Mark 4:14-15 (NKJV) 14 The sower sows the word. 15 And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts.
Before our holiday break we were looking at one of the most significant parables in the Word of God. This is the parable of the sower from Mark chapter 4. We have learned a few things that are important. Since it has been a while since we began this study, let me list them. Please look back on the posts from December if you need more to get up to speed on what we are talking about.
1. In verse 13, Jesus says that if the disciples cannot understand this parable, they will not be able to understand any of the parables. The converse must also be true. If we do understand this parable it will unlock the main way Jesus taught in the New Testament.
2. Verse 26 says that the whole kingdom works on the seed principle. If we sow the Word, it will produce. Good seed in good ground with proper cultivation will always produce what the seed was designed to produce.
3. A natural seed contains the DNA for the whole plant. Every piece of fruit, grain or whatever the seed is from, is in the seed. The Word of God is the same. Every Word seed contains within itself the spiritual DNA that it is designed by God to produce. There are salvation seeds, healing seeds, holiness seeds, prosperity seeds. Anything the human being needs to be productive in any area of life is contained in the seed.
4. God can do anything he wants to do, and he will move in miraculous ways we may not understand. That happens according to his. He will always honor the seed principle of the Word.
5. Farming, both natural and spiritual, takes time and commitment. The seed, the ground and the cultivation are at the center of the farmers life. Everything revolves around them. Though the natural farmer has other things in his or her life, if he does not take care of the seed, the ground and the cultivation, he will have no crop and he will eventually die. The same is true of the spiritual farmer.
Today we want to focus on one basic truth. The sower sows the Word. We must understand that the seed Jesus is talking about is the Word of God. Those of us who are teachers are called by God to help people understand what the Word of God says. When we are doing our jobs correctly, we give out the fruit that has been produced by the Word in our own lives. That fruit contains the seed of the Word of God. However, as good as our teaching may be, the teaching is not the seed. The sower sows the Word of God.
I remember when we were young during what has been called the “Jesus movement.” I believe millions were saved and filled with the Holy Spirit out of denominational religion or no religion at all. We were filled with excitement and love for the Lord. What we did not have was any idea about what the bible said. We quoted the word this way, “Somewhere in the bible it says something like……..” As excited as we were and as real as our experiences were, that is not sowing the Word. Many of us took the next step and learned what the bible said. We grew and catapulted the Charismatic renewal into a wave of the Spirit of God that changed everything. Those who did not, eventually lost the “fire” and faded back into the world.
We need to know what the bible says. We need to know what is the Word of God and what is not. Paul, in writing to his son in the faith Timothy, says this.
2 Timothy 2:15-16 (NKJV) 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness.
In many ways, Timothy lived in a much more dangerous and challenging world than we do. He did not have two thousand plus years of Christian teaching and tradition to look back upon and study. He had the Old Testament. The writings of Paul, Peter and the rest were not yet accepted as the New Testament of the bible. Even so, Paul tells him that the only way he will be successful is to be diligent to study the Word of God that he had. The same is true for you and me.
Every culture and each generation have philosophies and ideas that grow up around the Word of God. Many of them will be the revelation of the day that God fully intends for us to understand. They can be powerful, liberating and lead us into God’s will for our generation. However, as good as they are, they are not, in themselves, the seed known as the Word of God.
Apples can be baked into pies, cobblers and strudels. All are wonderful, and all come from apples. However, without apples there are no wonderful desserts. Without apple seeds, there are no apples. We need to use the teachings, but we also need to know how to break them down to the seed from which they come. If we do not, we will eventually run out of “apples.”
The sower sows the Word. Science cannot create a seed. They can put all the elements together, create the shell and make something that looks like a seed. It would seem that it should work like a seed, but when it is planted it does not grow. The reason is that it does not contain life. Only a seed contains the life that is designed to be released when it is planted. I have heard that seeds found in Egyptian tombs that are thousands of years old have been planted and grew. Why? The reason is that they contain that intangible something called life.
We need to know the difference between a good teaching and the seed itself. Studying a good teaching will lead us to the seeds that produced it. What we need is the seed. I have always told those I taught to never accept what I say as the truth. I encourage them to go to the Bible for themselves. When I was learning, one of the things I did was go back to the bible to see if I could find the same path to that truth that the teacher did. If I could, that truth became deep revelation and the fruit that came from it gave me life personally and more fruit to give to others. This process has produced things that have lasted my whole life.
I love to look at many translations of the bible. We need to be wise in this. Some are not very faithful to the original texts. I am not a King James Version or nothing person. I believe the King James has its own problems. I do believe that some of the older translations came from texts that were closer in understanding than some of the newer ones. On the other hand, sometimes newer translations give us a picture that is more accurate to our understanding than those written in the languages that were modern centuries ago. What is the solution.
I believe we need to do what Paul said. We should study until we are sure we have the real seed. For the older translations, we need to use the tools we have, such as bible dictionaries, to be as sure as possible that the translations are accurate. With newer translations, we need to be sure that the vernacular used does not change the true meaning. God can work with problems in translations if we desire to find the real seed of the Word. If that is our heart, he will make sure we find it.
The sower sows the Word. Nothing else will produce the fruit we are looking for. You can only get apples from live apple seeds. Nothing but the seed found in the Word of God will produce the life of God in us.