June 9, 2004

The Bible

The Parable of the Sower:
A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.
And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it was withered away, because it lacked moisture.
And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.
And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be?
And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing, they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.
Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
They on the rock are they which, 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.
And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with the cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.
But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, Keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.
No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick that they which enter in may see the light.
For there is nothing in secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.
Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.
God speaks to all of us through his Word, the Bible.

The Bible is God's Word to Mankind. Without the truth, which is the Word of God, we would be forced to rely on instincts, feelings, experiences and other people to tell us what they believe to be the truth in this world that is full of wickedness and deception. What kind of road would all of us be forced to take if it were not for the truth that God has made available to us through the Bible? I shudder to think. All throughout the centuries, man has always known that no matter how horrible the conditions on earth get, what tribulations we may go through, we still had the truth of God's word to fall back on. It is still that way today.

But there are less people depending on that truth today. The reasons? Well, perhaps it is because some are depending on their feelings, what other people tell them, experiences and manifestations that they are subjected to in their churches and in their personal lives. In my opinion, "feelings" or "experiences" are getting the best of the Church.
Although there is plenty of blame to go around, primarily the blame must be put on the shepherds, teachers, and others that are supposed to be taking care of the flock of God. They have a greater responsibility than those who are not in the ministry. Many shepherds today are false shepherds and do not care for the well being of the flock that God has put them in charge of.

I can't remember the last time I heard a sermon of "The Parable of the Sower". The time of great deception that Christ and the apostles spoke of is surely here. The falling away of the church. I think the falling away has been happening for some time now.

Together with the bible and the leading of the Holy Spirit, those in authority in the churches are to admonish us in the ways of the Lord. Shedding forth the light of God's truth and warning us of doctrine that is unbiblical in nature is the main duty of those that have been given authority in the church.

They are to admonish us to walk in the truth.
We read in John's Gospel, Chapter 10 verse 12&13, that there are hirelings who upon seeing the wolf coming, leave the sheep. That they will not look after the sheep, but will turn and run when they are needed the most.
The hireling is a picture of a false shepherd that will only be concerned about himself and will NOT care for the sheep.

The heart drought
I believe there is a drought of the truth in these last days, a drying up of the truth if you will. The drought is not brought on because of the inability to get the word of God, there have been more printings of bibles in these days than ever before, all with various translations to boot. The drought is here because there is a lack of the Word of God hidden in our hearts.

When the truth is not hidden in our hearts, it will show in our actions toward others. We will not bring forth fruits of the spirit such as acts of compassion and acts of love.
This is exactly what many in the body of Christ are experiencing today. Yet, many in the church are saying without reserve that the state of the Church is going through a mighty revival of sorts, and a great end-time harvesting of souls. Now I know that God works every day on behalf of his people and nobody will convince me otherwise. But a revival absent of the Word of God is fruitless.
The fact is that Jesus Christ wants nothing more than for all to come to the knowledge of his truth. So is this what is being taught in the majority of Christian churches and ministries?

There is a focus on experiences and manifestations, etc. But what about the truth? What about the Word being preached with boldness and without exception?
I have noticed many churches getting caught up in their "feelings" , but where is the faith? Is it there or does it get tossed aside in favor of man's theology and man's experience and knowledge?
Many times a person doesn't "feel" saved. Now we know we are saved by the blood and grace of Jesus Christ, not because we have a good feeling at last nights revival. Rather, we know we are saved because of what the Word of God says and the witness of the Holy Spirit.
The fact of the matter is that we are not saved by feelings, and we cannot expect to be kept on track in our Christian walk by feelings either.

Discernment and Deception
With discernment, many can see that numerous teachings that we have relied on for centuries are now being changed to accommodate those with a "new vision" or a "new divine revelation" in these last days.
We hear phrases such as "divine renewal" and "God is doing a new thing now, we must give into it and go on to this new paradigm in the Church or get left behind".

My question to those who say such things is this:
If we are to do this, where is it backed up in the Scripture?
I know that Jesus said in Matthew 24, in the signs of the end times, that the love of many will wax cold. Evil men and seducers shall also wax worse and worse the apostle said.
And God is always doing a new thing, this is true but his word never changes, his truth never alters.

