Submission and Obedience


The book of Matthew extols Jesus as King of the Jews. It is a Jewish book written specifically for the Jews of His day and forward. In Matthew we hear illustrations that are based on Jewish tradition such as the parable of the ten virgins and the marriage ceremony.

But Matthew is more than that. It is also Jesus' manual about the Last Days and how to be prepared for them. One such illustration is that of the Sower in chapter 13.

This parable is headlined by Jesus, who is the Sower. He sows good seed in the world, because He is the Word which is that seed.

Some seed falls on hard, trampled soil too firm to absorb the tiny kernels of truth. Birds of the air swoop down and eat the seeds.

Other seeds fall on stony ground that has some soil among the rocks. The seeds sprout and grow, but cannot find enough nourishment among the stones and soon die from lack of moisture.

More seeds fell among thorns along the way. Again, the seeds germinate and push their way toward the sun, but die because the thorns rob them of moisture and sun. Both are necessary for plant growth.

Lastly, Jesus talked of seed that falls on good ground. Not only do the seeds germinate and grow, but they mature to produce a crop for food and for more seed to plant in the next season.

What do the different soils and plant growth show us in these Last Days? Three major lessons are apparent:

First, all the sown seed was good seed. The seeds were truth. Jesus sows only truth. He said of Himself in the book of John, "I am the Way, the TRUTH, and the Life..." All the plants that grew were from good seed that could have enriched His kingdom if they had grown to maturity. Unfortunately, the parable shows that much of the seed never lived that long.

Second, Jesus pictures hearts of hearers and what they do with the good seed sown in their hearts. Some hearts are so hardened by this world's allure, its many substitutes and its trials and temptations that those persons want nothing to do with the Truth. They shun the Gospel in any measure, and the devil snatches its supernatural power from their consideration before it can gain a stronghold.

The rest of mankind and their reception of the Truth completes Jesus' picture. When the seed falls on their hearing, three scenarios result that debunk the false doctrine of eternal security touted by nearly all TV preachers and many in church pulpits today.

Recently, a well-loved TV minister warned his viewers to beware of preachers who sound good, but really are not saved--they are wolves in sheep's clothing. He further claimed that those preachers who once proclaimed a clear Gospel but have apostatized from the truth were never born again in the first place. They were imposters who fooled people.

These preachers had definitely departed from the truth, but once had lived and preached it. His assessment of those ministers does not measure up to the truth of Jesus' parable.

In reality, those backslidden preachers of the Gospel were like good seeds sown among the rocks or thorns. They made a good start and had a good ministry, but eventually weakened and gave in to obstacles or temptations in their lives. They fell away from the Truth of the Good News about Jesus, wounding their followers deeply by such unfaithfulness. Telling trusting followers that the preachers had never been born again perpetuates the heresy of eternal security that says once you're saved, you're always saved. This parable plainly states that a good plant can die if it isn't grounded and established in truth. That's not eternal security.

Jesus illustrates that those who hear and embrace the Gospel in their heart ARE born again, signified by the seed's growth. They just don't continue to grow to produce fruit. They don't last. Persecution or political mandates against the Gospel cause these believers to crumble and capitulate to societal demands rather than standing for Jesus and truth. They do not obey the Word and the Holy Spirit.

In these Last Days when food and other goods necessary for life become rare or are available only for those who take the mark of the antichrist, these believers will consider their needs and those of their family more important and demanding than obedience to Jesus and remaining true to Him. They will give in because they believe in eternal security and, as a result, will forever lose their souls in the process. Their example will also have a damning influence on others they sought to lead by example. This awful truth applies to ministers of the Gospel as well as to lay members of their churches.

Each of the seven churches in the book of Revelation was admonished by Jesus to overcome and stand firm to the end, whatever that looked like for each believer. "To him that overcomes..." is what Jesus said, and a reward of eternal significance is theirs in heaven.

Perseverance is what James lifted up as the essential element of Christian character. The quality of sticking to it to completion is what builds houses, completes a delicious meal or tailors a fine suit of clothes. Stopping anywhere in the process is failure and falls short of the goal. Perseverance is the true fruit of maturity. Believers, preachers or laity, may tally the number of souls who were saved because they won them to Christ. Apparently that is not the fruit Jesus identifies here. Fruit is perseverance!

The false doctrine of eternal security does not believe in perseverance and patience. It allows for carelessness in Christian living, for, after all, it says the person who 'sprouted' will make it to heaven regardless of how they lived afterward. What a lie from hell that is!

Jesus said those who persevere will bear good fruit of varying amounts, but all are commendable. To hear His "well done, good and faithful servant" we must finish the race, friend. We cannot rest on our oars and stop rowing, or the current of the antichrist spirit will carry us downstream to damnation!

Perseverance does not begin when we become aware of the antichrist's identity. It starts NOW, because the spirit of antichrist is deviously at work in our society right now! If you're deaf to it, you already have a serious spiritual problem. Get on your knees before God and seek Him until you find Him. He will make Himself known to you when you forsake the idols you have made of this world's goods and its false doctrines. Repent and desire only Him, hungering and thirsting for righteousness.

It's a matter of life and death: Eternal life or eternal separation from God forever, one or the other. Let the good seed of God's truth bear fruit in your heart right now. Do not wait. The book of Hebrews warns: "Today is the day of salvation." You are not promised tomorrow. Repent today and determine that you will follow Jesus and obey His word regardless of what happens in the days ahead. Intend to persevere to the end. Start NOW!

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Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®
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