The World Tomorrow -- Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong -- June 05, 1979 -- The Parable of the Sower
THE WORLD TOMORROW
Herbert W. Armstrong brings you the Plain Truth about today's world news and the prophecies of The World Tomorrow
The Parable of the Sower
...the message of Jesus Christ. Why have we not heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Why is it that the gospel we have heard is the gospel of men, not the Gospel of Christ -- but a gospel of men about Christ? They have come preaching that He is the Christ. They have come in His name but they have done away with His message which had to do with the Kingdom of God.
Jesus preached the Government of God. He preached obedience to God. He preached the authority of God and the authority of the Word of God and that man shall live by every Word of God. Today, apparently, that has nothing to do with it. They say there are no works and by that they mean you don't have to obey. You can lean to your own conscience, do what you think is right, accept Jesus Christ as Savior and you will be saved.
Well, we went into this matter in some detail of how Jesus said that they're worshipping Him in vain, worshipping Him, accepting Him as Savior, worshipping Him and all in vain teaching for doctrines just the ideas, the commandments of men.
And now, my friends, don't misunderstand me. When men give their ideas, their traditions, their doctrines they give you what they think is right. "There is a way that seemth right unto a man, the ends thereof are the ways of death." But today people teach that if you do what you think is right, that's all there is to it and if you just accept Jesus Christ you'll be saved. But I want to tell you that such people are on mighty dangerous ground -- mighty dangerous ground.
You better write in for our booklet -- "What Kind of Faith Is Required for Salvation."
They say if you just accept Christ, just believe in Christ you'll be saved. Well, will you? There are millions of people that are professing Christ. They think they have accepted Him. They believe in Him and they think they have faith in Christ and they are not saved. They are on the most dangerous ground. They are deceived and the very fact that they accept Christ and think that He is their Savior, they think they are saved as they say, is the most dangerous thing of all because now they're perfectly satisfied. The person who knows that he is lost, who knows that he has no salvation whatsoever always has a pretty good chance that maybe he will come to his senses, that he will repent and that he will turn to God through Christ and that he will find Salvation. You know you have to come to know that in order to ever come to Salvation. But the person who is absolutely sure in his own mind that he is alright if he is wrong he's on the most dangerous ground of all.
Now, in the fourth chapter of Mark... Well, it also begins in the thirteenth of Matthew and the eighth chapter of Luke. But I'm going to read you just now from Mark's Gospel in the fourth chapter and the first two verses.
"And again [Jesus] began to teach by the sea side. And there is gathered unto him a very great multitude..."
Now, I want you to notice that in this case there is a multitude there. Jesus never did seek crowds. He came to call His own disciples. Jesus called His own disciples. They did not choose Him, He chose them. And in His final prayer recorded in the seventeenth chapter of John just before He was crucified, the very night before as matter of fact in which was on the very calendar day of the year as God counts time He mentioned to God that they were the ones that God had given Him. So, God chose them and God led Him to know which ones and to call them.
Peter was a fisherman. Peter didn't want to be a disciple of Christ. He didn't want to be a minister. He wanted to be a fisherman. But Jesus said come and follow me. And it is recorded that Peter forsook all and followed Christ or at least he thought he forsook all and he did at the time but later he even denied Him three times while He was on trial for His life that night.
But Jesus never did seek crowds but the miracles He performed made Him very famous and people began to talk about Him and began to wonder if this was the Messiah that was prophesied to come and so multitudes would gather wherever He was. And here He is over by the seaside and there was gathered a great multitude so that He entered into a boat and sat in the sea. They crowded about so that He couldn't even talk to them. He had to get away from them a little distance to talk, so He went out into a boat in the sea.
"And all the multitude were by the sea on the land. And he taught them many things..."
How? How did He speak to...always, how did He always speak to the crowds or the multitudes? I want you to notice this.
"He spoke to them many things in parables, and he said unto them in his teaching, Hearken..."
