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Summary: Jesus teaches of the ways people receive the truth.

A pastor once preached on this passage: A mother of 12 came forward, concerned that her life has not produced any eternal fruit. She told the pastor, “I am not sure that with my responsibilities, I have time to do anything of value to God.”

The pastor tried to comfort the lady, prayed for her, and asked her how he could help her in her life produce fruit.

She responded with frustration, “I should be producing good fruit now. My life has enough manure in it to fertilize the seed.”

• Maybe that is where you are today, a life with more fertilizer than fruit.

• If so, I hope and pray that today’s sermon will be instructive and encouraging to you.

• It may be corrective, but not by my design. If the Spirit moves in that way, before we start, remember the joy of following the movement of the Holy Spirit of God.

• The passage today is written in two parts. For our understanding, we will approach it a little different.

• Vs. 1-3 begins with a description of the setting. 9-14 introduces the explanation.

Mar 4:1-3 Again he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. 2 And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: 3 "Listen! A sower went out to sow. …

Mar 4:9-14 And he said, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." 10 And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11 And he said to them, "To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, 12 so that "they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven." 13 And he said to them, "Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? 14 The sower sows the word….

• Jesus is again on the beach of the Sea of Galilee and there is a crowd.

• The crowd is large enough that teaching becomes difficult.

• Jesus commissions a boat, probably one he has used before, to go out.

• When the wind was blowing off the water, sound carried over the water almost as well as an amphitheater.

• If you have ever been on a lake down wind from fishermen, you know you can hear every word they say.

Mar 4:11-12 And he said to them, "To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, 12 so that "they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven."

• Let me make some introductory comments about what is hard to understand in this passage.

• Sometimes these verses confuse us, and for some, have led to beliefs that don’t align with the whole of the message of scripture.

• Jesus was not saying that some people will not have a chance because they were not given understanding.

• Here, again, Jesus always honors the right of each person to choose whether they believe or not.

• God refuses to present to mankind a compelling argument that leaves no room for doubt.

• He refuses to violate mankind’s free will.

• He is saying, if you choose to understand, that option will be blessed with understanding.

• If you choose to reject the Word, you will be given that freedom, but must face the consequences.

• One of the consequences is, you just will not understand the deep things of God.

• I’m glad that if you choose to believe, understanding will be beautiful and rewarding.

• Before we begin looking at the different field conditions, please consider the condition of each life is determined by the choice of that life.

• 2Pe 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

• As a matter of fact, God confronts every human being, on multiple occasions, with an opportunity for belief.

• Rom 1:17-19 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, "The righteous shall live by faith." 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.

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