Sunday, June 21, 2009

Signs of Cares of the World that Choke Faith in God’s Word

Our topic last week was from 1 John 1, 2 where some church folk thought they were Christian because they “said” they were and not because of obedience to Jesus. Some years back we dealt with what is called the “say religion” where people confused attending a church gathering with Christianity. I read the passage some days earlier from our recent daily reading and felt we needed to revisit the topic. As we were praising God also impressed on me the passage from Mark 4:13. I wasn’t sure how it tied in with the topic, but it did.
In Mark 4:13 we see that the parable of the four seeds is the gateway to understanding all other parables. It is important to note that it addresses much of the error in the church today because not every heart remains obedient and may become disqualified for the Kingdom of Heaven. The first is when someone hears God’s Word and doesn’t understand it and it isn’t allowed to change the heart. The second is when the Word is readily received and the person didn’t realize that testing, trials and temptation are associated with the Word and the person quits believing. The third is when the Word is sown into a person’s heart, but competing worldly interests are allowed to takeover. There is no fruit to give evidence of the Word’s power and it is made ineffective. And lastly, the Word is sown into a heart of obedience where much fruit is grown.
Let’s look at Mark 4:18-19. I believe it pertains to how the Word of God is sown in America. Just the process of living with all our responsibilities to family, work and desire to move ahead we can forfeit the dependence of seeing God’s Word work for us.

(Mark 4:18-19 NKJV) ""Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, {19} "and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful."

And in most church meetings there is no way of knowing if the cares of the world have taken over because there is little revealed about their practices at home. But I think John gives us some sure signs to look for. Read the following passages.

1 John 1:5-8 (NKJV)
{5} This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.
{6} If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
{7} But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
{8} If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. {9} If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. {10} If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us."

1 John 2:4-9 (NKJV)
{4} He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
{5} But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.
{6} He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.
{7} Brethren, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning.
{8} Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.
{9} He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now.
{10} He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him.
{11} But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

The signs are in what a person says with no supporting fruit. John evidently ran into the same situation where people were saying they were something they were not. Perhaps you or someone you know have said what is in chapter 1 verses 6, 8, and chapter 2 verses 4, 6, 9.

1 John 1 (NKJV)
{6} If we say that we have fellowship with Him,
{8} If we say that we have no sin,

1 John 2 (NKJV)
{4} He who says, "I know Him,"
{6} He who says he abides in Him
{9} He who says he is in the light

While there are needs like providing shelter, food and care for ourselves and families we can’t ignore, how do we maintain priority so that the Word is not choked? The opening of 1 John 1 is the key.

(1 John 1 NKJV) "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life;
{2} the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us;
{3} that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.
{4} And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.

It is the continued revelation of Jesus as we seek Him out on a daily basis that allows us to maintain fellowship with Him and His people. John was able to declare that he saw Jesus and handled Jesus and eternal life was made manifest to him. Have you done that lately? Those who have neglected to seek Jesus as the first part of their day have no defense against worldly cares and are overwhelmed. It has been my experience when someone is struggling to flow with your home church gathering it is the lack of revelation of Jesus. As we read the above passage, not only is fellowship impossible with Christian brothers and sisters but fullness of joy is out of reach also. This turmoil highlights the conflicts inside the person. How frustrating it is to try to do something that can never happen? I like John want others to enjoy the fellowship and joy he had with the Father and His Son, but there is no substitute for the fresh revelation of Jesus.

God Bless,
Bro. Ken