Now, notice He's speaking in parables. He said listen.
"Behold, a sower went forth to sow: and it came to pass, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the way side, and the birds came and devoured it. And others fell on the rocky ground, where it had not much earth [not much depth of any kind or was no good soil]; and straightway it sprang up, because it had no deepness of earth [sprang up quickly]: and when the sun was risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. And other fell among the thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. And others fell upon the good ground, and yielded fruit, growing up and increasing; and brought forth, thirtyfold, and some sixtyfold, and a hundredfold [some even a hundred, some more than others]. And he said, Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked him of the parables."
There were a few more disciples there beside the twelve. He had called them. One of them was chosen, after Jesus had ascended to Heaven, to take the place of Judas Iscariot. And they had to be disciples that had been with Him ever since He began His teaching and His ministry with Him that had gone all over every where with Him along with Peter, James and John and the others.
Now, in Matthew's account in the thirteenth chapter of Matthew and the tenth verse it says, "The disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?" And in Luke's account in Luke eight, verse nine, "And his disciples asked him what this parable might be." Now, they didn't understand it. They didn't know what He meant. It didn't make the meaning more clear. It clouded it up and they couldn't understand a word that He said. Here is what He answered as is recorded in Matthew, Matthew thirteen, verse eleven.
Will you open up your own Bible? If you don't have it jot that down. Take something out of your pocket and jot it down. Get a pencil, something, jot this down. Look at it in your own Bible and you will get a surprise. Why have we not understood the Bible? Why have we not heard its plain true teaching? Why have we not heard the message of Jesus instead of a message of men merely about His Person.
Jesus answered and said when they asked Him to explain it. They didn't understand it and they said why do you speak to them in parables? Why? We can't understand. And "he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given."
Now, in Mark's account, "he said unto them, Unto you it is given [to you is given] the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all things are done in parables..."
Now, listen. The disciples were not without they were on the inside and they were given what we might call today in the vernacular this inside information. Why? Because Jesus had called them. They were ordained to eternal life. They had been predestinated to be called at that time.
You know very people understand predestination and because they don't understand it they say it isn't in the Bible. But it is, the Bible talks about predestination. And then people get all upset and they think well, maybe I'm predestinated to be lost. Well, you're mistaken. You are not predestinated to be lost because no man is. But nobody understands it so it seems.
Now, if you want to understand that let me mention another booklet that we have here. And you'll have to mention these booklets by name.
Listen, if you write in and say send me the booklets mentioned on such and such a broadcast on such and such a date I won't know what booklet you mean. And let me tell you why, my friends. This program which many of you are hearing this very second that I'm speaking is going out live on the radio right now. But this program is also being recorded on tape recording machines at this same time and there will be other copies made of it from those and besides those of you that are hearing it at this minute live some of you are going to be hearing it later and it will be on one date on one station and another date on another in some cases. And I won't know what station you heard it on unless you tell me and even then I won't know what date that station broadcast this message and when you heard it. So you'll have to mention these booklets by name; otherwise, I don't know, we probably will send you the wrong booklet and we don't want to do that.
Alright, you write in for the booklet on Predestination. It's absolutely free and we'll be very happy to send it to you. Now, I mentioned another booklet a while ago you'll have to mention it by name if you get it and that is "What Kind of Faith Is Required for Salvation?" That's all you need to mention. And we'll be very happy to send you that booklet. It's an attractive booklet. It's not a cheap tract at all.
We don't send out any cheap tracts because I tell you why my friends and let me explain that. Perhaps we spend a little more money to print the kind of booklets that we do but they're printed in our own printing shop and our own men are printing them. Men whose lives are consecrated to God and it is done by our own people right here in our own printing shop. But we print these booklets in an attractive manner because the Word of God is very important. You are going to be judged by the Word of God and if you find eternal life you'll have to find it in and through the Word of God. The Word of God is absolute authority over our lives. And when we give you the Word of God and make it plain to you in these booklets.
