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
God views prosperity and success from a spiritual perspective, not in the way we think of the accumulating of wealth, material possessions, status and reputation. Neither are the latter a measure of success, but success in God’s eyes is about whether or not things are working out in our lives, whether or not we are experiencing His blessings as a result of how we live our lives in obedience to His Word.
The soul of man is much more valued by God than all the riches in the world :
“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his life [in the eternal kingdom of God]?” Mark 8:36 AMPLIFIED BIBLE
To be rich in faith is a far better position to be in than to be living in spiritual poverty. James 2:5 states:
“Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?”
Where are you laying up your treasures?
Mt 6:19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
Mt 6:20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
Mt 6:21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
(Review ‘PLEASING GOD AND GOOD SUCCESS’ in the earlier part of Chapter 2)
* * * * * * * * *
Prosperity and Success (Conclusion of Chapter 2 PLEASING GOD-LOVE GOD, LOVE HIS WORD AND OBEY HIM)
In 3John 2 it says,
“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”
John was encouraging persecuted Christians, but today we have many Christians in America who suffer with hard times and deprivation! Don’t listen to any ‘Prosperity Preachers’ who are wolves in sheep clothing! They wrongfully use 3John 2 to equate prosperity and success with material gain and status, bilking people out of their money to make only themselves rich!
Throughout the Bible the word ‘prosper’ means a state of well being, of doing okay despite one’s circumstances, being wise in making right decisions; it has to do with having good emotional and spiritual well being, being at peace with one’s life and relationships with God and others, knowing that you are in God’s will.
To prosper and be successful we need to:
“do that which is right and good in the sight of the Lord: that IT MAY BE WELL WITH THEE, and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers”,…
The last part about possessing the good land is about receiving the blessings God has in store for those who love and obey Him. (Deut 6:18)
We began In Deut 6:18:
“And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the Lord: that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers”...
Here is the clincher in vs 19,
…”To cast out all thine enemies from before thee, as the Lord hath spoken.”
The blessings of God are conditional, i.e. they are not forthcoming unless certain requirements are fulfilled. For the Israelites, it meant they had to destroy everyone in the heathen lands they invaded. The obvious reason was that they were idolaters and would contaminate God’s people (which they eventually did!).
The lesson for us is that we must IDENTIFY AND GET RID OF things or obstacles in our lives that hinder God’s blessings from us, that keep His love, joy, and peace from permeating our lives, our children’s lives, our home, our jobs, etc. It could be something within our character and behavior that we need to change, or the way we sometimes treat one another in unloving ways; it could be things we do that are not pleasing to God, for some maybe it’s what we’re listening to, reading, the movies or You Tube videos we watch, how we spend our time, who we spend it with that is grievous to God, etc. Only when we “do that which is right and good in the sight of the Lord” will the blessings of God be released upon us!
Let us pray as David did in Psalm 51; he confessed his sins and asked God for mercy and forgiveness, that God would not withhold His blessings.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of they righteousness.” Psam 51:10-14