MATTHEW 13:3-23

[Mt 13:3-9; 18-23, Mk 4:3-20 & Lk 8:4-15]:

THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER AND THE SOILS

I) THE PARABLE: Mt 13:3-9, Mk 4:3-9 & Lk 8:4-8

A) INTRODUCTION

This parable and other parables of our Lord's are recorded in the New Testament in the gospels with variations. These differences are most likely due to a number of things, not the least of which is evidence that our Lord did not just make single isolated, never to be repeated statements; nor tell a parable once for all time; nor perform certain types of one of a kind, one time only miracles; nor, for example, did He clear out Temple in Jerusalem just once, etc. On the contrary, it is evident from Scripture that He went all over the Palestinian countryside repeating His message of ["the kingdom of God is at hand" to new groups of individuals throughout Israel, accompanied by parables, miracles and such events as are recorded in the New Testament. And with this repetition of statements, parables and similar but not identical occurences - often miraculous, we have variations in accordance with circumstances and the choices our Lord made in His presentation of His message - similar but certainly not always identical messages and events. Furthermore, a number of the variations are so close in meaning to one another, in the parables for example, that they are virtually identical in meaning as they appear translated in koine Greek from our Lord's original words - which were most likely spoken in Aramaic. Recall that there is no indication in each author's account that there is an attempt to translate into koine Greek what our Lord's precise words were, only an indication of conveying accurate account of what He was saying or what had occurred which is certainly possible without having to quote His exact words in the language He spoke them in. Finally, considering the fact that our Lord most likely spoke His words in Aramaic, not koine Greek as they appear in the New Testament manuscripts, we can allow for variations in translation amongst the various accounts of identical events yet find that these particular renderings still say the same thing. Hence we frequently have similar but not identical accounts of the same event.

B) [Mt 13:3-9]:

(v. 3) "Then He [Jesus] told them many things in parables, saying: 'A farmer went out to sow his seed.

(v. 4) As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.

(v. 5) Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.

(v. 6) But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.

(v. 7) Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.

(v. 8) Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop - a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

(v. 9) He who has ears, let him hear.' "

C) [Compare Mk 4:3-8]:

(v. 3) " 'Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed.

(v. 4) As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.

(v. 5) Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.

(v. 6) But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.

(v. 7) Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain.

(v. 8) Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times.' "

D) [Compare Lk 8:4-8]:

(v. 4) "While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, He told this parable:

(v. 5) 'A farmer went out to sow his sed. As he was scattering the seed some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up.

(v. 6) Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture.

(v. 7) Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants.

(v. 8) Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.' When He said this, He called out, 'He who has ears to hear, let him hear.' "

Note: The next section in this passage in Mt chapter 13, (vv. 10-17), relates to why our Lord spoke in parables - move to this section before moving on the explanation of the parable of the sower and soils as desired:

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II) EXPLANATION OF THE PARABLE

The explanation of this parable is provided in the following verses by our Lord Himself:

A) THE SEEDS FALLING ON THE PATH

1) APPLICABLE VERSES

a) Mt 13:3-4, (Mk 4:3-4 similar); 18-19]:

(v. 3) "Then He told them many things in parables, saying 'A farmer went out to sow his seed.

(v. 4) As he as scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.'

(v. 18) [Jesus said] 'Hear then the parable of the sower,

(v. 19) When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road.' "

b) [Cp Mk 3:13-15]:

(v. 13) "Then Jesus said to them, 'Don't you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable?

(v. 14) The farmer sows the word.

(v. 15) Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them."

c) [Cp Lk 8:11-12]:

(v. 11) "This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God.

(v. 12) Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved."

2) THE GOSPEL OF ETERNAL LIFE IS IN VIEW

"The word of the kingdom", (Mt 13:19), and "the word of God", (Lk 8:11) refer specifically to the gospel of eternal life, considering the fact that both phrases convey information which one must believe in order to be saved, (Lk 8:12; Jn 3:16; Eph 1:13; 1 Jn 5:9-13).

a) [Compare Lk 8:12]:

"Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved."

