The Parable Of the Sower And the Seeds
is About Soul-Winning, Not Salvation
12:3, “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament;
and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.”
By David J. Stewart | January 2018
Nothing is dearer and nearer to God's heart than sharing the Gospel with others. Many believers misunderstand the parable of the sower and the seeds told by the Lord Jesus Christ in Luke 8:11-15. The focus of this parable is bearing much fruit (i.e., soul-winning), but it is not about getting saved (as many naive Bible students conclude). It is clear from Luke 8:15 that the preferred group of seeds are those which fell on good soil, those believers who keep God's Word, and “bring forth fruit.”
To begin, let us establish the primary truth that the “seed” is the Holy Bible. The key verse in the parable of The Sower And The Seeds is Luke 8:11, which plainly identifies that the “SEED” is the Word of God. We are “born again” by the incorruptible Word of God. 1st Peter 1:23, “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” Carefully notice that the Word of God “liveth and abideth for ever.” My friend, that is inspiration! It flabbergasts me how any Bible preacher can deny the inspiration of the King James Bible.
There is nothing in the Greek word theopneustos (from which the phrase “given by inspiration of God” in 2nd Timothy 3:16 is derived) which suggests that it is limited merely to the process of God breathing out His initial words to mankind. The word theopneustos means “the breath of God.” All Scripture is given by the Holy Spirit of God. This is why God's words live and abide forever, even still today, because God “liveth and abideth for ever.” God's words are “quick [alive] and powerful” because our great God is alive and eternal (Hebrews 4:2).
Luke 8:11 — “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.”
Evangelist Ray Comfort Gets it Wrong!
Kindly, Evangelist Ray Comfort gets it horribly wrong. Ray says the people in Luke 8:13, BELIEVE, but due to willful sin in their life are still not saved. Ray errantly teaches:
Is Repentance Necessary for Salvation?
... We are dead in our trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1) and until we forsake them through repentance, we cannot be made alive in Christ ...
If belief is all that is necessary for salvation, then the logical conclusion is that one need never repent. However, the Bible tells us that a false convert “believes” and yet is not saved (Luke 8:13); he remains a “worker of iniquity.” Look at the warning of Scripture: “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth” (1 John 1:6). The Scriptures also say, “He that covers his sins shall not prosper, but whoso confesses and forsakes them [repentance] shall have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13). Jesus said that there was joy in heaven over one sinner who “repents” (Luke 15:10). If there is no repentance, there is no joy because there is no salvation. [emphasis added]
Carefully notice that Mr. Comfort attempts to use Luke 8:13 to bolster his Lordship Salvation heresy, which says that believing (trusting) on Jesus Christ is insufficient by itself to save a person. Ray corrupts “the simplicity that is in Christ” (2nd Corinthians 11:3-4) by adding the unbiblical requirement to turn away from deliberate sinful behavior to be saved. This is “works” for salvation, which is a false plan of salvation.
Luke 8:13 states:
Luke 8:13, “They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.”
We know that this group in Luke 8:13 is saved, because the Bible says they “receive the word with joy” and “believe,” but due to their shallow roots they fall away (quit) when persecution comes. Contrary to what Ray Comfort teaches, the Bible doesn't say they were still living in sin; but rather, persecution came. The Greek word for “persecution” means “to be put to the test,” implying adversity. Oftentimes when a person gets saved, they are ridiculed and shunned by their own family, and this proves to be too much for some people to handle. Rejection from one's own family or peers can be overwhelming.
The Bible says “among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue” (John 12:42). Luke 8:13 perfectly describes these chief rulers. They were saved, because they believed on Jesus' name, but “they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:43). They were believers, but not yet disciples. So Ray Comfort gets it wrong, again, concerning the plan of salvation!
To clarify, repentance is indeed necessary for salvation; but repentance doesn't mean to turn from sinful behavior, it means to think differently. It means to judge one's self as being a needy sinner in the sight of a holy God. The man who believes the Gospel has repented, otherwise he wouldn't have believed to be saved.
