Summary: This message discusses the different kinds of heart upon which the message of the gospel falls.
Studies in the Gospel of Mark
The Parable of the Soils
Aim: To sow four different responses to the truth of the Gospel.
Text: Mark 4:1-20.
Introduction: We often refer to this passage as the Parable of the Sower, but In many ways it is more about the soils than the sower; perhaps we should call it the Parable of the Soils. This is the first of the so-called “kingdom parables”, and it is also the best known, so you may feel we are on very familiar territory tonight.
It is often said that a parable is an “earthly story with a heavenly meaning”, but that is really not an adequate definition. Perhaps it would be better to say a parable is “a physical illustration of a spiritual concept.” I think that is really what we are trying to say with our first definition. A parable is a comparison, or a figure. It’s an illustration placed alongside a truth. An object lesson, which usually draws upon some common observation in life. It is often a fact of preaching that people will remember the preacher’s illustrations long after they have forgotten his sermon. And Jesus peppered his sermons liberally with illustrations from every day life. His hearers would have been more than familiar with the imagery of the sower sowing seed, and yet, though the illustration used is a vivid one to us, it was originally given in that format to cloud the truth to some. See verses 11-12.
Have you ever wondered about those verses? I have. They seem to be contrary to the purposes of the Saviour. But remember this, spiritual truth comes only to those whose minds are illuminated by the Spirit of God. I am sure that such illumination comes to every man at some point. The Bible says Jesus is the light of the world that lighteth every man that cometh into the world. But how a man response to that light determines whether he receives yet more light or God chooses to leave him in darkness. Which brings us back to our text. Why didn’t Jesus want some of His hearers to grasp the full import of His Words?
Remember in studying the Bible context is king. Some of His hearers had condemned Him as a demoniac. They said, “He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils.” (Mark 3:22). And what was Jesus response to that? It was to warn of the unpardonable sin. These men, by the blasphemy of the Holy Ghost had damned their own souls beyond all hope – now the light of the gospel was withdrawn from them.
Now in this parable, we see three elements: the sower, the seed, and the soil.
I. Who Is The Sower?
A. In the O.T. God likens Himself to a sower – see Jeremiah 31:27
B. The sower is identified by Matthew as being the Lord Jesus – Matt 13:37
II. What is The Seed?
A. Well it is quite evident the seed is the Word of God
1. See Mark 4:14
2. The seed is the Word of God: inerrant, infallible, and inspired.
3. Consider the power contained in just a little seed.
a. If I were to hold a few apple seeds in my hand, there would be the possibility of an entire orchard.
b. Within the acorn is the potential of a mighty oak tree. 1Peter 1:23:
(i) “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”
(ii) Illus: not long ago they found a seed deep within a pyramid in Egypt. It was estimated to be 3,000 years old. Just for the fun of it they planted it to see if it would grow and reproduce, and it did!
(iii) That’s one of the interesting things about seeds, is that they can store for a very long time the potential to germinate.
b. The Bible is the seed, and in it is amazing potential.
B. The magic formula of the sower is to sow the seed plentifully everywhere.
a. If you aim at nothing you’re sure to hit it!
b. We must try and try again, over and over, all the time!
c. We mustn’t allow seed sowing opportunities to pass by us.
(i) Don’t wait to be led…God has already led!
(ii) Don’t say I’m looking for an open door…the door is wide open until one day very soon when God will shut it, and then no more sowing can be done!
d. We should carry gospel tracts with us everywhere we go, and hand them to friends, family, work mates, or leave them in restaurants (with a tip) and hairdressers, barbers, hospital. Everywhere!
(i) If we want to reap, then we must sow plentifully…