["Saved" here refers to residence in the eternal kingdom of God, i.e., eternal life]

b) [Compare Ro 3:21-24]:

(v. 21) "But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.

(v. 22) This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference,

(v. 23) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

(v. 24) and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."

c) [Compare Jn 3:16]:

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Since this verse has our Lord before the cross in view Who is speaking firsthand to Nicodemus, a pharisee and member of the Jewish Ruling council at a time under the Mosaic Law,

and since the message of believing in the Son of God being given for the sins of the whole world unto eternal life is therein contained in this verse,

then we can conclude that the gospel of the kingdom is the same as the gospel of eternal life which is applicable for all times.

3) TO BE SAVED UNTO ETERNAL LIFE ONE MUST UNDERSTAND IN THE SENSE OF BELIEVING IN THE TRUTH OF THE WORDS OF THE GOSPEL OF ETERNAL LIFE

a) [Compare Mt 13:19; Mk 4:15 similar]

"When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart"

AND

[Lk 8:12]

"Those along the path are the ones who hear [the gospel] and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts so that they may not believe and be saved" =

Notice that the individuals in view in these verses have heard the gospel, but without understanding it in such a way that they are notsaved. It is evident from the context of the parable that they know the content of the gospel, having heard it; but they are portrayed as having not believed in it, i.e., having not accepted it as true - as applicable to themselves so that they would be saved unto eternal life. So the content of the gospel is, as the parable stipulates, "sown in his heart", (heart = mind in Scripture ) , but the individual has failed to fully understand it in the sense of accepting it as true and applicable to himself, i.e., of believing in it.

b) [Compare 1 John 5:9-13]:

(v. 9) "We accept man's testimony, but God's testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which He has given about His Son.

(v. 10) Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made Him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about His Son.

[Notice, to accept God's testimony, i.e., what He has said about eternal life being in His Son, which is the content of the gospel, is equated to believing in the gospel and thus receiving eternal life. And notice that this acceptance by an individual that God's testimony about His Son is true is described as one having "this testimony in his heart." So one can "sow" the content of the gospel in one's heart as it states in Mt 13:19, but one must believe in it's truthfulness in order to have eternal life. So simply accepting as true what God has said about His Son is saying the same thing as believing in the Son unto eternal life]:

(v. 10 cont.) Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made Him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about His Son.

(v. 11) And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.

(v. 120 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

(v. 13) I [author John] write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life."

A) THE SEED FALLING ON THE PATH, cont.

3) GOD'S SOVEREIGNTY, MAN'S DEPRAVITY & THE DEVIL PARTICIPATE IN THE ETERNAL DESTINY OF EVERY INDIVIDUAL

Unless God intervenes, man cannot understand the gospel of eternal life because he will not, and the devil blinds him so that man willfully chooses not to believe God's words of eternal life.

a) MAN IS TOTALLY DEPRAVED AND WILL NOT, CANNOT SEEK AFTER THE ONE TRUE GOD

Man is first and foremost, totally depraved possessing no capacity, no will to seek after God, much less to believe in the gospel and be saved. Even religious unbelievers substitute a false god for the God of the bible thus they reject faith alone in Christ alone as Savior. Christ the image of God is rejected as the sole source of their salvation, substituting their own unbiblical idea of what they must do to be saved, inevitably involving works of some kind.

i) [Compare Ro 3:10-12]:

(v. 10) "As it is written:

(v. 11) 'There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.

(v. 12) All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.' "

ii) [Compare Jn 12:37-40]:

iii) [Compare 1 Chr 28:9]:

b) THE DEVIL BLINDS ALL MEN TO THE TRUTH OF GOD'S PLAN OF SALVATION

i) THE BIRDS REPRESENT THE DEVIL

" 'As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.', (Mt 13:4; Mk 4:4 & Lk 8:5 similar)

AND

" 'When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart.' ", (Mt 13:19, Mk 4:15 similar) =

AND

"The devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts", (Lk 8:12) = The birds which ate up the seed, (Mt 13:4; Mk 4:4; Lk 8:5) are representative of evil, of the devil, hence our Lord's explanation of "the devil who comes and takes away the word from their hearts"

D.A. Carson states, [The Expositor's Bible Commentary, vol. 8, Matthew, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1984, p. 313]

"The evil one (cf. 6:13; 12:45; 13:38-39), called 'Satan' in Mark 4:15 and 'the devil' in Luke 8:12, has been symbolized by the birds... close study of birds as symbols in the O.T. and especially in the literature of later Judaism shows that birds regularly symbolize evil and even demons or Satan (cf. b. Sanhedrin 107a; cf. Rev 18:2)....

