"Meanderings in Mark"
Series on Mark, Lesson 16

How To Lose What You Didn't Have In The First Place

Read: Mark 4:21-25

Text: Mark 4:25 (KJV) For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.

Theme: Your response to the Word determines your future understanding of the Word.


    1. Nothing was wrong with the sower (i.e. the one proclaiming the word.)
    2. Nothing was wrong with the seed (i.e. the word of God.)
    3. It all depended on the soil (i.e. the condition of the heart of the hearer.)

I. The Word Was Meant To Be Proclaimed. (Mark 4:21-22)

A. So we have been taught

1. By Jesus.

Mat 28:18-20 (KJV) And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Mark 16:15 (KJV) And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Acts 1:8 (KJV) But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

2. By Paul.

2 Tim 4:2 (KJV) Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

B. When you have the truth, and know it is truth, you HAVE to proclaim it.

ILLUS. - Martin Luther and his 95 theses. He posted it on the door of the All Saints Church. This was the most public place he could have chosen, because it was the place where public notices were often placed! He posted it on All Saints Day. This was the most public day he could have chosen, as the biggest crowd of the year was always in attendance on this day!

ILLUS. Early Christians not worshipping the emperor. All they had to do was periodically sacrifice to the emperor and get a certificate indicating that they had done so. After that they could worship any god they chose. The certificate said this, "To those who have been put in charge of the sacrifices from Inareus Akeus from the village of Theoxenis, together wth his children Aias and Hera, who stay in the village of Theadelpheia. We sacrifice regularly tot he gods and now in your presence, as the regulations demand, we have sacrificed and poured our libation and have tasted the offerings, and we ask you to give us the required certificate. May you fare well." Attached was the following, "We, Serenas and Hermas, have witnessed you sacrificing." THOUSANDS DIED RATHER THAN TAKE THIS CERTIFICATE AND HIDE THE TRUTH!

C. The Holy Spirit goads us to proclaim it.

D. Yet often, we hide the truth.

ILLUS. Bumper sticker that says, "If you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?"

ILLUS. Lot hid what he believed until it was too late. ("He seemed as one that mocked…")

POEM The Cold Ones:

There are ninety and nine that safely lie
In the shelter of the fold,
But millions are left outside to die,
For the ninety and nine are cold--
Away in sin's delusive snare,
Hastening to death and dark despair
Hastening to death, and none to care--
For the ninety and nine are cold.


"Lord, Thou hast here Thy well-fed sheep;
Are they not enough for Thee?"
But the Shepherd made answer,
"Millions sleep on the brink of eternity.
And these My sheep within the fold
Care not for the dying in sin's stronghold,
Care not for the dying outside the fold
On the brink of eternity."


But none of the ransomed ever knew
How the heart of the Shepherd did yearn:
Nor the travail of soul that He passes through
For His sheep without concern.
For no other way had He to reach the millions of earth, His way to teach,
The millions of earth except through each
Of His sheep without concern.


"Lord, whence are the marks in Thy hands and side
and whence the scars of Thy feet?"
"They were made for those for whom I died,
both saved and wandering sheep."
"Lord when wilt Thou come and claim thine own?"
"Not till the wandering the way are shown,
Not till the wandering My Word have known,
My wandering, dying sheep."


Ah! Ninety and nine, dost thou not hear His voice;
Forth then to the word so great;
Beyond life's span there is no choice
For those outside the gate,
If they're brought at all, it must be NOW,
Then ninety and nine, don't question how,
O, sheep of Mine, go quickly thou,
Else for them -- and you -- too late.


But all through the churches, apostate riven,
And up from the world's sleep,
There'll arise a cry to the gates of Heaven,
"Rejoice, I am finding my sheep."
And the angels shall echo around the throne,
"Rejoice, for the dying the way are shown."
His wandering, perishing sheep.

II. Understanding of the Word is given proportionately. (Mark 4:24)

A. God's Word is supernatural.

Heb 4:12 (KJV) For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

1. It is ALIVE. (No other book can say this.)

2. It can divide the indivisible.

3. It can discern the indiscernible.

Jer 17:9 (KJV) The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Jer 17:10 (KJV) I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

B. God's Word is powerful.

1. Cannot be defeated by nations.

ILLUS. Burnings under Hitler

ILLUS. Suppression kunder Communism.

2. Cannot be defeated by individuals.

ILLUS. Voltaire ("In 100 years, the Bible will be gone.")

Isa 34:16 (KJV) Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them.

Isa 40:8 (KJV) The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.

Isa 55:11 (KJV) So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

3. It is the most powerful force in the world!

Rom 1:16 (KJV) For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

C. God's Word is beyond our limited ability to understand!

1. Can you understand the trinity?

Gen 1:1 (KJV) In the beginning God… (ELOHIM)

Gen 1:26 (KJV) And God said, Let US make man in OUR image…

2. Can you understand eternity?

John 3:16 (KJV) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

1 Th 4:17 (KJV) Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Rev 20:10 (KJV) And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

3. Can you understand the love of Jesus Christ for lost sinners?

John 13:1 (KJV) … having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.

D. The amount you use is the amount you will have.

ILLUS. Smite the ground with the arrows! (READ 2 Kings 13:14f)

ILLUS. Widow of Zarephath - when did the cruse of oil cease? (READ 1 Kings 17:8-16)

ILLUS. Manna - when did it stop? (READ Joshua 5:10-12)

ILLUS. Gather pots, not a few. "The oil stayed." (READ 2 Kings 4:1-6)

1. Therefore, READ lots.

QUOTE. Bicycling great Eddy Merckx (5 time winner of the prestigious Tour de France), when asked his secret of success, said, "Ride lots."

2. Therefore, STUDY lots.

3. Therefore, SHARE lots.

4. Because, the more you USE the Bible, the more you will BE ABLE TO USE the Bible.

III. Understanding of the Word can be lost. (Mark 4:25)

A. Many have trouble with this verse, yet it is obviously true.

Barclay lists 4 obvious examples:

1. It is true of knowledge in general.

ILLUS. I used to know a little French!

ILLUS. I used to know my way around Pontiac, Michigan!

2. It is true of physical fitness.

ILLUS. I used to be able to do one handed pushups, just like in the movie Rocky!

3. It is true of any skill or craft.

ILLUS. Piano playing

ILLUS. Carpentry

ILLUS. ___________

4. It is true of the ability to bear responsibility and make decisions.

ILLUS. Those who never have any, or defer it to others become spineless and incapable of ever handling responsibility or making decisions.

B. It is true of God's word.

1. To the lost, this verse says, "There is no Word of God in hell."

(i.e. If you don't have it in the first place, you'll lose even what you don't have!)

2. To the saved, this verse says, "Use it or lose it."

(What about now? Are you reading it now?)

(What about now?)

(What about now? Use it or lose it.)

(What about now? Use it or lose it.)

(What about now? Use it or lose it.)


Mark 4:25 (KJV) For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.

Mark 4:25 (KJV) For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.

Please direct questions, comments, and submissions to William E. Johnson
Copyright © 1997 William E. Johnson.