The NT365 Experiment: Mark 4

Jesus was a teacher, and he did a lot of teaching. He taught his disciples. He taught the crowds that followed him. He taught the Pharisees and the scribes. And, the subject matter he taught was always the same — the kingdom of God. Regardless of his teaching method — parables, direct instruction, interpretation and explanation of the Law, follow up on miracles — he always came back to the glory of God in his kingdom.

Like the other Gospel writers, Mark gives us a variety of accounts in which Jesus did his teaching. One such account is found in chapter 4. It is Mark’s parable chapter. He gives us four parables that deal with and explain the kingdom of God. The first is “the parable of the sower” where a man sows seed and it either grows and bears fruit or doesn’t. The second has to do with a lamp being placed on a stand, not under a basket or bed, so as to shine light on everything in the room. The third parable Jesus tells is “the parable of the seed growing.” The man sows the seed, but yet the earth brings the growth. Though the man does not know how this growth happens, he does not doubt it or question it; rather, he accepts and celebrates it. And, the fourth is a parable in which Jesus illustrates the kingdom of God which begins in a small unnoticed, overlooked way (like a mustard seed) but grows into the greatest and most lasting kingdom the world has or will ever know (like a cedar of Lebanon). There is a lot to learn from these great parables.

Kingdom Fruitfulness

By grouping them the way that he did, Mark united the parables under a common theme — kingdom fruitfulness. When the kingdom of God (the active reign of God) is alive and active in the lives of men and women, it produces fruit. It brings about heart change. It brings about life change. It is easily demonstrable in the lives of those who have submitted to Christ and come into his kingdom in faith. There is no exception. When the seed takes root and grows in divinely prepared soil, it grows and produces fruit. Period. The amount of fruit — the measure of the fruit — varies from person to person. In some it produces 30-fold, in others, 60, and in others, 100 (4:8). It’s that simple. Though we may not all produce the same amount of fruit, we produce fruit nonetheless.

Bear Some Fruit Today

I want to challenge you (and I always include myself in these challenges) to bear gospel fruit today. If the gospel has taken root in your life, then you should be bearing kingdom fruit. So, here’s the challenge:

  1. Think of one thing (there will probably be many) in your personal fellowship with Jesus that prevents you from living a life of full obedience to Jesus and keeps you from experiencing joyful fellowship with him. Deal with it. If it’s sin, confess it and repent from it. If it’s a failure to trust him fully with your life, gradually begin to relinquish the control you seek to exert over a specific aspect of your life.
  2. Work to restore or enhance one relationship that you have with another Christian that is either broken or cool. We all have these relationships. Send the person an email or a text. Pray for that person. Give them a call. Do something to seek the gospel fruit of reconciliation.
  3. Find someone that you can personally impact by serving them in a gospel way who is not a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. (For those of us in the South that means someone who is not actively involved in a Christian community or fellowship.) Bear kingdom fruit by loving them in Christ-like service.

 

 

 

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