[Rev 18:2]:

"With a mighty voice he [the angel, (v. 1)] shouted: 'Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! She has become a home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit, a haunt for every evil spirit, a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird.' "

ii) SO THE DEVIL INDEED HAS A HAND IN KEEPING THE LOST IN A STATE OF CONDEMNATION

[Compare 2 Cor 4:4]:

"The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, Who is the image of God."

c) BUT GOD IS SOVEREIGN AND ELECTS WHOM HE WILL TO HAVE THE VEIL OF BLINDNESS REMOVED AND TO RECEIVE THE GIFT OF FAITH UNTO ETERNAL LIFE - SO NOT ALL MEN REMAIN LOST

It is only by God's intervention that an individual comes to a saving faith unto eternal life:

i) [Ro 8:28-30]:

(v. 28) "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose [i.e., called according to His decrees].

(v. 29) For those God foreknew...

[Since God is omniscient He knows all and discovers nothing, His foreknowledge is based on what He has predestined, i.e., decreed, not on what He discovers man will do (ref: ]:

...He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers.

(v. 30) And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified."

ii) [Compare Eph 1:4-5, 11]:

(v. 4) "For He [God the Father, (v. 3a)] chose us [believers, (v. 1)] in Him [i.e., to be in Christ - to be saved, (v. 3b)] before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight."

[J Dwight Pentecost states, ("Things Which Become Sound Doctrine" , Revell Publishing, Westwood, N.J., 1965, pp. 135-6):

"This truth is presented to us in Ephesians 1:4 [quoted above] where the Apostle reminds us that God has chosen us in Him (that is, in Christ) before the foundation of the world... God's purpose was determined previous to the actual act of creation... God, as an Omniscient God... ...was the Architect of a plan which included evil within it... In Ephesians 1:5, Paul tells us that God has worked all things 'according to the good pleasure of His will..."]

(v. 5) [In love, (v. 4c)] He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will.

[Then, in verse 11...]

(v. 11) In Him we were also chosen having been predestinated according to the plan of Him Who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will"

[Pentecost, cont.]:

"God's purpose was to glorify Himself... God... predetermines His purpose, His goal, His aim, and His end in creation, and then God brings into existence that program which will fulfill His purpose and aim. Paul makes this very clear in 1 Corinthians 2:7..."

iii) [1 Cor 2:7]:

"No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began."

[Pentecost, cont.]:

"From that verse we discover that foreordination has to do with the determining of a plan before the plan is put into operation..."]

So God calls certain individuals based on His foreknowledge as a result of His decrees to be saved, i.e., to be justified and glorified unto eternal life.

iv) [Compare Jn 6:44]:

"[Jesus said] 'No one can come to Me unless the Father Who sent Me draws Him, and I will raise Him up at the last day.' "

And this is corroborated in Scripture of God's removal of the veil of lack of understanding of the gospel and His sovereign provision of the gift of saving faith to anyone who turns to Him:

v) [2 Cor 3:16]:

"But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil [of a dulled mind to the understanding of the gospel, (v. 14)] is taken away."

[and the gift of saving faith is given to those whom God has called so that they may exercise it of their own free will unto eternal life]:

vi) [Phil 1:29]:

"For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for Him."

[Compare Acts 16:14]:

"One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart [= mind ] to respond to Paul's message. "

4) OBJECTORS FALSELY MAINTAIN THAT THE SEED ON THE PATH SYMBOLIZES A FALSE FAITH IN CHRIST WHICH DOES NOT RESULT IN BEING SAVED

a) HEAD FAITH VS HEART FAITH

Some objectors to free grace salvation by faith alone in Christ alone maintain that the phrase in Mt 13:19, "sown in their hearts" signifies that the individuals did indeed believe albeit such belief was what they falsely maintain as a spurious or false faith in Christ not resulting in salvation, usually for reason of lack of commitment or emotional response = intellectual assent in their opinion and thus insufficient to save them.

