The Wonder and the Word

The Gospel of Mark – Part 16

The Wonder of the Word – Mark 4:21-34

Mosaic Rockford – Dave Spooner – Nov. 10th, 2019

Intro:

  • We are in a section of Mark where He is bringing forth several teachings from Jesus about the word and kingdom of God. Jesus is teaching using parables and illustrations to impart eternal truth in tangible ways. How we hear the word, how we receive the word and how we value the word determines the fruit of the word in our lives, how it impacts those around us and the greater world. 
  • All the teachings in chapter four focus on the power and effect of the word in varying degrees dependent upon the “hearing” and heart of the individual. As you listen today from these parables of Jesus, may your ears “hear” and your heart be receptive so the word of God will greatly increase in your life and the fruit of the word greatly benefit you and all whom you encounter.  
  • In the beginning of this chapter and our passage from last week, Jesus taught about the word of God being sown in 4 different soils: the packed soil, the parched soil, the preoccupied soil, and the productive soil. The garden of our souls receives the word in different ways. Make sure you are asking the Lord to show you the condition of your soul and where you need to repent and focus to see the greatest fruit from the word of God.  
  • The next section of teaching is connected to the teaching of the seed and the soil and further elaborates and illustrates how the word and the kingdom of God work in our hearts and the world. Each section starts with the words “and he said to them” and highlights a different aspect of the word. Jesus teaches us about the result of the word, the worth of the word, the growth of the word and the strength of the word. Let’s start by looking at the first teaching. 

The result of the word

Mark 4:21-23 ESV
And he said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand?  22 For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light.  23 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” 

  • This teaching is directly connected to the seed producing an abundant harvest from the good soil. The result of the harvest benefits the farmer by providing for himself and others. The purpose of the word of God when sown into the good soil of our soul is to benefit people.  
  • And then using another illustration, Jesus said when you have a lamp you shouldn’t put it under a basket or under a bed. You should put it on a stand where it will be the most useful and beneficial to all those in the house. The word is for you, but it is not about you. You have it so from it, others will benefit.  
  • How we respond to the word reveals the condition of our hearts. The only way you and I can know the condition of our soul and the hearts of others is how we and they respond to the word.  The word and our response to it brings to light the condition of our hearts. The word is a light that benefits all and the word is a light that exposes our hearts.  If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.  
  • So the prayer is: God, show me the true condition of my soul. God, take from me any place that is hard, or shallow or places where your word is choked out in my life. God, produce in me from your word abundant fruit that will greatly benefit me and all those in contact with me. The result of the word is benefit and illumination. 

The worth of the word

Mark 4:24-25 ESV
And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you.  25 For to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”

  • Pay attention to what you hear. That is, pay attention to what you are hearing from the word of God. Focus yourself on it, so that you will know and apply it. How do you “measure it,” how do you “evaluate it”? What value do you place on the word? If you treasure the word, if you honor the word, it will honor you, it will treasure you and you will be given more of it. And the person who does not value the word, treasure the word or value the word, what they have will be taken away from them.  
  • How do you “value” the word? Is it a book among many or is it the book above all books? Is it placed as a treasure in your life or is it something collecting dust and discarded? If you treasure it, it will treasure you and you will be given more. If you disregard it, it will disregard you, and it will be take away.  
  • The prayer is God, 

Prov 2:1-12 ESV
My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, 2 making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; 3 yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, 4 if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, 5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.

6 For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; 7 he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, 8 guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints. 9  Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path; 10 for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; 11  discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you, 12 delivering you from the way of evil, from men of perverted speech,

Ps 119:97-104 ESV
Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day. 98 Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me.99 I have more understanding than all my teachers,

for your testimonies are my meditation. 100 I understand more than the aged,  for I keep your precepts. 101 I hold back my feet from every evil way, in order to keep your word. 102 I do not turn aside from your rules, for you have taught me. 103 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! 104 Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way.

  • The prayer is: God, may I find your word as an eternal treasure, may I treasure it above all other words, may your word produce in me an abundant harvest. May you value the word of God and may more of it be given to you!  The word will produce its own results and it will grow and be productive in you. 

The growth of the word 

Mark 4:26-29 ESV
And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground.  27 He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how.  28 The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.  29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.” 

  • Our work is to listen well and prepare the soil of our soul to receive the word. Once the word gets into our heart, it will grow on its own, because this is what it does. We can’t force it to grow, we just need to be attentive and watch it grow. 
  • Understand that it is a process. First the blade . . . then the ear . . . and then the full grain in the ear. It will do its work over time.  Make room for it and see it develop in your life.  And when it has produced fruit, then reap and enjoy and use the fruit of the word.  It will bring benefits.  

1 Peter 1:22-23 ESV
Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God

Luke 11:28 ESV
“Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” 

  • When the word is planted in our hearts it will grow. Plant it, tend to it and keep it. It will do the work that it is sent to do. There are no other words like it. It is indeed living and active! And finally, the strength of the word. 

The strength of the word 

Mark 4:30-32 ESV
And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it?  31 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth,  32 yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”

  • The word of God and the kingdom for God starts small. It is a seed. But given the right conditions and given time, it will grow from something very, very tiny into something that is bigger and greater than all. It is a small thing, but it is very, very strong and will be a place of great strength and comfort, and will be a place that if it dwells in you, you will dwell in it. 
  • It will continue to produce on, and on and on. You can count the seeds in an apple, but you can not count the apples in a seed. The worth, and the value and the result will continue to grow with great strength and effect to you, your house and generations that come from you. 
  • God, do your work in me and my house and thank you that it will continue to grow in all generations.  

Conclusion 

Mark 4:33-34 ESV
With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it. 34 He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything. 

  • There are many other things that Jesus taught, and those who wanted to hear, heard. Ask God to give you the capacity to hear, ask God to explain it to you. Seek, make space, treasure and watch the truth of God bring the fruit of God in your life. 
  • My prayer as your pastor is that this church and your life will be a beautiful, bountiful garden in which the word of God is producing a wonderful harvest. God, give us ears to hear and a soul at will be receptive you your word!