Summary: The seed of God’s Word has been planted in us. What are we going to do with it?
January 11, 2009
Text: Mark 4:1-20
Title: Planting the Seed
I’ve got so much to say to you this morning that I don’t know where to start. I am going to continue to speak to you what I started last week and actually have been preaching about for the last seven years. I am going to talk to you about having faith. Paul wrote that it is by grace you are saved through faith… that’s saving faith. I know that saving faith is at work in the world right now. I heard a great statistic Wednesday at our section 6 Speed the Light rally. I want you to get this because it just blew me away. The number of Christians who are alive right now outnumber the total of all Christians from the time of Jesus up to now. Let me try to clarify that. If you take the oldest Christian alive right now, and total up the number of Christians who live before their time, all the way back to the beginning of the church, the number of Christians alive right now are more than that total. So wouldn’t you say that faith is alive? Yet in Luke 18:8 Jesus asked this question, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” I have often meditated on that verse wondering what Jesus was trying to say. I have come to the conclusion that He was asking, not if there would be “saving faith” on the earth, but seed faith – the kind of faith that is required to receive the promises that have been ordained for all Christianity to receive.
I shared with you last week about how faith is what begins in the spirit man and flows out to the soul and body. Let me give you an example. Moses wrote in Deuteronomy 6:5, 5Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Look at the three areas of our humanity at work here – heart (spirit), soul (mind, emotions, personality), and strength (physical body). It is not just a coincidence that the Holy Spirit placed these words in this particular order. Your relationship with God starts in the heart or spirit. It then flows out into your mind and you come into agreement with what has happened in your spirit. Then it is acted out in the natural man or the body.
Now I want to relate that to the kind of faith that Jesus was talking about in Luke 18:8. When Jesus comes back will He find His church doing what He said they would be doing in John 14:12, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” Is that kind of faith in the church today? If the answer is yes then where are the signs and wonders? If the answer is no then why? I want you to listen closely today to hear something that maybe you haven’t thought of before. This is not a new revelation but is a new understanding of an old revelation that the church has continued to overlook throughout the centuries.
Turn to Mark 4: 1-20.
I want to look at three things today. First – the purpose of the parable. Secondly – the preeminence of the parable and thirdly – the proof of the parable.
Read Mark 4:1-20
Lord, open my eyes to see and my ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church.
I. THE PURPOSE OF THE PARABLE. We don’t have to look very far into this passage to find out what the purpose of Jesus’ parables was. 1Again Jesus began to teach by the lake… The purpose of a parable was simply to teach a profound truth by using analogies of common things. Parables were not something new to the Jews. Rabbis had used parables for centuries. The question isn’t why did Jesus teach in parables, but why did He allow so many people to wonder about their meanings. We’ll talk about that later. The reality is parables were an effective method of teaching. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge. 2He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said… Then He goes on to tell the parable of the farmer who sowed seed. We know that there is a deeper meaning to the parable than what is on the surface by what Jesus says afterward, “9Then Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Now, after He said that verse 10 says this, 10When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. 11He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables 12so that, “‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’ Notice that the disciples weren’t asking Him specifically about this parable but about “the” parables. Here we get the distinct impression that the parables are much more than stories from the natural world. They are the word of God, but in order to get it you 1) have to want to - “He who has ears to hear, let him hear… 2) you must have the proper relationship with Christ and that is by faith… But to those on the outside everything is said in parables… 3) understand that real perceiving and understanding (v 12) begins in the spirit man. You can see and hear in the natural but never understand in the spirit. The purpose of parables then was to bring people to the place where they would want to know what the real meaning is and would begin to seek the truth. Jesus was planting a seed but it was the responsibility of His listeners to seek out what God is trying to say through the parable. Hebrews 11:6, And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.