Mark 4:16-20

Mark 4:16 (KJB)
And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;

Then if you remember the stony ground where the soil looked the same topically but underneath a plate of stone prevented the plant from growing strong, instead it would wither in certain weather conditions. This type of person hears the Gospel and then receives it with much joy. They may be at some type of church where there is tongue speaking or promises of health and wealth and they hear that message and joyfully accept it. They may be in a regular church and hear the Gospel message and receive it with much joy. (Heb 6:4 KJV) For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, Just liken the person in Hebrews 6 who is a partaker of the Holy Spirit and tasted of the heavenly gift. They may be in a church where they sing the old hymns and hear the word of God being preached and for those few moments are partaking of the kingdom of God with the saved. Yet, they remain unsaved and attempt to be like the Christians in the church and have a feeling of spiritual euphoria which they think is salvation.

Mark 4:17 (KJB)
And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended.

Since the root of the plant only goes down as far as the top of the rock plate, there is not sufficient strength to hold the plant. The Palm tree actually has roots which spreads out about 100 feet (30 meters) from the tree itself. This is why we see palm trees in hurricanes almost parallel to the ground and the tree itself does not snap and when the wind stops, it goes right back up to a perpendicular position. This type of person hears the Gospel and receives it with joy almost immediately because he likes what is being preached. Then when the acid test of true Christianity comes, that is, persecution, this brings an offense to the person and since they have not truly become saved, they will leave and not look back. The true Christian will endure the persecution because they have the Holy Spirit indwelling them which gives them the root which is based in the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. (Col 2:7 KJV) Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. The person who is unsaved will run from the persecution just as Demas did to Paul. (2 Tim 4:10 KJV) For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.

Mark 4:18 (KJB)
And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,

This person hears the word of God but just as the thorns and briers which were present in the field that took nourishment away from the good plants. The thorns could be anything which hinders our spiritual growth. (Num 33:55 KJV) But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell. God gave Israel specific commands that when they go into the Promised Land, that they were to drive out all of the inhabitants because with their false religions, they will become as thorns in their side and pricks in their eyes. Just as God gave Israel those commands for the purpose of keeping His people pure from heathen influence, we also have to purge out anything in our lives which may become major hindrances to our spiritual growth. (Rom 7:18 KJV) For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. The Apostle Paul knew that sin now dwells in our flesh and those thorns are definitely designed by Satan to appeal to our flesh. Our souls are cleansed by Christ because of salvation so Satan will go after the flesh to try and derail us.

Mark 4:19 (KJB)
And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.

The cares of this world does the same to those who hear the Gospel and allows them to rule. This person may or may not be saved and is attempting to serve two masters. One cannot do that, you cannot serve Christ and the world because if you truly are saved, then the cares of this world will definitely choke out and overtake whatever Gospel they have. When a person is choking it is because something is caught in their throat, they are gasping for air to live. When a Christian is being choked by the cares of this world, then their spiritual lives are being choked and if the cares of the world and the riches continue to impinge upon the Christian, then their spiritual lives will become unfruitful for the Kingdom of God. There are many who become saved that still want to hang on to the world because they have a love for the world and for the materials they can gather to themselves. This creates a choking of the word, that is, they are unable to live their Christian lives because everything they do is overshadowed by their desire for more wealth and how to keep it. A double minded Christian is of no or little value to the Kingdom of God, simply because they run their Christian life so it does not interfere with their worldly life instead of the other way around.

Mark 4:20 (KJB)
And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.

Then Jesus finally comes to the sown seeds that fell on good ground. The good ground are those who have been qualified to hear the Gospel and understand it. It is these people who are sold out to the Lord and desire to send forth the Gospel unto the ends of the earth and in the fulfillment of that task, they will reap 30, 60, or 100 fold. The reason the Lord gives three numbers is because not every Christian is going to have a ministry whereby many would become saved. Some Christians may have a ministry of teaching a Sunday school class of only a few but the impact he makes could be tremendous as he puts much into learning and then teaching. Some may have a medium sized ministry like a radio show or even some type of itinerant ministry where they yield a little more fruit. Then you will have those who have large ministries that reach millions and will yield much fruit. It must be realized that when a person is faithful in the ministry God gives them, whether it be small or large, God is the one who opens the hearts of those He plans to save. Those who have larger ministries are not on a better relationship status with the Lord than those that have small ministries. Can you imagine how long a house would stand if all the nails were taken out? The nails are part of what keeps the house standing and they are very small in comparison to the finished product, which is the house. (Zec 4:10 KJV) For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth.