In Matthew 13: 3-9 we read about the parable of the sower: as he went about sowing seeds, some fell on the way side and were eaten by fowls, others fell upon stony places and died of the scorching heat of the sun. There were those which fell on thorns whose growth was stunted when they got choked. However, there was the seed which fell in good ground, grew and bore fruit.
The expectation of a farmer
“Fruit” is the ultimate desire of every farmer. It is the reason for all his toils and labours. In planting the seeds of maize, for example, there will be a lot of activities that will go into the project such as the ploughing of fields, uprooting of weeds, and applying fertiliser to the soil. Over time, a field will blossom with freshness of green leaves. It is usually so much a beautiful sight that one would love to take a photo of the greenery. What is interesting, however, is that despite all the beautiful outlook, the ultimate purpose of the crops manifest after the leaves have dried up and lost all their beauty. At that time, onlookers may see the field as an unentertaining scene, but to the farmer it is a sight of joy and fulfillment! To him the ultimate purpose of all his toils and sweat would have been achieved! When I was a young child, together with my siblings, mama would always plant some maize around our yard at home. As kids we always felt good when our plants grew and looked green. However, our joy was short-lived when the stems and leaves turned yellow when the plant matured and produced the cobs. As kids we would have loved for the maize to continue looking green and beautiful. However, our childish desire never stopped the sun from accomplishing its task of drying up the corn plant, nor did it attract any sympathy from mama who actually earnestly waited for them to dry up so that we could soon have some food.
Now, just like a farmer waits on his plants God also patiently waits upon his children to bear the fruit of the Word they received. However, many times when God does a work, we often lose focus of His objective and instead concentrate on unfruitful works.
For instance look at this passage of scripture in Malachi 4:5: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” What is the theme or subject of this passage of Scripture – is it about the man Elijah or the turning of the heart of man? Clearly, the latter is the answer. As William Branham solemnly said, “Not for one moment do I bring a message to the people that they may follow me, or join my church, or start some fellowship and organization. I have never done that and will not do that now. I have no interest in those things, but I do have an interest in the things of God and people, and if I can accomplish just one thing I will be satisfied. That one thing is to see established a true spiritual relationship between God and men, wherein men become new creations in Christ, filled with His Spirit and live according to His Word.” So, if that is the objective or purpose of ‘Elijah’s’ ministry then no matter how someone can witness and experience the miracles that would flow out of it, or hear and comprehend the mysteries the prophet revealed and recite his sermons word-for-word, if his or her heart hasn’t been turned (converted or transformed) the ministry would not have fulfilled its purpose in his or her life!
God never gives knowledge, or reveals any mystery, just for the sake of amusing people’s curious minds; His Word is life which transforms any person who receives it. God’s Word is a life-giving power, not a bundle of intellectual doctrines for soothing curious minds. Unfortunately “perfection” seems to be now viewed as a process of completing or comprehending a syllabus of mysteries. What has this attitude produced but strife and arguments about who is right and wrong? And now there are just lots of ears which are ever itchy, desiring to hear something new but yet are so empty of manifesting basic virtues of a Christian life.
Being fruitful in the Knowledge of Christ
We ought to ask ourselves as believers; in seeing what God has done and the Message He has brought us, have we grown any further into the stature of Christ? Let us remember that the goal of the ministries in the body of Christ is to preach and teach the Word until believers become like Christ – “till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). Thus any knowledge given to us as believers should work to take us closer to Christ, and we ought to bear fruit of the Word we receive. Like saint Peter admonished, “ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:8); “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10).
Things that cause unfruitfulness
In using the illustration of the parable of the sower, we can list three conditions that can cause the seed of the Word not to germinate and bear fruit in a person’s life. Notice that some seeds didn’t grow, not because there was something wrong with them but because of the conditions of where they fell. Thus, a preaching or teaching of God’s Word can be as powerful as it can be but still not change a person because of his or her attitude or condition of heart.
The three conditions:
- Wayside condition
- Stony place condition
- Thorny condition
Concerning this condition the Lord interpreted the parable saying, “When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.” Why would such a person not understand the Word? Is it because he or she is a slow learner or not intelligent enough? Not so, for Christ’s own disciples were uneducated folks and simple men. And think about this again: why would the wicked one find such a person so vulnerable as to easily catch away what was sown in his heart? Well, it’s all about the place where the seed fell –on the way side, not in the field! Being on the wayside, the seeds are not within the confinement of security that is available within a field. When looked at this way we will soon realize that there are some believers who are so careless with where they spend time, whom they spend it with, and what things they look at on TV or the Internet, etcetera. Such are believers whose minds are so filled with all sort of worldly things that the Word they hear doesn’t hold very long in their minds. Such people can be religious but not spiritual. They can make up a population of a local church but yet be far from God as the west is from the east. Such is an unfruitful life.
Stony place condition
In Matthew 13:20 we read that “he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.” Every local church will have such characters every once in a while. The person will show up and get excited at the truths of God’s Word he or she has heard, but with time the person finds himself or herself in persecutions or resentments by friends or relatives because of the faith and then eventually abandons the faith.
Believers in this condition are those who are ever so obsessed with the cares of this life – trying to raise money for house rent, children’s school fees, Now, much as it is important to work and attend to various commitments in life, we must also be aware that we don’t own our lives. One day your ever reliable ‘mortar’ of the heart will go kaput and the creator will demand of what you did with your life; telling Him that you were excellent at making good business reports and projections certainly won’t be the answer to give. This is what the Lord said: “He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful” (v.22).
May the condition of our hearts be the fourth one – good soil with a right atmosphere that would cause the seed of God’s Word to grow in us and bear fruit of righteousness.
Things that cause fruitfulness
In order to be fruitful one has to live a life of prayer, hearing the Word, and being in company (fellowship) of believers. Psalm 1:1-3, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper”.
Dearly beloved in Christ, “Be ye fruitful!”
PDF COPY Be_Ye_Fruitful
 In the book An Exposition of the Seven Church Ages.
 Read Ephesians 4:11-13.
 Genesis 9:7.