Sow Wrong – So Long

wheat-field

Sow Wrong – So Long

Mark 4:14-20

“The sower soweth the word. And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended. And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, 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. And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred”

The Parable of the Sower is a great message on how the Word is sown into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, and it also a great message of what we need to lookout for so that it is not stolen from our hearts as well. As I was praying about this section of scripture the Lord showed me many things that will stop the seed of the Word from finding good ground in my heart and bringing forth good fruit in my life. This is very important because only those seeds sown in good ground will bring forth fruit which means if I am not having the fruit I want growing in my life then there has to be something that I are doing or not doing that is stopping it. After I was shown this I decided to share it in with my brothers and sisters in the hope that others my need this Word so that they can be set free from whatever is holding them back. I pray you are blessed and strengthened by His Word in Jesus name.

The Wayside Seed

In Mark 4:15 it says that the first way we can lose the Word being sown is because it falls on the way side. Mark version reads like this “And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts”. However, Matthew’s version adds a little more detail because it says that “When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understands it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catches away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side” (Matthew 13:19). So what we are seeing in Matthew is that when the seed is sown the “hearer” of the Word does not understand it, and immediately Satan comes and takes it from them (Mark’s Version). The word understand here is the Greek word “syniemi” which means to “bring together, to put the perception with the thing perceived, or to join together to the mind. In other words the Word was not perceived and did not join with the mind of whoever was listening to it. So as I was reading this I asked the Lord what can could possibly cause a Believer to not understand the Word, and the Lord showed me several reasons why the seed could fall on the way side in our lives.

One of the things that can prevent us from understanding the Word of God is that we are not really born again. The Bible says that Believers have the Holy Spirit which teaches them all things (1 John 2:27 & John 14:26) so if we are not grasping the Word then it is a possibility that we are not saved. Also, in 1 Corinthians 2:14 it says that “… the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned”. This clearly says that the natural man “cannot” know the things of the Spirit so this could be someone who is not born again as well as someone who is walking in the flesh and not in the Spirit. However, when the Holy Spirit awakens us from our fallen state then and only then do we have the capacity to be saved.

A second reason that may cause the seed to fall on the wayside is that we may have sin in our lives that we do not want to stop. If we have unconfessed sin then we must realize that there is no place for the seed of the Word to go because the ground has been made unusable by our sin. There are too many sins to mention them all but we can start with a few common ones like adultery, slander, fornication, lust, greed, gossip, drinking, watching ungodly shows, spending too much time on hobbies, theft, sewing discord among the brethren, idolatry, or anything else that GOD has called a sin. Sadly, one of the biggest sins that many people overlook is unforgiveness which is in my opinion the biggest seed killer of all. Jesus said that if we do not forgive others that he will not forgive us (Matthew 6:15). In the Lord’s Prayer Jesus said to “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors” (Matthew 6:12). The word “as” carries the meaning of “in the same manner” so let’s read this verse again. “Forgive us our debts in the same manner that we forgive our debtors”, and when you read the verse like this then it has a whole new meaning. I heard Robert Morris say it like this; if you still talking about something someone did to you then you haven’t forgiven them and that is SO true. We must remember that is no limit to how many times we are to forgive because Jesus said “…I say not unto thee, until seven times: but, until seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:22). Sometimes this is not easy, but when I have to forgive someone I have to remind myself of how many times Jesus has forgiven me for the sins I committed against him and sometimes still do. We need to remember that forgiveness is not an emotion, but forgiveness is a response to the commandment Jesus gave us. If we honestly with a pure heart forgive someone even though we do not feel like it God will come in and replace the anger or hurt with His love, and he will heal the wound caused by whatever the offender did to us. I know in my life I had to do this with so many people who hurt me as a child (relatives and church members), and I was not set free till I did. I heard it put this way “Having unforgiveness in your heart is letting the offender live in your head rent free”.

The next reason the seed falls on the wayside is because we are allowing ourselves to be distracted while it is being brought forth. Have you ever been in Church and allowed your mind to drift off? No? Me either!!! (NOT) Of course, we all have and this is a major reason why the seed is sown on the way side because we are not paying attention. The next time you are in Church look around during the service and pay attention to what people are doing. Some will be right on point and listening to whoever is delivering the Word while others will be texting or talking about something that has nothing to do with the Word such as football, dinner, plans, a television show, or a hundred other things. If we are not even listening to the Word then how can we ever expect to understand it? Also, how will it find good ground in our heart if we have no clue what was said? Could this by people are live such defeated lives or have allowed themselves to become deceived by false teachers and prophets? You bet it is. So we need to turn off the cell phones, tell our friends and family to “Shhh”, and pay attention in when the Word is being presented so that we can understand what is being said!!

