The Fertility of the Gospel pt. 1
Topic: Fruit Verse: Luke 8:4–8:15
“The Fertility of the Gospel”
Theme: The Gospel will accomplish God’s purpose in each of our lives – either to redemption or condemnation.
I. The Gospel Will Execute God’s Sovereign Purpose – 8:4, 9-10
A. The Defining of a Parable – v. 4
- As Jesus continues to proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom and call people to repentance, He began to see the necessity of utilizing a teaching technique that would provide a stimulation of people’s consideration of what He was saying.
- We are told that “When a large crowd was coming together, and those from the various cities were journeying to Him, He spoke by way of a parable.”
- “Parable” [παραβολή] comes from two Greek words:
- παρα – by the side of, near, or in comparison to
- βάλλω – “to put or place”
- Basically, it means “to put something alongside of something else.”
- In this sense, it refers to something very practical, observable, and easily understood being put next to that which is spiritual, supernatural, and difficult to understand.
- It has commonly been defined throughout Sunday Schools as “an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.”
B. The Disclosure through a Parable – vv. 9-10
- As he shared the parable of the sower and the seed, “His disciples began questioning Him as to what this parable meant.”
- He responded by indicating that God was pleased to disclose the truth of the Gospel to those to whom “it has been granted” - indicating that at some point in the past, God decided to actively open their understanding so as to enable them “to know” what is impossible to understand apart from His “illumination.” – cp. Luke 24:16, 31, 44-45; 18:31-34.
- The phrase “mysteries of the Kingdom of God” reveals that what these parables teach is previously unrevealed – that what Jesus was teaching was brand new information.
- However, “to the rest it is in parables, so that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand” – Isaiah 6:9
- As a form of judgment on those who were rejecting Him, Jesus used such parables that require spiritual discernment to understand.
- Parables have been compared to stained glass windows – dark and colorless from the outside, but resplendent and brilliant from inside as light of illumination is cast upon them.
- What kinds of things cause us to have diminished capacity to understand the things of God?
- If Jesus began using parables to teach so that those who were faithful to Him would understand but no one else, what can you expect faithfulness to Him to accomplish in your life?
- Discuss with someone the last time that you sensed that the Holy Spirit was truly opening your eyes to see the truth that was provided in God’s Word?
II. The Gospel Is Expressed for All People – 8:5-11
A. It Is Expressed through the Sower – v. 5a
- The “sower” [ὁ σπείρων] in this parable represents the Lord Jesus Christ – cp. Matthew 13:37
- The One who is credited with broadcasting the seed (which as we will see is the Gospel of salvation) – even today, is Jesus – cp. Ephesians 4:20-21
- It is on His authority that the Gospel is preached – cp. Matthew 28:18-20
- He speaks through the preachers who proclaim His Word – cp. 1 Peter 1:11; 3:18-20; 2 Corinthians 5:20
- Thus, we are in a delightful partnership whose accomplishments are credited directly to Christ “the sower” – cp. 2 Corinthians 6:1; Mark 16:20.
- Although the authority to proclaim the Gospel and “sow the seed” is given by Christ Jesus, the point of the parable is not the sower – cp. Mark 4:26-29.
- Thus, nothing is said about the sower’s technique, method, or style.
B. It Is Expressed through the Seed – vv. 5b, 11
- It is necessary to note that in this parable, there is not a distinction drawn between any of the seed – it is all of the same quality.
- We are told here that the “sower went out to sow his seed.”
- The “seed” is described as the “Word of God” – cp. v. 11; Mark 4:14
- Hearing the “word of the Kingdom” is comparable to the soil receiving the word – cp. Matthew 13:19
- This seed is incorruptible and possesses within it the power to convert the soul – cp. 1 Peter 1:23.
C. It Is Expressed to the “Soils” – vv. 5c-8
- The Gospel is to be expressed to all men indiscriminately – broadcast regardless of the condition of the soils.
- Unlike a responsible farmer who conserves seed by sowing it only upon soil that had been plowed, tilled, disked, and prepared to receive the seed, this sower sowed indiscriminately.
- The differences in the soils, and in the hearts represented by the soils, are not in the composition but in the condition.
- By nature, every heart is hostile toward God - cp. Romans 8:7
- However, while hostility does exist in all men, there is no heart that is incapable of being redeemed – cp. Romans 10:11-13
- Of course, it is the mercy and grace of God that turns a heart – cp. Ezekiel 36:25-27
- Thus, Christ is preparing those who will spread the Gospel for four major types of hearts they will encounter:
- The Calloused Heart – “beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds of the air ate it up” – v. 5
- The Casual Heart – “Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture” – v. 6
- The Corrupted Heart – “Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it and choked it out” – v. 7
- The Convinced Heart – “Other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great” – v. 8
- Jesus calls on people to ponder the realities that He is presenting in this parable – “As He said these things, He would call out, ‘He who has ears to hear, let him hear.’”.
- What ought to be our attitude as we listen to the accurate, biblical preaching; whose Word is it? What Scriptures inform you of this and what difference does it make to you?
- Before you were saved, which soil best represented your heart – what changed … and when did this change occur?
- What does the liberality in the sower’s sowing suggest concerning our own involvement in the Gospel ministry?