The Danger of Not Listening (Mark 4:10-13)

Sunday, September 30th, 2012
Sermon Series: Mark

The Gospel of MarkDownload Sermon Outline

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The Danger of Not Listening

Mark 4:10-13

 

Here today, sitting all around you, in this room right now, are six different kinds of listeners.

1  are the PREOCCUPIEDS–These people come across as rushed, and are constantly looking around or doing something else.  Also known as multi-taskers, these people can’t sit still and listen.

2  are the OUT-TO-LUNCHERS–These people are physically here, but mentally they’re not.  This is determined by the blank look on their faces and the occasional drool.  They are either daydreaming or thinking about something else entirely.

3  are the WHATEVERS–These people remain aloof, and show little reaction when listening.  They don’t seem to care about anything you have to say.  Anyone forced to come to church is a whatever.

4  are the COMBATIVES–These people are armed and ready for an argument.  They listen only to find the flaw in what you say or how you say it.  And they enjoy disagreeing with whatever is said.  Instead of applying the Word, they dismiss the sermon by pointing out some minor point or unrelated issue, highlighting the flaw in the communication or communicator.

5  are the ANALYSTS–These people are constantly in the role of counselor.  They’re ready to provide you with a few “this is how you could have said that better” ideas, but do very little, if any, personal application to their own lives.

6  are the ENGAGERS–These are the consciously aware listeners.  They listen with their eyes, ears, and hearts, and want more than anything to hear what God is saying to them personally.  This is listening at the highest level.  Their listening skills encourage you to continue talking, and give you the opportunity to grow from God’s Word yourself.  Which one are you?  Hopefully, most of you are engagers–and if you are, then open your Bibles to Mark 4, and take your outline to follow along.

This morning, as Jesus continues helping his main followers embrace what the future will be like for those who follow Him, the Lord warns his followers of the danger of not listening.  Jesus just taught them the parable of the sower—the Word of God.  This was new to His listeners, and they didn’t grasp parables.  Jesus was using an event of something familiar to any Israelite, to teach a crucial spiritual truth–this was a farming parable.

So as the sower went out to sow the seed to produce the crop, the seed he was sowing fell on four different kinds of soils:  the 1) hard walking path, the thin soil that sits on a 2) rock layer, the soil filled with thorny 3) weeds, and the 4) good soil.  Each of those soils represents a different human heart.  They describe the different ways people hear the Gospel and respond to the Word of God–the different reactions people have to salvation in Christ alone, the different ways the human heart listens to the truth.  So with the hard, weedy and rocky soil, it describes someone who isn’t listening.

The Lord will explain the parable next week in verses 13 to 20 of Mark 4, but before He does, He explains why some do not hear.  Why are there many who refuse to hear, and get harder at hearing?  In verses 10 to 13, the Lord warns them of the danger of refusing to listen.  The Lord moves indoors, and enjoys some private conversation.  His followers are pressing Jesus for answers and explanations.  “Why’re You teaching in parables, and what’s the meaning of this one?”

So now, after teaching the parable of the sower and other parables, at the request of His followers, sitting in a house with a group bigger than merely the twelve, Jesus answers the why question.  He wants to reveal the truth to those who’ve accepted the truth, and to conceal the truth from those who obstinately opposed the truth–that the rejecters, opposers, non-listeners might (as Calvin said) “endure the blame of their own blindness and hardness.”

Many scholars say verses 10 to 12 are among the most difficult passages in all of the New Testament to understand–yet it contains truth vital for believers to embrace.  You need to get it, because . . .

A  Mark 4:10 to 13 helps you get to know your God

God is not passive or indifferent today.  Some of you see evil, injustice and sin all around you, and you’re tempted to think God is waiting till the final judgment, or God is not judging, or not punishing, or not working at all today.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  God is actively working in many ways judging sin, and one of His methods is to allow those who have hardened their hearts to His Word to become even more hardened.  As they reject the Gospel, it becomes even harder for them to embrace the Gospel.

God hardens those who have hardened themselves.  When, of their own accord and after repeated instruction, people reject the Lord and spurn His Word and His Gospel, then He hardens them, in order that those who were not willing to repent will not be able to repent and be forgiven.  Even during the coming seven-year tribulation, people will repeatedly hear the truth, yet they will repeatedly harden their hearts to it–to such a degree that 2 Thessalonians 2:11 and 12 says, “For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion, leading them to believe what is false, 12 so that all who have not believed the truth but took pleasure in unrighteousness will be condemned.”

