Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A few weeks ago my dad was in town and he sparked the idea to teach on the Parable of the Soils (Mark 4, Matt 13, and Luke 8). So, tonight I'm teaching on this wonderful parable at church from Mark's account.

One discouraging note is that many commentaries seem to think that Mark 4:13-20 (Jesus' explanation of the parable of the soils) is not an authentic "Jesus saying" simply because it is an explanation of the parable. But after my frustration with many of the critical commentaries, I kept progressing in my study of the wonderful passage of Scripture which our Lord taught on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.

One striking feature of this parable consists in the reality that all four of the different "kinds" of hearers are similar in many ways. Note some of these similarities:
  • They all are along the road (i.e., in some "religious setting" venue to hear the Word)
  • The text is unambiguously clear that they all hear the Word (repeats it 4x in the passage)
  • Outwardly they all looks the same, they go to the same place to hear the Word, they hear the same Word taught.
  • They are all dry, parched land apart from the seed of the Word giving life
It is amazing to me just how similar these hearers are until you get to their specific responses. Then they differ dramatically. Three of the hearers end up in hell. One proves that salvation and belief is genuine because the Word of God affects the way he lives. In reality, this parable ought to startle the reader because going to the religious venue to hear the Word and even a constant dose of the Word is insufficient in and of itself to save a person's soul (this is diametrically opposed to much ecclesiastical thinking today).

How marvelous our Lord is when he states that the true believer hears the Word, but he receives it (the verb form is in the forefront = emphasis) and he bears fruit (again, the verb is in the forefront = emphasis). The one who hears the Word--even repeatedly--and yet fails to receive it with a willing and humble heart and bear fruit is an unsaved person regardless of how religious he thinks he may be. This passage contains some startling truths and some principles that need to be addressed to the church--especially in today's cultural church setting. Lord willing, God will soften the hearts of those who will be there tonight to hear His Word that the Word may not fall upon hard, preoccupied, or impulsive hearts, but rather that the Word would fall upon the soft, humble, and ready hearts already prepared by God resulting in much fruit to the glory of God.
Listen to the sermon on Mark 4:13-20 here.


Anonymous said...

Good post Geoff.

It's sad that some folks look at the soils as various levels of maturity in the Christian life, rather than seeing that 3 of the 4 soils bear no fruit and are thereby not representative of believers.

Thank you for being so faithful to God's word!



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