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The Fruitless Christian?

6/11/17 The Fruitless Christian?: Mark 4:1-20

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Imagine a lush garden of green vines and plants, but upon closer inspection there is no fruit. Along the side of the garden are dead plants, some grew more than others, but they eventually shriveled and died before they produce anything useful. While this may describe some of our attempts at gardening, this is an unsuccessful garden. Tomato plants that don’t produce tomatoes, even though they might grow tall and green, are only good to be cut down and added to the compost bin.

 

Jesus told the Parable of the Four Soils in Mark 4:1-20 in order to explain the different responses to his ministry. Some people scoffed, while others were mildly interested but ultimately fell away. Still others worked to find a “middle way,” where they could follow Jesus while still pursuing their own passions. But there was a small group whose lives were transformed as he preached the gospel of the Kingdom and as he demonstrated his power to offer such remarkable promises.

Even Jesus’ use of parables was meant to demonstrate that not all who followed him were true disciples. Parables were not meant to make clear what is confusing. Instead, they demonstrated the very message of the Parable of the Soils – only some people will receive the Word of God in a way that bears fruit.

Do you hear the Word of God an immediately look for ways to argue against it? Consider whether or not you believe in God at all, or if you only deified your own opinions.

Does your faith waver depending on your feelings? Send your roots into the gospel and discover a new viewpoint on the world.

Do you love Jesus but you’re so busy and preoccupied with “real life” that you don’t have much time for discipleship and ministry? You need to pray for God to remove the thorns.

Do you receive the Word of God and desire to make Christ known? Good plants multiply, Christians should too.

This isn’t a parable to force disciples into evangelism. Instead, it’s a parable to explain that people who receive the gospel in faith will evangelize and produce “fruit.” When you honestly consider your life, your priorities, and your desires… what stands out? Do you desire to know Christ and make him known, pursuing opportunities as God provides? Or is your life tangled up in this thorny world? Pray that the Lord would till the soil, clear the stones and thorns, and fertilize the ground so that his Word would bear much fruit in us and through us.

 

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