【Bible Study】Mark 04: The Great Rewards in the Kingdom of Heaven!
Bible Study: Mark
- 【Bible Study】Mark 01: The Gospel of the Kingdom of God!
- 【Bible Study】Mark 02: The Rules In the Kingdom of God!
- 【Bible Study】Mark 03: Two Kingdoms, Two Pursuits!
- 【Bible Study】Mark 04: The Great Rewards in the Kingdom of Heaven!
- 【Bible Study】Mark 05: No Sickness and Death in the Kingdom of Heaven！
- 【Bible Study】Mark 06: Our Confusion About the Son of God!
In this chapter, Peter talked about the great rewards in the kingdom of heaven. If this is the topic, then we can connect all the paragraphs in one fell swoop. Jesus taught people by parables and in His teaching said: the reward is thirty, sixty, or a hundred times. But the question is what kind of people can get these rewards?
When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. He told them, "The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside, everything is said in parables so that, "'they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!'" (Mark 4:10-12)
Can you understand what Jesus was talking about? Why did Jesus say the secret of the kingdom of God has been given to 'you', but not 'them'? The reason is that there are two types of people. If you do not understand something and you just skip it, then you will become 'them', these people may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding. Such people have no future, even Jesus doesn't want to talk to them. We need to take initiative and ask questions throughout our lives.
When you do not understand something and you ask the question, then you will become 'you'. Those who do not ask will become 'them'. The disciples and others around Jesus asked Him about the parables: "Oh Lord, what do you mean by that?" These people were changed from 'them' to 'you' by asking this question. If you do not understand, you can always open your mouth and ask. But if you do not understand and you never ask, you will be in trouble. Even today, there are a lot of things which I don't understand. For example, what is shepherding and what is discipleship training?
I found that there are many questions to ask and many things to learn. For example, why it is so difficult for cancer patients to get healed? Later I realized that you have to ask God and God will reveal to you. Your mind will be enlightened when you are trying to understand something. In the process of learning, have you ever encountered a situation where you figured out everything at once? If you do not ask, then you will become someone who seems like doesn't know anything about it.
No matter what industry you are in, if you do not know something, you must find a way to understand it. There is a quote in Republic Polytechnic: What do I know, what I do not know, what do I need to find out? Today, we often need to ask ourselves: what is this?
If you cannot find anyone to ask, then you should ask God because He will reveal to you. When you ask, you will be changed from 'them' to 'you'. There are two different kinds of people, those who ask will get great rewards from the kingdom of heaven. But if you become one of 'them', you will receive nothing in the end. It will be a great pity if you do not know the great rewards in the kingdom of heaven. Your belief in God does not mean you will surely go to heaven after death. The truth is that we must do what Jesus had done to become 'you', but many Christians got muddled up and puzzled in their faith.
Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. (Mark 4:3-4)
The word of God is a seed which allows people to be richly rewarded. The rewards are not for God but for yourself to be fruitful. If the seed fell along the path, Satan comes and takes away the word that was shown in them because they did not believe it was a treasure. It would be a pity if you are someone who believes in the word of God but still does not know the kingdom of heaven has great rewards.
And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. (Deuteronomy 10:12)
Why God wants us to love and serve Him with all our heart and soul? For the sake of our benefits, for God's glory to be known and for God's blessing and healing to come upon us. What we need the most throughout our lives are blessing and healing, both of them are in Jesus Christ and represent the great rewards in the kingdom of heaven. If the word of God we received is compatible with our faith, it means we are on the right track. If the word of God cannot be reconciled with our faith, it will be taken away by Satan.
Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. (Mark: 4:5-6)
The verses are talking about people who hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no roots, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. This type of person can receive the word but cannot stand the tests. If I offend you one day, whether on purpose or not, I did not mean to hurt anyone, I just wanted to test you. For example, a sister came to see me and was crying in front of me, but she has improved a lot as she had fewer negative emotions compared to the past. I believe God is screening people in this process. Many people are afflicted and persecuted, they immediately fell and do not believe in God anymore.