The fourth reason that the seed may fall on the way side is because we go to the Church with bad attitudes, go halfheartedly, or even because we don’t want to be there. If we do not care about what is going on in Church then why are we there? To be seen? To give God our weekly tip of the hat? Remember, we will all be accountable for what we do and this includes what we do with God’s Word. We need to pray every time we are planning on going to hear God’s Word so that we can get out of it everything we can because prayer helps to prepare our hearts for the Word. Always remember, Satan does NOT want the seed to fall on good ground because when it does then we can rip his kingdom apart.

Finally, the Word tells us that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (1 Timothy 3:16), which is an awesome promise from God. However, how can God teach us sound doctrine, reprove and correct us, or instruct us in righteousness if the Word of God he is trying to sow in us falls on the wayside? The real answer is that He can’t! Of all the things I was shown this next thing was truly the most eye opening of them all, Satan KNOWS when the seed falls on the way side. I have read this scripture for years, but it never clicked that for Satan to snatch it away immediately then he must know that it fell on the wayside, but how? We know that Satan cannot be everywhere, but we also have to realize that he has an army of demons who are watching us and they pay attention to what we are saying and what we are doing. A few of the ways that demons might be able to know that the Word fell on the wayside of our hearts is because we were talking, texting, sleeping, or because they can tell that we are not paying attention when the Word of God was being delivered. We have to remember that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17) so we need to realize how important it is to pay attention to the Word as it goes forth. We must always be on our guard and that means guarding the seed that is being sown in our hearts with all diligence!  (Proverbs 4:23 “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life”.

The Stony Ground Seed

The next “bad” ground that Mark talks is stony ground, and he tells us these people are those who “when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness, and have no root in themselves and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended (Mark 4:16-17). The three things we need to understand about this seed type is that it is received with joy, the seed does not have any root so its endurance is low, and that when persecution for the “Words” sake comes people are offended and the seed is totally destroyed.

The first thing we notice about stony ground is that people will be joyous about the Word they have heard, however it is only surface joy or in other words superficially. The Amplified Bible reads the verse like this “In a similar way these [in the second group] are the ones on whom seed was sown on rocky ground, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy [but accept it only superficially]…”. When people only receive the Word with superficial joy or with an outward appearance (on the surface only) then the seed has no chance to find deep roots. Have we ever been in a service where we get excited over a sermon; however not to long afterwards it is almost like we didn’t hear a thing? I know I have done this because it is so easy to get caught up into the “hype” of a message and not really get the message God was trying to tell us. Another thing that came to me while I was praying on this was I realized that sometimes (not always) our “emotions” can deceive and trick us into thinking we have received a Word from God when in fact we haven’t. We must be always be  extremely careful what we think God is saying to us and make sure that it is God talking to us and not just our own mind or even a dart from the enemy. We should try all the spirits because there are many false teachers in the Church. 1 John 4:1-5 instructs us to “… Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them”. We must always make sure the seed of the Word that we are getting is from God and not from satan or one of his messengers who are nothing more than wolves in sheep’s clothing.

The second thing about stony ground is that the Word has no root, and to understand this we must understand basic botany. The four main functions of a plant’s root system is to absorb water and nutrients, anchor the plant body to the ground, store food and nutrients, and to assist in plant reproduction. If we look at this from a spiritual standpoint then we can see that the Word of God must first be absorbed into our spirit because this is how we get spiritual nutrition. I heard it said that “The Word with no Spirit we dry up, and the Spirit with no Word we blow up but when we both in the correct quantities then we GROW UP”! The war we are in we is just like being soldiers in a natural battle because having great weapons is awesome, but if we are not being fed and watered properly then we will falter and fall because how can we fight if we are spiritually wasting away? This is why we must make sure that the Word just doesn’t just go into our heads, but that we absorb it into our spirits so that we retain it. Second, the roots help attach the plant to the ground. Jeremiah writes “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is the Lord. He is like a tree planted beside waters that stretches out its roots to the stream. It fears not the heat when it comes, its leaves stay green. In the year of drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruit” (Jeremiah. 17:7-9). If we are receiving the seed of the Word as we should then we should become anchored. In Ephesians 4:14-16 it says “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love”. Do you see it? Instead of being tossed around we are to “grow up into him in all things”, and the only way we will ever do this is if we are ANCHORED to Christ or in other words “rooted and grounded in His love so that we can understand the love of Christ and the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:17-19). We must always remember that we are “NOT” to be tossed around by winds of doctrine and the only way to do that is by having the seed of the Word of God find root in us. If we are grounded in Christ as a tree is grounded by its roots then storms may come and blow us back and forth for a while, but we will NEVER break!

