I just spent over four months on a series entitled “Progress on purpose.” I trust you enjoyed that series. Today we start a new series. The Father wants me to teach you about the parable of the sower. I call this “The Mother of All Parables.” As is my normal modus operandi, I will not rush through this series. It will take us months to get through 8 verses in Mark 4.
As we seek to “Level Up” this year, I will call this series “Level Up with the Word,” knowing that the Word works if you work the Word.
The verses I will key in on come after Jesus said the following:
(Mark 4:3-8 ERV)
The Parable of the Sower
“Listen! A farmer went out to sow seed. While he was scattering the seed, some of it fell by the road. The birds came and ate all that seed. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where there was not enough dirt. It grew quickly there because the soil was not deep. But then the sun rose and the plants were burned. They died because they did not have deep roots. Some other seed fell among thorny weeds. The weeds grew and stopped the good plants from growing. So they did not make grain. But some of the seed fell on good ground. There it began to grow, and it made grain. Some plants made 30 times more grain, some 60 times more, and some 100 times more.”
After telling the story (or the parable), Jesus said, “Those who have ears to hear, let him hear.” Jesus was basically saying, “Those who can discern the true meaning of the story, let them hear and apply the teaching.” Jesus expected his listeners to hear with spiritual ears and for them to seek spiritual understanding. However, His own disciples did not understand the story. So after the crowd was gone, the disciples asked Jesus to explain the story to them. Jesus said, “Do you understand this story? If you don’t, how will you understand any story?” Other translations say, “If you don’t understand this parable, how will you understand any parable?” This is why I call this the mother of all parables. There is obviously something important in this parable. Nevertheless, Jesus went on to explain the parable. He said:
(Mark 4:13-20 ERV)
“The farmer is like someone who plants God’s teaching in people. Sometimes the teaching falls on the path. That is like some people who hear the teaching of God. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the teaching that was planted in them.
Other people are like the seed planted on rocky ground. They hear the teaching, and they quickly and gladly accept it. But they don’t allow it to go deep into their lives. They keep it only a short time. As soon as trouble or persecution comes because of the teaching they accepted, they give up.
Others are like the seed planted among the thorny weeds. They hear the teaching, but their lives become full of other things: the worries of this life, the love of money, and everything else they want. This keeps the teaching from growing, and it does not produce a crop in their lives.
And others are like the seed planted on the good ground. They hear the teaching and accept it. Then they grow and produce a good crop—sometimes 30 times more, sometimes 60 times more, and sometimes 100 times more.”
These are the verses we will study for months. For this morning, I will highlight just a few quick thoughts.
So what does this mean for you today? A few things.
1. Introducing you to the parable of the sower.
The sower went forth to sow, and he released seed on four types of soil. The sower is God. The seed is His Word. The people of this world are the soil.
There were four different results (more if you count the fact that the last soil had varying levels of success). But this did not happen because the sower was different. It did not happen because the seed was different. This happened because the soil was different.
Different people receive things differently from God, and they position themselves to produce based on how they receive from God.
If your receiving is off, you may miss out on your opportunity to produce a harvest on the seed God is trying to sow into your life. There can be no harvest where there is no seed.
2. You must remain focused when God is speaking.
God is always speaking, but we are not always listening. If you are not sensitive to what God is saying, you can miss key and critical information.
You can be in the same place, at the same time as someone else who received a tremendous breakthrough from God through a Word spoken while you remained oblivious to what God was saying. You were there, but your heart was not in a position to receive. So those around you were blessed, and you missed out. When they talk to you about what God did, it is almost like you were in a different place because you were not cognizant of any of what they were experiencing.
This happens with moves of the Holy Spirit, and it also happens with the Word. The same Word can be preached/spoken to the same people, only to have a portion of the people receive it and the other portion miss out. There was nothing wrong with the seed (the Word); there was something wrong with the soil (the people listening).
If your heart is not open to hearing what God is saying when God is speaking, you will miss out on divine revelation, and it could have been just what you needed to get you out of the situation you are in.
3. There is a voice behind the voice and a Word behind the words.
When the Holy Spirit is speaking through someone (a human), there is a voice behind the voice, a Word behind the word. You must be focused and prayerful in order to hear it.
In Matthew 16, Jesus asks His disciples if they truly knew who He was. Simon, the fisherman, said, “You are the Christ. The son of the living God!” Jesus commended Simon for being sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Jesus was saying, “You just received a download from heaven. This did not come to you by education. This came to you be a revelation from my Father!” This was awesome. But in the same conversation, just a few minutes later, Simon tried to tell Jesus that He did not have to die. In essence, Simon was speaking against Jesus’ divine assignment. Jesus knew Simon was no longer being influenced by God. He was being influenced by satan. So Jesus looked at Simon and rebuked satan. In other words, Jesus knew that there was a voice behind the voice, a word behind the words, and this influence was satan.
In one moment, Simon was being influenced by the Holy Spirit. In the next, he was being influenced by satan. As we seek to LEVEL UP our lives in 2021, we must be on the right side of both sides of this equation. Meaning, we must be able to discern when God is speaking through someone directly to us and when God is not leading that person. On the other hand, we must also know when God is leading us. Discerning which thoughts to receive and which ones to reject is a critical aspect of growing in Christ.
As we study the parable of the sower, we will LEVEL UP our commitment to God and His Word. The more Word of God we have in our heart, the easier it will be to discern the God of the Word!
4. The Word works if you work the Word.
God likens you to the soil in the parable of the sower. He sends people your way to sow seed in your heart. The seed is His Word. He expects His Word to produce results in and through your life. But you will fail to produce results if you don’t properly receive the seed (the Word) when it comes.
Your dedication to God’s Word can impact many areas of your life:
— God’s Word will educate you about God, this world, and yourself.
— God’s Word will increase your ability to operate in Godly wisdom.
— God’s Word will position you to discover yourself and to become the man/woman you were born to be.
— God’s Word will help you walk in God’s will because God’s Word is God’s will on paper.
— God’s Word will help you with learning to hear God’s voice. Knowing what God said (already) helps you to hear what He is saying to you today.
— If you meditate and medicate on God’s Word day and night, and you then apply what the Holy Spirit is saying to you from His Word, you will live a life that is far beyond anything you ever imagined! Because it will be God’s dream for your life!
Declaration of Faith:
Father, I want to become the man/woman You birthed me to be! For me to maximize my purpose and potential, for me to make the most of the life You have given me, it is absolutely critical that I hear from You daily. I do not live by bread only. I live by every Word that proceeds from out of Your mouth. You are speaking, and I am listening. I read what You said, so I can hear what You are saying. I have ears to hear. I have eyes to see. I receive insight, wisdom, revelation, and understanding from You daily. And I live by what You are saying. The Word works in my life because I work the Word! I LEVEL UP my commitment to Your Word in 2021. GREATER IS COMING FOR ME! I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This is Today’s Word! Apply it and Prosper.