The Farmer Focuses on Evangelism
The parable of the sower is one of Jesus' best know lessons. He taught the importance of teaching the word of God. He also showed the importance of having the right kind of heart as the word was sown into it. "And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable: A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." (Luke 8:4-8)
The explanation that Jesus gave of the parable is simple to the point of being profound. "Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience." (Luke 8:11-15)
The seed is sown by those that preach the gospel. The preacher did not create the seed. It is given by God's inspiration. "The seed is the word of God." The sower of the seed cannot tamper with or try in anyway to change the seed. It is not his seed; it belongs to God. The fruit produced when this seed is sown and grows is eternal life, God's kingdom. It is our business to preach the gospel to every creature. Jesus said, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." (Mark 16:15-16) We must plant the seed, water it and then leave it in God's hands to produce the harvest. Let men's hearts be what they may, we must preach the gospel to every creature.
The seed is sown in different soils or different hearts. First, "Some seed fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it." Some people are represented by those hearts that never give the word of God an opportunity to germinate in their lives. These people tend to quickly reject or forget the word of God completely. The word of God never finds life giving root in their lives. The message of heaven is lost upon them, for they have no ears to hear. (Acts 28:27) The Devil is always ready and willing to take away the gospel from a human heart. Second, "Some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture." This seed came up quickly but because it has no depth it withered and died. This person obeys without procrastination but they develop no deep convictions concerning salvation. These hearers bring no fruit unto God and they will face a reward of suffering. Third, "Some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it." This soil was good as far as growth; however it produced many wrong things. This heart did not understand the force of evil unit it chocked the word out of the heart. The seed that fell among thorns are choked by the cares, riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. Fourth, Other seed "Fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold." Jesus said, "But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience." These hearers were well prepared to receive the word. Their hearts were honest and good. When they heard the gospel preached their heart received it and continued to obey. What kind of heart do you offer for the gospel? Are you sowing the gospel seed?
The gospel seed must be sown today. The early church grew because of teaching. There was public teaching and house to house teaching. "And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ." (Acts 5:42) God's main concern is saving souls. Let God use you, your life and your voice to win souls daily.
(1) Jesus stayed busy sowing the gospel seed. He is our example. "For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps." (1 Peter 2:21) Jesus taught Zaccheus (Luke 19), Niodemus (John 3) and the woman at the well. (John 4) He also taught many others. Jesus was often face to face and heart to heart with others; teaching them how to go to Heaven. Do we really believe Judgment Day is coming and that we must follow the example of Jesus?
(2) The early Christians stayed busy sowing the gospel seed. "Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word." (Acts 8:3-4) The command Jesus gave was simple, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." (Matthew 28: 19) The early disciples understood that this command was for every Christian. They went everywhere sowing the gospel seed. Yet we sit in our lukewarmness and indifference and wait for the world to come to us to learn about Jesus Christ.
(3) Christians today must be busy sowing the gospel seed. God's plan is for one who has been taught to teach others. "And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also." (2 Timothy 2:2) Let us hear again God's watchman message to Ezekiel. "When I say to the wicked, 'You shall surely die,' and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul." (Ezekiel 3: 18-19)
(4) Christians who sow the gospel seed will have much joy. "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. (Psalm 126:5-6) Christians are debtors to share the gospel with others. Paul said, "I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." (Romans 1:14-16) Nothing compares with the joy of seeing God's kingdom increase through soul winning. "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase." (1 Corinthians 3:6)
May God write this upon our heart -- "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit." (John 15:2) Now is the time for action. "Do you not say, 'There are still four months and then comes the harvest'? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!'" (John 4:35) The importance of evangelism cannot be stressed too much. God said the soul-winners are wise. "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who wins souls is wise." (Proverbs 11:30)
Will you accept God's wonderful good news that Jesus died for your sins? Will you be baptized into Christ to put on Christ so that your sins can be forgiven by His blood? (Galatians 3:26-27) Believers contact Christ's saving blood by being baptized into His death. Those who become children of God must share their faith with other. (Luke 24:46-47)
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, P.O. Box 551, Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA.