Original Post: 2012 Updated: 2020
Jesus often taught His disciples using parables. In Luke 8:5, He presented a parable to his disciples concerning the concept of sowing and the types of soil that seed might fall on. Definitions of the word “sow,” according to the Free Dictionary, include 1. to scatter (seed) over the ground for growing; 2. to spread (land, for example) with grain; 3. to strew something around or over an area.
Luke 8:5-8 (KJV)
5 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.
6 And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.
7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.
8 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.
His disciples questioned Him about the parable, and He explained it this way:
Luke 8:11-15 (KJV)
11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In this parable, Jesus helps us to understand what can happen when the Word of God is presented to men. A minister preaches the Word of God, spreading that Word out to the congregation just as a sower would do. The hearers all hear the same Word, but what happens after that depends on the hearts of the recipients. The question that we need to analyze is just what kind of soil in this parable represents the condition of my heart?
Those who are like the wayside soil
The first type of soil presented in the parable is the type that is so poor that it allows the devil to come and steal the Word of God. This is wayside soil that is shallow, unfertile, and superficial. This represents the person who hears the word and refuses to obey it. While there are many types of people who fall into this category, let’s look at three of them. They are the “church hopper,” “the silly church child,” and the “weak waysider.”
The church hopper is an individual who moves from one church to another, ever learning but never coming to the knowledge of the truth.
2 Timothy 3:7 (KJV)
7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
When you talk to the church hopper, they are often able to give you a complete and personal overview of almost every denomination there is. They “know” all of the churches in the city and have personally met many of the pastors. They often know some gossip about each of the churches and can tell you why they chose not to remain at each. They frequently confuse and have even been asked to leave some of the churches. To them, nobody in the churches is saved. The church hopper puts in many miles looking for a church that suits their “requirements.” In their minds, however, each has failed. The church hopper does not want to be pastored, yet they want to appear to be “religious.” Their heart of unbelief tells them that no church meets their “high standards,” and they look with disdain upon everyone.
The church hopper is so busy trying to pick up something negative when they visit a church that when the Word of God seeks to penetrate their heart, they can’t receive it. The precious Word of God falls upon that shallow ground, and before the church hopper leaves the congregation, everything that the Minister preached is lost to them. They might say, “The music was too loud” or, “the preacher preached too long” or “the babies cried too much.” Something is always wrong in every church, but the net result is that they allowed the devil to steal the Word right out of their hearts.
Sometimes the church hopper is aware of why he has a personal problem with a church, but he simply refuses to acknowledge it. For example, he or she may know that God has called them into true Holiness, but they just do not want to walk therein. So, they spend all of their time trying to find a substitute. The problem is this: when God has called an individual to a certain level in Him, nothing else will satisfy their spirit.
The church hopper spends all of his or her time bouncing around, trying to find fulfillment for the hole in their soul that only God can fill. My word to the church hopper: earnestly seek God about the appropriate place for you to attend church. Then, the day you hear His voice, please do not harden your heart. Go to where He sends you, then sit, listen, and learn so that you may believe and be saved.
There is another type of individual in this category, and that is someone that we will call the “silly church child.” This is a person who has been raised in the church but never became a part of the church. The “silly church child” is an adult who never grew out of the childhood stage, spiritually. The silly church child knows all of the songs and has practiced a shout so long that they can shout on demand. Some can even speak in some kind of made-up tongues. They can beat the bells off of a tambourine and may be able to quote some scriptures. But the trouble is, they have never been saved. They don’t have a clue about what the Word of God means for their lives. Some have even been baptized in water, but when they went down a dry devil, they came up a wet devil. They have a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof. When you try to witness to them, they know more about the Word of God than you do. You can’t get a thing across to them because they are so calloused that the Word cannot convict them of their wrongdoings.
