December 9, 2012 – Pastor Tim – “Clutter” – Click to download
In Mark 4 Jesus used four types of soil as a picture of the four categories of hearts that are exposed to the Word of God. The first two categories—the pavement-like heart and the stony-ground heart—never come close to bearing any fruit. Contrast these people to those in Jesus’ fourth category—the good-soil believers who bear fruit—30, 60 and a hundredfold. These are the ones who see God’s kingdom manifest in their lives. They see His heavenly provision of healing, abundance, miracles, and power manifest right here on earth.
But what about the third category of believers? It’s here I believe we find the majority of Christians today. Let’s look at what Jesus said about them. In this group are those who allow “thorns” to choke the Word. Mark 4: (AMP), “Other seed [of the same kind] fell among thorn plants, and the thistles grew and pressed together and utterly choked and suffocated it, and it yielded no grain.”
Did you notice the end result? This kind of soil “yielded no grain.” Jesus is describing a heart that ultimately produces no fruit. There is no harvest—no transfer of provision and blessing from the heavenly realm to the earthly realm.
A few verses down, Jesus elaborates on this type of heart for His disciple: Mark 4:18-19 (AMP), “And the ones sown among the thorns are others who hear the Word; 19 Then the cares and anxieties of the world and distractions of the age, and the pleasure and delight and false glamour and deceitfulness of riches, and the craving and passionate desire for other things creep in and choke and suffocate the Word, and it becomes fruitless.”
We are saved, we love the Lord. But like the “exercise” room in our house, our hearts have become too cluttered. An overcrowded heart cannot produce the kingdom of God in the earth. It cannot produce the fruit of healing, prosperity or deliverance God desires to bring in to our lives. Help us Lord to put our priorities in you, help us to un-clutter our lives, help us be the good – soil believers who bear fruit… 30, 60 and a hundredfold.
An overcrowded heart cannot produce the kingdom of God in the earth. Jesus points out three kinds of clutter that tend to accumulate in our hearts.
The first thing Jesus cited in His description of the Category 3 heart was “the cares and anxieties of the world.” And with good reason, we can’t be worried and walk in faith. We can’t be in fear and in faith at the same time.
If we want to cultivate a heart that produces hundred-fold harvests, we must come to grips with worry and drive it out of our lives.
We need to cast our cares on the Lord. 1 Peter 5:7, “ casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”
Of course, it is not easy at first. The good news is, if we will be diligent to fight that battle against worry by keeping the Word in our heart and in our mouth, the time will come when that Word and the knowledge of God’s faithfulness is so big on the inside of us, we won’t have to fight it anymore.
Philippians 4:7, “and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Another all-too-common reason born again people don’t produce fruit or receive abundant harvests of blessing is the distractions of the age.
There is a verse in Proverbs that pretty much characterizes this kind of clutter. Proverbs 15:14, “The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, But the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness.” The New Living Translations says it this way, “A wise person is hungry for knowledge, while the fool feeds on trash. Here is a paraphrase of the last part of verse 14, “A fool feeds on folly.” Nobody likes to be called a fool. In fact, those are “fightin’ words.” But the Word makes it plain—if we spend a lot of time feeding on folly, foolishness or trash—we are being foolish.
What is folly? The King James Version uses the word “foolishness” and the Strong’s Concordance defines the original Hebrew word as “silliness.”
I’m convinced that one of the primary reasons most Christians aren’t seeing the kingdom of God manifest in their lives in greater power, is because they are spending too much time feeding on folly and not feeding on the Word of God.
Where do believers find folly to feed on? It is pouring out of every television set in the land. It fills every theatre. You’ll find it strewn across your radio and filling every magazine stand.
When we spend more time consuming worldly entertainment than the Word of God—when being amused takes a higher priority than fellowshipping with the Father—our hearts begin to become cluttered.
Pastor Tim are you saying that doesn’t God want us to enjoy life? Of course He does!! Jesus told us the very reason the Father sent Him was to empower us to have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10). He wants us to have fun with our families and friends. 1 Timothy 6:17b (NLT), “Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.” But God—not entertainment—must be first place in our lives.
If we spend too much time feeding on mindless nonsense our hearts will be so cluttered and overcrowded that the seed of God’s Word will be choked out. Jesus calls these the “distractions of the age” and warned that they will keep us from bearing fruit in God’s kingdom.
The third thorny thing Jesus warns us about is “deceitfulness of riches.” This, too, is an area in which many Christians allow their hearts to become cluttered, and thus, unfruitful.
Religious people look at this part of the verse and say, “Aha! See there, God doesn’t really want us to prosper.” These are the same people who misquote 1 Timothy 6:10 by saying , “Money is the root of all evil.” Of course, we know that 1 Timothy 6:10a really says, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil…” And the same Jesus who issues the warning of the “deceitfulness of riches” also said in Luke 6:38, “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
Where wealth is concerned, it is always comes down to priorities. As Jesus said in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
If you’re going after things instead of after God, you’re not going to experience true Bible prosperity. God’s laws of abundance have a built-in protection against abuse. They do not work unless we are giving God first place in our lives.
Those who are seduced by what The Amplified Bible calls, “the pleasure and delight and false glamour and deceitfulness of riches” will not experience supernatural increase.
There is a certain glamour associated with the kind of counterfeit prosperity the world offers. But it is a false glamour. It never satisfies. It never brings peace. It promises to make you happy but it never does. That is why Jesus called it deceitful.
This kind of deception will clutter our hearts. It will fill it with greed, envy and covetousness. It will ultimately crowd out the seed of God’s Word and render us unfruitful.
We must put God first. He must be our highest desire. When we have Him, we get everything else.
In this passage of Scripture we’ve been examining, Jesus warns us about the three types of “thorns” or clutter that will choke the Word and keep us from becoming a hundredfold bearer of fruit.
Jesus warns us about:
1. The cares and anxieties of this world
2. The distractions of this age
3. The deceitfulness of riches.
Notice that after these three, the Lord mentions something that I believe sums up all the others. He warns us about “the craving and passionate desire for other things.”
All clutter of the heart ultimately springs from putting things before God and His Word. An uncluttered heart that is good soil for seed of God’s Word—a heart that bears fruit—30, 60, and a hundredfold—is a heart in which God, and God alone, is on the throne.