The parable that Jesus teaches in this passage is one that most of us are very familiar with.
- It is a parable that is intended to cause each one of us to evaluate ourselves to see what kind of “soil” or hearer we are.
- And we will cover that two weeks from today.
This morning I want to look at something that Jesus mentions in this parable that I believe is critical to our personal salvation…and that is critical when it comes to our influence as followers of Christ, on the world.
- 5:1 says we are to “Be imitators of God”…and what that means is, we as His children, are to live in such a way that the world sees Him through each one of us.
- So, what Jesus mentions here is not only critical for our own salvation but also for our being an example to the world around us.
So, if you would look at vs. 3. Jesus says, “Listen to this! Hearken! Give audience to Me! Behold, the sower went out to sow;
- When it comes to WHAT is being sown here, or what the “seed” is here, verse 14 clears that up.
- Jesus tells us in verse 14 that what is being sown…or the “seed” is the “the word of God.”
And as far as who the “sower” is, the “sower” isn’t specifically mentioned…but in the context of this passage the “sower” is Jesus.
- And later it will be the apostles…and anyone who teaches the word…including anyone who teaches or preaches the word of God today.
Now, look at verse 4: “…and it came about that as he (the sower) was sowing, some seed fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate it up.”
Now, look at Jesus’ explanation in verses 15. He explains by saying, “And these are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them.
- Notice the phrase, “these are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown.”
- Jesus is talking about people…people who “hear” the word.
- But notice what happens: “Immediately” Satan snatches the word away so that it can have no affect.
And it is significant that Satan does this “immediately.”
- Satan knows the power of the word of God.
- Satan knows “that the gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.”
- Satan knows all the joy, and peace, and contentment, and godliness, and hope that the word contains in it.
- He knows the promises and blessings and warnings against sin found in the word.
- He knows all the heartache and disappointment and conflict that this (the word) can prevent…
- And he is intent on destroying you…and so he is going to “immediately” snatch the word away from you if he can.
But now, what precipitated the devil being able to “snatch the word” away?
- What caused the seed to just lay there on the top so the “birds” could get to it?
Luke says in Luke 8: 5 that the seed “fell beside the road; and it was trampled underfoot, and the birds ate it.”
- The word was beaten down before it ever had a chance to grow.
And in Matthew 13: 19, Matthew says that the word fell beside the road, and those who heard it “didn’t understand it.
- And that word “understand” could also be translated “consider” which means, they “didn’t even consider it”
- And what this all indicates is, the ones that Jesus is talking about here are those who heard the word but didn’t give the word a chance!
- It was never given an opportunity…maybe because of something someone else had told them…or because of their preconceived ideas.
- Whatever the case, they had hardened themselves against it…and that played right into what Satan wanted.
Now, I don’t suspect that there is anyone here this morning who is like this…I don’t suspect that we have anyone here this morning who has not and isn’t giving the word a chance…or who has hardened themselves against it.
- People like this usually will not be found in an assembly where the word of God is being preached.
- So, I do not suspect that we have anyone here this morning that has just out right hardened themselves against the word.
But, let me tell you what I do suspect.
- I suspect that some of us may have or are hardening ourselves against certain parts or certain teachings of the word.
- We have accepted a lot of what Christ and the apostles teach us…but there are some parts that we are just not going to accept.
Let me just show you a few teachings that maybe some of us have hardened ourselves against.
How about this one:
Heb 10:25 “…not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.”
- It is and always has been the will of Christ that His disciples should assemble together, not only to worship God but to encourage one another.
- Followers of Christ assembled in the days of the apostles and they are to assemble in these present times as well for the building up of each other….to keep us strong until the Lord comes again…to keep us from stumbling off into apostasy.
And yet, do some of us look at what the Hebrew writer says and say, “I don’t have to do that.”
- And maybe we don’t verbally say it, but we say it by our actions.
Do we change this to say, “It is ok if I assemble with the saints once in a while…or when I want to”?
Or, do some of us look at this and say, “I don’t have to assemble with the saints…I can assemble somewhere else with someone else?”
- In the parable Satan benefited from those who hardened themselves against the word…who do you think is benefiting from you hardening yourself against this teaching?
Here is another teaching that some of us may have hardened ourselves against.
I John 4: 7: “Beloved, let us love one another…”
The word “love” there in the Greek comes from the word “agape” which means to “seek the highest good of another, whether they acknowledge it, deserve it, or accept it or not.
- “To seek the highest good of another” means you are not going to do anything that is not good for someone else, regardless of what they have done.”
Do I…do you sometimes look at this and say, “Well, the Lord may love him but I don’t?”
- Do you and I fail to seek the highest good of another?
- Am I sometimes rude, impatient, unkind, arrogant, jealous? Do I sometimes act unbecomingly, seeking my own interests? Do I get angry easily? Do I retaliate with gossip and slander? Criticism? Do I hold a grudge? Do I find pleasure in that which is wrong? Do I look for the good in others and seek the truth? Do I give others a chance to grow in their faith or am I quick to judge and dismiss them?
- Who do you suspect benefits the most when you refuse to love each other like you should?
Here is another one: “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.
- The word “unwholesome” is a word that means “corrupt, unfit for use, bad.
- Do some of us use those “corrupt” words when we are angry, or do we use them because we think they will be more forceful…more impressive?
And if you look at this the context indicates that the words that are “unfit for use” are those words which are critical and demeaning. Words that tear down instead of building up.
- Whether it is teaching, or preaching, or serving, or reading scripture, or praying, or giving, or whatever it is, when we demean, and criticize, and tear down, who do you think is benefiting the most from that.
Look at this. Eph. 4:31-32 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
Eph. 5:3 But do not let immorality or any impurity or greed even be named among you, as is proper among saints; 4 and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.
- Pictorial directory.
- Trimming tree.
- Older people and the N word.
- When we, as God’s people do this, when we trample under foot the word of God, who do you think benefits the most? We allow Satan the opportunity to snatch the word away from those who have heard.
And look at this one. Perhaps people have hardened themselves against this one more than any other. It is found in Acts 2: 38: “Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
- A lot of people refuse to believe this.
- They don’t think they have to repent…they can just live any old sinful way they want to.
- They believe that they need to be baptized…but they don’t have to repent.
Some believe they have to repent, but they don’t have to be baptized to be saved.
- And the tragic thing is, some of us here, who have repented and been baptized, do not think this applies to others.
- We think they can be or are saved without doing this.
- When we reject this…who do you think is benefiting the most from this?
There is nothing that benefits Satan more than a Christian who has hardened their heart against even just a part of the word of God.
- Satan will use that to turn others away, to make mockery of Christ, and to cause the opponents to malign you.
- And the irony is, we are often frustrated when someone will take a passage of scripture and completely ignore it (They say all you have to do is believe in Jesus and be saved, completely ignoring what the Bible teaches about baptism), it is very frustrating when they do that and yet, do you and I do the same thing.
- Psalm 119:160 says that the “sum of Thy word is truth.” We need to listen to the whole counsel of God
- These people had hardened their hearts against the word of God…and for His sake and ours, let’s not be that way, not even partially.
© Sunset Ridge Church of Christ 2023