Mark 4:3-9, 13-20
“Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.” Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”
Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? The farmer sows the word. Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”
This month, we have considered three types of hearts: the unresponsive or closed heart; the superficial or shallow heart; and the worldly or distracted heart.
Today, to wrap up our devotional series, we will examine the final heart, the fruitful or open heart.
What makes this heart so different from the other three? Three conditions: accepting the Word of God by faith, persevering in belief and producing fruit.
First, accepting the Word of God by faith. In other words, this is the only heart that really believes and trusts in God. Notice that all four types of heart hear the word, but this is the only one that accepts it. This word ‘accept’ means to receive. This is the person who welcomes God’s Word into his heart. John 1:12 says, “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.”
The second condition of a receptive heart is that it perseveres in belief. To persevere simply means to continue in your faith without falling away. David Platt writes, “When we truly come to Christ, our thirst is quenched by the fountain of life and our hunger is filled with the bread of heaven. We discover that Jesus is the supreme source of satisfaction, and we want nothing apart from Him. We realize that he is better than all the pleasures, pursuits, plaudits, and possessions of this world combined. As we trust in Christ, he transforms our tastes in such a way that we begin to love the things of God that we once hated, and we begin to hate the things of this world that we once loved.”
The third condition of a receptive heart is that it produces fruit. Verse 15 states, “And by persevering produce a crop.” The real evidence of one’s salvation is fruit. The true believer will give evidence of a changed life. That is the first fruit. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.”
It will be evident to those around you if your life has truly been changed.
Your language will be different. Your thoughts will be different. Your desires will be different. This doesn’t mean that you will never sin. It just means you will never be able to sin the same. You will sense a war going on within you—a battle between your old nature and your new nature. This war will be evidence of the Spirit living in you. Galatians 5:16-17 says, “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.”
Finally, you will have a desire to tell others about your changed life. And with God’s help, this will produce eternal fruit in others.
One of the great privileges of being a child of God is that God continues to share His truth with His children. This is why Jesus said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you…” I hope and pray you are on the inside of God’s family. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.