Caught among the Thorns
Mark 4:3-9, 18-19

    A. Too many are involved in hard-core worldliness: Sensuality, drinking, loose morals.
    B. Far more Christians are caught up in soft-core worldliness
        1. Too involved in the affairs of this life. (2 Tim. 2:4)
        2. Too much love for the present world (2 Tim. 4:10).
        3. Too much emphasis in the wrong places. (Col. 3:2; 1 Pet. 3:3,4).
    C. Too many Christians are caught among the three kinds of thorns of verse 19.

I. The Cares of this World.
    A. Distracting cares1 or preoccupations that hinder spiritual growth and service.
    B. Minds and schedules filled with things of this life, no room for spiritual matters.
        1. Too concerned about making a living. (Matt. 6:25-33)
        2. Too concerned about the future. (Matt. 6:34).
        3. Too busy “majoring in minors.” (Cf. Luke 10:38-42; Ill: Greasing wagon).

II. The Deceitfulness of Riches.
    A. The possession of riches can allure one into a false sense of security.
        1. As individuals (Cf. Lk 12:15-21)
        2. As congregations (Rev. 3:17,18)
    B. The pursuit of riches can pervert one’s sense of moral and spiritual values.
        1. Gambling (wasting God’s blessings) may seem like innocent past-time. (cf. Lk. 15:13).
        2. Pilfering from an employer may seem like collecting what’s due. (Cf. Tit. 2:10-12).
        3. Withholding all or part of what is due others may seem like good management.
            a. Withholding just wages (Jas. 5:4).
            b. Withholding from family members. (Matt. 15:4-6; 1 Tim. 5:8).
            c. Withholding offerings (Mal 3:8; 1 Cor. 16:1,2; 2 Cor. 8 and 9).
        4. Choosing to miss services for extra money may seem like being good provider.

III. The Desire for Other Things.
    A. Desire for pleasure / fun (Lk. 8:14).
        1. Chooses hobbies, sports, etc. over spiritual responsibilities.
        2. Seeks fun in religion – activities must be fun to attract and hold him (cf. Ex. 32:6)
    B. Desire to popularity / prestige (John 12:43)
    C. Desire for power / preeminence (Matt. 18:1-4)

    A. More choked to death by thorns of respectable worldliness than classical lusts.
    B. Must set our minds on things above and not on the earth. (Col. 3:2).

1 An Expository Dictionary Of New Testament Words. W. E. Vine, p. 89.