THE ‘GOOD GROUND’ – IF YOU HAVE IT – YOU HAVE ONLY GOD TO THANK FOR
The ‘Parable of the Sower’ [Lk 8:4-8] is not a story with a moral or admonition saying “go and do thou likewise” [Lk 10:37]. It is a parable narrating the facts of the Kingdom of God as they really are. It is not a fascinating little story to amuse Sunday school children, but an exposition to teach us the measure of success which the Gospel would receive among the Gentiles and the REASON FOR SUCH A RESULT.
It is an exposition and account of the life of the believer as he journeys through life testifying the Gospel, and the results and effects he beholds in those around him as a response to that Gospel.
Scarcely anything at all is told us in the parable about the Sower, beyond the simple fact that He actually sowed the Seed. The emphasis is upon the Seed, the various kinds of soil and the obstacles to and conditions of fruitfulness. Why is this? Because the personality of the sower and the method of sowing are of secondary importance. A little child may drop a seed as effectively as a man; the wind may carry it, and accomplish as much as though an angel had planted it!
But here’s the important thing – NEITHER THE SOWER NOR THE SEED CAN CHANGE THE SOIL. The same sower and seed produced no crop, some crop, or much crop, depending on the SOIL. Of course, we must do all we can to be more effective sowers by prayer and preparation; we must present the seed, the Scriptures in translations in language and in terms relevant to those we seek to help, but when all is said and done, the apostle Paul himself says, the sower and waterer are nothing – it’s only God who gives growth (1 Cor 3:7). It’s the QUALITY OF THE SOIL that matters, and in this case THE HEART!
In this short paper we shall however confine ourselves to a closer look at the soils and what they represent. The ‘soil’ or ‘ground’ represents the heart of man. The Lord Himself makes this plain when he explains “The seed is the Word of God. Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the Word out of their HEARTS, lest they should believe and be saved.” [Luke 8:11,12]
It took me a while, but as the years have rolled by I have gradually seen the ‘Parable of the Sower’ literally played out and being fulfilled in my own life as a believer and those around me.
I have seen the ‘way side hearers’ (these are in the majority), ‘stony ground hearers’, and the ones who received the Word among thorns. The first kind make for all those who come under the sound of the Gospel but make no claim of knowing Christ, but the other two i.e. the stony ground hearers and the ones who received it among the thorns make for all those who have a name that they are Christian but are dead!
“I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art DEAD!” [Rev 3:1]
For my own self I KNOW that the seed when it fell on my heart it fell on ‘good ground’ not because of anything in ME (God forbid), but because GOD has made it so.
If the ground is indeed the heart (and it is) and “the preparations of the heart in man is from the Lord” [Prov 16:1], then it is safe to conclude that the ones who received the seed “on the good ground” have only the Lord to thank for!
The apostle admitted, “By the grace of God I am what I am!” [1Cor 15:10]
Here is a word from A.W. Pink on this –
“There is one word said concerning this fourth class which we wish to particularly observe: they are the ones who receive the Word “In an honest and good heart.” This is the ONLY TIME in the parable that our Lord defines the kind of heart which received the Word.
It is here we have disclosed the DECISIVE FACTOR, that which fundamentally distinguishes those belonging to the fourth class from all the others. Thus it is of prime importance we should seek to ascertain exactly what is connoted by “an honest and good heart” (Luke 8:15), and diligently search ourselves whether or not we possess such. Clearly the terms used here by Christ are in designed contrast from Jeremiah 17:9–“the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked,” which describes that which every descendant of Adam is born with. “An honest and good heart” then is not the natural heart, but ONE WHICH DIVINE GRACE HAS IMPARTED.”
“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will TAKE AWAY THE STONY HEART out of your flesh, and I WILL GIVE YOU AN HEART OF FLESH. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments, and do them.” [Ezk 36:26,27]
If divine Grace has prepared the ‘good ground’ and given it ‘an honest and good heart’, WHERE is boasting then? It is EXCLUDED! [Rom 3:27]
“But he that glorieth, let him glory in the LORD!” [2Cor 10:17]