Mark 4:3-14, KJV
“The sower soweth the word,” said Jesus. And that Word of God, He said, produces fruit, “a crop.” The Lord is telling us in these parables to share His Word with people, and it has the potential to bear fruit in their lives and to lead to an abundant harvest.
He has commissioned us to be seed-sowers. The field is the world, Jesus said in another parable (Matthew 13:38). Christ’s command that we be sowers of the seed of His Word in all the world is an early hint at His later Great Commission: “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15). It’s similar in Luke 24:49, where Jesus directs His disciples into ministry in which “repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”
Many Scriptures describe Christ’s followers as His chosen vessels to sow the seed of God’s Word in all the world. And you begin at your own “Jerusalem” (Acts 1:8). That is, right where you live and have your family, your friends, your work and your schools. Jesus has called you to share His life-giving Word with those in whose hearts He has given you an audience. Start at your Jerusalem, right there where you have people who know and respect you and are likely to at least listen courteously to you. You certainly don’t have to ignore the stranger. But centuries of experience have proven that usually those most likely to allow you to share the Word with them are those whom you know (family, friends, coworkers, etc.). Many have aptly described this as “network evangelism” — sharing the Word with those in your relational networks. And it has proven to be powerfully effective.
So, to recap, we are called by the Lord to be sowers of His Word-seed into the soil of other people’s hearts. Why? What happens when we do that?
The Living Bible says that “whatever God says to us is full of living power … cutting swift and deep into our innermost thoughts and desires … exposing us for what we really are.”
God’s Word is living, it is powerful, it goes deep into our innermost being, discerning and exposing our most secret thoughts and desires. As you share God’s Word with people, you will see it cut through the red tape of people’s lives and will get right to the heart of the matter they are dealing with. Perhaps they’ve been ignoring God’s free offer of salvation. Or they might be suffering the grief of a terribly broken relationship with someone. Or some secret sin of the past or present may be crippling them from experiencing a victorious life.
To these and countless other issues, the word of the Lord has answers. As God’s Spirit guides you to share appropriate Scriptures, you will see that spoken Word pierce deep into the very matters they are dealing with. Remember, the Word is living, it is powerful, and like a Divine Surgeon’s scalpel it works its way into our innermost being and thoughts. Speak it forth, and watch and marvel at how effectively it works!
The Lord’s words are “spirit and life.” They are “spirit” — not limited to man’s essentially carnal intellect and his human abilities. Remember Hebrews 4:12. God’s word pierces deeply, even to discerning and dividing between soul and spirit. And Jesus reminds us, in the context of the words and truths that He has spoken, that “the flesh is no help at all.” That’s why (please permit a personal testimony) I earned 37 semester credits in college in Theology and Philosophy, but was still not saved! Why? Because I strained it all through my faulty intellect rather than opening my inner being, my soul and spirit, to the life-giving Word of God imparted by His Spirit.
And His Word indeed is life. When impressed upon our own spirits by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:16), God’s Word is able to bring life within us. In Romans, Paul is telling us that “the Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit” (8:16, ESV). It is on the spiritual level — the Holy Spirit speaking to our spirit — that life comes from the Word of God to us. Again, as Jesus said, “the flesh is no help at all.”
This is a very encouraging word from God. He tells us that His word is like the rain from above (vs. 10) that falls from the heavens and nourishes earth’s crops. God’s word, like the rain, gets things done! The Lord guarantees us that His word will not fail; it will not return empty to Him. His word will accomplish what God desires. And it will achieve the purpose for which God intends it.
This tells me that the Word of God is not just random and haphazard. No! It is sharply focused. (1) It represents what God desires, and (2) God’s word has a purpose intended by God.
