Kingdom Reality 3: The Secret of the Kingdom: Part 3 Mark 4:18-20 Big Idea: God is preparing the field of people’s hearts to receive the seed of his Word. How people respond to hearing God’s word is an indication of the condition of their hearts. The Kingdom of God is God’s authority and ability to rule over any and all realms within the created order and beyond in order to bestow the blessings of his good and gracious kingdom on unworthy subjects for the purpose of displaying his glory to all peoples. 10 Kingdom Realities: God’s Kingdom takes priority. Jesus is Stronger! God is preparing hearts to receive his gospel. 4 Soils but only 2 Responses Rejection Immediate Rejection Immediate Reception but Eventual Rejection _________________ Rejection Mark 4:18–19 (ESV) — 18 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. Jesus is very clear that the evidence of true saving faith is a losing of our lives in this world so that we might find Christ in this life and the next. Matthew 16:24–26 (ESV) — 24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? What we know from Jesus and from the Apostles is that the true seed of the Word, which is planted in tilled and cultivated soil, will produce the fruit of self-sacrifice and self-denial. 2 Timothy 4:9–10 (ESV) — 9 Do your best to come to me soon. 10 For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica… In contrast the reference to Demas… is brief, almost curt. It is notable that while the earlier names in the closest parallel list of greetings have some descriptive phrase or comment appended, to personalize what might otherwise be a mere catalogue, the later names lack such elaborations (Rom. 16:14–16). The appropriate inference is that Paul did not know the individuals so well or feel so close to them. In this case Demas is not even described as “fellow worker” (as in Phm. 24). That all was not well between Paul and Demas is confirmed by one of the sadder personal notes in the Pauline corpus: “Demas, in love with the present world, has deserted me” (2 Tim. 4:10). Of Demas we hear nothing more in Christian tradition. Acceptance Mark 4:20 (ESV) — 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.” 1 Thessalonians 2:13 (ESV) — 13 And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers. This is the sign of true conversion, when we subject our thoughts, opinions, emotions, wills, preferences, privileges, yes even our own lives to the Word of God, and the object of the gospel, who is Jesus, the Son of God. A life given over to Jesus produces fruit that lasts into eternity.
Questions to Consider:
What are three things that the Lord uses to test the soil of our faith?
How do we know when true conversion has taken place?
How might you explain someone who entertains Christianity but then loses his or her faith because of the enticements of the World? What do they need?