The Bible’s Gospel of John 1:9-13 and the “Parable of the Sower” in Matthew 13:1-9 shows the way redemption generally happens, or regretfully fails to happen. The parable shows how people come to faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, or chose another course both for their life on earth and more importantly for eternity. God prefers that all will come to know him and offers the adoption right to become children of God to all who come to believe in him (John 1:9-13 (NIV): 9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.)
God reveals his word and ways so people have the chance to learn more and get to know God better by applying their reason and strength. God presents his message both to Jews and Gentiles. Today, God through his word and the Holy Spirit calls to those who attend Christian Services and who hear God’s word elsewhere along life’s paths. In the “Parable of the Sower” this is like dropping seeds of God’s word along the path, as illustrated in the Bible in Matthew 13:1-9.
Parable of the Sower: Matthew 13: 1-9 (NIV): 1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 He who has ears, let him hear.“
Resisting & Reasoning:
Many who know and have heard the word is good, unfortunately resist and ignore it to their own present and eternal detriment. Several suspect obeying God will mean turning from their sinful ways and lifestyles which they wish to continue. They fear society will impart a cost like rejection and reduced influence in life. They are worried their wealth outlook in life will be reduced by choosing what is right. The parable of the sower presents the worries of life and deceitfulness of wealth as the reasons (Parable of the Sower Explained: Matthew 13:22 (NIV): 22 The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful). These people use their reason to decide it’s better to focus on other things in life, so they’d rather ignore, resist, and reject God’s word, than to seek it out with their whole heart, mind, and body. We see God’s sorrow for Israel, as they resist God, and willingly forgo God’s generous grace and mercy, that God’s will prefers, and longs for them to embrace (Matthew 23:37 (NIV): 37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing). Knowing the time each person has to search for and recognize and embrace God and God’s word is limited, while God can be found (Isaiah 55:6 (NASB): 6 Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near), means paying special close attention to any resisting or rejecting of God is critical for one’s own eternal benefit.
Recognizing & Reasoning:
Others have difficulty recognizing God, when God’s word is revealed. There are people find it inconvenient to learn more when they have others things they’d prefer to be doing. Prior choices have moved some increasingly further away from the path of life. Their past decisions then make it more difficult to understand it when it is revealed.
Parable of the Sower Explained: Matthew 13:18 & 19 (NIV): 18“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path.
The scriptures identify the pride of human wisdom as a stumbling block, where people too quickly dismiss the truth, thinking what they have learned already makes them wiser, seeking the world’s wisdom rather than God’s. Scripture also explains people reject and ignore it on their own because they find the righteousness of God a discomfort, a stumbling block, compared to their own ideas of how God must be.
1 Corinthians 1:22-24 (NIV): 22 Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
Receiving without Rooting:
It’s great that people do receive God’s word and believe God joyfully. Yet, it’s a tragedy when that belief is only short-lived. Jesus explains why this happens.
Parable of the Sower Explained: Matthew 13:20-21 (NIV): 20The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.
The lesson here is that when a new believer comes to the faith, it’s important to nourish that faith to establish deep root in God’s word. It’s important both for the new believer to nourish it, and also for the current believers to provide a nourishing environment. This is one reason the Apostle Paul stressed how critical it is to meet together, to become part of God’s community of believers.
Hebrews 10:25 (NIV): 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
For those who receive the word of God, without working to dig the roots deeply following Jesus, the tragedy is they forgo the right to become the children of God, to their own eternal detriment.
John 1:12 (NIV): 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,
Receiving & Rooting:
It’d be great if everyone believed and received the word of God for their own eternal benefit. This opens the door for God to work to improve their hearts. It’d be great if all people nourished this belief diligently, a process we’ll call rooting here based on the “Parable of the Sower”. God calls us to seek his kingdom and righteousness as the top priority, showing the high importance to create roots in God’s world, words, and ways.
Matthew 6:33 (NIV): 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
By believing and receiving God’s word, we are given the right to become children of God. This is a right for our soul to be born again by the Holy Spirit of God. We are unable of our own power to do this, since this way of life is naturally foreign to us. We are unable to do what is right all the time due to our sinful nature. We are unable to completely change our own heart and ways ourselves. We are only able to be born again by God’s divine intervention, and hence by God’s divine choice for this to take place, a choice God made after our belief.
