Bible verses to build your life on
Jesus said: “… whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock…” ~ Matthew 7:24
“Parable of the Soils
(Mark 4:1-20; Luke 8:4-15)
“1On the same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the sea. 2And great multitudes were gathered together to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: ‘Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. 5Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. 6But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. 7And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. 8But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9He who has ears to hear, let him hear!’”
[Notes: Words to note: ‘multitudes’ – The people flocked to hear Jesus, and many, many followed Jesus hoping to hear whatever He would say, but, sadly, most of them were like a majority of church members today, they would hear it, appreciate it, and forget it as though it didn’t apply to them. ‘parables’ = word pictures, analogies that use natural everyday things to explain principles of the Kingdom of Heaven. Starting in Chapter 13, Jesus had come to the point that He only spoke to the crowds with parables, because they refused to hear and obey what they heard – the majority of them just enjoyed hearing interesting stories. So, in His grace, Jesus used these parables to peak their curiosity for future conversations/teachings. The parables Jesus told hid the truths from the those who didn’t embrace God’s Word, and at the same time explained mysteries about God to those who believed in and followed Him. Also, when Jesus was alone, He explained all of these parables to His disciples, because they desired to understand and put them into practice. We have the wonderful privilege of hearing some of these explanations!
The parable – In Mark 4:13, Jesus says this to His disciples about this parable – “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?” So, Jesus is clearly stating that if we are to understand all of the rest of His parables (word pictures) that explain key details about how God’s Kingdom ‘the Kingdom of Heaven’ works, we must understand this parable so we can have a solid foundation.
Words to note: ‘wayside’ – a path or road hardened by constant foot traffic, seeds obviously don’t grow very well, if at all! ‘stony ground’ – beds of solid rock, apparently usually limestone, too deep for the plow to reach them to break them up, but they are too shallow for a plant to develop an efficient root system. ‘thorns’ – a hardy, thorny plant that uses the resources that the new plant needs. Notice that the roots had been left in the ground, and because they weren’t dealt with, they grew up and choked the new plant.
Notice, there are 3 soils that didn’t produce fruit, but then there are 3 soils that did produce fruit, 3 different amounts. I also read about the ratio of quantity of seed planted – to – the quantity of seed harvested – the ratio of the amount planted to the amount of the crop harvested is typically 1:8, and a 1:10 ratio is a very good crop – in other words, if you plant 100 seeds and you get 800 or 1,000 plants – that’s a good harvest. Jesus presented 3 amounts that would all be considered incredibly abundant harvests: 100, 60, and 30 times what they planted. Cool – that’s exciting!
“He who has ears, let him hear’ – Jesus on a frequent basis, called out to the multitude to desire to understand what He was saying and explaining, like wisdom who calls out in the street – listen, as so eloquently portrayed in the book of Proverbs. Calling us to seek Him, to ask Him for wisdom, and which He has promised to gladly and graciously grant – “5If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” ~ James 1:5-8. One other little highlight that Pastor Chuck Missler points out is that Jesus also used this little phrase in each of His letters to the 7 churches in Revelation 2 and 3. Interesting little study there…
“10And the disciples came and said to Him, ‘Why do You speak to them in parables?’ 11He answered and said to them, ‘Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. 13Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: “Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive; for the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.” 16 But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; 17for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.’”
[Notes: Words to note: It’s interesting to note that the disciples came and were in effect asking Jesus to explain the parable to the people, and they couldn’t understand why He didn’t plainly teach the multitudes in the same way He taught them. Jesus then encourages His disciples and challenges them concerning a very important principle in God’s Kingdom, and then explains the parable to them.
Jesus first points out that His disciples are blessed to hear Him explain the truths of the His Kingdom, which implies – be grateful for it and treasure it.
‘whoever has, to him more will be given...’ – This is a very key principle in the Kingdom of Heaven [the principles of how the Lordship/Leadership of Jesus works] and it is also the principle Jesus explains in this passages. Notice the wording – the one who already has will be given more. We, as sinful humans, with the in-born will and drive to do what we want to do, didn’t come into this world with anything useful, so that’s not what Jesus is referring to. So, what is He saying? The person who hears Jesus teaching and receives it and puts it into practice, will be considered faithful enough to receive more – ‘whoever has [and is faithful with what he has], to him more will be given, and he will have an abundance...’ – God promises to entrust more to those who are faithful to study and follow His Word! That’s a neat promise! But, notice this principle works visa versa also: ‘but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.’ Notice, the consequence of something being taken away from him shows that he does have something. The context shows that this type of person heard the truth, but didn’t value it enough to obey or put it into practice. Notice, that Jesus is pretty hard on those who hear the truth and refuse to act on it. He warns them (and us) that whatever truth they did have and didn’t treasure will be taken away from them. This theme is woven through this chapter and explained in various ways.
Jesus then focuses on a prophecy God spoke through His prophet Isaiah foretelling that many would hear the words of God and would not seek out to understand, nor try to put them into practice. As we look around today, we see God’s prophecy through Isaiah is still accurate of many people in churches in America today – they come, they sit, hear the Word of God, then leave and gather with their friends and talk about the unimportant things and entertainment and such things that will be burned up in the blink of an eye [2nd Peter 3:10, 11] and will not matter in all of eternity. How tragic! It just emphasizes how much we must take His Word seriously – “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” - Colossians 3:2. Jesus gave a clear warning that any one of us can lose our life by setting our focus on the temporary things of Earth – “36For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? 37Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 4:36-37) Both of these verses clearly point out that we are deciding how much our soul and our eternity is valuable to us and many are exchanging their soul for something that will not last, but will cost them eternally.
“17for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.” – Again, Jesus is saying, hear these words! Put them into practice! For many have wanted to understand them and they couldn’t. Even the prophets who God used to prophecy about these days – they desired to understand these things you now see and hear but were not able because it wasn’t time. Wow – what a privilege we have! Now, we have the Word of God. We can access it. Many people all across America have multiple copies of the Word of God, but so few do more with what they find in His Word than read words, close their Bibles, and go on their own way. Jesus reminds us to hear His Words, value them, and put them into practice in our lives – seek His Wisdom out in prayer, asking Him to show us how to put His Words into practice in our lives. It is too easy for each of us to fall into the category of the ‘hearers and non-doers’.