On the other hand, how one can trust alone in Christ alone in their mentality, i.e., their hearts, and not be saved is a mystery to this writer and to Scripture itself.

Nevertheless, these objectors make the distinction between a spurious head faith, sometimes called intellectual assent vs a so called 'effectual heart faith', ignoring the fact that the bible does not make that distinction but rather offers head and heart faith as synonymous:

i) [Compare Ps 73:21]:

"Thus my heart was grieved, and I was vexed in my mind"

ii) [Hebrews 8:10]:

"I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts."

iii) [Lk 24:25 & 45]:

Another example is found by comparing Luke 24:25 and Luke 24:45:

"O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken."

"And He opened their understanding [lit. mind], that they might comprehend the Scriptures."

[Ref: heart = mind ]

b) THOSE SYMBOLIZED BY SEEDS SOWN ON THE PATH NEVER DID BELIEVE

Furthermore, Mt 13:19 stipulates that they did not really "understand" the gospel in the sense of accepting it as true. They instead had the "word [the gospel] taken from their hearts", i.e., their understanding was taken from their minds - they did not understand it in the sense that the gospel of eternal life was true, i.e., they did not believe it applied to them! Obviously the content remained in their mentality, but their capacity to believe in it was taken from them by the devil. The parallel verse in Luke clarifies this further when it stipulates that neither belief nor salvation took place:

i) [Lk 8:12]:

"Those along the path are the ones who hear [the gospel] and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts [= minds] so that they may not believe and be saved"

B) THE SEED FALLING ON THE ROCKY SOIL = TRUE BELIEVERS FALL AWAY FROM THEIR FAITH

1) APPLICABLE VERSES

a) [Mt 13:5-6; 20-21]:

(v. 5) "Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.

(v. 6) But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.

(v. 20) And the one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word, and immediately receives it with joy;

(v. 21) But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, quickly he falls away."

"he falls away" = "skandalizetai" from skandalizO, to falter, fall away

b) [Cp Mk 4:16-17]:

(v. 16) Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy.

(v. 17) But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, quickly they fall away."

"they fall away" = "skandalizontai" from skandalizO, (pres. passive, indicative, 3 pers. plural) , to falter, fall away

c) [Cp Lk 8:13]:

(v. 13) "Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away."

"aphistantai" = "They fall away", present, middle voice, indicative mood.

2) RECEIVING THE WORD OF THE GOSPEL = BELIEVING IN IT UNTO ETERNAL LIFE

"the ones who receive the word" (Lk 8:13; Mt 13:20 & Mk 4:16) =

The word receive is synonymous with the word believe when it comes to the gospel, thus those of the rocky soil are indeed believers, saved unto eternal life:

a) [Compare Jn 1:12-13]:

(v. 12) "Yet to all who received Him [Christ, (vv. 10-11)], to those who believed in His name, He [God] gave the right to become children of God -

(v. 13) children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God."

3) BELIEVERS WILL BE TESTED TO PROVE OUT THEIR FAITH - MANY WILL FAIL, EVEN APOSTASIZE, NONE WILL LOSE THEIR SALVATION

A number of God's born again children - those who move on in the faith will inevitably have their faith tested by God via trouble and persecution which is in view in this section of the parable:

"When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he [the one who "receives the word", i.e., believes in it unto eternal life] quickly falls away", (Mt 13:21b; Mk 4:17b similar).

AND

"They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.", (Lk 8:13b).

Notice that "trouble or persecution comes because of the word, i.e., a "testing" of the believer's faith. Many believers will not stand up under God's testing, but the believer is given a way out and if he perseveres he will be rewarded:

a) [Compare Jas 1:12]:

"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial [Gk = periasmon], because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him."

b) [Compare 1 Cor 10:13]:

"No temptation [Gk = "peirasmps", same root word for trial, testing] has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful, He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."

