Grow Through The Gospels - Mark 4

Pastor Ed Young - Lead Pastor of Fellowship Church
Ed Young

July 2, 2024

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Grow Through The Gospels - Mark 4

Read: Mark 4

Mark 4:3-8 “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. Some fell along the path as he was scattering the seed, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”

Think

We don’t know much about the seed or the talent of the sower in Jesus' parable. We understand that the sower generously scattered the seed, and the soil determined the rest. This teaches us two important lessons. First, it challenges our ideas about talent and its importance in God's work. It’s easy to think that only the most talented writers, teachers, preachers, or influencers can be effective in ministry. But Jesus shows us that the outcome doesn't depend on our skill. We can share the gospel as clearly as possible, but the seed won’t take root if the soil is bad. Conversely, even a simple message can be powerful if the soil is good. This frees us from self-doubt and insecurity, reminding us that our willingness to share the gospel shouldn’t be swayed by how people respond. Our task is to sow and share, while God handles the growth.

The second lesson shifts our focus from being the sower to being the soil. "We need some good dirt," the boy’s green-thumbed grandmother declared as they prepared to plant spring flowers. She knew that bountiful blossoms depend on planting seeds in “good dirt” — dirt full of minerals and moisture, free from weeds and pests. Similarly, our hearts need to be well-prepared to receive God’s Word, "good" soil, ready to receive God's truth. The Word of God is always good seed, but if it bounces off us, the problem might be our soil. Jesus challenges us to examine our own hearts and be open to his Word.

Jesus explained that good soil represents those who hear the Word with an honest and good heart, hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance (Luke 8:15). A truly prepared heart will produce spiritual fruit, reflecting genuine faith. This fruit includes love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and more (Galatians 5:22-23). Jesus expects abundant fruitfulness from our faith, which can only happen in a well-prepared heart. We must rely on God to prepare our hearts, keeping them tender and receptive to his Word.

Our lives as his followers will produce excellent results when we plant ourselves in an environment that nourishes and sustains our faith. Being planted in good dirt starts by being connected to God’s people and God’s Word. Good dirt isn’t overrun with pests or weeds, which in our lives can be distractions, negativity, or apathy that choke our spiritual growth. In good dirt, God produces infinite good results in our lives. He changes our hearts and allows his goodness to overflow into the lives of others around us.

Apply

Pray specifically for a tender heart that is open and receptive to God’s truth. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you remain sensitive to his guidance and correction. Identify and remove distractions, negativity, or apathy that hinder your spiritual growth. This might mean limiting time on social media, avoiding negative influences, or setting boundaries in your schedule.

Pray

Heavenly Father, I come before you today asking for a heart that is receptive and clean before you. Remove any hardness, distractions, or negativity choking my spiritual growth. I pray for the courage to share the gospel, trusting that you will use my efforts, no matter how small, to produce great results. Let your Holy Spirit work through me, guiding my words and actions and helping me to bear fruit. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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