The Lavish Gift Of Salvation

The Lavish Gift Of Salvation: Mark 4:1-20
Pastor John Nicholas
Sunday March 29, 2020

  • It is important to remember that this book is written to a church
  • To a body of believers
  • And that is how we find the meaning
    • Context is king to understanding the bible
  • With that we jump into the teaching
  • At the end of His busy day in Capernaum
  • Who are brothers & sisters:
  • Where are you?

Mark 3:35 (NASB)
35 For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother.”

Mark 4:1–20 (LGNTI:SBL)
1Καὶ πάλιν ἤρξατο διδάσκειν παρὰ τὴν θάλασσαν. καὶ συνάγεται πρὸς αὐτὸν ὄχλος πλεῖστος, ὥστε αὐτὸν εἰς πλοῖον ἐμβάντα καθῆσθαι ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ, καὶ πᾶς ὁ ὄχλος πρὸς τὴν θάλασσαν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἦσαν.

And again he began to teach beside the sea and a very large crowd was gathered to him so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat and the whole crowd was on the land

  • Palin – again – looking back to Mark 3:7 back to the sea

Mark 3:7 (NASB)
7 Jesus withdrew to the sea with His disciples; and a great multitude from Galilee followed; and also from Judea,

  • After the encounter at His home He begins to teach
  • Matthew 13:1 – tells us that this was the same day

Matthew 13:1 (NASB)
Jesus Teaches in Parables
1 That day Jesus went out of the house and was sitting by the sea.

  • The busy day in Capernaum –
    • The pharisees rebuked
    • The apostles chosen
  • Beside the sea of Galilee
  • The crowd is there again, just like in the house, just like they had gathered before
  • Remember the key is he began to teach
  • But the crowd has gathered and by the language it is particularly large
  • So he needs to get back from the crowd in order to teach
  • On the boat would provide a natural amphitheater for teaching
  • And the boat would be larger than a row boat
  • The hills near there rise up from the sea
  • And Jesus’ voice would carry to the farthest reaches of the crowd
  • It was a great setting for teaching

2καὶ ἐδίδασκεν αὐτοὺς ἐν παραβολαῖς πολλά, καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς ἐν τῇ διδαχῇ αὐτοῦ·

And he began to teach them any things in parables and was saying to them in his teaching

  • Teaching in parables that began in v 3:23 (can Satan cast out Satan)

Mark 3:23 (NASB)
23 And He called them to Himself and began speaking to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan?

  • Parable – transliteration of the Greek parabloe – something thrown alongside of – the basic meaning of a comparison or an analogy
    • Truth taught alongside of something familiar
  • A method of teaching that is not unknown in the ancient world
  • The word parable literally means “to throw alongside.” Thus, a parable is an extended metaphor comparing a spiritual truth with something from the listeners’ everyday world.

3Ἀκούετε. ἰδοὺ ἐξῆλθεν ὁ σπείρων σπεῖραι.
Listen, behold the sower went out to sow

  • Akouete, idou – listen and behold
  • An indication that those there need to pay attention
  • What will be said is important
  • Saying – what does this mean for me? Where am I in this parable?
  • Jesus leads with an agrarian scene – familiar to all there
  • A man going out to sow seeds in a field
    • Scattering seeds from a bag
  • A field that would have been prepared to receive the seed
    • It is important to recognize this
  • Then plowed under by a wooden plow pulled by oxen

4καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ σπείρειν ὃ μὲν ἔπεσεν παρὰ τὴν ὁδόν, καὶ ἦλθεν τὰ πετεινὰ καὶ κατέφαγεν αὐτό.

And it happened while he was sowing some of the seed on the one hand fell on the side of the road and the birds came and devoured it

  • And it came to pass – something unintentional
  • The sower wasn’t casting the seed on the path/road but he was scattering seed – handfuls of seed – then plowed under
  • And some of the seed, as it was thrown landed on the road
    • Either a path by the field or through the field
  • Because it was exposed on the road the birds came and ate the seed
  • It had not grown, it had not taken root

5καὶ ἄλλο ἔπεσεν ἐπὶ τὸ πετρῶδες ὅπου οὐκ εἶχεν γῆν πολλήν, καὶ εὐθὺς ἐξανέτειλεν διὰ τὸ μὴ ἔχειν βάθος γῆς·

And other seed fell on the rocky ground where it did not have much soil and immediately it sprang up because it did not have depth of soil