Notice that the same family of words is used for "temptation", "tempted" and "tested" in the above 2 quotations signifying testing and trial. What our Lord is teaching in Lk 8:13 is that some believers will not persevere in the faith when tested. There are no guarantees - many in deed will depart from their beliefs, i.e., apostasize.

4) TEMPORARY FAITH IS A REAL POSSIBILITY FOR ALL TRUE BELIEVERS

To set the matter straight from God's Word, consider that there are no passages in Scripture that stipulate that a believer can lose his salvation, and many which indicate that he can fail testing, live like the world and fall out of the grace of God and into a lifestyle which is under the discipline of God until he repents or goes home early to be with the Lord in heaven, suffering the loss of the appointed years of his physical life, (sin unto death, Jas 1:15, 5:20; 1 Jn 5:16), and great loss of eternal rewards but never loss of eternal life.

(REF: )

Jesus is teaching here and in the next section, (the seed among the thorns), that not all believers will persevere in the faith, that spiritual victory in the believer is not guaranteed. The believer needs to persevere in the faith through "trouble or persecution", (Mt 13:22), i.e., "time of testing", (Lk 8:13), and "worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth", (Mt 13:22), i.e., "riches and pleasures", (Lk 8:14), in order to move on to spiritual maturity and to receive eternal rewards - a key purpose of the testing in the first place; but never is loss of salvation in view.

a) [Compare Lk 8:14]:

"But as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature".

Contrary to objectors to eternal security, if a believer does not lose his salvation as a result of having his faith choked out by "worries of this life" and the "deceitfulness of wealth" and "pleasures" - but simply does not mature; then one can expect so much the more that a believer who fails the tests of trouble and persecution would not lose his salvation either.

5) CONTRARY TO OBJECTORS TO THE FREE GRACE GOSPEL, SAVING FAITH DOES NOT HAVE TO BE CONTINUOUS

According to this parable, believing results in the individual being saved unto eternal life, (Lk 8:12). The length of the believing in order to result in being saved is not stipulated, but the context of the parable, the verb tenses as indicated below and other passages in Scripture, [] indicate that the moment required is an instantaneous one, the object is Christ alone and the result is a completed and irrevocable action of being saved unto eternal life ] Furthermore, there is no indication in this parable nor anywhere in Scripture that stipulates that one must have a continuous, uninterrupted saving faith in order to continue to be saved unto eternal life - if that were possible.

Notice that the key verb forms in Lk 8:12 are aorist indicating that a completed action, once for all time moment of believing results in those individuals becoming believers resulting in a completed action, i.e., a once for all time condition of being irrevocably saved unto eternal life:

a) [Lk 8:12]:

"Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, lest having believed they should be saved."

"lest.........having believed they should be saved" =

"hina me pisteusantes.......sothosin"

"having believed" = "pisteusantes", (nom. pl. m. aorist act. part.)

"they should be saved" = sothosin", (3 pers. pl. aorist pass. subj.)

Notice that "pisteusantes" is a nominative participle meaning "they who have believed", in the aorist tense signifying a completed action in the past of believing resulting in the noun in participle form: 'they who are believers' with the result that 'they who are believers' are "sothosin", i.e., completely saved unto eternal life due to the aorist tense here also. So it only takes an instantaneous moment of faith in order to be completely and irrevocably saved unto eternal life.

Furthermore, "believe" in verse 13, ("pisteuousin"), of Luke 8 is exactly the same word "believe" in verse 12 in which in verse 12, as discussed, one would be permanently saved unto eternal life if they believed. So in the same way as in verse 12, verse 13 portrays individuals as doing the same believing unto an irrevocable eternal life. Furthermore, since the duration of eternal life is forever then the possession of eternal lifemust be permanent. Finally, the phrase "received with joy" in verse 13 is tantamount to indicating a status of being saved unto eternal life per other passages not the least of which is John 1:12-13 which indicates that one who receives the word, especially the gospel of salvation, is defined as one who believes in it, thereupon becoming a born again child of God]:

b) [John 1:12-13]:

(v. 12)"Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God -

[Notice that to receive Him is defined as "to those who believed in His name." So to receive the Lord Jesus Christ is to believe in the name of Jesus Christ as Savior - to save you from your sins - and thus become a child of God as verse 13 further elaborates]:

(v. 13) children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God."

