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THE INSTRUCTION OF THE SERVANT OF GOD

Mark 4

Victor M. Eskew

 

INTRODUCTION

 

A.   The theme of Mark’s gospel is:  “Jesus, The Servant of God.”

1.     In this gospel, Jesus is seen as being very active.

2.     We find Jesus teaching very little in Mark’s narrative of the Life of Christ.

 

B.    Mark 4, however, is one chapter that focuses upon the Master Teacher.  We have entitled this chapter:  “The Instruction of the Servant of God.”

1.     Mark 4:1a

 

And he began to teach by the sea side…

 

2.     As we study this chapter, we will be looking at three points:

1.     The Method of the Servant’s Teaching

2.     The Messages of the Servant’s Teaching

3.     The Master of the Sea

 

I.           THE METHODS OF THE SERVANT’S TEACHING

 

A.   Three times we learn the method by which Jesus often taught.

1.     Mark 4:2

 

And he taught them many things by parables…

 

2.     Mark 4:33

 

And with many such parables spake he the word unto them…

 

3.     Mark 4:34

 

But without a parable spake he not unto them…

 

B.    The definition of a parable.

1.     The literal definition is “to lay along side of.”

2.     Jesus would take a true, literal, earthly story and lay alongside of it a spiritual application.

3.     Thus, some have defined a parable as “earthly story with a heavenly meaning.”

4.     Mark 4:30

 

And he said, Where unto shall we liken the kingdom of God?  Or with what comparison shall we compare it?

 

C.   The purpose of parables

1.     Parables served two primary purposes:

a.     To reveal the truth to those who desired it

b.    To hide the truth from those who opposed it

2.     Mark 4:11-12

 

And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God:  but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:  that seeing they may see and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.

 

II.         THE MESSAGES OF THE SERVANT

 

A.   In Mark 4 we find four parables.  One of them is unique to Mark’s gospel, meaning he is the only gospel writer to record it.

1.     The Parable of the Sower (Mark 4:3-9, 14-20)

a.     This parable involves the reaction of man’s heart to the Word of God.

1)     Mark 4:3

 

Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow.

 

2)     Mark 4:14

 

The sower soweth the word.

 

b.    Four hearts can come into contact with the word:

1)     The wayside soil – the hard heart

2)     The rocky soil – the shallow heart

3)     The thorny soil – the lustful heart

4)     The good soil – the good heart

c.    Every person on earth is represented by one of these four soils.  The key:  We can choose which soil type our heart will be.

2.     The Parable of the Candle (Mark 4:21-23)

a.     The Account (Mark 4:21).

And he said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed?  And not to be set on a candlestick?

 

1)     The answer to the Lord’s question is obvious.  A candle needs to be set on a candlestick.

2)     The question is:  What does the candle represent?

a)     In another place Jesus used this illustration to represent the influence of the Christian’s life (Matt. 5:14-16).

b)     Here, however, the candle seems to represent the Word of God.  Why?

-        It follows the Parable of the Sower that deals with the Word

-        Because of what Jesus says in Mark 14:22

b.    The Application (Mark 4:22)

 

For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad.

 

1)     Under the Old Covenant, God’s will had been concealed.

2)     The New Covenant would change all of this.  That which had been hidden would be manifested.  That which had been kept secret would come abroad.  The candle would now be set on the candlestick.

3)     I Corinthians 2:9-10; Eph. 3:3-5

 

How that by revelation he made know unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.

 

c.    The Admonition (Mark 4:23)

 

If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.

 

1)     It behooves everyone who has ears to hear God’s Word.

2)     McGarvey:  “Nothing that ever struck the human ear is so worthy of being heard as the word of God.”

3.     The Parable of the Seed (Mark 4:26-29)

a.     The Christian’s life continues from the time the heart receives the seed (Mark 4:26) until “the harvest is come” (Mark 4:29).

b.    During that time, significant growth should occur (Mark 4:28).  The how of this growth is not fully comprehended (Mark 4:27).

c.    Lesson:  If you have received the Word, bring forth fruit.  There is coming a day when the sickle will be put forth by God to reap His harvest.

4.     The Parable of the Mustard Seed (Mark 4:30-32)

a.     The kingdom of God began very small, just like the small mustard seed.

b.    However, that kingdom grew to be a great nation, just as the mustard seed grows to become a plant with great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.

c.    NOTE:  Christianity has been a powerful force in the world since its humble beginnings in Jerusalem.  It is still one of the world religions today.

 

III.       THE MASTER OF THE SEA (Mark 4:35-41

 

A.   Jesus had taught all day.  At even, He decided to pass on to the other side of the Sea of Galilee (Mark 4:35).  In the hinder part of the ship, He fell asleep on a pillow (Mark 4:38).

 

B.    Four important elements of this story:

1.     The storm (Mark 4:37)

 

And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that is was now full.

 

2.     The fear (Mark 4:38, 40)

a.     Master, carest thou not that we perish?  (Mark 4:38).

b.    And he said unto the, Why are ye so fearful? (Mark 4:40)

3.     The Master of the Sea (Mark 4:39)

 

And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still.  And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

 

4.     Fear (Mark 4:41)

 

And they feared exceedingly…

 

a.     The word “exceedingly” means “exceedingly fearful.”  Thus, they feared with an exceedingly great fear.

b.    This fear is awe and respect for the Son of God and His power.

 

C.   Lesson:  We either fear the storms, or, we fear the Master.  When we fear the Master of the Sea, we need not be afraid of the storms.

 

CONCLUSION

 

A.   Three times this chapter emphasizes hearing (Mark 4:9, 23, 24).

 

And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

 

1.     The Master Teacher has spoken.

2.     Now the obligation is upon mankind to hear.

 

B.    How will we hear?

1.     With hardened hearts?

2.     With shallow hearts?

3.     With lustful hearts?

4.     With good hearts?