JESUS often taught many things by parables, that are based on easily understood objects or events that convey a spiritual truth. This truth is usually hidden from natural reasoning, simply because it is in the spirit realm. They convey a spiritual revelation of some kind. Webster’s Dictionary defines revelation as-
an act of revealing or communicating divine truth; something that is revealed by God to humans: an act of revealing to view or making known: something that is revealed especially: an enlightening or astonishing disclosure and a pleasant often enlightening surprise.
In this presentation, I want to take you to chapter four of Mark’s Gospel that starts with a description of what was happening. Mark was laying a foundation. I also am laying a foundation that will take us to the significance of His statement of the thirtyfold, sixtyfold and hundfedfold harvest. I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised. In verse one, Mark said that Jesus began again to teach... so this was not a one-off occurrence. Jesus was a teacher. He was also a preacher and He healed the sick. His Gospel is a three-fold Gospel. If we sincerely want to please God and do what He asks, then we should emulate the examples set by Jesus. By His own admission, Jesus said that He never said anything unless He first heard the Father say it and that he never did a thing until He first saw the Father do it.
If the Father did not speak, Jesus never spoke. If the Father did not do anything, Jesus never did anything.
I am learning that this is how it is supposed to work. Many times, the Lord has told us to be quiet and remain silent about certain things. His word to us is often, “Shhh”. In our exuberance, the tendency is to share everything at all times with all and sundry we come across. After all, aren’t we supposed to “gossip the Gospel” and are we not to give witness or testify?” No! Not always. Sometimes it is best to be silent! There are times when we do not know the end of the story or not have the full picture and say something that we might have to retract later. We could talk about something that is a “work in progress” and inadvertently share things with folk who might not know how to handle it and then they talk loosely to others...to people we think would understand and be sympathetic to the cause, but act like Joseph’s brethren. Sometimes we can also share something that reaches the enemy! In warfare, you do not telegraph your movements to the enemy for obvious reasons. Sayings like, “Loose lips sink ships” abounded in WW2.
Marjorie and I are often asked to visit certain foreign countries to minister and we long to do that. The Lord has told us that we are to go to some places, but He also has said to wait. We just do not know the timing and are constantly being asked by some folk, “When are you coming”? I keep saying, “We don’t know”. I understand their eagerness to receive ministry from us or others like us, but we have to be led by the Spirit as seen in Acts 16:6-7 and in the process can't say a word! We can only do what He says to do and say what He tells us to say.
I share such things only to illustrate that we all...each and every one of us...have to be led by the Spirit at all times and to follow the examples set by Jesus. This can apply to everyday life as well as ministry life. Simple things like finding a parking space in a parking lot, or getting a good deal when buying something can work out much better if we allow the Spirit to lead us. It also includes finding your (right) wife or husband; where to get the right job, or what bank to use.
Jesus clearly stated-
Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. John 5:19
I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. John 5:30
Jesus said that the Father loved Him and revealed everything that He did...so that we can marvel at them, or, give glory to God about them. If we deny Him the privilege of doing likewise in our lives, we effectively cheat God from receiving the glory! You may wonder how we can do that. It is by taking the super out of the supernatural of God! It is denying the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the modern day church.
For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. John 5:20
What I want to show you is how the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit worked in perfect unison, unity and harmony.
John said that the Father loved the Son so much that He showed Him everything. He also said something about the greater works being revealed so that people will marvel at them and give God that glory I spoke of.
It implies a patient waiting for something to happen.
Bookmark Genesis 1 and come now to Colossians chapter 1 and from verse 15 onwards. Here we see that Jesus is the image of the invisible God and that everything that is created was created by Him (that is Jesus) and created for Him and that by Him (Jesus) all things exist.