6) THE CONTEXT OF THE ROCKY SOIL INDICATES THAT THERE IS AN EXPRESSION OF TRUE AND IRREVOCABLE SAVING FAITH

Phrases such as "they [plant shoots] sprang up", (Mt 3:5, Mk 4:5); and "the plants were scorched, and they withered" indicate symbolically that the seed of the gospel did sprout to life, i.e., saving faith was exercised and hence acceptance of the gospel unto eternal life. So the seed of the gospel took root, a shot sprouted up, life began - eternal life, i.e., the individual believed and was saved unto eternal life. So there was established a condition of being saved unto eternal life as indicated by our Lord's explicatory comments:

"They believe for a while", (Lk 8:13):

a) [Compare Lk 8:12-13]:

(v. 12) "Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, lest having believed [Gk = pisteusantes] they should be saved.

(v. 13) Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have not root. They believe [Gk = pisteuousi] for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away."

Notice that both verbs "having believed" = "pisteusantes" (v. 12) and "they believe" = "pisteuousi" (v. 13) are from the same root verb "pisteuo" = to have faith, believe. Therefore, if "having believed" in v. 12 would result in being saved unto eternal life as it so stipulates, then certainly the phrase "they believe" in v. 13 referring to those on the rocky soil will also be saved unto eternal life.

7) OBJECTORS FALSELY MAINTAIN THAT THE PHRASE "HAS NO ROOT" IN MT 13:21, (LK 8:13 SIMILAR) INDICATES THAT SALVATION HAS NOT TAKEN PLACE

Objectors, on the other hand, ignore all of the foregoing evidence, focusing only on the phrase "but they have no root" and falsely maintain that since this particular phrase indicates that there was absolutely no root established at all [which is not the case], then no saved condition resulted.

But this conclusion ignores the fact that there was actual growth indicated necessitating some kind of root structure, (see italics below):

a) [Ref. Mt 13:5-6]:

(v. 5) "Some [seed] fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.

(v. 6) But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root."

Notice that that which sprouted must have grown roots in order for it to be called a plant after all! The objectors ignore the possible understanding of the phrase "but they have no root" to mean 'but they have not sufficient root'. Just as one can say, 'I have no stamina' to describe one's lack of a strong finish in a 10k race that they have just run in good time but without a strong kick at the end, (obviously the runner had enough stamina to run the entire 10k in a good time), the issue of 'no stamina' being a relative one not an absolute one - relative in the case of the runner to insufficient stamina for a closing kick at the end of the 10k race, and relative to the case of plant to insufficient root to survive after sprouting up; so in the same way, one can say that a seedling plant in the rocky soil 'has no root' meaning insufficient depth of root to survive the condition of shallow soil and scorching sun.

8) BELIEVING FOR A WHILE AND THEN CEASING DOES NOT RESULT IN LOSS OF SALVATION OR PROVE OUT A FALSE FAITH

Although the individual received the word and became a born again child of God, the word did not take root in his life and he fell away due to this particular case of "trouble or persecution", (Mt 13:21), i.e., "testing", (Lk 8:13). The context and other passages shed light on the degree of this falling away.

a) [Compare Luke 8:12]:

"The devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts so that they may not believe and be saved."

The whole point of this part of verse 12 is to bring home the concept that the devil endeavors to keep individuals from believing in the word, i.e., the gospel, so that they won't be permanently saved.

("saved" = "sothosin", aorist tense = completed action, i.e., once for all time).