  • With the scattering process the seed lands on less than fertile soil
  • Not because of the intention of the sower
  • But because of the process
  • To sow the seed means to scatter it far and wide to ensure that it lands in the rich fertile ground
  • This is the most efficient means for the sower
  • Palestine known for rocky soil
  • And the thin soil over the rocky substrate warms easily because there is no depth and the seed sprouts quickly

6καὶ ὅτε ἀνέτειλεν ὁ ἥλιος ἐκαυματίσθη καὶ διὰ τὸ μὴ ἔχειν ῥίζαν ἐξηράνθη.
And when the sun rose it was scorched and because it did not have root it withered

  • The seed rooted quickly
    • Heat of the thin soil near the rock
  • But the roots had no deep purchase
  • Nothing to draw from when the sun rose
  • And it withered and died

7καὶ ἄλλο ἔπεσεν εἰς τὰς ἀκάνθας, καὶ ἀνέβησαν αἱ ἄκανθαι καὶ συνέπνιξαν αὐτό, καὶ καρπὸν οὐκ ἔδωκεν.

And other seed fell among the thorn plants and the thorn plants came up and choked it and it did not produce grain

  • Most likely during the burns, to prepare the fields, just the base of the thorny bushes would have been left
  • They would have been undistinguishable
  • The scattered seed would have fallen there too
  • But the growth of the thorny weeds hindered its growth
  • The roots strangle the plants
  • Strangled to the point that they cannot produce grain

8καὶ ἄλλα ἔπεσεν εἰς τὴν γῆν τὴν καλήν, καὶ ἐδίδου καρπὸν ἀναβαίνοντα καὶ αὐξανόμενα, καὶ ἔφερεν ἓν τριάκοντα καὶ ἓν ἑξήκοντα καὶ ἓν ἑκατόν.

And other seed fell on the good soil and produced grain coming up and increasing and it bore a crop on thirty and one sixty and one a hundred times as much

  • but the seed on the good soil was not eaten by birds
  • it was able to root deep
  • it was not choked out by thorny weeds
  • and because of this it flourished
  • producing grain far beyond the seed that was scattered by the sower

9καὶ ἔλεγεν· Ὃς ἔχει ὦτα ἀκούειν ἀκουέτω.

And he said, “whoever has ears to hear let him hear”

  • Jesus is saying this is important to understand to know
  • Not all will be able to hear it
  • There is a truth statement here
    • The nature of the parable – the truth laid alongside something familiar

Matthew 13:36 (NASB)
The Tares Explained
36 Then He left the crowds and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.”

10Καὶ ὅτε ἐγένετο κατὰ μόνας, ἠρώτων αὐτὸν οἱ περὶ αὐτὸν σὺν τοῖς δώδεκα τὰς παραβολάς.

And when he was alone those around him, together with the twelve began asking him about the parables

  • maybe/probably in the evening when the larger group had scattered
  • This is the larger group of disciples with those who were called to be apostles
    • The crowd that went home would have been those that were uncommitted

11καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς· Ὑμῖν τὸ μυστήριον δέδοται τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ θεοῦ· ἐκείνοις δὲ τοῖς ἔξω ἐν παραβολαῖς τὰ πάντα γίνεται,

And He said to them, “to you the mystery of the kingdom of God has been granted, but to those who are outside everything is in parables

  • Chosen by God means understanding
    • They were to be the witnesses to Jesus’ ministry
  • It is foolishness to those who are not of God 1 Cor 1:18

1 Corinthians 1:18 (NASB)
The Wisdom of God
18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

  • Think back to Mark 1:15 – repent and believe

Mark 1:15 (NASB)
15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

  • The lavishness of salvation is the mystery

Ephesians 1:9 (NASB)
9 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him

Matthew 13:13 (NASB)
13 Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.

12ἵνα βλέποντες βλέπωσι καὶ μὴ ἴδωσιν, καὶ ἀκούοντες ἀκούωσι καὶ μὴ συνιῶσιν, μήποτε ἐπιστρέψωσιν καὶ ἀφεθῇ αὐτοῖς.

In order (so that) that in seeing they may see and not perceive and hearing they may hear and not understand in order that they turn and it be forgiven them

Isaiah 6:8-10 (NASB)
Isaiah’s Commission
8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
9 He said, “Go, and tell this people:
‘Keep on listening, but do not perceive;
Keep on looking, but do not understand.’
10 “Render the hearts of this people insensitive,
Their ears dull,
And their eyes dim,
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
Hear with their ears,
Understand with their hearts,
And return and be healed.”