Backtrack to Ephesians 3:9 where Paul talks about the mystery of God that has now been revealed to us. Do not listen to such foolish talk as “ Well.... you just don’t know what God is going to do...” People misquote 1 Corinthians 2 so much it wants me want to puke. God hath (that’s past tense, which means He has already done it) revealed the things that religious folk say are mysteries hidden from us. Verse 13 there says that the Holy Ghost teaches us and then Paul goes on more to say that the natural man (those who are not born again and I will add Spirit filled) cannot understand a thing!
Remember that, because we will be returning there.
Come back to 1 Corinthians 8:6 and I will quote it.
Yet for us there is [only] one God, the Father, Who is the Source of all things and for Whom we [have life], and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through and by Whom are all things and through and by Whom we [ourselves exist].
Look now at John 1.
In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He existed in the beginning with God.
God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him.
The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. John 1:1-5
To cap this off, fast forward to Hebrews chapter one.
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; Hebrews 1:1-3
Clearly, Jesus is the Word, Jesus is God, Jesus is the creator of everything and Jesus reveals the Father to us. Perhaps I could say that He is the co-creator in a sense because of that verse in Genesis I first took you to.
Here we see that God said something. Here we see that God said, “Let Us” do something. Here we see that the Spirit of God was in a relaxed (another Hebrew meaning) waiting mode for something. It was a word.
Hang on to your seats folks. I’m going to share something you might not have seen before.
God said, “Light be” and light was.
Jesus said, “Light be” and light was. Jesus said what the Father said.
The Holy Ghost heard what Jesus said and went ahead and did it. The Holy Spirit turned on the lights!
THE attitude many Christians have is that the secret things belong to God and His ways are past finding out, referring to such scriptures as Deuteronomy 29:29 that states- The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law. Deuteronomy 29:29
It states that the things that are revealed are ours...and for a specific reason... so that we are able to do all God has said. This refers primarily to the Jew and The Law of course, but we are not exempt from meeting the spirit...if not the letter of His word. Romans 11:33-36, which is also often quoted reads-
O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?
Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?
For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
We certainly are not His counselors and there are certain areas of God into which we do not intrude, so in a manner of speaking, we are not always privy to all that God knows. We do however have the mind of Christ and so are capable of knowing much more than we give ourselves credit for.
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
Please notice the work of the Holy Spirit in this. He takes the things of Christ, (the Anointed One and His anointing) and reveals them to us. Jesus said so in John chapters 14-16!
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
...we have even greater confidence in the message proclaimed by the prophets. You must pay close attention to what they wrote, for their words are like a lamp shining in a dark place—until the Day dawns, and Christ the Morning Star shines in your hearts.
Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God. 2 Peter 1:19-21
I was shocked recently when I saw several items by leading educators...doctors of theology in large institutions who advocate that it is OK to doubt and have fear. They are leading people astray. Conduct your own research and you will see that the words "Fear not" appear often in scripture (sometimes as a command) and that God has not given us a spirit of fear according to Romans 8:15 and 2 Timothy 1:7. As for doubt, Abraham created an Ishmael by his doubt. It's OK to ask legitimate questions. When John the Baptist sent his disciples to ask Jesus if He was the Messiah, you could think that was a form of doubt, but he already knew and believed, so wanted to ensure his belief was correct.
Understanding scripture really has little to do with one's education or lack of it, or any physical attributes, because it is all dealing with the Spirit. I saw a man born with no eyes be given a bible and he read it! I met a totally uneducated man who was unable to read or write a thing, who was given a bible where a verse was chosen at random and he read it flawlessly. He even read those tongue twister words that you and I sometimes have difficulty with.
Someone could be dyslexic and use that as an excuse, because Jesus is the healer!
We could say that we only did a certain grade at school, but the Holy Spirit is the teacher.
I doubt if Peter had a great education to brag on. He was a fisherman, but once the Holy Spirit moved him, he could write powerful epistles containing amazing revelation.