Now, Jesus set an example and He preached and He took the scriptures and expounded them and explained them and He's going to explain something right here. And Jesus set us an example. He sent out Peter and John and James and Andrew and those other apostles to explain the scripture to preach. He sent out the apostle Paul. It's right that we should preach and expound and explain the scripture.
Many are expounding and explaining it improperly and incorrectly and there are many false prophets and so I say it's right that you should listen. It's right that you should listen without prejudice and with open mind but take your Bible and search the Bible and prove all things whether these are right and whether they are true. Do it when you get one of our booklets. Do it as you listen to me on the air. A lot of people will tell you that I'm a false prophet. Now, that's either so or else they're mistaken or they're lying, it's one of the other. But on the other hand there are many false prophets how do you know who they are?
Now, if you will just listen and open up your Bible and if you will study that prayerfully and open your mind and your heart to the truth of God and ask God to reveal you the Truth as you see it in the Bible, it is right that the true ministers of God whom He calls should expound and explain and lead you where you can see it in your Bible and that will help to open your eyes. And I think...You know a real silver dollar, if you ever find one, and they have ring to them and you can tell when a dollar rings true. And so it is with the Truth of God, if you will really look at it honestly.
I tell you, my friends, there are thousands of people all over the United States that are studying their Bibles desperately and in dead earnest to try to prove what they hear on this broadcast is wrong. They don't like it. They don't want it.
I'll tell you why because the Word of God is like a sharp two-edged sword and it cuts and it cuts both ways and people don't like to be hurt by it or cut. The Bible is profitable to correct us and to reprove us and to instruct us in righteousness. Jesus said this is the condemnation that light is come into the world. He was that light. He was the Word of God and the Bible is His Word in writing. And He said that this is the condemnation -- Light is come into the world. That light is in His Bible and men loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. Now, it will correct, it will reprove and a lot of people are desperately trying to prove that what you hear me say on this program is wrong, that it is not according to the Bible.
And I ask you to try to prove it too. I challenge you to do it. I challenge you to open your Bible and try to prove whether this is right or wrong. But listen, do it with it an honest heart and with an open mind because I want to tell you something.
Prejudice is an absolute barrier to the truth and if you're going to be prejudiced you can't get the truth. If you're going to judge whether what you hear me preach is right or wrong according to what is already in your mind and judge it by your mind, your convictions, your ideas well, you're going to say that I'm wrong and you're going to be just as smug and satisfied about it I suppose as I don't know what, you'll be perfectly satisfied. But you're going to find there's weeping and gnashing of teeth when you come into the Judgment Day -- that's what you're going to find. Now, you better be sure. And you can be sure if it comes out of the Bible and if your mind is open.
Now, if you're just trying to prove I'm wrong in a wrong spirit, well, that isn't going to get you anywhere either, because I'll tell you something else -- most people believe only what they want to believe and if you're like that and you refuse to believe what you don't want, you're not going to believe that I'm telling you the Truth because I don't think very many of you are going to want to believe it. It cuts and it corrects and it reproves and people don't like it.
The hardest thing for human nature is to confess where we're wrong. Oh, that's so hard. I know, my friends, I'm speaking by experience because God made me do it.
He called me and He brought me down very low and He gave me the battle of my life and I didn't like the light when it came and I hated it too because it was going to correct me and because I could see it would mean giving up a lot of my former friends and associates. I knew what it was going to mean and I could see the price I was going to have to pay and I shrank back from it. Human nature in me did. I hated to pay that price but I was face to face with whether I would reject Truth when I saw it in order to have my own way about some other things and I knew what would happen if I did and I had come to a love of the Truth and finally the love of the Truth and obedience to God won out and I had to struggle for six months but finally I surrendered. And when I did I surrendered all the way to God and I gave my life to Him and told Him if He could use it He could have it. Well, He was calling it and He was reducing me down to the place where I would offer it too him because He was calling me as I now know. He had given reason for the fact He was calling me before but I wouldn't accept it. I was carnal and natural and I wanted my own way like everybody else until God reduced me down to the place where I was willing to surrender.
