Soils of the Heart

Soils - heart

 

Sunday 05/21/17 

Series: Doers of the Word

Message – Soils of the Heart

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Soils and hearts

Mark 4:9-20, “(9) And He said to them, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”  (10)  But when He was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable.  (11)  And He said to them, “To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables,  (12)  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.’ ”  (13)  And He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?  (14)  The sower sows the word.  (15)  And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts.  (16)  These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness;  (17)  and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble.  (18)  Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word,  (19)  and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.  (20)  But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”

Wayside – The devil actually comes to EVERY heart – EVERY time the word is sown there. The difference is in HOW this heart HEARD the word. The wayside heart’s approach to the Word is casual. They do not value it hardly at all. It is simply one opinion in an ocean of opinions. In reality, regardless of their claims, it carries no true intrinsic value to them.

This is the “Yeah but…” heart. If you EVER use that phrase in relation to something God and His Word says, then His Word to you is no more than one opinion among many.

Stoney Ground –  The intended meaning of “stoney” here is shallow. You can readily see that this heart doesn’t sound “stoney” at first in that it IMMEDIATELY, receives the Word with gladness. However, it is only a surface and emotional response. There is no abiding respect for or commitment to God’s Word – only a superficial delight in something that appeals to them on some surface level. never the less, they DO receive it. However, when the devil comes to take it away – he finds it is not easy pickings since, unlike the wayside heart, it actually entered the heart. The devil has NO authority to remove something from your heart which you, of your own freewill let in! So he has to influence you (“tempt”) to let go of it willingly. This is NOT difficult with the Stoney (shallow) heart. All it requires is removing or calling into question the advantage of the Word they rejoiced over and they will let go of it every time! This is because the “WAY” they heard the Word was out of selfish ambition. When, in their view, the apparent advantage was removed – the Word no longer served any purpose to them.

  • Mk. 6:41-52
  • Mk. 8:17
  • Mk. 16:14
  • Jn. 12:40
  • Acts 28:24-29
  • Heb. 4:7

Thorny Heart – This heart is conditioned to desire the Word and even value it on some level but is NOT committed to it. As much as I hate to rely upon Disney for examples…this is a “Dory” heart…meaning, it is flighty and easily drawn away. They deliberately place themselves in positions to HEAR the Word, but their respect for it is a religious one – not a relational one. These are “Sunday” Christians and fair-weather friends of Christ. They have an emotional love for Him – like Peter…“Peter do you love me with a self-sacrificing love? Peter responded, :Lord, you know I have an emotional fondness for you like a friend.” ~ John 21:15 (paraphrased). Their attentions are SO divided that any slight thing will remove it from focus on Christ’s words to them…be it worldly cares and concerns, financial needs and desires or any other earthly things which competes for our attention and allegiance.

One more note about this heart is TRUST. This heart has very little of it! It hears the Words of Jesus, but does know the Jesus of the Words. They are familiar with Him, but they do not truly KNOW Him and therefore, His words concerning worldly cares and concerns, financial needs and desires or any other earthly thing, seems distant, archaic. This is a divided heart. It has a large compartment for natural cares and concerns labeled “real” things, while God’s Word falls into that heart file category labeled “religious things” in which the non-real world of Scripture is placed.

* To this heart, all Scripture is good for sure, but it is NOT real in that it is NOT where they place their trust. To place all their trust in Christ’s Words without a natural “backup plan” for insurance, seems risky and fearful to them like those of a stranger. Their hearts are not homey to the Word or God or Christ Himself. They do not in reality TRUST Him. The ears they hear with are religious ears, not ears of valued relationship!

Good Heart –  This is the heart which while it may indeed struggle against all those tendencies listed above, always come back to that same truth which Peter embraced, “Where would I go? You have the Words of eternal life.” This is a Jacob heart. One that wrestles with God, but in the end always give Him the final word! This heart loves, cherishes and values Christ first – offering the net result of a heart which also clings to and highly values His words!

We will pick up here next week in our teachings of  a homey heartBlessings! 

 

I hope this teaching will challenge you and encourage you to place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

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Blessings!

 

Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it right...safety in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" that did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keep authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provides teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!