The primary task of the disciple of Jesus Christ is to proclaim Him and His salvation to the entire world. As followers of Jesus, we are to manifest His saving power by living holy lives and, from that essential foundation, we are to tell of His glory so that men and women everywhere will worship Him both now and for all of eternity.
The purpose of this series of articles/studies is to examine the various pictures of proclamation presented to us by the New Testament and develop those into practical ways to proclaim Christ to a world that is blind to His glory, deaf to His voice and indifferent to the work that He has accomplished by His death of Calvary’s cross. I hope that these articles will equip disciples of Jesus to think through how they can become bolder proclaimers of the Lord.
Part 1 – The Sower (Matthew 13:3)
In Matthew 13, the Lord Jesus tells a series of parables which describe different aspects of the kingdom of heaven, and He starts out by telling His disciples a parable about a sower of seed. “Behold, the sower went out to sow.” The parable goes on to tell of different kinds of soil into which the seed fell and of the different results that the seed produced, but for our purposes we are going to focus our attention on the sower of the seed.
Notice that the sower is defined by what he does. No other characteristic of the person is mentioned in the parable, other than the fact that the person sows seed. This defines the sower. The sower sows seed. Apart from this task, the sower has no definition. Although this is an obvious fact, it is far from trivial, especially when we realize that we are the sower. What I am suggesting is that the disciple of Jesus Christ is a sower of the seed. We are defined by the task of sowing the seed. I believe Jesus intends for us to understand that His disciples are the sowers. (But what is the seed we are to sow? See below.)
Now, if the Lord Jesus Christ intends for me to be a sower, then sowing of seed immediately becomes a high priority activity for me and other activities will receive less time and attention. I will commit to learning all I can about sowing and I will make it my aim to be the most effective sower of seed that I can possibly be.
Another fact may be obvious but needs to be stated at this point: The disciple of Jesus Christ is not sowing physical seeds, but rather is sowing spiritual seeds. In fact, if I am to be an effective sower, it is critically important for me to understand what the seed is. Here the Bible is very clear: “The seed is the word of God (Luke 8:11).” Now, while we know that the whole word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12), a thoughtful reading of this parable of the sower in Matthew, Mark or Luke makes it clear that the “word of God” that our Lord has in mind in this context is the gospel. So, before we go on to consider how to put this into action and into practice, let’s be sure we have the completed idea in mind:
Every disciple of Jesus Christ has been given the task of sowing the gospel and it is incumbent on every disciple to make it their aim to be the most effective sower they can be.
Since I am pre-occupied with the task of sowing, I must think about how I am to sow.
How do I sow?
I sow daily. Part of my daily activity is sowing. I look for opportunities to sow and, when there are none presented, I may even create those opportunities. Sowing is a daily routine. It is part of my daily life.
I sow persistently. I scatter seed whether it is good weather or bad weather. I scatter seed even if I do not think that the seed will sprout. I persist until I see a harvest.
I sow consistently. I do not sow for a brief season and then take a break or give up or slow down. Rather, I sow day in and day out, steadily scattering the seed on the soil anticipating a crop and a harvest.
NOTE: The GOAL of my sowing is not to empty my sack of seeds. I am not merely going through the motions just to accomplish a task or check off a box. Just as the purpose of the one who literally sows seed is to reap a harvest, so I sow seed with the objective of reaping a harvest of souls for the Lord Jesus. The goal of sowing is not to fill the ground with seed but is to reap a harvest. The goal is a harvest, but one of the means to reaping a harvest is to sow the seed.
I sow generously. One of the surest ways to reap a small harvest is to sow little seed. (2 Corinthians 9:6) Therefore, since I want a large harvest and since the seed can be endlessly replenished, I sow the seed generously.
I sow broadly. Since in the parable in the gospels the sower throws seed everywhere, not knowing which seed will find good soil and which won’t, I will likewise scatter seed everywhere and trust that the Lord will direct the seed to the good soil. This suggests that, while sowing the seed is definitely an evangelistic strategy, it is not strategic. By that I mean that sowing is large numbers, but low impact. The tactic throws out many offers but expects limited results. It is not relational but is informational. It is random messages seeking a few responses or a few seeking additional information.
I sow patiently. The seed takes time to germinate and to begin to grow and to reach maturity. These things are not in my control, so I must wait patiently for the seed to bear fruit.
I sow hopefully. I believe that the Lord will take some of my seed and use it for bringing souls to salvation.
Having explored what the seed is (generally, the word of God; specifically, the gospel of salvation) and how we are to go about “sowing the seed,” it would be good to spend just a little time suggesting some practical examples of sowing the seed. Remembering the nature of sowing, that sowing is large numbers with low impact and that It is not relational but is informational, two particular methods of sowing occur to me.
- Saturating a geographic area around a church with gospel tracts; and
- Going door-to-door in the geographic area around a church so that the populace is made aware of the church and is made aware of what the church does and believes. The point is to introduce the Lord Jesus by introducing the church. The purpose is to make much of Jesus Christ, but the most visible and most common means of doing that is through the local church.
- Obviously you could combine 1) and 2)
The gospel tracts and the conversations going door-to-door should focus on the person of Jesus Christ and should introduce people to the gospel. Consistently sowing these things will hopefully bring some seed to the point where it sprouts.
SDG rmb 6/22/2018