Grow Strong in God’s Grace Wk 5

Learning How to be a Faithful Farmer for God’s Harvest!

Sow the Good Seed: The Second Step of the Farmer’s Strategy!

Matthew 13:3-9 & Mark 4:26-32 (NAS95)


We are learning that the strategy of a hard-working farmer has four steps, each of which the faithful farmer must diligently work, if the farmer hopes to harvest a large crop yield:


  1. Cultivate the soil.
  2. Sow the good seed.
  3. Care for the maturing plant.
  4. Reap a harvest.


Last week we discussed the first step, “Cultivate the soil.” We learned how to prepare people’s hearts to receive the good seed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus explained the Parable of the Four Soils for us, teaching us how to discern the condition of each person’s heart and mind, in hopes of reaping a harvest of praise, to the glory of God.


Today, we are going to dive into the second step of the faithful farmer’s strategy: Sow the good seed! To learn about this, we are going to dive into three parables of Jesus Christ. I will start by emphasizing a different point from last week’s parable, “The Parable of the Four Soils,” found in Matthew 13:3-9. Instead of focusing on the four types of soil, today we will examine it as “The Parable of the Sower” and learn about the good seed He is sowing:


And [Jesus] spoke many things to them in parables, saying, “Behold, the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. And others fell on the good soil and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.”


We learned from Jesus in Matthew 13:19 that the seed is “the word of the kingdom.” The following seven passages instruct us about the characteristics and qualities of the good seed, which is the “word of the kingdom”:


  1. Joshua 1:8, “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.”

  2. Isaiah 55:10-11, “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”

  3. Matthew 24:35, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.”

  4. 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

  5. 2 Peter 1:20-21, “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”

  6. Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

  7. 1 Peter 1:23-25, “For you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. For, ‘All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls off, but the word of the Lord endures forever.’ And this is the word which was preached to you.”


From this first parable of Jesus, we learn about the good seed, which was passed down to us and we are to pass it on to others who will join us in the work of sowing it. Paul taught this to his protégé in 2 Timothy 2:2, “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” Just like God first sowed the seed of life into us and invited us to join Him in His garden (creation). We read this in Genesis 2:7-8, “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. The Lord God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed.”


God said to His image bearers at the beginning, “Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:26-28). As image bearers of God, we were to continue to fulfill His desires for His creation, which is that all things would live under His rightful rule (in His kingdom). This is the work of the harvest, as Jesus commanded in Mark 16:15, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” This is the Great Commission for which Jesus taught us to pray in Luke 10:2, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” The work of the harvest is to sow the good seed, passing it from person to person, generation to generation, and nation to nation. As Jesus emphasized in Matthew 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”


Let’s enter a time of prayer, asking God to open our eyes to this plentiful harvest. The harvest is in our homes and neighborhoods, in our schools and places of work, throughout our communities, and to the places around the world which we go. Are you willing and available to be a laborer in God’s harvest, wherever and whenever He may call you to go? Let’s pray for each of us to be open, available, and willing to be used by God, wherever and whenever He may call.


[Time of Prayer]


In the next parable, the Parable of the Seed, found in Mark 4:26-29, Jesus taught about the importance of God’s grace in the work of sowing the good seed:


And [Jesus] was saying, “The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil; and he goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts and grows – how, he himself does not know. The soil produces crops by itself; first the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head. But when the crop permits, he immediately puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”


Just like with life itself, there is a mystery in the power of the seed because it is God-breathed. The seed comes from the Sower (God), who provided the good seed to us so that we can sow in His name, with His same Spirit that brought life out from the dust. There is a guarantee on this seed, as we’ve already learned from Isaiah 55:11, “it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” These words are spoken by the Sower of faith. Isaiah 55:8-9 tells us about the One who makes such an extravagant promise, “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.’”


Our job as hard-working farmers is to sow the good seed, which has been provided to us, not second guess the seed or what the Sower says it is capable of or what it will produce. As Jesus taught in the above parable, we can rest easy at night knowing that we have been faithful farmers who “cast seed upon the soil.” The rest is up to God and the power of His good seed.


What is required of you, the faithful farmer? Just that, it requires faith! The kind of faith that reminds you to sow seed everywhere you go because it’s good seed. Regardless of whether it is hard ground, shallow rocky soil, land filled with thorns and thistles, or fields that have proven themselves to be good soil, you sow the seed!


You are called to sow, but you can’t make it grow! You aren’t in control! You can’t control the results of your hard work, only in whether you are willing to work hard and follow the strategy of the faithful farmer, entrusted to you generation after generation, and preserved through the Bible handed down to you. It’s a life learning how to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7) – the farmer goes to bed, sleeps peacefully because he trusts the strategy passed down to him. As Jesus taught in His parable, the farmer wakes up to see that “the seed sprouts and grows – how, he himself does not know. The soil produces crops by itself; first the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head.”


The second step of the farmer’s strategy is the high call of living by faith. In 1881, C. H. Spurgeon preached about the life of sowing the seed:


The precious seed of the word of God is small as a grain of mustard-seed, and may be carried by the feeblest hand where it shall multiply a hundred-fold. We need never quarrel with God because we cannot do everything if he only permits us to do this one thing; for sowing the good seed is a work which will need all our wit, our strength, our love, our care. Holy seed sowing may well be adopted as our highest pursuit, and be no inferior object for the noblest life that can be led.[1]


What Spurgeon calls “the noblest life that can be led” is the life of a hard-working farmer, a life of growing strong in God’s grace. By God’s grace, we sow in faith, even if our faith is no bigger than that of a mustard seed. In the next parable of Jesus, the Parable of the Mustard Seed, found in Mark 4:30-32, Jesus emphasized the power of faith:


How shall we picture the kingdom of God, or by what parable shall we present it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the soil, though it is smaller than all the seeds that are upon the soil, yet when it is sown, it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and forms large branches; so that the birds of the air can nest under its shade.” (cf. Matthew 13:31-32)


Do you feel that you are lacking in faith to be a hard-working farmer for God’s harvest? Jesus’ words convince me that a mustard seed of faith is sufficient to the task! Sowing the good seed is an activity of faith, and the faith you have, even that of a mustard seed, is sufficient for the task that Jesus has called you to participate in. How do I know this? Because the measure of faith you have is not your own, you didn’t muster up, it was given to you by God’s grace, and God’s grace is sufficient to all that God calls you to be and do. Paul taught this in Romans 12:3, “For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.”


Have you received the good seed of Jesus Christ? You first must receive what you are called to sow into the lives of others. I invite you now to receive Jesus Christ by inviting Him to be your Lord and Savior. Submit to the Lord of the Harvest and be filled with the imperishable seed of God’s Word, who plants eternity into your heart through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.


[altar call and pray for salvation]


Keep your focus as hardworking farmers – the harvest! As C. H. Spurgeon preached in 1871, “Preaching is sowing, prayer is watering, but praise is the harvest.”[2] It is my desire to see First Baptist Church of New Castle, Indiana witness a large crop yield of praise to the glory of God! That we will be an epicenter of revival throughout our region and denomination, and into our nation and to the nations. Until all worship, let us continue to be faithful to the Lord of the Harvest and respond to His call upon our lives to be hard-working farmers!

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[1] C. H. Spurgeon, “What the Farm Labourers Can Do and What They Cannot Do,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 27 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1881), 330.

[2] C. H. Spurgeon, “The Joy of the Lord, the Strength of His People,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 17 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1871), 717.