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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord’s Day Morning, May 20, 2007
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

“A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it” (Luke 8:5).

A parable is a story Christ told to illustrate a spiritual truth. The “Parable of the Sower” is the key to all of Christ’s parables about conversion. In Mark’s Gospel Christ said,

“Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?” (Mark 4:13).

How can you understand any of the parables Christ told if you don’t understand this one? So, it is very important to understand every word Christ spoke in the “Parable of the Sower.”

“A sower went out to sow his seed…” This refers, first, to Christ Himself, because it says, “his seed.” So, He was the original sower. Verse eleven says, “The seed is the word of God” (Luke 8:11). Thus, Jesus went out and preached the Word. He sowed the seed of God’s Word by preaching the Gospel. After Christ ascended back to Heaven, the Apostles became the sowers. Today every true preacher goes, being sent by Christ, giving out the precious seed of the Gospel.

“And as he sowed, some fell by the way side…” That is, it fell by the side of the road. It fell on the hard dirt road beside the field. This is a picture of people whose hearts are as hard as that road. They are people who hear the preaching of the Gospel but do not get saved. That is made even clearer in verse twelve, “lest they should believe and be saved” (Luke 8:12). That makes it plain. Our text speaks of people who hear Gospel preaching but do not get saved. Jesus said,

“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16).

You must be saved by Christ or you will be damned. Those who reject the Word of the Gospel do not believe savingly in Christ. They remain lost. “He that believeth not shall be damned.”

Now, why do they remain lost? Why do they reject the preaching of the Gospel? Why are their hearts are like the hard surface of a road? Even though they hear the preaching, why don’t they receive Christ? Our text gives two reasons.

I. First, people remain lost because the Gospel is trodden down
by human flesh.

“As he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down…” (Luke 8:5).

It was trampled on, stepped on by those who walked on the road.

And that is exactly what will happen to many of you who are here this morning. After you leave the church this morning, what you heard me preach from the Bible will be trampled on. I am convinced that this phrase “trodden down” refers to what human beings do to Christ. The Bible speaks of him “who hath trodden under foot the Son of God” (Hebrews 10:29). They just walk on Christ, like the seed thrown onto a road. Human flesh smashes and crushes and tramples on the message of Christ.

Your “friends,” outside the church, will trample on what you heard today. They will give you many reasons that you should not come back here. They’ll tell you why you shouldn’t be converted and become a real Christian.

I remember when I was first taken to a Baptist church, when I was a teenager. My cousin laughed at me and made fun of me, and tried to get me to stop going to church. Other people in my family told me I had gone too far, that I was taking religion too seriously, that it would make me weird. They wanted me to stop coming to church and be “normal” like them. They are all dead now. They died horrible, Christless deaths. I’m glad I didn’t listen to them!

“It was trodden down…” (Luke 8:5). Not only will your lost friends and non-Christian family try to stamp out the Christian sermon you are hearing – but your own evil nature, your own sinful flesh will trample on the Gospel. The Bible speaks of “an evil heart of unbelief” (Hebrews 3:12). The Bible speaks of the person who follows “the imagination of his evil heart” (Jeremiah 16:12).

Someone here this morning may say, “I will follow my own heart.” Then you will certainly remain lost! Why? Because the Bible says,

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9).

If you follow your own heart you will not come back to this church. You will not receive the preaching. You will not be converted to Christ. And you will never be saved!

“It was trodden down” (Luke 8:5). Your own evil, fleshly nature will trample down the Gospel, keep you from coming to Christ, keep you from being saved!

You must go against your lost friends and family. You must go against your own sinful nature. You must come back to church no matter what happens. You must seek Christ, no matter how you feel inside. You must “strive to enter in at the strait gate” or you will never be saved (Luke 13:24). Don’t let yourself, or any other human being, trample down the Gospel in your heart! Come to Christ while there’s still time!

II. Second, people remain lost because the Gospel is devoured
by Satanic forces.

Look again at our text. Pray careful attention to the last clause.

“A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it” (Luke 8:5).

“The fowls of the air devoured it.” We have big black ravens around our house, up north of Glendale. Those big black birds swoop down and eat anything they can get ahold of. They are ravenously hungry, birds that will eat carrion, the eggs or babies of other birds, almost anything they can get their beaks into. They would even fly down and eat the seed that fell on a roadside.

