The Sower, Part 4—Fruit of the Word | Mark 4:8, 20
8 And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold. …
20 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.
One can talk about faith in parachutes, but faith is knowing where one is, putting it on, and jumping from a falling aircraft. Similarly, as He closes this parable, Jesus gives us three verbs to contemplate in relation to Scripture. Only when all three describes you can you have hope of bearing fruit.
Those who bear fruit must first hear the Word. Nothing happens within a soul without the Bible, for “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Rm 10:17). This is why joining a church that reads and teaches the Word of God is important and why being daily in Scripture grows spiritual lives. You must have the Word of God for it to work!
Second, those who bear fruit must receive the Word. The second verb in v. 20 is “accept” or “receive.” As examples of its usage, the same speaks of the accepting customs and practices as one’s own (Acts 16:21) and God receiving us as sons (Hb 12:6). This term carries the idea of your embracing the Word. As such, it’s not enough to simply have Scripture in your life; you must confess and believe it to be true.
Third, those who bear fruit must, well, bear the fruit of the Word. This may seem to be circular, but it comes back to your will—one can hear and receive the word without following it. One can’t have a merely academic faith—affirming the truth without applying it. Biblical faith affirms that Christ saves and grants divine power, and it moves believers to “make every effort to supplement” their faith (2 Pt 1:3–5). False faith lacks motivation within the heart of the believer.
When these three verbs describe a confessing believer’s interaction with the Word, he’ll bear fruit. At some times and in some lives, the fruit may seem less than others—but it’s there, by the grace of God. You may have only bore the fruit of the flesh before, but now, you’re able and free to bear the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:19–24).