Sermon – How to Cast Out Demons (Mark 4:1 – 4:34) – Cornerstone Church Kingston
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Mark 2022

The Book of Mark is the shortest of the four gospels and was written by a close companion of apostles Peter and Paul. The book is thought to be a collection of Peter’s sermons, focusing more on Jesus’ actions than words. The first section of the book provides evidence for who Jesus claims to be; the Messiah. After chapter 8 the narrative shifts to focus on his ultimate mission; to go to the cross. Listen as Cornerstone preachers take us through the stories that reveal Jesus’ true glory and show us why we can trust our lives to Him.

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Sermon 6 of 16

How to Cast Out Demons

Pete Woodcock, Mark 4:1 - 4:34, 9 October 2022

Pete continues our series in Mark's gospel, preaching from Mark 4:1-34. In these verses Jesus addresses the crowds using four parables that he later explains to his disciples. What are we to learn from these parables and the way we are to receive God's word?

Mark 4:1 - 4:34

4:1 Again he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

10 And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11 And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, 12 so that

  “‘they may indeed see but not perceive,
    and may indeed hear but not understand,
  lest they should turn and be forgiven.’”

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 along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. 16 And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. 17 And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. 18 And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, 19 but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 20 But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”

21 And he said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand? 22 For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light. 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” 24 And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you. 25 For to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”

26 And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. 27 He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. 28 The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

30 And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? 31 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, 32 yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”

33 With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it. 34 He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.


Transcript (Auto-generated)

This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

If you have a Bible, if you'd like to take it and turn to Mark chapter 4, We're gonna have our reading. Again, Jesus began to teach by the lake. A crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake. While all the people were along the shore at the water's edge. He taught them many things by parables.

And in his teaching said, listen, A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Sun fell on rocky places where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly because the soil was shallow, but when the sun came up, The plants were scorched and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choke the plants so that they did not bear grain.

Still, other seeds fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop. Some multiplying 30, some 60, some a hundred times. Then Jesus said whoever has ears to hear, let them hear. When he was alone, the 12 and the others around him asked about the parables.

He told them the secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you But to those on the outside, everything is said in parable. So that they may be ever seeing but never perceiving and ever hearing but never understanding. Otherwise, they might turn and be forgiven. Then Jesus said to them, don't you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable?

The farmer sows the word. Some people are like seed along the path where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. Others like seeds sown or rocky place is hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time.

When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. And still others like seeds sown among thorns hear the words, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word making it unfruitful. Others like seeds, so no good soil, hear the word, accept it and produce a crop, some 30, some 60, some a hundred times what was sown. If you would like to eat and hear more of that kind of reading, please book onto the Mark Drummer which is coming up in the start of November. Let's pick up our reading from verse 21.

He said to them do you bring a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, you don't put it in like Instead, don't you put it on its stand? For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed. And whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.

Consider carefully what you hear. He continued. With the measure you use, it will be measured to you and even more. Whoever has will be given more. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.

He also said, This is what the kingdom of god is like. A man scatters seed on the ground, night and day whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, he does not know how, all by itself, the soil produces corn. First the stalk, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. As soon as the corn is ripe, he puts the signal to it because the harvest has come. Again, he said, what shall it we say the kingdom of god is like?

Or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all the seeds on earth. It when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade. With many similar parables, Jesus spoke the word to them as much as they could understand. He did not say anything to them without using a parable.

When he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything. Pete. Well, let let me add my welcome. My name is Pete Woodcock and 1 of the pastors of the church here. We're going through Mark's gospel because we're building up to that fantastic Mark drama that's coming up.

We've got 3 sessions of Mark drama coming up in November. Great opportunity to invite friends to hear the whole of Mark sort of red who are trying out a little bit of a thing there, but it's red in in a in a in the the round like that, and it's just really good. So that's what we're doing. Let me pray. Father help us now as we look into this amazing passage or these parables help us by your spirit to understand them, help us to have ears to hear what you say in Jesus name, r m.

Now many of you would have heard the sort of horrible playground saying Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. In other words, a physical attack with sticks and stones may may injure me, but verbal attack can't do anything. And I haven't heard that for a long time and I'm glad because I can't think of anything more wrong than that statement. And I think we really know it. Words are very powerful and conform us and creating us all kinds of hurt and brokenness.

