Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
November 7, 1997
Last Updated :
July 30, 2012
Beware Of Misguided Brethren Who Preach Deceptive Doctrines, Persecution Arising From Multi-Religious Homes, Abide In The Lord, Don't Be Ashamed Of The Gospel Of Christ, Beware Of Materialism And Riches: The Seed Which Fell Among The Thorns, Satan -- False God Of The Present World -- And His Offerings, Modern Churches Of Laodicea, Seed Which Fell On Good Ground, Not Everyone Bears Same Amount Of Fruit, Different Levels Of Christian Discipleship And Heavenly Rewards, Not Everyone Is Capable Of Serving God In The Same Capacity, Apostle Paul's Advice Regarding Marriage And Discipleship, Importance Of Being Fruitful Branches For The Lord, We Can't Wins Souls Or Force Anyone To Accept Christ, Won Only By God's Spirit
As I concluded in part one, to our shame, there are some modern televangelists and other preachers who seem to be more concerned with the praises of men than they are with preaching the full truth of the Gospel, and pleasing God. These deceivers preach a non-offensive, socially-acceptable Gospel that is full of compromise. Some of them are in fact false brethren who preach another Jesus and another Gospel. While many naive, gullible people are taken in and deceived by these smooth-talking snakes, as the following additional verses reveal, we are not to be deceived by such people, or by the poisonous false doctrines which they preach:
"That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:"
Ephesians 4:14-15, KJV
"Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein."
Hebrews 13:9, KJV
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;"
1 Timothy 4:1-2, KJV
As many of you will already realize, the truth of the matter is that if these people were to preach the whole counsel of God -- instead of their so-called "prosperity gospel" which promotes the "abundant life", their sickening liberal gospel which blesses gay and lesbian relationships, and their "all is well" gospel which claims that hell is not real -- they would quickly fall from popularity, and their pocketbooks would likewise feel the effect as well. So, they compromise instead by preaching a feel-good gospel, in order to ensure that the money just keeps rolling in.
Returning to our main subject matter regarding the Parable of the Sower and Salvation, Christian service and rewards, another example of persecution which may weaken the seed of faith is the friction which may develop in families where different religious beliefs are espoused. For example, one parent may be Christian, while the other is Jewish, or maybe an atheist.
Eventually, one of the parents gives in to the other or else a compromise is reached. This kind of situation may result in the children receiving the wrong religious instruction. They may quite possibly receive none at all because their parents cannot reach an agreement. Such a situation may even leave the children totally confused regarding what to believe, or may cause them to reject religion altogether. The point is, regardless of the source of the persecution, due to their not being well-grounded in the Word of God, some of these people end up in a backslidden state. They may still be saved, but they are not bearing any fruit because they are no longer actively serving the Lord. As Jesus said in the Gospel of John:
"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me."
John 15:4, KJV
If you are interested in learning more about persecution in the life of Christians, I encourage you to read the series entitled "Civil Disobedience and Christian Persecution". As I explain in other articles, if there is one thing which the Scriptures make clear, it is that those Christians who are ashamed to work for the Lord now, may some day discover that He will likewise be ashamed of them at His Coming. Consider the following verses where we are advised to not be ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ:
"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
Matthew 5:16, KJV
"Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."
Mark 8:38, KJV
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."
Romans 1:16, KJV
"For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."
2 Timothy 1:12, KJV
"For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,"
Hebrews 2:11, KJV
"But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city."
Hebrews 11:16, KJV
In the next part of the Parable of the Sower, Jesus proceeds to discuss the sad fate of the seed which fell among thorns. He notes the following:
"He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful."
Matthew 13:22, KJV
You will notice that this person appears to have progressed even further than the last one, which was symbolized by the seed falling in "stony places". This particular person seems to have accepted the Word of Truth and was saved as a result of it. Furthermore, it even appears that he may have started to bear fruit for the Lord's Kingdom. Notice that it says he "becometh unfruitful". This seems to be implying that he was fruitful at first, but then he allowed the cares and riches of this life to drag him away from His service for the Lord. This sounds so much like a lot of modern-day Christians in the Westernized world who have fallen for the very things which both Jesus and the Apostles clearly warned us to watch out for; that is, worldliness and materialism. Consider the following verses:
"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also . . . No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."
Matthew 6:19-21, 24, KJV
". . . Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."
Matthew 19:23-24, KJV
"For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"
Mark 8:36-37, KJV
". . . Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!"
Mark 10:24b, KJV
"And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
Luke 12:16-34, KJV
"Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed."
John 6:27, KJV
"If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you."
John 15:19, KJV
"I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil."
John 17:14-15, KJV
"And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away."
1 Corinthians 7:31, KJV
"While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."
2 Corinthians 4:18, KJV
"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,"
2 Corinthians 6:17, KJV
"Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."
Philippians 4:11, KJV
"If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth."
Colossians 3:1-2, KJV
"But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:"
1 Timothy 6:6-14, KJV
"No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier."
