Summary: I used to think the phrase, Kingdom of God, meant only some future time, but I have come to understand that it means the Christian experience under the Lordship of Christ.
I wonder what you think of when you read or hear the phrase, “Kingdom Of God?” Perhaps you think of some future time, when there will be perfect peace and no problems, when the ferocious beasts of the forest can be led around by little children. That’s what I used to think it meant, but I have come to understand that it simply means the Christian life, lived under the Lordship of Jesus.
Jesus used the phrase a number of times in the gospels to describe the overall experience of a person living a Christ centered life.
The Power Of A Seed
God put His blessing in every seed. People who study such things can tell you the different parts of a seed and can even give you a technical explanation as to why a seed brings forth a plant, and the plant brings forth its intended fruit, but the most learned are still fascinated by many variables of each seed, as it goes from a seemingly dead seed to new life.
Little seeds can do big things. This is emphasized in verses 30-32. There are some seeds, that if you have a handful of them, you can just about feed a whole town!
No matter how good a seed might be, it will never be anything but a seed until it is planted. Jesus said in John 12:24, “Except a corn of wheat fall to the ground and die, it abides alone, but if it dies, it brings forth much fruit.” So, seed has to be planted in order to do what it is intended to do.
Just about anything you do can be viewed as seed that will bring forth a crop, either good or bad, but in Mark 4, the most direct interpretation of the seed is that it is the word of God. The word of God is the most powerful thing mankind has ever known. It was by this word that the worlds were created, and according to 2 Peter 3:7, it is by this word that world that now exists is being preserved. Then Revelation 19:21 tells us that in the end-time, it will be by this same word that the Lord put an end to evil.
What you and I need to understand is that God has given us this word, and He has attached some wonderful promises to it, for us. John 5:24 says that if we hear and believe this word, we are saved. Psalm 119:11 says that if we hide this word in our heart, it will keep us from sinning against God. Vance Havner used to say, “Sin will keep you from this word, but this word will keep you from sinning!” We need to understand that this word is our guarantee of every good thing that God says He will do for us.
This seed, the word of God, does not fail to accomplish what God sends it to do, according to Isaiah 55:11.
The Potential Of A Life
The seed has to meet with the ground, and the ground represents a person’s life. This parable assumes that the ground that receives the seed is “good ground.”
Earlier in the chapter, Jesus said there are different kinds of ground, or different attitudes of heart in the lives of people who hear the word.
There is “wayside” ground, where the devil comes and snatches away the seed. This is what happens to the “passive” listener. A passive listener is someone who hears the word, but when they get out the door, they really couldn’t tell you what point the preacher was trying to get across. Sometimes, that’s the fault of the preacher, but most of the time it can be blamed on passive listening. An “active” listener, on the other hand, is somebody who engages his mind in what’s being said. He is interacts with the message in such a way that he personalizes it and looks for ways to apply it to his life.
There is “stony” ground, where there is shallow acceptance, but no real commitment to it. Jesus said that when things didn’t go just right for this person, he would turn the other way. You might hear him say, “Well, I tried it, and it didn’t work for me.” In reality, it’s not a seed problem, it’s a ground problem!
There is “thorny” ground, where is the things of this world and the deceitfulness of riches are given more importance than the word. God really wants His children’s life to be good. He wants us to be blessed, but it’s only going to come about as we align our lives with His word. To expect anything else is about as smart as planting tomatoes and hoping for watermelons!
I’m glad to tell you there is also a “good” ground. And, I’m glad to tell you that if you’ll turn to God, He can cause your life to be good ground. Jesus said this ground brings forth fruit.