The average person I'm told although this is a sort of a fairly rough science, as you can imagine. The average person here is 30000 words a day said, That's the equivalent of a 60 page book every single day. And then you add to that, the many words that we read and the words that we see that we may not read because we're surrounded by words. We have words everywhere on our t shirts on our shoes all around us. There's a word there.

There's my name. And words all even on my watch, there's words everywhere. You add all of that. Some people think that we have about a hundred thousand words a day go into us. And then working that out people some people say that it's 8860000000 words in your life.

That that that you receive. Now most of those words are there to influence you. They're not just to entertain you, most of them are to influence you. You know, get this, go there, buy this, experience this, avoid this, stop, go be careful, all kinds of words. They are powerful.

They seriously influence us. And they seriously can hurt us and form us into characters that we may not want to be. The bible takes words very very seriously. In fact, you could do a theme through the bible. On words, you could go through all of the 66 books and you could take that big theme of words and work your way through the bible.

As 1 way of understanding how the bible fits together. Right back, first chapter, first verses, right before creation, We hear in Genesis chapter 1, in the beginning, god created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty darkness was over the surface of the deep, the spirit of god was hovering over the water, and god said, god said, let there be light, and there was light. God spoke a world into being. 9 times in that first fairly short chapter, the bible says God said God said.

God said. And that word of God is effective. There's always There was. There was. There was.

What God said. There was. And that word was not only effective It was a good word. It brings blessing and life out of formlessness out of emptiness, out of darkness. God spoke into the darkness, said let there be light and there was light.

But in Genesis 3, just 2 chapters later, we hear another voice, an alternative word to god's word, a voice of rebellion that will challenge the ruler God who spoke the word into being. This voice cannot create anything. It doesn't have that power, but it has power to destroy. It has power to bring darkness. It's a lying voice with words that distort and exaggerate in order to give birth to untruth, to lies, a serpent's voice, that encouraged Adam and Eve our forefathers to put themselves first on the throne.

And even though they may put themselves first, they're not first because the word is behind them and influencing them. This word of untruth a serpent's voice that said, when god said, do not eat of that fruit or you will die, the father of lies said you will not surely die. The sweet bite of disobedience that makes humanity wise in their own eyes. And places us on the throne. The fruit that poisoned and possesses humanity as we ingest disobedience like the first snot of cocaine is a delicious thing.

As we know our lord. The outcome of listening to this rival voice, this rival word, this lying word is the opposite to blessing. It brings a curse. Listen to God speaking to Adam now. At the end of Genesis 3.

To Adam, he said, because you listen to your wife, who listen to the serpent, an ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you you must not eat from it because of this. Listen, cursed. It was a blessing a minute ago. Cursed. Cursed is the ground because of you.

Through painful toil, you will eat food from it. All the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you. And you will eat the plants of the field by the sweat of your brow, you will eat your food until you return to the ground since from it you were taken. For dust you are and to dust you will return.

A world now of thorns and thistles where the ground is hard, where it's hard to produce good fruit. That is what life is like now in our world. That is what life is like under the alternative word, the word of a father of lies. But I don't know whether you noticed in that reading at the end of This just blew me away the connection here in in Genesis 3. That Adam is very closely connected to the curse on the soil.

He's part of the soil. He's made from dust and he'll go back to dust. He's made from soil and he'll go back to soil. And so there's much more than just a hint that this hard ground, which is gonna produce thorns and thistle. It's not just about land.

It's not just about soil. But it's carried through into Adam and his children into the human makeup that in ourselves, we have hard ground. In our cells, there'd be thorns and thissles. This isn't just a curse against ecology It's not just an ecological curse. It's a curse that is psychological and spiritual.

The makeup of a person. Now I hope you see all this fits together in a minute. But that is what I think Jesus is talking about in a little parable that we looked at very briefly last week in chapter 3 of Mark's gospel. You'll see it in verse 27. There's only 1 line parable.

Jesus says this talking about Satan to his enemies. He says, in fact, no 1 can enter a strong man's house without first tying him up. Then he can plunder the strong man's house. The strong man here is Satan. The serpent, the father of lies.

The house is you and me. And he's keeping his property safe. How? Well, the way that he always does it lies, a rival word to god, lies. Satan has been lying to us ever since we were born.

