As we continue in our faith series, we are going to look at the four soils for faith found in Mark chapter four. In Matthew’s account of the story in the Amplified Classic it says the same kind of seed. This teaching has nothing to do with the seed but the soil it is planned in. The Word of God has the ability to work the same for everybody, it’s what we do (or don’t do) with the Word that affects the outcome.
Let’s read Mark 4:3-12, then we will dig into the explanation. Mark 4:3-12 MEV ““Listen! And take note: A sower went out to sow. As he sowed, some seed fell beside the path, and the birds of the air came and devoured it. Some seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and soon it sprang up because it did not have deep soil. But when the sun rose, it was scorched. And because it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. And other seed fell on good ground, and it yielded grain that sprang up and increased by thirty, sixty, or a hundred times as much.” Then He said to them, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” When He was alone, those who were around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable. He said to them, “To you is given the secret of the kingdom of God, but to those who are outside, everything is said in parables, so that ‘seeing they may see, and not perceive, and hearing they may hear and not understand; lest they should turn, and their sins be forgiven them.’ ””
Now before we move into the explanation, I want us to take not of a few things. The seed sown on rocky ground did not have much soil and it sprang up quickly because it did not have deep soil, it had no roots. I mentioned in part one that a big key in faith is to continually hear and feed on the Word. Jesus said we needed to abide in the Word. That is key to being good soil.
Mark 4:13-20 MEV “Then He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? The sower sows the word. These are those beside the path, where the word is sown. But when they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word which is sown in their hearts. Others, likewise, are seed sown on rocky ground, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness, but have no root in themselves, and so endure for a time. Afterward, when affliction or persecution rises for the word’s sake, immediately they fall away. And others are seed sown among thorns, the ones who hear the word. But the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. Still others are seed sown on good ground, those who hear the word, and receive it, and bear fruit: thirty, sixty, or a hundred times as much.”
The first soil that is mentioned is “those beside the path”. Keep in mind what we saw last time, that faith is not just a salvation thing, but a everyday lifestyle. The just shall live by faith (Habakkuk 2:4). If you are beside the path, you aren’t fully committed to walking by faith in every area. Jesus said the enemy comes immediately to take away the Word. If we are not committed to the life of faith and committed to walking by the Word, everything we hear of it will be stolen from us.
The second soil is rocky ground. Verses sixteen and seventeen again. “Seed sown on rocky ground, who, when they hear the word, immediately, receive it with gladness, but have no root in themselves, and so endure for a time. Afterward, when affliction or persecution rises for the word’s sake, immediately they fall away”.
Thayer says that this group of people have “but a superficial experience of divine truth, has not permitted it to make its way into the uttermost recesses of his soul.” We could say you love the emotion of Church but don’t want the commitment of the lifestyle.
What happens? They received it with joy. The problem is, they have no root, no depth of the Word. Afterward, affliction and persecution comes because of the Word. We have to realize that we have an enemy and he is not going to let us receive and walk in the promises of God without a fight.
The word affliction is Strong’s #2346 meaning pressure and trouble. The enemy will put something in your path to see if you really believe. You heard a message on healing so the next morning you wake up with a headache, do you really believe? Are you going to confess the word or go get an aspirin? The enemy will hit us with little things just to see if and where we stand.
Persecution has a root of Strong’s #1169 meaning timidity or fear. This is where the rubber meets the road with faith. How many times have we heard that life and death are in the power of the tongue and the enemy comes and says, do you realize how stupid you sound confessing all that stuff, look at your life, you don’t have any of that. Vision board!? Ha, you can never have that, you can never accomplish that. Instead of responding WITH THE WORD and saying, I am not moved by sight and faith takes it we can become intimidated by his words and fearful of what others will think of what we say or what we are believing for.
Full faith, which will get to in a moment, doesn’t allow for fear and intimidation. Kenneth Copeland says, “fear tolerated is faith contaminated”. That really hits home. The more depth of Word we get in us the less we will be intimidated by the enemy. The verse goes on to say that because of (pressure, trouble, fear and intimidation), they fall away, they give up. As an example must of us will give more time for an aspirin to work, taking it every four hours, giving that more time than the Word. I’m not saying it’s wrong to take an aspirin, I’m just giving a comparison. We should be willing to endure with the Word much longer than the amount of time we give an aspirin to work.
The third soil is sown among thorns. Once again they hear the Word but all the things around them distract them from the Word. All those things take the attention away from the Word and choke it and it becomes unfruitful.
The word choke is Strong’s #4846 meaning to strangle completely, to drown and to crowd out.
What did Jesus say, you made the Word to have no affect because of your traditions. We have traditions of taking the news over the Word. We have so many different traditions that can negate the Word. The noises and influences around us can choke out the Word.
So many times we buy the lie that everything is up to God and whatever happens is in some way God’s will and if not His will, somehow a part of His plan. After all, all things work together for good. That’s true. Debt however, is not good, families splitting up is not good, sickness is not good. According to our faith we receive. Many of us, myself included can become uncomfortable thinking that my life depends on my ability to believe in what Jesus accomplished for me.
Even though Jesus accomplished everything, we have to be in union with it. We have to act on it by faith. That’s what good ground is all about, that is where thirty, sixty, one hundred fold comes from. To be good ground you must hear the Word, receive it and bear fruit.
Matthew 13:23 MEV “But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the Word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit. Some produce a hundred, sixty or thirty times that which was sown”.
The word understands is Strong’s #4920 meaning to put together and act upon. Remember James says that he will show you faith by his actions and that faith without works (corresponding action) is dead. It has a root of #4862 meaning to be in union with, to resemble and make application.
To be good soil of the Word means to put it into action. Look at Mark 4:28 “first the blade, then the head, then the full seed in the head.” That’s thirty, sixty, one hundred. Faith has to be a progression, it grows. We are all dealt the measure of faith, yes, it’s as small as a mustard seed but when you plant a mustard seed it grows into a huge tree. The problem for many people is they are walking around with a small seed and wonder why it isn’t working, you have to plant the seed! You plant the seed by getting the Word in you and you harvest with your words!
Yes, it will take time to build up your faith but don’t let that stop you. Start where you are. Plant your seed, water it. Meditate on the Word, declare it, right out confessions, listen to teachings to build your faith. Don’t allow pressure, trouble, timidity and fear to keep you a pile of rocks. Let your roots go deep in the Word, wash out traditions of man with the Word. The enemy may be trying to choke out the truth of the Word, he may be drowning you with worry and what ifs but you can take hold of the word and put him under water before he puts you under water, amen.
Meditate on the Word, find Scriptures for your situations, that will break up the ground and make your spirit good soil and your mind will be renewed and the Word will begin to produce. Don’t get discouraged; first the blade, then the head, then the full seed in the head. Review Romans four and be determined in your growth of faith.
*Quote from Thayer in the ‘WUEST Word Studies of the Greek New