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    November 19, 2013


    In Luke 8:4-15, the Lord Jesus described four different responses to the Word of God. God gave His Word, yet people respond differently. First, there are those who hear that Word, yet the devil immediately “takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved.”

    Second, some “receive the word with joy” until some other joy appears, which then hinders the regeneration and transformation that come from God’s Word. Feelings alone are not enough to cause you to endure in difficult times.

    Third, some hear the Word of God yet quickly forget what it says and do not allow it to affect their lives (cf. Jas 1:22-25). Some become entangled in the quest for material success and the worries of daily life. Seeking pleasure overcomes eternal pursuits, thus there is no time for God’s Word and they “bring no fruit to maturity.”

    Note that Jesus did attend enough parties to be falsely labeled as “a gluttonous man and a drunkard” by the Pharisees (Luke 7:34), and to accomplish His ministry, the Lord did depend upon certain individuals for material resources (8:3). Jesus never issued a call for hermits who seek refuge from life in the world; however, He does call people who have an eternal perspective with regard to this world, and who hear and heed God’s Word far beyond all temporal activities, cares, and interests.

    Fourth, some “seed” (i.e. the Word of God) hits the target. The “good soil” welcomes the seed, encourages its germination, keeps the seed for future times, and perseveres through the complexities, temptations, and trials associated with the present life. Jesus’ parable indicates that if we hear God’s Word, and then believe it and “hold it fast,” then we can be “good soil” in which that Word multiplies and bears fruit with abundance. We need to be certain to be “good soil.”

    Of course, the notion that one can “drift away” from God’s Word (Luke 8:11-14; Heb 2:1-4; 6:1-8; 10:1-10) provokes questions with regard to such apostasy. In other words, could one “believe” in God, and yet not be a disciple? Is belief and discipleship mutually inclusive? Discipleship is a call to faith/trust in Jesus Christ as Lord God and Savior, and such a call is evident in devotion to the Word of God far beyond all other priorities.

    Maturity is not immediate, that is, it does not occur in days or weeks. Mature disciples are devoted to a lifetime of listening to God’s Word, retaining that Word, and continuing to listen to the Bible throughout life so that it progressively becomes more and more the primary component of one’s life.

    Those who are enthusiastic for a time and then “drift away” into the world’s occupations and pleasures demonstrate a lack of discipleship. Moments of enthusiasm and good feelings dominate until something “better” comes. Following that something better reveals their true nature. They were never devoted to God’s Word nor were they disciples. They were merely testing God (cf. Deut 6:16).

    The one who believes—by grace through faith—in Jesus Christ is a disciple. Discipleship is not one good feeling or one statement in the past in which you felt positive toward Jesus and desired salvation. The warning of Christ’s words in Luke 8 is not to become too secure in one’s salvation too quickly.

    Salvation is a life-changing experience that remains for a lifetime. Therefore, believers are those who seek maturity in discipleship for life, as opposed to good feelings for a brief time.

    God’s Word brings change! Do you have ears to hear? Only one type of soil, which is attuned to God as He reveals Himself in the Holy Bible, produces maturity in salvation.

    If the ministry of Capitol Commission can serve you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact us.

    Grace and Peace to You,

    Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
    Georgia State Minister, Capitol Commission

    Changing Hearts