He lies to us about how we get got here. He lies to us about what life is about. He lies to us about what happens after death. He spent all your life lying to you to keep his possessions safe. He'll use anything and everything to distort and exaggerate and distract you from crying out for a rescuer to keep you well rounded.

With weeds and thistles. He's a strong man that says Jesus. Keeping his possessions safe says Jesus in Matthew's gospel. And what we need is a strong a man than the strong man who will plumb the Satan's property. And tie him up and rescue us from his intoxicating lies.

The world is under a dictatorship, in which Satan, as Paul says, is the prince of the power of the air. The world is under dictatorship and he's the great misinformer. That will misinform us over the airwaves. That's what Satan does now. How can we be rescued?

How can that be done? Well, this is where the gospels come in. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The gospel writers want us to see that Jesus is the stronger man that can tie up Satan. John calls him the word of God made flesh.

The word of God has been made flesh. It's now not not just the word of God, but he's been made flesh. The word of God has come into this world now to do battle. With Satan, word against word. Mark has been showing us that Jesus is the anointed 1 of God who preaches, who speaks, who's come to speak the very word of a king.

To form a new kingdom, and he effectively does that. Through the word of his truth, casting out as we've already seen, demons, liars, how, by the word of truth, The dictatorship of lies can now be rebelled against because we have the word of life with us. And that's what Jesus has been doing in Mark's gospel, and we've been seeing that. And that's what he calls a people to do. He said to his disciples in in mark 3 verse 14.

He appointed 12 we saw that last week that they might be with him. Yeah. So we've got to be with him and that they might that he might send them out to preach, to speak, and listen, and to have authority to drive out demons. Liars. And in chapter 4, we see how that's done.

The title of this sermon, I've finally got to it, I finally got to my title, which is how to cast out demons, how to cast out liars, and it's done by word. Look at verse 1. Again, Jesus began to teach And then throughout all of that reading that we had, which is a long reading, we have the words like, listen. And he who has ears, lets him hear and hear the word. And Jesus said and Jesus said and Jesus said and he spoke the word and the seed is the word.

You get it? A word has come to town. And how do I cast out a demon? How do I cast out the liar? How do I how do I see the strong man bound up?

By the truth of the word, a rival word has come into town again. The original word has come back. That's what's going on here. And there are 4 parables here that Jesus tells. And the first 1 is about a farmer.

It's very simple. Who goes out to sow some seeds And obviously, he's going out to sow seeds so that the barren ground whatever it is would produce fruit. Would produce a harvest. That's why he sowing. The word is always about reaping a harvest.

So let's just have a look at this quickly. First of all, the seed in this parable. What does the seed represent? Well, I've said it already. It's the word of God.

You see that? In verse 14, the word of God. In Matthew's gospel, Matthew says that Jesus said it's the message about the kingdom. So it's the word of God. The message about the kingdom.

The king is here. There's a new kingdom come. You could be rescued from Satan's territory. So Jesus compares the very word of God to seed. Yeah?

Which is packed full of life. When we were doing our series in 1 Peter, some of you will know that as brilliant, isn't it? 1 Peter, he says this. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed. See the parishes.

But of imperishable through the living and enduring word of god, all men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field, the grass withers and the the flowers fall, but the word of the lord stands forever, and this is the word that was preached to you. Yeah? We have a word of life here. Yeah? Not a perishable word, the word of life.

Yeah? Packaging this little sea. Hebrews. Another book in the bible says for the Word of God is living and active -- Yeah. -- sharper than a double edged sword.

And it penetrates to dividing the soul and the spirit, the joints and the marrow, and it judges the thoughts and the attitudes of the heart. Okay. It's a living word, but it's a scary 1 as well, isn't it? It's a living sea but it's a flipping sword and it's gonna ram itself into you and break your bone open and say what we got in here? But the seed is there to produce fruit.

Love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control. And that's what that little parable about the mustard seed is about. I don't know whether you heard that, but it's a lovely little thing. There's this tiny little mustard seed. It's so insignificant.

It's like a speck of dust. You could blow it away. It's all pathetic, but that tiny little sleeve, has life packed in it, and when it falls even in hard ground, it can break up ground. It grows into a mighty tree and it has full of life and fruit and there's birds flapping around thinking, oh, think I'll lay my egg in that tree. There's life coming to life on life on life.

