Summary: The Parable of the Soils

Responding to Jesus

Series: Markers Along the Narrow Way

November 25, 2012

*** READ Mark 4:1-3a

Jesus is teaching by the lake again. Because the crowds are so large, his pulpit is a boat, while the crowd stands and sits at the water’s edge. Not only is he safe from being crushed, but the water acts as a megaphone for the 1000’s of people trying to listen. So he starts to tell a story. A story with a spiritual meaning, called a “parable”. And the 1st thing He says is…LISTEN! He’s not saying that because people were too busy talking to their neighbor to hear…he saying that because even though they had ears…it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re listening to what’s being said. AMEN?

Sometimes, when it comes to listening to Gods Word, we’re like passengers on an airplane just before take off. We’ve all been there, the stewardess wants you to watch and listen as she gives you life-saving advise…but what do we do? We talk, read, stare out window. But when it comes to listening to God’s word, we need to be more like the passengers on this Southwest Flight (SHOW Video clip)

The word Jesus uses for “listen” is “akouo”…which means more than just physical hearing…it means to look beneath the surface and discern the inner meaning of what you’re hearing or seeing. In fact, Jesus is so adamant that they go deeper in their comprehension, that he uses the word 13x’s in this story. So listen with not only your ears…but with your hearts as we talk about 3 things today…farmers, seed and dirt!

1st… The FARMER

Mark has already identified the farmer for us back in 1:38…it’s Jesus. Jesus came to preach and teach the word…but it could be ANYONE who is preaching and teaching the Word that God is using. It could even be me this morning! It could be you…as you go to your workplace or your home, maybe a small group…

Jesus says that, “A farmer goes out to sow his seed...” But did you notice something strange about this farmer? He’s unlike any farmer I’ve ever known. See, usually a farmer is very careful where he sows his seed. Before he sows his precious seed, he prepares the soil by plowing it, fertilizing it, spraying it with pesticide…but not this farmer. He actually seems a little sloppy, doesn’t he? Instead of carefully sowing his seed, making sure that he doesn’t waste good seed on bad soil…this farmer just starts casting it out and letting it land wherever it ends up! As a result, some of it lands on hard packed down dirt, some of it lands in the shallow rocky dirt, some of it lands in the weeds, but just a small portion of it actually lands on good soil.

Either this farmer is incredibly dumb or he’s incredibly gracious! But this farmer, (Jesus)…isn’t foolish, he’s loving. Because even though he knows the chances of good seed landing on bad soil and producing a harvest is low…he casts the seed anyway. Aren’t you glad? I am! He wants EVERY person to have at least a chance of producing a harvest! Now, I don’t know how good of soil I was when I 1st heard the seed was sown in my life…but He took a chance on me…and He took a chance on you!

And he knew something about the seed that you and I may not know…it’s powerful stuff! See, 2. The SEED is the Word of God! And despite the risk of losing the Word to the birds and the sun and the thorns…He knows that it doesn’t fail! In fact, according to Isa.55:10,11… “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” In otherwords, for those that listen…the seed of God’s Word is going to have a powerful impact!

According to Hebrews 4:12…the word of God is alive and active. That means it’s not just dead words that you can listen to and be done with, but the Words of God are active and dynamic. They’re a force to be reckoned with. They WILL do their work in your life!

Sharper than any double-edged sword… It cuts two ways… 1. it’s provides the promise of salvation to those who listen to it, but 2… judgment for those who don’t... it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; It cuts so deep that it’s able to slice through all our defenses, our rationalizations, through our surface religion, through our hard hearts…deep into the inner spiritual reality… to the point that… it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. The grk. word for ‘judges’ is ‘kritikos’, where we get our English word “critic”… it’s like a spiritual investigator that discovers your true motives and attitudes and then reveals them to not only to you…but to God, for…13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered i.e. nothing has the ability to hide from God’s gaze…and “laid bare” before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

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