Class Notes: 8/28/2013
Mark 4:3-9 The parable of the sower; The doctrine of Evangelsim
In our study of Mark last time we started chapter 4 and in Mark 4:1-2; we saw that He changed His teaching method. Previously His teaching has been direct but since the Jewish leaders have rejected him He now starts using parables where he takes simple narratives and matches them up with doctrine.
The parables were given in a climate of growing negative volition, hostility and opposition as well as enormous popular acclaim but both responses indicated the people's failure to really understand who Jesus really is.
The word "Parable" is a transliteration of the Greek word "parabole", that means "comparison." It can designate a variety of figures of speech but usually a parable is a short discourse that conveys spiritual truth using a comparison.
The doctrine that is being taught is compared to something in nature or a common life experience. A parable usually expresses a single important idea but sometimes there is a subordinate principle that expands its meaning
Once again Jesus is teaching a large crowd by the lake (the Sea of Galilee). This time the crowd is so large that He uses a boat as a pulpit and teaches from the boat to the people on the shore but He now uses parables rather than speaking clearly and directly.
Mark 4:3; The sower is always a believer who is communicating the gospel, and a sower sows seed, so the seed is the gospel. Net note 3
Mark 4:4; "along the path" is along the side of the path or road "way side" in the KJV. Remember that the seed represents the gospel. The ground represents the unbeliever; because In this case the ground rejects the seed. Then the birds take it.
The seed is on top of the ground, not in the ground. The birds represent Satan and his propaganda and deceitful lies, so when a person rejects Jesus Christ as saviour they move farther into the slavery and lies of Satan's camp and become harder to reach because their negative volition becomes negative momentum.
Jesus' explanation is in Mark 4:15; "When they hear the gospel Satan comes and snatches it away (Net note 17). Germinate means to believe.
This follows out the principle of 2Cor 4:3-4; This is the seed sown in an unbeliever that in the context refers to the scribes, the Pharisees and the chief priests who have heard the gospel and rejected it.
Mark 4:5-6; The "rocky ground" that Jesus refers to in the parable is a limestone hard pan that was sparsely covered with topsoil. Net note 5
This means is that it is some fertile ground with rock under it. The little bit of earth that is there is good but it is not very deep so the seed sprouted and came up very quickly but without a root structure because of the shallow ground.
But when the sun came up, they withered because they did not have a sufficient root structure. They lacked a root structure because when the roots went down they hit the rock hard pan and stopped growing so they withered in the heat.
Jesus' explanation in Mark 4:16-17; describes a believer with no capacity from doctrine. his group of people Not only receives the gospel but does so with enthusiasm the problem is that with no root (no doctrine) this believer cannot endure adversity and reverts to emotionalism and OSN control of the soul.
The sun refers to adversity, pressure, and testing. When the test comes because of the Word, he doesn't have the doctrine to deal with it so they are "offended"
The Greek word is "skandalizo" that means to be offended or to encounter a stumbling block that results in a trip and fall or a cause to stumble. In my opinion both the NET and the NASB do a poor translation of this word when they translate it as "fall away" because that is too easily misunderstood as being a loss of salvation that is impossible.
"Offended" means the believer is shocked and dismayed at the pressure. In order to endure you have to have roots, you have to have inner resources you have to have doctrine. So the second category is a believer who can't stand up under pressure because he doesn't have enough doctrine to deal with it. It is the believer who has no capacity from doctrine so he reverts to emotionalism, religion, or some other system of pseudo spirituality.
Mark 4:7; This seed fell next to the thorns and was choked out. Net notes 8 and 9. This is also referring to a believer. Perhaps this believer has a little more doctrine but he does not succeed either.
In other words, up comes the stalk so there is some root so we have to admit there is a little more doctrine here than the previous case. Here is a person who learns a little doctrine and now he begins to apply it but then the thorns engulf him and choke him out.
Jesus explanation is in Mark 4:18-19; "This person "hears the word" but the cares of this world." The cares of this world are one of the greatest enemies of the believer because they create the mental attitude sins of fear, worry and anxiety. Matt 6:31;
This person has a little more doctrine but he is minus the problem solving devices including faith-rest. Since he does not have the faith-rest technique worry gets to him.
The word translated "worldly care" is worry, and he can't cope because he simply can't integrate the faith-rest drill into his life so he relies on his emotions and results " in the "deceitfulness of riches." choking him out.
There is nothing wrong with being rich but you should never be deceived by the propaganda into thinking that wealth is stable in the devil's world. The deceitfulness of riches doesn't even mean that this person is rich, it just means that he thinks that riches are a source of security so it has the highest priority in his scale of values.
So not only does he have mental attitude sins but he has a false scale of values. This indicates that there is some doctrine but not enough to change his scale of values so there is no sustained occupation with Christ or faith-rest.
Because this believer has a false scale of values he can never break away from the mental attitude sins of fear, worry, anxiety, envy, and jealousy, so he never succeeds in the spiritual life. He is eternally secure as a believer but he never advances.
This is the status of many believers in the USA today and is why the country is in the process of being destroyed from within just like Judea was at the time of Christ. Forty years later Jerusalem was wiped off the planet.