If one could lose one's salvation by ceasing to believe, then verse 12 would lose it's credibility emphasizing the devil's effort to keep the word from the individual so that one would not have an opportunity to believe and be saved. For if an individual could lose his salvation via an inconsistent or ceased belief which is not uncommon then why is this not mentioned in verse 12 and why the devil's effort to prevent the individual from believing at all when he could just as easily work on the individual believer to lose his faith & thus his salvation - if this were the case? The whole point of the message in verse 12 is that if the individual believes, then he is saved forever. That's why the devil is taking away the word before the individual believes, otherwise verse 12 has very little significance and the devil and his demons could concentrate their efforts more on getting saved believers to 'unsave' themselves by interrupting or ceasing their believing.

{Know anyone who keeps a perfect record of continuous saving faith which implies sinless perfection, (1 Jn 1:8-10; 2:6)?}

Later on in the parable, one finds those who believe and whose faith is choked away as seeds sown among the thorns, the thorns representing "the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth", (Mt 13:22) and "riches and pleasures", (Lk 8:14) which are the cause of the choking. But the result is not loss of salvation but a condition whereby the believers are so choked by "the desires for other things [which] come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.", (Mk 4:19; Mt 13:22 similar); and thus they continue to be saved, albeit being unfruitful, for they "do not mature", (Lk 8:14) - far from being in a lost state. Note that only believers can be described as not maturing and being unfruitful. Unbelievers are simply lost and incapable of being considered as mature/immature or producing/not producing fruit, (Ro 8:8).

Furthermore, if it were possible to lose ones salvation by stopping believing, then one must draw the absurd conclusion that one is far better off dying immediately upon being saved than living another 50 or 60 years or so 'faithfully' but then lose it on one's death bed with a single faithless thought and then go to hell.

Finally, Scripture teaches that at the moment one trusts alone in Christ alone, one is permanently & irrevocably saved unto eternal life:

b) [Compare Eph 1:13-14]:

(v. 13) "And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in Him with with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,

(v. 14) Who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession - to the praise of His glory."

c) [Compare Ro 11:29]:

(v. 29) "For God's gifts [salvation is a gift, (ref. Eph 2:8-9)] and His call [God calls the elect to believe and be saved, (ref. Ro 8:29-30)] are irrevocable."

d) [Compare Eph 4:30]:

"And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with Whom your were sealed for the day of redemption."

e) {short description of image}_ on Eternal Security

[Robert N. Wilkin states, CONFIDENT IN CHRIST: LIVING BY FAITH REALLY WORKS, Grace Evangelical Society, Irving, Tx 1999, pp. 27-28]:

"In the first place, the Lord Jesus clearly said that the people represented by the rocky soil believed. How can we conclude that they didn't believe, when Jesus said that they did. To say that they believed 'mentally' [i.e., head faith and not heart faith] is to skirt the clear meaning of the text.

What these people believed is nothing other than the saving message, the gospel. When Jesus said that the devil takes away the word 'lest they should believe and be saved' (verse 12) He was talking about saving faith. He said that whoever believes in Him is saved the very moment he believes. There is no minimum time requirement on saving faith. Thus, when Jesus said that these rocky-soil people believed, we have no choice but to conclude that they were saved, since according to verse 12 all who believe are saved.

In the second place in verse 13 [Lk 8:13 = Mt 13:5] the Lord indicated that the rocky-soil people received the word [with joy]. Luke used the same expression twice in Acts to refer to the growth of the church: 'Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them' (Acts 8:14). 'Now the apostles and brethren who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God' (Acts 11:1). Those who receive the word are born again.

In the third place, Jesus said that the seed sown on the rocky soil sprang up: 'Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture' (Luke 8:6; [Mt 13:5]). Springing up refers to initial growth. Only a seed that has germinated can spring up. Germination and growth are proof that life has begun.

[The issue is thus one of growth & fruitfulness, not birth and life]

The people represented by the rocky soil exercised saving faith. Whether they believed for a second or for a century, they were born again at the very moment they believed in Christ for everlasting life.

In the fourth place, when Jesus said that 'the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved' (Lk 8:12) He was talking about eternal salvation. He wasn't talking about some type of temporary salvation that could be lost. He was speaking of a faith accompli. Satan wouldn't have such a sense of urgency if he could snatch the word away later and still keep people from heaven. Once the word germinates, eternal life has begun, and since it is eternal, nothing - not even Satan - can destroy that life.

