Etabag: What kind of ground are you?

IN THE 4th chapter of Mark, the Lord Jesus Christ talked about the Parable of the Sower.

A parable is actually an earthly illustration with an important spiritual message. Our Lord Jesus gave a lot of Parables during His earthly ministry.

His disciples asked Him one time why He was talking in parables, “And he said unto them, Unto you, it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them,” Mark 4:11-12.

The Lord was saying that for those who do not belong to Him, He must talk to them in simple illustrations because they cannot understand the mysteries of the Word of God. By using illustrations or short stories, they might be able to understand the message and will turn to God for the forgiveness of their sins.

Let us take time to read the Parable. “Then Jesus began to teach again beside the sea. Such a large crowd gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while the entire crowd remained beside the sea on the shore. He began teaching them many things in parables. While he was teaching them he said, "Listen! A farmer went out to sow. As he was sowing, some seeds fell along the path, and birds came and ate them up. Others fell on stony ground, where they did not have a lot of soil. They sprouted at once because the soil wasn't deep. But when the sun came up, they were scorched.

Since they did not have any roots, they dried up. Others fell among thorn bushes, and the thorn bushes came up and choked them out, and they did not produce anything. But others fell on good soil and produced a crop. They grew up, increased in size, and produced 30, 60, or 100 times what was sown."
(Mark 4:1-8 ISV)

The Lord Jesus also told them the meaning of the parable, “Then he told them, You don't understand this parable, so how can you understand any of the parables? The farmer sows the word. Some people are like the seeds along the path, where the word is sown. When they hear it, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that was sown in them.

Others are like the seeds sown on the stony ground. When they hear the word, at once they joyfully accept it, but since they don't have any roots, they last for only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes along because of the word, they immediately fall away. Still, others are like the seeds sown among the thorn bushes.

These are the people who hear the word, but the worries of life, the deceitful pleasures of wealth, and the desires for other things come in and choke the word so that it can't produce a crop. Others are like the seeds sown on good soil. They hear the word, accept it, and produce crops—30, 60, or 100 times what was sown,"
(Mark 4:13-20 ISV)

There are four kinds of people that the Lord is referring to in this parable that will help us understand where we stand. It is important that we evaluate ourselves in the light of what the Lord is saying so we will know what our position is in the sight of God.

This is about our attitude on how we reply to the preaching of the Word of God.

The first one refers to those who are not interested in the preaching of the Word of God. The seed of the Word of God fell into the wayside or in a hard trail and Satan quickly takes over, diverts their attention, and blinds them so they cannot receive the Gospel.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians about this: “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world (referring to Satan) hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them,” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).

The second one refers to those who were excited to hear the Word of God and profess to accept it, but it did not grow because it did not take root and when persecutions and trials come, they turn away and stop following Christ.

Paul said, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving,” Colossians 2:6-7.

These are the professing Christians. They profess to have believed in Christ only in their head but not in their hearts.

The third one refers to people who heard the preaching of the Gospel, accepted it, and gave themselves to Christ but because of so many things that came to their lives, as mentioned like worries, deceitful riches, and the lust of other things, they did not grow in their faith. They become unfruitful believers of our Lord Jesus Christ.

They are saved but not fruitful. Our Lord Jesus emphasized in John 15 that God desires fruit in the lives of His children. The things of this world will hinder our fruitfulness.

The last one refers to those who heard the Gospel, accepted it, and surrendered their lives in obedience to Christ and the result is that they produce fruits that give glory to God. Our Lord Jesus said, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5).

In conclusion, you should ask yourself what kind of ground you are. Are you a hard ground that the seed of the Word of God cannot penetrate so the Devil eats up the Word and find yourself lost in the presence of God?

Are you a stony ground that the Word of God cannot enter your heart and can stay only in your mind for a short time and it’s gone? Are you a thorny ground that as the Word of God grows in your heart and starts to bear fruits, the troubles and desires of temporary riches and things render you unfruitful?

Or are you a good ground that receives the Word of God and submits your life to the Lord in sweet obedience and becomes a fruitful believer?

Let us examine ourselves in the light of this parable.

“If any man have ears to hear, let him hear,” (Mark 4:23).

God bless you.*


Pastor Pedro Etabag is the regional director of Lifeword-Asia Pacific and senior pastor of Tangub Missionary Baptist Church in Bacolod City.


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