We could also say that there are two classes of people. Those who are led by the Spirit and those who are not, and those who are born again and those who are not. There are leaders in the church who are not born again and some who are not Spirit filled. That’s a fact of life, so one must wonder if what they teach is really “truth”. As I often do, I ask the reader to please check things out for themselves and weigh them up scripturally (see Acts 17:11).
We tend to make feeble excuses.
This has laid some kind of foundation on which I can now start building. Let us now come back to our core text of Mark chapter four.
AGAIN JESUS began to teach beside the lake. And a very great crowd gathered about Him, so that He got into a ship in order to sit in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was at the lakeside on the shore. And He taught them many things in parables (illustrations or comparisons put beside truths to explain them), and in His teaching He said to them:
Give attention to this! Behold, a sower went out to sow.
And as he was sowing, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.
Other seed [of the same kind] fell on ground full of rocks, where it had not much soil; and at once it sprang up, because it had no depth of soil;
And when the sun came up, it was scorched, and because it had not taken root, it withered away.
Other seed [of the same kind] fell among thorn plants, and the thistles grew and pressed together and utterly choked and suffocated it, and it yielded no grain.
And other seed [of the same kind] fell into good (well-adapted) soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing, and yielded up to thirty times as much, and sixty times as much, and even a hundred times as much as had been sown.
And He said, He who has ears to hear, let him be hearing [and let him consider, and comprehend]. Mark 4:1-9
The Seed is the Word
Much teaching has concentrated on the kinds of soil into which the seed fell. Whilst that is OK, I suppose, the parable is not about the soil. It does however talk about how the seed is received and what happens to it.
Jesus also spoke about the return. It could be 30-fold; 60-fold or 100-fold, but the whole parable is not about the return itself. When I was a young believer, I got the impression that it described things like sowing seed and receiving financially. We gravitate to “stuff” quite often.
Whilst this is also correct and we know that God wants us to prosper and be in health , the parable is not about prosperity in that sense.
Neither is it about receiving the salvation message, or about the kind of person who does act on it, although it does have a bearing.
Jesus clearly stated in verse 14 that the seed is the word. This is why I laid the foundation the way I did.
Jesus is the word of God.
All things were created by and through Him...the word and He always does the things that please the Father.
He never says a thing unless He has heard the Father say it and He never does a thing unless He sees the Father doing it and it would seem that the Holy Spirit follows His lead.
So it is all focusing on the word of the Lord and we should know by now that God’s word is true; it is powerful; it beings life and it does precisely what the Father sent it to do.
If you want to know about healing, your purpose in life, protection, material possessions and so on, then say what God says about it. If we can do that, then we will have the God kind of results. It all comes back to you and to me.
The questions are, “What do we do with it?” and “How do we handle it?
Let us see what happened here. Jesus continued in His manner of teaching and a great crowd had gathered to hear what He was saying. If you look at the words I emphasized, He was talking to “them”. There is clearly a “them and us” involved here and I shall explain more later.
I gather that you know by now that you can be talking to someone and they are not really listening to you. A mother could be thinking of her ill child whilst you are speaking, so her focus is not totally on what you are saying.
A father could have lost his job and so is naturally concerned about other things. He could be miles away from you then. There are all kinds of variables to consider and one of them could be a pee-conceived idea or mindset. Let us look at healing for example. The person listening could have been told for years that the day of miracles is over and not be open to receive all that is being said about healing. This could apply to any doctrinal matter. I know that this works, because I’ve preached to people who could say something like, “I’ve heard that all before”, “Yes, I know”, even nod their head as if agreeing with me but were switched off. That crowd in front of Jesus was doing such things. He was talking to “them”. The “them” people in churches are with us today.
Therefore if the seed is the word as Jesus stated, we could then look at verse 3 like this-
Give attention to this! Behold, a sower went out to sow... the word!
Come down to verse 9 where Jesus said-
He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. Hear what? The word!
