TITLE: SOUL WINNING 101
TEXT: MARK 4:1-25
Jesus tells us in verse 13 of the Parable of the Sower (or Seed) that if we do not understand this parable then we will never understand any of the other things that He teaches us in His other parables. It is like buttoning a shirt, if you don’t get the first button right, the rest of the buttons are unable to line up.
1. The Sower is Jesus and those who share the Word of God
2. The Seed is the Word of God the Sower Broadcasts
3. The Soils represent the hearts of mankind and their different responses to the Word of God
I. THE HEARTS WHICH the SOWER WILL ENCOUNTER (Mark 2-9; 14-20)
A.The Calloused Heart (4:3;13)
Those who absolutely no interest or appreciation for the Word of God
B. The Casual Heart (4:4; 16,17)
Those who show interest in the message, but are not serious or truly repentant.
C. The Cluttered heart (4:7; 18,19)
Like the Casual Heart, these are the people who give lip service to Jesus, but have never truly repented and who still have their hearts filled with self interests that compete with the Word of God and leave no place for the Word of God in their lives.
D. The Committed Heart (4:8; 20)
These are those whom the Word of God has enlightened to see the reality who Jesus is, their spiritual condition, the choice of eternities. These are those who truly repent and commit their heart to Jesus and their lives to following Him and obeying His Word.
II. THE HEARTS WHICH the SEED WILL ENLIGHTEN (4:5-8; 16-20)
You will notice that it was only the Calloused Heart (wayside soil) that showed no understanding and appreciation for the Word of God. Even though the Causal Heart and the Cluttered Heart were not serious, they did show an initial understanding and appreciation of the Word of God, just as the Committed Heart did.
III. THE HEART to WHICH the SEED WILL BECOME an ENIGMA
(4:4; 12; 14)
What had happened to make the Calloused Heart so hardened that it had no ability to understand the Word of God? What happened to the Calloused Heart that it no longer had any interest in hearing the Word of God? What happened to the Calloused Heart that it had even become antagonistic towards Word of God? What happened to the Calloused Heart that he now said to himself that the Word of God was for the birds?
The answer is simple, like Pharaoh hardened his heart by continually rejecting the commands of God which Moses delivered, so has this person done and as the Lord finally and deliberately hardened Pharaoh’s heart so that he would never be able to repent and be saved, so does the Lord warn that He will do to all of those who follow in his steps.
“And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind” [John 9:39]
John 9:39 tells us that when a person willfully rejects the Word of God a judicial blindness begins to take place, where it gets more difficult from then on to be capable of recognizing and responding to truth, until you finally come to the point where you will become totally blind to truth. That is the person with the calloused heart.
I have heard many commentators talk about how the hardened heart needs to be softened, but there is little doubt that the hard heart that Jesus is speaking of here had at one time been the Casual or Cluttered heart who had made a shallow decision for Jesus, but became hardened as they took offense that Jesus would allow suffering to enter their life, or as in the case of the Cluttered Heart, they became hardened by the constant competition between obeying their flesh or the Word of God. Taking offense towards Jesus and constantly denying the Word of God to gratify their flesh had hardened their hearts to the point that they finally totally rejected Jesus and any desire to obey His Word. They finally came to the point that the Lord knew that they had become so hardened that they were never going to be willing to be saved. Just as the wayside soil became hardened by months and years of people walking upon it, so had their hearts become hardened by months and years of their trampling upon the Word of God.
Too often the modern day sowers of the Word are guilty of telling their hearers that there is nothing they can do that will cause God to stop loving them, leaving them with the impression that there is no danger in their continual rejection of Jesus and the message of the Gospel; there will always be time and space to repent when they come to that point, not realizing that every time they reject Jesus the chances lessen that they will ever come to that point.
There is grave danger in willful rejection of Jesus and I think as we see the hardness towards the Word of God of generations of once enlightened Americans, we must conclude that it is quite probable that Jesus has purposely and permanently hardened their hearts and blinded their eyes to truth and abandoned them to judgment.
The Word of God has become a Enigma (unable to understand) to much of America. There is a hardness and hostility in our nation towards the Word of God that I have never before seen in my 36 years of preaching th Gospel.
The Church and especially her preachers need to go back to Soul Winning 101 and get a grip on what we are seeing in our nation. We need to once again declare the Grace of God that leaves a sinner at the mercy of God and stop giving the sinner the impression that they have God at their mercy.
We need to redouble our efforts to reach a generation that is still tender and open to receiving the Gospel and yes, we must be realistic, millions of Americans have now SINNED AWAY THEIR DAY OF GRACE.
Maybe this should be the next sermon you preach to your people. It would do them no harm to put the fear of God in their hearts once again; God help the preacher who fails to do so!