Welcome to the fourth part of Pastor Richard’s fantastic new teaching series; Kingdom Life - understanding the kingdom of God through the parables of Jesus.
We've been exploring the Parable of the sower. This week is the third type of ground; the thorns. The idea that the thorns choke the Word, or stop it from bearing fruit, suggest that the Word did get planted and that it was working according to how it should. It’s growing right? Which is a good thing! But it gets interrupted. It gets choked.
What do the thorns represent? Mark 4:19 tells us. And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.
These things press into our heart and fight for priority and attention. Like a weed that competes in the same plot of ground with a good plant for nutrients, sunlight, water etc. these things compete for our heart.
The longer you leave the weeds, the hard it is to pull them out. Why? Because they’ve had time to take root. The longer we let these things fester in our heart, the harder it becomes to get rid of them, to root them out. Let's look at the first of these 'thorns'.
The cares of life. Matt. 6:25 - Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
"Take no thought" - The Greek word here means 'worry, anxiety, concern'. For what? Everything! Life! It’s endless. To be good ground that bears fruit, the Word of God must be your priority. What do we mean by that? 2 Tim. 2:4 - No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. Note the word 'entangled'. Read again Luke 10:38-42. Martha and Mary. This is about priority. It’s deeper than a daily routine. It’s about your heart attitude toward the Word of God. When the Word of God is your top priority, the cares of this life take ‘care’ of themselves! What’s competing for attention in your heart today? Why don’t you decide today, to give it to God?
What is anxiety anyway? It’s the feeling you get because of negative imagination about the future. We have to cast those imaginations down and replace them with God’s promises. Philippians 4:6-9. This passage starts with a well-known verse but has three elements to it: Prayer; thankfulness and meditation (on the truth of God's Word).
The next 'thorn' that Jesus refers to are the Deceitfulness of Riches. Not riches. The deceitfulness of them. This speaks about your heart attitude about money. 1 Timothy 6:5-10. It's the love of money that's the problem, not money. The person that is seeking first to be financially excessive will fall into temptation and drown. Why? Because the love of money blinds us to what is real gain. Wealth is very useful. But it doesn’t go with us. What is true gain? Spiritual riches.
There is a lie that the devil loves to test you with. The lie is ‘I will be secure and happy if I get more money’. Money does not bring happiness, it doesn’t make you significant or important. Luke 12:5.
If your heart is not right towards money, getting more money will only increase trouble, not decrease it!
1 Kings 17:4 - Elijah had to go there before the provision was given. God calls us before He provides for that calling. He wants to see if you trust Him before the provision is seen. There’s something very powerful about stepping out in faith.
The other lie is that we don’t need God in our finances. Deuteronomy 8:18 - this is the danger; we forget that it was God who gave us the ability to get wealth and think we did it all ourselves, that we earned it and therefore don’t need God anymore.
Revelation 3:17-18 - God gives us the blessing. He is our supplier. It’s a heart issue towards money that is key. Go back again over Richard’s ‘Walking in God’s Prosperity’ series again.
Next week we will look at the third kind of thorn in this parable and how to handle it! Don’t miss it.
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