Fear God today friends–God is not sitting idly by as people in America continue to hear the truth of God’s Word and salvation through Christ alone, by grace alone, through faith alone, yet persist in indifference, casually reject and remain unmoved, unchanged, comfortable, lukewarm and unresponsive to God’s Word.  God does not say, “Oh well, no problem, maybe they’ll obey soon.”  No!  God judges them with harder hardness of heart.  These verses also . . .

B  Mark 4:10 to 13 forms a guide for discipleship and parenting

When you shepherd people who decide to hear, but not do the Word of God.  When your children become increasingly indifferent to the truth.  When your friends continue to attend, but don’t obey the Word of God–you need to remind them of the seriousness and consequences of that choice.  They’re in a scary place by their choice not to heed.  It is a place of self-delusion–a choice of self-deception.

James 1:22, “But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves.”  Hearing the Word of God is easy, heeding the Word is not.  And it is not the mere hearing of the Word of God that makes you a healthy Christian or makes us a healthy church, heeding does.  In parenting, discipleship and training, the expectation is not merely to learn the truth in order to pass the exam, but to live the truth in order to grow more like Christ–that’s your guide.

So now observe this passage so we can interpret it correctly.  Notice who Jesus is talking to, and who Jesus is talking about.  He’s talking to His followers, and He’s describing two different groups—1)  those who do listen, and 2)  those who do not listen.

Let me ask you to listen hard as you slowly read aloud from Mark 4:10 to 13, “When he was alone, those who were around him along with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11 And he said to them, ‘To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables; 12 in order that “they may indeed look, but not perceive, and may indeed listen, but not understand; so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.”’ 13 And he said to them, ‘Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand all the parables?’”

As simple as the parable of the sower is for us today, it is still often misinterpreted by Bible teachers.  And this parable was definitely a struggle for the true followers of Christ–they were puzzled.  So they seized the first opportunity to get with Jesus alone to question Him as to its meaning.  They were struggling so much to understand it, that Matthew’s gospels tells us they even asked Jesus why He was teaching with parables at all–they didn’t like this new teaching method.  They didn’t understand how important it was for Jesus to reveal more truth to His true followers and hide truth from His rejecters.  So the Lord will explain what He is doing, beginning with a personal . . .

#1  Conversation:  The private training of His listeners  Verse 10

Read Mark 4:10, “When he was alone, those who were around him along with the twelve asked him about the parables.”  Mark starts with “when he was alone”, the verb—“he was alone” means either at the first opportunity, or Christ Himself sought out a time to be alone with His key followers.  I love that the Lord desired to train His men, to minister to a smaller group, to enjoy table talk with the heart-hungry.

Remember dads, moms and all other disciplers–you can’t just instruct.  You must model.  You can’t merely tell, you must show–you can’t merely preach, you must also teach, interact and dialogue.  You coach a team together, and as individual team players.  You run the team through plays together, but you also run individuals through drills one-on-one.

And Mark tells us it wasn’t just the twelve apostles, but more.  Notice verse 12, “those who were around him, along with the twelve.”  This private meeting was with His “followers”.  Who is that?  Remember back to verse 35 of chapter 3–it was those who did the will of God.  In other words, the group was bigger than the twelve, but this meeting was for “members only”–listeners only.  Only heeders welcome here.

And Christ sought this time out–not only to instruct them, but also to answer their unending questions.  At every free moment, they were asking Christ about the parables, and they were firing questions at Christ continually.  They’d not let it go.  Every mom here with a 2- to 4-year-old knows what this is like . . . unending questions.  “Why is a cow . . . what is an airplane . . . when will we go to the store?”

And verse 10 tells us what they asked about.  They asked him about the parables.  This was continually asking Him over and over and over again, so meeting with them was necessary.  The verb “asked Him” is continually asking in past time.  And notice the word for parable–it’s in the plural, “parables”.  They were asking Him not only about the parable of the sower in verses 1 to 9, but all the parables Jesus was teaching at this time, and why He was teaching them in parables.  What did Jesus do?

