Title: Struggle for the Kingdom

Focus: Only those who hear the word, struggle with it, and accept it will be granted to be an insider by being in the kingdom

Function: To encourage the hearers to come and wrestle with the text and ask the hard questions

Text: Mark 4:1-34

1.  If Gods world good, why did he make lice?
2.  Could struggle with it or brush it aside.  This mornings text is about struggle

I.  Mk 4:1-9
	A.  Jesus begins to major in parables at this point
	B.  Problem - Jesus typically did not explain the parables to everyone
	C.  Most people did not understand, not even his disciples
	D.  Why did he teach in parables?

II.  Mk 4:10-12
	A.  Mark continues the insider v.s. outsider theme here
		1.  Noticed in chapter 3 that family and pharisees were outsiders
		2.  Jesus defined what it means to be inside
		3.  Mark includes details that continue on this theme
	B.  Reason for parables was to veil the kingdom to outsiders
		1.  Why?  Jesus quotes from Isaiah 6:8-10
			a.  Strange call, keep people from listening?  Why?
			b.  Goes back to what came before this in Isaiah
		2.  Isa 5:1-7 - Israel produced no fruit
			a.  v. 13 - Exile for lack of knowledge
			b.  But I thought it was fruitlessness?
			c.  That is what it is talking about
	C.  ILL:  Billy the bully picking on Johnny, playing pranks
		1.  Teacher - You know that is not right
		2.  Make them shake hands
		3.  After repeated times, realize knowledge is not the problem
		4.  He needs to know, understand, and accept - Bear Fruit
	D.  So, is this what the problem is with the crowds in Jesus ministry?
		1.  Is this why he used Isaiah?
		2.  Was the problem no knowledge or no fruit?
			a.  Keep in mind that Scribes and Pharisees had knowledge
			b.  But we have already seen they on the outside
		3.  Jesus explanation of this parable shows the problem

III.  Mk 4:13-20
	A.  Explanation of the parable
	B.  Why did Mark go straight from Jesus’ teaching on kinship to this?
		1.  Notice what happens in this parable
		2.  Some hear, but seed no even take root?
			a.  Anyone like that in Mark?
			b.  Pharisees and demons
		3.  Some hear, in grow on a rock, but dries up quickly
			a.  Anyone like that in Mark?
			b.  Many left him - Because he not meet expectation
		4.  Some hear, there is growth, but no fruit because of weeds
			a.  Anyone like that in Mark?
			b.  Crowds thought he amazing, but that was it
		5.  Some on good soil - Bear fruit
	C.  ILL:  When go to garden shop for soil, I find many kinds of soil
		1.  I wouldn’t have the faintest idea what kind of soil to get
		2.  Clerk ask - what kind of soil you want?  I would say, “good soil”
		3.  How many kinds of soil in this parable?  Two - Good and bad
	D.  I want to be good soil, not bad, what can I do?

III.  Mk 4:21-34  -  Several more parables, same theme
	A.  Work backward
		1.  Mustard Seed - Encouragement, will grow?????????
		2.  Growing Seed - Warning or encouragement????????
	B.  Parable of the light and measure?????????
		1.  Light - Something to be revealed.
			a.  To whom?  The insiders (v.11, 34)
			b.  Some trying to stop it - Scribes and Pharisees (3:7)
		2.  Measure - If listen with good measure, God give more
			a.  If not, God take what you have away
			b.  Goes along with Isa 6 & Mk 4:11-12
			c.  Not listen with good measure, now Jesus taking it away
	C.  ILL:  Goes along with ancient planting practice
		1.  Scatter seed first, THEN plow the seed into the ground
		2.  Jesus was plowing through the countryside
			a.  Pharisees not like him tearing up ground
			b.  Too disorienting, too much struggle
			c.  They said NO to his plow
		3.  Birds came and snatched it away
	D.  Being fruitful takes accepting the plow
		- It also takes one other thing

IV.  Struggle with the word
	A.  Notice that though everyone heard, not everyone came to ask for an 
		1.  Our tendency in our culture is to make it easier
		2.  We have alarm clocks, cars, stoves, fridge, toilets, etc.
		3.  Even in teaching, we want to make it easy
	B.  Interesting that Jesus did not always make it easy
		1.  Parables were not to make it easier to understand
		2.  Sometimes they were like riddles - Struggle to understand
		3.  Even disciples not understand - 
		4.  Jesus many times like a sage - Not give pat answers
	C.  ILL:  How many of you purposefully not give boiled down answers
		1.  What if teach, and conclude with a riddle, or a question?
		2.  What if I merely told a story or riddle, and concluded?
		3.  How many would come and ask, “what did you mean by that?”
			a.  In the case of Jesus, some did
			b.  Others listened merely to trap him
			c.  Some just shrugged their shoulders and went on
	D.  Separated curious from the serious, insiders from outsiders
		1.  Jesus later explained it to his disciples who came & asked
			a.  They listened with good measure & got more
			b.  The others had it taken away
		2.  If Jesus later explains these other parables, then
		      why did Mark, the narrator not include the explanation?????

1.  I believe that we too, are meant to struggle
2.  What happens when you always spoon feed, over-protect to nurture child?
	- Create an unhealthy co-dependent situation
	- Child and parent both will never mature
	- Growth comes by allowing the struggle
3.  We are meant to wrestle with this book to find guidance in all aspects of life
4.  If I say, it is ALL so easy, I have it all figured out, get that plow away from me
	a. That will turn me into a spiritual midget - Only place no struggle is a
	b.  Irony - the more I learn the less I know, the more I grow
	c.  It has been a humbling but rewarding experience
5.  Examples?  Specific need to struggle with? - That another can of worms
6.  Going to leave you with these thoughts because this is where Mark leaves us

7.  Maybe you have struggle 
	a.  Issue, and struggling with God’s will
	b.  Difficult decisions?  Does Gods word address it at all?
	c.  Come and talk