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Soils and Souls

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew
The Truth Network Radio
April 3, 2022 7:00 pm

Soils and Souls

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew

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April 3, 2022 7:00 pm

Join us for worship- For more information about Grace Church, please visit www.graceharrisburg.org.

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Bob with you turn with me if you would to Mark chapter 4 where starting out with verses one through nine.

Again he began to teach façade the city a very large crowd gathered batting so that he got into the boat sat in it on the sea whole crowd was beside the sea on the land he was teaching them many things in parables and in his teaching, he said to them, listen, a sower went out to so Nancy sewed some seed fell among the path and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocks rocky ground where it did not have much soil and immediately it sprang up since it had no depth of soul. When the sun rose. It was scorched since it had no root it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns and the thorns grew up and choked it yielded no grain other seed fell into good soil and produce grain growing up and increasing and yielding 30 falls 60 fold in a hundredfold and he said he who has ears to hear, let him hear that with me as we got our Lord in prayer. Heavenly father, we have come here today to worship you. Part of that worship is preaching.

Hearing responding to God's word today were looking at one of your most loved and and well-known parables. Please help us to not be apathetic because of familiarity.

Help us to see what the disciples saw in the crowd was blinded to help us to be first obedient and submissive and independent.

We have a tendency to take off in the wrong directions. We do get lazy and apathetic would get gung ho and depend on himself, help us to take our eyes off of self and put them on you, Lord, we continue to pray for Nicole Olson and Nancy Linley and we pray for Becky steel list this week. She is Hannah buyout with just getting very very weak and actually falling one time and went to the hospital right now for some tested place should be with her in power pray for those who have recently lost loved ones.

Margaret Margate pantsuit lost her brother and hungry for Alisha Colwell who lost her husband, Doug. I continue to pray for Randy Presley as you strengthen him and comfort him in reminding that Joni is with Jesus I pray for my wife, Cindy's mom Wanda that you give her grace in her time of transition.

Lord we use a service and ask you to take it, use it for your glory. What is the precious holy name of Jesus that we pray. Amen.

You may be seated.

21 years ago I sat in a tent with 40 African pastors in Nairobi, Kenya. These pastors were there taking a two-year Bible study program helping them get ready for the pastoral ministry. They many of them had ridden 40 miles on a bicycle to get there that morning.

Larry Warren is the head of African leadership and it was his responsibility that morning to do the teaching from these pastors we just got there we sat down in the tent and and we noticed that there was an atmosphere of frustration and grumbling and Larry whispered to me and said I gotta get to the bottom of this and he turned around to every body and said all right guys what's going on here.

What's the problem there, it just seems to be a bad vibe here in one of the young pastor stood up and said last week, said Kenneth Copeland was here and said he preached a weeklong crusade and he preached every service on prosperity and faith.

He said he preached the S and and then had up pastors meeting on one particular afternoon and send in the pastors meeting the city showed us his pictures of his mansion here in the United States. They showed us pictures of the of the personal jet that he had the flu them in Africa city showed us pictures that he had of his fleet of BMWs and then he looked at us and says, guys.

Just look at you you live in mud huts. You ride bicycles to church.

You eat plain meals and you don't even have a TV piece. What's the difference between you and me and he said the differences faith.

If you just had faith. You have a nice home you have a snazzy car you have a big screen TV.

He said because you don't have faith you don't have these things. I've known Larry for a long time. He's good friend. I had always known him is just very happy. He always had a smile on his face. I don't think I've ever seen you get mad that day he got mad. I mean the steam was coming off his head and I remember him grabbing his Bible and going to the front of that tent and he just ran back and he preached with a fierceness of Tiger and he says of these people.

He said I want you to know guys that that Kenneth Copeland is a false prophet is preaching a prosperity gospel. He is not concerned about he's concerned about temporary happiness, but he's not concerned about eternal joy. He is not concerned about you reaching Africa with the gospel. He's concerned about sucking all the money he can out of Africa said you may live in a mud hut right nail but you know Jesus and you will spend forever and ever with him, so why should you get all caught up in temporary stuff that's good be here and Joan and not be concerned about your relationship with Christ in your relationship with others who you will spend forever with will.

I wondered where he was going preached from each. He opened his Bible up to Mark chapter 4, to the very passage that we are dealing with today and he he he he he's just really hung them on two particular verses.

