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Evangelism Unexpected | Mark 4:1-20 | Life Unexpected


Debrief offers an abridged outline of the Sunday sermon for individuals or Community Groups alike, to re-engage the content of the Sunday sermon. This outline is far from complete, but serves to give a track or road map to walk through the content of Sunday in another context during the week

How does you become a Christian? How do you know it?

Jesus tells His disciples, and us, a Parable to answer these questions.

Parable: something that is placed alongside something else for clarification

The Sower: The Source of Evangelism (v:3; 14)

This entire Parable……the entire process of salvation…….is ALL ABOUT JESUS

  • It is not about our initiative, but His initiative
  • It is not about our ability, but His ability
  • It is not about our choice, but His choice
  • It is not about our goodness, but His goodness

CREATION: Jesus has always been and created us in His image to enjoy Him and bring Him glory (John 1:1-4)

FALL: We rebelled against Jesus, disobeyed Him, and are all trying to bring ourselves glory instead of Him, making ourselves better than Him. (Ephesians 2:1-3)

INCARNATION: BUT, Jesus didn’t leave us under the wrath of God, but came to us….for us. (John 1:14)

REDEMPTION: He not only came for us, He lived the life we couldn’t live and died the death we should have died. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

RESURRECTION: He not only lived and died for us, but rose for us. (1 Peter 1:3-4)

ASCENTION: Jesus lived, died, rose and is ascended to the Father and is in authority over everyone and everything in every place at every time. (Ephesians 1:19-21)

This entire Parable……the entire process of salvation…….is ALL ABOUT JESUS

The Seed: The Content of Evangelism (v:3-4; 14)

Jesus is the Sower, but Jesus is also the Seed. (Jn.1:1; 14)

Jesus is the seed in Visible form……..The Bible is the seed in Written form.

The Word of God is the Seed as well. (Heb.4:12)

Jesus is sowing the Seed, Himself, by sowing the seed, the Word of God

The Soil: The Context of Evangelism (v:3-9; 15-20)

The soil is all about the condition of the heart, and whether it will receive the Sower and the Seed He sows……whether a person will HEAR

The word “hear” is mentioned 10 times in Mark 4. (Imperative Mood)

Hear: 2 kinds of hearing

  1. Aorist Tense: simple and final. (3x)
  2. Present Tense: continual and ongoing (1x)

The Path: The Hard Heart

“I don’t believe God exists, and if he does, it’s not Jesus.”

The soil of these hearts are so hard they wouldn’t even respond to the teaching of the Gospel by Jesus Himself.

If the seed falls on the hard soil it is not the Sowers fault. He is doing what He ought to do – sowing. The responsibility rests on the hard soil of the hard heart.

The Rocky Ground: The Impulsive Heart

“I believe Jesus can protect me from what I don’t’ want.”

The impulsive heart receives what it hears about Jesus quickly, but can reject Jesus just as quickly if things don’t go its way........when hard circumstances or hard people come its way.

“Those who are hasty and impulsive are as easily turned the wrong way as the right way.” – C.H. Spurgeon

The impulsive heart receives the message with joy, BUT with no sorrow over their sin. This is a superficial reaction from a shallow heart.

The Thorny Soil: The Divided Heart

“I believe Jesus can give me what I want.”

The divided heart is distracted from Jesus by the cares of the world, but then becomes devoted to them instead of simply distracted by them, and the Gospel is crowded out and choked out of their lives.

The divided heart does not take into consideration the negatives parts of the Gospel. (Romans 8:13) The

Good Soil: The Responsive Heart

“I’m believing Jesus for what He says, regardless if He gives me what I want or protects me from what I don’t want.”

The good soil receives the truth implicitly and obeys the truth unmistakably.

There will be fruit. There will be something that can be seen. The true work of the Holy Spirit cannot be hidden.

