Are We Being Robbed?

 There are subtle enemies at work seeking to rob us of our understanding.

Matthew 13:18–23

18 “Hear then the parable of the sower:

19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path.

20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy,

21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.

22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.

23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

Our guest speaker this morning (thanks Steve Kuhl) rightly pointed out that the key to the parable is hearing. Jesus ends the original telling of the story, parable, with the admonition…

 Matthew 13:9
He who has ears, let him hear.

It seems to me the key is hearing and understanding. That’s what Jesus makes clear in verse 19. So, what is understanding? I think there are three elements. First, there is hearing. All of the parties involved had hearing; they all heard. Second is seeing. I think Jesus makes that clear in verse 15. What does it mean to ‘see’? I take that to mean that we ‘get it’. We perceive the truth. Third is the heart. When we hear and see and take to heart, we understand. (more…)

In his book Reclaiming Glory, Mark Clifton talks about ‘Six Replanting Imperatives’[1]. I’d like to talk about them, but first, let me tell you why I think we need to talk about them.

 

Churches are living things and living things are meant to grow. It’s just natural. Churches grow in two ways, spiritually and numerically. You’ve heard me say that if we plant we will grow. There is one statistic from last year that really concerns me. We baptized one person. I’m very grateful and rejoice that one has made a public statement of their desire to follow Christ. But, honestly, we can and should be doing better. We are seeing spiritual growth in the lives of our family in Christ, and for this I rejoice.

 

I see the calling of an elder as being ‘equipping the saints to build up the body of Christ.’ (Eph 4.11ff) And that brings us to the six imperatives that Mark Clifton writes about.

 

Pray Without Ceasing
We know this. We know nothing happens without prayer. But life gets in the way. We are, often, too busy to come together and pray. Private prayer is important and I encourage all of us to pray privately. (more…)

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