The New Life Mission

Sermons

Subject 21 : The Gospel According to MARK

[Chapter 4-1] (Mark 4:1-9) Is Your Heart Like The Field by the Wayside?

(Mark 4:1-9)
“And again He began to teach by the sea. And a great multitude was gathered to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat in it on the sea; and the whole multitude was on the land facing the sea. Then He taught them many things by parables, and said to them in His teaching: ‘Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it. Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away. And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirty fold, some sixty, and some a hundred.’ And He said to them, ‘He who has ears to hear, let him hear!’”
 
 
When Jesus preached the Word during His public life, many people gathered together to have their fleshly problems resolved. They did not do this to enter the Kingdom of Heaven by realizing the gospel of the water and the Spirit. But instead they came to Him to have the problem of hunger resolved. Concerning this matter, Jesus spoke about the parable of the sower through the Word from the Gospel of Mark chapter 4 verses 1-9. He was saying that the work of the Kingdom of God is like a farmer sowing seeds.
 
 
The First Field the Lord Spoke About Is the Field by the Wayside
 
The Lord said that the birds of the air came and devoured the seed that fell by the wayside. The field by the wayside is not an appropriate place to sow seed since many people walk on it. The earth by the wayside is hardened because many people walk on it. Good earth can cover the seed for it to be nourished and moisturized to sprout, but the seed by the wayside cannot be covered by earth at all. For such fields a farmer must first do basic preparation work of plowing the ground up before sowing seed. In order to do this, a farmer must till the earth deeply, pick out the stones, build a bank and make a loop, and then sow the seed. This task takes a long time and needs much work.
We can easily see people who have a heart like this field by the wayside even within Christianity. The heart of Christians, who believe that they can go to Heaven by keeping the Law is like a hardened road that they have consolidated diligently. Therefore, the Word of God cannot go into such a heart even when they hear the Word because they have their own solid thoughts and religious preconceptions. Because they do not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit which is the Word of God even after hearing it, the Devil comes and devours the Word of God like the birds come and devour the seed.
Then, how should one hear the servants of God preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit, namely the Word of God? A person who hears this gospel Word must listen for its evidence and accept it in his heart if it is consistent with the recorded Word of God. The Word of God finally becomes one’s own when he can believe in the Truth of salvation in his heart.
However, even when the Word the servants of God preach is correct and consistent with the Scriptures, there are times when people postpone believing in it by saying, “The Word the preacher has said seems correct, but I will think about it a little more” or “It is definitely consistent with the Word of God, but I will believe it after thinking about it a little more.” When this happens, Satan comes and plants doubts in your heart, saying, “No, that’s not true. What do you mean? That is incorrect. You must not believe like that. You will be in deep trouble if you believe so.” Once you accept the Devil’s deception, you cannot make the Word of God your own and eventually lose it. Therefore, when you hear the Word of the water and the Spirit which is the Word of God, you must open your heart and accept it by faith. You must open your ears to the Word of God and believe it in your heart. And you must be on your guard that Satan is always prowling around to make you not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit the servants of God have preached to you until now.
Satan is very crafty and knows exactly when to approach people. Chapter 3 of the Book of Genesis records the scene of Satan tempting Eve and making her eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Eve had heard God’s command through Adam forbidding them from eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. So Satan took this opportunity and approached Eve first instead of Adam. And Satan confused Eve by changing the Word God had previously spoken. Eve eventually ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil and also gave it to Adam and because of this they both became sinners.
Adam and Even became sinners and covered their nakedness with clothes made out of fig leaves in order to cover their shame, but these clothes soon dried up and split into pieces because of the sunlight. Therefore they were unable to cover their shame by themselves anymore. And so God personally made tunics out of skin and clothed them. What does this mean spiritually? It means that you cannot resolve the problem of your sins with man-made false faiths, that is, the religious doctrines and rituals of this world.
You will forever continue to take off these religious things. It is because they are imperfect. God put the tunics of skin onto Adam and Eve. This signifies clothes of perfect salvation, that is, clothes of the just salvation. The sacrifice of an animal was therefore necessary in order to clothe sinners with tunics of skin. One can only receive clothes of perfect salvation through the sacrifice of a living thing. God received the life of a sacrificial animal instead of a person’s life that had to be judged to death for their sins. So to be atoned for his sins, he had to pass his sins over onto the sacrificial offering and making it receive the judgment of sins in his place.
The entire humankind has thus become sinners due to Adam’s sin as it is written in the Book of Romans chapter 5:12, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.” Because of that sin, we have come to receive judgment of sins from God and have come to the point of death.
What kind of being is a human originally before the presence of God? The Gospel of Mark speaks about this. Let’s look at the Word from the Gospel of Mark chapter 7 verses 20-23, “And He said, ‘What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.’”
The Lord said that all evil things that come out from a person defile that person. Because we were born as sinners originally because of one person namely Adam, therefore the only things that can come out from a sinner are filthy things. Such sins like evil thoughts, adulteries, thefts, murders, fornication, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride and foolishness are sins that all humans are born with. You might ask, “What relationship does Adam have with me that even I am a sinner due to his sins?” It’s because Adam committed sins before the presence of God and he is the ancestor of all humankind born to this world including us. A human can only give birth to another human of a same kind; therefore a sinner can only give birth to a sinner. Like this, all of us have been born a sinner because we are descendants of Adam. That is, we are sinners because we are humans who are born with 12 kinds of filthy sins; and because we are humans who have sins from our mothers’ wombs, we cannot but commit sins.
When we listen to the Word of God, we must accept this Word exactly as the Word of God as the real truth into our heart. It’s because the Words of the cleansing sins that we hear through the gospel of the water and the Spirit are the very Words of God. God has saved us from all our sins by the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and because of this, we can reach true cleansing of our sins if we accept all the Words of God.
 