In the book of Genesis, there was a story about Joseph's brothers, who came to Egypt to buy grains. At that time, Joseph's brothers were feeling miserable because Joseph played jokes and pranks on them, they thought they would become slaves in Egypt for the rest of their lives because Joseph accused them on purpose and made them wronged. Only Judas was willing to become a slave, his only hope was to release Benjamin. On such occasions, the persecution practiced Judas's faith. At the time, Judas did not know Joseph was his brother, but he still made a great decision in his life.
Where did all these sufferings and persecutions come from? They appear to come from people, but they come from God. Joseph represented Jesus, everything he did came from the spirit of God. The spirit of God lived in Joseph, so he showed us how often God created mishaps for you, it was threatening but not dangerous. But if you cannot pass the test, you will be in trouble.
Other seeds fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants so that they did not bear grain. (Mark 4:7)
People hear the word, but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. If we hear the word of God, we should know that this is a treasure and we should not worry about our lives. Many people do not believe the word of God will allow people to live well. I can tell you that if the word of God enters you, the rewards will be thirty, sixty, and a hundred times. You will surely have a wonderful life.
Do you think money will make you live well? I can assure you that you will not live well, just take a look at the people around you. For us, who believe in the Lord, do we worry about money? No! What would happen to those who have worries about this life? They cannot live well. Today, We need to know that the kingdom of God is richly rewarded.
Still other seeds fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times. (Mark 4:8)
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. As Christians, everything we do must have results. It's sad if you are a Christian who did not get blessed. Why there is no blessing in your life? Because you cannot receive the word of God. The word 'receive' implies profound meaning: God is a God who blesses me! I don't need to worry about this life because God is a God who can heal me and I will see the glory of God.
According to these parables, there are four kinds of people and each of them has different kinds of rewards. Among the four types of people, there are three categories: thirty, sixty and a hundred times. A hundred times is always better than thirty and sixty times. Some people work very hard for just two thousand dollars in salary, and they are still poor when they are old. For some people, their salaries were raised from two thousand dollars to twenty thousand dollars. The total amount of money they earned in ten or twenty years is much more than those earning two thousand dollars in forty or fifty years. Jesus often used money in parables. We want a higher return, but the question is: what is the difference between thirty, sixty and a hundred times?
"Consider carefully what you hear," he continued. "With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them." (Mark 4:24-25)
What are you measuring? Do you think this is a treasure? Are you willing to pay the price? The price you paid will be your measure, God will reward you for the price you paid. Today, I encourage brothers and sisters to start to pay the price because the rewards are great. There is a huge difference between thirty times and a hundred times. Imagine you have ten thousand dollars and you spend two thousand for the cost of living. Another person is earning three thousand dollars but has to pay two thousand dollars for living. Can you understand the difference between the two?
Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them." (Mark 4:25)
By all means, our pursuit is to become the best Christians. The kingdom of heaven has great rewards, why do I keep reminding you about this? Because I also remind myself. We must know that the measure we use, will be measured to us and even more. God detests people of differing weights and measures.
The Lord detests differing weights, and dishonest scales do not please him (Proverbs 20:23)
All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come." (Mark 4:28-29)
We will not get any rewards if we just sow the seeds and do not harvest them, the grain will be rotted in the field. What is harvesting? It means when we are doing something, we want to get a result, never leaving things unfinished or halfway because we will not get any results. For example, a person has to study for four years in a college or university. If the person drops out of school, then he or she will not get a degree or diploma. In the Gospel of Mark, Peter was saying: if you are doing something, you need to get it done. We have seen many Christians missing out by such a small margin. Someone once said: Successful people always stick to the last minute. Faith is about holding our original conviction firmly to the very end. If you give up halfway, then you do not have true faith.
But the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. (Matthew 24:13)
We should know that anything can be endured to the end. For example, building a church. I am someone who never gives up, I will always keep it to the end in everything I do. As long as I still have breath or even if die, I will stick to it in my spirit. This perseverance is considered to be good soil for God. Today, we need to build a strong character: keep trying and never give up.
