Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part XIII: An Unveiling Of The Supernatural Nature Of Discipleship Development
(Mark 4:26-29, 30-34)
  1. Introduction
    1. From last week's study in Mark 4:1-25, we found out that "what we do to heed and use what Scripture we are exposed to affects the degree of carnality or spirituality will eventually show up in our lives."
    2. But so much for our OWN lives! How about the other party, that relative or workplace associate, etc.! Should we be impressing them to respond properly to Scripture if we don't see them coming along?
    3. Right after His admonition on watching how we OURSELVES respond to the Scripture to which we are individually exposed, Jesus gave fascinating and directive insight on the other guy as follows:
  2. An Unveiling Of The Supernatural Nature Of Discipleship Growth, Mark 4:26-29, 30-34.
    1. Jesus gave a parable describing the supernatural, superhuman nature of real spiritual discipleship, 4:26-29:
      1. This parable of sowing seed that is given following the famous parable of the Sower in Mark 4:1-20 focuses on the fact and way that a seed grows independent of the one who sows it, Mark 4:26-28:
        1. Jesus likened the kingdom of God to a sower who casts seed onto the ground and then no longer gets involved in it, Mk. 4:26-27a. After sowing, he sleeps and rises, night and day, a picture of the total abandonment of direct involvement in the seed's activity on the part of the sower.
        2. In fact, Jesus pointed out how the seed springs up and grows up in a way that the sower does not fully know or understand, Mk. 4:27b. He as the sower is certainly not involved in producing the growth of the seed if he doesn't even understand how it grows!
        3. Finally, the plant produced from the seed produces fruit "of herself" (KJV), or, as the NIV states it, "all by itself," Mk. 4:28a. The phrase comes from the Greek term automatay from which we get "automatic", a word in the emphatic position to impress the reader that the plant is doing this production independently of the sower's involvement, Bib. Know. Com., N.T., p. 120!
        4. The plant does this in gradual stages, coming first as a stalk, then the head with the grain in it, and after that the full kernel in the head, Mark 4:28b.
        5. All the sower does is wait for the completion of the fruit's growth so he can harvest it, Mk. 4:29.
      2. Thus, the parable of the seed growing by itself focuses on the total inability of the sower to do anything about its growth, but simply wait for the giving of God's Word to bear fruit over time all its own!
    2. Jesus then gave a parable describing the supernatural, superhuman nature of organizational development of disciples once they have responded to the Word's presentation, Mark 4:30-34.
      1. The mustard seed to which Jesus refers in Mark 4:30 is the common black mustard, sinapsis nigra, Ibid.
      2. This plant's seeds are very small, weighing one twenty-one thousandth of an ounce, Ibid.! (Mk. 4:31)
      3. Yet, from spouting, this quickly growing annual reaches a height of 12 to 15 feet in a year's time so that birds who like its seed production will swarm in its branches, Mark 4:32.
      4. In the same way, when people respond to the Word, their corporate growth is so rapid and so enormous that they spring up into a mustard bush very quickly, independent of the work of a sower.
Lesson: The power for hearers to heed Scripture and grow in an organized body is already built within the discipling process by GOD. All The DISCIPLE MAKER can do is SOW and REAP!

Application: (1) We who give out God's Word must realize that (a) a discipling change in our hearers occurs independently of any effort on our part; (b) we do not even understand HOW people respond to Scripture; (c) the Word of God by itself is its own effective agent of discipling, He. 4:12-13; (d) discipleship occurs in non-harvest types of stages over time independent of us who sow. Thus, after giving out the Word, refuse to manipulate hearers to discipleship no matte r how futile the whole process seems and wait for Scripture to produce a clear conversion. (2) In organizing disciples, since God's discipleship process automatically involves dynamic interaction between people of like faith so that the organiza tion of new disciples grows itself quickly and powerfully, focus on giving out the Word and simply harvesting to assist in the organization! (Lk. 12:42-44)