Good evening everyone.
Welcome to a midweek service.
Last week we studied one of the debated topics in the Bible on the blasphemy of the Holy Ghost.
A person is in danger of eternal damnation if he keeps rejecting the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
However, such a condition can be changed if he repents and believes the gospel that Christ died for his sin, was buried and rose again the third day. Only then can he receive the forgiveness of sin.
We will continue with verse 31.
Mark 3:31 There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him.
The Lord Jesus Christ also had brothers.
The Roman Catholic Church believes in the perpetual virginity of Mary.
Simply speaking, they believe that Mary was a virgin before, during, and after the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Verse 31 disproves their belief.
Let us also look at another scripture in [Matthew 1:24-25].
Matthew 1:24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
Matthew 1:25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.
What does the Bible say in verse 25?
Who is the firstborn son of Mary?
The answer is Jesus.
The word firstborn here is significant.
Out of my curiosity, I quickly compared this verse 25 in other modern Bible versions such as English Standard Version (ESV), New American Standard Version (NASB), and New International Version (NIV).
What was the finding?
The word firstborn was taken out from these modern versions.
Such an attempt was to cover up the fact that Mary had other children besides Jesus.
Let us move on to verses 32-35.
Mark 3:32 And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee.
Mark 3:33 And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren?
Mark 3:34 And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!
Mark 3:35 For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.
Some people will take these verses as hard and cruel words of the Lord Jesus Christ.
This results from a lack of understanding of the Bible.
The Lord Jesus Christ concerned about His mother. He instructed for care and provision to be provided to her when He was about to give up the ghost at the cross.
Let us go to [John 19:26-27].
John 19:26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!
John 19:27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.
The Lord Jesus Christ was never disrespectful to His mother.
We will go back to [Mark 3:32-35].
The Lord Jesus Christ was pointing out to the truth here.
He referred to something more important than a natural birth and physical relationship.
He emphasized the importance of spiritual birth and being part of a family of God.
For saved believers, there will be a time we need to decide to place spiritual things and relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ above the physical things.
It is a daily decision that Christian need to make.
Next, we will move to chapter four of the Book of Mark.
Mark 4:1 And he began again to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land.
We now see that the Lord Jesus Christ was by the seaside.
He was out away from the seashore into a ship for reasons.
He could see the whole crowd because He got some space between Him.
He could use the seawater for natural amplification to bound the sound off the water.
Let us read verses 2-3.
Mark 4:2 And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine,
Mark 4:3 Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow:
The Lord Jesus Christ began to teach the disciples using the parables.
A parable is a simple story used to show the spiritual lesson, as told by the Lord.
The one we are reading here is the parable of a sower.
A sower is a person who plants the seeds by scattering them on the ground.
Let us read verses 4-9.
We will try to unpack this parable as it is loaded with information and spiritual application.
Mark 4:4 And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up.
Mark 4:5 And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth:
Mark 4:6 But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.
Mark 4:7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.
Mark 4:8 And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.
Mark 4:9 And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Planting involves working the ground. We place the seeds into the ground and cover them with the soil.
Planting involves labor.
Sowing is throwing seeds everywhere, hoping that some will take root later.
Every day we hear many things.
Sometimes we hear things with our ears, but they do not get to our hearts.
The Lord Jesus Christ does not want us just to know the Bible but also to apply the truth learned in our everyday life.
Mark 4:10 And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable.
The Lord Jesus Christ was in a smaller group of people.
Even with this group of people, He was alone.
He was always separate from them even when they surrounded Him.
Next, let us read verse 11.
Mark 4:11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:
We once again see the term the kingdom of God.
This term is not to be confused with the kingdom of heaven.
These two terms are not the same.
We have studied these two terms using the Bible to define them last year.
The kingdom of heaven is an earthly, physical, and visible kingdom.
This term appears only in the Book of Matthew, with 32 verses mentioned.
Matthew 11:12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.
This is the kingdom promised to the nation of Israel since the time of the Old Testament.
If you observe the pattern concerning the nation of Israel from the Old Testament, you can see that when they obeyed the Lord, they got His blessing, prosperity, and safety.
Sadly, the Jews forfeited it!
They disobeyed the Lord.
As a result, destruction, war, and oppression came to their land.
God sent the Assyrian, the Babylonian, and the Roman to conquer their land.
The kingdom was then taken over by the Gentile nations.
Still, the Israelites are God’s chosen people.
The earthly and physical throne for the Lord Jesus Christ is promised by God the Father in [Luke 1:31-32].
Luke 1:31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
Luke 1:32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
One day, the Lord Jesus Christ will come back and establish this earthly and physical kingdom in Jerusalem by Himself.
This Bible prophecy is not yet fulfilled, but it will come to pass one day.
On the contrary, the kingdom of God is spiritual and invisible.
Let us look at scriptural passages explaining this term from [Luke 17:20-21 and Romans 14:17].
Luke 17:20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
Luke 17:21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
What can we observe from these scriptures concerning the description of the kingdom of God?
…The kingdom of God cometh not with observation.
This means you cannot see with your human eyesight.
… the kingdom of God is within you.
Again, this is something spiritual, and you cannot use your physical eyes to see.
…the kingdom of God is not meat and drink.
It is not about physical things.
Let us go back to [Mark 4:11].
… Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God.
It is a mystery.
However, the Lord would like you to know it.
If you have a desire to know it, God can show it to you.
In the New Testament, there are a series of mysteries that God has revealed.
- The mystery of godliness [1 Timothy 3:16]
- Christ in you, the hope of glory [Colossians 1:27]
- Christ and the Church [Ephesians 5: 25-32]
- The Rapture [1 Corinthians 15: 51-55]
- The Restoration of Israel [Romans 11:25]
All of these mysteries are explained by the word of God in the Bible.
Beware of anyone telling you there are hidden truths in the Bible.
If you do not want the truth from the Bible, it will remain cloudy and obscure to you.
Let us go to verse 12.
Mark 4:12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.
Why does a person not understand the Bible?
It is because he does not want to be converted.
Why can a person not get the truth of the word of God?
It is because he does not want to deal with the sin issue in his life.
If you sincerely want to know the truth from the Bible, God can show it to you.
Knowing the truth of the Bible is one thing.
Believing and obeying what the Bible says is another thing.
This makes a difference when it comes to spiritual growth.
I would like to end our lesson here tonight with [1 Thessalonians 2:13].
1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
Does the word of God in the Bible still work today?
It has the power to change your life, your thinking, and your attitude.
Let us not stop at the head knowledge, but may the word of God go deep down and change our heart to believe it.