Mark 4:14-20… “The sower soweth the word. 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. And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; 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. And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, 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. 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 a hundred” (KJV).
The crowd had gathered and the first word Jesus gave them was “hearken” (Mark 4:3). He was calling the people to attention, and proceeded to teach them how to receive the word of the Kingdom (the word that the Holy Spirit brings). Basically, this parable teaches that “Fruitage is always a matter of rootage.” The Word of God has great reproductive power, but good words often fall into bad minds. In this parable there are six forces that come against the word of the Kingdom.
The first force that attacks the word of the Kingdom is the devil. Mark 4:15… The devil steals the seed. Why is it so easy for him to steal the seed? Because the seed was never in the ground. The devil fears the powerful effects of the word of the Kingdom in the hearts of the believers. The devil watches very carefully the planting of the seed. His purpose is to snatch it. Job 16:9 reads, “Mine enemy sharpeneth his eyes upon me” (KJV). The devil will do all that is in his power to bring you into defeat. Whatever the devil does, it is not greater than the grace of God.
The second force that attacks the word of the Kingdom is the pressures of persecution. Mark 4:17… The word was starved for lack of moisture. The flesh does not like tribulation and persecution. Many people hear the word with gladness until that word begins to deal with things in their lives. They are offended at the disciplines of God. The people had no root within themselves. In times of crisis, the roots wouldn’t hold; there was no depth. Romans 8:35-39 teaches that there is no tribulation that can separate us from the love of God. John 16:33 says, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (KJV). Acts 14:22 says, “We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”
The third force that attacks the word of the Kingdom is the cares of this world. Mark 4:18… The cares of the world strangle the word. There are so many things in today’s society that take our eyes off the Lord. If we choose the ways of the world and compromise the word of the Kingdom, we become enemies of God (James 4:4). The apostle John writes, “The world and all its passionate desires will one day disappear. But the man who is following God’s will is part of the permanent and cannot die” (1 John 2:17, Phillips). If we are blessed with “goods,” we are called upon to give (1 Timothy 6:17-18). God wants us to live free from anxiety. The phrase “the cares of this world” really means “the worries of this age.” (Note Matthew 6:25.) Worry rules a lot of people. The word “cares” refers to the dividing of the mind. It conjures up a picture of a fractured mind that is unable to function without going to pieces. There are so many distractions that hold our attention. If we allow them, these cares or anxieties will wrap themselves around our souls and choke the word of the Kingdom.
The fourth force that attacks the word of the Kingdom is the deceitfulness of riches. Mark 4:19… Obsession with wealth chokes the operation of the word of the Kingdom. Obsession with riches is a poisonous weed (1 Timothy 6:8-10). Proverbs 13:11 reads, “Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labor shall increase” (KJV). Psalm 62:10 says, “If riches increase, set not your heart upon them.” Proverbs 8:18 says, “Riches and honor are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness.” It’s God who has the riches…
The fifth force that attacks the word of the Kingdom is the lust of other things entering into your life. Mark 4:19… The words “lust of other things” simply mean the residue of lust that leaves you wanting more and destitute without fulfillment. When lusts dominate your soul, the word of the Kingdom gets choked out. Solomon teaches in the book of Ecclesiastes that vanity and emptiness fills a heart that seeks fulfillment in the desires that God is not in. Today, there is a lust for the immoral. The attitude seems to be “If God doesn’t like it, go ahead and do it.” There is an utter defiance to God’s rules of conduct.
The sixth force that attacks the word of the Kingdom is mediocrity. Mark 4:19… “It becometh unfruitful” (KJV). The “I couldn’t care less” attitude has crept into the church. Many people like the excitement of the word of the Kingdom until that word encourages them to take on responsibilities to the Lord’s call and purpose. These people are unfruitful; they are half-way people. Psalm 119:13 reads, “I hate men who are half and half” (Moffatt).
These six forces prove to be the undoing of many believers. I said earlier that the forces that come against us are not greater than the grace of God. Psalm 46:10 reads, “I will be exalted among the heathen” (KJV). In other words, God is saying to the devil, “You have no chance of winning.” Mark 4:20 tells us that it’s the hearers of the word of the Kingdom that bring forth fruit and the harvest. If you want fruit, deepen your roots in the Word.
“I love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications. Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live” (Psalm 116:1-2).
Pastor George Belobaba
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