The Parable of the Soils – Ray E Horton’s notes and on Pastor Jim Dumont’s Life of Christ – Part 12
What Jesus called the Parable of the Sower could also be called the Parable of the Soils, since it is all about the condition of the soil of our hearts when the Word is planted in us. Jesus was explaining the meaning of the parable in Matt. 13:18-23:
“Therefore hear the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.”
Here the seed was sown but never really got planted – no understanding; so, it is easy for the devil to snatch it away. We need to settle in our hearts that the Bible is the Word of God. We need to want to grow spiritually. Some give mental assent, but do not live as if it were really true. But Jesus said, “My words will never pass away” (Matt. 24:25).
“But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.”
Many people gladly receive the Word, but it doesn’t take root, so they don’t persevere. All excited – “God is wonderful – give me more goose bumps, it will now all be smooth sailing,” they think. But when, not if, persecution and adversity come because of the Word, they immediately ask, “Why me?” and fall away. Stuff happens to Christians as well as everyone else. We live in a fallen world. It gives us a chance to prove out God’s faithfulness in our lives. Christians cannot expect obstacle-free lives.
We Need to Live by Our Faith, Not Feelings
We are not to live out of our emotions – life is good when things go well, but the next day, life is terrible. We need to live by our faith, not feelings. And “faith comes by hearing the Word of God” (Rom. 10:17). God wants to stabilize us, which is what His Word will do. The seed of God’s Word needs to be watered. If our lives are built on the solid rock of His Word, the wind and rains of life will never undermine that foundation (Matt. 7:25).
God wants to stabilize us, which is what His Word will do. The seed of God’s Word needs to be watered. If our lives are built on the solid rock of His Word, the wind and rains of life will never undermine that foundation
“Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.”
What can choke out God’s Word and make it unfruitful in our lives? The thorns of 1) the cares of this world, and 2) the deceitfulness of riches. We do not need stuff – lots of material things. If God gives them to us fine, but we must not live for them. Then we just care about losing them. We need to get our priorities right. God will take care of the things we need.
We so often say goodbye with the unhealthy expression “take care.” But the Word tells us to be careful or anxious for nothing (Phil. 4:6.) In the story of Mary and Martha, it was Mary who chose the better part, focusing on being with Jesus, rather than doing. God does not want us to become unfruitful, nor our labor to be in vain. He is a God of increase.
“But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”
The heart that is good ground understands the Word, having patience and endurance, like the farmer who waits for his crop, even though he does not see the growth before it sprouts. The Luke 8 rendering of this parable in vs. 15 says, “these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart and hold it fast.”
It’s a Matter of the Heart
It’s a matter of the heart. We are told in Prov. 4:23 to “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” What you plant in your heart can keep it honest and noble or harden it. We can bring in a lot of garbage through the eye and ear gates from media and elsewhere. God’s peace will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Phil 4:7) as we pray thankfully and think on whatever things are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, any virtue and anything praiseworthy (vs 8).
God desires and will provide productivity of fruit in our lives as we let His Word take root in our hearts, “some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” It’s all about Jesus, who is the Word, touching our hearts. “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).
“The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart: that is, the Word of Faith which we preach” (Rom 10:8). Let us regularly spend time in Gods’ Word and His Spirit, allowing the living Word of God go from head to heart as we read it and speak it and listen to it often.
[I am so glad to be a part of a mature Word of Faith Church, focusing on the Grace of God’s Word and the Faith to receive – Ray].