Read Luke 8:1-15
This passage of Scripture is about the planting of seed in four different circumstances and the result in each case.
The seed is the Word of God, which must produce fruit to be successful planting.
In the physical realm what is the purpose of a seed? The purpose is to produce a plant of some sort, which will produce fruit of some sort. And what is the purpose of the fruit? It is not primarily to provide food for some species but to provide a means of spreading more seeds to produce more plants.
So it is with the spiritual fruit. Our spiritual fruit is meant to attract people who will then receive the seed (the Word of God) and have it planted in their heart so that they will then be sowers of the seed.
What is this fruit, which is to be born in our life?
Read Gal 5:22,23
Contrast this with the fruit of the flesh.
Read Gal 5:19-21
Note at the end of Gal 5:21 that the one who practices these fruits of the flesh will not inherit the kingdom of God. All of us will slip and show some of these fleshly fruits as we live in this world and some of us are more prone to some than to others. For example, some have a problem with becoming jealous of other people, perhaps even becoming jealous with fellow Christians. Some have a problem with idolatry, which is the placing of anything between yourself and God. Some have a problem with anger. But if we are Christians then we do not practice these traits.
Now that we understand what the spiritual fruits are that Jesus is talking about, let us look at the parable in more detail. This parable lists four types of people and three of these are not children of God.
I. Luke 8:12
This section is not talking about people who just hear the Word preached by their ears and minds. The Scripture says that the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts. These people were really touched. They realized that the truth was being spoken to them. But the devil stole the word from their hearts. We see part of Satan's purpose here and that is to keep people from being saved. Contrast this with God's purpose in 2Peter 3:9. Can Satan steal the word from the heart of a Christian? No, look at Rom 8:38-39 and we see that nothing can take away the love of God. So these people were not saved.
II. Luke 8:13
These people are so grateful to receive the Word. They receive the Word with joy. In analogy with today, they could be people coming down after a service to join a church. However, they believe for awhile. So what type of meaning do we place on the word believe? My dictionary has the first meaning to be "To accept as true or real." That should be our definition. Then if you believe that you can walk on water or air you would not miss a step in your walking if you came to a sea of a cliff. You would just step out on what you believed. However the third meaning is "To expect or suppose, to think." This is the way we Americans more often use the word. We say "I believe that John will come to class today." There is some doubt attached to our thought and we will not be knocked off of our foundation if John does not come to class today.
These people were convinced for a while that God was who He said He was just as Pharaoh was. Read Exodus 9:27-35. Here we see that Pharaoh came to Moses for help from God and even admitted that he and his people were the wicked ones and that the Lord is the righteous one. However his heart was hardened and when the trouble passed, he and his people went back to being as they were. This reaction is not unfamiliar to us. People have troubles and they ask people to pray for them. Trouble passes and they quickly dismiss the idea of praying, and the thought that perhaps God had something to do with the removal of the trouble quickly fades.
In this parable we see that when temptations come, the true nature of these people comes through and they fall away going back to their former life. Only surface roots had been put down and they were washed away by the lure of the world.
These people were never saved. They were never born again. They were never really children of God. They were really never a part of the family of God. Read 1John 2:19. This is the apostasy of the church -- the people were really not part of the real church.
III. Luke 8:14
These people have heard the truth, but no fruit is produced. Note that these people are choked, and without air there is no life (Gen 2:7), and thus a dead plant will produce no fruit. This is not referring to the quality of life of a Christian but is referring to people who were not saved. This portion of the parable is similar to Matt 6:24:"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."
Note the three things that block the passage of air to these people:
A. Worries of this life. What is it that you worry about that takes you away from God? Take a minute to think of these yourself.
B. Riches of this life. These people love money and the other rewards of life here.
C. Pleasures of this life. The people in the world do have good times. The pleasures are temporary, but while they are in them they are lured away from God.
Christians can have worries, can be distracted by pleasures, and can get carried away sometimes with riches. However, these people are choked by these and they bring no fruit to maturity. The fruit rots on the vine.
IV. Luke 8:15
Now we finally see the category of the parable representing the true born-again children of God. Note the three aspects of these people:
A. They hear the word in an honest and good heart. How does one have an honest and good heart? It does not come about humanly. Gen 8:21 says "the intent of man's heart is evil from his youth" and Jer 17:9 says "the heart is more deceitful than all else". Since it does not come about naturally then it must be created by the only One who is Good. In Ps 51:10 we read "create in me a clean heart". Only God is good so God creates within the person the heart on which the Word of God can be planted and truly received and then grow. Thus this person has been born again.
B. They hold it fast. This is evidence of the fact that they have been born again with a good, honest heart. Only the true children of God will persevere. Regardless of what comes their way, they will not let go of this seed.
C. They bear fruit with steadfastness. This is another evidence of their being a new creation. They may waver a little as waves of the world hit, but their roots are deep and their direction is set regardless of what comes. These are the true Children of God.
From all of this we see that the key to the success of the seed producing a fruit-bearing person is the heart and we see that our heart must be changed by God in order for it to be good. Only when one has been born again by God can he have a good heart and then have fertile ground for the seed. The people of verse 12 can have the devil take away the word from their heart because it is not a new heart. The people of verse 13 fall away in times of temptation because they do not have a new heart. The people of verse 14 bring no fruit to maturity as worries, riches, and pleasures choke them because they do not have a new heart. Only the people of verse 15 bear fruit because they are born again by God.
The word heart is "kardia" in the Greek and means the spiritual, intellectual, volitional center of a person. We can study and train ourselves with the best dedication that a man is capable of doing but when this process is complete, one's heart will still be evil and deceitful in comparison with Holy, Holy, Holy God. So how do we become a person with a good and honest heart? This process can only be performed by God, and occurs when we are born again, and this is a process that only God can accomplish.
Jesus completed the process of preparing the way for man to become right before God almost 2000 years ago. Anybody can have a new heart now by accepting Jesus as Savior and Lord. Remember the story about Jesus weeping over Jerusalem as He was going into the city for His ordeal? He was weeping because of all the people who would not accept Him as the only way to the Father, the only way to have a new good and honest heart. There may be people in a church congregation who have been trying to fake the fruits in order to try to fit in with the true children of God. There may be people in a church congregation who have been in one of the three categories of this parable who are not saved. How frustrating any of these positions would be. Accept the work of God in your heart now while He is still willing to work there and then you can receive the word in a fertile soil.
Read Heb 3:12
Read 2Cor 13:5
Web Author: Dr. Leon L. Combs
Copyright ©2000 by Dr. Leon L. Combs - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED