Check Your Soil

According to Mark  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Sermon Prep Template:
Topical - main idea/direction
the 'soil’ of your life determines your response to the Good News
What truth do the students need to hear most
What kind of soil are you?
you are not responsible for the outcomes of sharing the Gospel
Three supporting ideas within the passage
Check your soil - What is my response like?
Don’t check anyone else’s soil - Share it far and wide.
Don’t be shocked when God does something crazy
Additional Scriptures for cross reference
1 Cor 2:5
Isa 55:11
Eph 3:20-21
Background info
parable - “a metaphor or story connected with the affairs of daily life is used as an illustration of moral and spiritual truths...” (BST 93)
Have you guys heard of the farming concept called hydroponics? I started learning about hydroponics recently because Zane Black started doing it at his house. Basically, hydroponics is a way to grow plants in water without the need for soil.
Hydroponics can sound like this futuristic sci-fi farming/gardening method, but it’s actually not. Historians think that the ancient babylonians used this method for growing and thats what made the hanging Gardens of Babylon one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world.
But for most people, in most places, throughout almost all of history have farmed the old fashioned way. And soil becomes a key component to the success and health of a plant.
I think that you and I are not like hydroponics. We’re like plants grown in the ground the traditional way. And the soil we’re in is going to have a huge effect on the outcome of our lives.
Tonight we’re going to be talking about this idea of soil. What does the ground of your life look like?
If you walk away with any one thing tonight, let it be this:
Soil Determines Response
We are going to keep making our way through Mark’s gospel. We’re in chapter 4 tonight, so go ahead and flip there or click there in your copy of God’s Word.
Remember that Mark is one of 4 biographers of Jesus. He, himself didn’t travel with Jesus, but he interviewed Peter, who was one of Jesus’ inner circle of disciples, and used Peter’s account of the life of Jesus to write these 16 chapters.
Here in Mark chapter 4, Jesus is going to start teaching a large group of people. Crowds are gathering around to hear what Jesus has to say.
And strangely enough, Jesus teaches using something called a parable.
A parable is a story that is uses a relatable scenario to illustrate a spiritual truth
So lets dive in and see what Jesus teaches this crowd of people and hopefully find some ways to apply that teaching to our lives in 2021
Read Mark 4:1-9
POINT 1: Check your Soil
What Does This Mean?
As Jesus begins teaching this crowd of people, he tells a story about a farmer. This would have been so relatable to everyone listening because Israel was mostly farm country. Almost every single person worked in agriculture or had family members who worked in agriculture or had seen farmers at work.
This farmer goes out to plant some seeds, but instead of planting seeds one by one, he starts throwing that seed everywhere. And Jesus describes 4 different landing places for that seed.
Landing place #1: some of that seed gets on the path, and unfortunately some birds come by and eat it before it can grow
Landing place #2: some of the seeds land in soil that is almost more rock than soil. It allows the crop to grow pretty quick, but when the sun comes out, it scorches the plant and it dies because there was no root
Landing place #3: some of the seeds get in with some weeds that have big ole spikes on them. Those weeds grow at the same time the plants grow and the weeds end up chocking out all of the farmers plants.
Landing place #4: but some of the seeds land in great soil that is nice and deep and rich and filled with nutrients. It allows the plants to grow big and strong and tall, and they produce fruit that is 30, 60, and 100 times more than what was planted. I did some research, and the way the math works is they calculate seeds. If I plant 1 seed, and that seed grows into a plant that gives me back 30 seeds, that would be a 30fold increase.
Why is This Important?
But why on earth should we care what jesus has to say about farming to a group of farmers?
Here’s the reason: *whispers* he’s not actually talking about farming he’s talking about you
If you’re confused, don’t worry. The disciples were too.
They go and ask Jesus in verse 10 to explain to them what he was teaching about.
That first landing spot, the path, this represents some people. People who heard God’s Word, but as soon as they hear it, Satan, our enemy starts reminding them of all the ways they’re unworthy of God’s love, and all the times they’ve disappointed God, and all the ways they don’t measure up. Satan takes away the Word by replacing it with lies and shame.
That second landing spot, the rocky ground, that represents a group of people too. This group of people hears God’s Word and they get all excited about it.
Have you ever been to summer camp or on the winter retreat? And you have this amazing experience where you feel so close to God, and nothing and no one could possibly take you down from this mountain top moment, and then you get back home. And suddenly it’s not cool to be a follower of Jesus anymore and suddenly it’s hard to live out the faith you were so hyped about on the retreat. You get home, and it’s like the sun just scorches all that growth and you’re back being the same person you were before
The third landing spot represents, i think, most of you in this room. This ground with all the weeds in it, seems to be what most of y’all are living in.
Here’s how Jesus explains it in verse 18-19
Mark 4:18–19 CSB
Others are like seed sown among thorns; these are the ones who hear the word, but the worries of this age, the deceitfulness of wealth, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.
The cares of this world, the worries that keep people up at night. The deceitfulness of wealth, and status and fame. And the desire for other things. It all chokes out what God is trying to do in your life.
Did you know that 34% of people your age want to be full-time Youtubers? and another 18% want to be full-time social media influencers. Nothing wrong with Youtube or Instagram or TikTok, but man! You can see how chasing that might distract you!
The last landing spot, that good good soil. That earth with all the nutrients in it. That’s the group that has the space in their lives for God to do some crazy growing math. 30fold 60fold 100fold. In Israel in the first century, the average crop would yield 7-9fold. So we’re talking some ridiculous numbers out here.
What Can We Do About It?
So Check Your Soil. You soil determines your response. What kind of life are you living?
Is it a life ruled by shame and fear and guilt and lies? A life where Satan, our enemy, is reminding you of your sin and stealing away the Word God wants to speak over you?
Is it a life with all kinds of rocks, that camp-high shallow life? A life where you get scorched by reality every time you come down from the mountain top?
Is it a life riddled with weeds? Are things distracting you from a relationship with God are there things that look better and shinier than following Jesus?
Check Your Soil. Figure out what the cause behind the response is. You have to be able to name a problem if you ever want it to change. But what we’re not gonna do is start checking everyone else’s soil.
POINT 2: Don’t Check Their Soil
What Does This Mean?
That’s point 2. Don’t Check Their Soil.
If you’re here tonight and you’re desire is to follow Jesus and to share the Good News of his life, death, and resurrection with the world, with your friends, with your family member who doesn’t know Jesus - then the last thing you should be doing is checking their soil.
The farmer didn’t pick and choose where the seed went. He just scattered it!
He didn’t go, ope, looks like there’s some rocky round over there, better not scatter the seed!
He didn’t care about some getting on the path.
He wasn’t concerned with the weeds.
He just scattered.
Why is This Important?
You have no idea where someone else might be in the faith journey. To you, it might look their their life is kinda weedy. But God is the one making things grow, not you. You’re just the person throwing seeds around.
Isaiah 55:11 NLT
It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.
What Can We Do About It?
Don’t check their soil. Share the Gospel.
So check your soil. Don’t check their soil. and last point, number 3:
POINT 3: Get Ready For A Harvest
What Does This Mean?
God can do incredible things through unlikely people like you and me. God is gonna do what God is gonna do, and he wants to use us in the middle of it.
I’ve got some friends who I never thought would follow Jesus, who are now following Jesus. Their lives are a living example of 30fold, 60fold, 100fold harvest.
Don’t be surprised at the miracles God can do.
My friend Erik used to hotbox his car before school. He wanted nothing to do with God he only wanted to chase anything that made him happy and feel good. He had some weeds in the soil for sure. Then he met Jesus and his whole world changed. He’s a pastor now.
Erik shared the Gospel with his brother Tryg. Tryg showed up to church drunk the night he encountered Jesus. He was so concerned with what other people thought about him. But Jesus radically changed his life, and he’s a pastor now too.
My life was the definition of rocky soil. I looked good on the outside, but underneath i had no root. As soon as that camp high was gone and it became hard to follow Jesus for real, the sun burned me up. But Jesus did a miracle in my life.
Why is This Important?
I don’t know the story of every single person in this room tonight. I don’t know where you’re at. But if God can save my friend Erik, then he can save you. If God can produce a 100fold increase in Tryg’s life, he can change your life too. If God could take me and alter the course of my life, I can’t even image what he might do in yours.
What Can We Do About It?
Are you willing to trust that God can do Exceedingly and abundantly more than you could ever ask or imagine as it says in
Ephesians 3:20–21 NLT
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.
So check your soil - assess what your life looks like.
Don’t check their soil - share the message of hope that we have in Jesus as far and wide as you can
and Get ready for a harvest - watch what can do with your life, with your friends lives through the power of the gospel
Soil determines response.
Here’s something so cool about plants. They can be transplanted. You can take a plant out of one environment, out of one type of soil, and put them somewhere else. If you’re in here tonight and you’re realizing that the enemy has been stealing the Word from you by reminding you of all the ways you don’t measure up and all the ways you’ve disappointed God, I would love to be able to pray for you and encourage you. If your soil is kinda rocky and you’re ready for something deep, I’d love to talk with you about what it looks like to take the next step in your faith. And if you’re noticing a lot of weeds in you soil right now, I just want to remind you of the truth that Jesus is better, Whatever it is that’s capturing your attention right now, Jesus is better.
You’re not stuck where you are. No matter what your soil looks like, Jesus can transplant you.
Let’s Pray.
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