Now, you know I find that it isn't hard to admit that I am wrong any more and any of you who can write in and show me where I'm wrong, I'll confess it.
But of course for every letter like that I get many many other letters from people that think I'm wrong because the Truth that I preach doesn't agree with what is in their minds and of course they set up their minds and their ideas as the standard, the criteria of truth and I just can't accept that. I accept the Mind of God and the Word of God as Truth and when their minds are different why of course they accuse me of being wrong, I'm a false prophet and everything else according to them.
Well, my friends, you're relationship with God is a very private personal relationship between you and God. Your eternal destiny is between you and God alone. If God uses me as a servant to bring it to you it is your concern. My concern is acquitted and closed when I give you the Truth. If I bring you the Truth and you reject it, God will require your blood at your hand but He'll acquit me. If you listen and you repent as I've had to do and you turn to God and find the glorious way of life and the glory of salvation then you have saved your soul alive and will be given immortal life.
Now, if I refuse to preach this because it isn't popular and because I know a lot of people don't like it and because people do want their own way and would like to be left alone going their own way; well, ultimately they're going to pay. But God would require the blood of all you people at my hands and I would be held accountable and I know it. And so, I can't do that. I have to preach the Truth. It's up to you to study it. But listen, most people will only accept what they want. You better get that out of your mind and heart. And if you find it is the Truth be willing to accept it. It may look hard but it isn't so hard, I can tell you that. After you do it, it isn't so hard. And it finally becomes easy if you get the habit of repentance where you're wrong. It's a good habit to get into. It's a habit that very few people have. That is a good habit. Why don't you create it? Or cultivate it, I think I should have said. Why don't you cultivate that habit until it becomes fixed? Why don't you put yourself to the test whether you are as saved as you probably think you are or whether you are deceived? See what kind of faith is required for salvation. Write for that booklet on the "Kind of Faith" and also if you've never understood "Predestination" you better write in and get it.
Now, I want to make some more, cover some more territory here so let's go along.
They didn't understand this parable. Jesus said, now notice, "Unto you..." He had called them. They had been predestinated to be called. He had called them. You know He said in another place that none can come to the Son except the Spirit of the Father draw him. Again, we read that God grants repentance unto life. There's a mystery there.
Now, I want you to notice something that you haven't heard preached. This runs counter to and contrary to what you probably have believed and heard preached. Don't just get your dander up now, and get a chip on your shoulder because I don't agree or the Bible doesn't agree with what you've been preaching besides the Bible wrong and God's wrong and I'm wrong, but look into this and prove all things and see whether you could be wrong.
Listen. "He said unto them [I'm just reading the plain words of Jesus], Unto you is given the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all things are done in parables: that seeing they may see, and not perceive [But the understanding will never come to their minds. They just see but they don't grasp, they don't understand.]; And hearing they may hear, and not understand [They hear sounds but there's no meaning, they don't get the message. That's why He preached in parables so they would not understand.]..."
Matthew's account is this: "he answered [Why do you speak in parables? He answered], Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given..." Listen, to these multitudes it was not given to understand and He preached in a language they could not understand. It was not given to them to understand. He had not called them. They had no chance to come to Him. They had no opportunity to get the knowledge.
Now, there is a passage of scripture that says, "If we sin willfully after the knowledge of the Truth is come. There is no more sacrifice for sin but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation that shall devour the adversaries." That is if we sin willfully after the knowledge of the Truth has come. Do you know, my friends, that there is not one in thousands here even in our so-called Christian United States that has ever come to a real knowledge of the Truth. God helping us that's so. That isn't the way you've heard it preached is it? That isn't the way the groups of men organized together in religious organizations believe. That is not according to the traditions of men. That is not according to the commandments of men that are used and believed today as doctrines in the churches that make the Word of God of none effect. I am giving you the Word of God and not the doctrines of church denominations. So, listen. Let's blow the dust off our Bibles. Let's clean out our ears and let's open them up and get the Truth crystal clear. Here it is. Listen.
