This morning we continue our series entitled “Leveling Up with the Word!” We have been looking at the parable of the sower. So let’s continue through it today.
(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.”
For the past few messages, I have been talking about the varying degrees of harvest associated with the “good ground.” I will continue to flow in this vein today.
So what does this mean for you today? A few things.
1. Living as the “good ground” Jesus described comes down to a matter of faith in God.
The first three types of soil (wayside, rocky, and thorny) did not allow the Word of God to produce a harvest in their lives. To be clear, there was nothing wrong with the Word from God. God’s Word is alive and powerful. The issue was not with the Word. The issue was with the soil.
The last type of soil Jesus described was good ground. These are the people who receive the Word of God and allow it to do what it does. But even then, there are varying results (30 fold, 60 fold, 100 fold) because while some people provide faith, many don’t maintain their faith long enough to see the full manifestation of what God said. To see the “100” Jesus spoke of, you must activate your faith and then maintain your faith until you see EVERYTHING God promised. Let’s talk about this point for a moment.
What is faith?
(Heb 11:1 NIV)
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
a) Faith is the confident assurance that God will do what He said He would do.
b) Faith is perceiving as real what you cannot verify with your senses.
c) Faith is taking God at his Word and then providing expressions of your confidence (corresponding action) in word and deed.
Faith is about being sure and certain. The good ground receives what God said and then remains sure and certain that it will come to pass. Many believers remain sure and certain at first, but some allow their faith to wane with the passage of time. Don’t let this be you.
How many times have you gone to church, heard a Word, got excited, prayed a prayer, spoken a faith confession, and believed, only to forget all about it three weeks later?
If you give up on what God said before it happens, you will be like one of the first three types of soil. If you receive a partial harvest and then allow your heart to move on to the “next thing,” you may receive 30 or 60, but you will not receive 100 because you failed to remain in faith for the long haul; until you saw the fulness of what God promised.
So please provide the faith to tap into God’s grace, and then maintain that faith until you see everything God said come to pass!
2. God both initiates and completes.
After providing an entire chapter on the life of faith (Hebrews 11), the writer of Hebrews told us to look “unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2 NKJV). The Passion Translation of Hebrews 12:2 reads, “We look away from the natural realm and we focus our attention and expectation onto Jesus who birthed faith within us and who leads us forward into faith’s perfection.”
Paul said it this way: “I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you” (Philippians 1:6 AMP).
— The writer of Hebrews made it clear that Jesus is both the author and the finisher of our faith. This puts the emphasis on God and not us.
— Paul was convinced that God would finish what He started in our lives. Once again, putting the emphasis on God and not us.
— Paul’s confidence was in God and not people. Paul’s confidence was in God and not even himself.
— Jesus even told us to “have faith in God” (Mark 11:22).
You may be thinking, “Okay Rick, this is all good stuff. But what does it have to do with the parable of the sower?”
Good question. I will now make the connection:
— In the parable of the sower, it is God (the sower) who initiates the contact with the soil.
— The sower (God), goes out of His way to sow His seed (Word) down inside of the soil (you and me).
— The sower knows the conditions are set for the seed to produce. He put the power to produce inside of the seed. All the soil needs to do for the seed to do what it does, is simply NOT FIGHT AGAINST THE PROCESS.
— If the soil cooperates with God, God will operate in/with/through it.
— God is the Lord of the Harvest, and He will see to it that the seed produces. This puts all the emphasis on God and not man. The only thing the man (or soil) has to do is receive the seed of God’s Word, believe the grace of God is on the seed (the Word) to produce, and then remain in faith until the Word produces. It’s really that simple.
— If you understand all of this, you realize that your life is not about you. Your life is about God. And for God to get you to do what He destined you to do, He speaks WORDS (seeds) to you. Your job is to believe what He says, to do whatever the Holy Spirit leads you to do and to then remain in faith long enough to see the fulness of it. You must believe that God will finish what He started in your life. You must believe that God is committed to the 100, and He will bring the 100 to pass if you just remain in faith. But if you ever give up on God in your heart, and you allow your heart to shift to other things, you will either: 1) not receive a harvest at all or 2) only receive a partial harvest. These are all lessons we learn in the parable of the sower.
3. The life of faith is all about confidence in God.
(1 John 5:14,15 AMP)
And this is the confidence (the assurance, the privilege of boldness) which we have in Him: [we are sure] that if we ask anything (make any request) according to His will (in agreement with His own plan), He listens to and hears us. And if (since) we [positively] know that He listens to us in whatever we ask, we also know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that we have [granted us as our present possessions] the requests made of Him.
Let’s take a closer look at portions of this passage:
“And this is the confidence (the assurance, the privilege of boldness) which we have in Him”
— The Confidence is NOT in us.
— The Confidence we have is IN HIM!
— Our boldness comes from our confidence in God and His commitment to what He spoke over our lives.
— The life of faith is about expressing your confidence in God and being fully persuaded that what He promised, He will perform!
— The emphasis is not on us. The spotlight is on HIM!
“[we are sure] that if we ask anything (make any request) according to His will (in agreement with His own plan), He listens to and hears us.”
— Faith is about being sure and certain. But this certainty is not tied to anything we came up with within our own hearts. It is tied to God, His Word, and what He has spoken over our lives.
— What we ask FOR in prayer must be birthed out of our relationship with Him.
— He tells us what to ask for.
— He tells us what He wants to do in our lives.
— The Holy Spirit leads us concerning what to pray for.
— He tells us what to stand in faith for.
— And the text teaches us that when we pray for what He is leading us to pray for, we know He hears us because we are praying in accordance with His will.
— James explained how some people ask for things in prayer, but they DO NOT receive because they asked for selfish desires and not God’s will (James 4:3).
“And if (since) we [positively] know that He listens to us in whatever we ask, we also know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that we have [granted us as our present possessions] the requests made of Him.”
— When we know we have asked in faith, in accordance with God’s will, we also know that we already have it (in the spirit), and it is only a matter of time before it manifests in the earth.
— We have it NOW! Faith is NOW! We receive it in our hearts NOW!
— We must take possession of it in our hearts before we ever see it in our hands.
When you understand all this, you realize that your life is not about you. Your life IS ALL ABOUT HIM!
That’s enough for today.
Declaration of Faith:
Father, this is a season of LEVELING UP for me! I thank You for NOT only teaching me about Your grace but for actually pouring out Your grace on me every day. You called me by grace, from the foundations of the world, before I did anything to deserve it. You saved me by grace when I was living in sin. You now use me by grace, despite my faults, flaws, and failures. You empower me by grace to do what I am called to do. You lead me concerning what to pray for, and You then answer my prayers. My life is NOT ABOUT ME, and embracing that truth is liberating. My life is ALL ABOUT YOU! This is how I know GREATER IS COMING FOR ME! I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This is Today’s Word! Apply it and Prosper.