The Fertile Ground

Give thought and prayer to making sure that other people understand you when you talk about Jesus.


Scripture: Mark 4:10-20

Transcript

Alright thank you very much, and hello again dear radio friends. How in the world are you? Yes, that greeting establishes the fact that this is indeed your friend Dr. Cook and that I’m glad to be back with you, to share from the Word of God. We’re looking at the gospel of Mark of these days, and we’ve come now chapter 4, where the Lord Jesus gives the parable of the sewer and the seed. The one thing that distinguishes born from above born-again people, from unsaved people, is that the Holy Spirit of God enables them to understand. “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for their foolishness unto Him, neither can they know Him for because they are spiritually discerned but he that is spiritual discerneth all things”. Jesus said unto you, “You disciples, you believers”, you born-again-er’s, “unto you it is given to know that mystery of the kingdom of God, but unto them that are outside, unsaved people, all these things are done in parables”. Does God willingly keep anybody from salvation? Of course not, but He does reserve the right to make the rules and one of His rules is you must be born again. Nicodemus was asking how and which an how can this be, when he came to visit the Lord Jesus Christ. Our Savior said, “Marvel not that I said unto thee, you must be born again”, who’s talking? The one who built the world is the one who flung the stars out in space, and the one who keeps everything going by the word of His power, all things are held together, by the word of his power, Paul says. That person the Lord Jesus Christ, is the one who says, be born again, and when by faith you open your heart and life and your mind to the Lord Jesus, you’re going to understand a great many things, because the Holy Spirit of God comes to dwell in the believer. Jesus said, “When he the spirit of truth is come He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I’ve said unto you. The function of the indwelling Holy Spirit is to explain to you things that the ordinary, unsaved mind, simply cannot grasp.

Years ago, it was my duty to do the newspaper writing for newspaper articles for Youth for Christ. In those days Torrey Johnson was President of Youth for Christ International. I was his assistant pastor, song leader, gopher, and the publicist, and in that letter capacity, I visited newspaper offices almost daily. In conversation with these people, they would ask two questions, first of all they’d say, “What’s your angle Cook? You guys have to have an angle”, and I try patiently to explain to the individual asking, that we didn’t really have an angle, we wanted to get young people off the street, and under the sound of the gospel, so their lives could be changed and then we wanted to send them back to the Bible, preaching Christ, honoring church of their choice, so they could grow in the Christian life. And the second question that they’d ask would explain with it, theyask me to explain to them what we meant by being saved, and what we meant by trusting Christ, and then again I would try as best I might, to explain. How often, I would have these people, very smart people, have to be smart in order to have reached the place of prominence in newspaper work that they had gained, smart people they were, but they’d look at me in bafflement and they’d shake their heads and they’d say, “Cook, I just don’t get it. I just don’t get it”. Now you see, that’s the problem. The human heart has to say yes to Jesus Christ in submission and interested in commitment before understanding comes. The old saying, “I’m from Missouri show me and I’ll believe”. God says, you believe and I’ll show you. He turns it around and he reserves the right to keep, to make the rules and you and I have to obey them, and that’s number one in the rules of transformed living. Well anyhow, the disciples said, “Well, please explain this to us”, and our Savior did. He said “The people, the people that are exemplified by the seed that fell by the wayside, where folk were walking, and the soil was hard packed, and the seeds just lay there on the hard packed ground. These are they by the wayside where the word is sown, and when they heard Satan cometh immediately and take of the way the word that was sown in their hearts”. If you go over to Matthew’s Gospel, Matthew tells the same story but with a little different detail, and the it’s worth noting that in this instance he says, in Matthew 13, I think it ought to be about 19, let’s look and see if that’s right. Yea, 13:19, “When anyone here at the word of the kingdom and understand it not, understand it not”, there is the key, “then cometh the wicked one and catch it the way that which was sown in the heart “. And then you go to the 23rd verse of Matthew 13, and he’s talking about the good ground, “He that received seed into the good ground is he that hear the word and understand it, which bear it fruit and bring it forth”. Some a hundredfold, some 60, some 30. It would seem that understanding the message is very important in this matter of spiritual fruitfulness, so that you and I ought to give great attention, it would seem to me, to the matter of helping other people understand what we’re saying.

