Faithlife
Faithlife

The Parable of the Sower

Mark Exposition  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 4 views
Notes & Transcripts

Announcements

Members meeting - next week after service
Steph - wasn’t able to go for operation due to infection…please pray that the operation proceeds soon, DV this week.

Bible Reading

Mark 4:1–20 NIV84
1 Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge. 2 He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: 3 “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times.” 9 Then Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” 10 When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. 11 He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables 12 so that, “ ‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’” 13 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? 14 The farmer sows the word. 15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 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. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown.”

Introduction

Gospel of Mark
Establishment of Christ’s Kingdom!!
These texts should excite us - encourage us.
We are looking at our King, our Lord, as He teaches and engages with those around Him and lays down the foundations for His kingdom
He is explaining to those who have ears to hear, secrets of His very kingdom.
In verse 11 - “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you...”
So let us be eager to listen to what our King teaches us concerning His kingdom!!
As we come to do that…intro...
Verse 1 - Crowds....many people…sea of Galilee.
Before we come to the actual parable however, I’d like to make a few introductory remarks on the coming passages as a whole.
begins what is known as a parable discourse. Mark groups together a series of parables
Verses 1 and 2 set the context of the teaching that is to follow.
And again, we read that the crowd was so large, that he had to get into a boat and go out a little way onto the water in order that he might be able to teach these crowds.
In verse 1, we find that Jesus is once again by the lake (sea of Galilee) and He’s teaching large crowds again.
Mark’s description of this scene is somewhat awkward in the original Greek.
And again, we read that the crowd was so large, that he had to get into a boat and go out a little way onto the water in order that he might be able to teach these crowds.
Mark’s description of this scene is somewhat awkward in the original Greek.
What he literally says is that Jesus “got in a boat, and sat on the sea”.
What he literally says is that Jesus “got in a boat, and sat on the sea”.
In light of ...
In light of ...
Psalm 29:10 NIV84
The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever.
…it could very well be that Mark was referencing Jesus as Jahweh, the one who is LORD over all things.
Our King - seated on the throne - teaching His subjects
We notice next that Christ began to teach in parables
One may ask how it was that Jesus was able to properly teach such a large crowd without the use of PA systems that we have today.
In those days it would have been quite normal for a

Jesus Teaching in Parables

This section of = “The Parable Discourse”
Christ spent much time teaching in parables.
This wasn’t unique - other teachers of that day also used parables in teaching.
But the power and force of His parables, and just the extent of Christ’s usage of parables was unsurpassed.
The Pillar New Testament Commentary: The Gospel according to Mark The Parable of the Sower and the Mystery of the Kingdom (4:1–20)

The Gospels record some sixty different parables of Jesus, most of which are found in Matthew and Luke, fewer in Mark, and none in John. The word “parable” means something that is placed alongside something else for the purpose of clarification.

