|Volume 20 Number 10 October 2018||
Matthew 14, Mark 4 and Luke 8 provide three accounts of the same parable. Matthew and Mark’s accounts are labeled as parables of the sower for the productive seed, the Word of God, falls on good soil and produces some 30, some 60 and some 100-fold. There is a difference in Luke’s account; the productive seed falls on the good soil, which represents good and honest hearts. With patience, the seed bears fruit.
The evangelist’s heart must be right. Speaking ability is great, but without God’s love it reminds us of the clanging of a hammer on metal. Others will really never care how much we know until they know how much we care. God loved lost souls and showed how much He loved them (John 3:16).
Jesus also loved lost souls and showed how much He loved them (John 10:15). He could have called twelve legions of angels to protect him (Matthew 26:53), but He gave His life while we were yet sinners (Romans 5). Our Lord endured the suffering and the shame of the cross for us (Matthew 27:32-44). He loved us so much that He was willing to take our sin upon Himself, even though because of that, God would forsake Him (Matthew 27:46).
The apostles loved lost souls and went everywhere preaching and teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. James, the brother of John, was killed with the sword because he preached the Gospel (Acts 12:1-2). Peter was thrown into prison (Acts 12:3-5), and John was exiled to the Isle of Patmos “on account of the Word of God” (Revelation 1:9). Paul preached in many places and paid the price for showing his love (2 Corinthians 11:24-27); we must think like the apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 9:22-23). They all had to have the right heart to endure everything to declare the Gospel. Likewise, we must display the love of God, Christ and the apostles if we are to be evangelists.
In addition, there are some great examples of prophets and men of the Old Testament who showed their good and honest hearts—Isaiah (Isaiah 6:1-8), Jeremiah (Jeremiah 20:7-9), Hananiah [Shadrak], Mishael [Meshach] and Azariah [Abednego] (Daniel 3:14-18). We, too, today need the right heart to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Every heart has a No Trespassing sign. Have you ever walked through another person’s heart? Look carefully as you approach someone else, and notice that there is a sign just outside the heart’s door that reads, “Enter by invitation only!” Hearts of men are in every condition imaginable (hurt, hard, broken, sad, perplexed, confused, afraid, weary, sick, seeking, loving, kind).
Not just anyone is welcomed inside one’s heart. To gain entrance, it takes one with love in his eyes, understanding in his voice and sweetness in his ways. There is one Gospel, and yet, without the key to the heart’s door, fifty Gospels would be of no value. Unfortunately, people associate closely for years without ever finding the key to each other’s heart.
There are good and honest hearts in the world today who are looking for the answer to the most pressing questions—“Why am I here?” “Where am I going?” “How do I get there?” We as evangelists have the answer that they need. The evangelist still stands as the link between the heart of God and the heart of man (2 Corinthians 4:7). “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14 NKJV).
Understanding Where God Is
Robert D. Rawson
Psalms 42, 48, 55 and 73 point out King David’s pondering of the question of where God is. He cited many problems created by the wicked for him. Yet, in each of these situations where God was not personally present working a miracle in his life, he cited the Lord’s continued loving kindness, righteousness and trust.
What was God doing during this time of sorrow in David’s life? The answer comes in Psalm 73:17. David noted that he suffered pain at the thought of the profits of the wicked and the Lord’s seeming absence until he went into the sanctuary of God. There God’s Word was being read, and David said he understood the wicked are set in slippery places. They would slip up, be cast down and suffer for their sinful ways. King David had not left the Lord to curse him, to leave his righteous ways or to deny his trust during the time of sorrow. Instead, he understood God’s work on the wicked when he went into the sanctuary of God.
As we enter worship and have a part of God’s Word taught to us, we may come to understand that God still cares for us despite what may befall us. Do we wish to be on a slippery slope as are the wicked around us, or do you and I prefer to abide inside God’s teaching and enjoy His blessings?