How can you preach engaging parable of the sower sermons to guide church growth and generosity?
“A parable is an ingeniously simple word picture illuminating a profound spiritual lesson.” – John MacArthur
Jesus used parables to share the secrets of the kingdom of heaven in a way that only true followers will understand. As these parables were told, they revealed the hearts of the listeners.
In Matthew 28:20, Jesus told his disciples to “teach them to observe all that I have commanded you.” Church leaders are called to thoughtfully share Jesus’ parables with their congregation to encourage spiritual growth and maturity.
A good sermon often draws from multiple sources, including scriptures, commentaries, and other pastors or authors. As you prepare your parable of the sower sermon, we’re going to walk through sources & ideas you can turn to for reference:
- Where to Find The Parable of the Sower in the Bible
- Additional Bible Verses to Use in Parable of the Sower Sermons
- Examples of Engaging Parable of the Sower Sermons
- How to Use The Parable of the Sower Sermon to Guide Church Growth
- How to Extend the Life & Impact of Your Sermon
Where to Find The Parable of the Sower in the Bible
As you may already know, Matthew, Mark, and Luke are called the Synoptic Gospels. The word synoptic comes from a Latin word that means “seen together.” This is used to describe the first three gospels of the New Testament since they all recount very similar stories, often telling them in the same order.
You can find The Parable of the Sower in the Synoptic Gospels:
- Matthew 13:3-9
“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
- Mark 4:3-9
“Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.” Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”
- Luke 8:5-8
“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. 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, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”
Additional Bible Verses to Use in Your Sermon
When you continue reading in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, you’ll see that the disciples ask Jesus why he speaks to the people in parables. These verses reveal Jesus’ answer and can additionally be used in your parable of the sower sermons.
- Matthew 13:11-23
“Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “ ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”
When you read further, you will also discover the true meaning of this parable:
- Matthew 13:18-23
“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
In the New Testament, we can find more verses to describe each type of soil. These verses can help your congregation understand the meaning behind all of these examples that Jesus shares.
The Seed Sown Along the Path: When someone hears the message about The Kingdom of God and does not understand it.
- 2 Corinthians 4:1-4
Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
The Seed Sown on Rocky Ground: When someone receives the word with joy but falls away when persecution comes.
- 2 Corinthians 11:3
But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
- James 1:12
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
The Seed Sown Among Thorns: When someone hears the word but becomes unfruitful due to worry & the deceitfulness of wealth.
- Luke 16:13
No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
- Isaiah 55:1-3
Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.
The Seed Sown on Good Soil: When someone hears the word, understands it, and bears fruit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
- John 15:1-27
I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
Examples of Engaging Parable of the Sower Sermons
There are many great places you can go to find sermon examples on The Parable of the Sower. To start, you can look at some of the sermons by great theologians such as Augustine of Hippo, John Calvin, and Charles Spurgeon.
In Spurgeon’s sermon, we see him go through each type of sower mentioned in the parable, explaining what it represents:
“We are bound to preach the gospel, whether men will hear, or whether they will forbear. It is ours to sow beside all waters. Let men’s hearts be what they may the minister must preach the gospel to them; he must sow the seed on the rock as well as in the furrow, on the highway as well as in the ploughed field. I shall now address myself to the four classes of hearers mentioned in our Lord’s parable. We have, first of all, those who are represented by the way-side, those who are “hearers only”; then those represented by the stony-ground; these are transiently impressed, but the word produces no lasting fruit; then, those among thorns, on whom a good impression is produced, but the cares of this life, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the pleasures of the world choke the seed; and lastly, that small class — God be pleased to multiply it exceedingly — that small class of good-ground hearers, in whom the Word brings forth abundant fruit.”
Another place to find sermon examples is SermonCentral. SermonCentral has a number of sermons on this parable that you can listen to and read for inspiration.
How to use Parable of the Sower Sermons to Guide Church Growth and Generosity
How can you teach the church about generosity as you share parable of the sower sermons? There are three takeaways you can touch on in your sermon:
- This story shows God’s abundant generosity.
Many of us have read these verses time and time again, focusing on ourselves and what soil represents our heart’s current state. Jesus called this the parable of the sower, not the parable of the soil. And God, as the sower, doesn’t just carefully plant seeds in the good soil. He generously tried to reach all of us with his truth. As you speak to your congregation, you have the opportunity to redirect the focus on God’s abundant generosity.
- We are meant to model God’s generosity.
As followers of Christ, the seed sown in good soil, we’re called to bear fruit. We also see from biblical examples that salvation should have an immediate effect on our generosity. In Luke 19:1-10, we hear how Zacchaeus’ immediate response to Jesus was to change how he viewed wealth. He gave half of what he had to the poor, and this change of heart prompts Jesus to announce that salvation had come. As we’re following Christ and bearing fruit, we should naturally be less attached to our belongings, modeling God’s generosity.
- Our generosity is a tool used by God to reach the lost.
Our generosity can impact the future salvation of those who are lost. The church can be an instrument used by God to further the gospel through Sunday morning services, programs catering to specific needs, community outreach, missions outreach, and more. Share with your congregation the opportunities they have to fuel sowing through time and resources.
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The Results of Preaching The Parable of the Sower
As you preach this parable about God’s abundant generosity and the church’s calling to spread the gospel, your congregation should feel excited about your church’s mission. But how can you work to make this excitement last beyond Sunday morning? How can you enable your congregation to quickly get involved, whether that be through generosity or volunteering?
Some great church tools can help you make it as easy as possible for your congregation to get involved so that you can keep up the momentum after this sermon.
Discover how you can increase your ministry’s connection and momentum with one powerful suite that helps you encourage giving, nurture community, and share your message, easily, simply, and securely.