And (Jesus) spoke many things to them in parables, saying, “Behold, the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. Other fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. And others fell on the good soil and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.” Matthew 13:3-9 NASB
Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away. And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.” Matthew 3:18-23 NASB
In this parable, the sower is the one preaching the Word of God and the seed is the Word of God. We, the hearers of the Word of God, are the soil. What kind of soil are we, shallow, rocky, thorny or good? The one sowing the seed and the seed do not change. All that changes is the soil.
How do we respond to the teaching of the Word of God? Do we allow the evil one to come and snatch it away? Do we abandon the Word of God and other believers when persecution comes? Do we allow the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth to choke the word? Or do we bear fruit, a hundred, sixty or thirty fold.
If we bear fruit, what does that mean? Sheep bear other sheep and since God calls us his sheep in many other passages, many take this to mean that we are to be fruitful in proclaiming the Word of God and leading others to Christ. While the Word of God is very clear that we are to be faithful in proclaiming His Word, the Holy Spirit is responsible for the results. Paul says that he planted, Apollos watered, but God gave in increase. We are not to be lazy, but neither are we to be discouraged when we do not see results.
But bearing fruit seems to make more sense if Jesus is talking about the fruit of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. Galatians 5:22, 23. KJV This makes more sense, as this is taught many different ways throughout the New Testament. Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Colossians 2:7 KJV
This seems to line up with Paul’s teaching in 2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
We can, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, examine ourselves to see if we are faithful and obedient to the Word of God. But the Holy Spirit is the responsible for the response to our sowing the seed.
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