 
Birds Came and Devoured the Seed Sowed on the Field by the Wayside
 
The seed sowed by the wayside implies the heart of a person who does not believe in the Word of God which is preached by the servants of God as it is. Such a person does not acknowledge the Word God exactly as He said it should be, but instead thinks, “I think this way even though God said that way.” The Lord is saying to us that as a consequence of this it becomes difficult for such people to go to Heaven because they cannot or refuse to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. They can receive the remission of sins by acknowledging that they have sins and are sinners currently, and then accepting the gospel of the water and the Spirit. They can accept the true salvation, the gospel of the water and the Spirit by faith only if they acknowledge the Word of God completely just as it is.
However, if a person does not acknowledge the Word of God ‘as it is’ and only relies on his own feelings and thoughts, that person will always for sure remain a sinner because he does not believe in the Word of God even when God’s Word comes to him. We must know what a grave sinner we are before the Word of God to be able to accept in our hearts how the Lord has saved us from the sins of the world by the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Otherwise we cannot receive salvation even if God gives the gospel of the water and the Spirit to us, because we do not believe in it and because our hearts are like a field by the wayside spiritually. We must therefore plow and till the heart of such a person before we sow the seed of the Word.
If you are still a sinner, you have to till your heart first. As the Lord said in the Gospel of Mark chapter 7 verses 20-23, that you were born with twelve kinds of sins, you must therefore acknowledge before the presence of the Lord that you are a sinner who cannot but go to hell. Because you were not only born with such sins in your heart but those sins actually have manifested in your daily lives also, therefore you must confess and also acknowledge all those sins. You probably have so many more sins that you cannot even imagine it. And you might even commit more sins in the future than the sins you have committed until now.
If God did not save you from all your sins then you would receive the judgment according to the just law of God, that is, the law that says ‘the wages of sin is death’, and go to hell due to the sins you have committed and the evil in your heart. Therefore, only when you absolutely acknowledge the Word of God, He gives you the Word of the gospel that says, “I have saved you from all your sins.” As God came to Adam and Eve and saved them by making them tunics of skin, this God also comes to you and saves you by the gospel of the water and the Spirit and comes into your heart and dwells with you eternally. You can receive the remission of all your sins and become the children of God by the faith by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Therefore, you must know the Word about the field by the wayside and think about the sins inside you, and then ponder upon the gospel of the water and the Spirit and believe in it. You must become the people who acknowledge the gospel of the water and the Spirit exactly as it is and accept it in your hearts as the salvation God has given you.
 

