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The three faces of Mark 4:

1. Jesus, His life, death and resurrection, and how that all relates to witnessing and sharing God's Word.
2. Understanding the five attacks and distractions that come from Satan and that Jesus defeated him, and Jesus has given that authority to all of His believers.
3. The Law of Seed, Plant, Harvest which some call the Law of Genesis in the Old Testament.
These two laws are the same thing. At the same time, Jesus uses these same verses to teach three more, underlying, principals

- Jesus uses three different parables to explain the kingdom of God in Mark 4.
- Jesus teaches the three principles needed to understand all parables.
- Jesus teaches that these same three principles explain how the entire kingdom of God works.

Mark 4: (Ampl.)
In verses 1-8 Jesus tells the parable of the sower and in the following verses Jesus will explain the parable.
This is important, Jesus wants you to understand parables.

9. And He said, He who has ears to hear, let him be hearing - and consider, and comprehend.

     The ungodly cannot understand the parables because they do not have the Spirit of God within themselves to teach them and help them to understand the parables. Before you can understand the deep things of God you need to understand and accept salvation. You need to have a relationship with God before you can expect anything from the relationship.

10. And as soon as He was alone, those who were around Him with the twelve [apostles] began to ask Him about the parables.
11. And He said to them, To you has been entrusted the mystery of the kingdom of God, [that is, the secret counsels of God which are hidden from the ungodly; but for those outside [of our circle] everything becomes a parable,

     And as this parable teaches, Satan comes immediately to steal the Word away as soon as they receive it. Because they have no relationship or just a baby's relationship with Christ. Babies do not have the strength that comes with maturity. Mature Christians really need to develope and understand that baby Christians need as much protection and nurturing and regular babies.

12. In order that they may [indeed] look and look but not perceive, and may hear and hear but not grasp and comprehend; lest haply they should turn again, and it [their willful rejection of the truth] should be forgiven them. [Isa. 6: 9, 10]
13. And He said to them, do you not discern and understand this parable? How then [is it possible for] you to discern and understand all the parables?

     Notice that Jesus uses an example based on farming. In farming it is easy to see that all things reproduce after it's own kind. If you plant corn you will only get a crop of corn. Corn does not turn into potatoes. Planting carrots does not produce a crop of watermelons. If I plant hate I will only reap a crop of more hate. Each thing, spiritual or physical, can only reproduce it's own kind. This is the Law of seed, plant, and harvest. What you plant is what you get. In this case the sower is sowing the Word of God and there will only be one crop when it is harvested, Jesus (The Word). The size of the harvest depends on the ground (the heart) that the Word is planted in. This law can be seen all over the Bible and goes back to Gen. 1:24 - 26.

14. The sower sows the Word.

     Anytime the Word is planted in anyone's heart Satan comes immediately to take it away. If you learn something in Sunday school the Devil will attack you on that Word. The difference between good ground and bad ground is that the good man of the house (ground) won't let the Devil steal it. He holds it and protects it in his heart. The bad man (ground) doesn't know enough Word and is too weak to defend his heart with the Word. You see Jesus defeated the Devil 2000 years ago and gave that authority to His believers. It is up to us to take the Word and us it correctly.

15. The ones along the path are those who have the Word sown [in their hearts], but when they hear, Satan comes at once and (by force) takes away the message which is sown in them.

     One of the biggest things today's Christian Church faces is insuring that baby Christians are helped and baby sat long enough for them to grow up and start learning and growing on their own. Once they see for themselves the extent of the authority Christ has given them in the Word the Devil won't be able to stop them.

16. And in the same way the ones sown upon stony ground are those who, receive and accept and welcome it with joy;
17. And they have no real root in themselves, and so they endure for a little while, then when (1) trouble or (2) persecution arises on account of the Word, they immediately are offended - become displeased, indignant, resentful; and they stumble and fall away.
18. And the ones sown among the thorns are others who hear the Word,
19. Then the (3) cares and anxieties of the world, and (4) distractions of the age, and the pleasures and delight and false glamour and the deceitfulness of riches, and the (5) craving and passionate desire for other things creep in and choke and suffocate the Word, and it becomes fruitless.

Why do people back slide, because they were attacked by the Devil using these five attacks and didn't have the strength, training and foundation to defend themselves.

(1) trouble

(2) persecution

(3) cares and anxieties of the world

(4) distractions of the age, and the pleasures and delight and false glamour and the deceitfulness of riches

(5) craving and passionate desire for other things

     Why does Satan go after the Word every time it is planted and used? Because he was totally humiliated and defeated by the first person that really knew how to use it, Jesus. Look at each of these five attacks. If he can get you to stop using the Word He has gained some ground for His point of view.

     You hear this everyday from the defeated and those who are tired of fighting the good fight, they say, "I'm defeated. I can't do that". "I don't want anything to do with the Word, believers are worse off then the sinners". "God never did love me". If Satan can just get you to think about the people who are persecuting you instead of thinking about the fact that you are a child of the living God he can defeat you. All he needs to do is get that weed seed in your heart and he can destroy the whole field and your life. What you need is some weed seed killer (God's Word). God has given you so many things. Direct access to the most high God who loves you enough to die for you. I'm not saying that you don't have problems. Everyone is attacked by the Devil. It is just that some people have learned enough Word that they can mostly just brush those attacks aside. They have learned to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and then all things will be added unto them. In other words, they have learned where their priority should be and they insure that that is where their priorities stay. The Word is serious business to them because they "KNOW" the victory that comes with keeping God first. They also know that there is nothing but defeat for those who don't know the truth of the Word and don't put God first.