I am not against revival at all. I am just against a revival that is being touted "of God" when in reality, it is often times not. Some of these moves are full of vanity and man's thoughts and ideals, not the truth of God..
If we should have a great and mighty move of God, I know that it will be because God saw our hearts and that we were solidly fixed upon his Word. I believe revival will come when we put God first place in our lives without compromise, and do not swerve aside to vain teachings that only serve to puff up his people rather than edify the body of Christ.

Relying on the Truth

The Bible is still here today, if we will take it and apply it in our own personal lives, if we walk in the truth as God commands of us, we can do nothing better during our time here on earth. When we get caught up with fads and new paradigms within the Church, Satan is never happier. But what really destroys Satan's lies is God's truth, his word.
His Word is Light and Life at the same time!
What about you? How long has it been since you've picked up God's truth which is his Word, and prayed that the Holy Spirit would help you understand what God is speaking to you through his divinely inspired Word?
Here are a few questions that are pretty commonplace about the Bible

Question #1.
How often should I study/read the Bible?
Answer: Every Day if possible, I know that these days we are all pretty much in the same boat as far as time constraints in our lives, but please take the time every day to study the Bible for at least 10-15 minutes. If you have to, turn off the television, radio and whatever else you have going on.
If you have more time, then by all means study more and the more you learn of God through the written Word the more you will desire him.
Our desire to know him more comes through faith and faith comes through the Word of God.
Question #2:
But I don't understand the Bible so what can I do? I also find it boring at times.
Answer: When understanding the Bible isn't easy to you, there is only one thing to do, Pray before you ever open the pages!
I can attest to this fact. Just simply ask God to help you to understand his Word and ask that the Holy Spirit would make the words alive unto you. The same answer which is praying beforehand will help with the boring part too.
Question #3
I want to know why I am so uninterested in the Bible and the things of God, I want to be interested.
Answer: The reason why you are uninterested in the things of God and in studying God's word is answered by Jesus in the Book of Luke chapter 8 and verse 14 which is a portion of the Parable of the Sower:
14. And they which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life and bring no fruit to perfection.
In other words, other things, people and places take priority in our lives over and above God's word, We all are very busy living our lives, but we must not allow God and the things of God to be put on the back burner of our list of priorities.
We must make a conscience choice to put God and his Word first. Our relationship with him is something that we can't afford to let suffer and put second place.
Question #4
I used to read my bible and I had a very close relationship with God but something happened.
I want to know why I cannot get to the place (relationship) that I once was with God. It scares me and I just want things to be like before, what's happened?
This is believe it or not, a very common issue with Christians in their walk with God. This has happened to me before as well.
Maybe it was SIN entering in that
has caused the relationship with God to suffer at one time or another. But if not sin, most likely it was things taking up our time, our lives filled with other things, people, issues, etc, that has caused us to drift and taken our attentions away from God. Go to the top of this same page and read the "parable of the sower" and it will give you some insights.

One thing is certain, God did not drift from you. And God is not mad at you. You most likely feel that he is angered at you or that he has turned his back on you because the closeness is not there now. That is not why.
You have drifted from God, yet he did not start this drift. You have, and the reasons are probably numerous. His hand is stretched out towards you STILL.
But you can still have even a better and closer relationship with God than you did years ago.
Here is what to avoid:
Do not attempt to lay hold upon the past! Remember what Paul the Apostle said:
Philippians 3:13;

13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

As we can see, it is forgetting everything which is in the past (behind) and looking toward our present and
future. If you have sinned and gone astray from God, repent.

He truly is ready for you to draw near to him, he is always there and he was ready "Yesterday" for you to come to him.

Start afresh with God NOW.
This is the only way. We are not to look back. First, if you believe in your heart that it was sin that has caused that distance , confess any known and unknown sins or any offenses that may have caused your relationship with God to suffer and then you can be free to have a close relationship with God. It can be so much better than it ever was before! After all, this is what God is waiting for. This is what he wants, he can not work in your life without honesty, and as I said before, he already knows what you've done if anything and He still loves you. Just don't get into bondage by what some may tell you concerning what used to be - your past experiences with the Lord. God is concerned with you in the here and now.
He does not want you to think that he doesn't care for you, because he does!

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