“Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.” Another parable He spoke to them: “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.””
Matthew 13:31-33 NKJV
A mile wide and an inch deep
We are living in the era of the mega church, people who profess to be followers of Christ flock to churches that can become as large as a small city, complete with programs, book writing, superstar pastors and music programs that are so good that they produce music to be sold to the masses.
One might think that these places would be full of strong Christians, who are deep into the word and faithful to go and tell others of the Gospel. Sadly, these churches are often are a mile wide, but only and inch deep. They grow big, but because they are seeker sensitive, the draw many who have not really called upon the name of the LORD.
This phenomenon came to mind when I read Matthew thirteen this morning. In this chapter, Jesus is talking about the wheat and the tares, and how the evil one has sown evil plants in with with the wheat. As a result the kingdom of heaven has been corrupted.
Today, this corruption is demonstrated by the mega church. True Christianity is very challenging, and people have the tendency to turn away when the truth is preached. As long as the message is palatable, easy on the heart and scratches just the right places on the ears, people fill the pews.
When the word is preached with rigor and power, honoring the heart of God and accurately condemning sin, only those truly born again will stick around.
“Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.”
John 6:53-56 NKJV
“Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?” When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you? What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him.”
John 6:60-64 NKJV
The hard messages of God confront the heart, and those who do not walk with the Lord in Spirit and truth are unwilling to receive them. Some leave, and others sit unaffected, untouched, and not convicted. When one walks in the Spirit, they were willing to surrender those sinful things in the flesh, that bring physical delight, but cause separation from God.
Many times, those who are carnal occupy the pews with the those who walk in the Spirit. I have seen many a Spirit filled Christian, walking unawares, influenced by the carnal pew mate and drawn away after their own lusts. It is like the woman who hid the leaven in with the meal, and the entirety of the meal became leavened.
Leaven is a type for sin. Sin unchecked in the church, will inevitable corrupt the entire church, and affect the preaching and reaching of the word, as those ion the congregation will not tolerate the mention of things that convict them.
Paul urged Timothy to be on the lookout for such, as they were infecting the church at Ephesus for whom Timothy was the overseer.
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”
II Timothy 4:3-5 NKJV
Sadly, the battle is long, and despite the best efforts of those who walk in the Spirit, any church can become corrupted. In the case of the church at Ephesus, they had lost their first love.
“Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.”
Revelation 2:4-5 NKJV
Brothers and sisters, it is time to go back to the bedrock of the faith. It is time to put aside all the programs, all the gimmicks, the books by superstar pastors, and focus on the word of God. It is becoming hard to find a church where there is a simple bible study, verse by verse. Many of the Christians I have encountered have become spiritually malnourished, reading much about the Bible, but reading little of it. They are missing the fortification of the holy Scriptures that feed the soul of the Christian.
I have stacks of unfinished books, given to me by others. I start, read a few chapters, and move on. I always go back to the Scriptures. They are the source of our faith and and deep, deep well from which we draw the living water. Why would I spend time reading the regurgitation of someone else, when I can have the reward of the inspired word of God.
Let us be truly the people of the book. Let us build churches that are an inch wide, and a mile deep.
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