"'A sower went out to sow his seed. As he was sowing, some of the seed fell along the path, and were trodden down, and the wild birds ate them up. Another portion of them fell upon the rock, and as soon as they sprang up, they withered, because they had no moisture. Still another portion fell among the thorns, and the thorns grew up with them and choked them out. And another portion fell in rich soil and grew and yielded a crop of a hundredfold.' As He said this, He exclaimed, 'Let him who has ears to hear with, listen!'" (Luke 8.5-8)
Today we will look at the third type of heart/soil; Christ warned that a third kind of believer was inevitable:
3. The Folks Who Are Here Today--Barely-- and Gone Tomorrow
Perhaps you've known someone who came to faith in Christ. All seemed to be going well with him. He attended worship and other church activities multiple times a week. He carried his new study Bible (with genuine leather, no less) quite proudly.
Then he disappeared. You don't know why but he was no more to be seen. For all intents and purposes he fell off of the face of the Christian planet. Maybe you later heard why he quit, or at least rumors of why he quit. For whatever reason, he is sleeping in on Sunday morning.
Why do some folks, having put their hands to the plow, look back and become unworthy of the kingdom of God? Jesus speaks of such a group as he expands his parable:
"And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature." (Luke 8:14 ESV)
Here is another group that started running when the referee shot the gun but, for some reason, perhaps a spiritual hamstring injury, they pull up short and stop the race.
Like the second group these people needed to count the cost of following the Lord. What is worse is how lamentably easy it is to make a profession of faith these days...and the slightest breeze of conflicting priorities can blow them away from the elect of God.
It's terribly easy to get snagged on the thorns of life--lust for money, lust for pleasure, lust for entertainment--and remain caught in the thicket. People who won't find the time to help serve the church because their children have football or soccer practice. People who won't surrender a few activities to devote themselves to the work of the church are legion today. And we let them get away with it!
It's time for people to take a good, hard look at what they really consider is important. Do they really consider themselves "sojourners and exiles" (2 Peter 2.11b) in this world? Perhaps they will decide that God is just too inconvenient for their busy lives and they'll ditch church.
If this seems harsh, consider James' words:
"You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God." (James 4.4 ESV)
Listen to Clarke's blistering rebuke from his Commentary concerning James 4.4b:
"Whosoever - will be a friend of the world - How strange it is that people professing Christianity can suppose that with a worldly spirit, worldly companions, and their lives governed by worldly maxims, they can be in the favor of God, or ever get to the kingdom of heaven! When the world gets into the Church, the Church becomes a painted sepulchre; its spiritual vitality being extinct."