Good evening everyone.
Tonight, we are studying together the Book of Mark and chapter 4.
Last week, we had a quick look at the parable of a sower.
Our aim tonight is to unpack it.
The Lord Jesus Christ used a parable to teach spiritual application.
An illustration is an excellent teaching tool when it comes to spiritual matters.
Before we begin the lesson, let us first pray and ask the Lord to bless His word tonight.
We will begin with verse 13.
Mark 4:13 And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?
The Lord Jesus Christ was about to explain this parable in detail to the disciples.
This is the basic and straightforward parable that He used to show the spiritual application.
The best way to understand the parable taught by the Lord Jesus Christ is to pay attention to the written word in the Bible.
The Lord talks to us through His Holy Bible.
The parable of a sower is an excellent example when it comes to public evangelism for the furtherance of the gospel.
Let us move on to verse 14.
Mark 4:14 The sower soweth the word.
This verse is clear.
In [Luke 8:11], the Bible emphasizes that the seed is the word of God.
Luke 8:11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
We have the perfect word of God, the King James Bible.
Our job as Christian is to tell lost people how they can get saved.
This can be done through preaching at the church, distributing gospel tracts, broadcasting on the Internet, displaying a billboard or even witnessing one on one to people hoping that they will get saved.
The result is not up to us.
After all, it is God who gives the increase.
One thing that is clear about this parable is that we are all to be sowers.
When you study the parable of a sower carefully, you will see that a result or a lack of results has nothing to do with a sower.
It has to do with the ground where the seed has landed.
We will look at four different kinds of grounds where the seed has been sown.
Let us read [Mark 4:15].
Mark 4:15 And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.
The first one is the wayside.
The person has sown the word of God.
People hear it.
However, Satan has the power to take away the word which was sown in their hearts.
Satan does not want lost people to get saved.
Why do we still give gospel tracts to people?
Some people do not even read it.
Some people throw it away.
What good does it do?
I would like you to reread this verse.
… the word that was sown in their hearts.
The word of God has somehow landed into their hearts, where it has never been there before.
It does not matter whether or not the person gets saved on the day we give him the gospel tracts.
At least, the seed has been sown to that ground.
We can still pray for God to save the soul of that person.
Next, let us read verses 16-17.
Mark 4:16 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;
Mark 4:17 And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.
Some seeds may have landed on the stony ground.
These people heard the word of God.
They received the word of God with gladness.
When a tough time, pressure or persecution comes, they forsake it.
Both saved and lost people will have life problems.
Being a Christian does not exempt you from life issues.
Salvation is what the Lord has done for you.
Growing as a Christian, however, needs disciplines and efforts.
Honestly, it takes time to learn things and practice certain behaviors when you were lost.
Similarly, it will also take time to develop new Christian characters and to walk in the newness of life.
Since the day of Pentecost when the Holy Ghost came down to dwell each saved believer, He never stops doing His duty.
Tonight, the Holy Spirit still convicts the sinner to repent and to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Tonight, the Holy Spirit still guides saved people with how they should live a Christian life.
Every saved person can grow spiritually if they would like to.
The problem is not with God.
The problem is with us.
We need to decide this every day.
Next, we will look at the third kind of ground in verse 18.
Mark 4:18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,
Up to this point, you can see that a sower has sown the seed everywhere.
He is not selective of specific grounds.
He just keeps sowing.
When it comes to public evangelism of the gospel, the biblical approach is to keep proclaiming the word of God everywhere.
This is because you will never know where the seed will land.
It may be the day that some people are ready to receive the word of God and get saved.
It may be the day that a certain unbeliever has a chance to hear about Jesus for the first time in his life.
It may be the last chance that a certain man gets saved before he has a car accident and dies.
The Lord cares about the lost souls.
We are to care for His business!
Let us move on to verse 19.
Mark 4:19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.
I believe that all of us here would like to grow spiritually.
God tells us to beware of three certain things in our life.
These three things will hinder our Christian life, and they will make us unfruitful.
These things will keep people away from serving God.
What are they?
cares of this world
This is a concern for the matters of this world.
Let us look at a real-life example.
How can we pay for the rent this month?
What should I do if I lose my job?
How will we pay for the schooling fees of our kids?
Who will take care of grandma while we are working during the day?
Many saved people have been occupied with these things.
Their effort and energy to do something for God are limited.
They could have been used by God to do certain things, but the care of this world has rendered their life unfruitful.
Lack of trust in God will result in worry and concern in Christian life.
deceitfulness of riches
Many people have been deceived that money will bring them joy and happiness to their lives.
Sadly, saved people are devoting their time and energy to accumulate wealth, and they have so little time to consider the things for God.
lusts of other things
This is a wrongful desire to have something else that does not belong to you.
Let us go back to the Old Testament in [Exodus 20:17].
Exodus 20:17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.
We see a list of things here.
They are house, wife, servants, ox, and other things that belong to the neighbors.
These are material and physical things.
If you spend most of your time and energy to chase after these things, your Christian life will be unfruitful.
This does not mean you are not saved.
It means that these things will keep you so occupied that you have no time to do anything for the Lord.
Let us read [Mark 4:20], and we will see the last type of ground.
Mark 4:20 And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.
This is a good ground in which seed has landed.
These are people who heard the word of God, understood, and received it.
They are born again believers.
They have a firm foundation.
They are spiritually disciplined.
With this, it allows them to grow and yield some fruits.
They are not occupied with the cares of this word, the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things.
They can devote their time, energy, and resources to serve God.
When we observe this verse, we learn one important spiritual truth.
Not everyone will spiritually grow at the same rate.
…some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.
Our job as a local church is to train and develop these people to grow in grace.
We follow the Bible, do our parts, and allow God to give the increase for those lives of the people.
We will end our lesson here tonight.