Mark 4:1-9 The Mystery of the Kingdom (1) – The Purpose Of Parables Mark 4:1-2 - Parables 1 Once again he began to teach beside the lake. The Lord is halfway through His three-plus years of public ministry. Mark tells us here, Jesus chose to continually teach here. But the Lord’s teaching is much more difficult. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Here’s the most important question–are you prepared to hear the truth of who you really are? . Easy, right? The parable of the sower Mark 4:1 to 9, part 1 A middle-aged man was distraught over his wife’s stubborn refusal to admit she had a hearing problem. . Tell a churchgoer what you’re doing is clearly disobedience to the Scripture, it goes against God’s Word, and today they might respond to you with, “You’re judgmental, unloving, hateful, or you’re bigoted.”  Listen friends, no one was more gracious than Jesus Christ–so we must strive to be loving and gracious. And Jesus put it plainly in John 15:8, “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”  True Christians bear fruit, change, grow, and influence others. The impulsive heart–these are people who hear the Gospel, love the idea of being forgiven, promised heaven, given love and peace, but have not been born again. On the surface, this is a call for the listener to be attentive and discern the meaning of His analogy. If you miss the key, you miss the whole parable. How come even some of the Lord’s followers eventually walk away? If you’re new to Mark’s story about Jesus, that will be easy. Do you bring your Bible, take notes, and review them? Please explain Mark 4:11-12. Why do I embrace that Christ died for my sin on the cross, and it sticks? They suffocate the good plants. 4  Bearing  The responsive heart  Verse 8. Jesus understands that His message is a lot to take in. The coming of Elijah had been prophesied by Malachi 4:5, and this expectation was very much alive in the hearts of the people of Israel (Mark 6:15; Mark 8:11; Mark 9:11), being continually present in their tradition. The Lord picks a few of His main men just as He silences demons, heals an entire city of illness, and cleanses a leper. No wonder Jesus said, “Let anyone with ears to hear, listen!” Apparently God’s grace is for everyone. . Photo frame, cotton balls, and satin ribbon make a cute badge holder! The crowd spread out along the beach facing the lake. Why are there those who seem to submit to Christ, but later live life contrary to God’s Word, while still claiming to know Christ? . They key to hearing this parable is to forget everything you think you know about it. 2  Burnt  The impulsive heart  Verses 5 and 6. This parable teaches only those who are born again can hear the truth. However, the parallel account in Matt 13:1-9 begins with plural pronouns in v. 4 but then switches to the collective singular in v. 5 ff. Mark 4 is the fourth chapter of the Gospel of Mark in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. Don’t miss this–for a moment, contrast the Lord’s teaching ministry with His compassion ministry. 4. The Lord definitely wanted them to listen with receptive hearts, so He taught them in a way everyone could understand. Some say the crowds were the largest Jesus ever experienced. Such a very large crowd gathered around him that he got into a boat on the lake and sat there, while the whole crowd was beside the lake on the land. Mark 4:4 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓] Mark 4:4, NIV: "As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up." “Other seed fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.”  Real Christians bear fruit. “Jesus, how come some people respond to the Gospel with faith and repentance, and are transformed so that they live for you and produce the fruit of changed lives, but others seem to respond, but then fade away, and still others hate you and want to kill you?”  The Lord is about to answer that question in verse 1—look. 1. Or have you already said, “Hey, I am fruitful, so this isn’t about me!”  Are you willing to compare your life to what Jesus says here? “Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and it sprang up quickly, since it had no depth of soil. What heart is this? He began to teach them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: “Listen! So birds pick up the seed from hard soil, and the sun burns the seed in the rocky soil. Remember the Verizon commercial, checking phone coverage, and asking the famous question, “Can you—what . A sower went out to sow. . New International Version Update. Open your Bibles, and take out your outline and follow along. 2 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John, and brought them up onto a high mountain privately by themselves, and he was changed (Greek: metemorphothe—was changed or transformed) into another form in front of them. Only those who bear FRUIT are truly God’s children–are you? Amos 8:11, “’The time is surely coming,’ says the Lord God, ‘when I will send a famine on the land; not a famine of bread, or a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.’”. The genuine Christian is born again–they’ve been transformed internally so they love Christ, and want to follow His Word in everything. Mark 6:1-6 Jesus … And He makes that very clear in Mark 4. So now we enter the realm of the Lord’s teaching. But when the sun gets hotter in late spring, then summer, the little plant gets scorched because there was no root system. Read these verses aloud with me, and as you do, look for three descriptions of Christ teaching the only two commands in verses 1 to 34–both found in these first nine verses for you to hear/listen to . Are you hungry for truth? This was a common scene in Israel in the first century. And so if you’ve familiar with Mark (or Matthew, who follows Mark closely), the tendency is not to listen all that carefully to the parable because, having read the explanation, we already know what it means: it’s about being good soil, right? Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group. “Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain.”  This soil is infested with weeds and thorns. So this seed remained on the surface, and as a result the birds would come and gobble up the seed. The Gospel message will be misunderstood by many. No, parables are simple earthly stories, each with a heavenly meaning. 1 And he began again to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land. . Mark says in verse 7, the result is–it yielded no grain. So today, Jesus asks you, are you listening? And are you producing fruit in and through your life to others? 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