MK 4:3-9 & 14-20
INTRO: I am inclined to think that the parable of the sower is the best known of all of the parables of Jesus. It is set against the background of real life in the time and place of Jesus' teaching. The word picture presents readers with a sight which was likely common to that region and which some have suggested might well have been suggested by what Jesus was seeing near where He was teaching ... a farmer was planting seed in his field. Whether or not that was the case, the lessons suggested by this parable are timely. As I think about the parable and the fact that Jesus would be teaching many things about His kingdom by using parables, I wonder if the key to understanding future parables is to be found in the simple explanation He gave of it.
I. THE SOWER
A. Who might he have been?
1. notice that Jesus does not give us a specific identity
2. he is simply a man fulfilling the responsibility of his calling
B. From a bag, perhaps slung over a shoulder, he is "broadcasting" seed
1. today's modern planters place the seed very accurately in good soil
2. the "broadcast" method would have sent some seed into unlikely soil
II. THE SEED
A. In His explanation Jesus is very specific about the seed
1. Mk 4:14 - says, "The sower soweth the word"
2. Mt 13:19 calls it "the word of the kingdom"
3. Lk 8:11 - "the seed is the word of God"
B. The seed, therefore, is good seed
1. any problem with the quality of harvest cannot be attributed to the seed!
2. 1 Cor 3:6 & Gal 1:11,12 - the apostle Paul planted "certified" seed
3. scripture indicates, however, that not all were converted! but the problem was not with the seed
III. THE SOILS
A. The "soil" represented human "hearts"
1. Mk 4:15 - "...sown in their hearts"
2. "hearts", of course, referred to the intellect, or mind
3.this reminds of Rom 10:17 ... faith involves God's word & human intellect
B. Seed on the way side
1. the "way side" was hard packed ... either roadway or paths in fields
2. the word made no impression - found no way of entry
3. almost immediately birds (Satan) swooped down to devour the seed
4. there are people in whose hearts the word of God makes no impression
5. they think of it as irrelevant, unimportant, unneeded, not credible, etc.
6. Acts 17:32a - only a curiosity at best!
C. Seed on the stony ground
1. this was thin layer of soil covering limestone
2. seed germinated, sprang forth as a plant - but without roots it withered
3. Mk 4:16 - there was an immediate gladness, joy in these hearts
4. but there was not a continued growth - no root system
5. when the cost of discipleship becomes apparent, they fade away
6. Col 2:6-8 - notice the "beware" in v. 8 - thus the need for good roots
D. Seed among the thorns
1. one writer notes this is ground which has been "scraped" clean
2. but the roots of noxious weeds remain just below the surface
3. so, as the seed germinates, the roots of weeds begin to grow - and to choke the good plant ... robbing it of vital nutrients - never bears fruit
4. weeds - "cares of this world - deceitfulness of riches - lusts of other things entering in" - here are "weeds" which are all around us!
5. a plant ... but no fruit - is this the real problem experienced by so many Christians today?
6. Lk 8:14 - I suggest to you that this verse strikes very close to home! - the parable is not some abstract story about the distant past - it is a lesson in the realities of discipleship ... then, and now
E. Seed on good ground
1. the truth? there will be a fruitful harvest
2. the promise? 1 Cor 3:6 - "...but God gave the increase"
3. the challenge? you and I are seed planters - but if we do not plant the seed, we cannot expect a good harvest
CLOSE: I wonder if some of us are struggling with that thorny soil? Do we need to do some radical "weeding" in our lives so that we can really bring forth fruit for the Master?
Cecil A. Hutson
10 December 2006
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)