One of my favorite movie series is the Indiana Jones Movies. Dr. Jones would go on a quest for weeks, months, even years, searching for a valuable artifact or treasure. His quest for this mysterious treasure would take him to perilous places, (Dangerous jungles, Creepy crypts) but it was worth it to Dr. Jones in order to find the valuable treasure he was searching for.
Jesus spoke of a treasure and He called it, “The mysteries of the kingdom of God,” (Luke 8:10) He said this treasure is so unusually valuable that nothing should ever get in your way of you pursuing it and discovering it.
When Jesus wanted to explain this mysterious treasure, He’d use,
“Parables” = Earthly Stories With A Heavenly Meaning.
Jesus would take something everyday’ish, or ordinary that would be familiar to all the people and He’d tell a story, then He would drop on them a divine revelation that they had never heard or understood before.
Q – “What Is The Most Important Decade Of Your Life?” I submit to you, that the next 10yrs of your life are the most important 10yrs of your life. Some of you are going to GET married in the next 10yrs… HAVE 2nd graders and they’ll be graduating high school… STARTING a new business… MOVING! One of the keys to success is understanding this parable called, “The Parable Of The Sower and The Seed.”
The parable of the sower and the seed is explained in all 3 of the Synoptic Gospels, (There are 4 gospels written by 4 different men, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and synoptic gospels simply mean that 3 of these gospels talk about the very same thing, Matthew, Mark, and Luke say the same things but are written from their own personal eyewitness accounts.).
Luke 8:4, “When a large crowd was coming together, and those from the various cities were journeying to Him, He spoke by way of a parable.” Jesus has become very popular, large crowds were gathering to hear Him teach because they loved the way He could tell a story.
Here is this parable, V.4, “The sower went out to sow his seed.” Everyone listening to Jesus would have known precisely what He was talking about because it was an agrarian culture and everybody knew about farming. If you were a farmer who was planting something, you carried on your back a bag of seed, (Or, if you had a lot of land you would drape bags of seed across the back of a donkey or ox) and after the furrows had been dug, the sower would walk the field and scatter the seed, and some seed would fall in the furrows but seed would also fall sort of all over the place because they didn’t have the technology that we have today where we can limit the seed to a certain scope, they just scattered it!
So here we have Jesus using an everyday farming process that all of His listeners would have been familiar with to drop a revelation on them about their destiny, V.4-8, “The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds of the air ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it and choked it out. Other seed fell into the good soil and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great,” He talks about different kinds of soil, beside-the-road soil, rocky soil, thorny soil, good soil, and what Jesus wants us to know is that The Seed Is The Same, The Soil Is Different.
Jesus wants us to know that the success of the seed has nothing to do with the seed (as it is the same seed being used on all four types of soil), it’s the landing spot that determines whether or not there is a going to be a CROP!
Many times people will think, (Even if they don’t say it…) “God’s Word isn’t working for me. I go to church! I hear the Word preached or taught every week and nothing is different. God’s Word isn’t working.” Jesus wants us to understand this parable so that we know, if God’s Word isn’t working, the problem is not the seed because the seed hasn’t changed. If God’s Word is not working we’ve got to check the GROUND that it landed on …NATURE of the soil where the seed landed.
The crowd is large and they’ve all come to see this master communicator teach this lesson and notice what happens next, V.8, “As He said these things, (So after He told the parable) He would call out, ‘He who has ears to hear, let him hear,’” again, it says there is a large crowd so He has to call out, ‘He who has ears to hear, let him hear.’”
Evidently, it’s possible to HAVE an ear and not hear… 2 EARS and not hear… BE part of the crowd and actually hear the parable and still not know what was going on… COME to church and hear the message and leave having heard nothing at all.
The crowd showed up because they liked the teacher/teaching but they weren’t hearing Jesus even though words were passing thru their ear canals, but V.9.., “His disciples began questioning Him as to what this parable meant,” the disciples…, “We heard you like everybody else but we are not getting it! It’s a great story and you’re a great story teller but what does it mean to us,” The disciples began to question Jesus about the parable and in V.9 He sends out a Zinger in V.10, “And He said, ‘To you it has been granted to know the mysteries (Secrets) of the kingdom of God, but to the rest, it is in parables so that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’”
Jesus…, “I’ve got a large crowd here but only a small group is going to get where I’m going. Now, the crowd is going to like me, and my stories and they may even amen it but they are not going to get it,” but Jesus…, “To you, it has been granted to know the mysteries…!”
