Extraordinary or Should I Say Extreme
1. Soils and Hearts – Introduction
2. Can't Hear Won't Hear – the first soil
3. Self-Interest Conversion – the second soil
4. The Double Minded – the third soil
Today’s installment is on the fourth type of Soil. The Parable of the Soils can be found in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke for this writing I will mainly be referring to the account of Mark 4: 1-20.
Let’s begin with the words of our Lord. “But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred” (Mark 4:8). The first thing note worthy about this crop is it is unusual. Anyone broadcasting seed on a field could expect that some seed would fall by the wayside and be eaten by birds, some would fall on rocky ground and spring up quickly then die, some would fall among the weeds and thorns not yielding a crop; these results are expected and very ordinary for seed spread across a field. What is unusual is the fourth type of soil, it is unheard of to spread seed across a field and yield a crop of thirty, sixty, or a hundred times what was planted; it is super natural. Jesus said this as a wow factor, no one planting crops would ever expect to yield a crop so large, and in fact a crop seven times what was planted would have been considered extraordinary, such is the way of God.
Our Lord explains this parable to His disciples in private: “But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred” (Mark 4:20). Those that have good soil, whose hearts are prepared by the Lord to receive His word, respond in a completely unusual way, it is extraordinary or should I say extreme. The first three soils, the first three responses to hearing the gospel are self-centered and self motivated, while the fourth response is selfless outside of self. Jonathon Edwards said in Religious Affections written in 1776: “The chief evidence of conversion is a humble broken hearted love for God”. Not a love for self but a love for God, not a love for God because of what he can give them but an unconditional love for their Lord. They are poorer in spirit, more mournful, meeker. They know that their hearts are deceitfully wicked that they are unclean before their righteous and Holy God. They want heaven yes but more than that they want to be clean. They hate sin and it is an unusual hatred of sin, most people hate sin when it is someone else’s but love their own sin, that is usual or normal; but these people hate their own sin more than anyone else’s, that is unusual and extreme. The Apostle Paul says it beautifully: “But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God” (2 Corinthians 4:2). They live a life marked by repentance, they renounce sin in every form: thought, word, deed and long for and desire to be rid of it regardless of the cost to themselves, they deny themselves take up their cross daily and follow Jesus; even if it may cost them money, their job, their friends, their family, or even their lives. They are heavenly minded, they do not love the world but love the kingdom of God. They love the Word of God, no one has to talk them into reading the Bible, they long to hear His Word and meditate on it day and night. “I will meditate on your precepts, And contemplate Your ways. I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word” (Psalm 119:15-16). Not only do they want to hear from God they talk to God all the time, they have a life marked by prayer, “pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18). Not only do they love God with everything they have they also love their neighbors, not only their neighbors but their enemies (those who don’t like them), “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). They are concerned for the lost and find some way of being involved with evangelism even if no one else is, “Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you're not saved yourself, be sure of that” (Charles H. Spurgeon)! “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). Are these people sinless? No they are not and would be the first to tell you so, but their hearts desire is to be sinless. The world jumps into sin feet first, these people fall into sin against their will and once they realize that they have sinned; they come before their Lord with a contrite and broken spirit, with much anguish and pain confessing their sins.
You may look at this and say, no way, that is unusual and extreme, and you are correct it is and it is a life that has been transformed by the Spirit of God. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). These people have met The Creator God and are forever changed. “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him” (John 14:21). I ask you this question; do you know that you are a sinner? Have you become aware of your affliction, have you looked into your heart and realized that your heart is deceitfully wicked and you are an unclean thing before God? If you haven’t realized your sinful state before God, then I encourage you to read the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) God’s moral law, while doing so, know that God is Spirit, he is more concerned with your heart more concerned with the sins you think than your physical sin, so when you read the moral law ask yourself. Have I broken these in my heart? Know that God sees anger is murder, and lust as adultery. If after doing so you realize that you are a sinner, do what Peter said to do “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19). Jesus the Son of God was sacrificed on the cross for your sins and offers you cleansing from your sins, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18). Jesus was without sin and was sacrificed on the cross for sin. If you will today repent (turn from sin and turn to Jesus in faith) trusting alone in Jesus Christ, all of your sins will be wiped away, he will take your sins upon himself and His goodness will be imputed to you. When God sees you he will no longer see a sinner but will see Jesus Christ.
Next week I will explain why I wrote about "The Parable of the Soils" and tell you what God has revealed to me in this parable.
Repent of your sins and trust alone in Jesus Christ,
Mike Peek a slave of Jesus Christ