A Correct Understanding of the Parable of the Sower and the Seeds
Let's take a broader look at Luke 8:11-14...
Luke 8:12 — “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 8:13 — “They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.”
Luke 8:14 — “And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.”
Luke 8:15 — “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.”
We see FOUR distinct groups above. The key verse is Luke 8:11, which plainly identifies that the “SEED” is the Word of God.
The FIRST GROUP clearly did not get saved, because the Bible states it. Satan removed the word, that is, the seed, from their hearts.
The SECOND GROUP DID get saved, because the Bible says they believed. The Bible is not saying that they only believed for a while and then stopped believing; but rather, they believed for a short time before persecution came. The Bible never says they stopped believing, it says they “fall away.” The Greek word for “fall away” means “to remove,” that is, they withdraw themselves from serving God. For Ray Comfort to teach that the people in Luke 8:13 weren't saved is heresy. The Bible says they “receive the word with joy” and “believe.”
Mr. Comfort teaches a dangerous heresy, claiming that habitual sin is an indication that a person is not saved. I have received numerous letters from people, who are grateful to have found my ministry, and the truth of the Gospel of free grace without works. They tell me that Ray Comfort caused them much grief, and that for a long time they lived in fear of going to Hell, some even contemplating suicide, because of lingering sinfulness in their life that they struggle with. (They say the same thing about false prophets' Paul Washer, Chip Ingram, Charles Lawson, John Piper, John MacArthur and Jack Chick.) These men are doing incalculable damage to the cause of Christ, by creating much uncertainty, fear and worry over the destiny of one's soul because of personal sins. In sharp contrast, the eternal Word of God teaches that forgiveness of sins and eternal life are the free gift of God, which are without human effort nor turning from sinful behavior. God only saves “THE UNGODLY” (Romans 4:5-6). A gift is free!
We read a parallel account of Luke 8:13 in the Gospel of Matthew...
Matthew 13:20-21, “But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.”
This Scripture is addressing the believer who does not confess nor bare fruit for Christ because of persecution. Again, the Bible doesn't indicate that salvation was lost; but rather, they were “offended” and withdrew from serving God. I know some preachers don't like to consult the Greek, but I sure do, because it sheds light on the meaning of words. I looked up the meaning of “offended” in Matthew 13:21 and it means “to trip up,” figuratively, to stumble. So the word doesn't refer to a person who gets upset and quits; bur rather, they get off the path of God's perfect will for their life. By the way, I use E-SWORD, which is 100% completely free.
For someone to receive the Gospel is saved!!! There are many believers today, most in fact, who cower in their churches. They would never protest on a street corner against abortion, would never go door-to-door confrontational soulwinning, et cetera. The Bible clearly states that the people in Luke 8:12 didn't get “saved,” and even uses the term “saved.” Only the first group didn't get saved, the other three groups did.
The people in Luke 8:13 wanted to be saved, and were saved, but they were not strong enough in the Lord to deal with persecution. All of Jesus' disciples abandoned Him when he was arrested, offended in Him. Jesus was wrongfully tried as a criminal and sentenced to death on a cross. The disciples fell away in a time of temptation (i.e., hardship); but they didn't lose their salvation, nor does it mean that they had only believed without repenting. Ray Comfort is teaching heresy!
The folks in Luke 8:13 were saved, and so were the people in Luke 8:14 and Luke 8:15.
The THIRD GROUP is in Luke 8:14. The Bible says they were “choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life.” This describes most believers today. The average believer today is more concerned about making money, upgrading their cellphone and having a good time at church. They are not honoring God with their life or resources. If anything, they give God a little pocket-change and some spare time. The believers described in Luke 8:13-14 never make an attempt to win a soul to Jesus Christ. The focus of this parable is bearing fruit, not getting saved. The Bible is telling us why these four groups of people didn't bear fruit. The first group didn't get saved. The second and third group did get saved, but failed to mature. The fourth group matured!
