A Sower Went Out to Sow

A SOWER WENT OUT TO SOW: 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 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? Luke 8:5-9

This parable, as told by our Lord and Master, teaches us about the difficulties of spreading the Gospel. In His explanation [Luke 8:11-15] He shows us that we have good seed, which is the word of God, and that the only failure that occurs in spreading the gospel is on the part of the sower or the receiver, God’s word never fails [Isa 55:11].

There are only 2 reasons why someone rejects the Gospel, you or them. They are responsible for the rejection of the Gospel due to the lack of a good & honest heart [Luke 8:15], or because they do not have a love for the truth.

And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. [2Thess. 2:10]

We fail the master for the same reason, a lack of love for the Word of God. When we obeyed the Gospel, confessing that Jesus was the Christ, we committed ourselves to His service as lights of the world [Mat 5:14]. Therefore, when He said, “go” we said “ok” [Mat 28:18-20]. When we don’t, we become like the son who disobeyed his Father [Mt 21:30].

Here’s where the lack of love comes in, Jesus said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” [Mat 22:37]. He also said, “if ye love me, keep my commandments” [John 14:15]. Love is exemplified in our obedience toward Him. Which command of God shall we omit? Jesus went on to say, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” What better way to demonstrate our love toward a Borger neighbor than to share with them the soul saving Gospel message? There are several ways we can share the Gospel with those closest to us…

ONE, we can show it by acting like Christians every day. This was the case with a woman who had an unbelieving spouse; “Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear” [1Peter 3:1-2]. When we take an honest look at our behavior and attitudes, will we find that extra special difference from the world? Do we have an above average positive attitude, an above average speech, an above average hope, an above average kindness, an above average show of love, an above average level of service? Rather, and I’m no exception, our daily “conversation” would hardly win anyone.

TWO, we can share the Gospel through our love for each other. “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” [John 13:35]. We are like any family, we have disagreements from time to time, but that doesn’t mean we stop loving one another or treat each other poorly. Folks are watching us and judging us by the way we treat each other. If we’re having trouble with loving each other, then pray for them. It’s hard to keep hatred in your heart when you pray for them.

THIRD, we can talk about the Gospel with others directly. This requires an intentional mindset toward spreading the Gospel. With enough practice we can turn nearly any conversation toward spiritual things [Acts 8:35]. Of course, not everyone cares for these kinds of conversation, in those cases just remember Matthew 7:6 “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.” Do you WANT others to hear the Gospel and obey it? If we want eternal life bad enough, then we can’t help but have the Gospel burst forth from us. “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” John 7:38

FOURTH, we can help others in their evangelism efforts. Some folks are really good at starting Bible studies or inviting to services. Your part may be in being the hospitable host or hostess. Perhaps you can help a young mom with her fussy child, allowing her to concentrate on the study. Paul described this kind of evangelism in 1Corinthians 9:19-23. “I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” As in the previous point, we have to WANT it bad enough.

FIFTH, we can refer interested parties to other members more experienced in leading a study. A new convert friend of mine is really good at generating contacts, but has yet acquired the skills to lead a study. One day he shall, but for now he is invaluable in making contacts. Cornelius, as well as Lydia & the Philippian Jailor, referred their entire families to those who could teach the Gospel. [Acts 10:33; 16:15, 32]. We can give our friends and family study material. We have tracts or books or we can pass out the Ready reference of Bible topics bookmark. You can even pass along the weekly bulletin.

LASTLY, we can evangelize through our own joy in the midst of all our sorrows and pains of life. This is the meaning of 1Peter 3:15; “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;” As Christians, if Heaven awaits us, we can endure even the most difficult of lives. That’s how Job got through the worst tragedy of life, the loss of a child. When people see our struggles, but at the same time see us remain hopeful, they’re going to ask why. Sorrows are key moments in a person’s life and if we can’t trust in the Lord, why would anyone want to know about Him.

3 step method for Overcoming Discouragement

THERE ARE MANY reasons why we become discouraged.

Life is Difficult. Job faced this more than any other person. Problem after problem after problem just kept coming upon him and he didn’t know why [Job 1-2]. Let’s face it, life is hard and it’s dangerous. We face the loss of jobs, or stuff through things outside of our control. Sometimes tragedy strikes us with the loss of a friend or family in death.

Life’s challenges appear too big. This seems to be the challenge for the Israelites as they came into the promised land, even the people were giants! [Num 13:26-33; 32:9] The Lord knew that the challenge of taking the land would look too big and warned them about becoming discouraged [Deut 1:21]. Do the obstacles you face, money, health & relationships, appear too big to handle?