#2  Communication:  The privileged understanding of His listeners  Verse 11a

Mark 4:11a, “And he said to them, ‘To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God.’”  I love the fact that Jesus is giving believers a privileged promise here in verse 11, “And he said to them.”  The Lord is speaking to them so they’d know what they have.  Jesus is saying, “Do you realize what you’ve been given by having Me?  This is like being given a unique promise, then having it explained.  Jesus is actually revealing a gift given to them (and you) by God.

Verse 11 adds, “To you has been given.”  The Greek verb “given” is telling it means “to give once in the past and forever thereafter”–still possess this same gift.  You have been given something that will endure.  You have been given something that will not fade away.  You have been given something that is eternal.  That’s important since it helps us understand what the gift is.

Mark says you’ve been given a secret–verse 11 says “the secret”.  A secret?  No, the word is mystery about God’s plan.  A mystery is what was not known before, but has now been made known.  A New Testament mystery is a revealed secret, or a clarified fuzziness.  Jesus is clarifying a promise they didn’t understand in the past.  A mystery is the secret counsels of God which are hidden from the ungodly, but when revealed to the godly are understood by them.

The Lord is making an unclear general Old Testament prediction into a clear specific New Testament revelation.  This kind of mystery is to produce a, “Oh, now I get it!”  And what is this “gift” mystery about?  What does verse 11 say?  The mystery of the kingdom of God, of God’s rule–God is revealing how He will work and rule this planet for now.

The parable of the sower set the pace for the other parables.  Through them, Jesus explained to them how God will manifest His rule until He comes again to physically rule.  How will Jesus do it?  He will do it through Himself–Christ Himself will be the answer, and the message will be His good news, the Gospel.

The mystery is this–Christ is God, who added humanity to His deity, became a man, lived perfectly in our midst, then offered Himself on the cross for our sins, suffered in our place, rose from the dead, and now can justify you so you can stand before a perfect God.  Now He can wash you from the inside out and forgive your sin.  Now He can give you a heart that wants to obey His Word and follow His rule–when He gives you dependent faith and directional repentance.

This is how God rules the planet right now–through changed lives.  He rules through those He saves, those He transforms, those He rescues from sin, those He changes, so they produce fruit and endure to the end, because this gift we have been given is eternal.  It lasts forever.  The mystery is the Gospel.  It is not mysterious, but the Gospel was previously fuzzy–but now revealed by God, and now accomplished by God Himself in the person of Christ, and now available to both Jew and Gentile alike, for everyone.

Jesus is the fulfillment of the mystery.  Jesus is the gift given!  Most do not see Him as the only way, or recognize Him as their God.  So the Gospel is concealed and revealed at the same time.  Only those who’re given faith can recognize Him as the Son of God.

The secret of the Kingdom of God is the person of Jesus.  And the person of Christ is how God saves sinners like you and me.  Mark made this clear in Mark 1:14 and 15, “Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15 and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.’”  The kingdom of God and Gospel are linked.

These followers at this private meeting only begin to understand who Christ is, and what Christ is about to accomplish, because Christ explains it to them.  Later we discover they still don’t get it fully, because Christ says in Mark 6:52, “For they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.”  Mark 8:18, “Do you have eyes, and fail to see?  Do you have ears, and fail to hear?  And do you not remember?”

They really didn’t remember–God gives them an eternal gift, which was previously hidden but now revealed.  This mystery, that Christ is God who came to provide salvation.  This is revealed to those who believe, and hidden from those who reject Christ–which is what Jesus explains next.

#3  Consequences:  The serious warning to non-listeners  Verses 11b to 12

Read verse 11b, “But for those outside, everything comes in parables.”  This is an entirely different group.  This is not the listeners–Jesus is describing those who do not listen.  This is not talking about those inside, but now those outside.  The Greek word outside is used by the apostle Paul twice to contrast himself as uniquely different than non-Christians, and to contrast Christians as different from the people of the world.  Outside means those outside our circle–foreigners to the faith.  Belief inside, non-belief, outside–followers inside, rejecters outside, heeders of the Word, inside, hearers only, outside.

Remember the context again, back at the end of Mark chapter 3.  Who is my family, who is on the inside?  Those who do My will, those on the outside are those who rebel against My will.  So when Mark says in verse 11b, “but for those outside,” he is describing the scribes, Pharisees and rejecting crowd.  And for those on the outside, those who don’t listen, don’t follow, don’t obey the will of God, don’t respond in faith to Christ, verse 11b says, “but for those outside, everything comes in parables.”