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair. (Corinthians 4:8)
For every ministry in our church, I will stick to it until it yields results because I believe it has great rewards. As long as you persevere, it will build up your character and develop a strong will. For example, when we are wrongly accused by other people, should we give up? No! Just stick to it because this kind of character will please God. Have you ever seen David, Joseph, Jacob and Abraham give up in their lives? Even with no results, these people did not give up and kept pursuing because they believed they would see the results one day. No matter what, we must learn from these people, always stick to it and get the rewards.
Again he said, "What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade." (Mark 4:30-32)
By reading these verses, I can assume that Jesus had asked His disciples: "Are you willing to become a blessing to others?" When Abraham was still alive, he only had one son Isaac and two grandsons Jacob and Esau. How could Abraham become a blessing to all nations on earth? At the time, the twelve tribes of Israel were not established yet, but Abraham had faith in God, and he became a blessing to all nations and all peoples on earth.
If we have faith the size of a mustard seed, we can also become a blessing to others. Today, we need to have a strong desire: willing to become a blessing to all peoples on earth. The strong desire will make you a good soil and receive great rewards from God. Becoming a blessing is one of the key topics in the Bible. Do not ever think that living is about doing business and making money. We must know that we live to be a blessing to all nations and all peoples on earth. If you have a strong desire to become a blessing to others, God will measure you based on how you measure other people. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, all these people were incredible because many people were blessed through them.
He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything. (Mark 4:34)
The word is for disciples. What is the difference between a disciple and a believer? A disciple is someone who pays the price. I am surprised by the disciples chosen by Jesus. Jesus told Peter to come and follow him and Peter followed. When I just started believing in God, this was the part in which I got confused. These disciples did not get cancer nor were healed by Jesus. They were fishers and probably had just invested in their nets, but they left everything and followed Jesus. A disciple is a person who sacrifices everything and comes to follow Jesus Christ. The disciples have a strong desire to pursue something greater than fishing. They knew Jesus was the Messiah, and John the Baptist had testified. Did disciples find it wrong to follow Messiah? No, at least they got some work to do. If Jesus became a king, they could become prime ministers.
Peter had a strong desire; he did not think that fishing would bring him a bright future. Today, we must follow what these disciples were doing and be prepared to pay the price. God will surely grant us the rewards from the kingdom of heaven, the rewards will be thirty, sixty, and a hundred times. The great rewards in the kingdom of heaven are beyond our imagination.
To the Lord your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it. (Deuteronomy 10:14)
In the kingdom of heaven, money, gold, silver, and precious stones are not a problem anymore. If you love God with all your heart and all your soul and with all your strength, you will surely be rewarded. We have to know that there are great rewards in the kingdom of heaven, Jesus is just asking us to start paying the price by faith.
The names of disciples, who paid the price are still well-known in this generation. It is said that there is a balcony in the kingdom of heaven where all apostles from ages and generations, who paid the price for Jesus are standing in this place and they can see all peoples on earth. I believe their contentment is beyond our imagination, it is the seed that fell on good soil, it came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty and some a hundred times.
A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown? "He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?" They were terrified and asked each other, "Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!" (Mark 4:37-41)
What was Jesus doing? Jesus was telling us how rewarding the kingdom of heaven is. By God's power and authority, even wind and the waves obey Him. What could be better than that? Did those disciples suffer any losses by following Jesus? No! We may encounter many problems and obstacles throughout our lives, but those who have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ will have the authority to rebuke the wind and waves and overcome all the difficulties. Those who do not know Jesus are basically in a passive and helpless state.
If we don't have the word in us, then we will be working so hard to get things done. Imagine one day, you are flying to Egypt and the plane crashed in the middle of the trip. That means all your efforts are in vain. Today, we must know that faith is the key to receiving the authority given by God. The opposite of faith is timidity. A person without faith will be faint-hearted. Only the person who has faith will be able to overcome timidity.
Who is Jesus? He is the son of God. Those who believe in Jesus will become the children of God, who have the authority to rebuke the wind and the waves and will get great rewards from the kingdom of heaven. If you are rewarded, then all the obstacles in your life will be under control and no one can take away these rewards granted to you by God. We must know that a person who pays the price is a man of faith and has the power and authority of God. A person who doesn't believe in God will not pay the price at all.