Updated: Jun 14
Why have we slipped down the slope of apathy and mediocrity when we have such a positive, wonderful message of hope for a lost and dying world? Indifference is the effect, but what is the cause? No heavenly vision. Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained. In the ESV the scripture uses the word "perish!" You can be sure it is not a good thing no matter what version of scripture you follow. Helter Skelter. But let us come back to the individual follower of Jesus and see where things go awry.
Mark 4: 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.”
We can see a lot of wisdom (of course) in the above parable. It might be a little confusing to some, so Jesus explained what it meant in the following verses. 14 The sower sows the word.15 And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them.16 And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy.17 And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. 18 And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word,19 but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.20 But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”
Now we can move on since we now know more clearly what the parable means. Uh, let's get a little further into the Cause and Effect of religion taking over relationships. First of all, God is the sower and He sows His Word, which further shows the importance of the living Word of God. When we leave the Word out of our lives everything goes crazy and very worldly. The Word has an effect and in Isaiah 55:11 It is the same with my Word.
I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it. The Word must be sown and without it, there will be no effect. We are too busy trying to build "community" in our churches, which is another word for club or clique. We leave the very essence of our faith out and put it on the shelf by denying a lost world to hear the message of hope found in the Bible. If you are looking for humanism, there it is! Offering the gospel message in the church is vital! Secondly, there are people all along the path of life that are going to hear the message if we share it, and when they hear it the living Word of God will have an effect as the above scripture states. But then what? Satan comes in immediately to stop the effect of the Word and takes the Word away that is sown in them. The people he takes the Word away from are on rocky ground which doesn't have any soil for growth. They hear the Word and receive the message with joy, but through no discipleship, they don't grow and the good soil of the Word is not established and they fall away, dead, lifeless, and confused at how this could happen. I knew of a church that built a new building and all through the hallways they had put pictures of scripture that highlighted the way to salvation. They called (or hired) a new minister for that area of ministry and the first thing he did was take down those pictures of scripture because it made him feel uncomfortable. I know this sounds like a fairy tale but it really happened and the problem is we have taken the Word of God out of our discussions and tried to shut it out of our lives and the end result is no vision at all.
The modern-day church is full of those who have received Jesus but with no study and growth in the Word soon become dead in their faith and with no other believer alongside them quit. The first sign of the battle we all fight and they realize they are not equipped for the battle and they are gone. They have just enough conviction from the presence of the Holy Spirit to hold on for a while but with no root, there will be no growth. Thirdly, there is a group that lives among thorns and their life is choked away because of interaction with things of the world like riches, lust, worldliness, and yes, humanism. They prove to be unfruitful and actually lead more people away from "true" faith because of their double standards. They like to have some of Jesus and some of the world and they are lukewarm. They are unfruitful and usually give a deaf ear to any change or repentance. Fourthly, there is the Word sown on good soil and the people accept the Word and bear fruit, and that fruit is really good fruit up to a hundredfold in result. So you can see we don't have much "hundredfold" going on right now in churches, so we can self-analyze and see exactly where the problem lies.
There is a glaring cause for the seed not growing and producing good fruit and we can see it is no spiritual growth in the new believer. For years we have been sharing the gospel and the result has been new converts, but if we don't get them more into the Word they will soon fall away, or stay and teach humanized teachings that sound good but don't line up with the Word of God. Our modern-day churches are full of a plethora of seed results and that is why a central vision to draw everyone together to be like-minded as scripture tells us to be is vital. The important effect of the Koinonia fellowship (Acts 2:42 All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper, and to prayer.) of the early church is possible, but it will take a vision that begins in the Word of God and grows from there.
What we learn from the Word of God has an effect on everything we do and the effect will line us back up with what God has planned all along. The gospel will be preached and lives will be changed and then it will repeat over and over again and the church will be active and growing. No side issues. No latest greatest from the trendy crowd. No generational upheavals. Just the main thing being the main thing.
It all begins with your relationship with the Lord. Are you at a point of a crisis of belief and is it driving you to "change?" If so, you will find your direction in the Word of God because it has been inserted in your life and the Holy Spirit is there to make it come alive. When you tap into that power the effect will be immense and now is the time to get that process going. All of this is possible through the intimate relationship you have with Jesus and He is ready and willing to get you going today. It just comes back to you.
The Pilgrimage Continues