YOU ARE LIVING IN ENEMY TERRITORY!

    Imagine waking up one morning to find that enemy forces have invaded the land. They have captured and secured all forms of the government and military. Because of this, you are no longer a citizen of the country in which you were born, you are now under the rule of an enemy force. Imagine also, that this enemy has agreed to allow you to continue living in your home and working as you had before. You must simply comply with their standards, pledge your loyalties to this new power, and pay your tributes, accordingly. What was once your homeland, has ceased. Now, you are living in enemy territory!
    Really, this isn’t too hard to imagine. In fact, it’s been happening since the dawn of time. We just recently witnessed it again with Russian forces invading the Ukraine. ISIS took over great swaths of territory during their invasive campaign. People in those lands found themselves suddenly living under enemy rule. I also think of stories like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego living under the enemy (Daniel 3), or Palestine during the time of Jesus, along with and most of the known world under the rule of the Roman empire (Matthew 22:21). Man often finds himself living under the rule of foreign powers. It usually brings hardship, confusion, persecution, violence, and even death.
    Do you realize that you are living in enemy territory today? That’s right. The land in which you live, is ruled by a foreign, evil force. He is known as the “ruler of this world,” (John 12:31); the “prince of the power of the air,” (Ephesians 2:2); and the “god of this world,” (2 Corinthians 4:4). He is the “roaring lion,” (1 Peter 5:8); “serpent,” (Genesis 3:1); “dragon,” (Revelation 12:9; 20:2); our “adversary,” (Job 1); “tempter,” (Matthew 4:3); and “wicked one,” (Matthew 13:19). He is Satan, the old devil.
    Now, consider what Paul wrote, “our citizenship is in heaven …” (Philippians 3:20) which implies that we are not of this land. Jesus also stated in His prayers, “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” (John 17:15-16). This is clear indication that we are living in enemy territory! This means we are at a disadvantage. It also means that we comply with the enemy’s standards if we just try to “fit in” with the rest of the world. We essentially pledge our loyalties to this enemy force if we stand by and do nothing about it. We pay tribute to him when we succumb to the temptations of sin.
    However, the Bible also says, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light,” (1 Peter 2:9). So, even though we live in enemy territory, we can be just like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego and NOT submit to the enemy. That’s what makes us a special people. Not submitting to the enemy promises us hardship, confusion, persecution, violence, and even death. That’s exactly what Jesus said would happen, if you enter into His kingdom (John 15:20). That is why we must persevere until the end and He will reward us richly (Matthew 10:22; Revelation 2:10). In the meantime, try remembering the comforting words of that old song, “This world is not my home, I’m only passing through.”


ARE WE THE ONLY ONES GOING TO HEAVEN?

    I can’t tell you how many times I have had someone, who is not a member of the church of Christ, say to me, “You people in the Church of Christ believe you’re the only ones going to heaven.” Or, they will have something similar to say along those same lines, just in slightly different words. Has that ever happened to you? If you’ve been in the church any amount of time, it’s bound to happen sooner or later. So, is it true? Is that what we believe? Let’s respond honestly to the accusation and answer those questions.

Is that true?

