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The Art Of Listening

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Intro: We come to this week, what we find in is a series of the parables , Parables of the kingdom. These parables describe what the kingdom of God is like. If you remember back in chapter 1 john the Baptist was preaching the kingdom is at hand and Jesus started preaching the kingdom is here. Well now we are going to get some word pictures and stories describing what the kingdom of God is like .

But before we get into the Parables of the kingdom, lets recap where we are in the book of Mark because there is a reason Mark is placing this parable right here in Mark chapter 4.
Beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God
John the Baptist confirmation
The confirmation from the Father and the Spirit
Jesus is victorious over satan and temptation
Jesus has power over sickness, disease, death, demons even over the human will. He has the power to turn sinners into saints.
Yet even with all this evidence pointing to Jesus being the long awaited Messiah that the NAtion of Israel has been waiting for, we don’t find the Gospel of Jesus Christ being welcomed with a parade. In we discover 4 different types of people.
The crowd - these are the mass of people that are following Jesus for what he can give them.
Those who call him crazy- (ESV)
20 Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. 21 And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.”
Those who call him a liar/blasphemer-
Those who call him Lord
In which of these four categories of people do you fall into? Are you part of the crowd? Do you think he is crazy? A liar? or do you call him Lord? How do we know and why is it that the world isn’t throwing a party for the long awaited king has arrived on the earth he created?
Well in we get the answer to these questions.

I. Jesus Teaches in Parables

A. What is a parable?

1. The extensive modern discussion of Jesus’ parables has shown how inadequate is the Sunday School definition, ‘an earthly story with a heavenly meaning’. Even those παραβολαί which take the form of a ‘story’ (and many, such as vv. 21–22, 24–25, do not) are often not simple illustrations of heavenly truth. They tend to puzzle as much as enlighten, and are designed to shock and challenge rather than to offer reassuring explanations or illustrations of moral platitudes. In the LXX παραβολή translates māšāl, which includes not only (or even primarily) illustrative stories, but epigrams, proverbs, pictorial sayings, even riddles (māšāl is placed in parallel with ḥîdâ, ‘riddle’, in, e.g., ; ; ; ). The word has already occurred in 3:23 to introduce a group of figurative sayings (3:23–27); and similar sayings in 2:17, 19–22, while not described as παραβολαί, provide other examples of this kind of teaching. παραβολή is perhaps best defined negatively as the opposite of prosaic, propositional speech. It is speech whose meaning does not lie on the surface, but demands enquiry and insight, so that the degree of communication which it achieves will depend on the extent to which the hearer shares the background of thought and the values of the speaker. Parables are ‘narratives that mean more and other than they seem to say, and mean different things to different people’. And their meaning, when discovered, is not likely to lie at the purely cognitive level, but will include (indeed, may even simply be) a call to response at the level of attitude, will, and action. To understand a παραβολή is usually to be changed (or at least challenged to change), not just enlightened.

B. What is there point?

Danny Akin is very helpful here in describing the point of parables.

1. (1) Parables provide insight into the nature, coming, growth, and consummation of the kingdom of God. They give us pictures of this kingdom that “has come near” (1:15). (2) Parables are by design provocative and surprising. (3) Parables are used to stimulate thinking and cause the hearer to contemplate what they are hearing. (4) Parables use everyday objects, events, and circumstances to illustrate spiritual truth, usually with a new twist. (5) Parables reveal more truth to those with receptive ears, and they hide truth from others. This is critical to understanding 4:10-12. (6) Parables make up 35 percent of Jesus’ teaching in the Gospels. (7) Parables usually, but not always, focus on a single truth. We should not allegorize them seeking a meaning for every detail. (8) Parables in the Gospels ultimately draw attention to Jesus as God’s Messiah and call us to make a personal decision concerning Him. Christ-Centered Exposition - Christ-Centered Exposition – Exalting Jesus in Mark.

C. Why does Jesus speak in parables?

1. When he was alone

a. the twelve

b. those around him

2. Jesus answers

a. To you has been GIVEN

i. Peter’s confession

b. the SECRETS (mysterion)

c. the kingdom of God

d. But for the outside EVERYTHING is in parables

not just the parables but plain, obvious truths do not make sense to the lost, why ?
2 Corinthians 4:3–6 ESV
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:3-
When God shines the light of understanding in the sinners heart, they burst forth from the grave a living soul.

e. Why does Jesus say this?

Is Jesus intentionally keeping them in the dark? Yes! Jump to verse 33.
Mark 4:33–34 ESV
With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it. He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.
Isaiah 6:9–12 ESV
And he said, “Go, and say to this people: “ ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.” Then I said, “How long, O Lord?” And he said: “Until cities lie waste without inhabitant, and houses without people, and the land is a desolate waste, and the Lord removes people far away, and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land.
This is judgement on the unbelief of those from the previous chapter, their harden hearts closed them off to hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the same with those in Isaiah’s day, God told go prophesy, preach to Israel but because of the condition of their heart they will see but not perceive, they will hear but not understand.
Isaiah 6-12

II. The Parable of the Sower.

What is interesting in our parable is that in Matthew Mark & Luke we have the explanation of this parable by Christ Himself. On top of that this parable, the parable of the sower is a foundational parable. It is the parable that explains to us our purpose on this earth, to make disciples. the importance of the seed and the reactions of the people in , those who take advantage of Jesus, those who think he is crazy, those who think he is a liar and blasphemer and those who call him Lord.

A. The Sower Sows

1. Christ sets the example of the sower

2. Sowing seed is the extension of Christ ministry. It is what he left us hear to do.

Matthew 28:18–19 ESV
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

3. What about the growth?

1 Corinthians 3:5–9 ESV
What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.
1 Cor. 3:5

B. The Seed

1. Is the Word

Romans 1:16–17 ESV
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
1 Peter 1:22–25 ESV
Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you.
1 Peter 1:22-
Ephesians 5:25–27 ESV
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
Eph 5:25-
The seed which is the word of God is the message that saves us, sanctifies us and grows us up into maturity.

C. The Soil

The soils is the human heart.

1. The Path

2. The Rocky Ground

3. The thorns

4. Good Soil

France, R. T. (2002). The Gospel of Mark: a commentary on the Greek text (p. 183). Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press.

1. Imperative Command

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