The Parable of the Sower (Part 1)

The parable of the sower is one of the most important parable in the Bible. Jesus has asked his disciples an important question, which is also important to us:

„And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables? (Mk 4:13)“

It is not only, that we understand the other parables, but also how the principles are in the God’s kingdom. Since the person of the sower is not explained, I would like to consider God as this sower in this first part. He was the first, who has sown the seed and we people are the recipients.

But let us go directly into the original text. I apply the version, that Luke has written:

„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. (Lk 8:4-5)“

Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. (Lk 8:11) Even in the first lines of the bible read we, that God his seed sowed. And God said… . The seed has the whole potential in itself, which is necessary in order for it to become what it is supposed to be. An apple seed has everything in itself, in order for out of it becomes an apple tree. In addition, certain conditions have to be fulfilled.

„And God said, let there be light: and there was light.“ (Gen 1:3)

God sowed with His word the seed „light“ and out of it became light. The whole genesis is full of it. Shortly after the Fall of man God spoke out a further seed:

„… it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (Gen 3:15)“

God made clear with it, that he will send salvation. With Jesus the seed of the woman came into the world. He, who is the Word of God himself and became flesh. The word of God is also the Bible. It has to have the first priority with us. Even today God speaks to us through the bible. We may not only limit God on the Bible. He has many ways how he can talk to us. However, one thing we always should be conscious, that the said agrees with the scripture.

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. (Lk 8:12)

From this scriptures we can learn some things:

  1. God wants to speak to our hearts. Many things we try to explain with the understanding. I have nothing to object, but if we have understood it, it has to slip into our hearts. However, it is better, if God can speak directly to our hearts.
  2. The Word of God is the seed for our faith. Romans 10, 17 says: „So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.“ When in an area of your life the faith is missing, then listen to the preaching of the word of God. Maybe you will say, that you need faith now and it is still a long time until the next Sunday. Good, then take your Bible and read yourself aloud out of it. Then you have the preaching. We are all called to be preachers of the gospel.
  3. God’s word is the seed unto rescue or unto salvation. The word salvation (sozo) is translated with only one word, because it is too all-inclusive. Sozo means: rescue of danger, destruction or condemnation, be in safety, remain sound, health. Everything good, which we wish we can obtain from God through his word free of charge, without spending much money for insurance or for professional services.

And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. (Lk 8:6) – 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. (Lk 8:13)

The interpretation, which Jesus gives us here is clear. How often we have experienced, that we were ardent from a preaching, but as soon as we were at home we did not believe anymore what we had heard? It really has to be our desire, that the word of God takes roots in our lives. Only this way we can resist the temptations. Jesus was full faith and therefore also full of God“s word. He also had to battle with temptations. What did he do when the devil tempted him? He answered him: „It is written …“ What is our response to temptations: „It is written …“ or „God has promised us in his word, that …“

And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. (Lk 8:7) – 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. (Lk 8:14)

Even here each of us can tell our own experiences. We had a good time in the church service. The worship time lead us into the presence of God and the following preaching was strong. The church service was really uplifting. We have received new courage, joy and peace. But as soon as we were at home we think about our problems at work, maybe we consider how to pay the bills or how to invest wisely the money, and spend our time in front of the TV set. God provides us with solutions to our cares and riches, and gives us alternatives to our entertainment. This with AAA quality.

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. (Lk 8:8)

But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest (in German: fine) and good heart, having heard the word, keep [it], and bring forth fruit with patience. (Lk 8:15)

Here we have the perfect answer how to receive the word of God. It needs good soil and a fine and good heart. A farmer would say that the ground must be ploughed that the seed can fall into the good ground. Also in the spiritual realm we have to plough, but it is never called like this. Our prayers to God or the worship make our heart receptive to God“s word. As soon as we have received it, we have to keep it in our hearts and it will bring fruit in due season. The seed needs time between the sowing and the reaping. In this time period we need patience, because „through faith and patience we inherit the promises. (Heb 6:12)

And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be? And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. (Lk 8:9-10)

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. (Lk 8:16-18)

Proverbs 6:23 tells us, that the law (= God’s word) is a light. Whoever hears and understands God’s word, it dawns on him. We shouldn’t hide this word, but share it as a light to the world. It is so important what we hear and what we understand and practice. This principle works in every area and not only with God’s word. With what we are occupied will influence us and we will be stronger in it. What we ignore we will lose. Think about the school lessons. What do you know today and what do you use?