The average person on the street doesn’t understand what it means to be born again. He doesn’t understand our language that involves justification and sanctification and free will and election and predestination, and at all that, you know. He doesn’t understand that. All he knows is that his life is a mess, and his heart is aching, and or maybe’s broke or maybe his job is involved or whatever, or maybe he’s involved in a triangular relationship, where his home’s threatened. He isn’t interested in our verbiage, he’s interested in somehow getting help in his situation, and so we need really to give a great deal of attention, to making sure that people understand what we’re talking about. Would you think about that in your own relationships? You know, the idea of communication is it is so important at home, and in the community, and in school and on-the-job. The salesman soon learns, the old adage, “It’s not what you say, it’s within the other person hears that counts”. It’s not what you say, it’s with the other fella hears that counts. You have to say what you say, so he’ll hear what you want him to hear. Well, that works not only in sales, but in every part of all of life. What have you been saying to your family, that they really heard? You profess to be a Christian, but you lose your temper regularly. What have you been saying to them? That Christ may be a savior of sorts, but that He isn’t much good in helping dad hold his temper, or you may have been professing to be a Christian, but you are mother, you are prone to trim the truth now and again, when talking to other people. What are you saying really to your family, that Christ may indeed be a savior, but He’s not much help in making people tell the truth, or that He isn’t important, to tell the truth. You see the point I’m making? That people should understand the gospel, means that we have to be living demonstrations of how it works. Paul said to Timothy, “Let no man despise thy youth, but be thou an example of the believers, in word”, that means what you say, “in conversation”, is an old word meaning lifestyle, in what you say in your lifestyle, “in charity, in spirit, in faith and in purity”. You be an example of what Christ can do in a human life, in what you say and how you live, in the quality of Calvary love in your life, in faith, the of the ability to be plugged into heaven’s switchboard, in purity, the ability to live a holy life in a dirty world, you be an example of that, and when people see that and the hear the gospel message from those lips, they’re going to understand it. You follow me there? What are you really saying to people beloved? It’s not just what you say with your lips, it’s what you’re saying with your life, as well, and are they understanding what you’re saying to them?

I’ve had occasion through my life, to deal with hundreds and thousands of young people. I found that one of the complaints that young people have, is that their parents never listen to them and that when their parents spoke to them, it appears that the young person’s didn’t really get what the parent was trying to say. I would ask sometimes, “Did you understand what your father was trying to get across to you?”, “Oh, no. He’s just yelling at me”, you know, and then I would say, “Well, what seems to be your real complaint?”, and then so often the young man or young woman would say, “Well, my mother and dad never listen to me. They never listen to me”. In other words what the youngster was saying wasn’t getting across to the parents, and vice versa. “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and understand that not”, Matthew said, “then Satan takes away the word”, so be sure, will you, that people understand what you’re trying to put across, concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. If your Sunday school teacher makes sure that your illustrations really illustrate, and if you’re a preacher, make sure that your message, although it may be doctrinally correct in your outline, is beautifully laid out, just make sure that what you’re saying is for people, something they can grasp and say, “Oh, now I understand”. Would you do that? Give thought and prayer to making sure that other people understand you when you talk about Jesus. All right? Well, we went on the last time we got together and touched base on these other points. The people on stony ground, those that have no depth for their decision, when affliction or persecution arises, they are offended and they drop out. Twodangers, two tests to change the figure speech, that than the person who wants to trust Christ as Savior is going to face. One is, troubles do come to everyone and if you allow them, they threaten your faith, but if you have really committed yourself to the Lord Jesus Christ, troubles drive you closer to Christ, and then persecution does come to everyone who professes faith in Christ. You’re not always shot at sunrise, it isn’t always kind of drastic persecution, but it’s there and unless you have a deep commitment to Christ, that kind of pressure’s is going to discourage you and you’re going to dropout. Shallow ground, and then the thorns, you know the riches and cares of this life. If you start caring more for money and the things it can buy, than for Jesus, you’re in danger of your faith, and then finally those on good ground. Well, let’s make sure that our hearts beloved, years and mine, are what Jesus called good ground for the seed of the word. By the way, your character and your Christian life generally, is going to reflect exactly the time that you spend with God’s word. Much time in God’s word and prayer, much power and blessing, little time and God’s word and prayer, little power and little blessing. Do remember that, will you? Spend time every day with God’s word and in prayer.

Now, let us pray together. Our heavenly Father, today, we want to be the kind of people who receive the word of God into good ground and who bear fruit unto life everlasting. Oh, make us that kind of believers, I ask in Jesus’ name, Amen. Well, that’s all for now.

Until I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!



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