We sometimes think of the parable of the soils as one of the ways Christ trained His disciples—and by extension, the church—to be faithful evangelists. But is that the point of the parable? It doesn’t describe any techniques or methods for sowing the seed of the gospel. And there’s no information about the character or the giftedness of the sower.
The fact is the parable isn’t about the sower at all; it’s about the soils. As John MacArthur explains in his sermon “Responsive to the Gospel,” Christ delivered this familiar parable to help prepare His disciples for the inevitability of people not responding to the gospel. The Lord was bracing them to face rejection in their future ministries.
And as John explains, we need to learn the same lesson.
Now here’s the basic point of this parable. It is this, that the result of the hearing of the gospel depends on the condition of the heart to whom the gospel is addressed. Did you get that? It is not the skill of the sower. It is not the attractiveness of the seed. It is the condition of the soil. So that what we are dealing with in this matter of evangelism is the character of those who hear.
Now this is so important. I have known Christians all my life who have backed off from witnessing for Christ because they feel they are not effective because they don’t see a lot of results. And this parable is here to dispel that ridiculous notion, that somebody’s salvation is dependent on the skill of the sower or on some manipulated capability in the seed. Not so. It’s dependent on the condition of the heart. You have unresponsive hearts, impulsive hearts, preoccupied hearts, and prepared hearts. And they’re all out there. And if you get the seed right . . . the only issue is the condition of the heart.
That is a tremendous encouragement as we face a rebellious world that wants nothing to do with God. We don’t make the gospel more potent through our techniques or strategies or personal magnetism. We simply must be faithful to sow it, and trust the Lord to oversee the results. He has plowed the field and prepared sinners’ hearts—if we’re faithful to sow the seed, by His grace we will see the fruit.
To listen to “Responsive to the Gospel,” click here.
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