Sunday, February 8, 2009

Are You a Sower - Mark 4:1-20

Today I preached from Mark 4 and the parable of the soils and I thought it would make a good post so I thought that I would share my outline with you. I may do this more often in the future. But in this parable we have Jesus pointing to four heart responses to His Good News.

The Seed on the Road – The Hard Heart
- The seed sown on the road are those who have hard hearts
- They are not excused because the devil comes and steals away the word. He is able to steal it away because their hearts are so hard that the word had not taken any root.
- They simply do nothing with the message – so it is an easy theft.
- Many people with hard hearts are hard to recognize, often it is simple busyness, or it is false beliefs, or prejudices. But these hearts simply will not receive Jesus or His message.
- Yet we see that Jesus still sows the Word there.

The Seed on the Rocky Ground – The Shallow Heart
- Those on the rocky ground are a great deal more deceptive than the first ones.
- They actually seem to receive the word with joy, but they fall away at the first sign of trouble. They had nothing more than a shallow emotional response.
- Because they had no root in them – they were not indwelt by the Spirit, connected to Jesus, they had no grace, so when trouble came their lack of true resources was exposed.
- A true Christian is in the hand of Christ and will persevere through affliction.
- John 10:28 - I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. Or think about the Hosanna shouters that later shouted crucify Him.

The Seed among Thorns – The Worldly Heart
- This is the heart whose love for things crowds out any possibility of love for God.
- These are those who acknowledge the truthfulness of the gospel but who have no time for it, they say maybe later, or they simply are unable to let go of some pet sin.
- Look at what Jesus identifies as the thorns and I bet you can picture people and names – the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth, and desires for other things.
- James 4:4 - You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

The Seed on Good Soil – The Fruitful Heart
- But we come to a different kind of soil – notice what it was that makes these hearts good soil – they receive the word.
- It is not innate goodness or anything like that – it is not even basic morality – it is simply the willingness to receive.
- But these willing hearts become fruitful hearts. They bear the fruit of obedience and faithfulness. The fruit of a changed life. Think of the fruit of the spirit in Gal. 5:22.

What does all this mean for us?
- First - we must not prejudge the soil – Jesus sowed broadly into all kinds of soil seeking those who would receive the word – we must be willing to sow broadly as well. Not deciding which kind of person would be likely to receive the gospel – because we are usually wrong.
- Second - we must not forget that God is the one who gives the success. 1 Cor. 3:5-7 - What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. [6] I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. [7] So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.
- Third – Sowers are not called to be successful but to be faithful. A successful sower is one who scatters the seed well. The grower and the harvester will attend to their jobs.

I don’t remember anyone sharing the Gospel with me until my sophomore year of college. I was 18 when I first heard the Gospel (John Lucas was actually the first person to ever invite me to church or share the Gospel with me, thank you for your faithfulness to the Gospel John). That is a sad thing that we cannot allow, I knew lots of Christians in High School and college, yet they did not share with me. We must be faithful sowers.

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