  
The Second Field Is the Stony Ground That Does Not Have Much Earth
 
It is written in the Gospel of Mark chapter 4:5, “Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth.” The seed that fell on stony ground where it did not have much earth dies even after sprouting. After the seed is planted, it cannot take root deeply because of the stones. As the seed sprouts forth and springs up, its root must wriggle through the earth to take in the nutrition and water necessary to grow, but stones beneath it blocks this process. It is not speaking of one or two stones, but the entire field of stones. Such stony ground might have 3% earth and the rest are stones. Hence, how can any plants survive there?
In order to receive the cleansing of our sins before the presence of God and become the true bride of Christ, and thereby become a pure bride without any blemish or flaw, one must know how to see the hidden sins inside someone’s heart through the Word of God. And he must receive the cleansing of his sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. The Lord said that every evil thing that comes out of a person’s heart is sin. Therefore, we must think deeply about our own sins before the presence of God. We must examine whether or not we have a filthy evil heart inside us, whether there are sins that have been revealed or not, and we must absolutely acknowledge our sins before the presence of God, even if we do not actually do so before the other people, and we must become people who accept the Word of God. God said that we had an evil heart originally and that we have become people who commit such sins, and we must know that when we examine our hearts before the presence of God, such evil thoughts always crawl up inside us. We must acknowledge, “I am a person who commits such sins of evil thoughts.” Surely, God’s grace abounds where sins are prevalent. We become good ground that can hear the Lord’s gospel of the water and the Spirit only if we acknowledge our sins before the presence of God.
In today’s Scripture passage, stony ground signifies the human nature of sin. A person must confess his sinful nature to God. However, people of the world try to hide their sins. Some people think that is a noble attribute. Therefore, the religious people of this world try to hide their sins with their hypocrisy. However, they have evil thoughts in their hearts, and their hearts are filled with all kinds of evil thoughts like how they can crush other people and how they can harass others. They are only pretending to be righteous people with their hypocrisy before others. However, they must know that they cannot receive the grace of the remission of their sins God gives if they are like this.
The Lord does not want to blot out only ‘some of our sins.’ Rather, all the sins that we commit, the sins we have put into action, and even the sins we have committed with our thoughts are included in the sins that have been passed over onto Jesus by the baptism He received from John the Baptist. Jesus has cleansed all our sins and saved us perfectly at once by receiving the baptism of those sins upon His body and by being crucified on the Cross. I should have paid the wages of sins by carrying my sins to the cross and being crucified, but instead the Lord received the baptism and paid the wages of all my sins on the Cross in my place. Therefore, we must know that we are such sinners who commit terrible sins before the presence of God. We must first acknowledge that we are sinners who cannot but go to hell due to our sins, and then, we must believe that the Lord has blotted out all our sins by the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
The field of stony ground is referring to the hidden nature of sins inside us. It is written, “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Becoming sick and dying is a process every human goes through after being born to this world. Everyone must realize that he is a sinner before the presence of God while going through this process. When we look at our selves, we must know what terrible sinners we are and what treacherous sins we commit before the presence of God. We must yearn to receive the cleansing of our sins by acknowledging before the presence of God that we are sinners who deserve to go to hell. And we must accept in our hearts the Word of the gospel of the water and the Spirit which God has spoken to us. And we must believe in the Word of this genuine gospel by which God has blotted out all our sins. And we must receive the remission of all our sins into our hearts by truly accepting the salvation that God has blotted out all our sins. Only then, we can become the children of God. Then we will become truly happy people.
Someone who tries to hide his evil sins cannot receive the grace of salvation God wants to give him. Almost all seed that fall on the field by the wayside is destroyed as they are trampled on, run over by cars, or devoured by birds. Therefore, we must look into our hearts with the Word of God and also by our conscience and understand what grave sinners we really are before the presence of God, and what the consequences of sins are by the enlightenment of the Word of God. And we must receive the remission of sins by believing in Jesus Christ, by acknowledging our sins before the Word and believing in the Word of God.
In short, we must be the people who are poor in spirit to believe in the Word of the genuine gospel. We must first acknowledge our sins through the function of the Law in order to become such a person before the presence of God. We become true sinners only if we acknowledge our sins through the Word of God. We must first understand what sin is in order to do this. This is why God has given us the Law.
What is the Law? It is written, “You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments” (Exodus 20:3-6).
What did God who is self-existent say to us? He commanded us not to have any other gods besides Himself. The name Jesus Christ means “the Savior who saves people from all their sins,” and the name Jehovah God means “the self-existent God.” It means that the entire universe and all things in it have been created by God and that Jesus Christ is God the Creator. If this God said to the entire humankind, “You shall have no other gods before me,” then this Word is the Command from God. We must think about ourselves based on this command of God. We must understand our sins based on the Word of God, whether we really have not had any other gods besides God, whether we have served other gods that God does not want us to have, and whether we have not served the true God Jehovah only but instead have rejected Him in our lives.
