I have been meditating on the famous parable of the seed and the sower. It is obviously important because is found in three different places in the gospels (with Jesus' explanation in parenthesis):
Matthew 13:3-9 (18-23)Mark 4:3-8 (14-20)Luke 8:5-8 (11-15)
Context is all-important in understanding this parable. It stands first in a list of seven stories Jesus told in Matthew 13. Verse 1 tells us that Jesus gave these parables on "that same day." What same day? Go back and read Matthew 12 and you'll see that it happened on the same day that the Jewish leaders accused Christ of working miracles by the power of the devil (Matthew 12:22-32). Jesus then pronounced judgment on that wicked and adulterous generation (vv. 33-37). The die was now cast; the religious leaders had made their choice. They will now do whatever it takes to get rid of Jesus.
This story is placed first in Matthew 13 because it reveals something crucial about the response to Jesus’’ message. After the public controversy with the Pharisees in Matthew 12 when they accused Jesus of doing his miracles by the power of the devil, one logical question would be, "If you are who you say you are, why doesn’’t everyone believe? And why did the religious leaders reject your message?" That question rings across the centuries in many different ways. Why does a wife believe and her husband reject? Why does one brother become a missionary and the other a pornographer? Why do two children raised in the same family end up some unalike spiritually? How is it that the same Word of God produces such differing results in the human heart?
Most messages on this passage discuss it from the standpoint of the four soils. I want to look at it in terms of what it teaches us about doing ministry today. I find at least eight principles that both challenge and encourage us.
1A *Build Your Ministry on the Word of God. Part One
I've been around long enough to see the trends come and go. Here's a short list:
- Bus ministry Bus Ministry: (Calvary Baptist, Gideon Baptist. FBC Hammond)
- Sunday School campaigns (almost every church)
- Church growth movement
- Moral Majority (I liked Jerry Falwell)
- Evangelism Explosion (Ashland Ave Baptist)
- Contemporary worship (Southern Acres)
- Seeker-friendly churches (Southern Acres)
- Purpose-Driven churches (principes are good)
- Revival of traditional worship
- Cell group movement (Ashland Ave Baptist, First Baptist Church, Altoona)
- Promise Keepers (Ashland Ave Baptist)
- Soul Winning (Hyles)
, Texas in 1969-70 we had over 350 on the buses of a church of 660. By 1973 the church was closed. Sunday School campaigns were a part of the Fundamental Baptist Movement as late as 2003. "FRIENDS SUNDAY." Contemporary worship was part of a three part worship service, the church still split and 450 people left and started another church across town. Of course some of these programs worked well for a time.
And that's just off the top of my head. I should add that I have been deeply involved in some of those things——Bus Ministry in several churches. In Fort Worth
But the bottom line is the preaching and teaching of the WORD OF GOD.
- Here's what I want to drive home. Be a student of the trends. Study your culture. Learn from what others are doing. Don't reject things out of hand without looking into them. But above all, never substitute a trend or a fad or the hottest new thing for the simple, systematic teaching of God's Word. Without the Word, our churches may grow but they will not produce fruit that will last.
Part three next:
Drafted by Charles E. Whisnant