That's the very word of God. You see, in this world, you have a seed that grows into a flower and then the flower dies that goes to the dust, not so with the word of life. It was never meant to be like that. The flour produces a flour, but produces a flour. We've never seen this in this world.

That carries on producing a flower. There's always more potential in the Word of God. It brings life upon life upon life upon life. A flower producing a flower. Producing a flower, producing a flower, a tiny little seed that the world says is a silly message about Jesus.

He's planted into the soul. And it produces a mustard massive tree and the birds say, that's the word. But there's no point in having a word that you just look at. It needs to be sewn and that's the lamp on the on the table shining out. So the seed, the second point is the sower.

The sower is the person that spreads the word The word is broadcasting. That's where you get the word broadcasting from. You broadly cast. That's what the seller does. The original sower here is Jesus.

But as I said, Jesus calls disciples to preach and have authority over demons with this word. But so it goes out and what does he sow? He sows the word. He doesn't There's nothing else he's gonna sow. He sows the word of God.

That's how the kingdom of god arrives in a human heart. It's wonderful, isn't it preaching? I mean, preaching is a very funny thing and you have to ask me about it some Sundays. There there are times where you just know that God is there and there's times that it's like a battle against Satan itself. But you know this, that however clumsy and useless you are as a preacher, if you so the word, the word has potential for landing in a barren heart and producing fruit.

That is extraordinary job. The moment of sowing is like magical. It's spirit filled. It's the opportunity for people to change and grow. So you have the summer.

Thirdly, you have the soils. The word will produce different responses to the seed. And we saw those responses. We saw the actual responses last week. If you weren't here, you need to listen to that sermon.

They were the real responses. This is the illustration of those responses. It's funny. It's the other way around than we normally think. Last week, the demons, they're the hard hard heart.

They hear the word and it never goes into their heart. The crowd, if you remember that? They're the ones that want the miracles. They're the crowded hearts. They've got rocky soil underneath them.

They love Jesus. So it looks like, but they soon give up when Jesus doesn't give them what they want. The earthly family, remember that of Jesus. They're like the weedy ground. They're worried.

Has he gone mad? Don't quite like everything he's saying. And then you have the real family. The good soil. But Jesus says, on my real family, they're sitting at his feet, they're listening to his word.

Don't be surprised of this. If you're a sower, don't be surprised that there are different responses. But 1 thing you need to know is this. It's not the words for. It's not the seeds for.

In fact, the seed, the word, is what reveals the soil. It reveals the heart You don't really know what someone's heart is like until you sow the word of God into their heart, then you'll see. They may look really good. You may look at the field and say, it's a beautiful field. Oh, so good.

Look at the soil. It's delicious. And you take up the top soil. Oh, yeah. That will grow the seed.

But you didn't see underneath there's a layer of rock or there's a load of weeds. The word of Jesus never fails to achieve what he intended it to do. It's always effective like when God said let there be and there was. The word never returns void, we're told. Without doing its intended job.

This parable isn't telling us that only 25 percent success rate Jesus has. 75 percent not very good. It's not telling us that. It's actually telling us that every single seed and in every case, it achieves the purpose. But Jesus intended it for.

And that's what those strange little verses 10 and 12 are telling us. Just have a look at them versus 10 and 12 right in the middle of this parable. When he was alone, the 12 and the others around him asked him about the parable he told them, the secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside, everything is said in parables. So that they may ever so that they may sorry.

So so that they may be ever seeing but never perceiving and ever hearing but never understanding. Otherwise, they might turn or be forgiven. Strange little words, but Jesus is saying, my parables sometimes at least these ones have the intention of causing people not to understand. I'm telling this parable to cause people not to like, why? Because the intention is to expose the soil to expose what they like.

His intention is to expose. He casts the seed the word to see what the soil is. So that quote in verse 12 is from a book in the old testament called Isaiah. Isaiah chapter 6. Isaiah's job was to preach to a people that would not listen.

That was his job. Great. Isn't it? Imagine taking that up. Wanna be a preacher?

No. No. Listen. Come over here. Isaiah volunteered.

Strange. Anyway, and the point of Isaiah's ministry was to show up the hardness of Israel's heart. They wouldn't listen to God's word. That's how hard they were. They didn't respond to him except out of anger.

That's how hard they were. Look, let's try and get this. Imagine I joined the army, which I can't imagine, but imagine. I'm sure when I go in there for the, you know, not I'm gonna start in the morning. I go there in the evening.