You just have to look at the Word from the Book of Exodus chapter 20 verses 3-17 in order to understand your sins. God gave us the Ten Commandments of do’s and don’ts, and through it you can examine whether you have lived according to God’s Words by yourself. Many people in Asia believe in Buddhism. They have disobeyed the command of God to not have any other gods before Him, but instead have rejected God of the truth while worshipping other gods more than God. They have already become sinners who have violated the first commandment before the presence of the living God. Even if they have not committed any other sins, they must go to hell because they have violated the first commandment, unless of course they have received the remission of their sins. It is the same for the people in Korea, receiving judgment and the penalty as a criminal when they violate and cannot keep the law the congress of Korea has established. For example, let’s suppose there was a person who was born a total paralytic, so he had not actually done any wrong to anybody. However, he believed in other gods instead of believing in Jesus Christ who is the true God. Then, that person has sins. Even if a person does not commit a sin outwardly, he must receive the judgment because of the sins inside his heart, such as the sins of murder, lewdness, foolishness, fornications, adultery even though those sins have not been revealed outwardly.
However, the heart who acknowledges the Word of God becomes a good field. It’s because a person who acknowledges before God that he has sins of fornications, thefts, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness, evil thoughts, adulteries, murders and covetousness, is qualified to receive salvation. A person who knows what a grave sinner he really is can receive the Word readily. We must know that we are people who commit many sins before the presence of Jesus Christ who is God.
One of the things that God hates the most is none other than worshipping an idol. God does not like people bowing down to a carved stone and bringing food and worshipping it. God has commanded us not to have any other gods before Him, and He told His people to not make any carved images. God told His people not to bow down to His creation such as the moon, stars, or sun, and He commanded them not to bow down to some foolish image/s created by humans. God does not like people worshipping other gods that are not really a god because God is a jealous God. Why should we worship any creature that does not have any power instead of worshipping God when God blesses us and guides us? God is very stern concerning sins. As it is written, “For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me” (Exodus 20:5), God receives the wages of sins to the third and fourth generations as we commit sin.
Many Koreans are worshipping their ancestors according to Confucianism. Therefore, the house of the firstborn who worships the ancestors faithfully is destroyed by the third and fourth generation. Usually, the eldest son inherits the duty of ancestral worship. That is why the house of the eldest is often destroyed. It’s because the eldest worships the ancestors very faithfully and also worships an idol very faithfully. God said that He will curse such a person to the third and fourth generation. We must remember that God is very stern and fearful concerning sins.
A human is born with sins from birth. Therefore, a human commits sins automatically even though no one teaches him to do it, and commits sinful thoughts and behaviors that God hates. The Lord said such people are a brood of evildoers and people laden with iniquity. It means that humans are a brood of vipers whose behaviors are very corrupt. It means that they are troubling God always since they do the things God tells them not to do, and do not do the things He tells them to do.
Humans can pass their sins over onto another, but God says that He will surely punish the sins of those He hates. The people who were not born of God do not worship Him nor believe in Him, but instead make idols and worship them instead, and worship their dead ancestors thinking that their ancestral gods come and help them and also go to fortunetellers and seek oracles. God judges the sins of such people according to His Word and brings down curses to third and fourth generation on those who hate God. He brings down a curse after curse continually to these generations. If people claim to believe in Jesus but do not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, but instead believe in Jesus like a superstition, then such people will also receive this curse. Even people who worship idols ardently or follow only after Confucianism, Buddhism, or superstitions will receive these curses too. It’s because they are actually worshipping idols.
All animals and plants have been created by God. And man is the lord of all creation, because God created man according to His image. Why do people who have been specially created by God like this, reject Him? Why don’t they do the things that God tells them to do and not do the things God tells them not to do? God has given to His people ten kinds of commandments namely, You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain; Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy; Honor your father and your mother; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, and so forth. But despite this mankind has nevertheless done the things God commanded them not to do, and have not done the things He commanded them to do. God told them not to commit murder, but they have had a heart of committing murder; God told them not to commit adultery, but they have lusted after women who pass them by; God told them not to commit theft, but they have committed theft. Like this, humans have done the things that God told them not to do and have not done the things God told them to do.
We are sinners like this from the moment we were born into this world. Although we want to live virtuously and try hard to do good things, the decisive fact is that we have done many wrong things and we also will do many other wrongs in the future. We not only have evil thoughts in our hearts, but we commit these sins in our behaviors. Not only you, but your children also do these very same things because they have inherited the sinful nature directly from you. When you came to the realization of your sins through the Law like this, you needed Jesus Christ in order to resolve this problem.
We must know the Law of God in order to realize our sins. The Law is a series of commandments God has given to us. It is the collection of commandments of do’s and don’ts. We can know that we are doing wrong before the presence of God when we look at ourselves through this Word. We therefore need this salvation that Jesus Christ gave to us by coming to this world because we are such wretched people. We especially need this Truth that God has saved us by the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Therefore, our hearts must be fixed firmly in the Truth. Our hearts must be the field that receives the seed readily. The seed dies when it falls on the field by the wayside or on the field full of stones. Our hearts must really be set absolutely before the presence of God to believe only in Jehovah God. And we must acknowledge the Word of God. Only then, we can receive salvation that God gives to us.
 
