Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Sower's Seeds - Part 2

Yesterday we began a look at Jesus’ story of “the sower,” a parable that tells about how God’s kingdom works.  The seeds are God’s Word – the ground is us, our hearts – the Sower is the Spirit of God.  Jesus unfolds the parable’s problems, showing us what keeps us from being all God promised us we could be.
In part one we saw that the problem of hardness is the seed of God’s Word and grace falling on a hard, unwilling heart.  The Proverb writer called that person a fool.  Prov 29:14:1  Now consider:


The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy.  But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long.  They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word.   Matthew 13:20 - 21 (NLT)
The shallow or superficial believer lacks commitment.  Timothy[1] calls him one who has a form of godliness (religion), but denies the power of God. 
Vance Havner used to say a person like this had a theology that was a mile wide, and an inch deep; there’s no conviction, no deep stand on Biblical principles.  A marginal hold on Christianity will produce someone who takes a stand on nothing, and will fall for anything. 
The superficial believer is a "miserable Christian."  Without a strong faith, rooted deeply in the Word of God, how could one possibly serve God AND withstand this world?
Jesus said that this type of follower will be really glad to be a part of things for a while.  But when difficult decisions come and there is a tough choice between the easy way, and serving Christ, there are no firm roots to hold the plant. 
The sun will vitalize a deeply-rooted plant, but it will scorch a shallow one.  Many people who have made a profession of faith in a church, and have not continued to serve Christ are examples of this.  They rock along while things are going fine in church.  But their lack of strong faith in Christ shows the first time trouble comes. 
It shows up most in relationships between fellow believers.
Often the carnal thin-skin will be offended by the smallest annoyance.  Jesus was offended by every one of His followers, yet he loved and forgave them; he didn't give up on them.   When the thin-skins leave, it is because they have been scorched by the genuine message of the cross – denying self, picking up the cross and following Jesus.   


If you find yourself a mile-wide on your theology and only an inch-deep on tolerance of people, the question today:  Is that what Jesus wanted in his family?
Pray that God might give you forbearance to withstand the temptation to create or escalate tension and anger between believers and unbelievers alike in difficult situations.
Also pray for good words of wise accountability during stressful situations, that the Holy Spirit will give – and use – to bring about healing in the body of Christ.

[1] 2 Timothy 3:5

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