Purpose of Guarding the Treasure

The purpose of this blog is to encourage readers to invest their time into the Word of God and "Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you." Paul wrote these words to Timothy (2 Timothy 1:14) in his presumed last letter before his execution. May we be those who see the word of God as a treasure, guarding it with our lives, investing in it with our hearts and minds, and reaping the fruit of an abundant life while getting to know the God who loves us and created us for His marvelous pleasure and glory.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Parable of the Sower

So seed is sown. Some on the road, some in rocky soil, others among thorns and then some falls on the good soil. The disciples asked Jesus what the parable meant. Luke 8:11-15 gives us the most insight to be able to relate this parable to people's salvation.

First off the seed sown is the word of God (v11). Notice that the word is sown everywhere, even on ground that may not be suitable for its best growth. Paul said, "For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things?" (2 Corinthians 2:15-16) When we share the Bible with others we are sowing seat to all types of people with different soil qualities.

The seed on the road "are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they may not believe and be saved." (v12) Notice here that these people hear the word, but don't believe it in order to be saved. So this seed sown does not result in salvation.

The seed on the rocky soil "are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away." (v13) Notice here that this seed is received and salvation occurs (John 1:12). However, these believers are not then trained up in the faith and equipped for living the Christian life (Ephesians 4:12). They are not rooted in what they believe and are still infants in the Christian faith. What we often do is give a new believer a Bible, get them baptized and then tell them to clean up their life. We don't show them how and train them in discipleship. It would be like giving a baby a jug of milk, a bag of diapers and then sending them out into the world. Can a baby feed themselves? Can a baby take care of themselves? Of course not, that baby is going to die unless someone takes care of it. In my opinion, the church has really dropped the ball on equipping the saints for service. Thus, we have a lot of cranky crying immature Christians out there who are illiterate and don't know how to live the Christian life. There are examples of this in the Corinthians and Hebrews (1 Corinthians 3:1-3, Hebrews 5:11-14). A good parallel for this seed sowing would be someone attending a Billy Graham crusade, hearing the gospel and believing it for eternal life, but then returning home and never growing in their faith. They go back to the same life, same friends, same bad habits, same old life. I'm not faulting the crusade and think it is a good thing, but these new infant believers need to be connected with other more mature believers to help in their growth and development in the faith.

The seed among thorns "are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity." (v 14) Again, these are saved people in mind here because the expectation is that these believers will bear fruit and go on to maturity in Christ. Many believers are worried about the things of this world, money, power, fame, sex, etc. all the pleasures life has to offer but fall short because they are sought without God. That's why Paul exhorted believers, "I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." (Romans 12:1-2) Jesus said Himself, "No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other, or else he will hold to one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." (Luke 16:13) Money is not bad, just the love of money that replaces the love of God. John also wrote to believers, "Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever." (1 John 2:15-17) Having stuff is fine, just not loving your stuff more than you love God.

Finally, the seed among the good soil "are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance." (v15) Obviously this hearer believed for salvation and is living a productive and fruitful Christian life. This is what all believers should strive for in the faith.

Now, you could also look at the parable without eternal salvation in mind. We all receive the sow word at different times in our lives and some of it really sinks in and other times it just passes us by and we don't really hear it and get the benefit. We can each be these different types of soil at different times in our life. Obviously we want to be the good fertile soil were the word can bear much fruit in our lives.

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