Summary: The Parable of the Sower
Title: The Parable of the Sower – 9
Thorny Ground – Flesh vs. Spirit
Text: Mark 4:18-19
“Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.”
In the first few weeks of this series we learned the power of the Word. The Word of God is filled with supernatural, dynamite power! The last few weeks we have been studying the Parable of the Sower. We have studied four different strategies that satan uses to bring trials and temptations into our lives to choke out the Word.
➢ Affliction - The Greek word for affliction is “thilipsis:” Meaning, “pressure of circumstances, anguish, or tribulation which can be financial, physical, mental or emotional in nature.”
➢ Persecution - “A pressure, anguish, trouble or a situation where people are used as the instrument.”
➢ Cares of this world
➢ Deceitfulness of riches
We are going to finish on the subject of Thorny Ground this morning. We have talked about the cares of this world being a thorn that chokes out the word, we have also talked about the deceitfulness of riches being the thorn that choked out the Word and today we are going to finish with the last one.
I. THE DESIRE FOR OTHER THINGS
Another way of saying this is the flesh is a thorn that chokes out the word. It is the flesh that has a lust or a desire for things that are not of God.
➢ Choke – To crowd out or to strangle
➢ Desire – Another word is lust – A longing, especially for what is forbidden or desired.
When Paul mentions that the desire for other things chokes out the Word, he is actually talking about the desire for something other than what God has provided you. People often think about sex when we talk about lust. Sex outside of marriage can definitely be a result of lust, but this word specifically refers to desires for something that isn’t God’s will for you. In Luke’s version of this Parable, it is translated as pleasures of this life. This is one of the greatest reasons why the Word produces no harvest in our lives.
In his book, Fuzzy Memories, Jack Handey writes, “There used to be this bully who would demand my lunch money every day. Since I was smaller, I would always give it to him. Then I decided to fight back. I started taking Karate lessons, but the instructor wanted $5.00 per lesson. That was a lot of money. I found that it was cheaper to pay the bully, so I gave up karate.”
There are enemies that every Christian faces in this life. The biggest enemy of our soul is the devil. Too many Christians do as Jack Handey did, and they believe it is easier to pay the bully than to learn how to defeat him. Many Christians do not realize they are living on a battlefield and not a playground.
Each and every one of us is a soldier in the army of Jesus Christ. Some of us may not want to be in the army, but whether we want to be enlisted or not, if we are saved, we are in this army of Jesus. We are not in the reserves. We are in active duty. We are in an all out conflict. We have an enemy that has already been defeated, but he is still trying to get us to believe that we have been defeated when we are really in total victory. He wants to steal your seed.
If we are in the army and in a conflict, then there must be an enemy and there must be a battlefield. We all know who the enemy is, but what tactics is he using to get us defeated. Right now as we speak, there is a three-fold assault going on against us. I am going to narrow in on one of those tactics because it affects our harvest.
• Our FLESH, the WORLD and the DEVIL.
• We have our FLESH wanting our old life back.
• We have the WORLD trying to drag us back.
• And we have the DEVIL making sure it all goes according to the plan.
II. THE FLESH
When we talk about the desire for things that are against the things of God, we are always dealing with the flesh. It is incredible, but our flesh, our old nature, fights against the Spirit of God. It is fighting against the things that God wants in our life. It is a constant war between the flesh and the spirit.
Galatians 5:17, “For the flesh lusts (fights) against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.”