WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
SEPTEMBER 3, 2021
TOPIC: THREE ENEMIES OF THE WORD OF GOD
BY T. O. BANSO
“But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty” (Matthew 13:23 New King James Version).
In Matthew 13, Jesus spoke seven parables: the parable of the sower, the parable of the wheat and the tares, the parable of the mustard seed, the parable of the leaven, the parable of the hidden treasure, the parable of the pearl of great price, and the parable of the dragnet.
In the parable of the sower, Jesus spoke about the four different soils that the seeds the farmer scattered across the field fell on. The seeds fell on the footpath, on the shallow soil with underlying rock, among the thorns, and on fertile soil. The four different soils represent four different hearts of the people that hear the Word of God
In this parable, we can also learn about three enemies of the word of God. That does not mean that there are no other enemies. These three enemies would not allow the word of God to be fruitful in someone’s life. As Jesus said in the parable, only the seeds that fell on the fertile soil or good ground yielded fruits and produced in varying degrees. “But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty” (Matthew 13:23 New King James Version).
The first enemy of the Word of God, which was the seeds that the farmer scattered is lack of understanding. Without the understanding of the Word of God, it will not profit anyone. In the parable of the sower, this is likened to the seed that fell on the footpath or by the wayside. “And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them” (Matthew 13:4 New King James Version).
Explaining the meaning of the seeds falling by the wayside, Jesus said, “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside” (Matthew 13:19 New King James Version).
From Jesus’ explanation, the reason the seeds that fell by the wayside did not bear fruits was that this heart did not understand the Word of God. If someone does not understand the word of God, he cannot believe it or act upon it. The devil does not want anyone to understand the Word of God. Even during the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ, many people, including his disciples, did not understand some of the things He said or taught.
Mark 9:30-32 tells us how the disciples did not understand Jesus’ words concerning His death and resurrection. “Then they departed from there and passed through Galilee, and He did not want anyone to know it. For He taught His disciples and said to them, ‘The Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. And after He is killed, He will rise the third day.’ But they did not understand this saying, and were afraid to ask Him” (Mark 9:30-32 New King James Version).
Please take note of the last portion of this passage: But they did not understand this saying, and were afraid to ask Him. In Luke 9:45, a similar phrase is used concerning the disciples of Jesus about what He said. “‘Let these words sink down into your ears, for the Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men.’ But they did not understand this saying, and it was hidden from them so that they did not perceive it; and they were afraid to ask Him about this saying” (Luke 9:44-45 New King James Version). Understanding is key to the fruitfulness of the Word of God. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask questions if you don’t understand the Word of God.
John 12:14-16 also talked about the lack of understanding of the disciples of Jesus, “Then Jesus, when He had found a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written: ‘Fear not, daughter of Zion; Behold, your King is coming, Sitting on a donkey’s colt.’ His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written about Him and that they had done these things to Him” (John 12:14-16 New King James Version).
See also Luke 2:49-50: “And He said to them, ‘Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?’ But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them” (New King James Version). Did you see again lack of understanding? Mary and Joseph, the earthly parents of Jesus didn’t understand what Jesus meant.
Furthermore, the Jews also did not understand Jesus. “Then they said to Him, ‘Who are You?’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Just what I have been saying to you from the beginning. I have many things to say and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I heard from Him.’ They did not understand that He spoke to them of the Father” (John 8:25-27 New King James Version).
In John 10:1-6, when Jesus spoke about being the true shepherd, verse 6 says, “Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them” (New King James Version).
When you don’t understand the Word of God, pray about it, ask questions, and seek help. The disciples of Jesus asked Him for the meaning of the parable of the sower. Mark 4:10 says, “But when He was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable” (New King James Version). Jesus explained it to them.
When Daniel didn’t understand the revelation he saw, he asked for the meaning. “I heard what he said, but I did not understand what he meant. So I asked, ‘How will all this finally end, my lord?’ But he said, ‘Go now, Daniel, for what I have said is for the time of the end. Many will be purified, cleansed, and refined by these trials. But the wicked will continue in their wickedness, and none of them will understand. Only those who are wise will know what it means” (Daniel 12:8-10 New Living Translation).
The Ethiopian eunuch didn’t understand what he was reading. He asked Phillip for the meaning when he saw the opportunity. He didn’t hide his ignorance or be proud to acknowledge his ignorance. “Philip ran over and heard the man reading from the prophet Isaiah; so he asked, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ The man replied, ‘How can I, when there is no one to instruct me?’ And he begged Philip to come up into the carriage and sit with him” (Acts 8:30-31 New Living Translation).
Phillip explained the meaning to him; he believed and was eventually baptized. Lack of understanding is an enemy of the Word of God. In Ephesians 1:18, Paul prayed for the Ephesians Christians that the eyes of their understanding will be enlightened; If someone hears the Word of God and does not understand it, the wicked one will come and snatch away the Word that is sown in his heart.
The second enemy of the Word of God in the parable of the sower is the lack of root of the Word of God. If the Word of God has no root in someone’s heart, it will not last and, therefore, will be unfruitful. Matthew 13:20-21 says, “But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he 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 tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles” (New King James Version).
The excitement in receiving the Word of God is not enough. You must understand the Word of God and then sit down with the Word to meditate on it so that the Word can be established in your heart. This is the way to ensure that when tribulation or persecution arises because of the Word, you will not stumble.
Tribulation or persecution will come. It is a matter of time. Jesus didn’t leave us in the dark about this. “So Jesus answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time — houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions — and in the age to come, eternal life’” (Mark 10:29-31 New King James Version).
The early church faced persecution. Acts 8:1 says great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. But the Word of God kept spreading because the Word had root in the believers. “Now those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but the Jews only” (Acts 11:19 New King James Version).
Paul talked about the persecutions and other things he suffered (2 Corinthians 12:10; 2 Timothy 3:10-11). But he said he gloried in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance (Romans 5:3). The apostle Paul said in 2 Timothy 3:12, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (New King James Version). You must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 2:3). You must ensure that the Word of God is deeply rooted in you.
The third enemy of the Word of God is “the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches.” This twin enemy will not allow the Word of God to be fruitful. Matthew 13:22 says, “Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful” (New King James Version).
The phrase “the cares of this world” refers to the worries of this life, the anxiety of the world, or the worries and distractions of life. Also, “the deceitfulness of riches” means the lure of wealth, the superficial pleasures and delight of riches, the seduction of wealth, or the love for riches. This twin enemy chokes the Word and makes it unfruitful. You must avoid the two in your life.
Jesus warned against the hearts being weighed down with the cares of this life. He said, “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly” (Luke 21:34 New King James Version). Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about what happens to you (1 Peter 5:7).
Don’t be deceived by riches. Don’t be drawn away by the lure of wealth. 1Timothy 6:6-10 says, “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (New King James Version).
Proverbs 11:4 says riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death. Riches are not forever (Proverbs 27:24a). “People who live only for wealth come to the end of their lives as naked and empty-handed as on the day they were born” (Ecclesiastes 5:15 New Living Translation).
Compare these three enemies to what Matthew 13:23 says: “But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty” (New King James Version). May your heart be fertile soil for the Word of God and produce fruits abundantly.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: My heart shall be fertile soil for the Word of God. I shall hear the word and understand it, and bear fruits. The enemies of the Word of God shall have no room to operate in my life.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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