The parable of the sower (Mat 13:1-23, Mrk 4:1-20, Luk 8:4-15), is a parable about salvation. According to Luke 8:11-15, all are given an opportunity for salvation, through hearing The WORD of GOD (Rom 10:14-18). There are four different responses to hearing GOD’s WORD, but only one response that leads to salvation:
- The first response, occurs in people who hear GOD’s WORD, but do not seek to understand it (Pro 4:7, Mat 13:19). The WORD they heard is immediately snatched away by Satan, so they will not believe and be saved (Luk 8:12).
- The second response, occurs in people who hear GOD’s WORD, but their hearts are just as hard as ground with no moisture. They have a temporary emotional response to GOD’s WORD, the same response they have to a moving love song (Eze 33:32). But since HIS WORD does not penetrate their hearts, in time of trouble, affliction or persecution they immediately become discouraged, distrust GOD and HIS WORD and desert their faith in HIM (Mat 13:20-21, Mrk 4:16-17, Luk 8:13).
- The third response, occurs in people who hear GOD’s WORD, and for a period of time obey (abide in) HIS WORD. But they eventually drift away from HIM and HIS WORD, because of the worries of the world (Mat 13:22), the deceitfulness of wealth (Mat 13:22) and the desires for other things or pleasures of this life (Mrk 4:19, Luk 8:14).
- The fourth response, occurs in people who hear GOD’s WORD, hold fast or cling to HIM and HIS WORD, bearing fruit with perseverance (Luk 8:15). These people are saved, because they cling to our Beloved LORD GOD, enduring in all circumstances to the very end (Mat 24:12-13, 1 Tim 4:16).
In this study, we will examine the people who still profess to follow CHRIST, because they heard The WORD of GOD, had enough understanding to respond to HIS WORD, by obeying HIS WORD. But “the worry of this world” have caused them to turn from following our Beloved LORD GOD (Isa 1:4, Jer 15:6), they no longer listen to HIS Voice (Isa 30:9-11, Jer 13:10-11, 2 Tim 4:3-4) they have become dry – devoid of HIS Holy SPIRIT (Jud 1:18-19, Jhn 7:37-39), unfruitful (Mat 13:22, Mrk 4:18-19, Jud 1:12) ― not possessing the fruit of The SPIRIT of GOD instead they are lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, they are always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth; they oppose The Truth, and are people of depraved mind. (2 Tim 3:2-8)
So what is the “worry of the world” and how can it cause the obedient to become disobedient? To define “worry of the world” we need to examine two words “worry” and “world”. The English word “worry’ is translated from the Greek word “mérimna” (NT:3308) and it means to draw in different directions, distract, give way to anxiety and uncertainty over actual or potential problems, allow one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles. Anything that draws you away from time in The WORD, distracts you from seeking our Beloved LORD GOD’s presence, or causes you not to trust HIM, is a worry. And this “worry” is a thorn (anything that keeps entangling, troubling, distressing, annoying, or irritating).
Where does “worry” or the thorn come from? Thorns and thistles came into our lives (both physically and spiritually) as a result of sin (Gen 3:17-18, Heb 6:7-8). When we examine the thorns in the parable of the sower (Mat 13:7, Mrk 4:7, Luk 8:7); the seed or WORD of GOD fell among them, which means the thorns were present when The WORD was planted. The individual who does not fully turn from the sins that so easily entangled them (Heb 12:1, Rom 13:12-14, Eph 4:22-24) and fully turn to GOD and HIS WORD, will always be in danger of becoming disobedient, unfruitful, and in a spiritual state worse than their original state before salvation (2 Pet 2:20-22).
