Sermon #46 Luke Sermons
Title: Take Heed How You Hear
Text: Luke 8:4-18
Subject: The Parable of the Sower
Date: Sunday Evening –
Tape # W-31b
We have before us the parable of the sower. Of all the parables spoken by our Lord during his earthly ministry, none is so widely known and so little heeded as the parable of the sower. The parable itself is easily comprehended. Everyone is familiar with the work of a farmer. He plows his fields, sows his seeds, tends his plants, and gathers in his crop. And every farmer knows that much of the seed sown is lost forever, bears no fruit, and is profitable for nothing. Yet, very few people appear to understand the spiritual implications of this well-known parable.
This parable is of universal application. So long as the Kingdom of God is in this world, so long as there are assemblies of saints like this one, so long as sinners gather to worship God in hope of grace and eternal life in Christ, this parable will be applicable. Let’s read it together.
8:4-18] "And when much people were
gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a
parable:  A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some
fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air
devoured it.  And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung
up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.  And some fell
among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.  And
other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an
hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.  And his disciples asked him,
saying, What might this parable be?  And he
said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of
Proposition: In this parable, our Lord Jesus Christ teaches us plainly that the vast majority of those who hear the gospel of the grace of God preached, even the vast majority of those who profess faith in him after hearing the gospel, are unregenerate, lost, and perish under the wrath of God.
“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” the parable of the sower.
I. The Sower Is The Gospel Preacher.
Gospel preachers are like farmers sowing wheat. They broadcast the Word of God upon the ground, upon the hearts of eternity bound men and women. This is not a careless, thoughtless process. The preacher, if he is indeed a faithful, gospel preacher, has his heart in his work. He is not indifferent to those to whom he preaches, or indifferent to their response. Oh, no. God’s servants care deeply for the souls of men. They sow in hope of harvest.
Psalms 126:5 "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy."
Ecclesiastes 11:1 "Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days."
Isaiah 55:11 "So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."
***1 Corinthians 15:58
The sower is the servant of God, the who faithfully sows the seed of the gospel in hope of a great harvest.
II. The Seed Sown Is The Word Of God, The Gospel Of The Grace Of God Revealed In The Word.
[Luke 8:11] "Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God."
We recognize, preach, and rejoice in the glorious sovereignty of our God. I take a back seat to no one in preaching God’s absolute sovereignty in all things, and especially in the salvation of his elect. Yet, we recognize that God almighty has chosen to use specific means for the accomplishment of his purposes. “It pleased God, by the foolishness of preaching, to save them that believe.” “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” That is Bible language. God declares that he saves sinners through the utility of the Word.
James "Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures."
1 Peter 1:23-25 "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. (24) For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: (25) But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you."
A. God saves chosen sinners only through, or by means of, the faithful exposition of the Scriptures.
B. The Word of God is faithfully expounded and preached only when the gospel of Christ is faithfully expounded and preached.
Rolland Hill was exactly right when he said, “Any sermon that does not contain the `Three R’s’ (Ruin by the Fall, Redemption by the Blood, and Regeneration by the Holy Spirit) ought never to have been preached.”
God’s servants are not just preachers. They are gospel preachers. They do not just preach. They preach the gospel.
The sower is the gospel preacher. The seed sown is the Word of God, the gospel of Christ.
III. The Results Of Gospel Preaching Are Always Exactly According To The Purpose Of God.
We randomly preach the gospel to all who will hear us. But the results are not random. When God almighty sends forth his Word, his Word always accomplishes his purpose. It either produces life and faith in Christ, or it produces judicial blindness and hardness of heart.
"And he said, Unto you it is given to know
the mysteries of the
The Lord is quoting from the prophecy of Isaiah.
Isaiah 6:9-10 "And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. (10) Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed."
The apostle Paul argues in much the same way, declaring that man’s unbelief does not in any way, or to even the slightest degree alter the purpose of God. Rather, even the willful unbelief of the reprobate fulfills God’s sovereign purpose
Romans 3:3-4 "For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? (4) God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged."
2 Corinthians 2:14-16 "Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. (15) For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: (16) To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?"
A. Faith in Christ is the gift of God.
The seeing eye, the hearing ear, and the believing heart are from the Lord. Faith is not something men muster from within. Faith is the gift and operation of God’s free grace in Christ. If you believe, it is because “unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ to believe on his name.”
· Eph. 2:8-9
· Col. 2:12
B. To those who will not believe, the Word of God is both blinding and binding.
None are so blind as those who will not see. And none are so hardened as those who are gospel hardened. When men and women willfully despise the gospel of the grace of God, when they resolutely harden themselves to the Word preached, the very Word which they despise becomes the instrument by which they are bound over to everlasting judgment.
IV. Some Who Hear The Gospel Receive It As Seed Sown By The Wayside.
[Luke 8:12] "Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved."
Some of you have come here tonight with no concern for your souls, glory of God, or eternity. You come to church because you have to, or because it is the respectable thing to do, or because you think it is your duty to do so. But you really have no interest in what is going on here. You try your best not to hear a word I say, or at least not to be bothered by what I say. All the time I am preaching, you try to think about something else. Unless God intervenes and does something for you, the gospel you have heard today will profit you nothing. Before you get out the door the old black crow of hell will have snatched away the seed from your hard heart.