Believers are held by the promise of God, not by their own faithfulness or by the endurance of their faith. If Satan can't stop someone from believing the gospel, he loses the battle for that soul. Eternal salvation occurs the moment that a person believes the promise of the gospel. Thus it cannot and does not depend on continuing to believe the gospel."

C) THE SEED SOWN AMONG THE THORNS

1) APPLICABLE VERSES

a) [Mt 13:7, 20-22]:

(v. 7) "Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.

(v. 20) The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy.

(v. 21) But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, quickly he falls away.

"he falls away" = "skandalizetai", he falls away from the faith he expressed which saved him unto eternal life.

(v. 22) The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful."

b) [Compare Mk 4:5-6, 16-17]:

(v. 5) "Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.

(v. 6) But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root."

c) [Compare Lk 8:13-14]:

(v. 13) "Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.

"aphistantai" = "They fall away", present, middle voice, indicative mood.

(v. 14) The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature."

2) BELIEVERS WHO DO NOT PERSEVERE IN THEIR FAITH WILL LIVE UNFRUITFUL LIVES

"but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful" =

Here again is an indication that the individual became a born again believer because verse 7 of Mt 13 indicates that the seed did begin to grow but got choked out. So verses 7 and 22 of Mt 13 indicate that the individual had the potential of doing something fruitful with the word but failed on account of worldly concerns. Consider that only true believers have the potential to be fruitful with the word of God.

a) Compare Eph 2:8-10]:

(v. 8) "For it is by grace you have been saved [permanently: pres. + perfect participle], through faith - and this [salvation] not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -

(v. 9) not by works, so that no one can boast.

(v. 10) For we [believers, (vv. 8-9)] are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us [believers] to do."

Unbelievers can do nothing to please God, they have no potential of this nature at all:

b) [Ro 8:8]:

"Those controlled by the sin nature cannot please God"

D) THE SEED SOWN ON GOOD SOIL

1) APPLICABLE VERSES

a) [Mt 13:8, 23]:

(v. 8) "Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop - a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

(v. 23) And the one on whom seed was sown on the good ground, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit, and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty."

b) [Mk 4:20]:

"Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, [i.e., believe in it unto eternal life] and produce a crop-thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown."

c) [Compare Lk 8:15]:

"But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop."

Last and most productive is the believer who bears fruit. First he must believe in order to be enabled to produce fruitfully. Cf: Eph 2:8-10 indicates first to be saved by faith not by works; then one is to perform good works, (v. 10), once one is permanently saved unto eternal life. As Mk 4:20 says "hear the word, accept it".

But that is not the end of the Christian life, it is only the beginning, one must persevere in that faith so that one will produce godly fruit. So each believer has the opportunity, (but not the certainty), to produce fruit; and will do so in accordance with his faithfulness, as Lk 8:15 says "those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop". And Mt 13:23 indicates different productivities: "some a hundredfold, some sixty and some thirty".

Although all believers are indeed directed by God to maximize their lives on earth in faithful divine good work production, (Eph 2:10), notice that some are not as faithful as others. Thus believers do have their unfaithful moments as well, but none are indicated here as in danger of losing their salvation. As a matter of fact, specific productivity levels are often dependent upon God's sovereignty and not man's response.

In the parable of the Talents we have such a concept presented:

i) Compare Mt 25:20-23]:

(v. 20) "The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.'

(v. 21) His master replied, 'Well done good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!"

(v. 22) The man with the two talents also came. 'Master,' he said, 'You entrusted me with two talents; see I have gained two more.'

[Notice: less production]

(v. 23) His master replied, 'Well done good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!' "

An emphasis is placed on the faithfulness of the two servants to their responsibilities and no on the gross amount of their productivity. There was absolutely no distinction made between the first servant who out produce the second 2 to 1! The verses which commend the two servants are identical, (cp vv. 21 & 23). God in His sovereignty has decreed different gifts, divine good production capacities, divinely orchestrated opportunities to serve and responsibilities for service in His kingdom to different individuals. He thus rewards each in accordance with the individual's faithful obedience to His assigned tasks.