Some believe that the Christian worldview is declining in America and Europe. This should alarm us, especially if we say that we are interested in restoring the Christianity one reads about in the New Testament. I say this because the early church had a profound impact upon their culture (Acts 17:6).
It should not surprise us that it was said of them that they “turned the world upside down.” The gospel is the power God uses to save us (Rom. 1:16). When we share God’s Word with others, it produces faith. It can set them free from the slavery of sin. It is the seed that causes them to be born again. Christians, we all know this.
So why would Christianity be on the decline in America and Europe? Some would point to Christians not acting like Christians in various ways. That certainly is part of the reason. Others might point to religious division, society’s growing acceptance of sexual abominations, or post-modernism and its unwillingness to judge the merits of worldviews and ideas.
The thing is, all of these problems existed in the Roman empire two thousand years ago…and in much more blatant ways than today, I might add. And yet the early Christians still “turned the world upside down.” Why?
“Well, it was because some of them could perform miracles.” No, not necessarily. Examine carefully the New Testament record and you’ll see that even when the miraculous was performed, it was still the message which cut the hearts of hearers and brought them to repentance (cf. Acts 2:37-38).
Here’s the truth. Generally speaking, God’s people in western culture have not shouldered the God-given responsibility to share the gospel with the whole world (Mark 16:15). “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation” is not something that’s vague or difficult to understand. This command is actually easy to understand. It’s quite precise. It’s also demanding. It requires diligent effort, great sacrifice, and constant prayer.
Christians should memorize and always keep in mind the lessons of the parable of the sower (Lk. 8:4-15). The seed represents God’s Word. The road represents those who outright reject God’s Word. The rocky soil represents those who initially obey God’s Word but later fall away because of hardship and persecution. The thorny soil represents those who initially obey God’s Word but then fail to grow spiritually because they’re distracted by “the cares and riches and pleasures of life.”
Distracted by the cares and riches and pleasures of life…
Let’s be honest. That describes quite a lot of us, doesn’t it? It has for a generation or two. Don’t believe me? Which are you more easily inclined to do in your free time, and which do you find more enjoyment in doing? Binging TV shows and spending lots of time online…or studying God’s Word? Let’s be honest. With so many of us, it’s the former.
God wants us to be the good soil, those with honest and good hearts who obey God’s Word and then keep on obeying it. Those who grow spiritually. Christians who teach others the gospel.
The parable of the sower is valuable because it lets us know what kind of responses we will get when we go out and share the good news with the world. However, it’s even more valuable because it sheds light and insight into who we ourselves really are.
What kind of soil in the parable represents you, Christian? Again, from what I see the thorny soil represents quite a lot of us. We are very much distracted by the cares and riches and pleasures of life. I’ve been in that category myself several times. But I’ve also seen some in the rocky soil too, those who fall away due to trials and persecution.
It’s exciting and very much a blessing to be part of the good soil. It also requires a lot of hard work, self-control, and sacrifice…but it’s worth it, Christians. Daily, deep study of Scripture…diving deep into parts of the Bible with which you’re unfamiliar, studying again the parts you already know so that you know them even more…is very rewarding. Watching yourself change for the better…leaving behind those sinful, harmful, immature habits and attitudes and replacing them with a kind, considerate, patient, loving persona that is closer to what Jesus would have us to be…is a blessing not only for you but for those around you. Talking with lost souls about Jesus…letting your light shine by being kind and considerate to them, patiently and gently sharing with them the scriptural truths they need so desperately, watching with pride and joy as some of them repent and commit their lives to Christ as they come up out of the waters of baptism…there’s no greater blessing.
It’s a blessing…and a work…which God wants all of us to know. Are you sowing the seed of the kingdom, brother and sister?