MONDAY MINUTES With Pastor Chris McCool (June 14, 2021): The Key to the Kingdom, Part 6

Today, let’s summarize what we have discussed regarding the Parable of the Sower in Mark 4.

First of all, we learned that the Parable of the Sower does NOT teach us how to figure out who is a child of God and who is not. Rather, it sets forth four different categories of those who ARE children of God, but teaches us how to deal with each one. I believe this is why Jesus called this parable the key to the Kingdom of God: if we can understand this parable, we can understand much about how to deal with the people we encounter in our ministry here in this life!

Secondly, Jesus clearly sets forth the four categories of children of God that we will encounter in our sojourn on earth. There are Wayside Christians, Stony Ground Christians, Thorny Ground Christians, and Good Ground Christians. Each type of person needs to be dealt with in a different way.

The Wayside Christian is the one who is presently on the broad path that leads to destruction. The ministry to this Christian will not involve deep theology, or elaborate scriptural arguments. Rather, the primary message that needs to be preached to this Wayside Christian is STOP! Stop going down this path of destruction – turn around and get onto the narrow way! If your child were in a vehicle heading to the edge of a cliff, would you take the time to explain the intricacies of the combustible engine to him? No! You would do everything possible to snatch him away from danger. This is the urgent message to the Wayside Christian: change your ways before disaster finds you! After this, you can discuss the more in-depth doctrines of the Bible, starting with the doctrines of God’s sovereign grace, which is the milk of the word.

The Stony Ground Christian is one who has now heard the good news of salvation by grace, but due to their background or other factors has little knowledge of scripture and thus has no good ground for the gospel to take root and grow. The primary message to this type of Christian is STUDY! When a farmer has a field that has little topsoil and is mostly rock or hard clay, it is hard to make a crop in that field. What can he do to fix that situation? Build up the ground by bringing in fertile topsoil! The more fertile ground he can import onto the rocky ground, the more hardy and strong the crop will be. Likewise, a new convert who is a Stony Ground Christian needs to import the fertile ground of the word of God into his life, so that the true message of the gospel will have a plot of good ground in which to flourish. Otherwise, the initial fervor of zeal will diminish because it doesn’t have a foundation on which to grow.

The Thorny Ground Christian is one who is steeped in the knowledge of the gospel, probably having grown up in church. However, the cares of life – work, recreation, society, etc. – have moved into his life and now crowded out the sweet simplicity of the gospel, much like thorns will crowd out the plants in a garden if not well tended. What is the primary message for this Christian? STAY! Stay focused upon God, stay focused upon the word of God, stay focused upon the Kingdom of God (the Church). Peter was perfectly able to walk on top of the water as long as his focus was properly on Jesus; likewise, we can walk on the troubled waters of this world if our eyes are on Him. The only two options the world can offer is to “sink or swim”; but with our eyes stayed upon Jesus, we can walk on the top with Him.

Finally, the Good Ground Christian is one who has heard the word of God, taken it to heart, and applied it in his life. This Christian will bring forth fruit – not in identical portions, but some fruit nonetheless. But being human, the Good Ground Christian will find himself slipping into the other categories if he is not careful. The message to the Good Ground Christian: STAND! Stand in the good ground, stand in the word of God, stand in the Kingdom of God! Do not leave no matter what! Stand as close to the Lord as you can, for only in the shadow of His wings is the good ground found.

I hope this study has helped you. It sure has helped me! I have found myself too often leaving the good ground and visiting the thorny ground, the stony ground, and even the wayside! How encouraging it is to know that we can always come back to the good ground, and even stay there if we will stand there.

No wonder Jesus said of this parable, “Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?” (Mark 4:13). In other words, “If you don’t get this one, you’re not going to get any of them!” Truly this parable is the “key to the Kingdom”, for without a proper understanding of this parable and its application we will not understand what we are doing here in our discipleship.

May the Lord bless you is my prayer.

Elder Chris McCool, Pastor