In His Parable of the Sower (Matt. 13:3-8; Mark 4:3-8; Luke 8:5-8), Jesus gave an illustration portraying a man who sowed upon four different types of soil, but only yielded crop upon one soil. Upon clarifying this parable to His disciples (Matt. 13:18-23; Mark 4:14-20; Luke 8:11-15), Jesus explained that He was teaching that it would be a certain type of person who would, upon hearing the Gospel, obey it and remain a faithful Christian. Jesus named three necessary requirements for making a Christian:
This emphasizes the need for evangelism. Just as there is a need for a planter if there is to be a crop, there is a need for an evangelist if there is to be a Christian: “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? (Rom. 10:14). True, Jesus said that in the Parable of the Tares, “He that soweth the good seed is the Son of Man” (Matt. 13:37), referring to Himself. But how does He do this? He told His apostles, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). This obligation is passed to the current generation of Christians, for it was commanded, “And the things which thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2).
If one is a Christian, he is to be a sower; and Jesus said of His parable’s sower, he “went forth to sow” (Matt. 13:2, emph. LM). If there is to be a crop of Christians, there must be sowers actively seeking to plant seed.
This emphasizes the need for pure doctrine. Jesus said, “The seed is the word of God” (Luke 8:11). This word will never lose its effectiveness, for one who has obeyed the Gospel has been “born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever” (1 Peter 1:23). While man’s ingenuity has been able to devise new ways to make seed and plants stronger and more resistant, to tamper with God’s word is folly. If one plants seed that is not exactly corn seed, it will not be exactly corn that is produced. If one preaches or teaches a message that is not exactly the word of God, it will not be exactly a Christian that is produced.
This emphasizes the need for goodness and honesty in a hearer. Any other type of soil would not bring forth good fruit, but Jesus said, “He that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty” (Matt. 13:23). What is necessary to understanding the word? “But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience” (Luke 8:15). Many have little or no desire to know the truth; and unless that changes, they cannot be saved (cf. 2 Thess. 2:10).
Christians do not accidentally spring up in various places. There are requirements prerequisite to creating Christians. But God has given mankind the means necessary. It is up to Christians to be sowers, taking forth the pure seed of the word of God. And it is up to hearers to be good soil, honest and receptive to the truth. And it is up to each group to see that they come in contact with the other.