"Therefore speak I to them in parables," Jesus said, "because seeing they see not, and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand."
Now, let's read what Luke said about this same speech according to Luke's report.
"His disciples asked him what the parable might be. And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to the rest in parables; that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand."
Now, "And unto them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah...By hearing you shall hear, and in no wise understand; In seeing you shall see, and shall in no wise perceive: For this people's heart is waxed gross, And their ears are dull of hearing [Oh God grant that our ears are not like that in this day.], And their [ears] they have closed [Are you closing yours or are you opening them? Are you closing your mind and your heart or will you, my friends, open them to the precious Truth of God, to the greatest treasure that you could ever have and you can have it without price and without money.]...And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And should turn again, that I should heal them."
Now, then, in Mark's account: "Seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest [now get this] lest haply they should turn again, and it should be forgiven them." Lest they should be saved it is in the King James or to find Salvation and in order that they couldn't, He spoke to them in parables. I read that out of the Bible, my friends. Don't say that's Herbert Armstrong's idea; that is what I read in the Bible and it's in your Bible in plain language.
"Know ye not this parable? and how shall ye know all the parables? The sower sows the word [It's the Word of God.]. And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; and when they have heard, straightway cometh Satan, and taketh away the word which hath been sown in them. And these in like manner are they that are sown upon the rocky places, who, when they have heard the word, straightway receive it with joy; and they have no root in themselves, but they endure for a while; and then, when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, straightway they stumble. [Oh, my friends, don't let this happen to you.] And others..."
And you'll notice, my friends, there is some doing. If there was no doing and just accepting and believing Christ, there wouldn't be any such thing as persecution and tribulation, there wouldn't be any such thing as enduring, you wouldn't have root in yourself to endure, depth of character and everything. That this shows...this shows that there is some struggle, there is some effort, there is some development of character, there is growing in grace and in knowledge to produce fruit and to get into the Kingdom of God -- that's what Jesus shows when He explains the parable in plain language. But the multitudes didn't understand then and they don't understand today.
"And others are they that are sown among the thorns; these are they that have heard the word, and the cares of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, [Or the care of the world and deceitfulness of riches as Matthew has it and Luke has it and the pleasures of this life.], [They] choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. And [then finally the good ground] those are they that were sown upon the good ground; such as hear the word, and accept it..."
Does it say accept Christ? No, in this place it says accept the Word. Of course, you'll have to accept Christ, too, if you accept the Word but it's more than just Christ alone, it's more than saying, 'I accept Christ' -- just the name. It's accepting the Word. Jesus came preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and saying, "...repent ye, and believe the gospel." You have to believe His message to be saved. You have to accept the Word of God to be saved and let it take root in your life and bring forth fruit unto life eternal out of the very Word of God and regard it as the Word of God with authority.
Now, they accept the Word and accept it, the Word, and bear fruit because they live by every Word of God and it bears fruit in their lives living according to it. Now, some more than others: some thirtyfold, some sixty, some a hundred. And there will be differences in the Kingdom of God in position.
Now, then He goes on, "He said..." Now, coming to Mark four verse twenty-six. Coming right on here in Mark's Gospel, four twenty-six, the very next verse after this and well, that's a few verses after where I was.
"He said unto them, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed upon the earth;"
And then here comes another parable. We'll go into them in the next program.
In Matthew thirteen, "Another parable set he before them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto..." and so on. All the way it was the Kingdom of God.
Write in for those booklets, now, that I mentioned. The one on "Predestination," the one on "What Kind of Faith."
So, until tomorrow, goodbye friends.