HS WEEK #18: Soil and Fruit

High School Director Ian Wheeler spoke on the parable of the sower. He shared on how Jesus gives understanding to those who seek it and also on the qualities of good soil.

 

 

Mark 4:1-20

4 Again he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. 2 And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: 3 “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. 5 Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. 6 And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. 8 And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” 9 And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

 

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In technology class in 8th grade the teacher gave us a task to build a structure out of five index cards. These structures were designed to hold texts book on a desk. I had a friend named Donny who didn’t finish his structure in time. His structure wouldn’t hold a single book. It just crumbled. I wanted to use glue for my structure to make it harder but my structure legs didn’t dry in time. It held one book but as soon as the second book was added, it collapsed. After our final the teacher showed us his structure and it held every book in the classroom. Today Jesus is giving a story were we get to see similar outcomes to the task before us.

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1 Again he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land.

We have see many times before that teaching the word is very important to Jesus. (1:21,1:39, 2:2, 2:13 and here). He has healed a man with an unclean spirit, he is preaching through all Galilee, He was preaching before He healed the paralytic, and He was teaching when He called Levi. As Christians (followers of Christ) we are called to live lives that follow the teachings of Christ. Jesus is modeling what it looks like to share the good news to people. We need to be a youth group that shares the gospel with people we come in contact with. You hear us say that a lot because its important. God has placed people in our lives for a reason and we need to make sure we are giving people the live changing message of the Gospel. The only means of salvation.

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2 And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them

 3 “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. 5 Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. 6 And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. 8 And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” 9 And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” 

We often think of parables as ways to bring clarity but this one seems to not be as clear as we would have hoped. It leaves us with some questions.  Are these farming tips? What is the seed? What or who are the birds?

I did not enjoy math in school. The teacher would often complete a twenty step process to graph a function on a graph. The teacher would stop and ask the class if there were any questions and not a single person would raise their hand to ask a question so they understand, including myself.

If we take this same idea but change the context the outcomes are different. During our final review week people ask questions all throughout the review time because they care and are seeking understanding. This idea happens as we read God’s word. There are ways that people respond to the teachings of Jesus. One response would be to just walk away confused. Many people came to get healing, or see a miracle, but when Jesus is teaching in stories they would just be confused.

Another response would be to ask questions about the text when we don’t understand. We should be asking questions in small group and questions about sermons that we don’t understand. This is how we learn and gain confidence in our faith.

We have are blessed to have God’s word. Its a way to learn truth about God, ways to live a life of worship, experience true peace and joy, and a hope that is not found in this world.

Verse 9 is a challenge, Jesus is calling us to seek understanding.

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10 And when he was alone, those around him 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 is in parables, 12 so that 

“ ‘they may indeed see but not perceive, 

and may indeed hear but not understand, 

lest they should turn and be forgiven.’ ” 

13 And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?

My friend Jacob knew a lot about fly fishing. I wanted to get into fly fishing but its really complicated. There are many confusing things about this activity but my friend new the tips and tricks. All I had to do was ask and he would help me. I did just that. I ask and he was happy to help. Jesus is doing the same thing here. There are people here not just the disciples and they are seeking understand. They ask Jesus and he just gives them the secretes. It is that simple just ask.

This is a quote from Isaiah here in verse 12, This is important as we read in Mark. We see the fulfillment of Isaiahs mission here. Jesus is the stump that is burnt so that we can gain understanding and turn to be forgiven.

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14 The sower sows the word. 15 And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them.

Fun fact verse 14 is the shortest verse in Mark. I had a friend in high school who I was pretty close with who would just discount the truth of Christianity every time that he could. This happens often when people are given the Gospel.

I am sure that this was some of you guys some point and maybe even tonight, but there is hope! People don’t stay in one soil type. The good soil doesn’t always just become good soil there is a process of growth and it often entails other stages of soil. We read that Satan desires to deceive us. We can find this from the first sin in the bible. (gen3 1-5) Deception is a powerful tool but Jesus has defeated the evil and there is hope in the truth of the gospel.

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16 And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. 17 And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.

I will be honest with you guys. In high school when the topic of religion would come up, majority of the time I would just listen and not stand up for the beliefs that I held. As Jesus states here the problem with that is that there is no root. I know you have had times where you have been questioned about your beliefs. The nature of Christianity has never been popular in the world (Acts formation of the Church) but We need to be strong in our beliefs but know that there is grace for when we make the wrong choice
How do we grow our faith? We strengthen our view of Jesus and we do that through is word! We don’t have to stay at the same soil!

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And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, 19 but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.

•Judas – He walked with Jesus as a disciple he heard the word but he betrayed Christ.
– Given authority over unclean spirit, to heal disease, and every affliction

-Matthew 26:14-15 14 Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15 and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver.
We all have times where we fall to temptation. I had many friends in high school who called themselves Christians, but when Christianity became uncomfortable they would choose the desires of their hearts over what Christ has taught us. This is so easy to do and I know I am not the only one who is convected with this type of soil. What are the outcomes of these decision? They are unfruitful and we being unfruitful when we chose to disobey.  Are we living lives that show our worship of God?

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20 But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” 

the first (seed )never started, the second started but died, the third survived but could not produce grain. But in the end none is of any value to the farmer, since he is looking for grain, not mere survival.

“France, R. T. (2002). The Gospel of Mark: a commentary on the Greek text (p. 191). Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press.”

In my story from the start my friend didn’t finish the structure like the first seed the birds took it away. My structure along with  half the class was a structure but the glue/lack of care rendered it useless didn’t fulfill its purpose. My teachers carders were not only was a structure but fulfilled the purpose it was designed to do. It was the only useful structure.

How do we become fruitful?

We should want to be the good soil, but why is that so hard?  The problem is sin. Jesus has offered us a way to be saved from our sin and the power over that sin in our lives.

What does that look like in our lives as high schoolers? Do you have the fruit of the Spirit in our lives? Do people see  love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in our lives? Galatians 5:22-23 If there isn’t that fruit in our lives there is hope. We do not stay the same soil type. Look at the story of Peter denying Christ three times. A man who was good soil becomes the soil that falls away when persecution comes. We later read that he repents and is forgiven. He then preaches in acts and there are three thousand souls that are saved. This shows us that we have hope.

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How does this multiplication take place?

If we walk around just sharing the gospel to people each day, going from one person to the next is that how we grow the kingdom? Is that what Jesus did? Yes and No

Yes, we need to be sharing the gospel with the people that we come into contact with, but we need to walk along side other people Jesus models that with the 12 disciples. If we adopt this model we will see far greater growth down the road.

What purpose do you have in the kingdom?

The seed/Word relationship is important here… the purpose of seeds are to grow and produce fruit. The Word is the same. The purpose of the word is to grow and produce fruit. Are we doing that.

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