John 1:9-13 (NIV): 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
God is gracious and sees our belief and our effort to know him better. God uses our belief and helps us with our unbelief to work his word and will in our lives, souls, and mind. God cause a changes by giving us a new heart and adopting us as his children through his divine intervention.
The Lord God forgave Nineveh’s people when they believed Jonah’s message from God and repented of their sins. Jonah was disappointed because what he prophesied at God’s direction did not come to pass. It’s also possible Jonah was disappointed because God spared his peoples’ enemies. God recognized Nineveh people’s repentant hearts and rewarded them with his mercy. This pattern of God rewarding belief and repentance with pardon and mercy is a pattern more fully revealed when Jesus’ comes and instructs his followers on righteousness.
Jonah 3:10 (ESV): 10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.
The Parable of the Pharisee and Tax Collector instructs that a repentant heart is one God expects in prayer and when reaching out to him, while also informing that to be self-righteous, full of pride, and unrepentant, is sinful.
Luke 18:9-14 (NIV): 9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ 13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ 14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Remaining in Righteousness:
As God’s children, we are instructed first to follow God’s commands with all our heart, mind, and soul, and second to love our neighbors as ourselves.
Matthew 22:36-38 (NIV): 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 “The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ 40 “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.“
Our sinful nature means our works will never be sufficient, because we like everyone has sinned and deserve God’s punishment both for what we do, and for what we omit doing. Yet, it is by faith that we work to live righteous lives, lives that are rooted in faith in God through his Son Jesus Christ, who reveals the God the Father.
Romains 4:1-3 (NIV): 1What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? 2If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
We are called to remain in righteousness, knowing God will keep our souls safe in his hands for all eternity.
Romains 8:38-39 (NIV): 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord
Those who truly receive God’s word dig deep roots in scripture, in faith, and knowledge, and will share their lives, experiences, and God’s words with others. The sharing of faith yields the harvest the “Parable of the Sower” describes when God’s good seed falls upon fertile ground.
Parable of the Sower Explained: Matthew 13:18-23 (NIV): 23 But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.“
When many learn the gospel’s good news, they receive it gladly and rejoice, like the believer in the Parable of the Sower represented by the plant with the shallow root, who later fell away quickly when troubles came. The lesson here is that being joyful is insufficient for salvation, and is an inadequate basis for confidence in salvation. (Matthew 13:20-21 (ESV): 20 The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.) While insufficient for salvation, rejoicing is a regular essential aspect to our faithfully following Jesus. (Philippians 4:4 (NIV): 4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.) Those who seek the Lord are expected to rejoice. (1 Chronicles 16:10 (ESV): 10 Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!)
The Apostle Paul’s message in the Bible’s Book of Acts parallels The Reapers Roadmap message, as once the Jesus was revealed and received as Lord and Christ, believers are encouraged to do their rooting in him, and remaining established as they walk in the faith, with rejoicing through thanksgiving. (Acts 2:6,7 (ESV): 6 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.)
Review & Reflection:
With this detailed presentation, if you have ears to hear, listen carefully and learn deeply the wisdom contained in God’s word as we are reminded in the “Parable of the Sower”.
Parable of the Sower: Matthew 13: 9 (NIV): 9 He who has ears, let him hear.“
Read The Bible further at the Bible Gateway, http://www.biblegateway.com, and remember to keep yourself rooted in the word and with the community of believers.
Key Points: The Reapers Roadmap
- God _____ his Word for people to know him, scattering _______ as the Sower.
- Excessive concern for wealth and worries lead many to ______ and ______ God, like a plant ______ by thorns.
- Prior choices and pride cause failure to _________ God’s message in their heart, enabling the evil one to snatch the message like a bird carrying ______ the seed.
- _________ faith in Jesus Christ without rooting becomes short-lived belief like a plant without deep roots is unable to withstand the sun’s _______.
- _________ after receiving and believing Jesus Christ is key to perseverance over troubles and persecution like plants with deep nourishing roots withstanding scorching heat.
- The Parable of the Pharisee & Tax Collector shows God forgives the sincerely _________, yet withholds forgiveness from the self-righteous before God, who are full of pride, which is sinful.
- Believers’ _________ in righteousness seek to love God and love their neighbors.
- ______ results from deep faith with understanding like a plant in good soil.
- Despite being insufficient for confidence in salvation, ________ is a regular essential aspect to our faithfully following Jesus.
- The _____ Soil represents believers applying reasoning to recognize, receive, and dig deep roots in God Word on the way to remain and reap a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was _______.