The Gospels record some sixty different parables - Most of which found in Matthew and Luke, fewer in Mark, and none in John.
What are parables? Purpose of parables?
What are parables? Purpose of parables?
The word parable in the original means something that is placed alongside something else for the purpose of clarification.
In general terms a parable was used for the purpose of making things more clear.
Using a parable would create and understanding in the minds of a person through the use of a well-known scenario and picture being created.
But in the case of Jesus, the sole purpose was not necessarily to make clear.
For Christ, parables were also used to conceal truth to those “on the outside”
Those not amongst God’s chosen ones;
The truths would remain concealed in darkness
Consider vv.11-12
Mark 4:11–12 NIV84
He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that, “ ‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’”
Many have tried to explain away these words...
Some say not Christ’s words…some say mis-translation by Mark when he wrote…etc. etc.
What I see within these verses is the tension between divine sovereignty and human responsibility.
The human responsibility side is that man should and ought to turn to Christ.
In particular, within context of day - Scribes and Pharisees rejected Christ
They had hardened hearts, committed unforgivable sin…rejecting the Lord’s chosen One.
Divine Sovereignty - God blinds the eyes of those whom He wills.
There is a sharpness to this passage.
v.12 “…otherwise they might turn and be forgiven.”
This is where the sting lies - that there are those where it is within God’s divine and sovereign will that they should not turn.
In line with
Romans 11:7–8 NIV84
What then? What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect did. The others were hardened, as it is written: “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes so that they could not see and ears so that they could not hear, to this very day.”
But praise God, that He opens up hearts, gives sight to the blind. Thank God for those who indeed have been graciously given understanding and insight by His Spirit.
Again,
To be quite honest, I’m probably the last person that you’d want to try and grow something for you!
Thankfully farms require more diverse skills than just the green fingers of farmers.
But being involved in agriculture, as many others here are in some way or another, I’ve learned a thing or two about good soils and bad soils.
I’ve been able to see first hand the significant difference in one banana plant to another; banana plants that came from the same source batch, grown in the same nursery with the same treatment, planted into different soils and locations produce completely different results!!
In the text that we will consider this morning, Jesus relays a parable to those who were gathered around Him, with the parable relating directly to the agricultural realm, which was a basic and fundamental trade and function within the society of that day.
The first thing we notice is that this is an agricultural parable. It relates to agriculture, which was a very well-known and basic / fundamental task and function within the society of that day. They would have clearly understood the picture. As Christ relayed this parable to the listeners, they would have had a vivid picture in their minds of what He was saying. This was not merely imagination for them. It was real. They could literally feel it!They had been there. They had been the ones scattering the seed, seeing it fall into these various places and watching it grow. Feeling the pains of lost seed, or seed that failed to produce as it ought to have. Rejoicing with the seed that fell in the right places, and produced a harvest.
Those who heard the parable in that day would have clearly understood the picture.
As Christ relayed this parable to the listeners, they would have had a vivid picture in their minds of what He was saying. It would have been real to them.
begins what is known as a parable discourse. Mark groups together a series of parables
Verses 1 and 2 set the context of the teaching that is to follow.
begins what is known as a parable discourse. Mark groups together a series of parables
The Pillar New Testament Commentary: The Gospel according to Mark The Parable of the Sower and the Mystery of the Kingdom (4:1–20)

Mark’s description of the scene is awkward in Greek, “[Jesus] got in a boat and sat on the sea.” Matthew (13:2) improves the wording and Luke omits it, both of which argue for the earlier provenance of Mark’s Gospel. Mark’s awkward wording may nevertheless intend a theological point, for according to Ps 29:10, “The LORD sits enthroned over the flood.” If Mark intends this allusion, then Jesus is again put in the place of God.

Verses 1 and 2 set the context of the teaching that is to follow.
Verses 1 and 2 set the context of the teaching that is to follow.
In verse 1, we find that Jesus is once again by the lake (sea of Galilee) and He’s teaching large crowds again.
And again, we read that the crowd was so large, that he had to get into a boat and go out a little way onto the water in order that he might be able to teach these crowds.
Mark’s description of this scene is somewhat awkward in the original Greek.
What he literally says is that Jesus “got in a boat, and sat on the sea”.
In light of ...
Psalm 29:10 NIV84
The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever.
The Pillar New Testament Commentary: The Gospel according to Mark The Parable of the Sower and the Mystery of the Kingdom (4:1–20)

Mark’s description of the scene is awkward in Greek, “[Jesus] got in a boat and sat on the sea.” Matthew (13:2) improves the wording and Luke omits it, both of which argue for the earlier provenance of Mark’s Gospel. Mark’s awkward wording may nevertheless intend a theological point, for according to Ps 29:10, “The LORD sits enthroned over the flood.” If Mark intends this allusion, then Jesus is again put in the place of God.