This is part one of three. Read on with part two.

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The Parable of the Sower (Part 2)

The parable of the sower

The parable of the sower is one of the most important parable in the Bible. Jesus has asked his disciples an important question, which is also important to us:

And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables? (Mk 4:13)

It is not only, that we understand the other parables, but also how the principles are in the God“s kingdom. Since the person of the sower is not explained, I would like to consider we human beings as this sower in this first part.

In the first part of the parable of the sower we have seen, that God wants to speak to us and gives us his seeds, in order that it brings fruit according how we receive, thirty-, sixty- or a hundred fold. We have seen, that God wants to save people with his word, the seed. For us as Christians this seems quite clear: God speaks and we receive. But what about people, who do not know God? Paul seizes this subject also in the Epistle to the Romans:

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.“ (Rom 10:13-17)

Here we see quite clearly, that God is not the only ine who speaks, but he wants that we human beings speak too. He would like, that we speak, preach and pass on God“s word. Therefore, we are also sowers, who spread the word of God. It lies not in our responsibility, where the seed falls: on the way, the stony or good ground. We just must bring the word to the people. We must preach to the people (seize this please not as a burden, but as a privilege, which we have received from God). If we don’t do it, who else. We can not rely ourselves on it, that other do it for us. We are called to do it. We reach people, who others cannot reach, and these again can reach other people, who we or others cannot reach. Therefore, each single one is important, that he fulfils his assignment, gives testimony of Jesus and of God and of what he has done. When we preach the word, as it is written in the Bible, nothing more and nothing less, and what we have received as a revelation (an I-see-experience), we should pass on. This convinces. Isaiah 55:10 says:

For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater.

God gives seeds to the sower and bread to the eater. I have made by myself the experience, if I preach to people, I preach on one hand to these people, but on the other side I was filled with joy. In this preaching there are also included words, which concern myself. Therefore, it is correct, that God gives seeds to the sower, in order to sow, but also in order that he has bread, can participate at the word of God and has something to eat. In 2 Cor. 9, 10-15 it is written:

Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for [your] food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God. For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God; Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for [your] liberal distribution unto them, and unto all [men]; And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you. Thanks [be] unto God for his unspeakable gift.

In this scripture we also see, that God gives seeds to the sower, in order to sow and bread for food. In two different places God makes the same statement. He says also, that based upon the statement of two or three witnesses a matter shall be established (Deut 19:15). We can assume, that this statement is true. God wants to bless us with seeds, which we should pass on, and with seeds, which is for our food.

It is vital, that we do not assume, that when we sow today, that there is a harvest tomorrow. It absolutely can be, but instead it takes always a process. It will be sown and it takes a time until the seed comes up. The plant appears irresolutely out of the earth until it develops itself to the complete fruit. Precisely it is also with people we talk to. They receive the word and it will not be in vain. The seed will rise up sometime. I have read, that they have found seeds inside the graves of the pharaohs that were about 4000 years old. The explorers have taken these seeds and put it in good soil and irrigated it. Out of it a good plant has arisen. It doesn“t matter how big the period of time is. When the seed has been sown, a harvest will come. Because we do not know, when the harvest will be, we have to sow and water it. This is our task. To water means, to accompany these people in prayer, in order for the seed comes up in due season. Each seed needs its time and we don“t know how long this period of time is. In the natural we know which seed takes how long until he comes up. However, when the word of God is preached, we can not say, that this takes one day or that a week, etc. God promises, that the seed comes up in due season. Therefore, let us be active and pass on the word to the people.

This is part two of three. Read on with part 3.

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The Parable of the Sower (Part 3)

The parable of the sower

So far we have learned, that the parable of the sower a is very important parable in the bible and explains very much. In the first part we have seen, that God distributes the seed and it brings fruit, thirty-, sixty- or a hundred fold. In the second part we have seen, that we human beings distribute the seed, which also brings fruit. In both parts we have looked at the seed as the word of God. In this third part I would like to go on a step further and show, that this principle of sowing and harvesting has also its validity in other areas of life.

