Luke 8:4-15 (ESV)

And when a great crowd was gathering and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable: [5] “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. [6] And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. [7] And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. [8] And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold.” As he said these things, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

[9] And when his disciples asked him what this parable meant, [10] he said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand. [11] Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. [12] The ones along the path are those who have heard. Then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. [13] And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. [14] And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. [15] As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.

This is one of the best known parables of all. It has been preached from, dissected, and abused. It ought to be one of the easiest to interpret because Jesus interprets it for us in verses 11-15. What can we say that has not been said? Nothing I hope. If, after 2000 years of Christianity, we come up with something that no one out of all the intellectual and spiritual giants of the faith could not come up with, then it is most likely heresy. So we just note a few of things.

1) Verse 11 -The seed is the word. This sower is planting seed and Jesus’ point is that the Word of God is to be delivered. It is the Word of God that is quick and powerful and sharper than a two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). Why should we deliver anything else? If we hope to win people to Christ we must deliver Holy Scriptures to them. We can talk and debate and discuss and explain. But the key, essential ingredient is the Word of God. Take people to the Bible. Quote Scripture to them. Memorize it, speak it, quote it and live it out. People will not be saved if they do not hear Bible. Can you explain the Gospel to people? Can you do it with a Bible in your hands and back up every point you make with Scripture? If not, you do better to say nothing. But God commands us to speak and we therefore absolutely must give people the Word of God. We must absolutely know the Word of God.

2) A sower went forth to sow. People will not come to you. You must go into the field. Inviting people to church is not evangelism. It is – well – it is inviting people to church. Good thing to do. But it is not the Gospel. Hopefully it will get them into a place where the Gospel is spoken.

3) If the thought of people not believing what you say puts you off then you will never give the Gospel. Jesus clearly says here that there are various responses to the Gospel. Not everyone who hears the Gospel will be saved. Don’t look for fertile fields which will always produce fruit. There are no such fields. Plant, plant, plant. We are promised that our labour is not in vain. Give the Gospel faithfully, knowing that it shall produce only what God determines. The pressure is not on you. This is God’s work. Give the only Gospel there is to give and leave it with Him.

4) People who are truly converted will be fruitful in their Christian lives. This is not talking about leading others to Christ necessarily. It just means that real Christians show proof that they are saved. There is no such thing as a real Christian who does not turn away from sin and turn to Christ. The Holy Spirit takes up residence in his life and he becomes fruitful. Matthew tells us (Matthew 13:8) that Jesus indicated that some bear much fruit while others bear little. The amount is not the issue. The issue is that real believers show their real belief.