15 April 2014

The Parable of the Soils: Giving or Gospel?

photo: Global Crop Diversity Trust via photopin cc
The Word-Faith teachers love your money. They love your money more than you love your money and they'll do whatever it takes to get your money into their pocketbooks. Yes, they will do anything, including perverting and distorting the revealed Word of God.

Most are familiar with the ever-popular concept of "sowing a seed." Mr. Word-Faith Charlatan needs your money. He needs to convince the confused, unregenerate masses to willingly hand over their money. The masses—narcissistic, worldly, sinful, fallen, gullible, lost people that they are—will do anything to attain the fleeting treasures and comforts of this world, and Mr. Word-Faith Charlatan knows it. So he makes promises.

"Need healing? Have faith. Sow a seed."

"Financial trouble? Trust God with your finances. Write the first check to Him and the rest will be cared for and your debt will be paid in abundance. Sow a seed of faith today."

Of course, when the deceived television viewer writes his check to "God," he is told to write it to Mr. Word-Faith Charlatan's ministry because said ministry is doing "God's" work. Yes, just sow your seed and you will be repaid thirty, sixty, perhaps even one hundredfold.

Wait—doesn't that sound familiar? Who else promised a crop of thirty, sixty or a hundredfold?
He began to teach again by the sea. And such a very large crowd gathered to Him that He got into a boat in the sea and sat down; and the whole crowd was by the sea on the land. And He was teaching them many things in parables, and was saying to them in His teaching, “Listen to this! Behold, the sower went out to sow; as he was sowing, some seed fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on the rocky ground where it did not have much soil; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of soil. And after the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. Other seeds fell into the good soil, and as they grew up and increased, they yielded a crop and produced thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.” And He was saying, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
Mark 4:1–9
That's right, it was Jesus. Well, then, if those are Jesus' words, then Mr. Word-Faith Charlatan must be speaking truth! Right? Not so fast. . .

It seems Mr. Word-Faith Charlatan forgot to continue reading:
As soon as He was alone, His followers, along with the twelve, began asking Him about the parables. And He was saying to them, “To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God, but those who are outside get everything in parables, so that WHILE SEEING, THEY MAY SEE AND NOT PERCEIVE, AND WHILE HEARING, THEY MAY HEAR AND NOT UNDERSTAND, OTHERWISE THEY MIGHT RETURN AND BE FORGIVEN.”

And He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How will you understand all the parables? The sower sows the word. These are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them. In a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away. And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word, but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”
Mark 4:10–20 
There, in these verses, our Lord graciously offers in clear, unambiguous language, the explanation for the parable of the soils. The sower is not sowing money, he is sowing the gospel! The soils represent the condition of the heart of those who receive the seed of the Word. Some reject it immediately. Their hearts are hard—they hate God and their rejection of His Word demonstrates this. Others gladly embrace it, but do so superficially, only to fall away and demonstrate that they were never truly saved. Their emotional response to the Word proved the shallowness of their faith in the face of affliction. Still others are too double minded to know true repentance. They want Jesus and eternal life, but they want the world and all of its treasures also. They love the world far too much to love God. And still others will hear the Word, will be saved, and will share that saving Word with others so that they too might be saved. These are those whose hearts are softened and who desire salvation, righteousness and holiness. These are those who will bear eternal fruit.
Good soil is not natural. Hard soil is natural. Just leave the ground and that’s what it will be. Rocky soil, that’s natural, leaving it the way it is. Weedy soil, that’s natural that’s the way it is. Something has to happen to this soil. To make it good soil, the stone has to be broken up. The hard ground has to be broken up. The weeds have to be taken out. Who can do that? Only God can do that. He alone can do that. Deuteronomy 30 verse 6, “The Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants to love the Lord your God with all your heart that you may live. Proverbs 20 and verse 9 says, “Who can say I have made my heart clean, pure from sin?” Nobody can do that on his own.
(John MacArthur, "A Diagnosis of the Soils, Part 2")
What a magnificent parable! Do we not see in our Lord's wisdom the reality of the reactions of the world when we faithfully sow the seed of the gospel? Do we not see the warning, too, that is offered here to those who may themselves be represented by the roadside, the rocky or the thorny soil?

Actually, there are those who do not see the truths of this parable, in spite of the fact that Jesus offered the explanation there in the very text of Scripture! Below is a portion of a recent blog written by Word-Faith teacher Rod Parsley as he uses Mark 4:1–9 to teach his concept of a "Resurrection seed":
Nearly 30 years ago, God challenged me to see what would happen in our small congregation if, instead of each person giving a tithe of his or her income, he or she would give the whole thing – an entire week's income. Our faith was stretched in ways I never thought I'd see! . . .

Jesus explained principles for sowing in Mark 4. . .

When we choose to sow our money into a ministry, obviously we can be more precise than a farmer casting seed by hand. There are three main considerations for planting: the seed, the soil and the season.

What seed you sow is vital – it should be the best you have. It should be your first fruits instead of your leftovers. . . .

I believe the seed we sow shows God our intentions. If our tithe is the first check we write after we're paid, it demonstrates that we put Him first in other things as well.

The soil in which we sow is vital as well. . . . The good soil would have been purged of rocks and weeds, and wouldn't have been mistaken for the path. It was painstakingly cared for, the better to receive seed.

Your church should be like that as well – created, designed and maintained for the effective use of your seed. Hopefully, you've already discerned that it is, because it is worth your time and your talent as well as your treasure.

Finally, you need to choose the proper season for sowing. The farmer in Jesus's parable certainly did. . . . In the spiritual, the right season to sow is in a season of revival. The atmosphere of revival is a place where lives can grow in the love and knowledge of Jesus Christ. A spiritually dead atmosphere, by contrast, is not a great place for spiritual lives – or anything else – to flourish. . . .

Our seed won't mean much if we don't direct it to a place that is prepared for it. As Easter approaches, how are you hearing and understanding His voice? And how is that understanding being borne out in the spiritual fruit that results from your sowing?
(Rod Parlsey, "The Principles of Sowing") 
A pastor who cannot rightly teach a passage of Scripture when the explanation of the passage is provided by Jesus Himself in the text is no pastor. The "seed money" that is "sown" into these deceptive ministries might, one may speculate, be planted in a healthy financial investment for that man or ministry. Regardless of where the money is taking root, one thing is for certain: the truth of the Word of God is not being sown or shared by these ministries that twist the Word to suit their own aspirations.

If you are a Christian, you have been given seeds to sow—the seeds of the Gospel, the seeds of the Word of God. You have been called to share the salvation provided by Jesus Christ with all who may hear. You needn't worry about the response, that will be the work of God through the power of the Holy Spirit. Only be faithful to proclaim His saving Gospel and you, dear one, will one day be blessed to see the fruits of the harvest.

Further Reading
Rod Parsley and the 'Seven Anointings of Passover'
Pentecostal Megachurch Pastor Says Jesus Christ Led Him to Convert to Roman Catholicism
God Speaks, but How?

1 comment:

  1. Brilliant!! Thank you so much. I appreciate the way you expose these deceivers.

    - Deborah

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