Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

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The parable of the sower part two – The stony and thorny ground -Luke 8:4-15

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The parable of the sower part two – The stony and thorny ground -Luke 8:4-15 – 07/15/2016

Luke 8:4 (ESV) And when a great crowd was gathering and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable, 5 “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. 6 And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. 7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. 8 And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold.” As he said these things, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” 9 And when his disciples asked him what this parable meant, 10 he said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’ 11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. 14 And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. 15 As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.

In yesterday’s article we looked at the first type of seed that was sown on “the road” and today I wish to continue the three part series by looking at the gospel account in the book of Luke which does a little more to explain the meaning of the parable. I love that Jesus used parables because he was keen to use stories that would mean something to his intended audience (often non-educated blue collar men and women) and I truly respect pastors who do likewise and when I am teaching I try to also to relate to the folks I wish to share the gospel with on a level that they will totally get. In my opinion what we need in the modern day church is less “theology” or “Christianese” or “Christianspeak” and more life changing message of the gospel on a level that will reach people.

I am not saying change or dilute the message by any means but we need to stop talking over people’s heads! Some of the greatest messages I have heard have been by everyday people and the movement that I am part of has the mission statement “Simply teaching the bible simply” and the idea is that the love of Christ is available to everyone, the sower in this story sowed to everyone and the way it is received is the core meaning of this account.

I wanted to look at two ways the seed was received…

  • Rock/Stony ground – The word takes a little further root than the seed sown on the road but when the storm comes and life gets in the way and the sailor has to navigate into choppier waters, then they lose hope and discard the fledgling faith.

Whilst I understand that often times the folks who fall away were never really sold out believers and whilst the seed moves in their hearts it is more of an emotional attachment to the truths of the word, it is not life changing and the seed does not take root and is allowed to blossom and bear fruit. This is best described that this prospective Christian’s walk is like a firework as it makes a lot of noise, is often colorful and fizzles out with a bang.

  • Thorns – is a little more involved than the stony ground because it does not mature and I equate it to the development of a child. If your child was still on a milk based diet at the age of 6/7 then you would be worried that the child was failing to thrive. Again there will be a lack of fruit in this person’s life due to their choice to let the pursuits of this life distract them. There will be a lack of fruit and oftentimes their Christian walk will resemble that of a baby regardless of how long they have been saved.

Whilst it may not be the be all and end all of a believers walk, if you are in the business of mentoring new believers you need to be looking to encourage the fruitless first but please remember, you cannot be their “holy spirit” they have a certain amount of accountability to search out the scriptures and spiritually eat for themselves. They are not completely lost and we as Christians can still bring them into a sold out relationship with Jesus.

I use mentoring in this article because I love what we do in the big crusade Christianity where people are affected by their hearts being touched enough to leave their seats and make a public profession for Jesus Christ and whilst that is great, we need to have accurate follow up with those new believers, encouraging good mentors that will evangelize, mentor and disciple these new converts into strong believers so they can affect their former sphere of influence and be a life changing testimony of how Jesus changes lives.

That is much more powerful than a million eloquent sermons! Seeing a genuine authentic Christian life is what changed me from a “don’t care” to a “Christian” and seeing the words backed up with actions and mentoring really strengthened me.

On Monday, LORD willing I plan to look at part three of the Parable of the Sower.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.

Deal with the soul first and then the sin


Tale of two viral blog articles

In the last few weeks I have had two articles that have went “viral” (by my standards) which have addressed two issues that the Internet were talking about. I am of course talking about commentary on the situations with Josh Duggar and the accusations of molestation and also the Vanity Fair cover that displayed and introduced Bruce Jenner as Caitlyn.

I have appealed in both of these articles that we pray for these people and I would go further and state that we should pray without ceasing. Josh Duggar, his sisters and his other victims all required prayer and I do wonder whether this public shaming of Josh does not victimize the victims as much as the perpetrator. Some are doing it out of compassion for the family, some are really doing it because they hate Christians and want to see the show off the air and there are some are doing it just to gossip and slander.