Other folks get us down. Then there’s the trouble that comes upon us through other folks. Their bad behavior affects us. The sin of David in numbering the people did this [2Sam 24:15]. Often we’re troubled by the sin of another. Whether it is their apathy, carelessness or outright wickedness, we become discouraged.

Consider the many tragedies our brother Paul faced during his life as an Apostle of Jesus Christ;  …in labours … in stripes … in prisons … in deaths …five times …forty stripes … Thrice … beaten with rods, once … stoned, thrice … shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; … journeyings often, …perils of waters, … robbers… mine own countrymen, … heathen, … city…wilderness… sea,…false brethren; …weariness … painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. [2Co 11:23-28] It would make almost anyone want to give up, but friend, that is not the answer. “But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing” [2Th 3:13]. What are we to do?

3 STEPS TO OVERCOME DISCOURAGEMENT

STEP 1TAKE COMFORT IN JESUS – REALIZE THE POWER OF CHRIST WHEN WE ARE WEAK… Paul is referring to this when he makes the statement in 2Cor 4:16 “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” As we have seen, Paul suffered greatly for Christ [2 Co 4:8-9], but he saw it as an opportunity for God’s power through Christ to be shown [2Co 4:7,10-11]. Christ taught Paul this lesson as he struggled with his “thorn in the flesh” [2Co 12:7-10]. When we are weak, that is an opportunity to depend upon the Lord for strength! So infirmities and tribulations can be occasions to rejoice, not despair!

STEP 2LOOK AT THINGS NOT SEEN…FAITH Heb 11:1. Looking at things not seen refers to the “far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” [2Cor 4:16-17]. This is what renewed Paul inwardly day by day. This attitude makes our AFFLICTION appear light! It’s this mindset that gives us comfort that if our earthly house is destroyed (our bodies) we have…” a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” [2Co 5:1-5]. If looking to things unseen can renew Paul, it can also do the same for us.

STEP 3TAKE ACTION – DO SOMETHING – FEAR BOREDOM We must keep on keeping on, or as Paul said, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” [Php 3:14]. We can all do something. It’s easy to say, “nobody’s there for me, so why should I be there for them?” Friend, this is not Christ’s way. Even though all had forsaken Him, Jesus didn’t stop serving us all the way to the cross! He left us an example in which to follow.

We can all do something; For OTHERS For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me” [Mt 25:35-36]. When we’re serving the brethren, we’re in effect, serving Jesus. I’ve yet to find the passage which states, “Serve thy brethren AFTER they have served you.”

We can also do something for the spreading of the GOSPEL by inviting someone to read the scriptures with you, or inviting them to a worship service. Let me remind you that one of the methods of evangelism is through our HOPE & GODLINESS [1Peter 3:1, 15].

And finally, we can do something for the CHURCH by participating in the worship & in our Bible classes. Colossians 3:16 teaches how we help one another in our songs, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

As one of our songs says, “Let us labor for the Master from the dawn til setting sun, let us talk of all His wondrous love and care; Then when all of life is over and our work on earth is done, and the roll is called up yonder I’ll be there.”

TOO MUCH FUN

Is it possible to have too much fun? Perhaps…

We are ruining our lives. One way we’re doing this is by viewing entertainment as our highest priority. None of us wants to be bored. By using amusement as the remedy it becomes the norm, we learn to crave constant amusement and entertainment. We’re striving to create magical “DISNEY LIKE” moments every day which make them less magical requiring us to search for more and more.

Boredom also leads to spending money in our pursuit to thwart boredom. We go to the mall, movies or amusement parks seeking that ever elusive fix called excitement.

There’s a song called, “Too much fun”, but it only refers to meaningless or harmful things as fun. Yes, we CAN have too much fun when that is the only type we pursue.

The radio host, Dennis Prager, says that fun can be categorized 3 ways; Harmful fun, Meaningless fun, and Meaningful fun. Let’s look at these…

Harmful Fun, this is the entertainment that causes us harm. These can be summed up in Galatians 5 called the works of the flesh. “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness…” The list also includes drunkenness, drinking parties and the like. Any fun that is taken from this list may seem pleasurable for a time, but in the end leaves us empty and unhappy. [Heb 11:26; Pr 23:32]. Harmful fun can also be spending too much time with Meaningless fun…

Meaningless fun, this is the entertainment that is not sinful or wrong in and of itself but adds little to no value to your life. Video games, certain fiction novels, TV watching and the like. Meaningless fun can be described best as entertainment that is passive as opposed to active. When we watch TV, whether it be sitcoms or sports, we’re actually just watching other people making a good living at their jobs.

Meaningful fun, this is the entertainment that adds value to your life or the life of another. Reading of good literature or of non-fiction. Better still, the reading of Scripture [Eph 3:3; 2Tim 2:15], yes, studying your bible can be entertaining. Meaningful entertainment choices are those things which require you to be an active participant rather than a passive watcher.

