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Parable of The Sower

Mark  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  49:46
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Mark 4:1–20 ESV
Again he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, so that “ ‘they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven.’ ” And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? The sower sows the word. And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”

The Setting

Jesus had been accused of blasphemy.
His family had come and tried to take him away to protect him.
He had just shocked everyone by saying “My family is the one who does the will of God.”
He leaves the house he was teaching in to go down by the sea to teach. Probably to accommodate teaching to such a large crowd.
Now he has had to step into a boat and push off from the shore a bit so that he could teach.
He sat in the boat, and on the seashore everyone stood and listened to his teaching.
Here we get to see the first parables in Mark, and along with this first parable we also get an explanation of why Jesus speaks in parables, and what this particular parable means.

The Purpose of the Parables

Mark 4:10–12 ESV
And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, so that “ ‘they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven.’ ”
Jesus is fulfilling prophecy.
God is directing history to the cross.
God’s Word is Hardening and Softening hearts.

The Parable Explained

Mark 4:13–20 ESV
And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? The sower sows the word. And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”
The Seed is the Word.
The sower in this instance is Jesus, but ultimately anyone who shares the word of God is the sower.
This parable is all about the means. If the end is salvation then sowing is the means by which salvation is to be spread.
The Path is Hardened Hearts.
The farmlands of Israel were a little different than the farmlands of Mississippi or Alabama. Here we have terraces and fences and tree lines and ditches to block off and protect our land. The only people we ever expect to see on our land is ourselves, and maybe family or a guest we brought with us.
In Israel and the Mediterranean in general farms were more in the public. Entire hillsides would be covered in fields that ran right up to the roads. And there were no fences or trees or ditches dividing property. One persons field would bump right up to another persons field with probably just a path between them.
So as you look out over the farmland you would see farm plot after farm plot divided by hard well worn paths.
These paths were hard for a couple of reasons. One is because they were never broken up to farm on. They were always just a path. Another reason, and probably the main reason they were so hard, is because they were busy with traffic. Farmers and animals and wagons hauling produce. People traveling from one town to the next. The poor who could come out daily to glean from the edges of the field for food. These paths were packed down by the busy coming and goings of life.
This is much like the hardened heart that these paths represent. Often times the heart is hardened to the word of God because the person is too busy with life to even listen to the word of God. They are going going going all the time. They work all the time, and when they aren’t working they have friends or family or both that they divide the rest of their time with. It’s ball games, and bbq’s, and vacations, and shopping, and going out to eat, and whatever else they have to do to fill their time.
The Rocky Ground is Self-serving .
No Root = No Heart connection
Thinks Christianity “Makes Sense”
Fall away under persecution or just a major life change.
Teen going to college, tragedy strikes, loss of a loved one
The Thorns are Unfruitful.
The seeds in the thorns are unfruitful because their lusts and desires choke out any desire for God that might spring up.
When the seed is choked out it dies and produces no fruit.
The Good Soil is Fruitful.
Good soil is prepared soil.
Good soil accepts seed.
Good soil bears fruit.
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