    First of all, I have never heard anyone from the church of Christ ever actually say that, preach it, or write it! From my own experience, I grew up in the church, have been closely associated with the church most of my life, and have been a full-time minister for twelve years now. I have been to numerous lectureships, Gospel meetings, and seminars where I’ve heard some of the best and most prominent preachers in the brotherhood. I’ve also read hundreds of articles, blogs, and commentaries by our brethren. Out of all of that, I cannot point to one single occasion where someone actually spoke those words! So, where did it come from? Well, it came from an inference someone deduced (obviously denominational) about the church of Christ from a sermon they heard, an article read, or the like. It is what someone else thinks; it is an opinion they have formed about us.
    Secondly, we can’t help it if people form opinions, but we can at least answer their allegations. So, is that, indeed, what the church of Christ believes or teaches? The answer is “No.” The church of Christ has no official, nor formal statement of faith, creed, or a mission statement registered anywhere in the world. We have no overseeing, governing authority in a headquarters somewhere to mandate such a thing. We simply adhere to what the Bible teaches regarding the church and try to replicate it. The name we use, the “church of Christ” is simply a description of the body, or assembly of the saints (Romans 16:1-16; 1 Corinthians 1:2), not some formal organization’s name. Therefore, to make such an allegation regarding the church of Christ is evidence that the accuser doesn’t really understand the true nature of the church – as presented in the Bible. Instead, they are thinking from a more worldly, man-made institution point of view.
    Thirdly, the real question that should be asked, in order to respond is this, “Who do youthink will go to heaven?” Or, perhaps, “Who (how, or what) determines who gets to go and who doesn’t get to go?” If they’re honest, their answer should be exactly the same as “what the church of Christ believes.”It should be, “God decides!” (Matthew 7:21) If they don’t believe that, then there’s a whole other issue to deal with. Thus, where do we find the rules for God’s decision? Only in the Bible. Any member of the church of Christ should be able to answer, “Only those who obey the Gospel will go to heaven,” (2 Thessalonians 1:3-10, Matthew 25:31-46). We, that is, the people who have been added to the church (Acts 2:47) believe that anyone who adheres to the plain, clear doctrine of the first century church of the Bible will go to heaven. In the first century, they were called just “Christians” (Acts 11:26), the “Way” (Acts 9:2), and the “household of God” (Ephesians 2:19), to name a few. They obeyed that Gospel plan of salvation and were all part of the body of Christ, the church of our Lord, Jesus (Matthew 16:18).
    Therefore, if the church you go to doesn’t line up with, or match the church of the first century church, as it is presented in the Bible by name, doctrine, organization, headship, leadership structure, worship, membership, and fellowship then your soul is in jeopardy! It doesn’t matter what I believe or think. What matters is what God has said!


CHRISTIANITY OR CHURCHIANITY?

    It is believed there were tens of millions who converted to Christianity throughout the Roman Empire within just a couple of hundred years after the church began in Jerusalem around 33 AD (Acts 2). The exponential growth of Christianity from its infancy was absolutely phenomenal! Here in America, the church of Christ experienced yet another remarkable growth period in the middle of the past century. Estimates from the 1960s put the total membership of the churches of Christ at around 2.5 million. That’s an impressive number! Unfortunately, that growth rate has since declined, considerably, since about 1980.

 Today’s Trend

    Today, the fastest growing religion in the world is no longer Christianity – although it still makes up about 31% of the world’s population, more than any other religion. Adherents to Christianity, that is, those who follow the teachings and doctrines of its founder, Jesus Christ, have decreased substantially and at an increasingly rapid pace. The people who obey the Gospel plan of salvation, as clearly outlined in the New Testament, (Mark 16:16; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Romans 6:1-4) and who are putting on the name Christian (Galatians 3:27; Acts 11:26) are no longer converting at the rates previously seen. There’s a different trend. Instead of converting to Christianity, people are now increasingly converting to Churchianity.
    Churchianity has become the fastest growing religion in America. What exactly is Churchianity? Let’s allow Paul to explain, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” (2 Tim 4:3). This is how Churchianity has come into existence; it is attractive to those who do not know their Bibles. Churchianity assures people they are right with God by just listening to some religious leader, attend an entertaining “worship” service, and being involved in church functions. It is a religion more focused on the the social aspect of the church than on the Scriptural aspect based upon truth. Never has there been a lack of religious institutions in the world. But, there continues to be a growing lack of fundamental truth regarding the one true church of our Lord. This has resulted in yet another, new community of faith based solely on traditions, habits, and instructions of institutionalism rather than book, chapter, and verse of the Scriptures.

What about you?

    Are you a Christian or a Churchian? Are you more concerned about what Jesus and the apostles teach through the inspired words of the Bible, or do you prefer to adapt to whatever some manufactured tradition mandates? Are you more concerned about what the church is doing for you, or are you more focused on what you can do for the Lord’s kingdom? Do you come to worship to “get something out of it” for yourself, or do you come to give honor, praise, and glory only to God? Do you see souls all around you who are in need of God’s saving grace, or do you see people who are not lucky enough to belong to your special club? I hope you can see the difference between being a Christian and Churchian. You can’t be both and only one of the two will make it to heaven (cf. Matthew 7:21). Choose wisely!