To those who hear in faith–which is to hear and obey/heed (even if they do not fully comprehend) are given the gift of the mystery of the kingdom, they’re on the inside.  The parables will teach them . . .

How God will rule for now through the hearts He transforms

How those who are saved will produce massive fruit

How God will bring salvation to people through Jesus Christ

But to those who fail to hear and obey, they’ll remain outsiders.  And they will not understand the truth underneath the parables.  They will not embrace or understand the Gospel of God.  Doesn’t it seem here that Mark is telling us that Christ teaches parables so that the outsiders might not understand, see and hear?  Doesn’t it appear as though Christ is purposely veiling the truth so that the outsiders might not understand the Gospel to be saved?  Is that what you think?  Really?  If so, you would be right.

Read verse 12, “In order that ‘they may indeed look, but not perceive, and may indeed listen, but not understand; so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.’”  Many see this verse as offensive, because Jesus is saying here that He is not allowing outsiders to see or hear the truth of the Gospel so they can be converted and forgiven.  If you don’t like that today, let me tell you why—pride.  It is because you have a low view of God and a high view of people.  You don’t think your sin is all that bad, and God is just plain unfair.  You think your judicial system is so much better than God’s, that you’d grant these sinners another chance.

Maybe you and I should actually try to understand what Mark is saying here in verse 12.  Mark is quoting Isaiah 6:9, “And he said, ‘Go and say to this people: “Keep listening, but do not comprehend; keep looking, but do not understand.” 10 Make the mind of this people dull, and stop their ears, and shut their eyes, so that they may not look with their eyes, and listen with their ears, and comprehend with their minds, and turn and be healed.’”

Those verses from Isaiah 6:9 to 10 perfectly describe the unbelieving Jews of Jesus’ day.  Isaiah wrote during a time of sweeping judgment on Judah.  He had just pronounced a series of curses on the people for their sins of immorality, dishonesty and hypocrisy.  While Isaiah was preaching his message of doom, their King Uzziah died (6:1) and the nation was plunged into dark days.  They were on the verge of captivity by Babylon as part of God’s judgment; yet, in spite of their certain doom, they refused to turn to God for mercy and help.

The people kept on hearing, but they did not understand.  And they kept on seeing, but they did not perceive–because they had intentionally closed their eyes and their ears to God, and refused to understand with their heart and return to Him in order for Him to heal them.  Because they chose to ignore God and His Word, God judicially locked them up in their unbelief.

The first fulfillment of Isaiah’s warning came in the judgment of the Babylonian captivity, just as the prophet promised.  The second fulfillment, Jesus declared here in Mark, was about to be accomplished as Israel once again turned her back on her Lord and faced the judgment of centuries of darkness and despair.  The parables were a similar form of judgment on unbelief.  Those who would not accept His clear and simple teachings not only would not be able to understand His deeper teachings, but they would lose the benefit of the teaching and miraculous witness they had already been given.

God said to Isaiah, “Yes go, preach God’s Word to my people, but the message you preach will not be listened to.”  This passage is repeatedly used in the New Testament in Acts 28:23 to 28, “Paul, . . . was explaining to them . . . about the kingdom of God and trying to persuade them concerning Jesus, from both the Law of Moses and from the Prophets, . . . Some were being persuaded by the things spoken, but others would not believe. And when they did not agree with one another, they began leaving after Paul had spoken one parting word, ‘The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers, saying, “GO TO THIS PEOPLE AND SAY, ‘YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND; AND YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE; FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL, AND WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES; OTHERWISE THEY MIGHT SEE WITH THEIR EYES, AND HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN, AND I WOULD HEAL THEM.’” Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will also listen.’”  This was hardhearted unbelief.

Listen to how John quotes this passage, especially with this first phrase in John 12:36 to 40, “’While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light.’  These things Jesus spoke, . . . But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him.  This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet which he spoke: ‘LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT? AND TO WHOM HAS THE ARM OF THE LORD BEEN REVEALED?’ For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, ‘HE HAS BLINDED THEIR EYES AND HE HARDENED THEIR HEART, SO THAT THEY WOULD NOT SEE WITH THEIR EYES AND PERCEIVE WITH THEIR HEART, AND BE CONVERTED AND I HEAL THEM.’”

Why would Mark quote Isaiah in Mark 4?  Listen carefully–because this could be a very confusing moment in Christ’s ministry.  Their religious leaders–and by that, their entire religious beliefs are now outwardly rejecting Christ.  Their entire belief system, represented by its leaders, is now in hateful opposition to Christ.  If Christ is the God of the Jews, why are they rejecting Him?

