Our blessed Lord was truly a Master Teacher! He made regular use of teaching by way of parables. A parable is an earthly story which teaches some heavenly or spiritual lesson. Many of Jesus’ parables were but descriptions of His Heavenly Kingdom, which He was about to bring forth based on New Testament Gospel realities.
As this story is told, several things become clear. Nothing is said about the sower and his skill; the sower is the same in every case. Nothing is really said to distinguish the seed. If the sower is not the issue, and the seed is not the issue, then what is? The soil! The soil is a representation of the hearer's heart condition.
The Parable of the Sower is an important one since it helps to interpret all other parables. In this parable, Jesus uses the illustration of a farmer casting seed across his field. The seed represents the good seed of the Word of God as it is communicated either by print or by the public proclamation of the Gospel. As the seed falls, it falls upon four types of soils or individuals' hearts. Only one responds to the Gospel in a saving, evangelical manner. The others, however, are not saved and will perish due to a lack of genuine Gospel faith in the Saviour.
A brief description of each hearer is provided here:
The First Ground Hearers—The Indifferent Hearers—are those who hear the Word and reject it due to Satanic activities. They hear it and reject it so often they become hard-hearted to the demands of the Gospel and the convictions of the Holy Spirit. They begin to “toy and tinker” with their minds, rejecting any idea of a Supreme Being and continue to live a life as if there is no God nor a judgment to come.
The Second Ground Hearers—The “Fair-Weather” Believers—are those who hear the Word and receive it with great joy, great emotion, and great interest. They may even get baptized, join a church, but, they last only for a season. Persecutions, trials, and offenses due to the cross cause them to get offended and they walk no more with Christ, nor with His people. Some may call such persons “carnal Christians” but scripture reveals that these individuals are lost (good example--Judas Iscariot).
The Third Ground Hearers—The Cluttered Ground Hearers—are those who hear the Word and also receive it, but bear no fruit unto perfection. The message of the Gospel must compete with the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of the flesh. This person has no time for God, the Scriptures, the Church, nor for living to the glory of God. In time, the pull and tug of this world chokes the Word and he too falls away.
The Fourth Ground Hearers—The Genuine, Fruitful Believers—are those who hear the Word, are regenerated by God the Spirit, and thus are given a new heart that is able to understand, receive, and keep the Word. In time and despite the trials, persecutions, and the offenses of the cross, these believers will persevere until they cross Jordan into the Celestial City (good example--read Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan).
I have had the privilege of preaching this parable on two other occasions. However, this series is a more expanded treatment of the parable. My hope and prayer is that it will bless the hearts of the saved and awaken those who currently have no concern for their souls!
--Pastor Bob Spagnuolo
This parallel KJV document will aid in your study.
(Matthew 13:4-9, Mark 4:3-9, Luke 8:4-8)
The Parable of the Sower
Code Sermons Title (Scripture Text)
PS01 How and What We Hear (Matt. 7:24-27)
PS02 Purpose of Parables (Psalm 78:1-8)
PS03 Way Side Hearer  (Matt. 13:4 & 19)
PS04 Way Side Hearer  (Mark 4:10-13)
PS05 Stony Ground Hearer  (I John 2:18-19)
PS06 Stony Ground Hearer  (Matt. 13:5-6)
PS07 Stony Ground Hearer  (II Peter 2:17-22)
PS08 Stony Ground Hearer  (Matt. 10:16-26)
PS09 Stony Ground Hearer  Heb. 10:26-39)
PS10 Cluttered Ground Hearer  (Luke 14:15-24)
PS11 Cluttered Ground Hearer  (Prov. 10:4)
PS12 Good Ground Hearer  True Converts - Lydia (Acts 8:37; 16:14-15)
PS13 Good Ground Hearer  True Converts - Ephesian Believers (Acts 19:18-20)
PS14 Good Ground Hearer  True Converts - Ethiopian Eunuch - 1 (Acts 8:26-40)
PS15 Good Ground Hearer  True Converts - Ethiopian Eunuch - 2 (Acts 8:26-39)
PS16 Good Ground Hearer  Value of the Old Testament Scriptures (Acts 8:26-39)
PS17 Good Ground Hearer  True Converts--Ethiopian Eunuch - 3 (Acts 8:26-39)
PS18 Good Ground Hearer  True Converts--Ethiopian Eunuch - 4 (Acts 8:36-39)
PS19 Good Ground Hearer  Operation of God (Col. 2:9-13)
PS20 Good Ground Hearer  Explained - 1 (Matt. 13:8)
PS21 Good Ground Hearer  Explained - 2 (Acts 14:21-23)