THAT IT MIGHT BE FULFILLED

   Jesus did many incredible things while He walked the earth. Let’s say, if you were to rank the “Top 5 Most Amazing Attributes of Jesus,” what would be on that list? Surely, His resurrection, His coming back from the dead would naturally top such a list! But what would be second? For me, it would be the many prophecies He fulfilled; most of which, were completely outside of any possible influence by Him. The probability of fulfilling just one is truly astounding. Fulfilling eight becomes astronomical. Jesus fulfilled more than 300 prophecies! That’s completely impossible according to any calculation. Yet, Jesus did it!
    The apostle John wrote, “these things are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,” (John 20:31). What we have written about His life, His teaching, His miracles, the prophecies fulfilled, and His resurrection are certainly more than sufficient evidence to believe in Him! Do you believe in Jesus? Do you truly believe? You should! The same apostle wrote, “Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:5). That is why Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through Me.” (John 14:6) ~ God bless! T.S.
 
Here a just a few of the many prophecies that Jesus fulfilled:
 
Prophecies


ARE YOU A “POSITIVE” PERSON FOR GOD?

    I remember my dad used to quote motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar, all the time. Those little pithy proverbs of his had quite an impact on many people’s lives – all for the good! That’s because there is truth to much of what he says, not only from a Biblical perspective but also from a physiological perspective. You see, your thoughts and feelings can have a serious impact on your health and well-being. Positive thinking produces resilience in your life while negative thinking most often produces vulnerability. One is helpful; one is very harmful.
    Constant negative thoughts, feelings, and influences in your life produces chronic stress. Stress upsets the body’s natural hormone balance, it depletes the chemicals in your brain required for happiness, and can seriously damage the immune system. Just ask any doctor. Uncontrolled negative emotions, anger, and stress can eventually lead to hypertension (high blood pressure), cardiovascular disease, digestive disorders, and even infection. The end result of constant negativity in your life is a decrease in lifespan. In fact, scientific studies have identified that stress shortens our telomeres, the “end caps” of our DNA strands, which causes us to age more quickly. Negativity can kill you!
    Positive thinking, on the other hand, can reduce stress. John Hopkins Medical says there is a strong link between “positivity” and good health. Additional studies have found that a positive attitude improves outcomes and life satisfaction across a spectrum of conditions—including traumatic brain injury, stroke and brain tumors. The truth is, Christians should be the most positive thinking people all in the world! (John 10:10) After all, we have hope of eternal life, a reward in heaven! (Revelation 2:10) We’ve been saved, set free from sin and the second death! (Romans 6:18; Revelation 2:11) We should possess a “peace that passes all understanding,” (Philippians 4:7). This, and the many other blessings we have in Christ Jesus, should make us extremely resilient, that is, capable of withstanding whatever difficulty or problem that comes our way. But it takes the power of positive thinking – not always an easy thing to do.
     Difficulties are always going to come. Hardship and persecution are promised to us (John 15:20). But that does not mean it must defeat us. We have a strength and support system behind us that is greater than all! (Romans 8:38,39) Be a positive person for God. Show Jesus you trust in Him to get you through. Allow the Word to build you up! You will not only be pleasing to God, you will feel better, and you will live longer!
 


BUT WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM?

    “So, what does this verse mean to you?” That is a question frequently asked during a Bible study. I’ve been asked this question in a personal study, I’ve heard it asked in a Bible class many times, and I’ve even asked it myself to others in studies. But, is it necessarily a wise thing to do? Does it matter what we think about a passage? Perhaps, we need to handle the question a little more carefully?
    The intention for asking the question, I believe, is simply to see what others think, or understand, about a passage of Scripture – innocent enough. After all, Phillip asked the Ethiopian eunuch, “Do you understand what you are reading?” (Acts 8:30). So on one hand, the question is perfectly acceptable in order for a teacher to gauge one’s level of comprehension. He/she can then take that information and make adjustments in how to continue teaching. But on the other hand, it can also sometimes open a door for someone to espouse their own opinion regarding a passage. This is often labeled, One’s Own Interpretation. Sadly, it is here that many teachers will respond with a statement such as, “That’s interesting,” or even, “Okay. Well, what does it mean to you?”, while pointing to someone else. Without acknowledging what was just said as being conjecture and not based on hermeneutical interpretation, the teacher may have just caused a serious stumbling block for someone else in the class. This is where the ideology of, “You have your interpretation of the Bible and I have mine,” originates. Such conclusions can have serious consequences for one’s soul!

One’s opinion as to what a passage means can be enlightening, but it should never supersede what the inspired writer intended to transmit to the readers!

