After The resurrection Jesus gave us the great commission in which we are to make disciples of all nations. And we were intructed to teach them all that He has commanded us to do and He also guaranteed us that He’d be with us – Matthew 28:18-20
And also we are to preach the gospel to every creature and whosoever believes shall be saved and He went ahead to give us signs that will follow this believers – mark 16:15-18
During Jesus’s time with the disciples He showed them the various types of people who would hear the gospel and their reaction to it and the relevance to their salvation, which we seem to not consider anymore in our time – Luke 8:4-15
Now in this parable Jesus mentions four group of people who hears the gospel and also outlined what happened to them as they received it. Which would greatly help us in our time if we carefully study this as it can help us to discern correctly who is just a follower and who is a disciple. That reminds me of the story about the welsh revival, where a convert is never accepted into the fold fully as a christian until he/she is able to get a new convert and disciple such convert to a level in which the fruit of the Spirit is considerably seen in him/her. We might call them religious people in our time but this system produced countless revivals all over the world including the Azusa street revival.
Now back to the parable of the sower. The first heard the gospel and was willing to follow after Jesus but he was too open and never had any form of the christian experience but since he said the sinners prayer at a point he believes he is good, he goes to church but there is no evidence whatsoever in his life of ever hearing the gospel except what he tells himself. No transformation, no regeneration, he was as he had been from the beginning even worst. This also claims to be followers, using the name of God to bring a form of godliness they never possess or portray.
The second group which shows a little form of the God life but never grow to the point of bearing fruit, you could say they are the double minded. They at some point believed but had no root, in the sense that their christianity cost them nothing, it was just an instantaneous experience which they enjoyed until they met with challenges, they never had knowledge of the Bible beyond what their pastors tells them, no definite definition of the truth, they solely depend on their emotions and what they feel is right and never what is right according to the word of God. They cannot get pass the idea of God being a God who judges evil, infact every religion is good, they are easily tossed around by every wind of doctrine, they are always on the look out for the most powerful preacher out there, never looking at the scriptures for nutrients for themselves.
The third group, christianity is just all about the comfort, what they can get from God. Christianity for them is just a means to prosper. They are ready to obey to the point where God blesses them. They never sacrifice for the gospel except if when you tell them that after they do that, they’ll be blessed greatly of the Lord. They never pick up their cross – in fact a christian should never suffer, they select the part of the faith that fuels their ego, pride and selfish ambitions. Although they claim to be followers they never grow to maturity, never showed any of the fruit of the Spirit. Their God is their belly. This ones believes that the sign if Holiness are the riches and all the comfort you can get.
The Last group are the true disciples, this are people who has been to the cross and they have picked up their cross to follow after Jesus, not only follow after Him to learn from Him. They’re ones who have left all to follow after Jesus. They are not quick to just identify as followers but they patiently wait in the wilderness to be taught the way of life not just that they’ll come to boast about it or use it to validate their life’s purpose or to attain social credibility. But that they may partake of this very life that is in Christ, He partakes of the Godlife fully. They are totally subject to the Holy Spirit. They are fully conformed to the image of Christ.
Note: the true sign of a disciple is the manifestation of the fruit of the spirit in them. According to Jesus it’s not just enough to identify as a believer but the root you have in the word which translates to bear fruit with patience. In other words there is a required time for maturity. Even paul had to be discipled for three years before he came out to identify as a disciple.
Followership is instantaneous and lacks root. Discipleship is patient and takes time and bears fruit.