TODAY'S WORD FOR Thursday, May 23, 2019:
One who scatters or plants seed.
And as he sowed some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up, they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. Still other seeds fell on good soil, where it produced a crop -- a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown.
KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE:
Jesus often used parables to make His point while preaching to His disciples and to the multitudes who came to hear Him. This parable, in Matthew 13, is easy to understand, because Jesus interpreted it for His disciples.
The sower is one who sows the Word of the Kingdom of God in the world. It is either the Lord Himself or a servant of His, like us.
The seed is the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Word of God, the incorruptible seed.
The ground onto which the gospel seed is sown is the heart of all those who come into contact with the message of God’s gift of salvation through His Son Jesus Christ.
Jesus made it very simple and clear as to what He wants us to do. We cannot say that we do not understand. He wants us to share the good news of the gospel to all the world. Then He warns that not all will receive it nor respond in the same way.
Jesus was teaching in this parable that a sower went forth to sow and a large number that listened did not allow the Word to take permanent root. Only a small number allowed the Word to take permanent root and only a very few allowed the Word to bear 100% fruit.
This is true today. Many unbelievers hear about God daily on television, radio, by communication from believers, and in churches if they choose to go. But only a small number respond to the gospel message. Also, very few who do accept Jesus as their Savior begin to grow in their knowledge of God and His Word.
There are four responses that we can expect to the gospel message when we present it to unbelievers. In other words, there are four different types of ground upon which the sown seed may fall. Christ did not teach that all the world would be converted even though that was His desire.
These four responses to the Gospel are not caused by different qualities of seed that have been sown because the Gospel is the same and never changes and because God does not change. Christ put the responsibility for faith or unbelief on the soil, which is the heart and the mind of the hearer.
The first response comes from a hard heart. The wayside soil is hard and unprepared for seed. The fowls that devour the seed that fell on the hard ground are Satan and his evil demons. The people with hardened hearts are the “wayside” people. When they hear the truth of the Word of God, they casually dismiss it and trample on it.
The second response comes from a shallow heart. Such a person has no spiritual depth and no commitment to God’s Word. He holds to his religious decision of honoring God for a while, but when tribulation or persecution comes his way he is offended that God allowed it and falls away from his profession of faith.
They are the ones who blame God when they have problems and life gets difficult for them. They say that they just cannot believe that God really cares about them if God would allow them to suffer. We all know people like this. They are, what we might call fair-weather believers that only want to say they know God when all is going well. They are the “rock” people who believe the message but never get around to do anything about it.
The third response comes from a worldly heart. A heart that loves the world system is a heart alienated from God. The love of money, success, and the pleasures of the world choke out the influence of the Word of God in the life of the professing believer so that he becomes unfruitful. This type of person has a choice problem. They choose fame and fortune over God. These are the “thorn patch” people because their concern for things of the world leaves no room for God.
The fourth response comes from an understanding heart. Only a few people allow the Word of God to take permanent root. They are the ones that have an honest and good heart. They hear the Word of God and understand it and they bear the fruit of God’s Word in their own life. They will be faithful to God, obey His commandments and be a witness to the lost. These are the “good soil” people. They chose to follow Jesus and serve Him no matter what the cost.
Our prayer is that each person reading this devotional has an honest, understanding and good heart and will allow the truth of the gospel to take root in their life and enable them to be fruitful witnesses for their Lord and Savior.
Our memory verse for this week is found in James 1:12.
Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
It is my prayer today that I can have an understanding heart and be a fruitful believer. May the Word of God have a permanent root in my life and in the lives of my family so that together we can be used according to Your desire.
These Family Devotional thoughts are written by Dr. Ken Phillips, Executive Director of America's Hunger
Solution, and his wife Dottie. Ken has had ministry positions
with The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, World Vision, Youth For Christ, World Opportunities International,
and World Bible Society. He also has consulted for more than 30 Christian ministries in management and stewardship
development. They have published a book called No Problems Only Situations that discusses the journey of their family.
Ken and Dottie have been married for 60 years, and have 6 children, 20 grandchildren, and 3 great grandchildren. Their
second book, TODAY'S WORD, includes 365 daily
devotionals and is now available for only $10.
Ken & Dottie Phillips
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