    When Jesus asked His disciples, “But who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15), He was not asking for their opinion, necessarily. Jesus wanted to know if they truly understood who He was, in reality. The disciples had previously answered that many thought Jesus was someone else (V14). But, just because they thought that about Him did not make it true. Peter then answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” (V16) and Jesus confirmed his answer (V17) as correct. Peter got it right!
    Even the Ethiopian eunuch responded to Phillip’s question with, “How can I [understand], unless someone guides me?” (Acts 8:31) The eunuch could have just speculated about what was written in the scroll and then arrived at his own interpretation, but he didn’t. He recognized that he did not understand everything and could use some assistance. Phillip’s knowledge of the Old Testament, along with knowing the fulfilled prophecies of Jesus, and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit provided the correct interpretation of the scroll to the eunuch.
    What if Jesus were to ask you, “Who do you say that I am?” Would you give Him your own interpretation, or your opinion about Him from the Scriptures? Or, would you search them diligently, trying to understand correctly what is says? Remember, He said, “Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord shall enter …” (Matthew 7:21). Which means, not everyone gets it right. Those who think they know Jesus, or those who give an opinion about “who He is to them,” will not matter to Him. It won’t qualify them to get into heaven! He will respond with “I never knew you,” (Matthew 7:23)! What truly matters, what Jesus is implying to us, and what we must get right, is knowing what the Bible says about Him and then obeying His commands. Do you know Jesus? Don’t risk your soul’s eternity with yours or anyone’s opinion. Let the Bible speak for itself about the Savior. Always ask, “What does the Bible say?”


RENEWING OUR VISION FOR MARGARET STREET

    Vision Planning simply means developing a “road map” for the futureof the church. It serves as a guide to help us determine what direction we want Margaret Street to go, where we want to be, and how we want to grow. It gives clear focus to our goals and aspirations as a congregation. It emboldens us with purpose. If someone were to ask you, “What is Margaret Street all about? What is your vision, or you objective?” How would you answer? Shouldn’t we all have the same focus and be able to answer the same?

What will the future hold for Margaret Street?

    The face of this congregation will have changed in five years. It will be considerably different ten years from now. How about in 15, or 20 years? Think back ten years ago, is our church different today than back then? We need to seriously consider our future and ask some hard questions. This is such an exciting time for Margaret Street and there’s no time better than the present to work on this! Consider these questions:
  • The Gospel has the same power to save, but the world is much different and we must adapt how we deliver the message. So, as congregation, how are we going to reach the lost?
  • How can we build up our young families so they become a solid foundation for the future of Margaret Street and beyond?
  • Do we need to review what we are doing and how we’ve been doing it? Do we need to make adjustments to our methods?
  • We will need to develop new leaders for the future. How are we preparing our men to be elders, deacons, and preachers?
  • How will we instill a sense of servitude into our young people and develop them into leaders?
  • We’ve reached our goals from our previous vision! What can we now do to continue to serve the Lord and glorify Him?
  • Ask yourself, “What can I do to help Margaret Street grow and insure her future growth?”

Do you want to see Margaret Street grow, or not?

    If you have the heart of a true Christian, then the answer should be a hearty, “Yes!” The mission of the church (her purpose) is to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10; Matthew 28:19,20). That implies we need to be reaching out and bringing lost souls within our community to the foot of the cross. Every year should be marked by many new faces being added to our number and more disciples being made through the teaching and preaching taking place here. Let’s develop a vision that will accomplish that principle, divine objective!
    The Bible says, “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established,” (Proverbs 16:3 ESV). You might also consider these passages in our vision planning: Proverbs 15:22, 16:9, 19:21, 21:5; Matthew 6:33; James 1:5; Philippians 3:13-14, 4:6; Luke 14:28; and Psalm 20:4.
    I thank God that Margaret Street has a sound, visionary eldership to oversee our flock. I’m thankful that they are not only concerned about the souls of our current members, but also of the souls of those future, potential members of our church. That is why they are asking for our input, as a congregation, to assist them in developing a renewed vision for this congregation. It’s an exciting time for Margaret Street!


