Thesis:Being a "disciple" means, among other things, doing the assigned work without regard for the fact that it may appear to be totally fruitless.
Introduction:In Luke eight, Jesus is setting about to prepare His disciples to carry on His work after He is gone. This morning we are going to begin to look into what this preparation involved as it is revealed by the parable of the sower. We are going to see that there are a few "basics" that are involved.
I. The First "Basic": Doing the Assigned Task.
A. It should be without dispute that Jesus is using the "sower" to refer, first, to Himself as a "disciple" of the Father, and, second, to a certain group, within those who had "believed", whose task was similar to His.
1. The action of the sower in this context.
a. Luke 4:43 in view of "for therefore am I sent".
1) The "sent" thesis begins in Luke 1:19.
a) Its "setting" had two major parts.
i. Fantastic "promise".
ii. Reluctant "faith".
b) This "setting" is significantly altered in 1:26.
2) This "sent" thesis is picked up by Jesus in Luke 4:18.
3) It is used as the determinative issue in "choices made" in 4:43.
b. Luke 8:1-3 in view of Luke 4:43.
2. The identity of the sower(s) in this context.
a. The focus is upon anyone who is "called" to proclaim the word of God.
b. The instruction is to the "disciples".
1) Its first application is to "The Twelve".
a) Luke 6:13.
b) Luke 8:1.
2) Its second application is to the "Support Network".
a) The focus of 8:1-3 is upon this "Support Network".
b) The issue involves the fact that all are "called" to be disciples, but not all are called to be the "sowers".
B. It must be understood that the general principle undergirding the parable is that disciples do what they are "sent" to do.
II. The Second "Basic": Doing the Assigned Task Is Independent From "Results".
A. It cannot be disputed that the overall issue of the parable is "results" oriented.
1. In the explanation of the meaning, every case is focused upon a "soil type" that is "explained" as having to do with whether the seed produces any fruit.
2. The question is, then, raised as to why Jesus' first "preparatory" doctrine is focused upon the "results" issue.
B. There is a very potent implication: sowers are susceptible to the temptation to determine their own obedience by the results of their efforts.
1. The most basic doctrinal setting of Jesus' ministry is the "summary" description of that ministry: the biblical concept of "repentance".
a. It is clear from Jesus' explanation of the first soil type that "salvation" is the key issue.
1) The most fundamental issue of "salvation" is revealed by its "aoristic" nature.
a) This almost compels us to think in terms of "justification" because it is the "aoristic" issue that initiates "salvation".
b) This means that whatever it takes to be "justified" is the point.
2) We conclude, then, that the sowing of the seed is fundamentally evangelistic in terms of making those truths clear that lead to justification.
b. It is clear from both John's preaching and Jesus' teaching that the key to justification is "faith" in the doctrine of "repentance" as the expression of what God will do in response to it.
1) This means that "repentance" has to be front and center.
2) This makes the concept of "repentance" absolutely critical.
a) The first issue of "repentance" is its specific objective: being separated from the wrath of God.
b) The second issue of "repentance" is where one is going to get its specific meaning.
c) The third issue of "repentance" is the specific meaning: rejecting the two major stumbling blocks that keep a person from "faith" in God's willingness to isolate a person from His wrath.
i. On one side is the pride of "needlessness".
ii. On the other side is the despair of "hopelessness".
2. This most basic doctrinal setting is the pervasive umbrella under which all else is understood.
a. This is important in terms of the disciples' "obedience".
b. If a disciple is only willing to "obey" if the results are what he wishes to see, what will he do when he cannot see anyone "being saved" as a result of his sowing?
c. The issues of this "obedience" are tied to "repentance".
1) If the seed falls upon the roadway and is eaten by the birds, one of two things may result.
a) The sower may, in despair, decide to stop sowing.
b) The sower may, in pride, change seeds.
2) The most fundamental characteristic of the roadway is that it is impervious to the sower's seed.
a) The issue is "what makes people impervious to the Gospel?".
b) The answer is: their personal values regarding pride and despair.
3) Thus, the sower who disobeys is no different from the people to whom he preaches if he is influenced by the "results".
III. The Third "Basic": the Sower Has Nothing to do With the Condition of the Soil.
A. The condition of the soils is determined by factors outside of the sower's function.
B. There are such things as people walking, birds eating, dust blowing, thorns growing and good soil yielding crops, and none of these things are within the parameters of the sower's task.