Are you ministering to someone who is ill? Be encouraged! God has many Scriptures about divine healing that represent His desire to heal and His purpose to do that. Look up some of those verses on healing in the Bible and speak them in faith to the sick person. That Word of God spoken to them by you will “not return to [God] empty … it will accomplish … and achieve [His] purpose.” To help you in this matter of healing, I have posted on my website a short, one-page summary of divine healing. I believe you will find it powerfully effective as you speak God’s word to the sick and see their faith grow for God’s healing touch.
Dads and moms, sow the Word of God into the minds, hearts, and spirits of your children. This is one of your supremely important duties as a parent. Each of your sons and daughters must make his or her own personal decision to come to Jesus as Savior and to serve the Lord throughout their lifetime.
They will not go to heaven just because they were born to you, but because you have filled their young hearts with God’s saving Word. And that Word of God will bring them to eternal life in Christ. The apostle Peter tells us that we are “born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God” (1 Peter 1:23). Throughout their young years, our four children heard God’s Word from my wife and me in various ways, including regular Bible study. It bore fruit! All four of them today (2018) as adults are walking devotedly with the Lord and are raising their own children to know and serve Him too. Again, dads and moms, take the time out from the TV and newspaper and hobbies to spend time with your children in the Word of God, the Bible. Sow the Word-seed in their hearts for a crop lasting for eternity.
Although this verse seems to be aimed at new Christians (“newborn babes”), the principle is universally applicable — “Desire … the word [of God], that you may grow thereby.” God’s Word, the Scriptures of the Bible, will take us on a journey from our spiritual birth and infancy toward spiritual maturity. In a few months I’ll celebrate and thank God for 50 years as a born-again believer. My wife has been saved even longer. But she and I dedicate about an hour, sometimes more, each day to studying the Bible together. We make this a priority, usually right after breakfast. Why? Because we are very much aware of how much room there still remains in each of us for further growth and maturing in the things of the Lord. And His Word, illuminated by His Spirit, is the primary tool God has given us in that ongoing quest to mature further in our Christian walk.
God’s Word — not just heard, but heard and put into practice — allows you to build your house (and your life!) on the unshakable foundation of the Lord’s eternal Word. In the parable, Jesus speaks of the storms and floods coming. But your house stands, because it is unshakably built on an eternal foundation, God’s Word. As you navigate the joys and sorrows, the ups and downs, of life in this world, learn God’s Word and put it into practice in your life. Then as you face your own “storms,” you will find a solid foundation under you that will unshakably withstand the floods and tempests.
A great example of this is seen in Jesus’ 40-day fast in the wilderness (Luke 4:1-13). During those forty days (vs. 2) he was tempted by the devil. Three of those temptations are listed, and they were clearly very powerful. However, Jesus came through with sinless victory in every temptation. How? He based His responses (vss. 4,8,10) on God’s Word. To each of the temptations mentioned, the Lord replied, “It is written!” and He quoted the Word of God, the Bible. The Scriptures learned and put into practice will provide an invincible foundation for your life in resisting the attacks and temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil.
To his spiritual son Timothy, the apostle Paul commanded, “Preach the word!” We have seen above just some of the multifaceted blessings that are contained in the Word of God. There are many more. Like Timothy, we would be wise to take the apostle’s counsel and approach each day with a hope that we can share the Word of the Lord with someone — perhaps our children, a friend, a coworker, maybe even a stranger.
Let’s all determine to obey God’s command relayed through the prophet Jeremiah: “Let him who has my word speak my word faithfully” (Jeremiah 23:28). We have the Lord’s powerful Word. Let’s be faithful to speak it to a 21st-century world that seems to be fulfilling the Lord’s prophecy of “a famine … of hearing the words of the Lord” (Amos 8:11). All around you are men, women, and children destined for an eternal hell for lack of hearing the life-giving Word of the Lord. And there are others who are going through specific trials in their lives for which there are solutions in God’s holy Word. What can we do? — “Speak [His] word faithfully” to them. As Jesus said, sow the seed of His Word. It has the power to change their lives forever!
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©2018, James H. Feeney.
Pentecostal Sermons and
Bible Studies by
Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.