8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold (Matthew 13:8).
23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty (Matthew 13:23).
We are considering the section of the Parable of the Sower that deals with seed that fell into good ground. We are comparing the statement that Jesus made within that parable (verse 8) to the explanation also given later within Matthew 13 (verse 23).
In previous articles within this series, we considered seed that fell by the wayside, seed that fell on rocky soil, and seed that fell among thorns. The seed that fell by the wayside was eaten up by unbelievers. The seed that fell on the rocky soil was burned up by hardness of heart and persecution, and the seed that fell among thorns was choked out by cares of this life and the deceitfulness of riches.
Here, we have seed—which is compared to the word of the kingdom—that falls into good ground. There are no unbelievers to take it away. There are no hard hearts and overwhelming societal pressures. There are no smothering life cares and covetousness of worldly riches.
This soil—which is compared to the place in which the word was sown—is able to receive the good things of the kingdom of God, continue in them, and bring forth fruit.
What is the soil?
Let’s recap what we considered so far.
We considered the soil to be the individual heart of the person who received the good news of the of the kingdom of Jesus Christ. All believers on a individual level might go through times in which certain aspects of the things of God as given through Jesus and His ways are challenged and destroyed.
Sometimes unbelievers convince us that some matter of righteousness is not necessary, for example. On a larger scale, unbelievers might overthrow the faith of a believer all together.
Sometimes tradition within the Christian faith or the well-regarded and accepted knowledge of man challenges some good thing of God, and the knowledge is burned up. On a larger scale, persecution for the gospel’s sake might overthrow the faith of a believer all together.
Sometimes the demands of living in this world and the allure of financial or social gain cause some good thing of Jesus to become choked out, and the believer is not fruitful in that matter, though they hold onto the faith generally. On a larger scale, becoming too consumed with living a regular life and accruing gain can overthrown the faith of a believer all together.
As individual Christians, we can experience fruitlessness in a variety of ways and on a spectrum of severity. This is common to many of us, but we should be aware of this teaching of Jesus so that we can seek Him to make us value His wisdom above man’s, to soften and strengthen our hearts, and to remove our love for the world and give us a greater love for Him. We can all become more fruitful in these regards.
There are some who fulfill the most severe end of possibilities within this parable, but that is not something for sincere believers to be overly concerned with. God is in control of all things, and all things that He does are good. Rather than focus on others, we are better off focusing on our own Christina walk in faith, trusting in the mercy of Christ for us—along with a healthy fear of the Lord that motivates us to take the faith seriously.
If we continue in faith and we have proper respect for the things of God as given through Jesus, then we will be fruitful. We might not be perfectly fruitful in all knowledge of the Lord—because His ways are vast when we consider all that He and the apostles taught—but we will find areas of growth. We will find and challenge areas of weakness also in faith, and we will overcome according to the opportunity and grace extended to us.
Now that we have considered the soil in terms of the heart of the individual, I want to consider this in another way that just came to me today.
I want to consider the soil in terms of the environment of the Christian.
As Christians, we carry the word of God. The Spirit of God is with us and within us, and His word comes out of us through our actions and the declarations of faith that we make as we live out our lives, praise God, declare His good teachings, and attempt to share the things that the Spirit has given us with the world around us.
If a Christian is planted in a bad environment, then the seed that they have to share will not be received and little to no fruit will be shown. Meaning, that Christian will not have a meaningful effect on the world around them. Instead, they will feel eaten up, beaten up, taken advantage of, or cast off as some useless thing. The glory that they could give to God is hindered, except for the glory of enduring such troublesome circumstances in faith. This is a life of Hell for a Christian, but all things are good because God is good. We must hold on to His love and goodness no matter the calling in which we are called.
However, if a Christian is planted in an environment that is welcoming of the spiritual gifts they were given, and is eager to hear and receive the good word of Jesus, then that environment will blossom into a place that is fruitful in the things of the Kingdom of God. This is a heavenly life for a Christian. We get to taste what it will be like to live in the Kingdom that is to come as we live it and encourage this in others, and they in turn encourage us and all are made fruitful and bring glory to God.
This is why Christians should not be alone. We are a body of believers and we should surround ourselves with the faithful as much as possible. This is why a Christian should not be “unequally yoked to unbelievers.”
Sometimes we stand among the ungodly, and though we cannot have a real effect on those around us because of the environment, our individual heart can be preserved if the Lord is gracious towards us. Sometimes we endure it in faith. Sometimes we get out of there so that the good things of God can be useful for our sakes, for the sake of others, and for the glory of God.
There is a time for all things and the Lord leads us even when we feel as if we are alone in the darkness. He is there. He will bring us through all things for His Name’s sake.
There is a time to lay down your life in faith and there is a time to flee. There is a time to put down the sword and there is a time to buy one—and if we have proven ourselves willing to lay our lives down for His sake, and if we have proven ourselves faithful over His word—then we might find that He allows us to escape for a time.
We might find that we are instructed to take up a sword, and not the sword of man, but the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God: a word sown on good ground, with deep and abiding roots, able to withstand unbelievers, hardships, and temptations without bending an inch.
When that word springs up out of us, the children of God stand strong even to death if required of us, and this world will have a reconning for all their Godless deeds—and all the more when that same word causes all who belong to Jesus to rise at His coming, which is the greatest of all fruits of our faith. Every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord!
This article is part of a series that considers the parables of Jesus. Right now, we are looking at the lessons that we might learn from The Parable of the Sower. <–Visit this for quick access to all articles written about this parable. If you would like to continue with this conversation, you can subscribe by email. Scroll down to the very bottom of your screen, and you will find a subscribe button. You can also follow in WordPress.