I see the sergeant Major. He's not on duty. I come in. I'm sure I get on with the sergeant really well. Well, mate, you're right.

We probably have a lot in common. Aren't you from there? Yeah. I'm sort of from around that area. Do you want a point?

Yeah. I have to have a point. Really nice. So you're the sergeant major. Yeah.

That's great. Oh, I'd like you. I go to bed and say, I like that man. I'm gonna enjoy this army. Except at 5 30 in the morning, his word comes to me.

Woodcock up, pee those boots, march around. I don't know. Hold on. I just need a cup of tea. Much around the square.

Yeah. Hold it. You don't have to shout. What's that with you? I liked you last night.

Go it up. Now, march, clean the boots. Well, watch what am I doing? March, you'll clean the boots. I hate your gut.

You shut up. Don't talk to me like this. I didn't know I hated him until his word of command came to me. And that's what the word of God does. We think we are nice with God until he tells us the 10 commandments and we don't even bother to learn them.

Jesus says my preaching is to expose, is to expose what your heart is like to the word of God. It's more than that because Jesus is the word made flesh and he will reveal the secrets of the kingdom. And the miracle of this of this mark chapter 4, parable of the sower, is that there are some that respond in good soil. Now who are they? We'll see them in a minute, but let me just go through the soils.

Because here's Jesus now revealing what we're like, the path the first soil, the hard heart and hyper demons. These are the people in verse 15 what Jesus explains to us who they are. The the seed falls on a very hard ground. They're resistant to the word of God. Satan snatches it away.

Perhaps they're people, they don't want an outside word. They believe in themselves only, and they're compacted down to their own belief systems. And they're self sufficient and they're self satisfied. And the word of God is like water of a duck's back. They will not listen.

However much you describe the glorious of the word in their life. However much you describe the freedom that they could know in the life of God coming in them. However, much you go the other way and describe hell to them and the darkness and emptiness and the voidness of Satan's word that's taking them up. However, much you describe the love of God and the cross of Christ that God so loved the world that he gave his 1 and only sun. They're hard to it.

However, much you say, the darkness where they'll be weeping and gnashing of teeth, that's what hell is like. Then they're hard to it. They they will not let it in. Stephen is preaching 1 of the first Christian Sermon In acts chapter 7, and the religious leaders are so religious. They will not listen to God.

And after the sermon, this is what it says. At this after the sermon, They covered their ears and yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed to him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. See, the word of God showed them what they were like. They were claiming to be lovers of God, but the word of God came. And they put their hands up like babies.

I've had this happen as I've preached once by an elder in a church. I was actually preaching on that verse he physically did it. I pointed to him and said, look at him and then I was thrown out of that church literally. And the hand went over the ears. And he's yelling, I'm going on this and I'm going on this and I'm going on this and I'm going to kill him.

Extraordinary reaction to the word of the God of love, isn't it? Well, if you have that reaction, then you've got a hard heart and you need something else. Look at the rocky soil. It's the shallow heart. It's the crowd.

You see it in verse 16. Very emotional response to Jesus. Yeah. Very excited about Jesus. But when he's not giving them what they want, the emotions sort of dies down.

Persecution comes up. The sun hits them. The roots haven't got good soil and they wither and they die. That's the crowd. If you follow the crowd, there's a thing you could follow through Mark.

And when we hear Mark's drama, you follow the crowd. They're not they're not serious. At the end, they're crying out till him crucify him. If you read about Deemus in the in the new testament Deemus, In colossians, he's a friend of Paul, in Philippians, he's a fellow worker, in 2 timothy, he's a deserter. A seed that has done its job in revealing a hard heart and revealing a fickle heart.

Look at the weedy soil. The crowded heart. This is like the earthly family that we're all worried about things. There's no real repentance here. The weeds are still left underneath.

It says the worries of this life in verse 18 literally means the distractions of the ages. The distraction of the age. The word of god comes, but the distraction of the age takes them away. Talks about wealth. The deceitfulness of wealth takes them away.

Fonia had more wealth. I could be settled in this life. It makes them put roots in this life and not in the kingdom of God. Says the desires for other things These are things that get in the way of the word. You can't see these thorns and thistles at first.