  • These words of Isaiah appear several times in the New Testament (cf. John 12:40Acts 28:26) to denote a judicial blindness that comes to people as the penalty for hardening their hearts against the light.

John 12:40 (NASB)
40 “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.”

Acts 28:26 (NASB)
‘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;

  • Those who know God are forgiven
  • Those who do not will be judged by what they do know
  • This is an issue for some.
  • Nonetheless each person is responsible for what they do and rejecting the truth of God is settle in on the path of eternal damnation
  • They were responsible for the truth they had heard and rejected.

13Καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς· Οὐκ οἴδατε τὴν παραβολὴν ταύτην, καὶ πῶς πάσας τὰς παραβολὰς γνώσεσθε;

And He said to them, “do you not understand this parable, and how will you understand all the parables?”

  • They don’t understand and because of this there understanding of all the parables comes into question

14ὁ σπείρων τὸν λόγον σπείρει.

The sower sows the word

  • Now Jesus turns the parable away from a story of farming to one of God’s word
  • See Luke 8:11

Luke 8:11 (NASB)
11 “Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God.

James 1:21 (NASB)
21 Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.

  • Verse 14 indicates that the seed is the word (cf. Jas 1:21, “Humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you”)
  • At this very moment, Jesus was sowing the word. He was preaching to the people. His miracles had preached to them. What kind of soil would they prove to be? Note that there are really only two types of soils—productive and nonproductive..

15οὗτοι δέ εἰσιν οἱ παρὰ τὴν ὁδὸν ὅπου σπείρεται ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὅταν ἀκούσωσιν εὐθὺς ἔρχεται ὁ Σατανᾶς καὶ αἴρει τὸν λόγον τὸν ἐσπαρμένον εἰς αὐτούς.

And these are the ones beside the path where the word is sown, and whenever they hear it Satan immediately comes and takes the word that was sown in them

  • These are people of the world
    • God’s word means nothing to them
    • They are hardened to God’s word
    • The sinner who doesn’t fight sin
    • But embraces it daily
    • The life long habit of being against God
      • Repent today because it will be harder tomorrow
  • Like anyone before they were saved

16καὶ οὗτοί εἰσιν ὁμοίως οἱ ἐπὶ τὰ πετρώδη σπειρόμενοι, οἳ ὅταν ἀκούσωσιν τὸν λόγον εὐθὺς μετὰ χαρᾶς λαμβάνουσιν αὐτόν,

And these are like the ones sown on the rocky ground who whenever they hear the word immediately with joy receive it

  • This particular soil represents those who are following for the show.
  • For what they can get out of it
  • For what they can see
    • See below the hardened heart of the non-believer

17καὶ οὐκ ἔχουσιν ῥίζαν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς ἀλλὰ πρόσκαιροί εἰσιν, εἶτα γενομένης θλίψεως ἢ διωγμοῦ διὰ τὸν λόγον εὐθὺς σκανδαλίζονται.

  • The word has ‘solved’ a problem for them
  • But…
  • There is no counting of the cost
  • Luke 14:25-34 – counting the cost
  • “Endure but for a time”—“for a season,” temporarily. They maintain their professed acceptance of the Word as long as the results are acceptable. Their shallow, superficial nature easily becomes enthusiastic, but it cools off just as readily.

Luke 14:25-34 (NASB)
Discipleship Tested
25 Now large crowds were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them,
26 “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.
27 Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.
28 For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?
29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him,
30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’
31 Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand?
32 Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.
33 So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.
34 “Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned?

And they have no root in themselves but are temporary then the affliction or persecution comes because of the word immediately they fall away

  • But there is no root to their faith
  • It is ungrounded and untested
  • It was based on experience not on the savior
  • They loved the miracles and the healings
  • How do I feel?
  • But when they are no longer fed
  • But when they no longer see the miracles
  • They fall away
  • Because it was all about what they could get out of it
  • It was all about how they felt
  • This is not about a Christian losing salvation(remember there are those that believe and those that do not-nothing in between (even though there are three examples of bad soil))

18καὶ ἄλλοι εἰσὶν οἱ εἰς τὰς ἀκάνθας σπειρόμενοι· οὗτοί εἰσιν οἱ τὸν λόγον ἀκούσαντες,

And others are the ones sown among thorn plants these are the ones who hear the word

19καὶ αἱ μέριμναι τοῦ αἰῶνος καὶ ἡ ἀπάτη τοῦ πλούτου καὶ αἱ περὶ τὰ λοιπὰ ἐπιθυμίαι εἰσπορευόμεναι συμπνίγουσιν τὸν λόγον, καὶ ἄκαρπος γίνεται.

