Sermon # 28 Series: Matthew


            Title:              THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER
            Text:              Matthew 13:1-23
            Subject:        The Parable of The Sower

            Scripture Reading:  Office – L. Campbell  Aud. – B. Daughtery

            Date:             Tuesday Evening – January 24, 1995
            Tape:            # Q-94




            In this chapter our Lord Jesus Christ taught the gospel to his disciples by seven parables, seven distinct and striking illustrations of Divine truth drawn from the book of nature. He calls these parables “the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.” When we study the parables several things need to be kept in mind.


  1. We do not build our doctrine upon parables. Parables illustrate doctrine. They do not establish doctrine. Our doctrine must be built upon the plain statements of Holy Scripture, continually interpreted.
  2. Parables are earthly stories or illustrations of heavenly truths. They are carnal pictures of spiritual things. When the Lord Jesus preached the gospel, he gave people pictures and illustrations of his doctrine to fix it in their minds. Yet, he never gave a picture or illustration that was debasing to the gospel or one that lowered the message of the gospel to make it more palatable to men.
  3. It is not necessary for every thing in the parable to mean something, or even be compatible the doctrine of the gospel. Like the types of the Old Testament, the parables of the New Testament were never intended to be perfect illustrations of gospel truth. They are just illustrations. Nothing more than illustrations. Yet, they are beautiful, instructive illustrations.
  4. Each parable is designed to illustrate and enforce only one thing. If we try to make the parables teach many things, we misuse them. Just as a preacher today uses a story only to illustrate one thing, so our Lord used his parables to illustrate, enforce, and drive home one particular thing, not two, or three, or twenty!


Tonight we will look at The Parable of The Sower (vv. 1-23). Here is a parable that is verified continually before our very eyes. Wherever, men and women gather to hear the Word of God preached and expounded, the sayings of our Lord in this parable are manifestly found to be true. It describes what goes on, as a general rule, in all congregations where the gospel is preached.




            The one thing taught in this parable is the necessity of hearing the Word of the gospel with a believing heart.




            Let me show you five things in this regard that are clearly established in these 23 verses of Holy Scripture.


  1. Gospel Preachers are like Sowers.
  2. The Word of God is the Seed of Life.
  3. Salvation is the Sovereign Prerogative of God.
  4. Most People who Hear the Gospel Preached Receive No Saving Benefit from It.
  5. Wherever the Word of God Produces Life it Brings Forth Fruit.


I.  Gospel Preachers are Like Sowers.


            The preacher is a man who casts the bread upon the waters and waits for it to return only after many days (Eccl. 11:2). He “goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed,” and “shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Ps. 126:6).


A.  Like the farmer, the preacher has to sow good seed, if he wants to see fruit.


            The Seed sown must be the pure Word of God, the gospel of God’s free and sovereign grace in Christ. The man who does not preach the gospel does not preach the Word of God, though he may do nothing but recite Scripture. To preach the Word of God is to preach Jesus Christ and him crucified – (I Pet. 1:25).


            “We preach Christ crucified!”



B.  Like the farmer who diligently sows his seed, the preacher must be diligent in the work of the gospel.


            He must spare no pains. He must use every means he has. He must seize every opportunity God gives, and potently labor in God’s vineyard for the furtherance of the gospel. “Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters.” (Isa. 32:20). He must “be instant in season and out of season” (II Tim. 4:2). He cannot be deterred by difficulties and discouragements. “He that observeth the wind shall not sow” (Eccles. 11:4).


            Success does not depend upon the preacher’s labor and diligence; but success will not be attained without it. The preacher can no more give life to men than the farmer can cause the seed to germinate, and grow, and bear fruit. That is God’s business and God’s prerogative. But I can plow the ground, sow the seed, water it with prayer, and wait for God to give the increase as he sees fit. “It is the Spirit that quickeneth.” (John 6:63).


II.  The Word of God is The Seed of Life.


            “The seed is the Word of God” (Lk. 8:11).



I will not attempt to explain what I do not understand. But I know this – As sperm invading the egg brings forth life, so the Word of God invading the heart of a dead sinner by the power of God the Holy Spirit brings forth life! As the egg cannot be impregnated without sperm, so too a sinner cannot be born again without the Word of God. Why? Because God says so!


III.  Salvation is the Sovereign Prerogative of God.


            If language has any meaning at all, verses 10-17 cannot possibly be read without concluding that there is such a thing as sovereign, distinguishing grace.


A.  God gives life, and faith, and understanding to his elect, and does not give it to others (v. 11).


B.  When people refuse to walk in the light God gives them, the light that is in them becomes darkness (vv. 12-16).


            “Take heed how ye hear!” (Lk. 8:18).


C.  The seeing eye, the hearing ear, and the believing heart are gifts of God.



IV.  Most People Who Hear The Gospel Preached Receive No Saving Benefit From It.


            According to our text, the vast majority, three out of four people, who hear the gospel preached do not profit by it. Our Lord is not talking about those who hear some false gospel, but those who hear the gospel of God free and sovereign grace in Christ – the vast majority receive no spiritual, everlasting benefit from it.


A.  Some Are Described as Wayside Hearers – (v. 19).


            Careless, thoughtless, and unconcerned, the gospel has no more affect on their hearts than water has upon a stone. As fast as the Word falls on their ears, the devil plucks it away. They go out just like they came in, unaffected. Christ crucified means nothing to them (Lam. 1:12).


B.  Others are called Stony Ground Hearers – (vv. 20-21).


            These people hear the sermon with pleasure. They are quickly excited. The message brings forth a plentiful crop of warm feelings and good resolutions. But the stony ground hearer’s religion is religion without depth. As soon as the cold blasts of opposition or the hot sun of temptation and persecution comes, their religion withers away.


            The mere love of good sermons and good preaching is not a sign of grace – (Ezek. 33:32).


C.  Then Our Lord speaks of Thorny Ground Hearers – (v. 22).


            These people appear to be more hopeful than the others. They hang around much longer. They seem to really love the gospel. It appears that they really want to honor God and do his will – But other things constantly claim their affections! They know the truth. They hope one day to be decided and devoted followers of Christ – But they love the world! How many thorny ground hearers sit in the pews of our churches!


A.  They never make up their minds to “seek first the kingdom of God.”

B.  They have real struggles trying to have both Christ and the world, not willing to give up either.

C.  But in time, the care of the world and the deceitfulness of riches destroys them.


V.  Wherever The Word of God Produces Life It Brings Forth Fruit (v. 23).


            The order of grace is clearly this –


1st Hearing the Word

2nd Understanding the Gospel

3rd Bearing the Fruit of The Spirit.


NOTE: We do not all bear fruit to the same degree. But all believers bear fruit and the fruit they bear is the same (Gal. 5:22-23; John 15-16).


A.  Heart Fruit



B.  Lip Fruit



C.  Life Fruit



Application:  Luke 8:18