A Voice in the
"Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. And when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root (because it lacked moisture) they withered away." (Mt13:5-6, Lk8:6)
This is the one who "hears the Word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when affliction or persecution arises because of the Word, immediately he stumbles." (Mt13:20-21) These are the ones who "..draw back away" (Lk8:13b)
Let us analyze a couple of points, and then make application...
Notice first of all that this seed springs up; it sprouts. There is life. It doesn't get snatched up by the birds. It doesn't rot away. It is not part of the non-germination statistic where a certain percentage of seeds do not have the necessary genetic germ. This is God's perfect Word. God's Word is 100% genetically potent. (Is55:11) And it sprouts. When a seed sprouts, all things being right, there is the potential for it to grow and bear fruit. This is a TRUE CHRISTIAN. By definition. Sprouting is the indication of 'life', and Jesus is "the life". (Jn14:6, 1Jn5:11)
But then, the sun comes out. In the evening when there is dew, even the cracks full of dust become moist. That moisture is enough to make seeds sprout. But in the rocks there is no moisture down deep where the roots need to grow. A sprout in such a situation, with lack of moisture, withers and dies. It is not by the "rivers of water" (Ps1:3) where the soil is moist clear down deep. Jesus likens this sun and lack of moisture to "affliction or persecution". And here is one support for the argument that Luke might have been the writer of the book of Hebrews. He uses the same expression to "draw back away". Heb10:38 speaks of "...if anyone draws back, My soul is not pleased with him." This is the one who puts their hand to the plow and looks back, who is "not fit for the kingdom of God" (Lk9:62) In a factory setting, the quality-control person tests each part: the ones meeting spec go in the 'good' pile, the ones coming up short are 'rejected', they are "not fit" to be used; they don't make it. Like Jesus spoke of a dragnet; sorting the good from the bad, and throwing the bad out. (Mt13:47-50)
This is the person who becomes a Christian with great joy. They have made that "leap of faith". But they did not first "count the cost" of what they were getting into. (Lk14:28) These are ones who hear the message and go forward, and in their heart they -truly- are saved. But they are not fed, they are not given the Scriptures by which to grow. Those around them are some of the ones the birds (from last month) are snatching up around them. Instead of being exhorted to read the Bible and seek out a group of Believers, they are sent back to the same church of unregenerates from which they came. They announce that they got saved, and immediately their faith is brought under scrutiny. And since they don't know the Scriptures yet, and all these church leaders are 'experts' with many university and seminary letters behind their names, the new convert succumbs.
You see... there is a reason Paul exhorts that brand new Believers should not be in positions of leadership, "..not a new convert, that he not be puffed up with pride and fall into the same condemnation as the devil." (1Ti3:6) This "joy" surrounding a person's new conversion can often be a source of pride. Like an adolescent has 1000% 'confidence' of invincibility, but only 10% experience...and then falls flat on his face. Remember that the devil at one time was "perfect in beauty" the "anointed cherub that covers" (Ezk28:12,14) ...that which the golden cherubim symbolized, covering the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant, symbolizing God's presence. If anybody was on the 'fast-track' to Eternal Life with God, it was the one we now know as Satan...now, bound for the Lake of Fire.
So... what do we have at this point? We have those who were never saved in the first place, symbolized by last month's birds. Now, we have those who truly were saved, but fell away. And these (both) are in the churches, often as leaders; but whatever the case, they have the label "Christian"
So then... as we see these, should we who truly do know the Lord -pray- for them? Should we be praying for 'revival'? Many True Believers stay in these groups, hoping to convert them.
If a seed sprouts and then withers, can -that- seed do anything more? It is done for!
"For it is impossible for those who at one time were given understanding, and have tasted the Heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good Word of God and the powers of the age to come, and also turn aside, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and expose Him to public disgrace." (Heb6:4-6)
If you continue reading that passage, you will see the interesting connection with Jesus' parable about "rain", cultivation, thorns and briars (which is next month's lesson). And then it says, "But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, indeed, holding fast to salvation, though we speak in this manner" (vs9)
We are to "hold fast" to salvation. But when a person does the opposite of "holding fast", in other words "letting go" (NOT "losing", but as Luke writes, "drawing back away"), it is "impossible" to get it back. If it is impossible, then is not prayer for such a person fruitless! When Israel had reached that point of deliberate rebellion, saying ultimately "we will" worship the Queen of Heaven, "we will" go to Egypt instead of obeying God and staying in the land (Jer44:17,25)... of that bunch God told Jeremiah "Do not pray for this people" (Jer7:16, 11:14, 14:11,etc)
In addition, if a True Believer remains in such a group, what are the chances that due to the drought of their surroundings that they, themselves, wither up and die? (understanding the symbolism of this parable) Thus, the exhortation is "do not pray for this people"; do not try to revive them (seed that is dead cannot be revived! but is sitting there, rotting!); but rather, "Therefore, Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you." (2Co6:17)
So then, for the Believer....
When persecution comes, at what point has a person thrown away their salvation? Peter denied the Lord, whereas Jesus had said, "But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father in Heaven." (Mt10:33) Jesus also told Peter before it happened, "Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat." (Lk22:31) and tells Peter, "But I have prayed for you, that your faith does not fail; and when you have returned, strengthen your brethren." (vs32)
Jesus says, "But he who endures to the end shall be kept safe" (Mt24:13) and the tribulation saints are memorialized, "they did not love their lives unto death." (Rev12:11)
The early martyrs understood that there was no such thing as recanting. From the 3rd century, Fox's "Book of Martyrs" records an incident:
"Denisa, a young woman of only sixteen years of age, who beheld this terrible judgment, suddenly exclaimed, 'O unhappy wretch, why would you buy a moment's ease at the expense of a miserable eternity!' Optimus, hearing this, called to her, and Denisa avowing herself to be a Christian, she was beheaded, by his order, soon after."
What if, with today's technology, with the various chemicals they have, the mind-altering drugs, the Believer is subjected to such a session (as has already happened in communist countries of the old Soviet empire), and in this chemically mind-altered state, they deny the Lord? After all, the person is no longer in control of themself...?
I don't know the specifics of chemicals. But speaking from a Spiritually Godly perspective, I would suspect that the person's -true- spirit would come forth, even in such circumstances... please note these next words I have all-capped for emphasis.
"Therefore settle it in your hearts not to premeditate a defense; for I will give you a MOUTH AND WISDOM WHICH ALL YOUR ADVERSARIES WILL NOT BE ABLE TO CONTRADICT OR RESIST. And you will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. And you will be hated by all because of My name. But not a hair of your head shall at all perish. By your steadfastness possess your souls." (Lk21:14-19)
"Behold, I give you authority to tread over serpents and scorpions, and upon all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you." (Lk10:19)
Jesus said to not fear those who can kill the body, but to be subject to Him who has authority over both body and soul. (Mt10:28) When they inject chemicals, and manipulate the mind, all they are playing with is the -body-. But God is the one who knows the "soul and spirit" (Heb4:12) Since the Holy Spirit indwells the heart of the Believer, I truly believe He can also override those chemicals they inject into the blood (soul), which in turn 'operates' the brain, to cause the mouth to speak.
"But when they lead you away and deliver you up, do not be anxious beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is NOT YOU SPEAKING, BUT THE HOLY SPIRIT." (Mk13:11)