In groups two and three believers have eternal security. In each case the believer is saved but in each case the believer does not succeed. The believer does not succeed because he is ignorant of doctrine and, of course as a result in arrogance operates on his emotions.
The believer does not succeed because he never puts into action the doctrines he has learned with regard to the problem solving devices the two specifically in view are faith-rest and occupation with Christ.
Worry and the deceitfulness of riches, "chokes the word out of his thinking, so it produces nothing"
Mark 4:8; "But the other seed fell into good soil." Good ground means doctrine, problem-solving devices, promises, the whole works; "and brought forth fruit"
The imperfect active indicative of the Greek word "didomi" means that it kept on bringing forth production.
There are all kinds of successful believers; described in three categories here: "one hundred fold, sixty fold, thirty fold." . They do not all produce the same, but they have the same assets. They are simply in different stages of maturity.
Jesus' explanation in Mark 4:20;"Those that received the seed into good ground are those who hear the word and receive it."
The word translated "receive" is the present middle indicative of the Greek word "paradechontai" that means they "they accept" or they " receive, or admit" it into their lives. The middle voice indicates that they have had help in the process.
The believer provides the non-meritorious positive volition and God the Holy Spirit enables them to understand and they learn the doctrine.
The advancing believer not only hears understands. Present active participle for "understand" indicates that it is a process. You don't understand it all at once, it is the process of learning consistently a little bit at a time.
The point is that he not only hears the Word but he consistently learns it. He stays with it, he doesn't come and go and the result is that there is production.
The present active indicative along with the present participle states the fact that this is the result of consistent learning of the Word of God that comprises the mind of Christ. Consistency in learning doctrine under the mentorship of God the Holy Spirit automatically results in production. Phil 2:13; Eph 2:10;
This believer has doctrine, has the problem solving devices, understands the promises, and as a result this believer is a producer or a successful believer.
We see from this parable that while Satan rules the world there will always be evangelism. God's Word will always be taught and there will always be unbelievers who reject the gospel.
There also will be believers who will not choose to learn doctrine and never get with the Christian life, there will be believers who learn a little bit of doctrine but not enough really produce with it and. there will be believers who learn the doctrine and produce with it.
Proclaiming the Good News of God's kingdom is like sowing seed on various kinds of soil The kingdom is largely veiled because of satanic opposition and human unbelief. But despite this, God's rule is established in those who accept Jesus' message and His rule is manifested in spiritual production.
God's kingdom will not be openly established on the earth until Jesus' second coming when it will be disclosed with unimaginable glory. 1Pet 1:3-5;
This brings us to the subject of the Doctrine of Evangelism. There are three categories of evangelism that have occurred since mankind was evicted from the Garden of Eden.
Personal evangelism conducted by all believers, evangelism through the function of the spiritual gift of evangelism, and national evangelism through client nation missionary activity.
Personal evangelism is described in 1Thes 1:4-5; and consists of verbal witnessing by means of the power of God the Holy Spirit and the testimony or witness of one's life under the ministry of God the Holy Spirit as believers glorify God in their advance through momentum testing through the application of doctrine.
Verbal witnessing requires impersonal love, humility, and the correct technical understanding and ability to explain the subject matter of the Gospel.
This requires spiritual growth. The greater one's spiritual growth, the more effective one's personal witnessing and the function of spiritual gift of evangelism in those who possess it.
God the Holy Spirit is the sovereign executive of witnessing. According to 1Cor 2:14; the unbeliever in the state of spiritual death can't understand any spiritual matter including the Gospel apart from God the Holy Spirit.
Common grace is the ministry of God the Holy Spirit in making the Gospel clear to the mind of the unbeliever. Efficacious grace is the ministry of God the Holy Spirit in making the non-meritorious faith of the unbeliever efficacious for salvation., John 16:8-11;
People's personal sins are not part of the Gospel message. The only sin that is an issue in witnessing is the sin of unbelief in Jesus Christ. Rejection of Christ simply perpetuates God's condemnation that comes from spiritual death at physical birth.
This condemnation results in God's judgment at the Great White Throne and consignment into the eternal Lake of Fire with the devil and his angels. John 3:18,36; Matt 25:41;
The Gospel itself is the power in witnessing. Rom 1:16; "The Gospel is the power of God with reference to salvation;" not our personality or presentation of that Gospel, 1Cor 1:18;
Witnessing is the responsibility of every believer but the believer is simply an agent or a channel for conveyance of the message in two categories.. The witness of one's life as found in 2Cor 3:3,2Cor 6:3; 1Thes 2:10; and the witness of the spoken word as found in 1Thes 2:9;1Pet 3:15; 1Cor 1:17;
The believer must witness in the power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, he must exclude every system of human salesmanship in order to not function under or create any false motivation. 2Cor 2:17; 1Cor 2:4;
The most important issue in the Christian life is why you do what you do. If the "why" is right God will work in you to get the "what" and the "how" right. Phil 2:13; Eph 2:10;
If you witness simply to please others it is wrong motivation. This is not the way God intends for us to work. We must do it as unto the Lord or not at all. Col 3:23;
To properly present the Gospel, the believer must understand the doctrine related to Christ and His finished work on the cross including reconciliation, redemption, propitiation, imputation, justification, and atonement.
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