In Matthew 13 Jesus tells the parable of the sower and the seed: "Behold, the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. And others fell upon the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up. . . . But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. And others fell on the good soil, and yielded a crop" (vv. 3-8).
Jesus went on to explain that the seed is the truth of God's Word. Satan and his demonic forces can snatch it away from those who hear it yet don't understand what it means. They can bring affliction and persecution against those who have an emotional commitment only, thereby causing them to lose heart and fall away. In some cases they choke out the Word with worry and the deceitfulness of riches (vv. 19-22).
But truly repentant sinners receive and nurture the gospel truth, just as prepared soil receives and nurtures seed. They hear it, understand it, receive it, and produce spiritual fruit (v. 23).
Proclaiming the gospel is an important aspect of taking the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17). As you do, others are saved and join God's army. But be warned: Satan never gives up territory without a fight. Some of the people you witness to will forget what you tell them. Others will refuse to turn from worldly influences. Still others may respond emotionally, but without a genuine commitment to serving Christ and forsaking sin.
Those spiritual battles should compel you to bathe your evangelism in prayer and undergird it with a clear gospel presentation. If people understand precisely what it means to receive Christ, and if their hearts are prepared by the Holy Spirit, they'll not be so easily victimized by satanic opposition.
Suggestions for Prayer:
Ask the Lord to give you an opportunity to share Christ with someone today, or to encourage a struggling believer.
For Further Study:
Read 1 Thessalonians 3:1-8.
- What was Paul's concern for the Thessalonian believers?
- What did he do to eliminate his concern?
From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.