     We all plant seeds everyday. It's long past the time when we should stop planting weed seeds because Christ provides Good seeds for the sowers!

20. And those that were sown on the good (well-adapted) soil (a well prepared heart) are the ones who hear the Word, and receive and accept and welcome it and bear fruit, some thirty times as much as was sown, some sixty times as much, and some [even] a hundred times as much.

     The fruit you bear depends on your heart being prepared to receive it, but that is true of any kind of seeds that people try to plant in your heart. If I try to plant a bad seed in your heart like, "You need to rob a bank because you need money and that is a way to get money". Most people would immediately reject those bad seeds. Your heart has already been taught and prepared with enough good seed that you know better then doing something that stupid. What is your heart prepared for? Is it Sports instead of God? Is it talking on the phone instead of God? All of us continually need to self examine our heart and our actions. Where is our heart and who or what is the center of our life? The Word says to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and then all things will be added unto them. If you want Gods best you need to give him your best. There is no need to just talk the talk, like a hypocrite, if you don't walk the walk like a true believer.

21. And He said to them, Is the lamp brought in to be put under a peck-measure, or under a bed, and not on a [lamp] stand?

     What are you doing with the light that you have? Hiding the Word only hurts you.

22. Things are hidden [temporarily] only as a means to revelation. For there is nothing hidden except to be revealed, nor is there anything [temporarily] kept secret except in order that it may be made known.

     The more you walk with Christ the more you will understand that God really does know everything about you and everything else too. If you think that you can get away with living an ungodly life most of the week and pretending to be Godly on Sunday, you are only kidding yourself. God is always a gentleman but never a fool.

23. If any man has ears to hear, let him be listening, and perceive and comprehend.

     He is saying, "You had better listen, this is very important!"

24. And He said to them, Be careful what you are hearing. The measure [of thought and study] you give [to the truth you hear] will be the measure [of virtue and knowledge] that comes back to you, and more [besides] will be given to you who hear.

     Once again, what seeds are you allowing to be planted in your heart? Good seeds lift you up and bring you closer to Christ and operating in His Spirit. Bad seeds draw you further from Christ and closer to the Devil and the flesh. The decision is yours. It is long past time to put your anchor in the ground and just say, "NO MORE SATAN, I'M NOT GIVING UP ONE MORE STEP. YOU HAVE PLANTED YOUR LAST SEED IN ME BECAUSE I'M A CHILD OF THE LIVING GOD AND YOU CAN"T STEAL FROM ME ANY MORE! I CHOOSE LIFE IN CHRIST!

25. For to him who has will more be given, and from him who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away (by force),

     The Devil don't care who you are or what you do. He came to Kill, Steal, and Destroy and that is just what he does to the people who don't know how to defend themselves. Your weakness in God's Word gives him permission to steal from you and your strength in God's Word stops the Devil. Christ came to give life and life more abundantly.

26. And He said, The kingdom of God is like a man who scatters seed upon the ground,
27. And continues sleeping and rising night and day while the seed sprouts and grows and increases, he knows not how.

     We don't know how the seeds that we plant grow but they do. We can ask ourselves about each little harsh word, "Has that seed been planted in a heart where it will have a devastating impact on that life?" Can we train our tongue to only plant good seeds that lift people up and draw people to Christ?

28. The earth produces [acting] by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.

     This is the Law of Seed, Plant, Harvest and the second example in this lesson of the seed and the Word working together for Salvation. Everything we say and do is a seed planted somewhere, some are good and some are bad. The best seeds come from Christ and produce eternal and abundant life.

29. But when the grain is ripe and permits, immediately he sends forth [the reapers] and puts in the sickle, because the harvest stands ready.
30. And He said, With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use to illustrate and explain it?

     And here is the third example in this lesson of the seed and the Word working together for Salvation.

31. It is like a grain of mustard seed, which when sown upon the ground is the smallest of all seeds upon the earth;
32.Yet after it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all garden herbs, and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air are able to make nests and dwell in its shade.

     When the Word is sown it is capable of producing huge crops. Notice that he plants mustard seeds and so the crop he was looking for is mustard. And that seed had impacts way beyond the intended crop. It produced good things all around even for the birds. God's seeds are incredible!

The End

A few interesting little tidbits to go with this lesson:

     For each kernel of corn a farmer plants one stalk grows. On that stalk two ears of corn grow and each ear has over 600 kernels. That means that the farmer is getting about a 1200 to one return on investment. If our GOOD words could only find good ground like that! Think about it, Some of us need to pray for crop failure because our destructive words are destroying good deeds.

     The words we say can destroy or can build up. Even the doctrines we teach can damage people if the time is not taken to teach them correctly and completely. The Word needs to be taught with complete clarity there is no room for confusion.

     Planting your seeds in Christ always brings in a great crop. When we get saved through the New Birth given to us by Christ, we instantly become citizens of a new country with all of the birth rights of that heavenly kingdom, and our king is Christ. The Webster Dictionary defines citizen as, "A person owing loyalty to and entitled by birth or naturalization to the protection of a particular state".

(written in March 2008)

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