Grace For Your Day May 27

In his Commentary on the Gospel of Mark, John MacArthur writes:

Given that no news can compare to the good news of salvation, the fact that most refuse to embrace it is both shocking and tragic. Jesus Himself illustrated that truth by telling the parable of the soils (Mark 4:3-20).

Some people reject the gospel as soon as they hear it. Jesus compared their hardness of heart to the impenetrable, pavementlike soil by the road (v. 15). Others respond with superficial exuberance. When times of hardship and persecution arise, and the initial emotionalism fades, they fall away. The Lord likened such individuals to shallow, rocky ground, in which true faith never takes root (vv. 16-17). A third type of soil also looks good on the surface but is actually infested with thorns. The people in this category also react to the gospel with initial interest. But the cares of the world and the pursuit of riches, like suffocating weeds, choke out a genuine love for Christ (vv. 18-19). By contrast, the good soil represents those who embrace the gospel and bear varied amounts of fruit, “thirsty, sixty, and a hundredfold” (v. 20).

In differentiating the good soil from the bad, Jesus highlighted a critical difference between the two. The good soil is comprised of those who “hear the word and accept it and bear fruit” (v. 20) … Many may profess to “hear” the message of salvation, but true hearers are invariably characterized by fruitful obedience.

The theme of hearing runs throughout the parables recounted in Mark 4:1-34. In verse 9, Jesus told His audience, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” He underscored the importance of that phrase by repeating it in verse 23. His point was simple: true disciples listen eagerly and obediently. As those whose hearts and minds have been opened to the truth by the Holy Spirit, genuine disciples love to hear and obey His Word (John 8:32; cf. 10:3-4, 27). Divine truth has found a home in their hearts. They delight in it, submit to it, and bear fruit by putting it into practice and by proclaiming it to others.

The parable of the soils emphasized the importance of being a fruitful hearer by distinguishing the good soil from the bad. In the next passage (4:21-34), Jessus articulated several additional parables that expand on that theme. The Lord indicated that understanding the parable of the soils was key to understanding these later parables (v. 13).

These parables, then, should not be regarded as disconnected stories. Rather, they are interrelated illustrations carefully arranged by Jesus to make a divine truth clear. Having identified His disciples as those who are both able to perceive divine truth and equipped to proclaim that truth to others, Jesus used these parables to identify four characteristics of a fruitful hearer:

1. Fruitful Hearers Witness Obediently.
Mark 4:21-23 says:

And He was saying to them, “A lamp is not brought to be put under a basket, is it, or under a bed? Is it not brought to be put on the lampstand? For nothing is hidden, except to be revealed; nor has anything been secret, but that it would come to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”

2. Fruitful Hearers Work Expectantly.
Mark 4:24-25 says:

And He was saying to them, “Take care what you listen to. By your standard of measure it will be measured to you; and more will be given you besides. For whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.”

3. Fruitful Hearers Wait Dependently.
Mark 4:26-29 says:

And He was saying, “The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil; and he goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts and grows—how, he himself does not know. The soil produces crops by itself; first the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head. But when the crop permits, he immediately puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

4. Faithful Hearers Walk Confidently.
Mark 4:30-32 says:

And He said, “How shall we picture the kingdom of God, or by what parable shall we present it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the soil, though it is smaller than all the seeds that are upon the soil, yet when it is sown, it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and forms large branches; so that the birds of the air can nest under its shade.”

Obviously, the act of listening must have been very important to Jesus as He said so much about it and it should be important to us as well because you cannot be His disciple without it. Rest assured, you can be Jesus’ disciple if you are not perfect and you can be His disciple if you make a few mistakes. However, you cannot be His disciple if you do not pay attention to the Word of God. It is your Number One Priority as a Christian. John 10:14, 27-28 says, “I am the good shepherd and… My sheep hear My voice… and I give eternal life to them.”

Please join us as we talk about that on Sunday morning. The service will begin at 9:30 and it will be recorded and posted on You Tube later that day for all those who cannot make it in person. May the Lord give you a great week and I look forward to seeing you there.

– Jeremy Cagle