Another area that very few consider fun is work. Our society has demonized work, but there are millions that truly enjoy their work (and not just for the money). I’ve met teachers, doctors and even janitors that like going to work because of the joy it brings to them.

Can service to your fellow man be fun? Certainly so. Many hours have I sat at the feet of one of my elders, listening to the stories of the depression and the War. Joy was to be had by both of us, myself for the valuable insight of a life well lived and for them, to have someone, anyone, showing an interest in their lives.

Is there a remedy to this problem of “TOO MUCH FUN”?

First, we need to examine other methods to combat boredom, rather than just taking the easy path of passive, mindless fun. The 10th chapter of Proverbs say, “He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich. 5 He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame.” [See also 10:16; 13:4,11; 18:9]

Service to another can be fun and overcome boredom. In service that is voluntary or money making, either way, we can find joy and be entertained in it. There’s value beyond ourselves in service when you consider God’s word on such things. [Mat 25:35; John 13:17]

Now go out and have some fun.
Pr 13:4 The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.

5 things you can do for the church today

One of the problems the Apostle Paul had to deal with was that folks in the church wanted the same job, that is, they wanted the best ones. [1Corinthians 12] He pointed out that every person was important in the church regardless of their abilities. He wanted all the members of the Lord’s church to learn……

  • We are more than individuals; 1Corinthians 12:27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
  • We are members one of another; Romans 12:5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
    • Ephesians 4:25b for we are members one of another.
What can you do?

Some of you may be asking the question, what can I do for the church? Instead of looking for the jobs that seem to be the best ones, or the ones that garner the most attention, look for the work that you can do well. But what is that? How do you find what that is?

If this is you, here are 5 things you can do for the church today as you do your own “one another ministry”.

You can …..

1 – KINDLY affectioned one another —

You can, TODAY, be kind. You can be kind to the visitors by welcoming them in and introducing them to others in the congregation. You can be kind to those leading the public worship and the classes. You can be kind by assisting the mom with the “antsy” child. You can be kind to that ill member that has been unable to attend for some time.

Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; [Romans 12:10]

2 – ENCOURAGE one another –

So many folks are under such stress and pressure these days and need some encouragement. The Bible uses the words comfort, exhort and beseech. You can encourage that young person that is learning how to serve the Lord. You can encourage that single person looking for a way to fit in. You can be that person that encourages folks to continue to build their faith in the Lord.

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. [Jude 1:3]

3 – STIR UP one another –

In the King James text, Hebrews 10:24 uses the word “provoke”. Usually used negatively by us, in this text it is an urgent command to “stir up” members of the church to increase in LOVE and GOOD WORKS. Every church needs a lot more of both of these things. Sometimes it requires a person or group of people to get the ball rolling. Of course when the Bible says “good works” it is referring to the works “which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” [Ephesians 2:10]

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: [Hebrews 10:24]

4 – COMFORT one another –

Here’s something that you can do that is very much needed by everyone from time to time, comfort. Folks need comfort when they’re grieving, when they’re sick, when they’re facing a challenge at home or work. People get sad, discouraged or down from time to time and need a shoulder to cry on. They need to know that their brothers and sisters in Christ care. Do you?

That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. [1Co 12:25]

5 – SERVE one another –

We can all do a better job at serving one another. People need help, physical help. Sometimes they need financial help. The rest of us can be there to provide the service that our brother or sister in Christ needs. I know a man that came to me expressing his fear of leading of public prayer or speaking in public. “But, I can fix cars, put up drywall or do just about any home repair.” WOW! That’s fantastic, this brother wanted to serve is fellow church member. And he did. Every time someone needed help with a car repair or home repair, he was there.

For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. [Galatians 5:13]

Bonus – PRAY FOR one another –

Before we finish this article, we need to add just one more thing that every member of the Lord’s church can do for the others, PRAY. People often request prayers from the church. DO IT, actually do it. Pray for your brethren. Be specific in your prayers. If a sister is asking for prayers for an upcoming surgery, pray about that surgery. Pray for the protection of the children as they go off to college or off to war, that they be both physically safe, but also psychologically safe. Paul wrote, “Pray without ceasing.” [1Thessalonians 5:17]

The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. [James 5:16]

If I had to summarize all of these things you can do into one word, that word would be LOVE. Love in the scriptures is an action word. It’s much more than an acknowledgement in your mind. It’s an attitude that compels you to do something.

spencer is the evangelist for the Franklin Street Church of Christ in Borger Texas.

