In Jesus teaching of the sower and the seed, He shows us there are four kinds of people in this world as it concerns their relationship to God.
The first group is “exploring” God. These are those that have a slit curiosity about God. They might be open to hearing about Him.
The second group is people “beginning” in God. These people have accepted Christ and are beginning their walk with Him. The next group is “close” to God and they are growing in their relationship with Him. Then there is the last group who are “God Centered.”
Mark 4:1 – And again He began to teach by the sea. And a great multitude was gathered to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat in it on the sea; and the whole multitude was on the land facing the sea. (Verse 2) Then He taught them many things by parables, and said to them in His teaching:
(Verse 3) “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. (Verse 4) “And it happened, as he sowed that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it. (This is the first group of people, just exploring God.) (Verse 5) “Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth. (Verse 6) “But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away. (This is the second group, just beginning.)
(Verse 7) “And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. (This is the third group, growing but have stopped.) (Verse 8) “But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced; some thirty fold, some sixty, and some a hundred.” (This is the God Centered group.) (Verse 9) And He said to them, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
For those who have been in church a while, you know what, “Let him who have ears to hear,” means. But for those who are not familiar with this saying, Jesus is talking about “Spiritual Ears.” The Bible will make no sense to those who do not have spiritual ears to hear. You must have a new spirit by being born again – a receptive heart.
(Verse 10) But when He was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable. (Verse 13) And He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?
In other words: If you don’t understand this one, you can’t understand any of them.” This parable is very important or Jesus would not have said that.
(Verse 14) The sower sows the word. (Verse 15) “And these are the ones by the wayside when the word is sown. And when they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. (Verse 16) “These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground, who when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; (Verse 17) “and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward when tribulations or persecution arises for the world’s sake, immediately they stumble.
(Verse 18) “Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, (Verse 19) and the cares of the world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. (Verse 20) “But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit; some thirty fold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”
So many misunderstand this parable. They think Jesus is talking about people who are never going to come to Christ until the last one. That some would only hear a while and then walk away and that there was only one person that was good.
However, it very clearly says that all hear the word and receive it, so this parable is talking about a “Bad Enemy,” not the people being bad. In this parable He is talking about “growing” and how they grow in their understanding of the word. A new-born grows in their understanding, just as new believers do when they didn’t know much about God.
If there are four groups of people then there is three stages of growing, but none have arrived yet. When we move from “exploring God” to “Beginning in God” it was because of this one “Truth,” “Grace!” These move to “Beginning in God.” We understand Jesus paid it all and we accept that.
People who move from “Beginning in God” to “Close to God,” began to understand God’s Word as the final authority in their life. That truth will also dramatically change a person’s life! There will be a transformation. Once they understand that God’s word is how they will set their standards; run their business; be married; handle finances, it will be their final authority. If God’s word is not the final authority, then they will not move forward.
Then we have those who move from “Close to God” to “God Centered.” This group understands the truth of “Giving!” This is not just giving money. Its giving your life away for the kingdom of God. They understand, “I’m just not here for me.” This is when a person’s life becomes God centered.
They begin to give time, their talents, and their treasure. This is hard for many, but when we commit our finances to God, we are committing our lives. Look at the one’s that are by the wayside in Mark, verses 14 and 15. Satan came immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts.
Our heart is the ground that can produce thirty, sixty, or hundred fold, good ground. If a person doesn’t continue in God’s word, yes, Satan can steal it. They will be open to God at that moment, but if you check with them after a while, they are completely closed to what you have to say about God. Lack of understanding will cause a person not to pursue the word any further.
This same parable is in Matthew and Luke. Watch what Jesus says here: Matthew 13:19 – When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart.
Then Jesus gives the reason why we must understand: Luke 8:12 – “Those by the wayside are the ones who hear, then the devil comes and takes away the word of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.”
That very first group of people that are only curious about God have not been saved yet. When they first begin to hear God’s Word, the gospel, they must understand it, then believe, and then are saved. That is why Satan comes to the lost, unbelievers just as soon, immediately, as they hear the Word. He doesn’t want them to understand lest they believe and be saved!
Romans 10:9 – If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe with your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
People make being saved too difficult, but it really is very simple. By faith in Jesus Christ and by God’s grace, you are saved!