So Jesus says they are not responding because they have rejected me, and by rejecting me they have denied their own God.  They have rejected the only way of salvation, their own faith.  They have chosen to try to work their way to heaven instead of realizing that they never can satisfy God’s holiness on their own.  They need a substitute, a final sacrifice, a perfect sacrifice–someone who can die for sins in man’s place, a perfect man, but someone who is as holy as God is in order to satisfy God.  And that person, that secret mystery, is Jesus Christ Himself.

But because they are God’s chosen people, the Jews, they believed God must accept them merely because they’re born Jews.  And because they attempt to keep the law and make sacrifices, they believe they could live good enough to satisfy God.  So they rejected Christ, who says you can never be good enough, whether you are Jew or Gentile–no one can.  They hate that.

And what is even more confusing is this–the more evidence Christ gives through teaching undeniable miracles and actions, only God could possibly accomplish right before their eyes, the more they increasingly hate and reject Christ.  So Jesus tells His followers in this personal discussion that it is just like it was with Isaiah–the more it becomes obvious that Christ is God, the more they reject Christ as God.  And as they harden their hearts, God expresses judgment and consequences by further hardening their hearts.

Look at verse 12 again, “In order that ‘they may indeed look, but not perceive, and may indeed listen, but not understand; so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.’”  Do you see Jesus stating His purpose here?  Look at how verse 12 begins–“in order that”, in the Greek the word is hina (ἱνα), a purpose clause.

Why do outsiders only get verse 11 parables now?  Because it is a judicial blindness on those who will not see.  The parables are a condemnation on the willfully blind and hostile, while parables are now a guide and blessing to the enlightened.  Jesus quotes Isaiah in verse 12, “They may indeed look, but not perceive.”  God is shutting the eyelids of those who are already blind and who don’t want to see the truth.  Jesus quotes Isaiah in verse 12, “and may indeed listen, but not understand.”  God is plugging the ears of those who are already deaf, and who don’t want to hear the truth.  Put simply, “Big egos, have little ears.”

Remember the Exodus, God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, but Pharaoh also hardened his own heart, prompting an incredible display of God’s glory and Israel’s ultimate deliverance from Egypt.  The same is happening here with Christ–God’s glory is going to be on display, which will result in the cross of Christ and deliverance from sin for all God’s true children.  So Jesus says, the outsiders are being judged.  Light that is resisted blinds–hearing that is mocked deafens.  And continued resistance and mocking will result in greater blindness and deafness, to the point that you can’t be saved.  Your heart can get so hard that you are beyond redemption.

Look at the end of 12, “So that they may not turn again and be forgiven.”  The verb “turn again” means “to turn one’s self about, to cause to return, to bring back.”  It refers to a reversal of one’s position concerning anything previously held—once a slave to sin, now a slave to God . . . under judgment, now pardoned.  You might say “turn again” means to be converted to Christ.  Because they hatefully resist God’s truth, they can’t be saved.

And Jesus adds, “nor be forgiven”.  The verb is third person singular, not plural.  The translation is “nor it should be forgiven them.”  The purpose of this judgment for willful blindness and rejection suits the Pharisees after their blasphemous accusation against Jesus.  He is pronouncing their doom in the language of Isaiah, and the singular of the verb forgiven, or “it should be forgiven them” ostensibly refers to a single sin.  So in this context, it’s the willful rejection of the truth, or continually calling Christ satanic.

The only way to fully accept God’s justice in verse 12 is to fully embrace the situation.  The religious leaders are planning to murder Jesus.  They are continually believing and telling everyone that Christ is not God but satanic.  And their hatred and hostility is growing.  They did not want the truth.  Therefore, rejecting the truth, in a sense they blinded themselves.  And blindness and deafening come as a result of hardening your heart against the light revealed.

The parables are designed to blind the one who wickedly rejects the truth, and enlighten the one who desires the truth.  Their hearts are very hard, so God hides the truth from them by allowing their hearts to grow harder, which will ultimately lead to the cross, and as a result the redemption of God’s true children.  The scribes and Pharisees are the hard ground in the parable.  The seed falls on hard ground but never penetrates, never germinates, is never embraced, but is immediately picked up.  The same seed (gospel truth) that brings some to faith in Christ alone leaves others indifferent or hostile to the Gospel.

