Taking the Epistle

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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.

The parable of the sower part one – critiquing your leader/pastor/teacher – Mark 4:1-9


The parable of the sower part one – critiquing your leader/pastor/teacher – Mark 4:1-9 – 07/14/2016

Lord willing this will be a three part article on this vital part of scripture and until recently I would have tried to squeeze this into one article but I have had some feedback that my articles are a little long so I am trying to pack a punch with less words. I plan to start with this text in the book of Mark…

Mark 4:1 (ESV) Again he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. 2 And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: 3 “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. 5 Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. 6 And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. 8 And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” 9 And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Here we have the greatest teacher of the bible that the world has ever known, the co-author of the heart behind the message is telling the story in the context it was intended and he teaches on what could only be described as a self-fulfilling parable. I say self-fulfilling because even although we had that teacher who could explain the hermeneutics, the theology behind what was said and also the heart behind the text, the ability to cut through the popular interpretations that have bent the scripture beyond how it was intended and allowed the people to twist it to their own ends and own interpretations. I know that even although it was Jesus who was teaching there would have been some who would not have lost their hardness of heart, some who would stubbornly not change and some who allowed the devil to snatch the freshly sown word from their hearts.

If this happened when Jesus taught how much more will it happen when your pastors and leaders teach? These guys are not superman and from experience in ministry people can have unrealistic expectations of who you are and what you do. I would urge you to examine what your pastors say, make sure it lines up with the scripture and is free of heresy but avoid stylistic comments that are not said with the purest of hearts, I have heard some crackers in my time, some examples would be…

  • Pastor, you labored the point there
  • I was not touched by that message, I just did not feel it
  • Pastor, your lecture (note the wording) made me feel bad, why must you beat the flock?

Of course if there is a pattern then by all means address it as you would with any brother, however in many cases it is just idle opinion and pastors leave these conversations deflated and hurt. There is more devil in these conversations than exhortations and that includes when pastors are always “over congratulated” for a great message. (I am always suspicious of inflation of ego personally when I am given kudos)

The idea of splitting it into three articles is to look at the different ways the seed was received so let is look at the first one in relation to how your pastor sows his particular seed. You have to understand that often times and we would hope that this is always the case but when the pastor prepares the sermon it is done based on what he is being directed to say by the Holy Spirit. I don’t know many pastors that will change a sermons application because “someone will be there”.

I say this not as a pastor but as one who has prepared messages for people to hear and I have been blessed with having a real mixed bag of people as far as maturity levels, biblical understanding and different levels as far as thirst for the scriptures. The truth remains however when we toss out the seed we do not always see the path, the thorns or the difficult ground. We certainly are hoping that the seed takes hold and blossoms and takes on a fuller level, however many folks who listen to sermons are very internal with their difficult soil.

If you find yourself consistently critical of your pastor or leadership, the issue maybe the ground that you have prepared. Has the seed fallen on the pathway, not allowed to be taken root? Is there a pride issue involved? Have you been hurt in the past and are not allowing yourself to go all in? Do you view yourself higher than you should be and have designs on the pulpit? Take it from one in ministry; it is not all Sunday sermons and looking good on the stage! I would remove any sin from your own life first and then if your pastor is still not a good fit then talk to him. It may be able to be resolved.

I beg you…Do not allow your seed to be snatched from you and stunt your growth as a valuable member of the Christian community, the Devil does not want you to grow and you are much easier to pick off if you do not have the support of a loving church family.

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.