In this week’s Wednesdays on the Word, Charles Spurgeon explains Jesus’ parable of the sower in Matthew 13. In this final section of his sermon, he provides a glimpse into the work of the sower and how it parallels the work of the church today.
III. I must answer briefly the last of the three questions I mentioned,—what was this sower at?
On this occasion, he did not go forth to keep the seed to himself. He went forth to throw it to the wind; he threw it away from himself, scattered it far and wide. He did not go out to defend it; but he threw it about, and left it to take its chance. He did not go, at this time, to examine it, to see whether it was good wheat, or not. No doubt he had done that before; but he just scattered it. He did not go out to winnow it, and blow away the chaff, or pick out any darnel that might be in it. That was all done at home. Now he has nothing to do but to sow it to sow it, to sow it; and he sows it with all his might. He did not even come to push others out of the field who might be sowing bad seed, but he took occasion, at this particular time, to go forth to sow, and to do nothing else.
“One thing at a time, and that done well,
Is a very good rule, as many can tell;”
and it is especially so in the service of God. Do not try to do twenty things at once: “A sower went forth to sow.” His object was a limited one. He did not go forth to make the seed grow. No, that was beyond his power; he went forth to sow. If we were responsible for the effect of the gospel upon the hearts of men, we should be in a sorry plight indeed: but we are only responsible for the sowing of the good seed. If you hear the gospel, dear friends, and reject it, that is your act, and not ours. If you are saved by it, give God the glory; but if it proves to be a savour of death unto death to you, yours is the sin, the shame, and the sorrow. The preacher cannot save souls, so he will not take the responsibility that does not belong to him.
And he did not, at that time, go forth to reap. There are many instances in which the reaper has overtaken the sower, and God has saved souls on the spot while we have been preaching. Still, what this man went forth to do was to sow. Whether there is any soul saved or not, our business is to preach the gospel, the whole gospel, and nothing but the gospel; and we must keep to this one point, preaching Jesus Christ, and him crucified. That is sowing the seed. We cannot create the harvest; that will come in God’s own time.
This man’s one object was positively before him, and we are to impart the truth, to make known to men the whole of the gospel. You are lost, God is gracious, Christ has come to seek and to save that which is lost. Whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but shall have everlasting life. On the cross he offered the sacrifice by which sin is put away. Believe in him, and you live by his death. This sowing, you see, is simply telling out the truth; and this is the main thing that we have to do, dear friends, to keep on telling the same truth over, and over, and over, and over again, till we get it into the minds and hearts of men, and they receive it through God’s blessing. If the sower had sat down at the corner of the field, and played the harp all day, he would not have done his duty; and if, instead of preaching the simple gospel, we talk of the high or deep mysteries of God, we shall not have done our duty. The sower’s one business is to sow; so, stick to your sowing, brothers and sisters. When that is done, and your Master calls you home, he will find you other work to do for him in heaven; but, for the present, this is to be your occupation.
Now, to close, let me remind you that sowing is an act of faith. If a man had not great faith in God, he would not take the little wheat he has, and go and bury it. His good wife might say to him, “John, we shall want that corn for the children, so don’t you go, and throw it out where the birds may eat it, or the worms destroy it.” And you must preach the gospel, and you must teach the gospel, as an act of faith. You must believe that God will bless it. If not, you are not likely to get a blessing upon it. If it is done merely as a natural act, or a hopeful act, that will not be enough; it must be done as an act of confidence in the living God. He bids you speak the Word, and makes you his lip for the time, and he says that his Word shall not return unto him void, but that it shall prosper in the thing whereto he hath sent it.
This sowing was also an act of energy. The word sower is meant to describe an energetic man. He was, as we say, “all there.” So, when we teach Christ, we must teach him with all our might, throwing our very soul into our teaching. O brothers, never let the gospel hang on our lips like icicles! Let it rather be like burning lava from the mouth of a volcano; let us be all on fire with the divine truth that is within our hearts, sowing it with all our heart, and mind, and soul, and strength.
This sowing was also an act of concentrated energy. The sower “went forth to sow.” He went forth, not with two aims or objects, but with this one; not dividing his life into a multitude of channels, but making all run in one strong, deep current, along this one river-bed.
Now I have done when I invite my brothers and sisters here to go forth from this Tabernacle to sow. You will go down those front steps, or you will go out at the back doors, and scatter all over London. I know not how far you may be going, but let it be written of you to-night, “The sowers went forth to sow,”—they went forth from the Tabernacle with one resolve that, by the power of the living Spirit of God, they who are redeemed with the precious blood of Jesus would make known his gospel to the sons of men, sowing that good seed in every place wherever they have the opportunity, trusting in God to make the seed increase and multiply. Ah, but do not forget to do it even within these walls, for there are some here whom you may never be able to get at again. So, if you can speak to your neighbour in the pew, say a good word for Christ. If you will begin to be sowers, nothing is better than to begin at once. Throw a handful before you get outside the door; who knows whether that first handful shall not be more successful than all you have sown, or shall sow, in after days?
As for you, dear souls, who have never received the living seed, oh, that you would receive it at once! May God, the Holy Spirit, make you to be like well-prepared ground that opens a thousand mouths to take in the seed, and then encloses the seed within itself, and makes it fructify! May God bless you; may he never leave you barren or unfruitful, but may you grow a great harvest to his glory, for Christ’s sake! Amen.
Did you enjoy this sermon by Charles Spurgeon? Be sure to check out The Complete Spurgeon Sermon Collection (63 vols.). Get an even better deal when you purchase it as a part of the Baptist Silver Base Package!
Be sure to check back next Wednesday for more Wednesdays on the Word.