Practical Lessons on the Experience of Life, by Witness Lee

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Now we can understand the parables in Matthew 13. We should not care for the great tree in Matthew 13:31 and 32; that is too negative. Rather, we should pay our attention to life, which is the central thought in Matthew 13.

Sowing the Seed of Life

We may use one word for each parable in this chapter. In the first parable the word is seed (vv. 4, 37). A sower went forth to sow the seed into the earth, signifying humanity, the human heart. The sower is Christ, the Son of God, who came to sow the seed of life into humanity. Moreover, the seed is also Christ. He Himself is the sower and the seed. Christ comes as the sower to sow Himself as the seed into us. He did not come to teach or to be a great rabbi. When Nicodemus came to the Lord Jesus, he called Him Rabbi. The Lord right away responded, “Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). The Lord seemed to be saying, “I am not coming to be a great rabbi to teach you. I am coming to be a seed sown into you that you may be born anew. I came to sow Myself into you as the seed of life.”

The first parable in Matthew 13 has four aspects because it speaks of four kinds of hearts as the growing soil. In the first aspect, the enemy of God came as the birds of the air to snatch away the seed. This indicates a frustration. God’s way is to sow His Christ into us, but Satan’s way is to snatch the seed away. However, regardless of how much the enemy can snatch away, something is still left. Then in the second aspect there is the stony ground. The stones make a person superficial. Someone may be glad about God’s testimony, God’s message concerning Christ as life, but he is actually shallow. Underneath, he is full of stones; he is the stony ground. Farmers know that almost nothing can grow in this kind of soil. In the third aspect, the cares of this life, the lusts, and many worldly things become the thorns that choke the growth of the wheat. In this aspect also, there is almost no growth.

Due to the snatching away, the superficiality, and the choking, the seed is almost all gone. But praise the Lord, He is eventually victorious! He will fulfill His purpose. The enemy can only delay God’s purpose, but His purpose can never be nullified. So eventually, there is the fourth aspect in which the seed is sown, it grows up, and it bears fruit thirtyfold, sixtyfold, and a hundredfold. This is a brief, clear picture of life.

We must answer before God: Has Christ been sown into us? Yes, praise the Lord, He has been. However, are we in the first, second, third, or fourth aspect? Christ has been sown into us, but is there growth, or is the growth choked?

The Seed Growing into Wheat

In the second parable of Matthew 13, the descriptive word is not tares; we do not want to pay attention to the negative things. The word is wheat (v. 25). The seed has become wheat. Do you think that the enemy, having done as much as he did to spoil seventy-five percent of the seed, will now go to sleep? We may sleep, but the enemy never sleeps. While people sleep, the one who does not sleep comes in to sow the tares, the false, imitation wheat. The intention of the enemy in sowing tares is to frustrate the growth of the wheat. Satan adds many false Christians with the intention of frustrating the growth of the real Christians. Look at today’s Christianity. There is a great mixture. Some may say that it is all right to have the false ones among us, but sooner or later we will be affected. We may illustrate the effect of the mixture in this way: I may wear a dirty, blackened coat, while you stand next to me wearing a white coat. Can your white coat make mine white? No, but eventually my dirty coat will blacken your white coat. I can blacken you, but you cannot whiten me. How many worldly things have been brought into today’s church by the imitating, false Christians to frustrate the real growth of the genuine believers! This is the subtlety of the enemy.

Can you trace the subtlety of the enemy? First he snatches away, second he causes us to be stony, and third he chokes. Eventually, God has some wheat, but Satan comes in to plant the tares to frustrate the growth.

(Practical Lessons on the Experience of Life, Chapter 15, by Witness Lee)