Summary: God’s word is sown in us to grow, but we must cultivate it for it to produce.
March 25, 2012
Text: Mark 4:1-20
Title: The Right Attitude About God’s Word
I can’t seem to get away from the theme of revival in the church. Every time I go to prayer that is the one thing that is on my heart to pray about. On Friday mornings when we come together for prayer revival seems to be the focus. Revival is not just something that I desire for my own sake. I know that it is God’s will for the church. He wants each of us to fan the flames of revival in our personal lives and then to take it out into the world to those who are lost.
Revival requires something that the bible tells us that we all have a measure of – and that is faith. And that faith that we have is based on the kingdom message that is found in the whole bible but especially in the New Testament. It begins with saving faith through Jesus’ work on the cross on our behalf – saving faith – and it continues with the faith just to believe and trust God’s whole word.
In Luke 18:8 Jesus asked the question, “However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” 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.” That is the kind of faith that is going to bring revival to our church. 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
I believe this is God’s word…
I believe it is for me…
I accept it as mine…
And I appropriate it to my life today…
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.” The word translated “hear” carries with it the idea of not just hearing, but also understanding. So it could read, He who has an ear (spiritual desire) to understand, let him understand…” 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… Therefore, they don’t get it because these are spiritual words with spiritual meaning. 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.