…it could very well be that Mark was referencing Jesus as Jahweh, the one who is LORD over all things.
And so the Lord who is enthroned as King forever, sits on the sea as it were, and begins to teach this massive crowd of people, who would have lined the shore.
One may ask how it was that Jesus was able to properly teach such a large crowd without the use of PA systems that we have today.
In those days it would have been quite normal for a

Jesus Teaching in Parables

Christ spent much time teaching in parables.
This wasn’t unique - other teachers of that day also used parables in teaching.
But the power and force of His parables, and just the extent of Christ’s usage of parables was unsurpassed.
The Pillar New Testament Commentary: The Gospel according to Mark The Parable of the Sower and the Mystery of the Kingdom (4:1–20)

The Gospels record some sixty different parables of Jesus, most of which are found in Matthew and Luke, fewer in Mark, and none in John. The word “parable” means something that is placed alongside something else for the purpose of clarification.

In general terms a parable was used for the purpose of making things more clear.
Using a parable would create and understanding in the minds of a person through the use of a well-known scenario and picture being created.
But in the case of Jesus, it was not a sole purpose to make clear.
For Christ, parables were also used to point out the sinful hearts of people.
Verses 10-12 of our text present a very strange and difficult to understand text.

The Parable of the Sower

With this background established, and the basic understanding to what a parable is, and the way in which parables were used by Christ, I’d like us to spend the rest of our time this morning considering the specific parable from our verses.
Extremely well known! Probably one of the most well known parables of all those in Scripture.
One of my very favorite parables, simply because it reveals so much important truth considering the nature of the Gospel going out into the world, and the fact that the Gospel message going out will ultimately produce a harvest!
This is a very encouraging parable indeed!!
Agricultural realm,
Basic and fundamental trade and function within the society of that day.
Although I work in the heart of agriculture, in a place where wholesome organic products are produced, I have to admit that I’m no farmer.
I must acknowledge… Although I work in the heart of agriculture, in a place where wholesome organic products are produced, I have to admit that I’m no farmer.
To be quite honest, I’m probably the last person that you’d want to try and grow something for you!
Thankfully farms require more diverse skills than just the green fingers of farmers.
But being involved in agriculture, as many others here are in some way or another, I’ve learned a thing or two about good soils and bad soils.
I’ve been able to see first hand the significant difference in one banana plant to another; banana plants that came from the same source batch, grown in the same nursery with the same treatment, planted into different soils and locations produce completely different results!!

The Elements of the Parable

As we then begin to consider this parable, I’d like us to consider firstly its various elements. What are the elements that make up this parable?
We begin in verse 3, where Christ says that “A farmer went out to sow his seed.”
Farmer scattering seed.
Take from a bag...
Grab, throw it out onto the land around him
Various seed would land in different places
Later on, down in verse 14, as Christ explains this parable to the disciples, it becomes very clear that the seed that is spoken of is the Word.
Mark 4:14 NIV84
The farmer sows the word.
So the seed that is being sown here by the farmer is the “Word of God.”
It is the Gospel message that goes out into the world, through which the hearts and lives of people are forever changed, provided that they receive that word in the correct manner.
With that being the case, we should understand the farmer then, who is sowing this seed, to first and foremost refer to the Godhead - the Father, Son and Spirit.
It is the divine Godhead at work, with that very word of Christ going forth into the world.
But we obviously must understand that this also refers secondarily to Christians - to all believers.
It will be particularly applicable to a certain extent to those who are gospel preachers and teachers - those whose specific gifting and responsibility it is to preach the word of God.
But it is most certainly applicable to all of us as we are those going out and sowing the seed of the Gospel in the world, which is what we as Christian’s are called to do.
The sower = the person sharing the gospel
But what will be the effect?
Consider the seed in various places.

Seed on the Pathway

Mark 4:4 NIV84
As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.
Mark
First seed - falls on the pathway
First seed - falls on the pathway
The birds immediately see the seed, and they come and eat all the seed, such that the seed doesn’t even get into the soil in order to start growing.
Jesus explains this seed in verse 15...
Mark 4:15 NIV84
Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them.
The explanation is a very sad reality in the lives of many people.
Their hearts are so hardened by sins deceitfulness that they cannot and do not allow that seed to even penetrate into their hearts in the least.
The seed simply bounces onto this rocky hardness, and along comes Satan and takes away the seed.
God’s word, for these people, has no effect whatsoever.
We can preach the Gospel to them.
We can try and explain the meaning of the Scriptures to them.
We can attempt to reason with them and