Jesus’ parables did bring judgment upon those who willfully and deliberately rejected the person and work of Christ.  He didn’t desire to hide truth from them–but because of their unbelief, He spoke in parables.  One commentator put it this way.  “Ordinarily God speaks to be understood.  At times, however, He speaks only to seal the blindness, deepen the deafness, and confirm the hardness of those to whom the message is sent.” (Phillips, 98)

Another says, “God . . . hardens those that have hardened themselves . . . when, of their own accord and after repeated threats and promises, people reject the Lord and spurn His messages, then He hardened them, in order that those who were not willing to repent will not be able to repent and be forgiven.” (Hendrickson, 154)

I have thought long and hard about this truth–I hope you do too.  Never train yourself to ignore the truth of God’s Word.  Never make a habit of disregarding the Bible.  Never respond to the Word of God with indifference.  Never treat the Bible as a textbook–yes learn it, but always be in the mode of applying it, living it, seeing Christ through it.  When you go to a Christian college, or the Bible is your curriculum, then apply one truth per day, then learn the rest.  When you go to five Bible studies per week, make certain you are applying, living, and seeing Christ through one truth every single day.

And believer, make certain you never intentionally ignore, disregard, or excuse a biblical truth, and intentionally live contrary to the direct and understood commands of Scripture.  Never live intentionally disobedient to God’s Word.  The light resisted can blind.  Truth dismissed can deafen.  The Word not heeded can harden your heart.  You believe leading to obedient behavior, and God reveals more.  You reject leading to disobedient behavior, and God conceals more.  What happens next?  Jesus gives his followers a . . .

#4  Challenge:  The pointed question to His true listeners  Verse 13

Read verse 13, “And he said to them, ‘Do you not understand this parable?  Then how will you understand all the parables?’”  Jesus is saying, “Tune in men, if you can’t get this parable of the sower, then you will never understand the rest of the parables.  And understanding this sower parable is a key to getting the rest of the parables here.  This is the parable that helps you understand what this gospel Kingdom, which we are all entering into, with my coming death and resurrection–what that Kingdom is all about, until I return again and establish my thousand year earthly Kingdom.”

And in a real way, Jesus is saying, “Hey, if you can’t run the foot race, how are you going to keep up with the horses–get on it!”  You gotta want it!  There is no casual Christianity here.  You have to want to hear, desire to know, hunger to have Christ.  The expectation is for you to go after Christ, not merely hang out with Jesus.  The expectation is passion, effort and intensity, not casual comfortable convenience.  The expectation is hot, not lukewarm.  Are you ready to listen–are you hungry for the Word?

“But Chris, what is the meaning of this crucial sower parable?”  Simply this–come back next time to find out.  But first, remember . . .

A  There are consequences to your actions

Today our society teaches us that you can get away with evil and wrongdoing and not suffer the consequences.  But that is a lie.  God is judging, and will ultimately judge sin.  If you try to face Him, even as a Mother Teresa, but you are not trusting in Christ alone for your salvation, having exchanged all that you are for all that He is, you are going to Hell forever.

Your sins have consequences now, and later when you face Christ.  The only way to be internally converted and forgiven before God is to place your sin, your life, your possessions, your relationships, all of you on Christ to die with Him on the cross.  Only then can you rise from the dead with Him to a new life now, and eternal life forever.

B  True Christians hunger for and obey the Bible

First Peter 2:2, “Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.”  And Job 23:12, “I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.”  Christian student, are you longing for God’s Word?  Christian adult, do you treasure God’s Word more than food?  If you do, you will obey God’s Word, you will hear it and heed it.  Even in the Church of grace, God says in 1 John 2:4, “The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”  Never allow yourself to fall into a passive approach, or a casual approach to the Scripture.  Dig in to obey the Word of God.  The light resisted can blind.  Truth dismissed can deafen.  The Word not heeded can harden your heart!

C  Thank God for His grace to you

The only way you would ever hunger after truth, hear the Word of God and obey God’s Word is because your God was gracious to you.  Thank Him for salvation, and thank Him for sanctification too.  And tell Him today, that you desire to be one who hungers after His Word, is passionate to know it and live it for His glory.  Let’s pray.

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ABOUT THIS PREACHER

Chris is the teaching pastor at Faith Bible Church - Murrieta.
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