Verses 18 and 19 of Mark chapter 4 and he said this is what Copeland's prosperity gospel will do to the human heart. Jesus said, and others are the ones sown among thorns. Those are those who hear the word but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desire for other things in her hand and choke the word, and it proves unfaithful boats. It was Jesus who said if any man be botanist, my disciple, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Jesus folks the prosperity gospel is not all about Jesus. It's all about you and we need to see that Larry said do you know people who have bawled in this false gospel. Do you know people who bought into this and they thought will oh boy this is great because this is what I won't I won't have and when I die and I will prosperity right nail that's that's what I want so I make a loan commitment to Christ and when I make this little commitment to Christ after just a few weeks with a C is sometimes persecution comes in. They get discouraged, then trials, and they get shocked and then temptations come in they so wait a minute, Jesus is not worth this and they turn from the faith and they walk away.

Larry said Copeland is planting seeds. Seeds in band soul and there is no good and lasting fruit. I remember watching those pastors get pumped up and remember what they were saying was essentially this this parable is not just words on a page.

It is not just theology and a bottle is absolute truth. They said, Jesus was explaining why people fall why people fail in why people falter. I never read this passage anymore without thinking about Larry Warren Larry Warren got justifiably angry at the prosperity gospel, and then he used the parable of the souls in order that he might blow that prosperity gospel to pieces not praise God for that budget is not wealth that makes you joyful is a heart that sold out to Jesus Christ. That is what is important and that is the good soul what he, Jesus, give us the parable of the sower is certainly one of the most beloved and cherished parables that we have in the entire Bible. Will this may surprise you but Jesus is explaining to his disciples. Here why he is the number of people that are genuinely submitted to his Lordship why that group is so small now for 2000 years before Jesus came, people waiting for the promised Messiah.

And what most of them thought was the is when the Messiah comes he is going to break the yoke of Roman oppression is going to set us free.

I did not understand that when the Messiah would come, he would come not just once, but he would come twice. They did not understand what Jesus meant Mark chapter 10 verse 45. But what went when Jesus said said the is for the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life a ransom for many folks, the people of Israel looking for crown they were looking for across it is shocking that such a small number of people were actually submitting their hearts and their lives to Christ at this time there were huge multitudes of people that were coming for healing. There are multitudes of people that were coming to to see the miracle that there were multitudes of people that just one hearing to each but those that truly submitted to Christ was relatively very small number very small number. John MacArthur explained it this way, he said, why did this happen after the long awaited Messiah be so widely rejected by his own people. Jesus power was unmistakably divine. His teaching was authoritative, his miracles, wondrously supernatural, his life sinless's popularity unprecedented yet at the end of his earthly ministry his band of followers only numbered about 500 likely in Galilee about hundred 20 in Jerusalem.

Why were there so few Jesus said someone explain this in the sermon on the Mount. When Jesus said, enter through the narrow gate. Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, but small is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to life. So Jesus tells the parable of the sower help the disciples understand why there's so many that are actually rejecting his Lordship by three points own share with you today .1 is the parable look with me at verses one through eight and he began to teach beside the sea very large crowd gathered about him so they got into a boat set in it on the sea and the whole crowd of beside the sea on the land he was teaching them many things in parables and in his teaching, he said to them, listen all the sower went out to so and as he sowed, some seed fell among the path and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground where it did not have much soul and immediately sprang up since had no depth of soul. 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 seed fell into good soil produce grain growing up and increasing yielding 30 full 60 falls a hundredfold. Jesus left Capernaum, he went over to the Sea of Galilee. And while you say are multitudes of people came to hearing, preach, and hope for healing and there was a little bug there Messiah at the sea of Galilee, and they pushed it out of the water a few feet. The disciples got aptly anchored in the hill the boat Jesus is in the boat.

He sits down in the teaching position, and begins to teach them. Truth and what is he teach them. He teaches them by parables.

What is a parable parables a little short story that has a very powerful illustration and a very powerful meaning of the parables that Jesus taught work or poignant they were interesting and they were stories that you would never forget when Jesus went out teaching. Most of the people, country folks, a lot of them were farmers to Jesus used a a farming illustration pipe parable in order that they might relate to it. Jesus said the sower went out and to sow his seed and he went out to sow his seed any authority for play of the land and he threw his seed out. Here's the sower want you to picturing these got his bag of seed over his over his shoulder and is walking through the field and he takes it. His hand reaches down in the in the bag and he throws the seed out Jesus and it landed on four different types of soul. Jesus said, first, some of it failed to the side of the road on the pathway is, like a little road right beside the field. It was hard as a brick because people walked up and down on impact in the dirt. It was dry and it was dusty and the seed fell right on top of it, but the ground was too hard for it to enter into the soul.

