are, those responses can be explained by the four soils.  This will help us as we discern what we do after sharing spiritual truth.
Second, the sower can ask himself a few questions too.  Regarding the path, are we speaking in clear intelligible categories?  Foreign missionaries often struggle greatly in communicating the good news to a culture whose thinking is very different.  For the rocky soil, are we selling a self-help prosperity gospel?  The sower can sell a lot more wares if he promises individual prosperity but external pressures will extinguish that growth rather quickly.  For the thorny context, have we challenged the individual enough?  Does he/she understand the Lordship of Jesus?
Third, rest in God’s sovereignty.  The sower sows, this is his job.  We cannot control the response of the human heart. This can save us anxiety because we can only do so much.  Additionally, the worth of the sower does not go up or down based on what kind of soil he encounters.  The heart response of the soils is not contingent upon the sower.  This may sound contradictory to our second note (see above).  It is not.  As sowers we need to make sure, as far as it depends on us, that we are on point but beyond that we do not control.
This message comes from Luke 8:4-15.  Want to listen? Here’s the online sermon archive.

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