What is the significance of becoming “unfruitful”? It is the alarm to us and all those who observe us (Mat 7:15-20), that we are not abiding in HIS WORD (1 Jhn 2:6, 1 Jhn 3:24, 2 Jhn 1:9), and HE is not abiding within us (Jhn 15:4-5). The fruit of righteousness (Php 1:11) or fruit of The SPIRIT (Gal 5:22) is present in our lives, when The Holy SPIRIT (which is The SPIRIT of GOD, The SPIRIT of JESUS – Rom 8:9-11, Jhn 14:23) is present in our soul. The fruit is the visible expression of The Holy SPIRIT working inwardly within us. The Holy SPIRIT is invisible to the physical eye, but HIS presence and character is manifested through the character of those HE inhabits. HIS character is made up of several components as demonstrated by Gal 5:22-23:
o Love can be known only from the actions it prompts. This particular type of love as a noun “agάpee” (NT:26), is the same love used to describe GOD HIMSELF (1 Jhn 4:8, 1 Jhn 4:16); and this love as a verb “agapaoo” (NT:25), is love we are called to have for our Beloved LORD GOD and for each other (Mat 22:36-40). Agάpee/ Agapaoo is used to describe the love that is of and from GOD. It includes every part of a person (Mrk 12:28-34):
- heart (emotions, feelings, attachments, and affections – to love HIM with all your heart is to love HIM more strongly than anyone or anything else (Mat 10:37-39), and be willing to give up all that you hold dear at HIS command (Gen 22:1-18, Php 3:7-8))
- soul (your very life – to love HIM with all your soul is to devote your life to HIM, and purposely choose to love HIM even more than your own life (Dan 3:12-28, Dan 6:4-23, Luk 14:26, Rev 12:11))
- mind (intellect, thoughts, reasoning and understanding – to love HIM with all your mind is to love HIM by submitting all your decisions to HIM (Psa 32:8, Psa 119:24, Pro 8:14, Pro 20:18, Pro 24:6, Isa 9:6), and to obey HIS WORD in every circumstance – Pro 3:5-8, Pro 14:12, 2 Cor 10:5)
- strength (ability to perform, power to do, capacity to resist – to love HIM with all your strength is to focus your entire being on pleasing HIM (Luk 13:24, Php 2:12-13, 1 Cor 9:24-27, 1 Tim 4:6-10), your greatest efforts are dedicated to following HIM – Pro 19:16, Heb 12:2-4, Jhn 4:34, Php 3:12-14)
Agάpee/ Agapaoo love is not based on certain conditions, it is committed to pleasing GOD (Jhn 8:29, 2 Cor 5:9) and the well-being of others (Rom 15:1-3, Php 2:3-5) regardless. It is a sacrificial love that voluntarily suffers inconvenience, discomfort, and even death for the benefit of another (Jhn 15:12-13, Rom 5:8, Php 2:17, 1 Jhn 3:16-18, 1 Jhn 4:7-12, Luk 6:35).
o Joy is an inward cheerfulness, gladness, peace and sufficiency that is not affected by outward circumstances (Rom 14:17, Rom 15:13, Jam 1:2-4, 1 Pet 1:6-9, 1 Pet 4:12-13).
o Peace is an inner state of rest, calm, and assurance, even in the face of adverse circumstances. This peace lacks fear, and is free from thoughts that bring worry, oppression or irritation; it defies human understanding (Jhn 14:27, Php 4:6-7, 2 The 3:16).
o Patience is the capacity to endure hardship or inconvenience without complaint. It is trusting our Beloved LORD GOD in all circumstances, through a heart of worship and praise (Job 1:20-21, Job 2:9-10, Hab 3:17-19, Php 4:4)
o Kindness is being merciful, tender, considerate, gracious and helpful to all, including those who cannot repay your kindness (Luk 14:12-14, Pro 19:17) and also to those who are ungrateful for your kindness (Mat 5:38-48, Luk 6:35-36).
o Goodness is walking upright before GOD in both your heart and your life. From your innermost being or unseen part of you is where you cherish and obey HIS WORD (Psa 40:8, Psa 51:6, Psa 119:11); abstaining from every form of evil in your life, because of you love HIM (Gen 39:6-13, 1 The 5:22, 2 Tim 2:19).
o Faithfulness is firm devotion to GOD (Job 13:15, Job 19:25-27, Psa 73:26, Psa 119:81-88). Having a firm conviction in every circumstance, that GOD is working and acting on your behalf (Rom 8:28, Psa 31:14-15, Isa 25:8-9, Isa 64:4).
o Gentleness is one who is genuinely humble, patient and mild; not inclined to anger, severity or resentment (Isa 42:3, Isa 53:7, Mat 27:12-14, 1 Pet 2:23, Mat 11:29, Mrk 10:35-45, 1 Cor 4:11-13, Mat 5:38-42); filled with grace, mercy (Mat 5:7, Luk 6:36, Pro 11:17), and forgiveness (Mat 18:33-35, Jam 2:8-13, 1 Jhn 3:14-15). Forgiveness is mercy. A gentle person is able to deal with others with respect, kindness and compassion (Lev 19:32, 1 Tim 5:1, 2 Tim 2:24-25, Gal 6:1-3).
o Self-control is the ability to restrain any emotion, action, desire or feeling that does not conform to the will of GOD (2 Cor 10:3-5). It is steadfastly doing GOD’s will (Pro 23:17, Pro 28:14, Jhn 4:34, Jhn 5:30, Jhn 8:29).
As you can see from the aforementioned definitions of the “fruit” of righteousness (or of The SPIRIT), this fruit is impossible to come by our efforts, because there is nothing good that dwells in our sinful flesh (Rom 7:18). It comes only through HIS presence in our innermost being (Jhn 7:38-39); and the more HE fills every aspect of our being, the more HIS character is revealed in us (Rom 13:14, Eph 4:22-32, Eph 5:1-2, Col 3:8-10).
How do you have more of HIS presence in your innermost being?
- Obedience (Jhn 15:10, 1 Jhn 3:24)
- Trust (Heb 11:6, Rom 4:20-21, Jam 4:8, Heb 7:25, Heb 4:16, Lam 3:57)
- Simply asking (Luk 11:9-13, Jhn 15:7)
But the seed in the good soil
These are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart
And hold it fast
And bear fruit with perseverance