Not only the word of God is a seed, but also everything else, which you give, is a seed. In this sense the Bible speaks too:

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets (Mt 7:12).

Here we see how accurately this principle of sowing and harvesting is. What you give or do is actually, what you want that others do or give to you. A couple of years ago the post in Switzerland had a slogan, which said: If you want a letter, then write a letter. That’s exactly how it is. In the area in which you give, you will also receive. Therefore, when you write letters, then you may also receive letters in return. You can give love and you are going to receive back love. You can also give material things and you can receive back material things, because the seed reproduces what he represents. When for example you give chocolates, then you should not expect, that you later receive for it apples, but you will get chocolates later. Out of my own life I can pass on the experience, that as a child I gave soaps or candles as a present. What I go later? – Correct, I have candles and soaps given as a present. Or I gave a ball point pen and I get always ball point pen as a present. By this I have not to buy myself a ball point pen any more, because the harvest comes in. Also money is a seed. In Malachi 3 God says very clearly to his people, that they rob him with tithes and offerings. In verses 10 – 12 we can read on:

Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that [there shall] not [be room] enough [to receive it]. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.

This scripture in Malachi will be often used for money (but can be used also for other things). If we give God the tithes, which of course belong to him, He will open the window of heaven and give a blessing (harvest), which exceeds our capacity to keep it (see also Proverbs 3:9-10). He promises also, that he holds back the devourer, that is everywhere we can suffer loss. When you discover, that in your life items go broken or you lose them, then check, if you give the tithes regularly. When you give it, then God will help you, that you get no damage. Also if the tithes wholly belongs to God, we have to give it of all our hearts and with joy and he will give us, because he has a heart of a giver.

In every area of life we can sow seeds. I have heard a story from a person who had big debts and who gave a large amount at an offering at a convection. Thereby he has said to his amount of money, that it is a seed in order to get out of the debts. The debts were a multiple bigger than the amount, which he has given. God has honoured this and has brought him out of debt. This does not mean that God opens the window of heaven and let money pour down. Because this would be counterfeit money, instead God uses people or opportunities (do not limit God). God brings finances in your life on ways, which you cannot imagine yourself, and God will help you out your situation. It may even be, that debts will be pronounced non-existent. When you give an amount at an offering, then you can name this amount (it becomes a seed). By this you sow a seed and this seed will bring fruit.

As we have already seen, if we sow, then also comes a harvest. This harvest can be very big. The Bible speaks of thirty-, sixty- or a hundred fold. The harvest can also be bigger than you actually have utilisation for. Or rephrase: where you sow, you will harvest and where you harvest, you become rich. This does not mean, that you adopt resp. accumulate material goods by sowing and reaping, but as already mentioned on another place, God gives seeds to the sower for food and for sowing. This example we can take and place it in a financial or material environment. God allows you to purchase certain things by sowing and reaping, but also to pass on to the one who is in need. Then you can give in liberty. Through this passing on you sow again. Through the sowing again a harvest comes and with the harvest financial goods that you can pass on again. This should be a continuous process. It is important that we as Christians and as the body of Christ get material and financial goods, as good stewards like the Bible mentions it again and again, because we stand shortly before a big revival. Such a revival is also a harvest time. One who works in the agriculture knows, that the harvest is the most expensive season in the year. Likewise it is true in the kingdom of God. In the coming revival lots of finances will be needed to spread the gospel and meet the need of needy people. So the good news will spread, not only the word with nice words and consolation, but that also the needs of people will be met. I know a project, which is called „Feed the Hungry“, where to the people food will be given, but also the gospel. Both goes hand in hand. Not only give the gospel, but also care about the needs of people. Thereby our Christian testimony will be true, respected and accepted. That is why it is important, that we do not look of the sowing and harvesting as personnel enrichment, but that also parts of this harvest goes out again, so that the kingdom of God will be built and enlarged.

This is part three of three. Did you miss part 1 or part 2?

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The Meaning and Purpose of Salvation

I don’t know how long you are a Christian. One thing is sure, in the course of time, a contentment, a routine and at least also a certain comfort comes into the life. Jesus‘ work of redemption (salvation) rescued us not only from something but also to something. God’s will is not at all that we make ourselves comfortable in the acquired sin forgiveness. Return with me to the cross where our life with Christ and in Christ started. Discover again what Jesus did for you at the cross and what God still intends to do with you!

