Mark 4

January Memory Verse: Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. Mark 8:34 (NIV)

Read: Mark 4
Mark 4 revolves around the introduction of parables and also touches on the miracle of Jesus walking on the water. For the sake of this post, we are going to focus on the parable of sower, as well as the explanation Jesus offers of it. This parable really sets up the other parables that Jesus would use to proclaim the kingdom of God.

Verses 2-9 discuss the parable itself: a sower is going out to sow seed, and as he does, some of the seed naturally falls on different places on the ground:
• Some on the path where the birds devoured it.
• Some on rocky ground where it was scorched by the sun because of the lack of strong roots.
• Some on thorny ground where it would be choked out.
• Some in good soil that bore fruit.

What does this all mean? John MacArthur is helpful here: “Jesus explained that the seed is the gospel or “word of the kingdom”, the farmer is the evangelist, and the soil represents the heart of the hearer (Matthew 13:19). The evangelist scatters the seed—that is, explains the gospel to people—and some of those people believe and receive life. How this happens is a divine mystery to the evangelist. One thing is clear, however: though he is the human means, it does not ultimately depend on him. The power of the gospel is in the working of the Spirit, not in the style of the sower (Romans 1:16; 1 Thessalonians 1:5; 1 Peter 1:23). It is the Spirit of God who raises souls from death to life, not the methods or techniques of the messenger.”

The seed is the gospel and the soil determines how the person responds to the gospel, not the spreader of the seed. This should give us confidence in our evangelism to sow the seed and trust God to bring the fruit. We should certainly seek to be clear with the message of the gospel and pray for the person we’re sharing with to respond in repentance and belief, but we should ultimately trust God to do the work that we can’t.

And even though this is primarily about evangelism, we as believers in Christ should seek to have hearts toward the gospel that result in fruitfulness. Pray today that God would help you have a soft heart toward him and his Word.

Who are you praying that God would give you the opportunity to share the gospel with? Do you regularly pray that they would have a heart that would respond well to the gospel message?

How is your own heart toward God? Is it ready to bear spiritual fruit?

By: Graham Withers


Christy - January 8th, 2021 at 4:52am

Thank you, G

I pray for my father Mike, who has told me in regards to accepting God’s gift of Christ, “I’m not ready for that”. That his heart will be softened by The Holy Spirit and that witness from all those around him will bear fruit. I thank God that He is in charge.

Graham Withers - January 8th, 2021 at 11:04am

Praying with you Christy!

Molly - January 8th, 2021 at 5:26am

I usually think of this parable in terms of what kind of soil I am instead of, I’m the sower. I pray that I scatter the seed, regardless the ground on which it lands. I pray specifically for my friend Patty. Nourish and enrich her soil and get rid of the thorns choking her.

Graham Withers - January 8th, 2021 at 11:04am

Praying with you for Patty, Molly!

Mike Pepper - January 8th, 2021 at 5:28am

The seed sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plant soon wilted under the hot sun, and since it didn’t have deep roots, it died.

Discipleship = Deep Roots

I grew up in a small Baptist church that didn’t have any form of discipleship program other than Sunday School and what used to be called Training Union on Sunday nights before evening service. Sadly I saw this pattern many times where someone would accept Jesus and be saved only to fall away quickly. I am so glad God has blessed us with pastors who have a heart for discipleship. It is imperative that we have church members who are prepared and willing to give up their time to invest in the lives of new believers. If you are a believer who has never discipled anyone I encourage you to pray about this and ask for help. Our church has awesome resources written by our pastors to help new believers grew deep roots so that when persecution and the storms of this world strike they will not fall away. Thanks for the commentary Graham!

Lindsay R Crawford - January 8th, 2021 at 9:37am

This is so true Mike. I was that soil who quickly received the Gospel back in 1977, only to walk away 10 years later because I had no one to grow me in Christ. I am so very thankful that God was faithful and patient with me, drawing me back 30 years later and eventually planting me in a church where discipleship is a priority. Thank you Pastor Tim and staff for being so committed and faithful to God's calli

Lindsay R Crawford - January 8th, 2021 at 9:39am

God's calling (premature submission, lol)

Graham Withers - January 8th, 2021 at 11:05am

Good word, Mike. Discipleship must be a priority!

