The Sower | S3 E1

The Sower | S3 E1

The Sower - Season 3
Pastor Josh McPherson, Sept 29, 2019
Text: Luke 8:1-18

The Sower is the Parable of Parables

  • 1/3 of Jesus’ teaching was done in parable
  • In all 3 gospels it’s recorded, it’s the first parable
  • It’s important because it explains the nature and purpose of all other parables

“Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable?” - Mark 4:13

Parable… “to set alongside”…for comparison and enlightenment

  • teaches something unfamiliar & new by putting it next to something familiar & old.
  • small stories making a big point
  • simple stories unpacking profound mysteries
  • earthly stories giving us a heavenly perspective
  • picture, mirror, window Parables start as a familiar picture that becomes a reflective mirror (this explains why some listeners respond in anger and hatred and even try to eventually kill Jesus because he’s exposing them). If we respond in humility…the picture becomes a mirror that then becomes a window through which we look to & behold the divine.
  • The longer you look, the more you see.
  • The more you listen, the more you hear.
  • It’s a way to separate the sincere seeker from the indifferent critic

3 Key Questions

  1. What does Jesus want us to KNOW?
  2. What does Jesus want us to FEEL?
  3. What does Jesus want us to DO?

1 Seed

The Seed is the Word of God…powerful, full of life, with infinite & unlimited potential.

4 Soils

1. Hard Soil…The Stubborn Heart

  • Repeated foot traffic hardened the soil…
    Seed fell on the hard soil…same soil as the other, just packed down because of people walking on it.
  • When you get walked on by other people, you get hard not just towards people but towards God.
  • If Satan can keep you bitter or angry or unforgiving towards other people, he can keep you hard towards God.
    The path that is taken by everyone else is often the path of hardened heart towards God.
  • The busyness of travel packs the dirt deep. Sometimes our busy travels through life…running from one thing to the next…has a hardening effect on our heart.
  • Hard path, heart is hard, full of sin, Satan has a hold of it, seed can’t even get below the surface.

How does a heart get hard and stubborn?

  • Bitterness towards others
  • Stubbornness towards God
  • Indifference towards truth…ignoring what they already have

2. Rocky Soil…The Shallow Heart

  • In some places there was a substratum of limestone covered by a thin layer of soil. The seed would land, warm quickly, sprout quickly, but soon the same sun that caused others to grow would wither it…because the roots couldn’t get through the rocks.
  • Depth is far greater than emotion.
  • “It’s not how high you jump but how straight you walk when you come down.” - Phil Rogers
  • A fast start is no guarantee of a faithful finish.
  • I Peter 4:12… “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery trial that has come upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.”
  • Sometimes there are fleeting feelings without depth of thought, and God is not honored. Jesus is not a junior high fling. Following Jesus requires mind, body, heart, and soul loving and engaging.
  • An emotionless faith is anemic and bogus, but an emotion-only faith is shallow and will not sustain in the sun. This kind of faith needs to get lost, so true faith can be found.
  • Sun is only good for plants IF THEY HAVE ROOTS.
  • It is a sad thing to watch testing and trials reveal someone’s shallow faith. And it is a PRECIOUS THING to watch the sun and heat of trials and tribulation cause the roots of the truly saved to run deep into Jesus.

3. Thorny Soil…The Divided Heart

  • Worry… (Matt. 6:25-34) … Riches…(1 Tim. 6:7-11) …Pleasures… (Matt. 16:24-26)
  • The Infested Heart is a divided heart…divided by irreconcilable loyalties and misplaced priorities
  • This is a “Jesus-and” heart…Jesus AND control…Jesus AND wealth…
  • Keeping up with the Joneses dominates this heart
    “No one can serve two masters…you cannot serve both God and money.”
  • Weeds don’t spring up at once…the grow up over time because we leave them there and allow them to live there.

4. Good Soil…The Tender Heart

  • This heart is open, deep, rich.
  • The seed doesn’t bounce off, doesn’t temporarily sprout up only to wither, is not divided by competing loyalties and thus strangled, it is a heart that understands, receives, and responds to the word of God.
  • Produces a good crop…of godliness, hope, love, peace, patience, kindness, self-control, holiness, generosity, forgiveness, Christlikeness, perseverance.
  • Fatih is not a matter of IQ or education but of humbly receiving God’s Word into one’s heart.

1 Sower, 1 Seed, 4 Soils - What’s the point?

#1…What Jesus Wants You To Know:

1: Spiritual fruit isn’t a seed issue, it’s a soil issue.

2 How you listen will determine how you live (or whether or not you’ll live)

#2…What Jesus Wants You To FEEL

1) Comfort & Hope…

2) Ownership & Urgency…
Is my heart tender? Is my heart open? Are my ears attuned to spiritual things? Is my heart sensitive to the leading of the Spirit? Or is my heart hard? Or shallow? Or divided?

#3…What Jesus Wants You To DO:

TILL the soil (PRAY…)
Ask God to give you a hunger for his word.
Till the soil of your heart…Pray for a soft heart
"Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your law" (Psalm 119:18)

WEED the soil (REPENT…soil can change over time!)
Get rid of the weeds!!!
Repent of bitterness, anger, unforgiveness, worldliness and ungodliness

Obedience to God is like Triple-16 to the soul…Respond to the light you have (vs. 21)
The dimmer-switch principle: If I respond to the light I have already, he gives me more. If I don’t, he turns it down.
Want to grow spiritually?…if you would do what you know you would grow.

Getting to know me:

  • Do you enjoy yard work, gardens, planting things etc… why or why not?
  • Why is the Parable of the Sower so helpful & so relatable to the human condition?
  • Can you describe a time in your life when your heart was hard? Or when your life resembled the rocky or thorny soil? What happened to soften your heart?

Into the Bible:

  • Why would God have included Luke 8:2-3 in scripture?
  • Based on only v5-8, what understanding of the parable would you have had?
  • From v10, why did Jesus use parables to teach?
  • Why would Jesus not want everyone to immediately understand the good news of God’s kingdom? What was he exposing in human hearts through parables?
  • What response do you think Jesus was looking for? [Hint: see v9.]
  • In v13, what would be an example of a “time of testing”?
  • In v14, the seed is choked by worries, riches and pleasures. Two of the three would seem to be good things, so what’s the problem here? [Look up the passages listed in the notes under the Thorny Soil …]
  • In v15, Jesus says the good soil represents “a noble and good heart.” How can we get one of those?
  • Read Jeremiah 17:7-8: What encourages you or stands out to you from these verses?
    “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
        whose confidence is in him.
    They will be like a tree planted by the water
        that sends out its roots by the stream.
    It does not fear when heat comes;
        its leaves are always green.
    It has no worries in a year of drought
        and never fails to bear fruit.”


  • What stood out to you most from the sermon?
  • What’s one step of obedience or action that you need to take in light of this sermon?
  • What’s your next step to pursue a soft heart and greater spiritual growth?
  • Which of the unfruitful soils are you most in danger of resembling?
  • If we seem to resemble one of the three soil types that are unfruitful, what can we do about it?
  • Pray for the Group and any specific requests related to the application of this sermon… pray for soft hearts, fertile soil, listening ears and spiritual growth in this Fall season.
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