 
The Field of Thorns
 
When seed falls among the thorns, the seed cannot grow because the thorns grow and choke it and prevents it to grow. This means that a person who only worries about the matter of his fleshly prosperity cannot receive the remission of sins. The seed falls here and tries to sprout forth, but the thorns, the worries of this world, grow even faster and block out all the sunlight. A person who thinks “I shall not incur any loss in my flesh while I believe in the righteousness of the Lord, and receive the remission of sins and go to Heaven,” is not appropriate for the Kingdom of God. Even if such a person hears the Word of God, he just holds onto the gospel of Truth momentarily without the Word taking root deeply into his heart and he eventually loses it, stumbles, and then throws out the Word of the Truth.
It is written, “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). No matter what happens tomorrow, we must as a matter of urgency receive the remission of our sins. Whether we starve or not does not depend on whether we worry about tomorrow or not. Rather, we become prosperous only when God works in our lives and blesses us. This truth applies to spiritual matters as well as to physical matters. Just worrying about one’s own fleshly matters without even acknowledging the sins inside of us, and not even setting our hearts upright before the presence of God is not the right thing to do. We must first acknowledge the Word of God before the presence of God.
We must set our hearts before the presence of God and live out our faith. God has cleansed all our sins at once by the gospel of the water and the Spirit which is the Word of God. It is written, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:25-27). It means that God cleanses us with the gospel of the water and the Spirit and makes us the brides of Jesus Christ and blesses us. It means that God gives us the remission of sins.
Now we can greet the Lord by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit no matter when we go before the presence of God. We have become people who shall live happily with riches and glory eternally. I want you to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and receive all the blessings of God eternally.
Halleluiah!