Josh Duggar has had less “abuse” from the Christian circles and I believe that generally there was a good feeling towards the family prior to this news being broken because of the show and the fact that Josh is now a born again Christian make him less of “fair game” in the eyes of the Christian bloggers but the same cannot be said of Bruce Jenner.

In Bruce’s case it is open season on him from the Christian point of view and many are judging him as if he is a brother in Christ, he may very well be but his actions recently suggest otherwise. My earlier blog about his situation I spoke about the need to deal with the soul first and that is my priority for Bruce or anyone who is still in their sin. They need to come face to face with their messiah, repent of their sins, then and only then can we look at the sideshow of what their lives are like.

Keep the main thing the main thing

We have to remember as Christians to keep the main thing the main thing! We are here primarily to “Go forth and make disciples” and in that commission we are not to be shy, we are to be bold in our proclamation that Jesus is the messiah and that the words in John 14:6 are true that only Jesus is the way, only Jesus is the truth and only Jesus is the life and that no-one came to the father except through him.

Closer to Jesus or further away?

We have to examine our conduct and ask if what we are doing (especially online) is bringing people closer to Jesus or further away to Jesus. Are we serving the LORD with our words or ourselves? It says in the book of Jude that we have to have wisdom and “have compassion on some” but also have discernment to “save others with fear, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh” and we have to be discerning on how we evangelize and present the gospel. 

Read the article before you comment

For this purpose I am saddened when I read people who comment on social media, not appearing to have read the article and commenting things that border on hate, they fail to grasp that he is in the world and of the world, the world by in large has been accepting of his procedure and call him words such as “brave” and “courageous” and Christians fall into the trap of appearing to have the moral high ground when all the world wants to see if the Christian condemning the sinner so they can report that the Christian behaved the way that they thought they would.

Prayer comes first

We need to pray for this and other situations because these two situations come on our media screens, social media newsfeeds and news reports because these people are “famous”. We live in a world that is fallen, the sin upon sin upon sin upon sin that has been the case since the Garden of Eden has allowed us to distance ourselves that far away from God that we are completely alien to the purpose of why we were created and that was to glorify God.

Bruce won’t find peace in his surgery, in the change he has made and the pharmaceuticals that he has consigned himself to take. He will only find peace through Jesus and I pray that he will fall to his knees, repent and follow the one true messiah, I pray that for the whole family, I pray that for the whole Hollywood circus, I pray that for the whole of the USA and lastly I pray for the world to come to repentance in Christ Jesus.

Pray not Pharisee

We need to be more like Jesus and less like the guys who wanted to condemn and kill him! It is easy to get lost in our Religious-ity and that in our mind look for the “right answer” or the “holy answer” but we are called to love first, evangelize unto repentance and then make disciples and allow them to repeat the process.

As stated a few days ago in a previous article that we need to make prayer the first priority, it is the most dynamic weapon in our arsenal and often times it is the one that is least used. It is amazing how much your countenance changes towards a person when you are genuinely praying for God’s blessings, praying because they hate you, (that is the toughest one) praying that they repent or praying for their walk with Jesus. We are to be recognized as Jesus disciples because of our “love for one another”.

I am not saying don’t deal with sin in the brethren

If a brother is in sin then respectfully deal with it as you would in Matthew 18, but we love to “name and shame” in our culture as if by tearing someone down we somehow raise in righteousness, I see this in churches where brothers become “ministry rivals” and friendships are scorched due to ambition coming before serving. 

We have to check our motivation why we do these things. I was once asked by a pastor “What was your motivation for …” and when I answered it allowed him to tailor his advice to the situation, in many cases when gossip occurs we have to ask whether we are fanning the flames or putting out the fire. Often times we can make it worse when we pass on a “95% true statement”.

There is a lot to read here and I apologize, should I have not covered anything, if there are any questions or anything that you feel should be added or you simply wish to have your voice heard then please comment below. If you liked this article and you wished to know when new articles are posted then please either “follow this blog” at the top right hand corner of the screen, like our social media pages or bookmark this site in order to find us again. Lastly I would appreciate if you would please share or like as God leads you to on any social media sites or blogs you use.