THE STORYTELLER: THE PARABLES OF JESUS #1: GUARD YOUR HEART
(Pastor Chris Jordan – Beausejour Church)
To listen to or download the audio MP3, click HERE.
INTRO TO TOPIC: QUOTE:
“Who was Jesus? He was a storyteller. He told stories. He was the world’s greatest storyteller. Ask him a question; he’d answer with a story. Give him a crowd of people listening intently; he told them stories. Give him an argument; he’d give you a story. Give him a real tricky, catchy question; he’d give you a real tricky, catchy story. Have you ever watched a 7-year-old listening- inhaling- a story? Eyes wide, mouth slung open, mind churning, he lives, accepts and believes. He is totally absorbed. This man-God Jesus. He was a good storyteller. He knew what he was doing.” (Lois Cheney, God Is No Fool).
THE BIG IDEA: Jesus is the World’s Greatest Storyteller. In His parables, we find wisdom for living our daily lives. In the parable of the farmer planting seeds, we learn the importance of guarding our hearts.
1. INTRO TO JESUS THE MASTER STORYTELLER:
“Once again Jesus began teaching by the lakeshore. There was such a large crowd along the shore that he got into a boat and sat down and spoke from there. He began to teach the people by telling many stories (parables – NKJV) such as this one:” (Mark 4:1-2, NLT).
- “I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old.” (Psalm 78:2, NKJV).
- Parable Defined: a comparison of one thing with another; an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. One third of Jesus’ teachings are parables.
- They often have an unexpected twist or surprise ending that catches the reader’s attention.
- With the exception of one story in Luke, the characters in Jesus’ parables are unnamed.
- A parable is like a movie that gives us insight into our lives. Look for application.
2. JESUS TELLS HIS FIRST GREAT STORY:
“3 “Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seed. 4 As he scattered it across his field, some seed fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate it. 5 Other seed fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The plant sprang up quickly, 6 but it soon wilted beneath the hot sun and died because the roots had no nourishment in the shallow soil. 7 Other seed fell among thorns that shot up and choked out the tender blades so that it produced no grain. 8 Still other seed fell on fertile soil and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted.” Then he said, 9 “Anyone who is willing to hear should listen and understand!” (Mark 4:3-9, NLT).
- Do you have ears to hear today? “Can you hear me now?” Are you listening?
3. WHAT KIND OF HEART DO YOU HAVE?
“10 Later, when Jesus was alone with the twelve disciples and with the others who were gathered around, they asked him, “What do your stories mean?” 11 He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secret about the Kingdom of God. But I am using these stories to conceal everything about it from outsiders, 12 so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled: ‘They see what I do, but they don’t perceive its meaning. They hear my words, but they don’t understand. So they will not turn from their sins and be forgiven.’ ” 13 “But if you can’t understand this story, how will you understand all the others I am going to tell? 14 The farmer I talked about is the one who brings God’s message to others.” (Mark 4:10-14, NLT).
- Pastors and teachers have a job to do: plant seeds of God’s Word in your hearts!
- This morning we’re going to take a look at the soil of our hearts!
A. THE HARD HEART:
“The seed that fell on the hard path represents those who hear the message, but then Satan comes at once and takes it away from them.” (Mark 4:15).
- There is no soil – it is a hard path.
- These are people whose hearts are hardened and the Word bounces off of them.
- One of the things that hardens a heart is unconfessed sin. If you sin, confess it!
- Another thing that hardens a heart is unforgiveness, bitterness and offenses.
- Stop playing the blame game – take responsibility for your own sin and confess it!
- Because it is so important to hear and do God’s Word, the devil will do whatever he can to steal the word from your heart. Don’t give him that opportunity!
B. THE SHALLOW HEART:
“The rocky soil represents those who hear the message and receive it with joy. But like young plants in such soil, their roots don’t go very deep. At first they get along fine, but they wilt as soon as they have problems or are persecuted because they believe the word.” (Mark 4:16-17).
- There is only a little soil on the surface, but the roots can’t go deep.
- These people will listen to the word and get excited about it… for a season.
- Because their hearts are shallow, they fall away when problems or persecution comes.
C. THE CROWDED HEART:
“The thorny ground represents those who hear and accept the Good News, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for nice things, so no crop is produced.” (Mark 4:18-19).
- There is good soil, but there are also many weeds in this soil. The heart that can’t focus.
- They will put the Word in their heart, but also weeds of worries, riches and pleasures:
- Worry and Cares: distracted (checking Facebook 20 times in this service).
- When did we become so important that people have to be able to reach us at any time? We have to know what’s going on with everyone always?
- Cell phones are convenient, but we need to learn how to focus or we’re going to miss out on a lot of what God has for us (Joyce Meyer).
- Riches: “the lure of wealth” – selfishness, greed, wanting more money.
- Pleasures: “the desire for nice things” – distracted by entertainment, media, etc.
- Worry and Cares: distracted (checking Facebook 20 times in this service).
D. THE GOOD HEART:
“But the good soil represents those who hear and accept God’s message and produce a huge harvest — thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted.” (Mark 4:20).
HOW CAN WE PREPARE OUR HEART TO BE A GOOD HEART?
- Don’t be content with just a 30 or 60 fold harvest, go for 100!
A. PLOW UP THE HARD GROUND OF OUR HEARTS:
- “Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of my love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the LORD, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.” (Hosea 10:12, NLT).
- We prepare our hearts by praying to the Lord and confessing our sin.
- “Sin will keep you from the Bible, or the Bible will keep you from sin.”
B. PLANT THE SEEDS OF THE WORD IN OUR HEARTS:
- “Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You!” (Psalm 119:11, NKJV).
- We plant the Word in our hearts by memorizing Bible verses.
- This is one of the reasons why it’s good to take notes in church – to help you remember what you are learning! Don’t let the devil steal the Word…
- “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17, NKJV).
- God’s Word is a seed that develops your faith and trust in God.
C. PRACTICE WHAT WE LEARN:
- “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Joshua 1:8).
- It’s not good enough to just be a hearing of the Word; we need to be a doer!
- Get God’s Word into your heart every day!
- If you don’t plant the seeds of the Word, you won’t receive a fruitful harvest in your life.
- Guard your heart from weeds: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23). (NLT = for it affects everything you do).
- Church Website: www.beausejourchurch.ca
- Pastor’s Blog: https://pastorchrisjordan.wordpress.com/
SEVEN MAIN CATEGORIES OF THE 15 LARGER PARABLES:
- The Kingdom of God: Parable of the Sower, Mustard Seed, Hidden Treasure/Pearl of Great Price, Wheat and Weeds
- God’s Love, Mercy and Forgiveness: Lost Sheep, Lost Coin, Prodigal Son
- Christian Love: Good Samaritan, Unmerciful Servant
- Persistence in Prayer: Persistent Widow
- Self-Righteousness and Humility: The Pharisee and Tax Collector
- Stewardship: Parable of the Talents
- Preparation for the Future: Parable of the Rich Fool, Wise and Foolish Bridesmaids, The Final Judgment