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Summary: Why has modern American Christianity missed the mark by such a distance? Is the Gospel no longer as potent as it used to be? Has the potency of the Bible run low like antique prescription medicine?

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"What’s Wrong? Or Has the Word of God Lost It’s Potency?"

(Matt. 13:1-53, Mark 4:1-34, Luke 8:4-18)

Intro

1. The evangelical world has lost confidence in the Word of God.

---TNIV is just one example¡Xchange in English usage is one thing

2. How Christians "do church" is reflective of what they believe¡K.

3. Trend: away from the Word of God (anything in its place)

Reformed Pastor Michael Horton, in his book, "A Better Way: Rediscovering the Drama of God-Centered Worship writes:

We are repeatedly told these days that music is the most important thing we do in worship. In fact, "worship" usually means singing or enjoying the singing of others. "Let’s just take some time now to worship" is roughly translated, "Cue the praise band."¡K..some have argued that a weekly service need not include the preaching of the Word, as God can speak through a variety of other instruments: drama, liturgical dance, poetry, and so on. Repeatedly worship is reduced to matter of consumer tastes."

4. Current Trends & Thoughts Article: Relgious art viewing in someone’s apartment will be the "worship service" of the future.

5. Result: Christians are as messed up as the world (divorce, finances, children, social life)

Question: Why has modern American Christianity missed the mark by such a distance? Is the Gospel no longer as potent as it used to be? Has the potency of the Bible run low like antique prescription medicine?

TS------------„³Christ presents us with 4 seed parables that will get us thinking in the right direction when we ask these questions.

I. The Seed Parables

A. The Parable of the Sower (Soils) [Matt. 13:1-23, Luke 8:15)

1. Some seed falls on a hard pathway¡Kbirds snatch up

2. Some fall on stony soil, germinate by dry up/no root

3. Some fell near thorns and ensnaring weeds¡K.grew but choked

4. Some fell on good soil, produced fruit: 100, 60, 30

B. The Parable of the Scattered Seed (Mark 4:26) ---READ THIS ONE

1. Grows whether we are awake or asleep---we do not know how!

2. Mysterious power in the seed¡K.

C. The Parable of the Wheat and Tares (Matt. 13:24-30)

1. Man sows wheat, enemy sows tares (darnel) in his field.

2. Should we uproot? Not until harvest¡K.then we can tell & not harm wheat

D. The Mustard Seed (Matt. 13:31-32)

Question: Why has modern American Christianity missed the mark by such a distance? Is the Gospel no longer as potent as it used to be? Has the potency of the Bible run low like antique prescription medicine?

II. Let’s Make Some Observations About These Parables

1. The sower interpretted

1. roadside/birds, 2. Stony, 3. Thorns, 4. Good ground (Luke 8;15)

2. In the sower & the scattered seed, we can be confident that the seed was fine; it was not the variable in these stories¡K.

3. The Wheat and tares¡K.problem was NOT the wheat seed, but the addition of Darnel seed¡K.again, the Seed, the Word of God, is not the variable.

4. The Mustard Seed---small but fruitful¡K

Question: Why has modern American Christianity missed the mark by such a distance? Is the Gospel no longer as potent as it used to be? Has the potency of the Bible run low like antique prescription medicine?

IV. The Bible Has Not Become Impotent, Just Abandoned

1. C.S. Lewis¡Xmore translated, less read

2. Bible is not a book to be used in worship, but the Bread of Life to be feasted upon when believers gather¡K.it’s preaching must be central¡K.

3. Look at all the things that went right and wrong in these parables¡K

THE WRONG:

(1) three bad soils to one good¡K.the problem: the human heart

(2) tares sown amongst wheat¡Kthe problem: ALTERNATIVE SEEDS

-----the church of Jesus Christ has been inundated with ALTERNATIVE SEEDS

-----counterfeit believers who superficially look no different than the real thing

(3) a potent enemy---birds of the air who snatch the seed; enemy sows tares¡K

4. What went RIGHT:

(1) somebody sowed---I have become so discouraged at times, I stopped sowing; so heartbroken at the many tares, so much shallowness that I wondered whether something was broken with my message¡K.

---but in our parable, the sower STILL sowed¡K

(2) sometimes the Word of God took root and produced fruit

(3) the mysterious power of the Word (will not return void)¡Kit will change SOME lives, not all; SOME will develop deep roots and great fruit, not all

CONCLUSION

1. Our elders are re-evaluating our church’s ministry; we think we can do better.

2. We are developing a list of core values that we will not surrender, no matter what. At the top of that list is a commitment to teach, study, and submit to the Word of God.

3. Will you renew your commitment to the Word?

(1) theologically¡Xit IS the Word of God, inerrant and infallible

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