Summary: A message about our spiritual priorities, showing the danger of the thorns of worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desire of other things in the parable of the sower/soils.
Three Deadly Thorns
Introduction: The parable of the soils is found in three of the four gospels, but for the purposes of our sermon this morning, lets look at the fourth chapter of Mark. In the parable of the four soils, Jesus paints a visual picture of a farmer scattering seed around and it landing in four very different types of soil, representing the different types of hearts that the gospel lands in. I like this parable because God puts us in his box, so often we hear of man trying to put God in a box of their own. They may try to frame who God is by their own desires “My God would never judge anyone!” “My God would never let anyone go to hell.” “My God is a tolerant God.” You are right your God is. The problem is, your God doesn't exist. The only God, is the one revealed to us through the Word of God. And in this parable God says that we are one of the four soils mentioned. The seed represents the word of God that is sown in your heart and the farmer is any minister or anyone delivering the gospel to you. When you share the gospel you become the farmer and they are the soil. Every pastor that approaches his pulpit on Sunday begins to scatter seed on the soil of his congregation, and it will land in different places because we are different soils. Some of you will not receive this word at all, others will receive it poorly, and some will receive it well. Your prayer should be, to be good soil and receive the word well.
Jesus first demonstrates the seed that fell along a path where the ground was hard and the birds came and ate it up. This represents those whose hard hearts resist the gospel and the devil seeing an opportunity, swoops down and steals the seed before it can do any good. Jesus then mentions the rocky soil in which the seed grows quickly and then suddenly dies from the heat of the sun because it didn't get deep into the ground. This represents those who superficially receive the gospel, but grow quickly, but when persecution or trouble come, they quickly fade away because the seed of the word didn't get deep enough into the soil of their hearts. He concludes the parable by speaking about those who are good soil, where the seed grows and grows and produces multiples of fruit. But before he reveals the good soil, Jesus warns us about the thorny soil. In Mark 4:7 Jesus said “Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain.” then he explains this in verse 18,19 which is where our message begins this morning:
“Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.”
Jesus shows us three deadly thorns that choke this wheat plant causing it to be unfruitful. I call these deadly thorns because although the plant lives, it may as well be dead if its not producing fruit. In Matthew 21, Jesus found a fig tree that had leaves, it was a shame that is all it had. Jesus said “May you never bear fruit again!” and the fig tree withered and died. Some people are christian in name only. They are alive and they have all the appearances of being a Christian, and they might escape the scrutiny of most observers, but they bear no fruit. And we know from Matthew 7:16 “By their fruit you will know them.”
Ill. There once was a little boy in London selling mince pies on the street corner and he was crying out “Hot Mince Pies for sale!!” “Hot Mince pies!” A gentleman bought one and began to eat it right away and found that it wasn't hot at all, it was cold. He turned to the boy who sold it to him and said “This isn't hot, this pie is cold.” The boy just shrugged and said “that's just the name they go by, sir.” And with some people, the name “Christian” is just the name they go by. It is nothing more than a name. Jesus sees the leaves of profession but he doesn't see any fruit. There must be fruit, because that is the purpose of the plant in the first place. God invested his talents in you and he expects a good return on his investment.
Transition: Let's observe this morning the three deadly thorns that Jesus warns will choke not only the fruit but the life out of us. The first deadly thorn is,