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Discover the Book - Dec. 12, 2008

  • 2008 Dec 12

Shallow Hearts



Today we come to the second soil in Christ's parable. This second soil illustrates a second heart. Last time we saw the wayside or hardened heart. This time we will examine the stony or shallow heart. Please open your Bibles with me to Christ's sermon about The Shallow Heart. Mark 4.5-6; 16-17.

v. 16-17: SHALLOW HEARTS: What happens when God's Word falls on the Shallow Heart? Jesus says that He finds it temporary, unsubstantial, and with deep seated rebellion.

As Jesus taught He was usually surrounded by crowds of shallow souls. They followed, listened, enjoyed His messages – but never could get around to doing anything with what they heard. They were fascinated, entertained, even deeply impressed with His message and ability. They were responsive in some ways, unlike the hardened hearts. Moved by His message at times, able to talk about the Lord – but never deeply changed. They are unstable, un-rooted, temporary and fragile. Their spiritual life has as much life as a cut flower. They look great until they wither.

What would a shallow soil person look like today? Do we have any clear example to help us understand this person? Jesus illustrates the shallow heart in Mark 10:17-22.

The clearest Biblical example of the shallow, submerged rock soil is the Rich young Ruler of the Gospels. He is emotional, says all the right things, makes a splashy profession (with joy received Christ's word) but then when the hard reality of obedience and submission comes at the insistence of Jesus – he withers right before our eyes. The huge rebellion (rocky ledge under the soil) caused the Son of God’s shining the Light of truth upon his life – to scorch and wither that shallow profession of desire to follow Jesus. His rebellion to the rule of God, his resistance to the law of God, his unwillingness to acknowledge his lostness - all show the shallowness of his profession.

One of the most amazing meetings in history took place almost 2,000 years ago. It is one of the best known stories in God's Word – we call it the Rich Young Ruler. A young businessman came to Jesus. He came willingly, he came excitedly, he came publicly, and he came directly.

And what was his request from the Savior of the world? He asked for eternal life.


And what was his method? He came by all outward appearances genuinely. He was on his knees, holding onto Jesus, and looking up into the face of Jesus.


By any standard of measurement, this should have been the greatest day of his life. But it ended up being the worst! He became the only person who came willingly to the feet of Jesus who went away unchanged, unhelped, unforgiven, unhealed, and most of all unsaved.


This day was captured in Scripture by God to communicate a disaster of eternal proportions.


This man missed the opportunity -- of an eternity. A moment to determine his ultimate destiny was lost.


God left this story with a sad ending – on purpose. God wrote the ending of this story the way He did to illustrate once and for all the SHALLOW HEART.

Mark 10:17-22

For a moment examine this account. In these verses we find so much right about this young man. He seems to have sought the right person – Jesus alone has salvation. He came with the right approach – enthused and humbly. He came truthfully – he knew that he needed eternal life and did not have it. But he left empty handed and lost hearted. Why?

There are two parts to Christ's parable. First he told of the quick response to the Gospel. Then He told of the rock getting in the way. Look at the immediate response to Jesus this Rich young Ruler had.

10:17  Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” NKJV

He Came to Jesus Unashamedly!

This man was young (Matt. 19:20) and rich (v. 22). In Luke 18:18 we learn that he was a ruler, which most likely means he was a ruler of the synagogue. Thus it appears that he was a Jewish religious leader—devout, honest, young, wealthy, prominent, highly respected, and influential. He had everything.

He Came to Jesus Enthusiastically!

Mark 10:17 says the man came running.

He Came to Jesus Humbly!

He also came publicly. Unlike Nicodemus, who came by night, this man came in broad daylight and in front of other people. Mark says that the Lord was on the road, having just set out on a journey. No doubt there was the usual crowd around him. This fellow ran right through the crowd, unhampered by the fact that the people knew who he was. He was bold enough to confess publicly and openly that he did not possess eternal life. For a man in his position to ask such a question took tremendous courage. He had a lot to lose by openly admitting that he lacked eternal life.

He Came to Jesus Directly!

In his search for the missing element on his soul he sought out Jesus. And how right he was to do so. “There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

He Came to Ask the Greatest Question anyone could ever ask!

Nothing matters more in life than the destiny of your eternal soul. Nothing matters more in all the Universe than the salvation that God has offered to all the people on earth.

When Jesus speaks of eternal life, it always encompasses all aspects of salvation -- conversion, evangelism, and the new birth.

Now amazingly Jesus almost resists this amazing entrance. He does so to peel back the shallowness of this man’s reception of Him and to expose the real problem – the bedrock of willfulness, rebellion, arrogance, and unyieldedness in this rich young man’s life.


10:18-19 So Jesus said to him, Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’” NKJV


10:20   And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.” NKJV

The young man said he had never once broken any of the laws Jesus mentioned (10:19–20), and perhaps he had even kept the Pharisees’ loophole-filled version of them. But Jesus lovingly broke through the young man’s pride with a challenge that answered his own question: Sell everything you have and give to the poor. This challenge exposed the barrier that could keep this young man out of the kingdom: his love of money. Money represented his pride of accomplishment and self-effort. Ironically, his attitude made him unable to keep the first commandment, one that Jesus did not quote in 10:19: “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3 nrsv; see also Matthew 22:36–40). The young man did not love God with his whole heart as he had presumed. In reality, the man’s wealth was his god, his idol. If he could not give it up, he would be violating the first and greatest commandment.

In this story, we see clearly the essence of the gospel—repent and believe. Jesus told the rich young man to turn his back on his past (repent) and to begin following him (believe). The young man may have wanted to believe, but he was unwilling to repent.

10:21   Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him…

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