Fear is not an Option
A Sower Went Out to Sow
In Matthew 28:19 Jesus commanded, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…” The word “Go” is from the root word poreuomai which means to go. But Jesus used the passive participle in the plural form meaning “All of you having gone out.” Jesus literally meant while you are going, as you are going, wherever you are going, “make disciples.”
Today we’re going to look at the parable of the sower in Matthew 13:3-9 “…A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.”
In this parable the sower having gone out to sow, again Jesus used an active participle, began spreading seeds. One of the most interesting things about this scripture is the sower did not carefully pick the soil on which he sowed. It seemed as though he sowed indiscriminately, almost carelessly. Some seed fell along the road, some among the rocks, some among the weeds and some on the good soil. Today many would say he wasted seed and he should have been more judicious in targeting the location he intended to so. Perhaps some may imply the sower was foolish for wasting seed.
I believe Jesus was making a very different point. What if Jesus intended to demonstrate that the sower sowed the seed everywhere? In His response to the disciples Jesus did not indicate all of the good ground was commonly located he simply noted that some “fell on good ground.” Jesus was making a point, the sower sowed wherever he could reach with the seed. Perhaps the sower didn’t know which ground was best, where the rocks were or where the weeds would come up. He was simply motivated to sow as much as he could sow in every place he could throw seed.
The real meaning of the parable becomes clear in the explanation Jesus gave the disciples. Matthew 13:19-23 “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”
Jesus used the phrase “hears the word” four times to describe seed that fell on different soil types in the parable. In only one case the one who “hears the word” produced fruit. Three to one, one in four, twenty-five percent produced fruit. It’s clear the Lord gave us this parable to help us understand that we must spread the word of the kingdom, the good news of the gospel, with as many people as possible even if we don’t know how the hearer will respond. Remember poreuomai? “As you are going” … “make disciples of all nations.”
Today, we have been instilled with a prodigious and paralyzing fear of failure. We analyze and fret fearfully over whether or not to share the gospel. We pine over who will listen. We’re afraid of the response. We’re afraid someone will reject the gospel. We’re afraid we will be rejected. So, often times, we simply invite people to church so the highly trained pastor can share the gospel with them. Few things are more disheartening than to hear a Christian invite someone to church. What a monumental cop out which is no doubt a deception of the adversary. What would please the evil one more than for Christians to believe they are fulfilling they responsibility to share the gospel by inviting someone to church. “But, they might come to church,” may come the reply. In reality, “probably not.” If they don’t come to church they may never hear the good news of the gospel. They may never be faced with the fact that their sin separates them from a Holy and perfect God leaving them doomed for eternity. The most telling thing is there are no commands in the bible to invite someone to church but there is a command to make disciples. “Invite them to church” is rooted in a man-centered conundrum called “fear of failure” but “Go and make disciples of all nations” is a command given by Jesus Himself.
Let’s ask a question; “How many times have we heard the gospel invitation at the end of a sermon?” Shouldn’t we have memorized it by now? The gospel is simple, “For God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” John 3:16. “For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of itself, it is the gift of God lest any man should boast” Ephesians 2:8. “Therefore having been justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained our introduction by faith into the grace in which we now stand and we exalt in the hope of the glory of God” Romans 5:1-2. These simple verses have changed lives since the time they were written. They offer “love”, “eternal life”, “salvation”, “peace” and “hope”. No theology degrees required, no special training, no special gifting or dispensation, simply a desire to spread the good news of the kingdom of God as Jesus commanded.
Fear is not an option!
Be a sower who went out to sow! Sow everywhere! Sow fearlessly!
Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”