Posted by Shofar/Liz
We continue with the Parable of the Sower and the different ground that the seed, or Word of God fell on. The relevance of this parable is about what happens when we hear God’s Word, how we receive it, and whether or not it is allowed to grow our faith. Briefly, Way Side Christians are those hearers who have the Word stolen away from them, and the Stony Ground Christians are those who did not allow the Word of God to take root, resulting in them having shallow faith with little or no spiritual growth in their lives. I believe that this group is comprised of the ministers and spiritual leaders who don’t teach the whole counsel of God and/or mislead their members with ‘different gospels’ other than the gospel of salvation, of Christ crucified. And their members, as a result, will leave the church or backslide because of shallow faith.
I hope that you will go back and review previous posts, meditate on the Parable of the Sower for yourself and let God give you further understanding of this important parable. Here is a link with a very good discussion about the importance of being ‘rooted’ in God’s Word.
http://durablefaith.com/2010/05/15/falling-away/ ‘What will cause the great falling away’
THORNY GROUND CHRISTIANS (continued from Chapter 6 KINGDOM OF GOD MYSTERIES)
This is what is said about the seed that fell among the thorns:
“Then the cares and anxieties of the world and distractions of the age, and the pleasure and delight and false glamour and deceitfulness of riches, and the craving and passionate desire for other things creep in and choke and suffocate the Word, and it becomes fruitless”(Mark 4:19, AMP).
There are ‘cares and anxieties of the world’ that can prevent the Word of God from having an important place in our hearts and lives. Meeting basic survival needs of providing food, shelter and clothing for oneself or one’s family can take precedence over Bible reading or church activities. Some Christians say they have to work on Sunday, but what about Bible study or prayer meeting night? No one works 24/7. When folks stay away from fellowship they have already started to back slide. Trust and faith in God diminishes and the Word of God has become choked out of their lives.
Other Thorny Ground Christians succumb to ‘distractions of the age’ and chase after ‘the deceitfulness of riches’ and ‘pleasures of this life’ because they have been ensnared by Satan, whom the Bible says is the prince of this world who causes folks to be disobedient to God (Eph 2:2). They are deceived into thinking that pleasures and riches will bring them happiness and are caught in the trap of desiring more and more– a bigger house, fancier car, nicer things, clothes, jewelry, more and more of the latest fads and fashions, plus many other ‘delights’. For a time they may enjoy their wealth and material things and may even be generous in their offerings, to be ‘respected’ for their name and reputation. But more often than not, their ‘love of money becomes the root of all evil’ and they must have more money, more credit cards, more loans, etc. to maintain their style of living and/or get out of the debts they have incurred. Satan lets folks enjoy themselves for a while only to watch them suffer from their poor choices. In 1Timothy 6:10 the apostle Paul wrote,
“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.”
Thorny Ground Christians become servants of mammon, the god of money. They are often misled by unfruitful Thorny Ground Christian leaders who preach an unscriptural prosperity gospel and have made their church and themselves rich at the expense of their own members. TV evangelists, in particular, are noted for spending more time on entertainment, raising funds and commercializing religion, and less time preaching the whole counsel of God. Some have scandalized the Church with the exposure of their riches and immoral lifestyles. Jesus said,
“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” (Mt 6:19-21).
“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” (Mt 6:24).
Thorny Ground Christians have allowed their love for the world, other things, and other priorities take the place of their love for God and for His Word. They are spiritually stunted Christians who will not be fruitful because they have had the Word of God choked out of their hearts and lives.
(Next- Good Ground Christians)
Tags: Deceived Christians, False Preachers and Teachers, Great Falling Away, Lovers of Money, Lovers of the World, Prosperity Gospel, Satan, Shallow Faith, The god of money, Thorny Ground Christians, Treasures in Heaven, Treasures Upon Earth, Unfruitful Christians, Worldly Christians
Posted by Shofar/Liz
We are on Chapter 6 where the hearers of the Word of God had the Word stolen away by Satan. They are the Way Side Christians which comprise the majority of Christians today; they are also considered ‘nominal’ Christians by some, but by the conclusion of this study, they will be seen to be ‘marginal’ Christians as well. For now we will continue with-
STONY GROUND CHRISTIANS
This second group has the seed of the Word of God sown into stony ground and,
“.. when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away” (Luke 8:13).
There is no soil to grow in, thus no roots. That’s why the prophet Hosea said, “break up your fallow ground” (Hosea 10:12) It is impossible for anything good to come from stony ground. In the parable of the fig tree, Jesus described men as being like trees needing the soil turned, fertilized, branches pruned, etc. Time was given for it to have healthy growth, but if after all that was done and still a tree bore no fruit, then it would be cut down (Luke 13:6-9).
Simply stated, Stony Ground Christians are shallow Christians. The Bible says that those in this group of Christians initially receive the Word of God with joy, but then because of trouble or persecution that arises over the Word, they allow doubt and confusion, fear and intimidation to cause them to distrust and reject the Word (Mt 13:21 paraphrased). How could they receive the Word with joy, then reject it? In Jesus’ day, thousands of people followed Him when they liked what they heard and saw. They liked seeing and being a part of the miracles He performed, but when they found some of His teachings too difficult to accept, they stopped following Him.
John 6:66 states,
“From that time many of his disciples went back and walked no more with Him.”
In the Bible, hard or stony hearts are also related to rebellion, stubbornness, disobedience, and spiritual blindness (Eph 4:18; Job 41:24; Isaiah 30:9). Samuel, the prophet/judge told King Saul,
“rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry” (1 Sam 15:23).
Stony ground Christians include ‘religious’ people who hold on stubbornly to only what they want to believe, or what they have been taught to believe. They are self-righteous and hypocritical in that they believe they know everything they think they should know, and there’s nothing more you can tell them, i.e. they’re right and you’re wrong. They are proud and have unteachable spirits. Their hearts are hardened.
They often follow customs, church traditions, rituals, etc. and are legalistic in their doctrines. Many Stony Ground Christians have also remade God and the Bible palatable to what they feel is acceptable to them. Many churches have compromised the Word of God with unscriptural teachings that God is a God of Love and not of Judgment, and have caused schisms in their own denominations, e.g. with some stubbornly rejecting the idea that homosexuality is a sin and an abomination to God. They are spiritually blind, and are resistant to truth even to the point of provocation and violence.
It was the religious people of Jesus’ day, the scribes and Pharisees, who thought they knew everything and did everything properly, who resisted the teachings of Jesus vehemently and did not acknowledge Him as the Son of God, and finally put Him to death. Today, Stony Ground Christians are some church leaders, who can be compared with the Pharisees of Jesus’ days, who did not enter into the kingdom of God; neither did they let others to enter in also! They lead the pack in this rebellious generation today in rejecting God and His Word! They are not open to the guidance and teachings of the Holy Spirit and divide the body of Christ, bringing reproach to God and His Word, and are a major stumbling block to the unsaved (Mt 23:13).
(next- Thorny Ground Christians)
Tags: Compromisers, Disobedient, Hypocrites, Legalistic Christians, Marginal Christians, Nominal Christians, Parable of the Sower, Rebellious, Satan, Self Righteous, Spiritual Blindness, Stony Hearts, Stubbornness, Thorny Ground Christians, Way Side Christians