2 Timothy 2:4, KJV
"These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city."
Hebrews 11:13-16, KJV
"Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
Hebrews 13:5, KJV
"Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God."
James 4:4, KJV
"Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you. Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain."
James 5:1-7, KJV
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love 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 pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever."
1 John 2:15-17, KJV
It should be clear from the previous verses that we are not to overly desire the things of this world, because we are not truly a part of this world. Furthermore, we should also be content with whatever God chooses to provide for us in this world, realizing that He will never fail to meet our needs, if we are truly seeking first His Kingdom. As the final verses from John's first Epistle reveal, all of these things -- riches and materialism -- are "of the world". More specifically, as the following verses make plain, the truth of the matter is that all of these things are offered to us by Satan himself, because he is really the false god of this current world, as we see here:
"And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it."
Luke 4:5-6, KJV
"In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."
2 Corinthians 4:4, KJV
"Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices."
2 Corinthians 2:11, KJV
If you are interested in reading more about the subject of the dangers of materialism, you may wish to study articles such as "Have You Sold Your Soul for a Pound of Flesh", "Do You Want Love and Light, Or Rod and Wrath?", "Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God" and "Going Down the Highway". We find the perfect example of certain modern churches which have succumbed to materialism in the Book of Revelation. In the letter that John was instructed to write to the Church at Laodicea, we read the following:
"I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:"
Revelation 3:15-17, KJV
Thus we see that similar to many modern Christians who have sadly succumbed to materialism, and who live the so-called "abundant life", this person Jesus spoke of -- who was like the seed which fell among thorns -- may possibly have some rewards in Heaven, but it won't be very much. To conclude the Parable of the Sower, Jesus finally says the following:
"But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty."
Matthew 13:18-23, KJV
Here we see an example of an individual who -- despite all of the obstacles and temptations which he has encountered in his life -- faithfully continues in his service to the Lord. He perseveres despite everything. He receives the Seed of God's Word, he understands it, and he goes on to bear lots of fruit for the Lord's Kingdom. Notice that Jesus is very careful to point out that not everyone bears the same amount of fruit. This seems to be implying that there are different degrees of Christian Discipleship and Rewards. Jesus emphasizes the same point in some of His other Parables as well -- such as in the Parable of the Talents -- which I discuss in "Sluggards and Sloths: Are You Diligent and Faithful in the Affairs of God's Kingdom?". The Apostle Paul also explains how we will not all receive the same reward when he writes the following:
"There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory."
1 Corinthians 15:41, KJV
Please consider reading the entire chapter. You will find it very inspiring. It is important that we recognize that not everyone is capable of serving the Lord in the same capacity. In this modern world where it is difficult for many people to make ends meet financially, it would be more difficult for a married man with five children to serve the Lord, than for a single person who can dedicate his entire life to the Lord's Work. The Apostle Paul wrote considerably regarding the topic of marriage and Discipleship in his Epistles. For example, in his first Epistle to the Corinthians he wrote as follows:
"Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you . . . But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife."
1 Corinthians 7:27-28, 32-33, KJV
To what degree we each choose to serve the Lord is a matter of personal faith and motivation. What is important to the Lord is that we bear some amount of fruit for His Kingdom, as we see by the following verses:
"And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper."
Psalms 1:3, KJV
"The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise."
Proverbs 11:30, KJV
"He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down."
Luke 13:6-9, KJV
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit."
John 12:24, KJV
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned . . . Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you."
John 15:1-6, 16, KJV
"Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God."
Romans 7:4, KJV
It is important to note that bearing fruit for the Kingdom of God is not a work of the flesh. As the Lord says in the previous verses, "without me ye can do nothing". We must all recognize that we cannot force anyone to accept the Lord. I know that there are some churches and organizations which pride themselves in keeping tabs on how many souls they have won to the Lord. I am sorry to disagree, but you cannot win one single soul to the Lord. You can talk to someone until you are blue in the face, but if they don't want to hear it, or receive it, or believe it, there is nothing you can do about it.
The truth is that Salvation is a very personal matter. As I discuss in articles such as "Free Will and Personal Choice, "All Are Given a Chance, But . . ." and "Is the Message of Salvation Meant for All Men?", Salvation is a matter of personal choice. The following verses clearly demonstrate how fruit is born for the Kingdom of God:
"So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase."
1 Corinthians 3:7, KJV
"Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."
Acts 2:47, KJV
Clearly, winning souls to the Lord is a work of the Spirit. You can be an on-fire, zealous preacher of God's Word who has thousands of Bible verses committed to memory; but it is still only God -- through the conviction of His Holy Spirit -- who can put it into a person's heart to want to be saved. Only He can truly convict them of sin in their lives, and help them to realize their need for a Savior. Consider the following verses:
"For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."
Philippians 2:13, KJV
"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
Hebrews 4:12, KJV
Please go to part three for the continuation of this series.
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