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Among the Thorns

Among the Thorns

Words of Faith 5-30-18

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2018

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Luke 8

[14] The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. [15] But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

 

     There was also some seed which avoided the devil snatching the word away. This seed took root with some nourishment but it never really matured because it was choked out by weeds. How can this be?

       This may be the most perilous place for us as Christians at the end of the 20th century. We live in great affluence. We live in world that offers every pleasure and sensual experience imaginable. This is fertile soil, good soil that has bad stuff growing in it.

       A real key here is in the text is that they hear the Word... "but as they go on their way they are choked..." This is so often the picture of our modern church. We hear the word   but then "we go on our way..." We do not allow the Word to transform us. What gets in the way? What is the bad stuff? Three things: worry, riches and pleasures.

       How doe we respond to the thorn of worry? The word is literally distractions or cares. The Apostle Paul gave this advice: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philip. 4:6-7). 1 Peter 5:7 says: Cast all your anxiety (or cares or distractions) on him because he cares for you.

     We hear the Word and we grow in faith, but often we do not turn over our distractions to Him. We are easily distracted by things that we have not turned over to God. Those worries, distractions and concerns are pulling you away from God such that you will not ever mature.

    What about the thorn of riches? Please be clear. There is nothing wrong with riches or being rich. How do I know that? Some of the most Godly people in the Bible were quite wealthy. There were several rich people with Jesus financing His ministry. Jesus had friends who were wealthy like Mary and Martha and Lazarus and Joseph of Arimathea.

       Wealth is not a thorn unless we allow it distract or control us. Those around Jesus had chosen to make an eternal investment in the Word of God. These ladies were financing the crusade. It was not a tithe on their income or part of their budget. They were taking accumulated assets and putting it into ministry.

       How do we keep the thorn of riches from choking out our life with God? Jesus told one man to give it all away. That was a radical removal of the problem in the case of the rich young ruler. But that is not the common advice.

       Jesus said "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:19 21).  As we gain an eternal view on things we respond with eternal investments.

       What about the thorn of pleasure? There are pleasures of life that are good and wholesome. The pleasure of family life, friendships and community. There are wonderful pleasures in life that God has provided in the right time, in the right place, and in the right amount. But there also are pleasures that are worldly and insidious.

       There are pleasures that worship the flesh rather than God. This word literally means lust, sensual and ungodly pleasure. The Bible tells us to flee from lust, but it is not enough just to run away from something. We need to run toward God. In doing so we find our freedom when we take pleasure in our relationship with the Lord. Psalm 16:11 ...   in Your presence is fulness of joy; at Your right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

         The truth is, what you spend most of your time attending to in your mind and your energy on is your god. Your worries, riches, and pleasures become your god.

       What is the Good Soil? The seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop. The good soil is a noble and good heart that does these things—hear and retain by submitting to God. Then persevere by sticking it out. And produce a crop. Reproduce the Word in the lives of others.

         Do you have a soil problem? The best insecticide against pest is the Word of God. The best fertilizer is the Word of God. What are the thorns in your life? Is there a thorn of worry, or riches or pleasure? Now is a great time to pray about how God would have you deal with these.

 

         Lord, help me as I find my way with You. Show me the freedom that is found only in You. Show me the eternal perspective by which I may focus on You and grow in You. In Jesus' name.