But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. … But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.Matthew 13:8, 23
And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred. … And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.Mark 4:8, 20
And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. … But that on the good ground are they,Luke 8:8, 15
The last hearer in Jesus’ Parable of the Sower is one who has prepared himself to hear, believe, and respond to the word of God when it is preached. This good ground hearer has been reading his Bible, praying for the church and others, and studied and reviewed previous sermons. He has also gotten plenty of physical rest the night before worship. He has not made any plans that would distract him from focusing on worship. When the preacher is preaching, he has his Bible open, possibly takes notes, and is actively engaged in learning about His Savior. If he doesn’t understand something in the sermon, he asks questions. And when church is over, he puts into practice what the sermon has called him to do.
The amount of fruit that is born by this good ground hearer varies. This is an important point. There are those that think that all children of God will fulfill a certain amount of criteria in their walk of faith. They believe that if they do not meet this man-derived standard, then they were false professors. This parable proves that theory completely false. Even those who do prepare themselves for the preached word and respond properly will not respond to the same extent as others. Therefore, we need to rejoice when we see any fruit in our lives or the lives of others because this proves to us that Jesus has given faith and the ability to respond!
The entire Parable of the Sower has taught us something very fundamental. If we are not bearing fruit in our lives, we have not prepared the soil of our hearts and minds to receive the word of God. This parable shows each of us that we must take personal responsibility for our growth in discipleship.
We can also learn from this parable that just because we do not see a positive response to the gospel it does not mean a person is wicked or unregenerate. That is not our job to decide anyway! What we can do is rejoice when we do see fruit. We can glorify our Father in heaven and expect to be with that person for all eternity.
I appreciate your pointing out that there should not be a focus on man-derived standards. That focus would lead us on a path of justification by works and cause us to be judgmental of others instead of glorying in the grace and mercy of God. Thank you.