DIFFERENCE BETWEEN APOSTLE AND DISCIPLE

    Matthew 10:1 describes Jesus calling His twelve disciples to Himself. In the very next verse (10:2) they are called, “the twelve apostles.” Well, which is it? Are they disciples or apostles? Is there a difference between these two words? Do they mean the same thing, or are they two different things?
    The Bible uses several terms to describe those who adhere to the Christian faith. Adherents are referred to as followers (1 Thessalonians 1:6), members, citizens, saints (Ephesians 2:19), Christians (Acts 11:26), and the church (Colossians 1:24). However, the two words that stand out above all others are those two words, disciple and apostle. They are used the most frequently throughout the New Testament. In one sense, they are synonymous, but in another sense, they are quite distinct in their definition. Let’s look at how.

DISCIPLE

    The word disciple, that is translated from the original Bible language, means “a learner; a pupil of someone (in contrast to a master, or teacher).” Our English version came from the Latin form discipulos, which means “a scholar.” It implies that the learner accepts the views and practices of his teacher. Knowing this, we gain more insight into what is meant when the word is used in phrases such as, “the disciples of John” (Matthew 9:14). It means John had pupils that learned directly from him. The Pharisees are also described as having disciples (Luke 5:33), and they even called themselves, “disciples of Moses” (John 9.28). Yet, the most common use of the word (some 250 times!) is in conjunction with those who follow Jesus, the Master Teacher. The words follower and disciple have, essentially, become synonymous with being a Christian.

APOSTLE

    This term comes directly from the Greek word, apostolos, which literally means “one sent forth.” The verb form of the word, apostelo, means “to send.” This is how the word is used in Acts 14:14, where Barnabas is described as an apostle. He, indeed, had been sent out (Acts 13:2,3). But, this is not how the word is most often used, nor typically understood. The same word is more closely associated with “the Twelve” apostles of Jesus. They still had been sent out by Jesus (Matthew 10:5) but, in this case, the word is more closely associated with a special position – that of His twelve, specially chosen disciples. We often call them Apostles, with a capital “A.” This position has specific requirements, found only in Acts 1:21-26, of which not just anyone can meet, certainly not anyone in modern times. Paul met these requirements, thus he also is called an apostle in both senses of the word (Acts 14:14; Galatians 1:1; 1 Timothy 2:7).
    Therefore, every Apostle is also an apostle (sent) AND a disciple of Jesus Christ. Anyone, even today, who follows the teachings and lifestyle of Jesus can be called a disciple. But, not every disciple is, or can be, an Apostle, because of the specific requirements that are impossible to fulfill today. Technically, anyone who is sent out, such as a preacher or missionary, could be called an apostle. But, we don’t typically use the word in that way simply because of how it has been abused by other religious organizations.


THE CROSS, THE CROOK, AND THE CROWN

    The prophecies of Jesus as the coming Messiah are some of the most beautiful and powerful features of the Holy Scriptures. The Old Testament is replete with prophetic gems in the form of direct statements, references, and symbolism. They give insight as to what the Christ will do, His sufferings, and even the very words He will speak. The Psalms also contain messianic prophecies in poetic form. One particular grouping, Psalms 22, 23, and 24, portray the characteristics of Christ’s suffering, His authority, and His deity. This grouping of psalms is sometimes referred to as the “Cross, the Crook, and the Crown.”

The CROSS (Psalm 22)

    Nothing in the world is more iconic than the cross of our Savior. Within its many faceted representations, first and foremost, we are reminded of the pain and suffering afflicted upon the pure Lamb of God as He was sacrificed for our sins. In Psalm 22, there is language employed within which cannot be attributed directly to the writer, David, but only to that which Christ endured. The psalmist compares His many enemies to bulls, dogs, and lions. Each description incorporating a different social class of the evil hearts who desired to see Him killed. His exceedingly deep sorrow and His physical suffering are vividly depicted. This language is precisely descriptive of the kind of agony He faced upon the cross. Through these descriptions, it becomes clear that David never suffered this type of pain and thus, they must belong to the Lord.

The CROOK (Psalm 23)

    The next psalm transitions from the agony portrayed in the previous one to a scene of peace and sanctuary. The psalmist changes from saying “My God, why have you forsaken me?” to, “The Lord is my Shepherd.” This portrayal implies that the pure Lamb of God has been exalted from sacrificial lamb to shepherd. His staff, that is, the “crook,” now becomes our master, guide, and protector.
    The psalm is summed up in the words, “I shall not want.” For in Him we shall have no need, want, or fear as there is none greater than He in this material world. His protection and provision fulfills all that we could ever desire. We are reminded of His covenant to deliver us into His Promised Land – an everlasting home in heaven. But, as sheep, we are dependent upon Him to provide the means necessary. Jesus did this through His sacrifice and establishment of the kingdom.