And the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth and for the other lust come in and choke the word and it becomes undproductive

  • The world comes in and it is gone
  • The world is more important than the word
  • They look around and can’t imagine anything better than what they currently see
  • The pleasures of this world pull them away, further and further away from the things of God
  • They look like a healthy Christian but in reality they are not a Christian at all they are strangled by their desires for the worldly things

Romans 6:23 (NASB)
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

20καὶ ἐκεῖνοί εἰσιν οἱ ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν τὴν καλὴν σπαρέντες, οἵτινες ἀκούουσιν τὸν λόγον καὶ παραδέχονται καὶ καρποφοροῦσιν ἓν τριάκοντα καὶ ἓν ἑξήκοντα καὶ ἓν ἑκατόν.

And those are the ones on the good soil, who hear the word and receive it and bear fruit one thirty, and one sixty and one a hundred times as much

  • Notice the increase of fruit
  • These are the believers
  • The one’s who know Christ
  • The soil is good and the word spreads

Remember the statement from the beginning with regard to the parables:
what does this mean for me? Where am I in this parable?
First then
What does it mean for me?
Jesus approached this teaching on the busy day, so much had happened that day and think about how they related to this teaching of the soil.
1. He had chosen the twelve out of the multitude
2. Then the teachers of the law, the Pharisees, accused Him and His work of being in league with the devil. Jesus being in business with Satan
3. Telling the people who were His brothers and sisters were those who follow the will of God

And then this parable

Think about how this previous teaching relates to this parable

these Pharisees who were hardened against God’s word, and the joy of seeing Christ himself taken away from the hard ground

the multitude of followers (John 6:66) who left, they followed to see the show. To have the pleasure of being fed, yet they didn’t have any roots

John 6:66 (NASB)
Peter’s Confession of Faith
66 As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore.

one of the apostles who was worried about riches and this world and was choked out by the thorns

And then you have those who were sitting at His feet who heard and listened that His brothers and sisters are those that follow the will of God. The foundation of the good soil.

You see this is not a parable about where are you, because if you are part of the three bad soils you wouldn’t understand it.

It is a parable about the generous sowing of God’s word. Spreading it joyfully and letting God work out the believers

Colossians 1:13 (NASB)
The Incomparable Christ
13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,

It is a parable of God’s generosity and provision

It is a parable of how God’s son generously takes His wrath in the place of those who would believe

The lavish gift of salvation – (extravagant)

But it is also…

It is a parable about the damnation that awaits those who deny Christ

You see in this parable there are only two soils. The good and the bad.

Those that receive Christ and those that deny Him

Jesus has come as the only savior, the only way to heaven. The only way back to a right relationship with our creator.

Those of the bad soil:
have denied what God has done, they have denied who Christ is. They have looked at the good works of Christ and claimed they were of the devil

They have looked at the work of Christ and said that is interesting but it is not God

They have looked at the works of Christ and have said the world is better

But the good soil:

Hears and receives the word. Receives Jesus and knows that God is generous, that God has looked at the lowly sinner worthy of only damnation and has said through my Son your are my son

That you, because of Jesus, have found a place at the wedding feast of the lamb

You are justified before me

Ephesians 1:7-8a (NASB)
7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace
8 which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight

Secondly where are you in this parable?

Are you the good soil?

Bearing the fruit of knowing your savior?

Or are you the bad soil?

Hardened against God?

Walking away because belief no longer meets your felt needs?

Being strangled by your desires for worldly things?

Have you seen, do you believe in the lavish gift of salvation through Christ Jesus?

In this time of great introspection on life and death that you know that at our last breath we will face the judge to give an account for our life. It is my prayer that you know Jesus not only as savior but as lord so that at the judgment you will be judged based on His works not your own. It is my prayer that you know the lavishness of the works of God.

They were responsible for the truth they had heard and rejected.

Pray, Observe, Apply.

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