Next week we’ll examine Jesus’ first parable. But I want to encourage you first. If you are a believer, OR become a believer, I want you to know how special you are to God!
Mk 4:10-12 is a wonderfully encouraging passage. We don’t know who Mk 4:10-12 applies to, except in retrospect. We can’t know who it WILL apply to until they have believed. Anyone can believe, right? As it IS written: “Whosoever will may come,” RIGHT?!
IF you believe in Jesus… or one day believe in Jesus… God does something amazingly wonderful to you. Something you are incapable of doing on your own. Now let me explain what it is…
Q: What is a person’s spiritual condition prior to being saved? Are they dead or alive spiritually? According to Ephesians 2:1, 5 we are dead. And what can a dead person do? NOTHING!
When God saves a person, He resurrects them from spiritual death to spiritual life! Jesus raised people from physical death for two reason: First, to demonstrate His power over death. Second, to illustrate what happens when a person is given spiritual life (Is saved). Second is most important.
For Lazarus to hear, his heart beat, his blood become normal, his ears hear & mind u’stand what he heard… Jesus made him live again. Right? Lazarus couldn’t breathe, hear, think, or move UNTIL Jesus acted. THEN he could hear, decide, sit, breathe, & walk. RIGHT?
The same happens when a person is saved! Jesus MAKES them alive spiritually. THEN they hear, see, & u’stand spiritually! Until Jesus does that, no one can believe. Why? They are spiritually dead. (Eph 2:1, 5)
Now the foundation is set. Let’s examine how if you are a believer… have been eternally blessed by God! Mk 4:10-12…
When he was alone, those around him w/ the 12 asked him about the parables. 11 (Jesus) said to them, “To YOU has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, 12 so that ‘they may see but not perceive, & may indeed hear but not u’stand, lest they should turn & be forgiven.’”
Are you saved? Have you believed in Christ for salvation? Do you have eternal life? If the answers are yes, here’s what that means according to Jesus (!). It is recorded in Mark 4:11.
God has given you the blessing of understanding! GOD has given you spiritual life! Though you were dead spiritually… incapable of understanding or believing or repenting… GOD raised you to spiritual life! This is not in your outline, so write it down… Eph 1:16-20 (Paul!)
I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may GIVE you a spirit of wisdom & revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may (1) know what is the hope to which He has called you, (2) what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 & (3) what is the immeasurable greatness of His power toward US WHO BELIEVE, according to the working of His great might 20 that He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead & seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places…
The same power that raised Jesus from the dead raised YOU from spiritual death to eternal life! According to Jesus in Mk 4:12 God gave YOU the secret of the kingdom of God! WHAT IS THE SECRET?
You believe (KNOW!) That Jesus is God’s only son… born of a virgin… never sinned… was crucified… buried… resurrected… ascended to heaven… will return… & is the only way to be saved. THAT is the secret GOD revealed to you! Hear Jesus again in Mk 4:11b…
“To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, 12 so that “they may indeed see but not perceive, & may indeed hear but not undetstand, lest they should turn and be forgiven.”
Let me try to help us. Remember when Jesus asked the Apostles who he was? Remember Peter’s answer? “You are the Christ, the son of the living God!” Jesus replied in Mt 16:17…
Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh & blood has not REVEALED this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
The ONLY way ANYONE knows or understands ANYTHING about God is by HIS revelation! IF a person could by their ability know God they’d have reason to boast. “I (!) believed, I (!) u’stood, I (!) repented.” God shuts that down to have all the glory! Eph 2:8-9…
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Why do we believe? Because GOD gave us repentance & faith! Jesus taught in parables so that His people would believe. Do you believe? Then you are a child of God! Do you want to be a child of God? Then believe!
Some of you want me to address more what Jesus says in 4:11b-12. Before I do, listen closely. Do not come to a conclusion until we are done hearing from God in His word. OK? Keep in mind this is what JESUS said. I’m just quoting Him from Mark 4:11b-12…
But for those outside everything is in parables, 12 so that ‘they may indeed see but not perceive, & may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn & be forgiven. ((Note: Jesus is quoting Isaiah 53:1 & 6:9, 63:15 w/ explanation))
If what Jesus (!) said doesn’t make you scratch your head, you didn’t read it closely. Listen! The best way to u’stand Scripture is simply. The most basic & clear u’standing is usually RIGHT. Even when it isn’t what we like or are comfortable with. A companion passage is Jn 12:37…
Though (Jesus) had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in Him, 38 so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: “Lord, who has believed what he heard from us, & to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” 39 Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said, 40 “He has blinded their eyes & hardened their heart, lest they see w/ their eyes, & u’stand with their heart, & turn, & I would heal them.”
We are told why some don’t believe from an eternal view. According to Scripture, people don’t believe is because GOD blinded their eyes & hardened their heart. If He hadn’t done that, they would believe & be healed of their sin. That’s not me… it’s the Scripture!!!
Who they are, we don’t know. When do we find out? In eternity. Who does it apply to? “Whosoever will may come.” And Jesus… “Come unto Me ALL who are weak & heavy laden & I will give you rest.”
For right now, think of yourself. What God has done for YOU. Why? Because if you believe GOD did it! The faith you have is from God.
The ONLY difference between you & an unbeliever is God’s work in you. It is NOT because of anything you’ve done (According to Jesus), but what God did IN you! If He hadn’t revealed Himself, you’d still be lost!
Important point! This is kept in the eternal mind of God. We don’t have access to who is or isn’t. That’s not our business. Is 55:8-9…
For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways & My thoughts than your thoughts.
We are called to share the Gospel! When, where, how, & who God saves is HIS business… not ours. We call everyone to repent. If a person wants to believe, they can! God commands all men everywhere to repent (Ac 17:30). God’s call to be saved is universal!
When it comes to what Jesus said in Mk 4, quoting Is, & explained in Jn 12… we are peeking into the will & purpose of God. It is NOT our place to judge or question Him on these things. However…
It IS a time to bow in humble adoration that we have been given insight… revelation… repentance… & faith. THAT we believe is a reason to bow in humility before God. As God told Israel, “I love you because I love you,” (Dt 7:7-8). THAT is why God loves us!
Why have we been given revelation, faith, repentance, & salvation? Because God granted it in His eternal wisdom & will. We don’t deserve it, it isn’t fair. When God grants it to a person to believe, it is the greatest gift anyone can receive. Do you understand? If you believe God granted it!
“But what about those who don’t believe?” I add one word to that question to make it Biblical… “But what about those who don’t YET believe?” They may not believe today… but maybe in a day, week, month, year, or decade. That’s in God’s hands.
Our call is to keep living, teaching, & sharing The Gospel! Eternity isn’t set until a person dies. Up until that time, they can believe! When they do, it will be to God’s glory. Not a preacher, teacher, or parent. God alone gets the glory for every person who is saved.
Invitation 2 ways. For the believer… praise God & thank Him for revealing Himself to you! Glorify & praise Him in all you do.
If you aren’t a Christian, God is commanding you to repent of your sin (Ac 17:30). If you will believe, God will save you. As it is written, “Believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ & you will be saved.”
END OF MESSAGE
Consider what Jesus said as recorded in John 8:42-43,
Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I came from God & I am here. I came not of My own accord, but He sent Me. 43 Why do you not u’stand what I say? It is b/c you cannot bear to hear My word. 45 But b/c I tell the truth, you do not believe Me.”
Galatians 4:16 “Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth?”