The CROWN (Psalm 24)

    The coronation of the Lord in Psalm 24, sometimes referred to as the Song of the Ascension, is prefaced with a declaration that the earth belongs to the Lord. God created it and He is sovereign over all that it contains. With this point established, the psalmist asks, “Then who may ascend to minister and dwell in His holy place?” The people answered, “Only he who is clean, pure, and perfect.” From this point they began searching, trying to find this one who may bring this glory.
    Just as the psalmist entreats his listeners to “look up” so they may identify the Messiah, so too must we. Although many of His generation rejected Him, having failed to recognize Him as the Messiah, the question of “Who is this King of Glory?” was still answered on that day of Pentecost. Peter stood up and declared to the crowd that the Man whom they had killed had been raised up by God and made both Lord and Christ. (Acts 2:36) Jesus was crowned and had now ascended to His rightful throne.
    Indeed, through these vividly descriptive psalms, we see how the Holy Spirit inspired “Israel’s sweet singer” to portray the Messiah in three of His most glorious moments. We see Jesus in His worst hour as a sacrificial lamb, to Him rising up as shepherd, and ultimately, being crowned as king. David was truly blessed to have these images so graphically impressed upon his mind so that he could write them down for all of prosperity. He indeed loved the Lord. In the same manner, may we always have the equivalent desire to honor and respect the blessed Son of Man and the love expressed by Jehovah within these psalms.
    Let us remember that the Cross, the Crook, and the Crown are symbols belonging to our Lord and Savior Jesus. They should remind us of who He is, what He has done for us, and why we should want Him to rule in our lives!


ARE YOU A SEED SOWER OR A SOIL INSPECTOR?

    Some of the most beautiful truths Jesus taught came by way of His parables. The stirring imagery, yet familiar objects He employed makes it easy for us to identify and understand the central message He intended. Perhaps, His most well known parable is the “Sower and the Soils” (Matthew 13:3-23). Several spiritual lessons can be extracted from the parable, such as, we are simply to preach the word to everyone and God will provide the increase, (1 Corinthians 3:6). While we “sow the word,” we will encounter four different types of hearts that will receive the message with varying degrees of acceptance.
    In addition, when I read the parable, one major point that stands out has to do with crop failure and its contributing factors. Consider, first of all, that every “sower” desires his efforts to produce something. But, if the sower never leaves the house, if he doesn’t get out and sow, then it is guaranteed he will have 100% crop failure. Secondly, all but one of the “soils” lack certain elements to insure a successful harvest, so they result in crop failure. The lesson is simple in that the condition of the heart and attitude of the individual is what makes the difference in the outcome of producing a crop. It really has nothing to do with the sower, as long as, he is doing his job as he should be.
    Unfortunately, there are many who like to add another element to Jesus’ teaching. It is something we simply do not see within the parable, nor is it something we see Jesus demonstrating in His own ministry, and that is soil inspection. Instead of just scattering the seed in every direction, like a good, obedient sower should do, some sowers want to first examine the soil before broadcasting. In other words, they want to qualify a prospect before they will share the Good News with them. They are making a decision for the potential receiver of God’s word before the prospect has ever had a chance to decide for themselves! That is the same thing as deciding not to plant seed just because it might not rain! We simply can’t know if it will or if it won’t, nor can we know how someone will respond to the Word of God.

We are called to be seed sowers, not soil inspectors!

    Jesus never discriminated against anyone when it came to preaching truth. He never withheld the divine message from a particular group or person. Now, it is true that only a few to whom He preached would “find the narrow gate that leads to life” (Matthew 7:14), but the decision still remained to be made within the heart of the receiver. Jesus did not qualify the soil before sowing the seed. In fact, even though He certainly had the power to inspect the soil, such as in the case of Simon the Pharisee, He still allowed divine truth to have its rightful place in the “soil” of Simon’s heart (Luke 7:36-50).
    The lesson is straightforward, if God can provide the sun and rain to produce a harvest from the earthly, physical seed we sow, then He can definitely provide the increase from the spiritual seed we sow. Let’s be more concerned about sharing the Good News with anyone and everyone than discerning who should receive it or not. Let’s allow the Word to do what it is meant to do. You’ll be amazed at what God does!