Sowing Spiritual Seeds - Mark 4:1-20

(J.Vernon McGee) “the Bible: Know it in your head. Stow it in your heart. Show it in your life. Sow it in the world.”
I can't over estimate the value that God's Word has been to my Christian walk. I'm very appreciative towards the people God has placed in my life who emphasized through their example the priority that I needed to place on the influence & counsel of God's Word.

It's no coincidence that the Holy Spirit through the Psalmist begins the very first Psalm with the contrast of foolishly getting counsel from the men of the world when you can sit at the feet of the Creator of the world & receive counsel directly from Him.

In Psalm 119 the Psalmist speaks of the vast benefits that God’s Word provides in the longest chapter in all of the Bible whose subject is the very words recorded in the Bible.

At a certain time in the Lord’s teaching ministry, Jesus began to use the method of ‘parables.’
In fact, parables comprise more than one third of Jesus’ recorded sayings.

The parable of the sower is the first recorded parable given by Jesus in all the Gospels. It can also be called the parable of the soils since the Lord’s emphasis is about the four different types of soils that hear the Word of God, a reference to the soil of our heart.
Jesus used parables in mixed audiences because this unique form of story accomplished two important objectives: Parables repelled hostile skeptics while equipping serious disciples. 

(Swindoll) “Those who want to understand will ask questions; those who are predisposed to reject truth will deliberately and consistently misunderstand.”

Jesus began this parable with the words 'Listen' and 'Behold' and then concluded the parable by crying out as (Luke's Gospel) tells us: ‘He who has ears to hear, let him hear.’
The word ‘listen’ appeared (4x) before ch.4, it appears (13x) in Mark chapter 4 alone & Mark will continue to use it (40x) in the totality of his gospel account. The Lord wants us to hear Him!

Where is your heart in relation to hearing, receiving & allowing God’s Word to produce fruit in your life?

Jesus spoke of four different types of hearts that hear the Word of God:
(1) The Hard Heart

The soil of a person’s heart that is on the WAYSIDE, speaks of a pathway that has been walked on by many feet. It is uncultivated area, it is hard, unbroken ground. Sin can harden a person’s heart.

A hard heart that resists the Word of God makes it easy for Satan (the birds in this parable) to snatch it away. Soil also becomes hard when too many feet walk on it.

Christians need to make God’s Word their chief counselor! Instead, many Christians today have recklessly “opened their heart” to all kinds of people, ungodly influences, conspiracy theories, & false teachers putting themselves in danger of developing hard hearts.

(Prov.4:23) ‘Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.’

(2) The Shallow Heart

This second heart that hears the Word, is called the ‘Stony or Shallow Heart.’
It immediately receives the Word w/gladness, but because it’s only ‘top soil’ upon stony ground, the soil has no depth, & therefore can’t produce deep roots, so when difficult trials arise because of the Word, they immediately stumble.

What this is a picture of is the heart of a person who has a shallow, or emotional profession of faith in Jesus Christ but there’s no surrender of the will yet, it’s just a going through the motions kind of commitment. God wants to take us deeper! This person needs discipleship.

(J.Oswald Sanders) says in his book ‘Enjoying Intimacy w/God’ ‘We are today as close to God as we want to be.’ We can choose to go deeper or remain to wade in shallow waters.

(3) The Crowded Heart

This heart is the picture of one who receives the Word but has too many different kinds of 'seeds' or we might say 'weeds' growing in the soil—worldly cares, a desire for riches, a lust for things—& the good seed of the Word gets choked out from truly growing.  It’s that person that is living for today & not for eternity!

This person is not seeking first the Kingdom of God, & trusting God to take care of all their needs.
This person grows for a little while, but then stops & gets choked by competition of unspiritual things!

And this is the Psalm these people sing: It sounds like this: “Recreation is my shepherd, I shall not stay at home; He maketh me lie down in a sleeping bag; He restoreth my suntan; He leadeth me to State parks for comfort’s sake. Even though I stray on the Lord’s Day, I fear no reprimand, for Thou art with me; my rod & reel they comfort me. I anointest my skin with oil, my gas tank runneth dry. Surely my trailer shall follow me all the weekends this summer, & I shall return to the House of the Lord this Fall.”

This honest question needs to be asked of all of us: 'What is crowding your agenda, your to do list, that you have no time for God & daily devotions?'

(4) The Fruitful Heart

This is the life that is committed to growing in their walk w/God, committed to growing in Christian character & growing in their service to the Lord. The Lord simply says about this soil that it produces some thirtyfold, sixty and 100. 

Notice, that even in the good soil, there exists still a variation of fruitfulness that is dependent on the heart of the hearer. The more you invest time in sowing the good seed of God's Word into your life, the more you’re going to produce good quality, eternal, spiritual fruit!

Jesus (Jn.15:5) ‘I am the Vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, & I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.’

(Heb.4:12) tells us that the ‘Word of God is alive, it is powerful…’ I think that Jesus used the perfect symbol for the Word of God as a seed, because a seed when planted in the hearts of people when it is embraced by the soil of your heart and is watered, will take root and begin to show signs of life. It begins to grow in your heart, it begins to bear fruit.

(Hoekstra) in his book ‘The Ability of God’s Word’ says “There is so much in human affairs that is shallow and superficial. We are inundated with philosophical, sociological, and psychological theories, along with anthropological perspectives to explain where we have been and where we are now in light of all that.

Various experts use these theories to try to determine what is going on in the mind of man, & what to do to make the turns & changes that are desired. All this analyzing & theorizing sound as though it will cut so deeply, but when all is said & done, it is pathetically dull & ineffective. How different, effective, & mighty is the Word of God! It is more than sufficient to bring radical change into our lives.”

So, what type of fruit can a believer produce?

-Rom.1:13 (Soul winning is fruit for the kingdom/CONVERSIONS to Christ)
-Rom.6:22 (The fruit of holiness/our CONFORMITY to the image of Christ)
-Rom.15.28 (Financial giving is fruit to the Lord’s work/COINS for the Kingdom)
-Heb.13:15 (Continual praise IS the fruit of our lips/our CONVERSATION)
-Gal.5:22-23 (The fruit of the Spirit/Our CHARACTER of Christ)
-Col.1:10 (The fruit of good works/Our CONDUCT)

Jesus was exposing the rejection of His Word & the reason for that rejection is the condition of the heart. It wasn’t an intellectual problem, it was a problem of the heart.

So often we hear people say that the Word doesn’t work for me like it works for you & they’ll offer up various excuses why they can’t live a holy life.

What you are saying is that your experience is right & Gods Word is wrong & not powerful enough to change your life.  In reality, what you are experiencing is a heart issue!

(2Peter 1:3) tells us: ‘His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue.’

The power of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God are truly all we need to grow in godliness in life.

But you need to have the want to, to live a holy life. In the same way that you choose to eat gluten free or meat free, or choose tea over coffee or whatever other life choices that you freely make on a daily basis.

Holiness is a choice! Picking up your Bible & reading it is a choice. Getting in the gym, on a treadmill, working out & putting your earbuds on and having the Bible read to you is a choice.

And that choice to live a godly life is empowered as we surrender to the person & work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The more you invest in your spiritual growth, the more potential for your spiritual walk to increase and grow. Who you feed the most has great potential, whether the carnal man or the inward man?

(Gal.6:7-9) ‘Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.’

Finish Well, Blessings—Pastor Dave

Type your new text here.

Type your new text here.