Norma White - January 8th, 2021 at 12:49pm

So true, Mike. Before coming to CPC, I also came from a church that didn't have discipleship. This is the hallmark of why I love CPC!

Korbet Finley - January 8th, 2021 at 6:00am

"'...lest they should turn and be forgiven.'" (Mark 4:12, ESV)

I pray to God who can make this happen in the lives of the unbelievers I'm around. I don't think they will believe without God moving in their lives first thus the need to pray for them and to watch for that choice moment when you can speak of Christ like a caring friend or member of the family. He is good isn't He? So good, in fact, that even the wind and the sea obey Him (v.41) so be emboldened in prayer and in outreach.

Be encouraged to hope by the parable of the mustard seed which yields salvation to believers and yields blessings to the unbeliever, (v.32). God's scope is so big it's worldwide and yet so local He says to you and me, v.24-25, a little effort will be blessed a little but more effort will be blessed more.

Graham Withers - January 8th, 2021 at 11:07am

The balance of praying for God to work in people's hearts and our responsibility to be faithful in sharing the gospel is so important Korbet!

Naomi Austin - January 8th, 2021 at 7:45am

I appreciate the reminder that our hearts need to remain soft to the Holy Spirit’s work even after salvation, so as to produce more fruit for God’s kingdom & glory! And that while praying for lost people and opportunities we should remember to also pray for the softening of their hearts so they’re ready to receive the Gospel message.

Graham Withers - January 8th, 2021 at 11:08am

Good thoughts Naomi!

Jordan Hampton - January 8th, 2021 at 8:10am

This passage is such a relief for me. So often, I feel like the ultimate responsibility and weight for the advancement of the Kingdom in my life is on my shoulders. By all means, as the passage explains, God has woven in my choice and obedience into His causality. But that's the great news. It is His causality. I don't have to worry about having every single answer and speaking with eloquence. I can focus on obedience, pray for greater heart change within myself, and trust God to use my life for His glory.

Graham Withers - January 8th, 2021 at 11:09am

God's sovereignty should absolutely bring comfort to us!

Scottie Frans - January 8th, 2021 at 8:28am

Adam Dixon, who was the director of EKU Cru when I was there, and who is also a former member of CPC, once told me (he called this classic Cru) “Success in evangelism is taking the initiative to share the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit and leaving the results to God.” I’m reminded of that quote when I read this parable. As long as we are doing that, God will take care of the rest. There will be people who don’t receive it, there will be those who do and accept him. It doesn’t matter what ground the seed falls on, we are called to share, and God will direct it where it needs to go so long as we are faithful to share. Great words, Graham!

Graham Withers - January 8th, 2021 at 11:09am

Love that quote Scottie!

Rasheed Flowers - January 8th, 2021 at 8:35pm


Lindsay R Crawford - January 8th, 2021 at 9:49am

To remember that we are to submit and let Him do the work is so important. Thinking it's up to us is what stops us from sharing the Gospel because we think we're not able. It's a vicious cycle centered in a works mentality. Being human is so frustrating most of the time. I have to remind myself to just be willing and leave the rest to Him who is more than desiring and capable. I have a long list of unsaved family, friends and acquaintances that I pray for regularly. It sometimes takes so very long, but it's exciting to wait and see what God is doing in their lives.

Graham Withers - January 8th, 2021 at 11:10am

It's important to strike the balance: we pray and share while simultaneously trusting God to work and move!

Emily Lavender - January 8th, 2021 at 5:27pm

I am praying for two Fazoli’s “drive-thru friends” (Dot and Heather) and an old neighbor, Molly.

Today’s post was great encouragement to continue praying for both my heart and their heart. Thanks, Graham!

Reva - January 8th, 2021 at 9:54pm

I love the twist on this as well. I always wonder where I am in this story, but need to be the spreader of the Word. Praying for the salvation of Molly, Debbie, Kathy T and Beth.

Tim Parsons - January 9th, 2021 at 5:32am

I’m late to the game... great reminder Graham of our part in everything - the Gospel, evangelism, growth - we plant through the power of the Holy Spirit alone, we maintain a fertile heart the loving God and Obeying His Word, and God brings the results.

Erin Short - January 9th, 2021 at 5:43pm

I am continually praying for my coworker Emma and her husband Nate to have soft hearts and receive Jesus!

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