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Mark 4

The parables of Jesus

  • Jesus often usen parables. There are about forty-one parables total in the gospels, but Mark records five.
  • A parable places one thing next to another with a view to comparison.
  • Why teach in parables?
    • Mark 4:11 – So Jesus could teach His disciples in private.
  • What are they about?
    • Generally, to teach what the kingdom “at hand” is like.
  • How should we interpret them?
    • Don’t look for lessons in every small detail.
    • Let Jesus explain!

The kingdom is like a sower (Mark 4:1-20)

  • Mark 4:15 – Compare Luke 8:11. The seed is the word of God. The wayside is people who hear the word, but don’t grow with any depth.
  • Mark 4:16-17 – The rocky place – people who hear the word but will not endure persecution.
  • Mark 4:18-19 – The thorns – people who hear, but the word of God is choked out by the cares of the world.
  • Mark 4:20 – The good ground that bears fruit.
  • The kind of heart determines the reception and relation to God’s word. We determine what type of heart we have!

Lamp under a bushel (Mark 4:21-25)

  • Compare Matthew 10:27. We should proclaim God’s word! See also Acts 13:47.
  • Be lights of God’s world. Teach and do God’s word!

The growing seed (Mark 4:26-27)

  • Compare I Corinthians 3:6-9. We are laborers together with God. We plant and water, but God gives the increase in His own time.
  • See Galatians 1:7. We have no right to cross-breed or modify the message. See also Romans 1:16; I Peter 2:5. God’s church is not for entertainment or a social club.

The kingdom is like a mustard seed (Mark 4:30-34)

  • The kingdom, from a small beginning, grows to a place of strength and comfort for those therein. Remember the figure of the kingdom in Daniel 2.

The wicked vinedressers (Mark 12:1-12)

  • See I Peter 2:8. Unlike other parables, the Jewish leaders immediately understood the parable and knew He was condemning them.

For further study, see also:

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  • II Corinthians 5:17

Created vs. evolved

  • Genesis 1:1, 27
  • Genesis 9:6 – Why is man’s life different? Because we are made in the image of God.
  • Matthew 10:28
  • There is no sense of “ought” if God did not create us.
  • Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn – “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.”
  • I Corinthians 8:10-11

Loving vs. selfish

  • Matthew 18:1-4 – We must have the humility of a child!
  • Matthew 19:30; 20:16
  • A Christian views things differently!
  • Acts 8:13, 18
  • II Corinthians 5:14-15
  • How does love change my schedule? My money habits?

Optimistic vs. pessimistic

  • Matthew 12:20 – God doesn’t want to give up on us! He sees the potential that is there.
  • I Corinthians 13:7
  • John 3:16

For further study, see also:

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Third preaching journey (Acts 18:23-21:17)

Apollos (Acts 18:23-28)

  • Priscilla was a great example of a woman serving the Lord. This is a great example of proper attitudes in teaching and learning. Apollos is a great example of humility in learning.
  • See I Corinthians 16:12

Ephesus (Acts 19:1-41)

  • Acts 19:1-7 – If we have had a different baptism, this passage shows you should be baptized again in the correct way.
  • Acts 19:13-15 – Archaeological digs have since found a number of artifacts referring to Jesus and having various incantations similar to what is quoted here.

Asia, Macedonia, and Achaia (Acts 20:1-16)

  • Acts 20:7 – Compare Acts 2:42, 46. The context must indicate whether “breaking bread” refers to the Lord’s Supper or not. This seems to be referring to the Lord’s Supper, while Acts 20:11 refers to a common meal.

For further study, see also:

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  • What does it mean to be “called by God?” People today seem to have a different understanding of it than what it meant in Bible times. Especially “called by God” to do something specific. Can we say the same today?

We are all called to SALVATION by the gospel.

  • II Thessalonians 2:14; 1:11-12
  • I Corinthians 1:2-6

There is no doubt that God called specific people to do specific things for Him in the Bible.

  • Jeremiah 1:4
  • Hebrews 5:1-4
  • Acts 9:3 – There was a specific thing God wanted Paul to do.
  • Acts 13:2

But God’s direct intervention in Bible times cannot be generalized to everyone.

  • Jeremiah 29:11, 1 – This was a letter to the exiles in Babylon.
  • Romans 10:14-15
  • Acts 16:6-10
  • Esther 4:14

Caution: I might interpret signs and violate God’s will.

  • I Samuel 24:1-7 – David’s men just knew this was a sign from God.
  • Matthew 19:9 – We know this is God’s will. If we feel we are receiving sings to divorce, we know that any signs could not go against God’s written will.

Instead of looking for signs, just get to work obeying the Bible.

  • Ephesians 2:10, 25-28
  • Luke 7:28-30
  • II Peter 1:10

For further study, see also:

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Mark 3, continued:

  • Mark 3:22 – See John 11:48-50. The Jews were afraid of losing their power.
  • Mark 3:28-30 – The “Holy Spirit” here could be referring to the “divine nature of Christ.” They were denying Jesus’ deity and attributing it to Satan.
    • Matthew 12:34 – Matthew records Jesus’ strong description of His accusers.
    • John 12:37
    • Matthew 13:14-15
    • Acts 28:25-27
    • John 12:37-41 – Isaiah showed that the underlying sin was hardness of heart.
    • The “eternal sin,” therefore, was a wicked mindset that would follow these hardened rebels into eternity, where an “eternal judgment” (Hebrews 6:2) would be pronounced, and an “eternal punishment” of unending misery awaited them (Matthew 25:46), because there is no post-mortem plan of salvation (Hebrews 9:27). So, we see the final end Jesus announced upon those who deny the power and word of God, attributing it to another source, in this case, Satan.
    • Is it possible to be guilty of this sin today? Yes! See John 20:29; I Peter 1:8-9. If someone persistently rejects the New Testament evidence that supports Jesus’ credibility, hasn’t he in principle done the same as these Pharisees?

For further study, see also:

Questions or comments? Join our Discord server for further study.

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