When Matthew tells the same story, he gives us a little more info about this, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries but to them, it has not been granted,”
Matthew 13:10-15, “And the disciples came and said to Him, ‘Why do You speak to them in parables?’ Jesus answered them, ‘To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. In their case, the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, you will keep on hearing, but will not understand; You will keep on seeing, but will not perceive for the heart of this people has become dull, with their ears they scarcely hear, and they have closed their eyes, otherwise they would see with their eyes, hear with their ears and understand with their heart and return and I would heal them,’”
Jesus…, “I would fix them! They come to me broken~bruised~hurt~struggling and they don’t get healed/better and the reason they don’t get better is that they come with their EARS but they refuse to hear EYES but refuse to see …HEARTS but refuse~open them, it’s because of the state in which they come that keeps me from fixing what is wrong, even though they show up.”
Some of us have been showing up in church for years, we’ve been going to church since we were made to go as kids and nothing is changing, “The Word of God is not working! The sermons aren’t fixing anything, they’re just good inspirational moments,” but it gets even worse because Jesus…, “He that hears will get MORE, but the one who does not hear will LOSE WHAT HE HEARD.” In other words, there will be those in the crowd who like the parable/stories…, “Wasn’t church good today? Wasn’t that a great sermon? What a great word,” and between here and the parking lot the Word can be taken away.
But that didn’t happen to the disciples, Luke 8:10, “To you (Disciples) it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God,” “Why to them? What was so different about them?”
V.9, “His disciples began questioning Him as to what this parable meant,” in other words, while the crowd was satisfied with the story, the disciples had an appetite for MORE …DEEPER!
Most of us have gone to a restaurant and ordered an Appetizer. The appetizer is supposed to set you up for the Entrée. The idea is not for the appetizer to be the entrée but to help create an appetite for the entree, but if you are satisfied with the appetizer then you’re going to have no use for the main thing…, which is the Entrée.
Hearing the Bible preached is an appetizer, once you hear the sermon, no matter how much you enjoyed it, all you got was an appetizer, and the disciples…, “We want the entrée! What does all this mean? What do I do with what you just taught? How am I supposed to orient my life/future in light of what you just said,” they were not satisfied with the sermon.
“The mystery of the kingdom of God” is not first and foremost Salvation. You enter the kingdom thru salvation but that’s not what He is talking about here because He’s talking to disciples, “To you (Disciples) it has been granted to know the mysteries…,” the secrets of the kingdom are for those followers of Jesus who are not satisfied to be PART of the religious crowd MEMBERS of the church, the secrets of the kingdom are given to those who want the entrée and the entrée is not the sermon, that’s just the appetizer, Jesus only shares the secrets of the kingdom to the few who have an appetite for it!
Q – “What is the mystery of the Kingdom/Seed? What is this thing that Jesus is talking about that we need to grab hold of because of its power to change our destiny?”
Jesus tells us what it is in a very simple phrase, V.11, “Now the parable is this, the seed is the Word of God.” If you read that too fast you’ll miss it, so let’s read it again, “The seed is the Word of God.” Let me say it another way, “The Word of God is the seed,” You’re probably thinking, “I got it, you don’t need to repeat it! What’s the big mystery of the seed because that doesn’t sound too mysterious to me?”
When the Word of God comes to you, it only comes to you in “Seed Form.”
When the Word of God comes to you, you get the Acorn, not the Oak. Now, the oak is in the acorn, but all God gives you when He gives you His Word is the acorn, (Seed) and in order for an acorn to become an oak, the seed must be put in an environment where it can burst forth and become what it was destined to become. (Every plant or tree starts with a seed but it only develops because of the soil)
All you get when you get the Word of God is the seed, it doesn’t matter how much you like it, love it, read it, you get seed. And the seed is not the full-grown expression of the Word, even though all the ingredients of what its ever going to be is already in it!
When a Female Egg is fertilized, conception occurs and life has begun, but if that fertilized egg doesn’t LAND right …GET imbedded in the womb properly, that life cannot flourish and grow and become what it could become even though life is present.
