Hey, Calvary Chapel –
The root of your problem is the lack of seed. Your soul is a garden, yet many gardens don’t exhibit all the color, variety, and vibrancy that they were created to display. Unfortunately, some gardens are barren or full of stinkweed. They’re lacking seed – and that’s the root of the problem.
Jesus spoke of the sower who sowed his field with seed. Some of the seed landed on the hard path and the birds came and ate the seed. It never had a chance to germinate, take root, and grow. Jesus likened this to a soul hearing the word of God and immediately the devil comes and steals it away – like a bird that eats the seed that falls on the path. That word from God never had a chance to take root because it was snatched away. And that’s the root of the problem – no seed.
Whenever the Parable of the Sower is taught, it is applied to evangelism. Those who reject the gospel are likened by Jesus to the hard path where Satan comes and snatches away the word of salvation. He’ll say, “That’s not for you.” Or “Everyone knows that Jesus is just a myth.” Or “You’ll not have any fun if you become a Christian.” And a hundred other things. The invitation to trust in Jesus is immediately dismissed. This parable not only applies to evangelism, but to sermons, too. Here’s what I mean.
This last Sunday I was talking to the church about the supernatural charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit. I said something to the effect: “God has equipped you to be a supernatural servant of Jesus Christ. And right off the bat, some of you are nervous and show some hesitance about the gifts of the Holy Spirit. That word ‘supernatural’ unsettles you. Some of you will immediately dismiss this sermon because you don’t believe God could ever use you in a supernatural manner in that you do not have any gifts of the Holy Spirit. Do you know what’s happening? Even as Satan snatched away the seed that landed on the path, so Satan has snatched away this word I am trying to sow into your heart.” The root of your problem is the lack of seed. And the lack of seed is due to something very specific.
In reference as to why the Jews rejected Jesus, the author of Hebrews writes this: “For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.” Hebrews 4:2 The good news of Jesus didn’t profit the Jews because they didn’t listen with faith. You must believe the Word you hear. The root of your problem is the lack of seed. And you lack seed because you don’t believe the Word that is preached. Did you know that Satan attends church every Sunday? It’s true. And he is in attendance to convince you that the Word that is preached does not apply to you. You’re too sinful, you’re too ignorant, you’re too young – he’ll say anything to snatch away the preached word. He wants to keep your soul a barren wasteland and not a flourishing garden.
The root of your problem is the lack of seed. And you lack seed for two reasons: Satan comes and snatches it away and/or you don’t believe what is preached. Satan is good at Word snatching because he’s been at it for so long.
Here is our first introduction to Satan in the Bible.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'” The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die!” Genesis 3:1-4
In his very first appearance in the Bible, he is snatching the Word of God from the soul of Eve. That’s what he does – he’s the Word Thief! O, how much thievery takes place between the time the sermon is heard, and the people walk through the front doors of the church headed for their cars. Like an artful pickpocket working a crowd, Satan snakes his way through the sanctuary and lobby snatching the Word from hearts so that it will never take root and flourish in the garden of the soul. All that is remembered is the funny joke, the interesting illustration, or the fact that the coffee was lukewarm – but no Word is recalled, for it has been stolen – snatched from the heart.
How can you guard against the Word Thief? 2 Corinthians 2:11 says that we are not ignorant of the schemes of Satan to take advantage of us… First, know that the Word of God is for you and is to be received in faith! Second, know that the Word Thief is in the room seeking to prevent the Word of God from taking root in your heart. Third, know that anything that keeps you from applying the Word of God to your life is likely the hand of the Thief slithering into your heart. That tug, pulling the Word from your heart should inform you of his unholy intention. Fourth, James tells you to resist the devil and he will flee from you.
The root of your problem is the lack of seed. The Seed Snatcher, The Word Thief – the same unholy being who snatched the Word from Eve’s heart is still at it. He wants to keep the garden of your soul from bearing the fruit of the Word. But we are not ignorant of his schemes. The Word of God to you is the Word of God for you. The Word of God for you is to be the Word of God in you. The Word of God in you becomes the Word of God from you. The Word of God from you is the Life of the world. The seed of the Word becomes the Life of the World. It’s no wonder that the Word Thief is on the prowl.
Be blessed and stay healthy and follow Jesus – Pastor Tim