The Blessed Fourth Group Are Soul-Winners!
Only the FOURTH GROUP matured in the Lord, taking heed to God's Word, and “BRING FORTH FRUIT.” I get excited in my soul when I hear a web visitor testify about getting saved; but I rejoice much more when I hear someone testify of leading other people to the Lord, because they are perpetuating the Gospel (which is what God intended in Matthew 28:19-20). I love the popular saying that says: “Feed a man a fish and you've fed him for one day, but teach him to fish and you've fed him for a lifetime!” Yeah man! That's good stuff! If I lead a person to the Lord, I have saved a soul from Hell; but if I can lead someone to the Lord, and teach them to become a soul-winner, then I have saved a hundred souls from Hell. Amen! Soul-winning is the dearest thing to the heart of God.
In fact, the Scriptures tell us that the ONLY reason why the Lord is delaying His return is for more souls to get saved. 2nd Peter 3:3-4 and 9, “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. ... The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” God is waiting for YOU my friend! If you are not saved, then God is waiting for you to repent (change your mind) and get saved. And if you are saved, then God is waiting for you to get busy sharing the Gospel (Good News) of Christ crucified on the cross, buried and bodily risen the third day, so they can get saved (1st Corinthians 15:1-6). Some won't listen, but SOME WILL!!!
The believers in Luke 8:15 are soulwinners, who faithfully preach the Gospel. The Bible says they “BRING FORTH FRUIT WITH PATIENCE,” because it takes time for the truth to work in people's hearts. I love when people write to me, testifying that 5-years ago they found my website ministry, and they hated me and thought I was a nut, but the truth began to work in their heart, and now they are born-again in the Lord and love me dearly. I get lots of testimonies like that, and they are all precious to me!!! That is why I have learned to be PATIENT with critics, because I understand that there is a progression of learning THE TRUTH. God is patient!!!
So now you have learned that the focus of the parable of The Sower And The Seeds is soul-winning (to bear fruit), and not getting saved. We are saved by submitting to God's righteousness, which is through faith alone in Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:9). Being choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of this world won't jeopardize your position in Christ as His child, if you are saved; but it will keep you from doing what God meant for you to do, which is to further the Gospel. The Scriptures teach that they who have “an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.” God sacrificed His only begotten Son to pay for our sins (John 3:16; Romans 8:32). Jesus laid down His life for all humanity, to redeem us from sin and Hell (1st John 3:16). Oh, how we ought to have a heart of love and thanksgiving toward our great God and Savior!!! God doesn't say that we owe Him anything for the gift of eternal life. Isn't that amazing? God doesn't demand anything in return for His great love, grace and kindness toward us sinners; but the apostle Paul calls it “our reasonable service” to live for God in Romans 12:1.
I encourage you my dear friend, whosoever you may be, to get saved if you're not already, and become a soul-winner (Pastor Danny castle). Here is another soul-winning sermon (by Pastor Steven Anderson). Daniel 12:3, “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.”
That Fruit May Abound (video sermon by Pastor Ralph “Yankee” Arnold)
“When someone does something wrong, make it a point to never forget all
the things they did right.”
—Pastor Bob Gray Sr., a quote from the life-changing article, “Strife Is A Part Of Life.”
You Can Still Do What You Always Could Do!
(MP3 sermon by Dr. Jack Hyles; a pastor is a position, not a calling. You can forfeit a position, but never your calling to preach!)
Souls Are Dying!
Precious Christian Testimonies
How Permanent Is Your Salvation?
(an excellent MP3 sermon by Pastor Hank Lindstrom, 1940-2008)
of the child of God is that he loves everybody!”
(a quote from Pastor Jack Hyles' classic MP3 sermon, “FORGIVENESS”)
Ye Must Be Born Again! | You Need HIS Righteousness!