SHERWOOD – Preaching from Luke 8:5-15 about the “parable of the sower,” evangelist Junior Hill reminded attendees to the Arkansas Baptist State Convention 2013 State Conference on Evangelism and Church Growth of the timeless truths contained in the passage of Scripture.
Pointing to the “seed” – or the Word of God – as being the central theme, Hill said the passage includes an important message about the sower – the person sharing the gospel – and the soils – the person receiving the gospel.
While those aspects of the passage are easily identified, Hill pointed to a lesser, but important, message from the Scripture: Satan’s strategy to take the seed from the hand of the sower.
“A man is sowing, and the devil is watching. The devil immediately has to do all that he can to get rid of that seed,” said Hill.
“Satan is always trying to get the seed out of the messenger’s hand,” he said.
Hill asked, “How is the devil going to take the seed out of your hand? How is the devil going to keep you from sowing that seed?”
He said the devil uses five ways to attempt to remove the seed from one’s hand – through intimidation, observation, evaluation, alteration and germination.
Hill said intimidation comes, for example, when the media tries to make people believe preachers are crazy if they believe in absolutes. He told pastors that he believed one day they possibly could be thrown into jail by preaching that marriage is between a man and a woman.
Regarding observation, Hill said the devil tries to do his best to talk believers out of sharing the gospel with the lost, adding that it is important to “observe the winds, watch the clouds” and not to second-guess God.
“We think we know better than God does sometimes, (and) who will respond and who won't,” he said.
Regarding evaluation, Hill said, “We not only think it is the wrong time, but to the wrong people.”
Reading Ecclesiastes 11:5, Hill said we do not know the “path of the wind” and know who will respond to the gospel message and who will not.
“(God) didn't call you to evaluate, he called you to ‘proclamate,’” Hill said.
“It is your responsibility to sow the seed and let the God of heaven make the determination who is going to respond,” he said.
A fourth way the devil takes the seed out of one’s hand is through alteration.
Hill said today we see churches that have gone to great lengths to alter the gospel in order to make it more appealing to the masses.
“I see an altered gospel planted all over based on an altered seed,” said Hill. “The altered gospel won't tell you that Jesus isn't the Savior, just that He isn't the only Savior.”
Hill encouraged pastors to be faithful in season and out of season, because that's what God has called them to do.
Finally, Hill said the devil takes the seed out of one’s hand by germination. He attempts to discourage us when we don’t see immediate results of proclaiming the gospel.
“Quiet often when you sow down something with a seed, some of those seeds are going to fall underneath a rock or behind a piece of wood,” said Hill. “When it rains, they get no moisture. That seed may lay there for months. But one day by the grace of God, a drop of rain falls and runs up underneath that rock and touches that little seed … and it begins to expand and break out, and before you realize it, that little blade has sprung up and come outside that rock.”
“If you didn’t know that, you would get discouraged, wouldn’t you?” Hill explained, adding, “That seed that you are sowing may come up, and may come up when you aren’t expecting it, but be faithful to God to sow the seed!”