He said that if we have ears, then we could listen to and thus receive...the word. Someone who lives in a house that is very close by a busy freeway can constantly hear the traffic noise to the extent that they “tune out” and become so accustomed to it, they no longer hear it. Someone who lives in a quiet neighborhood or in the country who comes to visit, has a totally different response. You can hear...but not hear.
It is possible that God is trying to talk to someone, but they are not listening or their ears have become desensitized so much that they no longer recognize His voice and sadly, if a constant “switching off” occurs too often, He simply stops speaking! It happens! God stopped speaking to Abraham for 13 years. Check it out. Of course, we need to learn to recognize His voice. Look...even a dog can learn to tell the difference between your car and hundreds of other cars by the sounds made. We had a Rhodesian ridge-back dog who ran to the fence to meet us before we even got to the house. She learned to recognize the distinctive sound of our own vehicle, but did not respond to another.
Didn’t Jesus tell us that His sheep hear His voice and follow Him? How do we recognize His voice? The only way I know of is regular fellowship and communication. I did not say prayer, because when we pray, it is usually one-sided, because we ask for things. He is always listening. He knows our needs before we ask. I am starting to see that the best thing to do is to stop doing all the talking and start listening.
It is not a matter of who is speaking, but who is listening!
The Lord said that if we are capable of listening then pay attention, because what we hear and what we do with it is very important. This works in any area of life. I recently had to take an annual medical test to retain my truck driving license because this is necessary once someone reaches 70 years of age in South Australia. Marjorie and I only moved here 12 months ago and we did not feel things were right with the doctor we first started to visit.
We were messed around and when I had my test, he failed me! He also messed up the document, completing half of the form. We were amazed and wondering what happened, so I asked the Lord about it.
He told us to stop going there and told us where to go to find a new GP.
He told us to go to a certain medical center and they are wonderful, very efficient and courteous and very professional and I received an excellent report. The doctor even gave me extra time so that we could chat. She had completed the tests, given me the certificate and turned around in her chair and leaning towards me, said that I interested her, asking, “There is something about you. Tell me about yourself” and we had a great time. She comes from Russia and I know a preacher with a large ministry in Russia and a big church in Moscow.
We did not ask the Lord at first, but when we did, He led us there. He is working to a plan that is being unfolded. I donlt have the full picture yet, but it is intersting! Do you see how important it is to listen?
Just before Jesus said to listen up, He said that other seed fell on good soil and some produced 30, some 60 and some 100-fold return. Do not think that 100 fold is 100 times something. It could be, but look at it another way. Take a piece of paper and look at it. Pick a $100 note (or any paper money) and look at it. The note has 2 sides. If you double it numerically, you would have $200 of course, but that is all you would have. If you “fold it” (in two), you will have four sides, not two. Now fold that and there will be 8 sides. Fold that again and there will be 16 sides. Repeating the process by folding, produces 32, then 64, then 128, then 256 and so on. There is a principle at stake here. This is the principle that God uses when He does the math. It comes into the exceedingly abundantly, about all that we can imagine domain. It's not $100, $200, $400, $800, but an exponential curve into wher He is taking us.
The lesson is to take heed how we hear and apply what we hear and start listening to the words the Father says to Jesus who tells them to the Holy Spirit who tells them to us. When we hear them and do them...oh my! What could happen next?
Them and Us
Did you see the references to You and They? Clearly, He made a distinction between "them" and "us". The Kingdom of God is not a secret. God can and does reveal His secrets...but not to everyone. We understand of course that the kingdom of God is not heaven but God’s way of doing things and that we can do them too. Jesus said that we can do the same works as He, so we now need to see how He did those works.
In Mark chapter 5, immediately after teaching, Jesus crossed over to the other side of the sea to specifically minister to one man. Why only one man? I believe that the Father only spoke of those individuals and no one else!
In Matthew chapter 14, Jesus fed the multitude with a boy’s picnic lunch. He took what He had...looked up to heaven, blessed the lunch and gave it to the twelve who passed it around. He didn’t. He then told the disciples to get into a boat to go over to the other side of the sea...whilst he spent time alone with the Father.
