The Apostle Paul reminds the Corinthian congregation that their complete foundation was through the Gospel. “For ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers; for in Christ Jesus have I begotten you through the Gospel” (1 Corinthians 4:15). The Apostle emphasized that obedience to the Gospel was vital as it represents a form of membership. Obedience to the good news brought to us by Christ alone is the path to being born again. As mankind, we are born again “through the Gospel” – by identifying ourselves with His Spirit, His grace, and His Mercy in baptism, and with the infilling of the Holy Spirit.
Luke reports that Jesus “went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him” (Luke 8:1). It was on this journey that “much people were gathered together, and come to him out of every city, he spake by parable” (8:4). In his account of this journey, Luke notes two parables given by Jesus – The parable of the sower and the parable of the candlelight. These are perhaps some of the deepest and most profound parables we have to understand the teachings of Christ. The disciples clearly sought to understand the significance of these stories. “And his disciples asked him saying, What might this parable be?” (8:9). And, Jesus clarifies to his disciples that parables are given that the hearer may know mysteries of the Kingdom. However, he explains further that while parables may open understanding to some, others still might hear and not understand, nor obey. The enemy of the soul is at work to destroy the power of the Word, its message, and its direction. “Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved” (8:12).
At this point there is an essential statement directed to Christ’s disciples, all of those in the cities they visited, and also for we modern believers as well. We must not fail to grasp the deep meaning of these two parables. Jesus warns: “Take heed therefore how ye hear” (8:18). Hearing the truth, and following it with obedience to the truth is a serious matter. Some are dismissive of speaking or preaching the truth, fearful that it will offend. Others commit themselves to personal ideology or their own disciplines that are more in line with the thinking of the world. And…the opinions of men are at times good advice, but the scripture is the law of God. It is the way, the truth. So, we must take heed how we hear.
The sower must find the good ground, the good heart, the heart that is willing to obey, and receive the Gospel. He must monitor the situation. The sower cannot ignore the seeds that fall on the rocks, or among the thorns, or allow them to be devoured by predators. He must keep his light shining on the situation. The fire of the candle provides light by which lost souls may find their way. They must be able to see in order to discover the way, and they must hear to know the truth.
Making sure a lost world can hear the Gospel and find their way to repentance is our responsibility. We must keep the way lit and clear and in so doing, it will look different from all other paths – a contrast, a beacon, a hope. It will be His way. For, our salvation is on God’s terms. There is no other name. There is – One Lord! One Faith! One Baptism! That is the way. Keep it lit, because not all will find it, not all will choose it.
“Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity” (Luke 13:26-27).