Every time you get the Word of God, (Reading your Bible, coming to church, etc) you’re getting the seed, but what happens many times is we come to church and we get the seed, but if the soil is not CONSISTENT with the seed that it just received then it is not free to become all that it was designed to become. COOPERATING with the nature of the seed, then the seed can grow and produce the fruit/destiny that God intends for you to have.
To be clear, there is nothing wrong with the seed because the seed is the Word of God and it is perfect. The question is, “What is the Soil?”
When you were born again you got a seed, the seed was placed in Your Spirit, and the goal of spiritual transformation is for the spirit to enter into the soul and for the soul to reinstruct the body. If the body is going to act differently it is because the soul is talking differently, and the soul is going to talk differently because it is now being influenced by a seed that has been planted in the spirit that is growing inside of you!
That’s why James, V.21, “Received the word implanted in you,” if you are a believer, the Word has already been planted in your spirit, and that seed is alive, but It’s holding its potential hostage!
Does anybody like Popcorn? Ever tried to eat un-popped popcorn? (Bad experience) The reason why popcorn pops is that every kernel of corn has moisture in it, and when you radiate it the moisture gets heated up and becomes steam, and steam rises. When the steam begins to rise it starts pushing against the shell, and when the shell can’t take the pressure of the steam you hear, pop, pop…! Who would have ever guessed that something so incredibly chewy/wonderful was being held hostage by something on the outside?
When the Word of God goes to work inside the soul of a believer because the spirit inside is being heated up, you’re going to hear, POP-POP-POP…, you’re going to see the explosion of the new life that comes as a result of what God has already implanted inside your soul.
The problem is not the seed, because in the ACORN is the oak tree. POPCORN seed is the goodness …WATERMELON seed is the watermelon, it’s all wrapped up in the seed, but until the Word of God is free to do its work by the power of Holy Spirit, (Which BTW is not just listening to the sermon, that’s just the appetizer to get you rolling in the right direction) the potential of your destiny will be locked away in that seed!
The seed of the Word of God is powerful, Hebrews 4:12-13…, “God’s Word is living and powerful. It is sharper than a sword that cuts both ways. It cuts straight into where the soul and spirit meet and it divides them. It cuts into the joints and bones”
The Word of God is alive, it’s energized like a seed, you don’t see the popcorn or watermelon by looking at the seed – unless you see through the eyes of faith. The potential of those are all in the seed because the seed is alive. And everything you need to reach your destiny is in the seed that is in you by the Word of God.
Since the seed, the Word of God is full of life, this is why, as believers, we speak the Word over our situations, we meditate on it, confess it, and pray the Word. What are we doing – we are speaking life and calling things that be not, as though they are.
1 Thessalonians 2:13, “When you received God’s Word from us, you realized it wasn’t human words. Instead, you accepted it for what it really is—God’s word. This word is at work in you believers,”
God’s truth is given to us in seed form, God’s Word is not given to you “As a completed process,” it’s given to you “For the process,” but if all you want is a sermon, that’s all you’ll get, and not only is that all you’ll get, that which you get will be taken from you. This is why next week you won’t even remember this week’s Word because if your soil is not right then that which you get will be taken from you.
I love Hebrews 4:12, “The Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword,” in other words, it tears down and it constructs.
It’s like Remodeling A House, you’ve got to mess it up before you fix it up. That’s why if you get serious about going deeper… things may appear a little worse before they get better because that’s the nature of remodeling something, it usually doesn’t look all that great at first, until the work is complete.
Heavenly Father, I thank you that you have given me patience as I wait for the seeds I’ve sown to grow and be multiplied back into my life. It seems like it has taken a long time, but I realize the Word is working and remodeling from the inside out, while it is growing stronger in my spirit man. I will not loosen my grip on the future harvest You have planned for me. You are the Lord of the harvest, so I fix my eyes on You and trust that You have set a season for my seeds and deeds to reach their full growth. When that time approaches, I thank you that you prepare me to reap and gather the harvest. You are faithful; Your Word is true, and today I rest in those truths with peace and hope to guard my heart!
In Jesus’ Name, Amen
Going deeper this Summer with Discipleship Groups