Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Kingdom of the Sower

Behold, a sower went out to sow. (Mathew 13:3)
Jesus taught in parables. A parable is a figure of speech; it conveys truth about one thing in terms of another. Parables reveal truths about the spiritual realm in terms of the natural realm. The parables of Jesus teach about the kingdom of Heaven on Earth. You might say they are “downloads” of the mysteries of the kingdom. Here, Jesus gives us the parable of the sower. It is about one kind of seed and four kinds of soil.
And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! (Matthew 13:4-9)
Notice that Jesus begins with a call to see: “Behold.” That is, See! Here is a figure of earthly things, but see past that to this important spiritual truth. He ends with a call to hear: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Don’t just hear the earthly example, listen for the truth in it that comes from heaven. Jesus then explains this parable to His disciples, who were still learning how to see in the spiritual realm and hear the sound of heaven.
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. 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. 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. 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. (Matthew 13:18-23)
The “seed” is the word of the kingdom — the good news that the kingdom of heaven is now here on earth. It is the call to repent and believe, to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

There are four kinds of soil, and four kinds of results:
  • There are those who hear this good news but do not understand it because they do not receive it in the field of their heart, but only along the wayside where the good soil has worn away. Because it cannot take root there, the devil soon comes and snatches it away. We cannot simply tack the kingdom of heaven on to whatever else we are seeking in life; it must be our priority, or else it will be snatched away, and everything else along with it.
  • There are also those who receive the seed and are happy about it, but there are stony places in their heart, just beneath the surface, where they are not willing to yield. The Word cannot be established because of their hardness. Their joy and faith soon fades away because they do not let the kingdom dig deep inside them.
  • Then there are those who receive the Word but their heart is full of distracting cares and the temptation to trust in riches. These things have such a stranglehold on them that they are unable to bring forth the good fruit of the kingdom. They do not learn to cast their cares on the Lord who cares for them. They do not make the kingdom of God their priority, and therefore do not find all these other things taken care of. They are more like Martha, who was anxious and distracted by many things, instead of like Mary, who chose the “one thing, the “better part” which cannot be taken away (Luke 10:41-42).
  • Finally, there are those who hear the word of the kingdom and give themselves over to it completely. They receive it with the whole heart, letting it deal with all the hard places. The kingdom of God and His righteousness become their priority, the lens through which they view everything else, and everything else is brought into proper perspective. They begin to bring forth the fruit of heaven on earth and it becomes great blessing to others.
Jesus is sowing the word of the kingdom of Heaven on Earth. What kind of soil will you be?



The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth

The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth
Keys to the Kingdom of God
in the Gospel of Matthew

by Jeff Doles

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Available in paperback and Kindle (Amazon), epub (Google and iTunes) and PDF.