And so what happened will the bird saw it and and the birds waited for the farmer to move soon as he did the came swooping down and they swallowed up that seed devoured it and swallowed it down.

I secondly other seed fell on rocky ground where the soil was very thin layered now. Israel is extremely rocky. I had the privilege was 26 years old when Israel and we were on the Boston and the poor guy was telling the stuff as we were going. One of the guys on the bus and man. I've never seen so many rocks and all my life, and then the tour guide said limiting the story. He said the story is that God created the earth and then he wanted to distribute the rocks. We got one of his angels to do the distribution of the rocks. Angel had a big old pack on his back will always rocks in it and he finally got to Israel and he was so tired he said man, I can't do this anymore and he took the whole packet by backpack and just threw the rocks out on Israel and left them later. That's a silly story is certainly intrusive but it explains how rocky Israel really is. Farmers had to deal with this.

They go into their fields.

I try to get all the rocks out. I couldn't get them all out and so some of the seed when it would fall would fall within rocks right under the surface and they were right in the surface. Thus, the, the soil was extremely thin layered and so is the roots begin to grow, they would grow right down to the rock that would stop the couldn't get moisture and then there's the plant begin to grow.

The sun would come out and drive out in the plant in the plant would die very quickly, because the root could not get the moisture. Thoroughly, some seed fell among the thorns, the thorns would grow up as the plant begin to grow and it would choke it out and kill it. The word thorns. Here's the same word that she used in the story of the crucifixion. When the soldiers took the thorns and made a crown out of those thorns, and crushed it down on the brown Jesus. You know how long those thorns are there anywhere between two and 3 inches long and they're just like needles and the and that's what was described here. The thorns grew up around the plant very quickly killed him choked it out. Finally, in contrast to the first three useless souls.

Other seed fell into good soul this all was soft and deep.

There were no rocks there were no thorns. This soul had moisture and nutrients was fertilized it was good soul and so it was deep enough that the city could get down into it in the birds could not get to it. And Jesus said that the seed grew in the good soul and it yielded 6030 and a hundredfold. It yielded that produce that kind of yield. That's an amazing thing because the normal yield for a farmer would be about 10%. And here they hear this, 30, 60 and 100. They're absolutely shocked between the great promises he is from God that that when when we obey the Lord, the Lord will oftentimes take our obedience and and the the things that we are doing in the Lord's name and use them and multiply them 3060 in a hundredfold or promise like that takes us to point to the purpose. Look at verses nine through 13 and he said to you has ears to hear leading here when he was along those around him with the 12 ask him about the parables and he said to them to you.

It is been given the secret of the kingdom of God. But for those outside everything is in parables so that they may indeed see but not perceive that they may indeed hear but not understand lest they should turn and be forgiven, and he said to them, do you not understand this parable. How then will you understand all the parables after Jesus finished the parables. The multitude left the disciples were just bear with Jesus. They started asking questions. Said Lord, we don't really get it. We don't really understand why is it that your teaching in parables.

What is this parable mean we just don't get it. And Jesus said to them, because you are mine. I will share with you the secret of this parable, but to those who have rejected me, they will hear the words of the parable.

They'll understand what it's saying, but they will not understand the divine meaning is very interesting.

The passage that Jesus quotes from here because all way back to Isaiah 6. Remember that chapter is when Isaiah went into the temple. He saw the Lord, high and lifted up on his throne, who in his train filled the temple and it was a time of the Lord was revealing himself and his glory to to act to Isaiah it was a beautiful time and then after he's doing this.

He says to Isaiah Isaiah want you to go out. I want you to preach the word, but they're not gonna believe you they're not going to understand it and they're not gonna perceive. He said I want you know there's nothing wrong with the word of God. There's nothing wrong with the way you're going to preach. Here's the problem is the soul is the hardened heart. The.deceived heart. The unresponsive heart that that's the reason they don't see and believe Jesus is saying the same thing to his disciples. Here he is saying to them, I'm gonna teach you truth and you gonna get it and you're going to get it. Not because you're smart, not because your spiritual not because your good but because your mind because your mind.