Here’s an example of how a “silly church child” manifests himself. At the funeral of a very famous gospel singer, we all saw a “silly church child” in action. A well-known public figure humorously related his childhood experiences in church. Then, while speaking behind the pulpit at the funeral, he used an expletive in the house of God. He cussed in church! He was so calloused, disrespectful, and lost that he felt that he was above the need to respect God’s house. As a result, this wealthy, well known world-acclaimed person stood behind God’s holy pulpit and did the unthinkable. He cussed! I hope and pray that he will seek forgiveness for that transgression and that God will save him.
Some silly church children make fun of everything spiritual. Some gospel comedians fall into this category. Sometimes you’ll see them as children and teens in the balcony or the back of the church making fun of how the Saints praise God. What they don’t realize is that salvation is no laughing matter. Some, if not careful, are going to laugh themselves right into Hell. One second in Hell will slap the silliness right out of them, but by then it will be too late. These are in the “wayside ground” category and they are as lost as they can be. Some are on their way straight to Hell from the church. “Save them, oh God, before it is too late” is our prayer.
Some have allowed others to trample on the Word that was sown into their hearts. I’ll call the person who allows this to happen to them the “weak waysider.” Just as the birds ate the seed that fell on the wayside, some individuals may attempt to trample the salvation out of someone else’s heart. The trampers have no desire to be saved, and they don’t want another to be saved either. But, brothers and sisters, you cannot allow anyone to separate you from the love of God. You have to be strong in the Lord and the power of His might. Just because a spouse or family member or a so-called friend doesn’t like it because you got saved, you’ve got to hold on to God.
When I first got saved, my husband told me to choose between him and Jesus. When I decided to serve God, he threw our then six-year-old son and me out, took everything, including our house, and divorced me. But I held on to God, and He has truly blessed my life. I made up my mind that I’d rather have Jesus than anything that this world has to offer, including that man. God has done things for me that are exceedingly and abundantly above all that I could ever have imagined as a result of my decision to hold on to Him. He gave me more than I had before and a wonderfully saved husband as well. And, above all else, I have Jesus! (By the way, my son and I, along with other family members, prayed for the man that threw us out just before he died, and God saved him and took him to Heaven.)
There is an answer for the church hopper, the silly church child, and the weak “waysider”. You can ask God to break up your fallow ground. Ask Him to forgive you and to save you. He can change even you because there is nothing too hard for the Lord. If you find that you need salvation, give your heart to the Lord today.
Hebrews 3:15 (KJV)
15 While it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.
Those who are like the stony soil
The next type of soil in Jesus’ parable is stony soil. Stony ground is dry and rock hard, through and through. Jesus’s parable says that this type of individual received the Word with joy, but because it had no moisture, it withered. It is essential that once an individual is saved, that he follows on to know the Lord. When you are baptized with the Holy Ghost, you need to be around others who are also filled with the Holy Ghost. While God is well able to keep you anywhere, the moisture of others who are also filled helps you to hold on to your joy. The testimonies, the rejoicing, and the victories of other Saints are the moisture that the Word needs to grow in your heart.
Some people who are likened unto the stony soil have no depth, and no stability to withstand persecution or trials of life. This is the type of adult that I will call The Big Baby. When these individuals receive the Word, they take off running for the Lord. They are very excited about being delivered out of the world of sin…but they are superficial. They won’t pray and seek God, they refuse to study His Word, and they are not faithful to the House of God. When the first little trial hits them, they can’t take it, and they fall away. Let’s say that Ms. Big Baby gets saved and baptized in the Holy Ghost on Sunday. Then, when she gets to work on Monday morning, she discovers that she lost her job. Instead of standing firm and trusting God for an even better job, Ms. Big Baby tucks tail and runs away from God, crying, “It’s too hard to live saved.” That individual may not be fit for the kingdom of Heaven because the Word says in Luke 9:62:
62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
It is essential that the Saints who are established in the faith attempt to encourage and nourish this individual. New converts are indeed babes in Christ and need the love and nurturing that the church affords. The Big Babies need prayer and support, but they also must have something within themselves that will allow them to receive the love that the Saints have to offer. Pray, pray, pray for them because the Enemy often hits them with hard blows during the early stages of their salvation. God is well able to keep them if they want to be kept.