Now, those ugly, insatiable, gluttonous, ferocious birds will devour the sermons you hear. “The fowls of the air devoured it” (Luke 8:5).

There is no question what these foul birds represent. They represent Satan and his demonic forces. Verse twelve says, “then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved” (Luke 8:12). Matthew puts it, “the wicked one…catcheth away that which was sown in his heart” (Matthew 13:19). Mark has it, “Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts” (Mark 4:15).

“And the fowls [plural] of the air devoured it” (Luke 8:5).

Luke tells us that these bird-like beings are plural, more than one. “The fowls of the air devoured it.”

Notice, also, that Christ said, “The fowls of the air devoured it” (Luke 8:5). The Bible calls Satan “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2). Satan is in the air – all around us. So are his demons, which are called “principalities…powers…rulers of the darkness of this world” (Ephesians 6:12).

And those “fowls of the air devoured it” (Luke 8:5). Satan and his demons are always ready to consume the seed, eat up the sermons you hear, “lest [you] should be saved” (Luke 8:12). Satan does not want you to be converted, and he will do everything he can to devour the preaching you hear, to eat it up, so you will not believe on Christ and be saved.

Are any demons here in church? Of course! Satan and his evil spirits are everywhere – though unseen by human eyes. Dr. John Gill said,

And the fowls of the air devoured it; who generally flock about places where seed is sowing; and here [speak of] the devil and his angels, that have their dwelling in the air; and frequent places of public worship to hinder the ministry of the word, as much as in them lies (John Gill, D.D., An Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1989 reprint, volume 7, p. 577).

Notice how eager Satan is to devour your soul. He comes with his demons, swooping down to devour the word from your heart. He is afraid that the Gospel seed may grow in your heart, and so, Mark tells us, “Satan cometh immediately” (Mark 4:15). Before this sermon is finished – no, even as I speak, those evil spirits come down to eat up the word that you have heard me preaching! Spurgeon said, “I wish I could clap my hands, and so drive those foul birds away; but I ask God’s people to [pray] that these sermon thieves be driven off, and that what [I have] said may [remain] in your memory” (C. H. Spurgeon, “The Seed by the Wayside,” The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Pilgrim Publications, 1977 reprint, volume XLIX, p. 381).

Now, let me ask you, are you willing to have the truth taken away from you? Are you willing to be robbed of eternal life and joy by unbelieving family and friends? Are you willing to let them stomp on the seed, keep you from Jesus, and stop you from coming back to church? Are you willing to let the Devil rip the sermon from your heart?

I tell you that Christ died to pay the penalty for your sins. I tell you that Christ has risen from the dead, and He can give you eternal life. I tell you that you can be saved from sin, and from death itself, by Christ. I tell you that because it is what God says – in the Bible! Will you allow human or demonic forces to rob you of those soul-saving truths? I pray that you won't.

To be converted you must be made aware of your sin by the Holy Spirit. That can be a painful inner experience. But that is the plowing of the Holy Spirit. May He plow your heart deeply, so that the word of the Gospel may take root and spring up to everlasting life within you! Here is a handful of corn for you! Eat it now! Receive Christ! Trust in Him, and you will be forgiven and transformed. Come to Jesus and have life! May God save you for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Please stand and sing hymn number 7 on your song sheets. Think of the words while you sing, and sing loudly and clearly.

Come, ye sinners, poor and wretched,
   Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you,
   Full of pity, joined with power.
He is able, He is able, He is willing,
   Doubt no more.
He is able, He is able, He is willing,
   Doubt no more.
(“Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Wretched” by Joseph Hart, 1712-1768).

(Click here for a complete exposition of the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13)

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Mark 4:3-4, 13-15.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Now I am Saved” (by Alma Hoellein).



by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it” (Luke 8:5).

(Mark 4:13; Luke 8:11-12; Mark 16:16)

I.   First, people remain lost because the Gospel is trodden down
by human flesh, Luke 8:5a; Hebrews 10:29; 3:12;
Jeremiah 16:12; 17:9; Luke 13:24.

II.  Second, people remain lost because the Gospel is devoured
by Satanic forces, Luke 8:5b, 12; Matthew 13:19;
Mark 4:15; Ephesians 2:2; 6:12.