The third thing that roots do is to store food and nutrients for various functions of the plant. So why do we want to store food? We store them for the same reason plants which is to make sure we have the proper nutrients when we need them and that we do not die spiritually. Think of your body for a second, and think about why it stores food. The natural body stores food and nutrients for energy, growth, and for every bodily function we have and what happens if it doesn’t get the proper food and nutrients? It can get sick and in worse case scenarios it can die. So how does this translate spiritually? David tells in Psalm 119:11 that “Thy word have I hid in mine heart that I might not sin against thee”. The only way that will ever achieve what God has for us is by having his Word in our hearts (not our heads) and using the nutrients of the Word to grow and become strong in Christ. Every sport has a different set of muscles it uses, and every sport has a different set of nutrients and foods that it must consume to maintain top physical condition in their sport. For example, a boxer pumps up muscle while trying to maintain some speed but a weight lifter pumps up muscle and doesn’t care about speed. On the other hand tri-Athletes want toned muscles because they have to find a balance of muscle, speed, and endurance. While all three may eat some of the same basic food groups they also have different specialty foods that will help them in their particular field of athletics. It is the same thing in the spiritual realm because all of us as Christians need basic “Word” groups, but depending on where we are in the Lord we may have or need something in the Word that another Christian may not need. As far as the storing part, if we are to overcome our enemy we need to have the Word in our hearts so that we can pull it out when we need it to fend off the attacks of satan, and if we don’t have the Word stored in our hearts we will get destroyed every time we are attacked.

Finally, roots are help in plant reproduction or in other words we are to make disciples. A lot of people on TV are talking about the blessings, the blessings, and the blessings but what did Jesus say to do? “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit… teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you…” (Matthew 28:19-20). In plain English, we are to reproduce the Christ who lives in us into other people and we can only do this if we are grounded (rooted) in Christ. Do orange trees grow tomatoes? Do tomato plants grow coconuts? Of course they don’t so what should a Christian be producing? It saddens me to say this but many people in the Church have never witnessed to anyone about Christ so how are they reproducing as they should? I mean, do we really love Jesus enough to share him or do we just love Him enough to show up on Sunday morning? We as Believers are to produce what is known as the “fruit of the spirit” which is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance” (Galatians 5:22-23). However, there are also the works (fruit) of the flesh which are adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, and reveling” (Galatians 5:19-21). We have to realize that if we have these fruits then they will also reproduce in those around us. No you say? Have you ever been down or distraught and walked into a room where a Believer is producing joy and peace? I have and it is amazing that when I did their joy and peace started reproducing in me and destroyed my unhappiness and anxiety (Disclaimer: If I allowed it to). Jesus said we are the salt of the earth so what fruit we are producing WILL rub off on those around us, and this means the good fruit as well as the bad so what fruit are we producing?

The last problem with the stony ground is that when “…affliction or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended” (Mark 4:17). We must remember this one very important aspect about the seed of the Word and that is when it is deposited “affliction and persecution” is without a doubt going to come for the “Word’s Sake”. A clear view of this is in the Amplified because it reads verse seventeen like this “…when trouble or persecution comes because of the word, immediately they [are offended and displeased at being associated with me and] stumble and fall away”. Anyone who has been walking with God will tell you that when God gives you a word that is going to be tested. If you got a revelation on healing you can bet sickness will attack. If you got a revelation about how to overcome a particular sin you can bet you are about to be tempted like never before. However, if you always remember that affliction and persecution are coming because of the Word then you can be ready for it and know that it isn’t God sending you a “test”. If we read this from the Greek it would read something like this “afterward when affliction [pressing, pressure, tribulation or distress] or persecution [to make flee, harassment or to be mistreated] arises for the Word’s [logos = sayings of God or decree of the moral precepts of God] sake; immediately they are offended [enticed into sin or to cause to fall away or to stumble and become entangled]”. I would suggest that you read this a few times and let the message sink in. Whenever we receive a Word (seed) from God our enemy is GOING to come and test us to see whether we will bring forth fruit or if we will be offended! This is why we must always be prepared to receive it in good ground so that we will grow in Christ!

The Thorny Ground Seed   

The final “bad” ground that Mark talks about is thorny ground and he explains it like this “…these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, 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” (Mark 4:18-19). The thorny ground people hear (understand) the word, however it has three enemies that will come and try to take it away. The Amplified Bible breaks verse down like this, “…but the worries and cares of the world [the distractions of this age with its worldly pleasures], the deceitfulness [the false security or glamour] of wealth [or fame], and the passionate desires for all the other things creep in and choke out the word, and it becomes unfruitful”. Once again we will look at this verse with the Greek breakdown so we can really get a closer glimpse into what Jesus wanted us to know about this type of ground. “…these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear [understand] the word [logos = sayings of God or decree of the moral precepts of God], and the cares [anxiety] of this world, and the deceitfulness [cheating, deceiving, or beguiling] of riches [abundance of external possessions], and the lusts [lust after, cover, or craving & desiring for what is forbidden] of other things [the rest of things that remain that leads to becoming destitute or lacking] entering in choke [strangle or hinder growth] the word [sayings of God or decree of the moral precepts of God], and it becometh unfruitful [barren or not yielding as it should]. Once again it very clear what strangles the Word, however these people have no excuse because it says that they “understood” the Word that was delivered to them.

