Matthew 13:1--52, 2 Thessalonians 2:3, Matthew 10:34-35, John 8:32

Face it: Most of us alive today, even those who’ve been around for a few decades like myself, don’t really have a strong memory of a time when society was in unity. Certainly, it’s never been as divided as it has grown in the last 20 years, but it’s not like everything was butter smooth in the 90’s, the 80’s or the 70’s. And I speak of society at large, as well as in the Church.

In Matthew 13, Jesus spoke in parable to the masses, giving the story of the seed-sower, whose seed fell upon “stony places” or “among thorns” and were “scorched” or “choked” in time, but others fell into “good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.” (Matthew 13:8) After that, He spoke in private to His disciples, further expounding upon what He’d said. This is when He explicitly defines that He was referring to BELIEVERS.

Matthew 13:18-23 “Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. [19] When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. [20] But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; [21] Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. [22] He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. [23] But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it ; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

Today’s message reflects a bit on last week’s to “Prepare to Endure Until the End”, for in the elaboration that Jesus does about the Sower Parable, He directly states in Verses 40-43 that it’s ABOUT THE END TIMES: “As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. [41] The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; [42] And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. [43] Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.”

Friends, at the same time that the Word of the Lord is uplifting, it is also troubling to know that it’s ABOUT US, and that many within our own fold will lose faith. They’ll have had the Word of the Lord, but not truly lived the joy of understanding the Lord’s salvation. They’ll have had the Word of the Lord, but when “tribulation or persecution ariseth”, they’ll lose faith, because the Word had not actually taken-up firm root within their hearts. 2 Thessalonians 2:3 affirms this, saying, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first.”

While we often seek unity, and it is good for those in the bride of Christ to be supportive of each other (the true spiritual Church, assembled from the believers within and without the buildings and sects called “churches”), …it is NOT to be unexpected that there shall be division. Jesus Himself said in Matthew 10:34-35 “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. [35] For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.”

In John 8:32 Jesus says, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” The cost of fighting for the truth may set you at odds even with your own family…even with the brethren of your own church. Do not be dismayed in this. Be the ‘good seed’ that took up strong root, and bears much fruit: maybe 30, 60 or 100x the effort it took to bring you to the deepest of faith. Understand the times we are living in, and take comfort in the signs, knowing that the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is near. In His name we pray for each other, amen.

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