We have determined that Jesus only did what He saw the Father do and say what He heard the Father say.
He was receiving His assignment. He received instruction from the Father to heal that lame man at the pool, but not to heal anyone else. The Father told Him to speak to that woman at the well. The Father told Him about an assignment that required getting over to the other side of the sea to minister to that man. I present a key to you. It is to do what Jesus did. If the Holy Spirit tells you to go, then you go. If He tells you to stop, then you stop.
If He tells you what to say then say that only and If He remains silent...remain silent! All this is operating Kingdom fashion.
Mark said that when they were alone (Jesus, the twelve and those with them), they asked Him what it all meant. In other words, they wanted revelation on His word. His reply as seen above is in essence, “I am going to give you the understanding, because you are in relationship with me, but it is no one else’s business.” The fact is that anyone who is not in close relationship with Him will never understand what He says. Religious studies, good as they may be, regardless of the individual's qualifications (or lack thereof) or position held, can never be a substitute. My doctorate studies never revealed to me what the Lord is showing me now and I think I am now starting to understand a little of what Paul said when he counted all things as loss and dung by comparison in Philippians 3. This was the man who was a Jew’s Jew, circumcised the 8th day, studied under the best of the best and had everything going for him. When he had a revelation of Jesus, everything changed.
Jesus then told them that all parables would be mysteries to everyone until He revealed them. He added that if they understood this particular parable, they would understand them all. That’s in verse 13 and He immediately went on to say that the seed is the word. From then on, he spoke of the word, the word, the word. He does everything by His word! It stands to reason that if we do not know what He says, we will not know what He does or how He does things and unable to do them also.
This is why it is so important to know what His word says and how we hear (and retain) what is said. The instant the word of God is shared, the enemy comes to try to steal it. He knows that if we know what God says and say that (correctly), we will have and achieve what the word says.
When the Holy Spirit came on Jesus, there was no delay...He was immediately faced with the devil’s plots and responded with, “It is written”, quoting the relevant passages for that occasion. It is useless throwing a “healing scripture” out when you need a financial breakthrough and it does not always “work” if you say, “I claim the promises of such and such." Look at Psalm 91. What part? Are you meeting God’s requirements? I learned the hard way that a half quote is not a quote at all, but when I learned to apply it all...to that specific occasion...God’s word worked.
Because you have made the Lord your refuge, and the Most High your dwelling place,
(then) There shall no evil befall you, nor any plague or calamity come near your tent.
For He will (then) give His angels [especial] charge over you to accompany and defend and preserve you in all your ways [of obedience and service]. Psalm 91:9-11 emphasis mine
To elaborate, please look at Mark 4:20. We can claim 30, 60 or 100-fold and nothing works because Jesus said-
And those sown on the good (well-adapted) soil are the ones who hear the Word and receive and accept and welcome it and bear fruit—some thirty times as much as was sown, some sixty times as much, and some [even] a hundred times as much.
He was talking about hearing the word and acting on that word. When the word is received and accepted, it (the word) bears fruit...30, 60 or 100 times what was sown and what was sown was the word. It is the word put to work that produces what we want or need. If we need finances, we have to know what God says to us individually about finances. If we need healing, we have to speak the healing scriptures...that He has spoken about to us personally.
We are not to hear the rhema word and stick it in a closet, but to let it sink into our spirits so that it becomes part of our lives and then become part of our dream/vision life that we declare verbally. If the Father said it, Jesus said it, the Holy Spirit reveals is to us, we also have to say it. We put that word to work with our mouths. That...is what Isaiah 55:11 means-
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
If He never "sent it", you can quote it until the cows come home and could be greatly disappointed.
How we receive it is important, for it determines our response and subsequent results. I will cite two illustrations.
The first is often used at tithe and offering time, being-
...He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever.
Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) 2 Corinthians 9:6-10
It is evident that if you do not sow you will not reap and if you sow sparingly you will reap sparingly, but is God really talking only about money? Paul called it seed. But Jesus also called the word seed, so if we sow the seed of the word sparingly, we will reap the seed of the word sparingly. We have already determined that what God does...He does by His word. Therefore whatever our need or situation is, we need to say what God says about that! Paul also said that God is able to make all grace abound to us, not just a portion or small trickle, that we can always have sufficiency in All things. This sufficiency is self satisfaction, contentedness, competence etc. The reason is that we can do anything that occasion dictates. The good work is linked with scattering. A sower of seed scattered his seed everywhere and in Old Testament days in particular, parts of a harvest were left for the poor to glean!
If you really look closely into this, it is not just about money. Careful analysis reveals that money is not really the core issue. The tithe is not money (alone). It is sustenance for the widow, the orphan, the stranger and the Levite and the oft quoted (misquoted) passage in Malachi refers to literal food, like prey or venison.
Next look at the word ministereth. The Greek word is epichorēgeō. It talks about fully supplying something; to add, contribute or nourish. The word minister is chorēgeō. It is derived from the words that means chorus and lead.
Together, they paint a picture of a circle or ring in which a dance is performed and a choir is present with chorus leader to celebrate something. Think of the Jewish folk-dance when the people gather in a circle and dance in time to the music. Another version states-
And [God] Who provides seed for the sower and bread for eating will also provide and multiply your [resources for] sowing and increase the fruits of your righteousness [which manifests itself in active goodness, kindness, and charity]. 2 Corinthians 9:10
So it is God who gives us seed for sowing and He ensures that the harvest will be bountiful, no matter what kind of harvest it is, which can include money. He can multiply our resources...for more sowing and more reaping. I will add here however that tithing is very important and we are foolish if we do not tithe. It is a key that unlocks blessings, but sow only into good fertile soil. Do not be a seed thrower, but a seed sower. We obtain a return on what we sow, so when we receive the seed of the word and sow it (put it to work), He will give us more. It happens because of the word God has said. Jesus alluded to this by saying-
Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”
Then he added, “Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given—and you will receive even more.
To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.” Mark 4:23-25
The secret is how we listen. I've shared before how we moved to Adelaide in South Australia. The Lord had started speaking to us about this move many years before and to me many years before Marjorie and I were married. He had shown me several scriptures and I had prophetic input in my life to move. One day Marjorie and I were both seeking the Lord about this, wondering when this promised move would happen. We had both reached the conclusion that "when finances arrived", we would go, but we had no revelation on it. We really were not getting it.
One day she came to me and said that God had told her to read Deuteronomy chapter 1. I got excited because He told me the same, so we read it together. It said in part, "Ye have dwelt long enough in this mount" and we were living on Mount Tamborine then. He said more and everything described our situation perfectly.
We now had a rhema word from God and had no excuse not to go.
The seeds of that word had been sown decades before and now the tender shoot, then the blade, then the leaf and then the full ripe harvest arrived. We put it to work by listening to what God said...to us...and acted on that. If we had not done that, we would be still there and most likely in a real hole now.
OK, now back to the spiritual...the revelation aspect. Jesus spoke in parables to everyone except for those who were close to him. This included the disciples and others who were not "called into ministry". You do not need to be a preacher to receive revelation you know. You do not need to have a pulpit ministry to flow in the Gifts of the Spirit. You need to be open to Him, hungry for truth and be available. That's it!
All through Mark 4 up to verse 35, Jesus was speaking to "them" and "us". "Them" never understood a thing. Jesus revealed everything to "Us". It all depends on who is listening and how. The how determines what we say and do and thus the outcome. This is the difference between the words Mary and the words Zacharias said. They both asked "How?" but with different meanings.
I've got to start winding this up now, so look at when Jesus fed the multitudes. Matthew 13-21; Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9:10-17 and John 6:1-14 all tell the story. Let us look at John.