I remember right after I first got saved. I had never experienced that kind of joy. Man, I was just filled with joy. I wouldn't afraid of death anymore. I wouldn't scared to think about hail anymore and I just had this joy inside.

In this piece about me that that I just could not even explain attack couldn't wait to go tell my friends mold drinking buddies normally last man they are going to be so pumped up about this. I can't wait to tell them about Jesus and and so I went to share the gospel with them and they looked at me like I had two hands and they said Doug you gone off the deep end and said you you just crazy. Since this is what you want for yourself and I that's fine but but just leave us alone because we don't want here it I thought to myself was the matter with them.

Are they stupid, and now they were stupid as is read the Scripture. When I found out was this they were stupid. They were blind folks. The reason that I saw the reason I had this joy and happiness was because of the grace of God. God opened my eyes got open my heart God. God gave me the ability to understand that this idea that God open some eyes and and leaves others blinded seems to be unfair. I like what John MacArthur said you think he said it will said both the curious crowds and the religious leaders had been given more than enough time and evidence to conclude that Jesus was the Messiah. Their unbelief persisted growing increasingly resolute until it passed the point of no return.

Consequently, divine judgment had set in their willful rejection of the son of God had led to God's judicial rejection of them. God confirm them in their resolute heart heartedness allowing them to remain cemented in their own unbelief because there rejection was final. The time and come when they would no longer be given the message like that takes us to .3 and that is the point of verse 14 through 20 the sower sows the word in these little ones along the path where the word is son when they hear Satan immediately comes takes away the word that is sown in them. And these are the one site on rocky ground, the ones who when they hear the word immediately receive it with joy. I have no root in themselves, will endure for a while.

Then when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word. Immediately they fall away, others of the one sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word but the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, the desire for other things entering in a choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. But those who were sown on the good soul of the ones who hear the word accepted bear fruit. 30 fall 60 fold a hundredfold. This passage Jesus teaches the disciples, the point or the meaning of the parable Jesus says that the seed is the word of God and he says the sower throws out the word of God is the sower could be a preacher could be an evangelist could be when you as you just go out and share the gospel with someone who needs to hear the gospel.

Jesus is saying to the disciples. Hey guys you the sower in the story you the one doing this with the Lord's primary emphasis here is on the types of souls. Three out of the four types of souls could not produce good lasting fruit is is really important for the disciples to hear a thing is really important for us to. Here's whale… Disciples know they should not expect everyone they share the gospel with to come to a saving knowledge of Christ. They should not get discouraged when people outright reject the gospel or just halfheartedly acknowledge it. Why listen carefully. The elect of God are in the minority, the elect of God are in the minority. The majority of our world will never die to self, it will never submit themselves to the Lordship of Christ Jesus explain this to the disciples. It was a wake-up call to them. They said to them sales.

I'm not a failure when I preach the gospel and I and I get rejected.

I'm not a failure if I share my faith and they won't listen and they turn away from me. I can open blind eyes, I can change your heart. I can't make somebody believe no matter how hard I want to do that if the soul of their heart is not been fertilized and prepared by God was going to happen. They are not coming but brothers and sisters, if the soul of their heart has been prepared and fertilized by God. All hail King keep them from coming. Amen. Listen carefully you are not God. You can't change your heart. You just a FedEx man all you can do is deliver the package I was look at the souls number one is the unresponsive pathway soul.

Jesus said, some seed fell on the hardened dirt packed pathway so hard that the seed could not penetrate get down into the soul so the birds came and immediately grabbed the soul out.

They ate it and took off. Jesus said that this was a picture of demonic involvement in keeping people from hearing the gospel. He said that Satan would come right after they heard the gospel and he would steal the word out of their heart.

Second Corinthians chapter 4 verse four Paul said this, Paul said in their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. Satan uses many devices to blind people to the gospel. Some of you remember LA hearing LA hearing was elder here in our church. 30 years ago is going on with the Lord today. He was a dear, dear friend. I remember one. One Monday night he went out this in with me will at the home of a guy who I knew was an unbeliever he C and we walked into his living room set down withing and wheat small talk for a little bit and I said Sir I'm here for a purpose tonight I would like to be able to share the gospel with you cannot do that and he said yes.