There is another type of person who is likened unto the stony soil, and it is the Know-it-all. Have you ever tried to talk to a person about the Scriptures who is so hard-headed and hard-hearted that you cannot get a word across to them? The Know-it-all may even tell you that they are interested in following Christ if only someone could answer their questions. But as soon as (or even before) you answer their first question, they are ready with two or three more. The tone of the “questions” quickly takes on an argumentative air. Often this person is a backslider who knows something about the Scriptures, but who has no intention of really living according to the Word of God. After a few minutes of talking to this person, you realize that he or she has no real interest in the information that you have. They simply want to argue and debate the scriptures. We are told, however, not to argue about the Scriptures.
2 Timothy 2:23-26 (KJV)
23 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.
24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
After you have attempted to reach this kind of person, you may soon realize that they are merely wasting your time. Continue to pray for them, but end the conversation. All too often, that person leaves you feeling that they have “won.” The truth of the matter is, however, that if they don’t change, they actually will have lost all. They have not rejected you, but Jesus.
Those who are like the thorny soil
The next type of soil described in the parable is thorny soil. This type of soil has so many cares, concerns about riches, and lusts of other things that they actually choke out the Word of God. Mark 4: 19 describes the thorns:
Mark 4:19 (KJV)
19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.
Some celebrities and wealthy people may fall into this category. They may feel that they do not need God because their material needs are met. Wealth for them is not a blessing because it will damn their souls to Hell.
Some people allow the ungodly lusts of their family members to override their love of God. An actual demonstration of our love of God is obedience to His commandments. It is a sad truth that some individuals may have to separate themselves from others, even family, to walk with God.
2 Corinthians 6:14-18 (KJV)
14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
We know that we can’t be saved when we are picking up a fifth of liquor for Mama because she is an alcoholic or a pack of cigarettes for Pops because he is addicted to nicotine.
Jobs may have to change. If an individual works for a distillery when he gets saved, for example, he needs to get a different position. He must love God more than that job.
A woman who supplemented her income before salvation by sleeping with “friends” must separate herself from that sin. Once you have heard and received the truth, you must choose to live according to the truth because you cannot be saved continuing in sin.
If your “fiancé” is not your husband, he has to go until you are married. When the Word of God shines upon your fornication, you must choose righteousness.
If you were a cigarette smoker or weed-head before salvation, that stuff has to go. God will deliver you from old ungodly habits.
If your former druggy “friends” don’t believe in the Word of God, refuse to be saved, and are actively trying to pull you back into their sinful ways, they have to go.
You have to see all sins and distractions as thorns. You must get rid of them, or they will choke the very Christ out of you and cause you to lose your soul. Get delivered from all of your hang-ups and stay delivered. When God delivers, He does it all the way. He doesn’t decrease you from a pack-a-day cigarette habit down to a ½ pack a day habit. He delivers completely, but you have to let them go.
Those who are like good ground
The final type of soil that Jesus spoke of in the parable was good ground. Those who are likened unto the good ground, according to Dake’s Reference Bible, are those individuals who hear the Word of God, wholeheartedly and eternally surrender to obey it and attempt to please God in all things. They get rid of all shallowness, fickleness, irresponsibility, along with the deceitfulness of riches and pleasures, lusts of the flesh, the pride of life, and passions for other things that would hinder them in their walk with God. They are honest and genuine and conform to the light of the Scriptures.
When we allow the Word of God to be sown into the good ground of our hearts, we will be the fruitful Christians that God would have us to be. We can win others to the Lord because we allow the Holy Spirit to work through us. We are faithful to God and allow His love to flow through our lives. We are on our way to Heaven and want to take as many people with us as possible. Let us all strive to be representative of God’s good ground. Amen. (To Be Continued in Part 2)