After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias.
And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.
And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples.
And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh.
When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence
And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.
Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.
One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, saith unto him,
There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?
And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.
And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.
When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.
Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.
Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world. John 6:1-14
Let's see what happened.
Back to Mark now to see that Jesus said this is how the kingdom of God operates (verse 26-30). Someone can cast his seed into the ground and not know how it works. All that we need to know is that it does work. We receive the word seed and allow it to go to work without needing necessarily how it does work (at that time perhaps). As He explained, it is all like that small mustard seed that grows and grows and grows, but it seems that He explained this only to those close ones. They received that, so He gave them more. The others did not receive it, so what they had heard with the natural faculty, was lost spiritually and they never had a clue what He was talking about.
The issue is not just what we hear, but what we do with it once we hear it. What we use to measure with, is the degree of how we receive. If you think 30-fold, that is the measure you have used, so the return is likely to be 30-fold. Similarly we can measure 60 or 100 fold and receive accordingly. If the Lord says that He will heal you of a terminal cancer, but you can only get a handle on healing someone else or that you can be healed of the flu, but not that cancer, then you are making the choice on what you hear and how you receive it. It is likely that the cancer will not be healed then.
If you can accept a small pay rise but not expect a big promotion with a massive pay rise...you have pre-determined the outcome and probably stay put and get nowhere.
Apply this idea to any area of life. It works for everyone in the world, just like the law of gravity works for everyone in the world.
When the Lord was talking about the kingdom of God likening it to casting seed in the ground, He described a growth process.
The Kingdom of God is like a farmer who scatters seed on the ground.
Night and day, while he’s asleep or awake, the seed sprouts and grows, but he does not understand how it happens.
The earth produces the crops on its own. First a leaf blade pushes through, then the heads of wheat are formed, and finally the grain ripens.
And as soon as the grain is ready, the farmer comes and harvests it with a sickle, for the harvest time has come.” Mark 4:26-29
I'VE touched on this before, but it is a growth process. Likewise, our relationship and experience with the Lord is a growth process. We are likened to little children, coming into the Kingdom of God like newborn babies, who need all the help, protection and sustenance any baby requires. I think that if you are still drinking milk from mother's breast now, something is wrong. Peter stated-
As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: 1 Peter 2:2
We know that Jesus came as a baby, but He too grew to adulthood and had to learn things, just as we have to learn things. Hebrews 5:8 states that He learned obedience, but keep looking further to verses 11-13. Here the writer says that there are many things to say or reveal and chided the believers for their immaturity.
They were dull of hearing. They were hearing something, but not listening and so were still in infant-hood when they should by now have grown to maturity. Instead of eating good steak dinners and capable of feeding others, they were still sucking on milk and unskilful in the things of God. Verse 14 says why.
They were not exercising themselves spiritually.
This is where many pastors fail. I know that we need practical support with people like ushers or deacons; people who look after the sound system or videos and so on. This is self-evident, but pastors tend to avoid allowing others to "minister". I have to be careful here and wise in who we allow to do things. We are not all called to a pulpit ministry and we are not all given God's vision for a specific locality, but the man or woman of God needs all kinds of support. Moses wore himself out by trying to do it all himself until Jethro gave him sound advice. See Exodus 18. The tendency is to do everything ourself as if no one else could do it, but even Jesus never operated that way! He trained the 12 and at least 70 others and sent them out to share the workload.
I know that we do not all have the same calling. I know that some of you have to attend studies at schools or universities; hold down a job; care for a family and so on, but we do have time, or have the ability to set aside some time each day, to spend with the Lord and listen to His voice. This is directly in a personal relationship that we must build up and by reading at least some portion of scripture. That's how He speaks. That is how He opens the scriptures to us to impart understanding and revelation. It is part of life, not just some spiritual exercise because, by His own words, man does not live by bread alone... (see Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4 and Luke 4:4).