Salvation: The End of Evangelism (v:10-12; 20)

God wants to save people: The soil of everyone’s heart is hard and bad, but God is good to do the work needed to save some.

“To You”…….”To Those”

The idea of the Parable of the Sower is to confirm the states of people’s hearts.

Salvation is a free gift of God. All soil starts out bad. Jesus is the Sower who prepares the soil, sows the seed in the soil, and causes it to grow. (1 Cor. 3:6-7)

Order Salutis (Order of Salvation)

Good Soil

  • Election + Predestination (Eph.1:3-6)


  • Gospel Call + Inward Call + Regeneration (Eph.1:7-10)


  • Conversion = Faith + Repentance (Eph.1:13-14)

Bear Fruit

  • Justification + Sanctification + Glorification (Eph.1:11-12)

The Saints: The Tools of Evangelism (v:3-9; 15-20)

We Too Are Sowers

Jesus did not go out to show how good he was at sowing. He went out to sow. We should do likewise.

We Too Are to Sow The Right Seed

The WORD and NOT just our word or our “testimony.” Our testimony is only good as much as it highlight His Good News. It’s not primarily about our story, but about His story.

We Too Are to Sow in All Kids of Soils

Jesus comes and exhausts Himself sowing seed. He is sowing the seed everywhere He goes, without exception. We should do likewise.

We Too Are to Trust God For Salvation

The Parable of the Sower starts off discouraging odds, but ends on a note extreme excitement. God desires that men and women be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. We should likewise.

The results are not based on us, but on God.

I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. – 1 Cor.3:6-7

Diving In

Diving In offers a few questions to help you re-engage the concepts from Sunday. Feel the freedom to use all of the questions, or to simply camp out on just one. These questions aren't intended to answer all the issues that surface through the thrust of this weeks' message, but to simply raise them and allow you time and space to process them, ideally in the context of your Community Group.

  • Have you taken some quite, extended time lately to consider how good Jesus, the Sower is? What are some of the good things about Jesus you're most taken with.......most thankful for?
  • When you've consider the subject of evangelism in the past, has it been mostly man-centered or God-centered? How does focusing on Jesus, the Sower, first and most change things?
  • How much time lately have you given to allow the seed, God's Word, to be sown into your life?
  • What kind of soil best describes the condition of your heart? Why? If you had to give some evidence for the condition of your heart, how would you do that? Would it be convincing?
  • Have you ever considered the Order Salutis......Order of Salvation? How does understanding the Order of Salvation change the level of gratitude you have for your salvation?
  • Are you sowing the way Jesus sowed......intentionally.......tirelessly? If not, why not? What's at the root of that?

Deep End

The Deep End is a short and simple formation exercise you can use to dive deep into your heart before God. Feel the freedom to divert from the directions if that makes it easier for you to connect with Jesus in this exercise.

  • First, quiet your heart before the Lord. If you find yourself distracted by various thoughts (things on your “To Do” list, etc.), don’t “fight” the distractions, but rather spend some time praying over those things. Hopefully soon your heart will quieted down and you will be able to hear the Lord speaking to you.
  • Next, spend some time reading over Ephesians 1:3-14. Read it through 2- 3 times.
  • After this, ask the Holy Spirit to remind you of God's goodness to you in saving you. Take a few moments to pause at different points in this passage, remembering how it was when Jesus first called you to Himself.
  • Next, consider the Order Salutis (Order of Salvation) above. Walk through it a couple of times, from Election to Glorification. Allow a better understanding of 'how' God saves you stir up more affection of Him that He has indeed saved you.
  • End your time by praying prayers of thanks, thanking God for your salvation in Christ.


Our digest section is all about helping you to memorize and meditate on God's Word so you'll be able to better digest it. Take some time to commit these short verses to memory this week:

But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold. - Mark 4:20

My hope is that these simple exercises in The 60 will help what we discovered during this week be distilled, and deepened in your heart and life with Jesus.


For The Elders

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