From what have we been delivered?

The apostle Paul had a big revelation over it and writes this in a letter to the church in Ephesus. I lean my implementations at the chapter 2, the verses 1 – 13. The first three verses show the situation, in which we were, when we haven’t made Jesus as Lord of our life:

And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins, wherein in times past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience. Among these also we all in times past had our manner of living in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. (V. 1 – 3)

That’s the way God saw us and so He sees the people still today, that have not yet receive the salvation. With very impressive words, Paul portrays this situation. Do you get also a certain impression of how God sees this condition? The people in this situation earned God’s anger. As we did at that time, too. However God is a God of love. Do you see the conflict, which God had: on one hand He loves the people and on the other hand the sins provoke His anger.

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ (by grace ye are saved) (V. 4 – 5)

Not anger is the driving force with God. The above verse speaks of rich in mercy and big love. Nowhere in the Bible it says that God is rich in anger. God is a giver and He has much mercy and love. His nature is to give much mercy and love. When we were saved, not convincing arguments and big discussions were crucial. It was God’s mercy and love, which moved us toward Him. He had loved us when we still were in sins. He had sent His son to the earth, took on our sins at the cross and died there. However God had resurrected His son on the third day. So we have been made alive with Christ. Now, we live no more for ourselves but for Christ.
We saw that we were saved from our sins and trespasses by Jesus death. By His death, we were saved from our spiritual death and were made alive. We were allowed to experience the reconciliation with God.

To what have we been saved?

Now, the work of Christ’s redepemtion is not yet finished. With salvation, God had also a purpose. When He created Adam, He gave him the authority to rule the earth. Through the sin fall, Adam lost this authority. It lasted very long until the time was ripe in order to send Jesus to the earth. Where Adam had missed, Jesus came for to restore it. Jesus came on the earth and has gotten back the authority and given it to the people. With Jesus resurrection, we also are resurrected with Him and been translated into heavenly regions:

and hath raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. (V. 6 – 7)

Many Christians are afraid of the devil because he is so mighty in their eyes. However, the devil is no more in heaven. In Christ Jesus we have been translated into heavenly regions. In the spirit, we take a position in Heaven. Where is the devil? We don’t have to look up on him, because he doesn’t stand over us. He is in the second heaven. We can look down at him and consequently can practice authority over the devil. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil (1. John 3, 8). Still today, the devil builds things diligently. Jesus gave us the authority to tear down these works and even to destroy them. Another scripture in the Bible says, that Jesus talked about the devil and said as conclusion:

I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly (John 10:10 KJ21).“

We can receive this abundance and can even pass it on to people. We build also His Kingdom through it.

Even if we are conscious for ourselves about this position of authority, it may never be a cause for pride. Therefore, the apostle Paul also admonishes us:

For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God – not by works, lest any man should boast. (Eph. 2, 8 – 9)

God’s mercy saved us and not any good actions. It is God’s outsized gift to us. This should make us conscious that we walk in real humility before God and should be dependent on Him. We act on His behalf. Although we were not saved by good works, we were saved to accomplish good works:

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath beforehand ordained, that we should walk in them. (V. 10)

We are not asked to accomplish humanly good actions, like for example a donation to a beneficent organization, a ministration, with which makes us look good, etc. In every good work we should do God’s will. Also Jesus did good works:

how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. (Acts 10:38 KJ21)

Notice it says, Jesus walked around and doing good. At the beginning of His ministry Jesus also defined this:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor. He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. (Luke 4:18-19 KJ21)

We should not try to do these things in a frantic way. As it is written in the epistle to Ephesus that God already prepared the good works so that we could walk in them (and not do it in our own strength).

Finally, Paul shows us again, where and who we were and where we are today:

Therefore, remember that ye, being in times past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by those who are called the Circumcision in the flesh so made by hands – remember that at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and being without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus, ye who once were far off have been brought nigh by the blood of Christ. (V. 11 – 13)

These verses from the second chapter of the epistle to Ephesus should encourage us to consider our walk with God and should overwhelm us again from God’s big mercy and compassion. At the same time, it should be also an incentive to tell other people about God’s offer of mercy and compassion.

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