One thing that I am not doing is to mislead anyone into getting into some kind of super-spiritual ego trip and memorize bible verses so you can quote them ad-nauseum all the time. Reciting passages parrot-fashion is not where it is at and to be frank, it can turn people off. I doubt if people want religious freaks. They want and need reality; something that works for them and something that is achievable, not so spiritual that it cannot be reached.
Besides, you can memorize words that might not apply, or be out of place. Imagine this..."He went out and hanged himself"..."Go thou and do likewise". Two bible verses indeed, but not like that!
An oft quoted verse is found in Isaiah 55 where God says that His words will not return to him void and will accomplish what He sent them for. The key there is Sent! If God never "sent "it, you cannot always "claim it".
That is a religious exercise. I've heard someone read a portion of scripture in a meeting and finish up quoting that, or perhaps add something like, "may the Lord bless this reading of His word." It's already blessed. God said it!
Let's see more of what Isaiah said-
Seek the LORD while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near. (Yes, we need to do that)
Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong. Let them turn to the LORD that he may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously.
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:6-9
The prophet was initially referring to the wicked! God's ways and thoughts are nothing like theirs, but if we are born again, we are new creatures in Christ and everything has changed! After all...we (should) have the mind of Christ!
In verse 10, He said that the rain and snow come down from heaven but do not go back. Rain is sent to water the earth so that it is productive, yielding seed to the sower and bread to the eater and then...He said that His word (that specific word that He sent as if on a special assignment) would accomplish the very thing for which He sent it. Stop and think of that rain. It falls on everyone...saved or unsaved.
That...is the word we need to receive and hold onto. May I suggest that this special word is the one we really need to hear...and hear in the way Jesus wants (let he who has ears to hear, let him hear). You can have that special word in a second, or after spending a longer time with the Lord, but if you do not open your bible, or hardly ever read it, how is He going to speak? How can He quicken that verse?
If you are content with a 30-fold relationship, that's OK . Settle for that and enjoy. Make the most of it. If you are content with a 60-fold relationship, that too is your free choice. You might be happy with a 5-fold relationship and that is also perfectly acceptable.
I really think that the Lord was showing us a principle.
It could be 5-fold; 10-fold; 30-fold or a 100-fold, but what if He has more? What if this is an exponential curve that just keeps going? The God we serve is an over the top; exceedingly abundantly; more than we can ask or think God.
God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21
The choices are ours.
My heart's desire is to see all believers come into a relationship with the Lord whereby they are in the group of believers to whom He reveals things and receive the blessing that is their birthright in Jesus.
Jesus used many similar stories and illustrations to teach the people as much as they could understand.
In fact, in his public ministry he never taught without using parables; but afterward, when he was alone with his disciples, he explained everything to them. Mark 4:33-34
When He explained everything, it had to be everything.
Your personal everything can reveal things to you that you need to know, spiritually, emotionally and in the physical realm. God can give you revelation to give you a witty invention. He could give you an idea on how to find a cure for a certain disease (as well as laying hands on the sick).
God can show you how to feed your family on a few mere morsels of food, where to find the job you want, how to find extra room in your home by rearranging things, where to go to buy new clothes at bargain prices, or as He did for us, wher to buy a new car.
He can show you how to repair a failing relationship. This list could go on.
It's not just a religious exercise. I was sitting quietly at 5am the other morning thinking of a building project we hope to commence and I was wondering how I could do a certain thing that was puzzling me. I've been in building projects before, but on this occasion, I couldn't get it together. The brain cells didn't seem to be functioning properly! Suddenly, He spoke gently to me, " It's simple. Just extend the driveway."
Duh! Why hadn't I thought of something so simple before?
I hope you see what I am getting at.
I guess it boils down to this. What you put in is what you will get out. The choice is ours.
I have more to share, but have to quit as this is already a large enough document, so I hope I have whetted your appetite and will continue with, "Little Boy Faith" and "Uncle Charley" next!