The Parable of the Sower 4 t And when a great crowd was gathering and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable, 5 u “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. 6 And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, v it withered away, because it had no moisture. 7 And some fell among w thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. 8 And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded x a hundredfold.” As he said these things, he called out, y “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” The Purpose of the Parables 9 And when his disciples asked him what this parable meant, 10 he said, z “To you it has been given to know a the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so b that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’ 11 c Now the parable is this: The seed is d the word of God. 12 The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not e believe and be saved. 13 And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it f with joy. But these have no root; they g believe for a while, and in time of testing h fall away. 14 And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but i as they go on their way they are choked by the j cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. 15 As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and k bear fruit l with patience.
4 Συνιόντος δὲ ὄχλου πολλοῦ καὶ τῶν κατὰ πόλιν ἐπιπορευομένων πρὸς αὐτὸν εἶπεν διὰ παραβολῆς· 5 Ἐξῆλθεν ὁ σπείρων τοῦ σπεῖραι τὸν σπόρον αὐτοῦ. καὶ ἐν τῷ σπείρειν αὐτὸν ὃ μὲν ἔπεσεν παρὰ τὴν ὁδόν, καὶ κατεπατήθη καὶ τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ κατέφαγεν αὐτό. 6 καὶ ἕτερον ^ κατέπεσεν ἐπὶ τὴν πέτραν, καὶ φυὲν ἐξηράνθη διὰ τὸ μὴ ἔχειν ἰκμάδα. 7 καὶ ἕτερον ἔπεσεν ἐν μέσῳ τῶν ἀκανθῶν, καὶ συμφυεῖσαι αἱ ἄκανθαι ἀπέπνιξαν αὐτό. 8 καὶ ἕτερον ἔπεσεν εἰς τὴν γῆν τὴν ἀγαθήν, καὶ φυὲν ἐποίησεν καρπὸν ἑκατονταπλασίονα. ταῦτα λέγων ἐφώνει· Ὁ ἔχων ὦτα ἀκούειν ἀκουέτω. 9 Ἐπηρώτων δὲ αὐτὸν οἱ μαθηταὶ ^ αὐτοῦ τίς // αὕτη εἴη ἡ παραβολή \\ . 10 ὁ δὲ εἶπεν· Ὑμῖν δέδοται γνῶναι τὰ μυστήρια τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ θεοῦ, τοῖς δὲ λοιποῖς ἐν παραβολαῖς, ἵνα βλέποντες μὴ βλέπωσιν καὶ ἀκούοντες μὴ συνιῶσιν. 11 Ἔστιν δὲ αὕτη ἡ παραβολή· Ὁ σπόρος ἐστὶν ὁ λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ. 12 οἱ δὲ παρὰ τὴν ὁδόν εἰσιν οἱ ^ ἀκούσαντες, εἶτα ἔρχεται ὁ διάβολος καὶ αἴρει τὸν λόγον ἀπὸ τῆς καρδίας αὐτῶν, ἵνα μὴ πιστεύσαντες σωθῶσιν. 13 οἱ δὲ ἐπὶ τῆς πέτρας οἳ ὅταν ἀκούσωσιν μετὰ χαρᾶς δέχονται τὸν λόγον, καὶ οὗτοι ῥίζαν οὐκ ἔχουσιν, οἳ πρὸς καιρὸν πιστεύουσιν καὶ ἐν καιρῷ πειρασμοῦ ἀφίστανται. 14 τὸ δὲ εἰς τὰς ἀκάνθας πεσόν, οὗτοί εἰσιν οἱ ἀκούσαντες, καὶ ὑπὸ μεριμνῶν καὶ πλούτου καὶ ἡδονῶν τοῦ βίου πορευόμενοι συμπνίγονται καὶ οὐ τελεσφοροῦσιν. 15 τὸ δὲ ἐν τῇ καλῇ γῇ, οὗτοί εἰσιν οἵτινες ἐν καρδίᾳ καλῇ καὶ ἀγαθῇ ἀκούσαντες τὸν λόγον κατέχουσιν καὶ καρποφοροῦσιν ἐν ὑπομονῇ.
Encouragement for Evangelism, part 1 Jesus tells us to expect various different responses to the Word of God (Luke 8.4-15) Intro : We'll look at two parables to encourage us in evangelism. Luke 8 today and Luke 15 next week. Then, it's Easter. What is evangelism? Telling the good news about Jesus. We don't talk about evangelism directly a great deal at GCG. In many ways it's like giving. By constantly encouraging it and talking about it, it becomes something a little different to what it is or should be in Scripture. Both evangelism and giving are crucial parts of a healthy Christian life and a healthy church. But they are both chiefly results of spiritual health, not causes . A framework for evangelism: Four parts to evangelism together. 1. Knowing who we are in Jesus. Loved, free, supplied constantly with grace for service, co-operators, co-missionaries with the Lord. 2. Making connections and conversations with non-believers (intentional living). Our productivity idol hinders us greatly here - more next week. 3. Actually speaking the word of God. A true and apt piece (rather than the whole Bible) at a time; cf how Jesus speaks with people. 4. Connecting people to the community of God. Our pride gets in the way. Yet community is what begs the question, the 'final apologetic'. 1. We are the soil and the word of God is the seed. Our first response is to realise we are the soil. He speaks this to a big crowd. How are we receiving the gospel word? The seed is the word of God. Who is the sower? Anyone who speaks it. The chief Sower is of course Jesus. 2. Expect apathy, v12 We think this is a particular feature of contemporary society, but it has always been a response to the word of God, and it is in fact a mark of the devil's activity in the world (v12). We must not forget that, though this can be immensely discouraging and de-motivating, Jesus tell us here that it will not be the only response as the word of Good is sown. 3. Expect disappointment, v13 Evangelism can be deeply disappointing precisely because it can initially appear encouraging; some people receive the word with 'joy'. But challenges and test cause them to fall away. Let us expect this, and receive such discouragements as actual encouragements to the work of evangelism, since they tell us that our Lord's words are perfectly true. 4. Expect drift, v14 This is a slower form of v13. Over time there is a drift. The cares of this world means that their fruit 'does not mature'. Cares, riches, pleasures. 'Fruit' is not in the Greek; it's that they do not mature. Trajectory is the crucial marker of how we are doing in the Christian life. 5. Expect long-term fruit, v15 Slow but definite. Note that the fruit and yield is not in doubt. If it is good soil, then there will be fruit. If we 'hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.' I.e., patient endurance and steadfastness. Simply through keeping going. It is this extraordinary 'yield' which makes all the discouragements acceptable. As the word of God is sown, some will land on good soil. Wrap up: Am I good soil? Am I being choked by worries, pleasures and treasures? Am I speaking the Word of God? Am I prepared for the whole range of soils on which it may land?