They're a slow clock. But in 10 years time, you'll see the effects of them. At first, it's little decisions here and there against the word of God. But in 10 years time, it's a matter of heaven and hell. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

The word's done its job. It's revealed what the heart is like. And so we come to the good soil. Bear with me. This is so important.

It's like the family at Jesus feet, the real family, listening to the word of God, you see it in verse 20. The seed doesn't bounce off the surface here. He goes deep it puts down roots and even persecution like the sun only helps it grow. Now it's very important to get this. We're not being told that 25 percent of people have good hearts.

And 75 percent don't. I think what we're being told here is we all are hard hearted and weedy and got rocks underneath. We're all bad soil. That's what we're being told. That the word of God reveals my heart.

And when it reveals my heart, The sensible thing to do is say, God save me from myself. Look at verse 10, you see what the disciples did. When they he was alone, the 12 and the others around him asked him about the parables. He told them the secret of the kingdom of god has been given to you. Why?

Not because they're good. Not because they're more religious, not because they're cleverer, simply because they come and ask. Their heart has been revealed. It's a hard heart. I need Jesus to break it up.

Jesus' word reveals what I'm like. I'm hard hearted to the 10 commandments. I'm hard hearted to the love of god in Christ on the cross. I'm that hard hearted. I need to come to Jesus and ask him to break my ground up.

And that's what he does because he's not just the word he's the word made flesh. He had thorns on his head. Now, follow the links. The thorns that were given at the curse and that are in the ground of our hearts was placed on his head. Jesus on the cross withered and died under massive persecution.

He was choked by the weeds of words and the lies of religion on the cross. Why? So that the word become flesh? Would deal with our weeds and our fawns and our curse and break our hearts and banish the lies of the evil 1 and banish the lies of the demon. And so those who are good soil come with hard hearts and say, give me the secret of a kingdom of god, break my heart, place your word in my heart, place it deep, grow it in every way that you can, even if it means persecution, bring the sun up.

So that I may grow and it produces fruit. It produces fruit. The cursed soil, the cursed heart produces fruit, the fruit of God. And there's no boasting in it. That's what that little parable about the farmer who sows his seed then goes to bed.

It gets up in the morning and it's grown. That's what we preachers do. I'm gonna go to bed tonight. And hopefully, there's growth. And if there isn't growth, it's done its word, it's just judged you more and made you harder.

But there will be fruit. There always is. And in my experience, wherever you preach, there's fruit People grow, people change. A barren heart becomes alive with Christ. A selfish heart wants to give An ungenerous heart is generous.

There is love, joy, and peace, and patience, and kindness. As Satan is expelled from the heart, as the weeds have pulled up the lies, and the ground is furrowed and dug deep with the truth of god's word. And Satan's rocks and lies are pulled up and the alternative word of Satan is thrown out and we're liberated and we're free as Jesus ties up the alternative word on the cross taking the thorns, loving us, and when you know that, you produce fruit. You produce fruit. What a joy?

Let's bow our heads and pray. Father, God, we we thank you for your word. Has come to us today. Father, we pray that you would do your work in our lives you would produce fruit that our lives would be bursting with love and joy and peace and the fruits of the spirit. Father, we pray that you would cast Satan out.

Finally, we we pray that you would help us to know the joy of the world. Jesus Christ who comes, it is in flesh to banish sin. Well, thank you for those words of that that wonderful Carol we've seen at Christmas. That his work is known as far as the curse is found, and we pray this morning that you would do your work in us. Help us to not think of others who need this work.

For that would just be exposing our own hearts and showing us how how much we need it. We pray you would do it do it in us, help us to Think of the places where your word needs to go deeper in our own hearts, in our own lives. We pray that your light would shine into us and expose the darkness We pray you would tie up the strong man. Lord may you may you reap a harvest in us. And may it may it show itself this week, pray that we wouldn't just be heroes this morning, but we would be doers of the word as well, that we would go from here, and that we would love others, love our world do as as we were praying earlier, we would speak to people about Jesus.

We wouldn't keep this good news to ourselves, but we would love our families, we would love our colleagues, and We'd love those that we work around, that we'd be patient, that we would be kind. Lord, we pray that you would work in us and through us. May we be your your people this week, may we bring glory to you, and Jesus, may we pray, amen.

Preached by Pete Woodcock
Pete Woodcock photo

Pete is Senior Pastor of Cornerstone and lives in Chessington with his wife Anne who helps oversee the women’s ministry in the church.

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