Seed in the Shallow Soil

Next soil...
Shallow...
Mark 4:5 NIV84
Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.
Mark
Mark 4:5–6 NIV84
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.
Mark 4:
Seed resulted in some initial signs of growth...
Mark
Farmer perhaps encouraged…?
Explanation
Mark 4:16–17 NIV84
16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.
Mark
Notice that the seed represents those who hear the word and at once receive it with joy.
They like what they hear!
There appears to even be some understanding as to the message of the Gospel.
There is joy from hearing the Gospel.
But most likely superficial.
Roots have not gone down deep.
Since they have not roots, last only a short time...
Their profession is short-lived.
What causes them to fall away?
Trouble or persecution because of the word.
That persecution may come from a hostile world. EXPAND...
That persecution may come from friends. EXPAND...
That persecution may from from family. EXPAND…consider Christ, opposition from His own family.
Example…Altar calls...Youth rally - much excitement and hype...
People

Seed in the Thorny Soil

Mark 4:7 NIV84
7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain.
Again, seems to be growth, and that a plant comes up.
But the plant bears no fruit
No grain is found on this plant, because the plant that grows up is choked by the thorns that surround it.
Explanation...
Mark 4:18–19 NIV84
18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 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.
Mark 4:
Three broad descriptors for what choke the word in the lives of these people...
Worries of this life
There are concerns in this world which take a persons affection off of Christ.
They become so overburdened with worrying over the cares of the world, that they bear no fruit.
One of the great examples of this is wealth.
Pursuit of wealth.
Pursuit of gaining greater material comfort.
Pursuit of gaining what may even be seen to be reasonable things in this world.
The general and broad description = “The desires for other things!!!”
Expand…examples...
If I had to ask: “Does this describe you?” = doubt anyone would put up their hand.
Seldom do people see themselves as one struggling.
We need to do heart check!!!
The important factor is: Are you bearing fruit in your life??
Note that the seed in this soil bears no fruit!!!
Note that the seed in this soil bears no fruit!!! Compare this idea with where a branch that bears no fruit is cut off and thrown into the fire!!
Compare this idea with where a branch that bears no fruit is cut off and thrown into the fire!!
John 15:1–4 NIV84
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
Many people wonder if in this parable - this group also speaks of those saved...
John 15:2-4
I don’t see it - they don’t produce fruit...
We cannot thus think that the seed thrown onto the thorny ground is speaking about a person that is truly transformed by the Gospel!
We cannot thus think that the seed thrown onto the thorny ground is speaking about a person that is truly transformed by the Gospel!
True transformation is really only found in the good soil (the last one that we’ll come to).

Seed in the Good Soil

Finally - the good soil!
Mark 4:8 NIV84
8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times.”
Here is the soil that is a delight to see
Planted with the seed of the word of God…produces a plentiful crop
Typical crop of that day - 10 x would be considered exceedingly good.
Anything more than that would be unheard of...
This is one of the striking points of this parable - the extent of the crop that he says comes forth from this soil.
Explanation...
Mark 4:20 NIV84
20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown.”
These people are those who hear the word, and not only accept the word and receive it, but they put it into practice.
God’s Spirit so works that word into their hearts that there is a harvest of righteousness that comes forth in their lives.
Effects - put off the old nature.
Fruit of the Spirit…Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness, Self-Control. ()
Fruit of the Spirit…Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness, Self-Control.
Fruit of the Spirit…Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness, Self-Control.
Not every crop is of the same size…that is ok.
But there must be a crop.
And I believe their should be a healthy crop!!!
Certainly it should be our desire that the crop is exceedingly abundant within our own lives!!!

Application

What Soil Describes your Heart?
What Soil Describes your Heart?
There is Always Hope Through Preaching!
There is Always Hope Through Preaching!
RELATED MEDIA
See the rest →
RELATED SERMONS
See the rest →