7 things Jesus said that made me work harder

While sitting in my office here in Borger, Tx, I was wondering, Why does one person seem to be more active as a Christian and another does not?  Said another way, why do some remain faithful and others fall away? Pondering this question, 7 verses of Jesus came to mind that are motivators for me and my faith.

1)“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” [Mt 22:37]

  • Certainly we should start here. This is the ultimate motivator, IF you believe in the existence of God. For me, obedience to an all powerful God makes perfect sense. He created me, He gave me life, He deserves my life service. Related to this saying are these:
  • A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” [John 13:34-35]
    • Our love, including our demonstration of love, has an impact on my evangelistic efforts. It reminds me of David’s sin. He certainly committed adultery, lying and finally murder, but his real sin was, “Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, “ [2Sa 12:14]
  • But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” [Mt 5:44]
    • Elevated even further, love our enemies. This really gets at the heart of the matter because in this one thing we see the truth of the love of God, the love of an enemy. [Rom 5:10]

2)“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” [Mr 8:36]

  • This verse showed me the vanity of worldly pursuits, and that these pursuits can interfere with my ability to win heaven. This verse clearly shows that nothing can be compared to heaven. What’s surprising, not that we sell our souls, but that we sell it so cheaply.

3)“And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” [Lu 9:62]

  • It’s very easy to get lazy and unmotivated as a christian. This verse reminds us that our service toward God is an active service. James reminds us of this when he wrote, “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” [Jam 2:18]

4)“For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” [Mt 5:20]

  • So many people believe in an, “I’m ok / you’re ok” kind of life. This verse shows us that our righteousness is to EXCEED another’s. When you also look at this other verse, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” [Mt 23:23] we see that He was critical of their lack in the heart issues. Please note that He said, “without leaving the others undone.”

5)“For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:” [Mt 25:35]

  • How do we do this? How do we feed our Lord? When we read the context we see very clearly that it’s done through the care and feeding of our brethren. He then goes on to say, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:” / “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:”

6)“Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.” [Mt 22:29]

  • Can there be any more sobering words from our Lord than these? “Spencer, you’re mistaken.” In what were these mistaken? You may say, “It’s got nothing to do with salvation.” My question for you is this, CAN YOU BE MISTAKEN ABOUT SALVATION, By not knowing the scriptures or the power of God?

7)“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” [Joh 3:5]

  • When Jesus says things like, “except ye______, he cannot enter….” we need to pay attention. So much verbal gymnastics are performed attempting to explain away baptism. When you take the entirety of scripture, [Mrk 16:16; Acts 22:16] you can only come to the conclusion that baptism is essential.

So, there you go. Seven amazing quotes from our Lord and Saviour Jesus the Christ. What will motivate you to serve Him better? If not these, what?

One more bonus quote I will share: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” [Mt 7:21]

unconventional evangelism

I actually want to look at evangelism in a way that seems to be missing in many Christians, but first let me tell you a story……

I was attempting to eat at a restaurant where I live in Borger, Texas. I say attempt, because the entire staff for this particular restaurant was outside smoking. Had they been in the back by the dumpster, my recommended smoking area for any restaurant, I may have never noticed. Nay nay, they were by the front door!

Since it was a buffet, I seated myself, retrieved my own food and served my own beverage. Oh, you may say that it was a buffet, what do you expect. Folks, the drink dispenser was in the kitchen, had it been self serve I would have no problem. No one cleared my plates, too many by the way (I need to work on that problem), no one offered a refill. AND no one brought me a bill. I even attempted to wait on another table as they were in the same plight as myself.

As I went up to check out and paid my bill with my card I was faced with the dilemma when filling out the “tip” line. ….

Many of these folks would identify themselves as a Christian

Here’s what got me thinking, As a Christian, how should our work ethic be perceived? Another thing I got to thinking about, looking at myself, If I demand such HIGH expectations from the purchases I make, shouldn’t I GIVE the same or better quality in the services I provide?

Is there a guiding Biblical principle for these Ideas? Yes…...the Christian work ethic……

  1. Eph 6:5 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; 6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; 7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: KJV
  2. 1Pe 2:18 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. 19 For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. 21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: NKJV

All of these are sufficient to show HOW a Christian should work, but I want to show you WHY this is so important. This will also get to the point of the title of this blog…….Evangelism through our work..

  1. 1Pe 3:1  Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation (lifestyle) of the wives; (speaking of wives, but could easily apply to any spouse)
  2. 1Pe 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: (this is speaking to Christians having a positive, hopeful attitude in the midst of trouble)
  3. Joh 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Let us remember, we are here to be a light to the world, spreading the Gospel. I will leave you with this……

“Christians should always be preaching the Gospel, and if necessary, use words.” unknown

spencer
Borger, Tx
806/274-5021

Ask me how to make your calling and election sure. 2Pet 1:10