INTRO: Earlier in Mark, chapter 4, we heard what is usually called the parable of the sower. Now, Jesus returns to the use of the seed and the ground for further teaching. I understand that this little kingdom simile is unique to Mark's gospel. Yes, there are others which refer to the seed, to the growth of plants, to the harvest and such. But this one does not appear in either Matthew or Luke. And there are those parables, metaphors and similes which may be unique to the other gospels. Why do they not all appear in all three synoptic gospels? We need to keep in mind that while the three synoptics present us with a sort of biography of Jesus life and teachings, they do not necessarily record the same teachings and events in their biographical material. So, we should not be surprised to find some uniqueness in each of the gospel records.
I. HERE IS A LESSON ABOUT THE KINGDOM OF GOD
A. Needed lessons
1. "kingdom" brings to our minds a variety of possibilities
2. the four great kingdoms of Daniel's vision - the kingdom of Israel
3. such possibilities have in them many "variables", contrasts
B. So, what is the kingdom of God like? Similarities? Contrasts?
1. to help people understand the nature of God's kingdom Jesus used illustrations like parables, metaphors, similes
2. this little text gives us some understanding of His kingdom
3. but it is certainly not an comprehensive picture - yet, a critical part
II. SOME THINGS WE OBSERVE HERE
A. There is a man who is planting
1. suggestion? A partnership between God and man
2. if there is to be a harvest, man must work with God
3. so, Mk 16:15 - "Go ... and preach the gospel"
4. in the propagation of the kingdom of God there is work for us to do
B. There seed to be planted
1. most people understand about seed and the planting of it
2. if there is going to be a harvest, one must plant seed
3. so, Lk 8:11 - "...The seed is the word of God", or Mt 13:19 - "...the word of the kingdom..."
4. some may believe the kingdom can be spread by means other than "seed" (gimmicks, etc.), but only the seed will produce the desired harvest
C. There is the ground in which to plant
1. the seed and the soil (ground) must come together - interact
2. having lived in agricultural areas, I very much appreciate the soil - and the amount of time taken to prepare the soil for planting
3. notice, then, Mt 13:19 - the soil is the human heart (or, mind)
4. a fact we must understand - all soil is not good soil ...will not produce
D. There is the sleeping and rising night and day
1. it takes time for seed to germinate and for a plant to spring forth from the earth
2. once the seed is planted, there is a time of waiting for "nature" to work
3. and exactly how it all works is somewhat of a mystery - we must have faith in the process, however (otherwise, no seed would be planted)
4. 1 Cor 3:6,7 - the issue, it seems to me, is are we planting?
E. There is implied here the patience of the man who planted the seed
1. Jas 5:7 - "...waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth..."
2. when the word of God is sown in a human heart, few are the times when there are immediate results
3. there may need to be the "watering" of Apollos - further teaching, prayer, encouragement, relationship development
4. it all comes back to our being planters ... and having confidence is seed
F. There is the joy of the harvest
1. is this the ultimate judgment? or, is this something more immediate?
2. my focus here is on the fruit of obedience to the gospel
3. Acts 8:35-39 - here is an illustration of the reaping, the harvesting
4. this, of course, is the way the kingdom spreads ... and the reaping is a time of great joy (Lk 15:7)
CLOSE: I notice in v. 29"...when the fruit is brought forth..." It is not "if", but "when". When the process described in this passage is followed, there will be fruit. We must learn, though, two very important things. (1) If there is going to be a harvest, we must commit to planting the seed. (2) We must not be easily discouraged in the process because we do not see immediate results.
Cecil A. Hutson
14 January 2007
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)