Exercise: Reapers Roadmap Self-Assessment
Reflecting on your own journey, identify where you see yourself and those you know in The Reapers Roadmap, using the visual here. If you pick “Rejoicing“, also pick another category.
The Reapers Roadmap Self-Assessment Exercise has letters on the map above, which maps to a current state/ position as describe in the table below here.
|Position||Definition||Here Now?Were Here?|
|1. Pre-Revealing||Going to learn God’s Word for the first time|
|2. Revealing||Just Recently Heard God’s Word|
|3. Reasoning||Thinking about God’s Word|
|4. Recognizing||Understanding that what learned is really God’s Word|
|5. Receiving||Letting God’s Word sink in to follow it|
|6. Rooting||Digging Deeper into God’s Word to know & follow well|
|7. Remaining||Continue to follow God’s Word despite opposition|
|8. Reaping||Reaping Spiritual Fruits due to following God’s Word|
|9. Repentance Raceway||Drawing away from God’s Word due to life preferences, concerns, and worries|
|10. Resisting & Rejecting / Rebel’s Road||Drawing away from God’s Word due to life preferences, concerns, and worries|
|11. Recognizing Error / Blinders Boulevard||Ignore lessons from God’s Word to continue as were, and/or unsure whether message is really God’s Word|
|12. No Rooting / Rocky Road||Efforts and Excitement to know God’s Word faded|
|13. Miracles U-Turn||Careful consideration of the miracles in God’s Word in History, leading back to God|
|14. Prophesies U-Turn||Analysis of the Prophesies in God’s Word leading to recognition of Jesus as God|
|15. Church & Word U-Turn||Involvement in Church & Learning Word leading you back to God|
|16. Rejoicing||Excited about learning God’s Word and knowing Jesus as God|
(1) Reflecting on your own journey and the prior exercises, where do you see yourself and those you know in the Parable of the Sower and The Reapers Roadmap?
(2) What is your responsibility towards God?
(3) What are the eternal rewards and consequences regarding your choice to follow Jesus Christ in this life?
(4) How often have you planned and actually delved deeply to learn scriptures to know Jesus better? How do you and how could you support others in this? How does the Church Community support this? What else could the Church Community do?
(5) When did you first hear the Gospel and what was your response? How has your response changed over your lifetime?
(6) What surprised you from the Bible scripture teachings presented in The Reapers Roadmap, if anything?
(7) How would you draw out visually your path towards God and our Savior Jesus Christ?
(8) What does it mean to be born again? Did you realize you needed God to make you born again? Why do you need God to be born again?
(9) What in this life is keeping you from fully committing yourself and your life to God?
(10) What now makes more sense to you, that previously you found confusing?
(11) Which prophesies about the Savior are you aware?
(12) What miracles made you think more seriously about scriptures and Jesus? What did you learn from these?
View the Parable of the Sower Slideshare Presentation.
You can also directly view the Parable of the Sower presentation at the Slideshare link http://www.slideshare.net/creationary/parable-of-the-sower-and-reapers-roadmap-slide-share
Continue your studies on the Parable of the Sower:
Hand Drawn Reapers Roadmap (The 9 R’s Roadmap)
Key Points: The Reapers Roadmap: Answers
- God reveals his Word for people to know him, scattering seed as the Sower.
- Excessive concern for wealth and worries lead many to resist and reject God, like a plant choked by thorns.
- Prior choices and pride cause failure to recognize God’s message in their heart, enabling the evil one to snatch the message like a bird carrying away the seed.
- Receiving faith in Jesus Christ without rooting becomes short-lived belief like a plant without deep roots is unable to withstand the sun’s heat .
- Rooting after receiving and believing Jesus Christ is key to perseverance over troubles and persecution like plants with deep nourishing roots withstanding scorching heat.
- The Parable of the Pharisee & Tax Collector shows God forgives the sincerely repentance , yet withholds forgiveness from the self-righteous before God, who are full of pride, which is sinful.
- Believers’ remaining in righteousness seek to love God and love their neighbors.
- Reaping results from deep faith with understanding like a plant in good soil.
- Despite being insufficient for confidence in salvation, rejoicing is a regular essential aspect to our faithfully following Jesus.
- The Good Soil represents believers applying reasoning to recognize, receive, and dig deep roots in God Word on the way to remain and reap a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown .