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<< Discover the Book, with Dr. John Barnett

Discover the Book - Dec. 13, 2008

  • 2018 Dec 13

Crowded Hearts


Mark 4:1-20



One day Jesus compared life to a field, people to soil, the Gospel to seed, and eternal life to a crop of harvested righteousness.


Jesus also classified everyone on Earth as either – “Wayside” or The Hard Heart, “Rocky” or The Shallow Heart, “Thorny” or The Crowded Heart, or “Good” which is the Fruitful Heart.


That day Jesus also said that God's Word either is - stolen away by birds (demons); or God's Word is scorched away because it is not rooted into the heart; or God's Word is choked by the world; or finally God's Word bursts forth supernaturally into a fruitful to harvest.


Today we have come to the third of the bad responses to God's Word.


Just as there are three degrees of fruitfulness in the good soil, so there are three degrees of fruitlessness in the bad soil.


This morning Jesus warned of a third dangerous condition of the heart – the Crowded Heart.


1st He warned us about the Hardened Heart. A person beaten down by the constant traffic of life, packed and hardened by time and totally untouched by God or His Word.


2nd He warned us about the Shallow Heart. This is the life that harbors just beneath its surface a massive outcropping of rebellion. Like a layer of rock, this rebellion in its many forms keeps the heart from ever being reached. Just the emotions are touched. Only the feelings get moved – never the will.


This morning He warns us about the Crowded Heart. This is the heart that has the roots of three very deadly weeds. Weeds that are alive and poised to spring forth from the soil of that life.


Mark 4:7 “And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop.”


Mark 4:18-19 “Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, 19 and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.”


Jesus reveals three symptoms of a crowded heart; three signs of danger in a life that is choking God and His Word right out of existence. These three are


  1. DISTRACTIONS: and the cares of this world,
  2. DECEPTIONS: the deceitfulness of riches, and
  3. DESIRES: the desires for other things


Crowded hearts are DIVIDED HEARTS


Weedy soil represents a heart preoccupied with worldly matters. Here the thorn bushes are not visible because they have been burned off the surface, but their roots are intact. When the seed is sown on this soil, then watered and germinated, the entrenched thorns also sprout and grow with a virulent violence, choking out the grain before it can produce any fruit. This portrayed a divided heart, a heart divided by irreconcilable loyalties.

Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If  anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.


They are uncommitted and preoccupied with the world’s pleasures, money, career, fame, fortune, or the lusts of the flesh. They say they are Christians, but they care nothing about a pure life. That is the response of weedy soil. The germinating seed that looks so good will ultimately be overwhelmed by the thorns of worldliness, and eventually the weedy heart will show no evidence that good seed was ever sown. What happens when the seed that once looked so promising is choked out? Has such a person lost his salvation? No, he never had it. The Word of God fell on a heart that was unprepared because it was full of malignant weeds. That person received the seed of the gospel but not into clean soil. The gospel germinated but was choked out before it could come to fruition. The person with the weedy heart was never saved in the first place. Weedy hearts may be willing to accept Jesus as Savior, but not if it means letting go of the world. That is not salvation. Jesus said, “You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matt. 6:24). And the apostle John wrote, “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). Soil must be cleansed of the weeds and thorns if it is to produce a crop.


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