The Need For the Anointing & Discernment of the Spirit

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ as it was written and recorded by John Mark. More specifically today’s passage is found in the first twenty-nine verses of the fourth chapter. “And he began to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land. And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine, Hearken: Behold, there went out a sower to sow: And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and fowls of the air came and devoured it up. And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth; but when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root it withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred. And He said unto them, he that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Mark 4:1-9).

 

            “And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable. And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: that seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them. And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? And how then will ye know all parables? The sower soweth the word. And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and have no root in themselves, and so ensure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended. And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, and the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred” (Mark 4:10-20).

 

            “And he said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? And not to be set on a candlestick? For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad. If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure. Ye met, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given. For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from shall be taken every that which he hath” (Mark 4:21-25).

 

            “And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself: first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come” (Mark 4:26-29).

 

            When you come to the fourth chapter of the gospel narrative written by John Mark you will find the second account of Jesus beginning to teach in parables. If there is one thing that is truly unique when you take the time to read the gospel narratives it’s that this particular parable of the sower would indeed be recorded and mentioned as the first parable which the Lord Jesus would speak unto those who were present during these days. As you read the four gospel narratives—specifically the gospel narratives written by the apostle Matthew, John Mark and the physician Luke—you will find that each of them mention the parable of the sower and the seed as the first parable which Jesus would teach and speak unto those who were present during those days. I am absolutely convinced this is something we must needs recognize and understand for it calls and draws our attention to this particular parable as means of unlocking and understanding all the other parables which the Lord Jesus would teach among those who would gather before Him for to listen to Him speak. In fact it would be as you read the words found in this particular section of Scripture you will find something recorded which the apostle Matthew himself did not record. If you continue reading within this passage of Scripture you will find the Lord Jesus speaking unto those who were with Him privately with the twelve and revealing the mystery of the parable of the seed and the sower.

 

            Before we delve into the meaning and significance of the parable of the seed and the sower I am absolutely convinced there is a great need for us to begin with and from the tenth verse of this particular chapter. It is what we find here in this passage of Scripture we not only encounter the reason and purpose for the Lord Jesus speaking and teaching in parables but also something which shines a tremendous light on to this particular parable itself. Moving forward in this passage of Scripture you will find that when Jesus was alone those who were about Him with the twelve would ask of Him the meaning of the parable. In response to their question and inquiry the Lord Jesus would declare unto them how it was given unto them to know the mystery of the kingdom of God. With this being said, however, the Lord Jesus would go on to declare that unto those who were outside He would teach and speak in parables. What we must needs recognize and understand when reading these words is how the sole purpose Jesus taught in parables was that those seeing may see and not perceive and those hearing may hear and not understand lest at any time they should be converted and their sins be forgiven them. This is something we must needs recognize and understand for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding Jesus’ teaching in parables for there would be an underlying purpose and reason for His teaching and speaking in parables. The Lord Jesus would indeed come to manifest and reveal the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God among them in their midst and with that being said He would teach and reveal mysteries of the kingdom of God in and through parables.

 

            Continuing on in this passage of Scripture you will find the Lord Jesus going on to ask those who were present about Him whether or not they knew the parable. What we must pay close attention to are the words which are found immediately after that for He would go on to ask them how then would they know all parables. This is something we have a great need to recognize and pay close attention to for it reveals an incredible truth surrounding this parable and how this parable was sort of a key that would unlock all the other parables which would be taught among them in their midst. What we must recognize concerning this is that there is indeed a reason the apostle Matthew and John Mark presented this parable as the first parable the Lord Jesus would teach and speak unto the crowds and multitude. In fact it would be in this passage of Scripture John Mark would record the Lord Jesus asking those who were about Him whether or not they understood this parable and if they for some reason didn’t understand this parable then how would and how could they understand all other parables. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words Jesus spoke on this particular occasion for the words we find here call and draw our attention to the truth surrounding the parables which the Lord Jesus taught and spoke and how this parable would indeed be the key parable that would unlock all the other parables—and not only unlock all the other parables but also unlock the understanding of the other parables. With this being said I would dare say we must needs recognize and understand the words which are found in this parable—and not only the words which are found in this parable but also the meaning and interpretation of the parable—for it will bring us to the place where we have the foundation for all the other parables the Lord Jesus would teach and speak.

 

            The words presented in this passage of the text would indeed be incredibly significant for this parable would indeed be a parable that would help reveal and teach the mystery of the kingdom of heaven. As you read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you will find Jesus teaching and speaking a parable of a certain sower who would go out sowing seed as they went. It would be as they went about sowing seed they would sow seed in various different places—four places to be exact. Jesus would begin teaching and speaking in parables and it would be this particular parable the Lord Jesus would teach that would be the initial key that would be used to unlock all the other parables Jesus would teach. What’s more is that this parable is sort of the door through which those who would seek to understand the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven—and not only the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven but also the other parables—would enter. There is not a doubt in my mind we have a great need to recognize and pay attention to the words which we read here in the text for they help us to not only understand this particular parable but also the other parables which the Lord Jesus taught. In addition to this I can’t help but wonder if the parables were themselves progressive revelation which He would continue to teach and build upon as he would move about within the earth. Is it possible that this particular parable was not only the key to unlocking the understanding of the other parables but this particular parable would be the foundation of a progressive revelation that would center around each of the parables the Lord Jesus would teach and speak? Is it possible that the parables themselves were indeed progressive revelation and as Jesus would continue teaching in parables the revelation would grow deeper and become larger and greater?

 

            I have to admit that I have never thought of nor viewed the parables as progressive revelation and have never thought the parables could indeed build upon each other. What’s more is I have never even thought the parable of the sower and the seed would and could be the foundation upon which all the other parables could be built. With this being said I can’t help but wonder if the Lord Jesus didn’t ask those who were present in the midst of these days round about Him how they would know all parables if it wasn’t a means of suggesting that this parable was indeed a key to unlocking the understanding of all the other parables which He would teach and speak during those days. There is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if the Lord Jesus would not ask those who were about Him with the disciples whether or not they understood this parable and would go on to ask them if they didn’t understand how then would they understand all other parables because He would demonstrate that this parable was indeed the starting point of the revelation of the mystery of the kingdom of God. In fact it is in the eleventh verse of this passage where Jesus not only speaks of the kingdom of God but also speaks of the kingdom of God as being a mystery. I am absolutely convinced this reality and concept of the kingdom of God as being a mystery is something we must needs recognize and understand for there are certain things within he New Testament which are and were referred to as a mystery. It is truly unique and astonishing to read the words found in this passage of Scripture and to consider how when speaking of the kingdom of God Jesus would speak of the mystery of and the mystery surrounding the kingdom of God.

 

            I feel the need to pause right here and address and speak to this particular reality of the kingdom of God being a mystery and how the Lord Jesus would indeed teach and speak in parables because of that mystery. In order for us to understand the parables which the Lord Jesus would teach and speak we must needs recognize and realize that at the very core and foundation of the parables is indeed the kingdom of God—and not only the kingdom of God but also the kingdom of God as a mystery. There is something truly captivating, alluring and mysterious about the kingdom of God and when speaking to those who were about Him together with His disciples the Lord Jesus would declare how unto them was given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this particular truth and reality for within it we are brought face to face with the tremendous reality of the kingdom of God as being shrouded in mystery and only the honest and truly genuine and seeking hearts and souls would understand it. There is not a doubt in my mind the Lord Jesus referred to the kingdom of God as being a mystery for it was something that would not come cheap nor would it be something that would come easy or naturally. I am convinced the Lord Jesus would speak of the kingdom of God as being a mystery and essentially shrouded in mystery is because there was something revealed in and by the kingdom of God that would and could not be understood by the casual seeker and those who casually came unto the Lord Jesus. Jesus would indeed refer to the kingdom of God as being a mystery because it was something which only those who had ears to hear would hear—and not only hear but also understand.

 

            Before I get into this particular truth I am absolutely convinced we must needs consider the words which are found in the ninth verse of the text. It is in the ninth verse of this passage of Scripture we find the Lord Jesus declaring and speaking unto those who heard this parable how those who had ears to hear—it was those who had ears to hear that they ought to hear. What’s more is I would not only say that those who had ears to hear would indeed hear but they would also understand that which the Lord Jesus would teach and speak when He taught in parables. There is something truly unique about the words we find in the ninth chapter of this passage of Scripture for it calls and draws our attention to the powerful reality of hearing—and not only hearing but also hearing and understanding. I am absolutely convinced there is a great need within our hearts and minds to both hear and understand that which the Lord Jesus teaches and speaks unto during these days. Immediately after the Lord Jesus would speak and teach this parable He would then go on to declare how those who had ears to hear would hear—and not only hear but hear the words which He would speak unto them. This is something we must needs understand and recognize when seeking to understand this passage of Scripture for I would dare say there are two different types of hearing found in this passage of Scripture. There is an initial hearing with the ears which absolutely does not touch hearing with the heart, hearing with the spirit and hearing with the inner man. This is the hearing which many who heard the Lord Jesus teach and speak in parables would hear the words which He spoke. There is not a doubt in my mind that many who heard the words the Lord Jesus taught and spoke during those days would merely hear with their ears and would not at all hear with their spirits, nor hear with their hearts.

 

            I sit here today thinking about the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and how within it we are brought face to face with those who merely hear with the ears and as a direct result have no understanding of that which the Lord Jesus teaches and speaks. There are those who are present among us today just like there were those present during the days of the Lord Jesus who merely listen with their physical and natural ears and as a direct result of this are completely and entirely unable to hear with their spirit and with their heart. As a direct result of being unable to hear with the inner man and hear with the spirit these individuals are entirely and altogether unable to understand that which the Lord Jesus is speaking. What’s more is that not only are they unable to hear and understand that which the Lord Jesus is speaking but they are also unable to hear what the Spirit is speaking. In fact I am absolutely convinced this is what is so incredibly unique and powerful about the seven letters which are found in the prophetic book of the Revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the second and third chapters of the prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ we find Jesus instructing the apostle John to writes a letter unto each of the seven churches which were in Asia. What we must needs understand when reading these words is that at the very end of each letter—and not only at the very end of each letter but also at the very core of each letter—was a powerful invitation for those who had ears to hear what the Spirit was speaking unto the churches. This is something we must needs understand and recognize for hearing and hearing with understanding is at the very heart and core of the teaching in parables which the Lord Jesus would deliver during these days.

 

            It is with this in mind I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the incredible truth that is found in each of the seven letters which are presented in the New Testament prophetic book of the Revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am absolutely and completely convinced we must needs understand and recognize the words which are found here for they help shine a tremendous light on to the parable the Lord Jesus taught—and not only the parable the Lord Jesus taught but also Jesus’ instruction and invitation to those who had ears to hear what the Spirit was speaking to the churches. I believe there is a great need for us to recognize and understand the words found in this passage of Scripture for within it we are brought face to face with the need to not only hear but also to hear what the Spirit is speaking unto the churches. Having said this I invite you to turn and direct your attention to the following words which are found in the prophetic book of the Revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ beginning with the second chapter and the epistle which was written unto the church at Ephesus:

 

            “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God” (Revelation 2:7).

 

            “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death” (Revelation 2:11).

 

            “He that hath an ear, let hi hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it” (Revelation 2:17).

 

            “And he that overcometh, and keeeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star. He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Revelation 2:26-28).

 

            “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Revelation 3:5-6).

 

            “Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Revelation 3:11-13).

 

            “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Revelation 3:19-22).

            There is a great need for us to recognize and understand the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for within them we are brought face to face with Jesus speaking unto seven different and seven distinct churches. What’s more is that not only was Jesus speaking unto seven distinct churches but we also find the Lord Jesus ending each epistle and letter by calling and inviting those churches to overcome. Not only did the Lord Jesus invite those churches to overcome but he also invited those who had ears to hear and those who had an ear to hear what the Spirit was speaking unto the churches. This is something we must needs recognize and pay close attention to for it calls and draws our attention to the incredible and very real need to hear what the Spirit was speaking unto the churches. What’s more is that not only have we been called to hear what the Spirit was speaking unto the churches but we have also been called to hear with more than just our physical and natural ears. I am absolutely convinced that those who merely hear with their physical and natural ears can never and will never truly understand that which the Spirit is speaking unto the churches. What’s more is I would venture to say that those who hear with their physical and natural ears can not and will not hear that which the Lord Jesus nor what the Holy Spirit are speaking unto the churches. It would be the Lord Jesus who would speak unto those who were present about Him by the sea side that anyone who had ears to ear ought to hear. Oh this is something we have a great need of recognizing and paying attention to for it brings us face to face with the tremendous and incredible need to not only hear with our physical and natural ears but also to hear with our heart, to hear with our spirit and to hear with our inner man.

 

            After finishing the parable of the seed and the sower the Lord Jesus would go on to instruct and invite those who had ears to hear to hear—and not only hear with their natural ears but to hear with their spirit and with their inner man. Perhaps one of the greatest truths I can’t help but think about when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture is how many who heard the parable which the Lord Jesus taught would indeed depart from His presence and meditate and ponder it within their own hearts and spirits. How many men and women would hear Jesus’ parable of the seed and the sower and would hear Jesus’ invitation and instruction to those who had ears to hear and would seek to understand that which He taught and spoke? Is it possible that there were those who would hear this parable which the Lord Jesus would teach and speak and as a direct result of it would ponder and mediate upon it that they might truly understand what it was the Lord Jesus spoke unto them? I can’t help but wonder why the Lord Jesus would call and invite those who had ears to hear to hear if there weren’t those who would depart from His presence and move from the sea unto their own homes who would seek to understand the words the Lord Jesus spoke. I believe there is a great significance and importance surrounding the words the Lord Jesus spoke on this particular occasion for what we find here is the Lord Jesus delivering a parable and then after delivering the parable calling and inviting those who were present and who had ears to hear to hear. That which this statement and invitation suggests is that there were those who heard and could hear with more than just their physical and natural ears as He delivered this parable.

 

            Upon reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you can and will be brought face to face with the incredible truth surrounding Jesus’ invitation given unto those who had ears to hear for Jesus would recognize and understand that there were indeed those who were present among the others on this particular day who not only had ears to hear but who also listened and heard with more than simply their physical and natural ears. I would dare say that while Jesus would speak unto those who were about Him with the disciples that it was given unto them to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God there might very well have been others who did more than simply hear the words which the Lord Jesus spoke in an audible tone and voice. With this being said I am absolutely and completely convinced that there is a great need for us to hear and to listen with our spirit and with our inner man that we might truly understand, discern and perceive that which the Lord Jesus—and not only what the Lord Jesus but also what the Holy Spirit would speak and declare unto the churches. There is something truly significant about the words we find in this passage of Scripture for they call and draw our attention to the wonderful and powerful truth surrounding Jesus’ invitation to those who had ears to hear to hear what the Spirit was speaking unto them. Although it wasn’t actually declared and proclaimed on this particular occasion I would dare say that what Jesus was declaring unto those who were present on this particular day was that those who had ears—it is they who were able and should hear what the Spirit was speaking. Jesus’ invitation given unto those who had ears to hear was an invitation given that they might hear with more than just their physical and natural ears and actually hear with their inner man, hear with their spirit and hear with their heart.

 

            I absolutely love the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for not only did Jesus deliver this parable unto the multitude of men and women who had gathered themselves round about and before Him but He would also conclude it—before those present would depart unto their own homes—by offering an invitation to those who had ears to hear to hear. That which we must needs recognize and understand concerning this is that these words suggested there were those present in the midst of the multitude who did in fact have ears to hear. For Jesus to give this particular invitation at the end of delivering this parable would indeed suggest there were those present in the midst of the multitude who would not only hear with their physical and natural ears but they would also hear with their spiritual ears and with their inner man. I firmly believe there is a vast difference between hearing with our physical and natural ears alone and hearing with our spiritual ears and spirit man—particularly when we are dealing with the words of the Holy Spirit and the words of the Lord Jesus. The fact that the Lord Jesus would indeed call and invite those who had ears to hear to hear suggests there was a presence of those which were present in the midst of the crowd who did in fact hear with their physical ears the words the Lord Jesus spoke and yet needed to listen beyond that which they heard in the natural sense. There was a great need for those who had ears to hear to hear the spirit and true meaning behind the parable—that which the Lord Jesus would refer to as “the mystery of the kingdom of God.”

 

            The more I think about the words which are found in this passage of Scripture the more I am brought face to face with the fact that while there might very well have been men and women who heard with their physical and natural ears there were others who heard and listened with more than simply their physical ears. There were those who would hear with their spirits, with their hearts and with their inner man and would hear the meaning behind the parable which the Lord Jesus heard. What’s more is that those who had ears to hear would hear more than simply the parable itself but would actually hear the mystery of the kingdom of God. What we find within this passage of Scripture is the Lord Jesus declaring unto those who were about Him with the disciples that it was given unto them to know the mystery of the kingdom of God. What we must needs recognize and understand concerning this statement is that there were those who would indeed hear and understand the mystery of the kingdom of God and there would be those whose eyes would be blind and whose ears would be deaf to it. This is precisely what the Lord Jesus would refer to when He spoke of those who seeing might see and not perceive and who hearing may hear and yet not understand.

 

            I read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and I am brought face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding the Lord Jesus and His teaching in parables. On this particular occasion the Lord Jesus would call and invite those who had ears to hear to hear and we must needs recognize and pay close attention to this for there is a truly powerful truth that is contained within it. I strongly believe that while the Lord Jesus was delivering the parable of the sower and the seed He knew and recognized there were those who were present who truly had ears to hear and who would hear that which He would speak unto them. The question I can’t help but think about and consider is whether or not there were those who departed unto their homes who had ears to hear and who heard or whether or not those who had ears to hear were those who were about the Lord Jesus with the twelve. There is something truly astonishing and captivating about the words we see in this passage of Scripture for it calls and invites us into the place of hearing beyond our physical and natural sense. It was the apostle John who wrote in the second chapter of the first epistle concerning the anointing and how the anointing teaches us. I am absolutely convinced there is a great need to recognize and pay close attention to the words we see in this passage of Scripture for within it there seems to be this powerful reality of discernment—and not only discernment but also anointing. In all reality it’s kind of like that which the beloved physician Luke wrote in the New Testament book of Acts concerning the Bereans and how they were more noble than the Thessalonians for they would search the Scriptures to see if what the apostle Paul was teaching was accurate.

 

            It is with this in mind I call and invite you to consider the following words which are found in the second chapter of the first epistle written by the apostle John in the New Testament as well as the words which are found in the seventeenth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts. There is something we must needs recognize and understand when reading each of these passages concerning the need for discernment and the anointing within our hearts and lives—particularly when we are listening to and hearing those who are teaching us from the word of God. Of course I do not believe that there was any need to be cautious when hearing and listening to the words which the Lord Jesus taught and spoke, however, we must needs understand the reason he called on those who had ears to hear to hear was entirely and largely due to the fact that there was more to what He was saying than what they heard with their ears. What we must needs recognize and understand concerning this particular passage of Scripture is that there was not only the presence of that which the Lord Jesus said with His lips and mouth but there was also that which the Lord Jesus was implying behind those words. There was something which must needs be and can only be understood by the spirit and from the inner man. This is something we have a great need to recognize and pay close attention to for it invites us into the place where we recognize the tremendous need for discernment within our hearts and lives. When we as the people of God hear others teach from the word of God and profess they are speaking from God we must needs be men and women of discernment and understanding that we might truly understand that which is present in this passage of Scripture.

 

            With all of this in mind I find it incumbent to call and invite you to consider the following words which are found in the second chapter of the first epistle written by the apostle John as well as the words which are found in the seventeenth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts. It is what we find within these two passages of Scripture we are brought face to face with the incredible and tremendous need for discernment—and not only discernment but also to be those who carefully study the Scriptures and search them for understanding. I am absolutely convinced that if we are truly going to be those who have ears to hear and hear beyond just the physical and natural sense we must needs be those who possess this inner discernment and desire to search the Scriptures to see if what we are being taught is indeed correct. Permit me to ask you when the last time you sat in a church service and heard the preacher preach from the Bible and when you went home you searched the matter out that you might understand and recognize whether or not what was preached was in fact correct and true? I am convinced there is a great need for men and women among us in our midst to be students of the Scripture and that the sermons we hear week in and week out should not only be messages which we hear on Sunday morning but they should also be invitations to become students of the Word. Please not that I am in no way suggesting that we need to be scholars of the Word of God for I am not quite sure that everyone can and/or even is called to be a scholar of the Word of God. What I am suggesting, however, is that we are indeed called to be students of the Word of God and be those who search the Scriptures—not only to understand the Word but also to understand and recognize if what we are being taught and if what is being preached to us is in fact true.

 

            Consider now if you will the following words which are found in these two passages of Scripture beginning with the second chapter of the first New Testament epistle written by the apostle John. What’s more is I would also like to invite you to consider—in addition to the words recorded by Luke in the seventeenth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts—the words presented in the fourth chapter of the New Testament epistle written unto the Hebrews in the fourth chapter:

 

            “I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake. I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father. I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life. These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him” (1 John 2:1-29).

 

            “For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest, which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:10-16).

 

            “And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few. But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people. And then immediately the brethren sent away Paul to go as it were to the sea: but Silas and Timotheus abode there still. And they that conducted Paul brought him unto. Athens: and receiving a commandment unto Silas and Timotheus for to come to him with all speed, they departed” (Acts 17:10-15).

 

            I am absolutely convinced these passages are incredibly necessary when considering the words and language presented in the fourth chapter of the gospel narrative written by John Mark. It is within these passages where we not only read of the anointing as being that which teaches all things but we also read of those in Berea having heard and received the word of God with all readiness of mind. What we must needs understand when reading this passage is that in addition to receiving the word with all readiness of mind they would also search the scriptures daily, whether the things which Paul, Silas and Timotheus taught and preached unto them was true. I am absolutely and completely convinced we must make note of these passages and mark them well within our hearts and minds for there is a great need for us to be men and women who not only search the Scriptures that we might judge the truth and accuracy of what we are speaking but we must also possess this inner discernment and the anointing which teaches us all things. What’s more is I would dare say that in addition to the anointing which teaches us all things there is also a strong need to recognize the words the Lord Jesus spoke when teaching His disciples concerning the Holy Spirit. If you turn and direct your attention to the words presented in chapters fourteen through sixteen of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John you will find Jesus teaching His disciples of the Holy Spirit on the night in which He was betrayed in the upper room and then as they would make their way unto the garden of Gethsemane. There is not a doubt in my mind these words must be carefully considered for one of the ultimate purposes of the person and presence of the Holy Spirit is to guide us into all truth.

 

            As I sit here today thinking about and reading the words presented in the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel written by John Mark I am brought face to face with the incredible truth that we as the people of God must needs be those who recognize the purpose of the presence and person of the Holy Spirit within our lives. Perhaps one of the greatest and ultimate roles and functions of the Holy Spirit within our lives is to guide us into all truth and to remind us of the words which the Lord Jesus taught and spoke. When delivering this parable the Lord Jesus would call and invite men and women who had ears to hear to hear and it would be the work of the Holy Spirit to teach and guide those who were present and heard the words spoken and delivered in this parable. I do not believe it is any coincidence that when addressing each of the seven churches in the prophetic book of the Revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ He would call and invite those who had ears to hear to hear what the Spirit was speaking unto the churches. There is not a doubt in my mind that when we think about the parables and Jesus’ invitation to those who had ears to hear to hear there is a great need to rely upon the person and presence of the Holy Spirit to teach and reveal them. With this being said, however, there is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if it was revelation of and from the Father that would ultimately teach and guide those who heard the words which the Lord Jesus spoke. When Jesus asked His disciples whom they said that He the Son of man was and when the apostle Peter responded by declaring that flesh and blood had not revealed this unto Him but His Father in heaven He seemed to be setting in motion a precedent that it was revelation directly from the Father that speaks to and confirms the truth concerning Christ and the kingdom of God within our hearts.

 

            We know that at the time Jesus delivered the parables that the Holy Spirit had not yet been given for the day of Pentecost had not yet occurred. At this time the Lord Jesus had not yet suffered in the flesh and experienced death upon the cross nor had He been buried in the tomb and been raised from death to life on the third day. What’s more is that in order for the person of the Holy Spirit to truly and ultimately guide us into all truth the day of Pentecost had to fully come and the Holy Spirit would have to be sent by the person of the Lord Jesus after He ascended unto the right hand of the Father. It would be from the right hand of the Father the Lord Jesus would send the promise of the Father which was indeed the person of the Holy Spirit. There would be specific and certain truths the Lord Jesus would teach and reveal concerning the person of the Holy Spirit when speaking unto the disciples which would not only apply to the disciples themselves but they would apply to all those disciples of His who would confess with their mouths the Lord Jesus and believe in their hearts the Father has raised Him from the dead. When we think about Jesus’ words given to those who had ears to hear to hear what is being said we must conclude and determine that there was something specific which the Lord was speaking concerning the kingdom of God—something that was not readily discerned and understood simply by hearing the words spoken within the parable. There was a powerful invitation given to not only hear that which was spoken but also to diligently search out that which the Lord Jesus had spoken that one might understand the mystery of the kingdom. With this being said I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth chapters of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John:

 

            “And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you” (John 14:16-18).

 

            “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26).

 

            “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: and ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning” (John 15:26-27).

 

            “…Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: OF sin, because they believe not on me; of righteousness because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; OF judgment, because the prince of this world is judged” (John 16:7-11).

 

            “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that He shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you. A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and. Ye shall see me, because I go to the Father” (John 1612-16).

 

            The words we find in each of these passages call and draw our attention to the incredible promise of the Holy Spirit and that which He can and will provide for men and women who yield themselves to Him. It is absolutely fascinating to think about and consider how the Lord Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of truth and how the Spirit would guide men into all truth. There is not a doubt in my mind that when we think about and consider this we must needs be brought face to face with the incredible need for discernment within our lives—and not only for discernment but also for the anointing of the Holy Spirit. With this being said we must needs recognize the need for the person and presence of the Holy Spirit within our lives and how the Holy Spirit can and will guide us into all truth. Not only this but the Holy Spirit will remind us of those words the Lord Jesus spoke for He will not speak of Himself. This is something we have a great need of recognizing and understanding for it brings us face to face with the need to have ears to hear—and not only have ears to hear but to hear what the Spirit is speaking to the churches. We must needs recognize and understand that the Holy Spirit is indeed speaking unto the churches and that the eternal and only begotten Son is also speaking. I firmly believe that just as the Lord Jesus taught and spoke while He was present upon the earth as the Word made flesh so also is the Lord Jesus speaking in this particular passage of Scripture. We as the disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ must needs acknowledge and understand that we have indeed and have in fact been called to be those who can and will give ourselves to discernment and to the anointing of the Holy Spirit within our lives.

 

            As I read the words found in this passage of Scripture I can’t help but think about the words which the Lord Jesus concerning the seed which was sown and how the seed represents the word of the living God. We as the saints of God must needs understand the words found in this passage of Scripture for they call our attention to the truth surrounding the seed being the word of God and how the seed is sown on all different types of soil. Jesus would deliver this parable unto the crowds and multitudes and would then conclude by instructing and inviting those who had ears to hear to hear—and not only hear but also hear that which He had spoken unto them. When Jesus was alone with those who were with the twelve He would be asked to explain the parable which He had just delivered unto the crowds. What makes this truly unique when you consider it is when you find the Lord Jesus describe the kingdom of God as a mystery. It would be in direct connection with this particular parable the Lord Jesus would not only refer to the kingdom of God as being a mystery but He would also suggest that this parable would be the key that would unlock and help them to understand all the other parables. This parable of the seed and the sower is a powerful parable describing the mystery of the kingdom of God and how at the very core of the kingdom of God is the word of God which the Lord Jesus came to deliver. It would be the Lord Jesus who came to deliver and demonstrate the kingdom of God within and upon the earth and part of what He would do was to teach in parables the mysteries of the kingdom of God.

 

In preparing to bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely important to note that the sower who sowed the seed represents one who sows the word of God. That which was represented by the sower sowing seed by the wayside would represent those who heard the word when it was preached and yet Satan immediately comes and takes away the word which was sown in their hearts. Those whom Jesus referred to as the stony ground were those who when they had heard the word immediately received it with gladness. Despite these who heard and received the word with gladness they would have no root in themselves and would endure for a time. When, however, affliction or persecution arises for the sake of the word they are immediately offended and I would dare say they would be much like those who were offended with the Lord Jesus and His words and turned back and walked no more with Him. Still there were those who were represented by the seed which was sown among the thorns and are those who heard the word and yet the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches and the lusts of other things entering in choke the word and it becomes unfruitful. These are three groups of people and types of hearts which we must needs recognize and understand within our own hearts and lives for it calls and draws our attention to the fourth group of people who are those who were represented by the seed sown on good ground who heard the word, who received the word and who brought forth fruit. At the very heart and core of this parable is not only the sowing of the word but also whether or not the fruit truly bears fruit within the hearts and lives of those who hear it. There is a great need for us to be men and women who not only guard ourselves from Satan stealing the word from within our hearts but also guard ourselves from offense when affliction and persecution arises and even the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches and the lust of other things. Oh that we would be men and women who possess the discernment needed coupled together with the anointing and presence of the person of the Holy Spirit that we might be those who hear what Jesus and the Spirit are speaking that we might bear and bring forth fruit within our lives.

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