2000-02-10 - A Firm Foundation
Mark 4:3-7 "Listen to this! Behold, the sower went out to sow; 4 and it came about that as he was sowing, some seed fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 "And 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. 6 "And after the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. 7 "And other seed fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. (NAS)
The Parable of the Sower, is told in the Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark and Luke. God put this story in front of us three times. Anytime God repeats Himself, it is worth listening. In Mark 4:3-7, we have the three places where the seed of the Gospel is sown and does not flourish. The different soils, just as the fourth soil, the good soil, represents the people who hear the Gospel and their differing reactions to the good news of salvation. Different readers will say that this group and that group are actually saved from sin. One clear point here is that many will hear the good news of Jesus Christ, but only in a portion will that seed firmly take root and be established.
For the first group, the lies of the enemy are already in place and the good news is immediately disbelieved. For the second, there is resistance to the Gospel, though it is interesting at first, but that interest passes quickly and withers. In the third group, the Gospel establishes itself, but it is overrun by the cares of day-to-day living. The last two are not that different in that the good news makes some inroads into the life of the person who hears it.
Luke 6:47-49 "Everyone who comes to Me, and hears My words, and acts upon them, I will show you whom he is like: 48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation upon the rock; and when a flood rose, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. 49 "But the one who has heard, and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house upon the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great." (NAS)
Some commentators will say that the group where the good news is choked out by thorns are saved and will be in Heaven. A few more will include the shallow-soil group among the saints in glory. What is the difference between these two groups and the good soil? One difference is the foundation that their new faith is established upon. The second group built their house on bedrock - a sure, solid foundation. The first group built their house on weak and shifting sand that was swept away with the house when the rains came.
What is the base for your faith? What is the foundation you set the footings of your spiritual house upon? The warning is a stern one. Our faith must be settled on a solid, lasting base or the fall of our faith may be ruinous. There is danger in a faith based on feelings or emotions. Praise and worship are wonderful times when our hearts are often full of joy. These times when the Lord feels close to us are times when faith is easy to live. But what happens when the rains come and the torrent bursts against our house of faith? Our emotions will surely be affected by our circumstances. Faith based on our feelings will be shattered or severely damaged when the flood of trouble rises against it.
Rom 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. (NAS)
The foundation stones of faith stand firmly on the word of God. Reading your Bible, listening to teachers and even studying on your own puts the word of Christ into your heart and mind. I'm not talking about four hours a day. Most of us do not have that kind of time available. But a regular time that is part of your routine, be it five minutes in the morning, or the 20 minutes driving to work with a tape or a radio Bible study from a solid teacher can make a big difference. It can be the difference between learning and knowing the many promises of God, and not having any foundation when the flood slams into your faith one day. It can be the difference between feeling all alone against everything that is coming down on you, and knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is right there with you in the middle of the storm.
Matt 28:20b "and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. " (NAS)
Do you know this Jesus who can put a heart and mind at peace even in the middle of trouble and suffering? Are you tired of trying to live this perfect life all by yourself? If you have questions, please find a Bible. Open to the book of John and read the first 21 verses of chapter three. There Nicodemus is told by Jesus how he could have a new life and an assurance of eternity in Heaven. If you don't have this assurance, and want to know more, there are several websites and an excellent audio description of the salvation Jesus offers listed on our homepage at www.cfdevotionals.org under the title "Who is Jesus?". If you have more questions, any one of us would be happy to help you to being with a firm foundation for your faith.
Lord Jesus - help us to lean on the promises You have given us rather than our own understanding or our feelings. Your words are faithful and true, and Your promises will come to pass. A life built on these certainties is established on the mighty bedrock of your wisdom, mercy and grace. That life of faith may indeed know trouble and not be badly shaken, but remain at peace. Give those who don't know You as Savior the courage to look for Your salvation. Amen.
Grace & Peace,