Mark 4:21-29 – The Importance of Evangelism (pt. 3)

Part 1, Part 2

And he said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand? For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you. For to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”” (Mark 4:21-29, ESV)

II. Evangelism is important because of the nature of our Salvation. (vv. 24-25)

The first truth that should motivate us to evangelism is that evangelism is important because of the nature of the gospel (vv. 21-23).  The second truth is that evangelism is important because of the nature of our salvation.  We see this truth in vv. 24-25.  There it says, “And he said to them, ‘Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you. For to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.’

The first thing that we see in this verse is that Jesus is again speaking “to them.”  We cannot be certain who “them” is, but it is probably referring to the inner circle that came to Jesus in v. 10 (the other option is the Jesus is speaking to the entire crowd).  There are a couple of reasons why I think that Jesus is speaking to the inner circle here.  First, Mark is careful to say that Jesus was speaking “to them.”  Mark does not always add the “them” so it has to refer back to someone, and it seems to be pointing to the inner circle.  Thus, Jesus is still speaking directly to the few who stayed and asked him about the parables.  The second reason that I think that Jesus is speaking to these people is based on the content of these verses.  Jesus tells them to “Pay attention to what you hear.”  Literally, Jesus is calling these individuals to “process what they were hearing.”  This is a call for spiritual perception, the kind of perception that that would have only been possible for those who had received the secret of the kingdom.  In fact, this spiritual perception (or “true hearing”) is Jesus’ main emphasis here.  Jesus wanted these individuals to truly accept the principles that they are hearing, which means that He also wanted them to act upon what they have heard.  For as James 1:23-25 teaches, in order to truly accept the truth one must act upon it.  Verse 20 adds that those who truly accept the truth must bear fruit.  This fruit bearing is what Jesus means in v. 24 when he says that they will “use it.”  By using the truth and bearing fruit these individuals would prove that they had truly accepted the message of Jesus.  Because of this Jesus promises that in the manner that you accept the truth “it will be measured to you, and still more will be added.”

I want to be clear about something here.  Jesus is not saying that you can earn your salvation by doing good works.  If that were the case He would have said that you can add to yourself by doing “such and such.”  But that is not what He says.  He says that it will be added to you.  This is in the passive voice, and it implies that God is the one who will do the acting.  The point is simple:  Those who accept the truth, by doing it, will not be disappointed.  In fact, the promise here is that they will receive even more than what the put into it.  A great example of this is found in Matthew 25:14ff.  Here we see that the true and faithful servants made good use of what they had received from their master.  For this they were abundantly blessed, but in the end everything that they had still came from their master.

If you were going to summarize v. 24 you might say it this way: Because of the nature of our salvation, if we have truly accepted the teaching of Jesus then we will act upon it (we will use it; we will be doers).  This point is further emphasized in v. 25.  Again we see that those who have received the truth will be given more truth.  They will retain the capacity for further growth, which means they have more responsibility to act upon what they know.  Or, as Luke 7:48 puts it, “to whom much is given much is required.”  For those of us who have received the truth and sit under the teaching of the word this is particularly convicting, especially when you consider that the flip side of this truth.  Those who do not receive and act upon the truth will not grow.  They will not bear fruit.  In other words, they will prove that they have not truly accepted the truth.  Furthermore, these individuals will eventually lose the ability to receive spiritual truth.  They will experience spiritual atrophy.  This is a stark reminder for us to use the truth that we have received.

At this point you may be saying, “Wait a minute! I get the point.  The nature of salvation is such that you have to bear fruit in order to prove that you’re really a Christian.  You can’t just claim to be a Christian and then not do anything.  I get that.  But what does that have to do with evangelism?”  That is a good question.  And the answer is that evangelism is an important part of the Christian life, and God expect us to be involved in evangelism.  We have received the truth and we are responsible to share that truth.  1 Peter 3:15-16 puts it this way:

but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

This applies to us all. Evangelism is an important fruit that we must bear.  We must never be complacent on this issue thinking that because God has chosen who will believe that we don’t need to do anything.  Instead we must recognize that as we grow in the truth we are expected to bear fruit and that fruit includes sharing the gospel with others.  Thus, evangelism is important because of the nature of our salvation.

Advertisements