As Believers we must always be on the lookout for thorns that will choke the Word that God has sown in our hearts. One thing that really breaks my heart are Christians who will look at how much money or possessions someone has and if they have a lot then they assume that they are “Blessed by God”. They do not realize that to be blessed like this all you really need is a market (TV or Radio), a “Christiany” sounding message, and the next thing you know you are getting thousands of dollars sent to you weekly for that “special anointed” prayer cloth. Answer this honestly… How many people do you know who have been sending their money to these preachers, teachers, and prophets for years have reached the same level of “blessing” that these ministers of “God’s” word have? Do you see it? As Christians we are to use our money wisely so that we can advance the Kingdom of God (not our bank accounts) and we will give an account of every penny that we give to someone who is ungodly or to someone that God did not tell us to give it to. But Dan, I have to work for a living to pay my bills so I give my “seed” money to “Prophet So & So” so that God will bless me and when he does then I can go out into all the world and make disciples. If you look at the Church today, and then look at the Church in the Book of Acts you will see a totally different “Church”. In Chapter 4 the people of the Church brought everything they had and put it at the feet of the Apostles who then distributed it to the Church as there was need. I believe that the reason God had them do this was so that they could go out and share the Gospel as they were commanded (and not be tied down to this world in any way) and so that there would be no prima donnas in the Church like there are today. I believe that God will bless His children with finances but NOT so they can stick it in their “private bank accounts” or so that they can buy “houses, boats, cars and planes” for their personal pleasure. If God blesses anyone with money or “things” it is so that they can advance the Kingdom of God, help their brethren, or help people in the world but they are not blessed so that they can acquire “earthly things” or have huge “private bank accounts”. Answer this, why would God have his people buy all this junk in the world and basically set up “their” kingdom here? This is taught nowhere in the New Testament and Jesus himself said that His Kingdom was NOT of this world and that He is going to prepare a place for us. If he is preparing our mansion in heaven then why do we need a mansion here? Isn’t his mansion good enough? Aren’t his plans for us good enough? Many people have been led astray by this “prosperity” gospel to the point that if you try and share with them this message they will call you a heretic. When Jesus said “…seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” he was talking about food, drink, and clothing not money or mansions or boats or cars or planes or anything else of this world. Once again let’s read this verse “…these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear [understand] the word [logos = sayings of God or decree of the moral precepts of God], and the cares [anxiety] of this world, and the deceitfulness [cheating, deceiving, or beguiling] of riches [abundance of external possessions], and the lusts [lust after, cover, or craving & desiring for what is forbidden] of other things [the rest of things that remain that leads to becoming destitute or lacking] entering in choke [strangle or hindering growth] the word [logos = sayings of God or decree of the moral precepts of God], and it becometh unfruitful [barren or not yielding as it should]. I pray that we all look around our lives to see if there are any thorns that may be choking the Word (seed) of God in our hearts. If we do this then we can have what is meant for us as believers, which is victory!

The Good Ground Seed

Mark 4:20 “And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred”. When we break this down it says they which are sown on good (excellent in nature & characteristics, genuine, and noble) ground (arable land); such as hear (understand or comprehend) the Word (sayings of God or decree of the moral precepts of God), and receive (take upon one’s self and accept) it, and it brings forth fruit (fruit bearing and productive); some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred. If we can dodge the three bad types of ground then we will bear fruit, but we must remember that we are the only ones who can stop it from growing and God is the only one who can make it grow. In addition, there is no guarantee about the size of our growth (thirty fold, sixty fold, or a hundred fold) because the size of our growth is in God’s hand. Always know that when you are out in the world sharing the Gospel or God’s Word that you may be planting or watering but it is God who does the work and never let pride sneak in. Paul said it best when he said “For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but GOD GAVE THE INCREASE”. So it doesn’t matter if we are receiving the Word, planting the Word, or watering the Word it is always GOD who gives the increase so that we can “Go out into all the world and share the Gospel”

I hope this small message helps you, encourages you, and blesses you and if you have any comments (I do not do complaints) feel free to email me at danperry1960@gmail.com.

Peace and Grace,

Dan