I shared my testimony withing first and I went to verse one verse one Romans chapter 3 verse 23. For we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God before I got this that word out of my mail is five-year-old boy had been sitting down right in front of us in the living room all of a sudden jumped up he been quiet as a males jumped up and started screaming at the top of his lungs. I his dad and to reach down picking up getting calm down, putting on his lap. He said okay go ahead. I went to my next verse Romans 623 for the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

And that little boy jumped off his dad's lap he went running over to his toybox. He picked up a toy truck and he threw it at the television is hard as he could of knew it was going to shatter it didn't bounced off the television within it will boy started screaming and yelling again is dance and I have never seen him like this. What in the world is going on these guys a suit we will need to do this conversation at another time. That was it will end up just getting up that one time and we walked out of the house as Ellie and I were walking down the driveway to the car.

LA look back at me and said Doug, this is a parable of the sower situation and he said the birds had just devoured the seed and he was exactly right.

The second soul was a superficial stony soul. This, he fell on the rocks and could not get firmly rooted so when affliction or persecution came, they immediately just fell away the last couple decades I have watched Christians compromise truth and morality in order to avoid persecution and criticism.

I've seen denominations by out of the sins of abortion and homosexuality and transgender realism because they look at what the culture was saying in the cultures of all these things are are good in their positive and acceptable, and he really did believe that about Manson exactly what God was saying in Isaiah chapter 5 God said what was to woo and to those who call good evil and evil good.

He put light for darkness and darkness for light, who put sweet for bitter and bitter for sweet coaches.

The professing church in America can handle little bit of criticism and what in the world is going to happen when we get thrown in jail for Christ sake or get to the point where they're ready to execute us. The third soul was worldly warning soul. Jesus said these are the ones you heard the word but the worries of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desire for other things crept in and choke the word Jesus warned us about this in the sermon on the Mount Matthew 619 through 21. Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart be also. How many people consider the gospel and then turn away from it because are not willing to pay the price that they say Jesus commands me to Todd.

I can afford to do. Jesus commands me to be a charge on Sunday can afford to do that. Jesus commands me to be ethical and honest in my business practices. I can't really afford to do that.

Jesus commands me to repent means a minute to give up my pornography. That means I'm gonna have to give up clubs that have been going to that means I'm good have to give up the sin that I have reveled and for years and years and years and it's just not worth the cost. So what happens, the deceitfulness of riches and the desire for stuff chokes out the word. What does that mean that mean I can have a nice home in a nice car not necessarily Abraham, was a wealthy man. David was a wealthy man.

Joe was a wealthy man. But you know what their wealth and control them. They control their wealth. They always put God first before soul is the good soul what makes it good is fruitful. God builds up the good soul he fills it with moisture and and and nutrients. When the seed is planted it grows and it multiplies it was Jesus who said that we would know those that are he is by what other fruit other fruit in John chapter 15 verses five through eight. Jesus gave us another agricultural metaphor. He said this, I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers and the branches are gathered, thrown in the fire and burned. You abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish to be done for you by this my father is glorified so that you bear much fruit and so proved to be my disciples.

Was the message for the disciples and us is that only God produces good soul people will respond properly to the gospel only when God does the work is God who open spiritualize spiritual ears and spiritual hearts is God Hussein's. It is God who gives us the ability to bear fruit some ASCII so what does that mean for me. Does that mean I don't have to do anything that I can just sit back and do nothing.

Does that mean just let go and let God. Absolutely not. As his child, I'm called to be obedient and if I'm obedient.

Guess what's gonna happen. My trust in him is going to grow if my trust grows my dependence runs. So here's the key. Your responsibility is to obey and then leave the results to God. Spray heavenly father. You told this parable to the 12th 2000 years ago the day in 2022. We sense the same power. The same enlightenment same call to dependence on God that you gave to your disciples.

Help us to learn that you are sovereign of definite and good. Help us to be obedient children and dependent children help us to love you for all of our hearts, mind, soul and strength. Other this is the time that we have the privilege of entering into communion with the Lord's supper. Pray heavenly father that you would use it today to draw us closer to you than we've ever been before.

You promised us, Lord, that your spirit would be with us in a very special way. When we partake of the supper and father we pray that that might happen in the chart here today. Lord we love you. Today we thank you for loving us and it's in Jesus precious and holy name we pray. A man


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