V. Some Are Described As Stony Ground Hearers.
[Luke 8:13] "They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away."
There are many stony ground hearers. The preaching of the gospel makes very quick, but only temporary impressions upon them. Their religion is all superficial, just a flash in the pan, nothing else. Like burning briars in a fire, they may crackle and pop, and make a lot of noise, but they produce nothing. They appear enthusiastic. They talk a good game. They are sometimes moved to tears. They may even speak about inward conflicts, hopes, desires, struggles, and fears. But they lack one thing. They have no root. The root of the matter is not in them. Like seed sown in unprepared soil, the Word of God takes no root in them because there is no work of the Holy Spirit in their hearts.
· Unconvinced -- No Conviction!
· Unturned -- No Repentance!
· Unbelieving -- No Faith!
These stony ground hearers endure for a while; but they will not last. Their religion is like Jonah’s gourd. It springs up in a night and is gone in a night. They are like cut flowers. They look pretty and smell nice for a while; but soon wither and die. They have no root. Christ is not in them and they are not in Christ.
A. A little trial, affliction, or temptation will be too great for the stony ground hearer to endure.
B. Any persecution or opposition because of the offense of the gospel will destroy them.
VI. Others Are Described In This Parable As Thorny Ground Hearers.
[Luke 8:14] "And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection."
The wayside hearer has no interest at all in the things of God. He could care less who Christ is and what he did. The stony ground hearer is somewhat impressive. He makes a big splash, but does not last very long. The thorny ground hearer is something else.
The thorny ground hearer assents to the gospel, approves of it, and is moved by it. He makes a good start and goes a long way in religion. He feels much, experiences much, and may even do much that appears to be truly spiritual; but he has a basic, fundamental, underlying problem. It is a problem that may lie under the surface, hidden from every eye but God’s. It may even be hidden from his own eyes. But it will eventually destroy him. The problem is worldliness. The world still holds his heart. He loves the world.
A. Beware of religion without Christ!
You may think, “All is well with my soul. No one could ever feel what I feel and experience what I have experienced and yet be lost.” You ought to think again! False faith is a strong delusion, a delusion by which, in this parable, one in four who profess faith in Christ are dragged down to hell!
1. False faith may be greatly enlightened and knowledgeable of the gospel (Heb. 6:4).
2. False faith may greatly reform the outward life. - The Pharisees!
3. False faith may speak very well of Christ. - The Jews!
4. False faith may confess personal sins like Saul.
5. False faith may humble itself in sackcloth and ashes with Ahab.
6. False faith may repent in tears with Esau and Judas.
7. False faith may diligently perform religious works with the Jews.
8. False faith may be very generous and charitable, like Ananias and Sapphira.
9. False faith may tremble under the Word with Felix.
10. False faith may experience great things in religion (Heb. 6:1-4).
11. False faith may enjoy great
religious privileges with
12. False faith may preach, perform miracles, and cast out devils, like those mentioned by our Lord.
13. False faith may attain high office in the church like Diotrephes.
14. False faith may walk with great preachers like Demas.
15. May even be peaceful and carnally secure like the five foolish virgins.
B. Yet, it is written, “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John )
Sooner or later those who love the world will choose the world. The sad fact is that though they willfully choose the world and turn from Christ, they are so thoroughly justified in their own minds that what they are doing is right that they never even realize they have done it, until they wake up in hell.
If you are one of these thorny ground hearers, the Lord Jesus plainly warns you that one of these three things will eventually destroy your soul.
1. “The Cares Of This World” -- Legitimate Cares.
2. “The Deceitfulness Of Riches” -- Materialism.
3. “The Pleasures of This Life” -- “The Lusts Of Other Things” --- Fame -- Acceptance -- Position -- Power – Sensuality.
VII. The True Believer Is That Person Who Receives The Gospel As Seed Sown In Good Ground.
[Luke 8:15] "But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience."
The good ground is a regenerate heart, a heart prepared by God the Holy Spirit to receive the Word of grace. The fallow ground of the heart has been broken up by the deep cutting, sharp plow of the law. The hard clods have been broken by the heavy harrow of conviction, beaten to pieces by the thunderous rain of God’s wrath, and at last softened by the sweet dew of heaven.
The Word of God sown in the regenerate heart, the heart prepared by the grace and power of God to receive it, brings forth fruit unto God. Some bear fruit more rapidly and more plentifully than others; but all bear fruit from God. The fruit they bear is the fruit of the Spirit.
Galatians 5:22-23 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, (23) Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."
Application: You have heard the Word of God tonight. What kind of hearer are you?
1. Wayside Hearer?
2. A Stony Ground Hearer?
3. A Thorny Ground Hearer?
4. A Good Ground Hearer?
Now, read these next three verses as they are given, in this context, and hear the Master’s warning.
[Luke 8:16-18] "No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light.  For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.  Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have."
· Take heed what you hear!
· Take heed that you hear!
· Take heed how you hear!