The Power of the Word, Part 5
Good Soil… Some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times!
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.” (Mark 4:20 NIV)
The Good soil of your heart hears the word, accepts it, and bears fruit. Although it’s the seed itself that is actively at work (Jesus explains this in Mark 4:26-29), each progressive step requires determined cooperation on your part to produce a harvest.
“Accept it” in the present tense means to “continually receive it” and to “continually bear fruit.” Again, the progressive nature of truth revealed.
Jesus explained in the parable of the vine in John 15, “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, so you will be my disciples.” “…I chose you…that you should go and bear fruit and it remain.” (John 15:8, 16 NKJV)
Father God desires us to bear fruit in our lives! Foremost, in bearing the fruit of the Spirit (See Gal. 5). Secondly, in reaching others for Jesus and making disciples of Him. God also desires us to personally bear fruit in our families, occupations, and ministries thus expanding God’s Kingdom.
God wants the promises He has spoken over your life to come to pass and bear fruit. It’s not enough to listen to God’s word and promises, you must hear and believe them, take them into your heart, and allow them to transform your life.
We must protect our hearts from hurts, wounds, unforgiveness, and bitterness that could choke out the effectiveness of God’s Word. Proverbs tells us to “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Prov. 4:23 NLT
We observe in this parable, and in other passages, that God’s revealed truth (along with purpose and destiny) often unfolds in three phases.
In the Tabernacle of Moses, we find the outer court, the Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies. Israel’s progress was three-fold: out of Egypt, through the Wilderness, and into the Promised Land. Likewise, in the annual feast of Israel, the progression is: Passover, Pentecost, and Feast of Tabernacles.
Another example of unfolding revelation is how the Bible refers to God’s word as milk, bread, and meat. It’s partial and progressive, just like how a child starts with milk, then softer food, and eventually meat.
In the parable of the Sower, some seed unfolds 30, then 60, and finally 100 times as great or as much as that which is sown.
The subject of this parable is both the good ground and the power of God’s Word. Like good soil, the condition of one’s heart to receive God’s Word (which is alive and powerful), believe, and obey it determines whether we attain a 30, 60, or 100-times return.
The purpose of this parable and teaching is to see God’s Word produce its fullest potential, or 100-times as much.
It is the responsibility of the hearer to move from a 30-times realm into a 100-times return.
This teaching shows the law of increase. Here’s how:
We measure everything we hear. When I hear the Word regarding my situation, I determine whether it is received or not, and to what level it is received. I measure everything I hear. The effectiveness of God’s Word is related to how I hear and “measure” God’s promise.
“…With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you…” (Mark 4:24-25 NKJV) In the ancient world, one would bring to the marketplace containers to purchase measured amounts of food. Bring a pint, get a pint; bring a quart, get a quart. Forget your pint, you don’t receive your measure. One’s capacity to receive positions them for more!
Mark 4:24 says, “The way “you” hear it, the way “you” measure and respond to God’s Word is the measure that it works in your life. You cooperate with God and His Word for increase.
Jesus is telling them, “You will profit from My teachings if you actively listen. To the measure you pay attention to them.” And “as you do, more understanding will be given to you than you could obtain on your own.”
God’s Word brings forth progressively. 30-times grasp at first, which can lead us to a 60-times understanding. As we press on in Christ, we can move into a 100-times comprehension of God’s Word and truth.
For example, God’s Word invites us to “become fishers of men.” To share with others about Christ and the good news of the gospel. When I was a new Christian 42 years ago, I was excited about my newfound faith in Christ. I would share with many, sowing seeds of the gospel, and expecting others to come to saving faith in Christ. I saw several individuals over a short period of time individually give their lives to Jesus—we could call this a 30-times return.
Later, God gave me faith to lead groups of people to Christ. Once I led 11 of 13 teenagers to Christ in a park at the Holy Spirit’s leading—perhaps this was a 60-times return! Still later, I had opportunities to preach in overseas gospel meetings to thousands and witnessed hundreds come to the altars to receive Christ as savior. Truly, only God can draw that many to Jesus! We could call this a 100-times return, or a miraculous return!
A 100-times Increase is Miraculous!
Now there was a famine in the land—besides the previous famine in Abraham’s time—and Isaac went to Abimelek king of the Philistines in Gerar. The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live. Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham. I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because Abraham obeyed me and did everything I required of him, keeping my commands, my decrees and my instructions.” So Isaac stayed in Gerar… Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the Lord blessed him. The man became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy. He had so many flocks and herds and servants that the Philistines envied him.” (Gen. 26:1-6, 12-14 NIV)
Isaac heard the word of the Lord. He believed it, obeyed it, and then acted on it. He stayed in the famine-stricken promised land, then planted seed (crops), expecting a harvest.
Miraculous harvest comes to those who hear, believe, obey, and act upon what God has revealed! We plant God’s Word and promise in our hearts, pray over it, water it with more prayers, and at times, even with tears. We stand fast, we endure, and we believe for the harvest even when drought and famine surround us.
Note, the good ground is the heart, not the head.
Often, we give mental assent to God’s Word and biblical truth, but head knowledge is not living faith in the truth. Truth in the mind is good, but it’s in the heart that truth becomes empowered reality. Holy Spirit must unveil truth to us. The Spirit’s unveiling of truth turns intellectual understanding into living faith.
George Peck, nineteenth-century author of Throne Life, wonderfully describes the believer’s identification with Christ as three significant epochs (eras): His death, resurrection, and ascension. He wrote,
…let us observe how surely our ability to apprehend the distinctive significance of our Lord’s death, resurrection, and ascension—the three epochs which especially exhibit the completeness of His finished work—will determine the progress of our conscious spiritual experience.” [i]
We have not only been made alive through Jesus and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, but we have been raised up with Christ in heavenly realms:
For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.” (Eph. 2:6 NLT)
A better translation of “heavenly realms” is “unseen heavenly realities.” Our union with Christ has ascended us with Him into God’s heavenly throne room, or heavenly reality, which is superior to our earth realm.
Your understanding of the finished work of Christ affects your spiritual growth. A person who knows they are united with Christ in His ascension lives differently than a follower of Christ who doesn’t understand their position and authority in Him.
Those who know they are united with Christ in His ascension victory pray and live with confidence that God’s power, through the indwelling of the Spirit, is active in them—right now, as a present spiritual reality—to affect change in their world. Operating in the grace and power of the Spirit is normal for believers who understand the completeness of their union with Christ and His finished work.
You and I have the responsibility to believe God to move from a 30-times return to a 100-times return. “He who has, more will be given!” Hunger and pursuit are required! Consider these passages as we close for today:
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Jos. 1:8 NKJV)
Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law, he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.” (Psalm 1:1-3 NKJV)
For a deeper look at this topic, watch the Passion Church message “The Power of the Word, Part 5”
[i] George Peck, Throne Life: The Highest Christian Life, (Boston, MA: The Watchword Publishing Co., 1888), 41-42.