Spurgeon has a sermon in his “Farm sermons” with this title taken from several verses in Proverbs. He uses it to draw attention to the various areas in our lives and in the work of the kingdom which are being neglected and left to infestation by spiritual weeds and thorns.
A cultivated field or a home garden if left unattended for a length of time will quickly become infested with weeds and other noxious plants. This will require intensive efforts to restore it to a point where it will be suitable for cultivation. Even a field that is ploughed and planted will still need hoeing, weed removal and constant attention to maintain its fertility.
The advantage is always with the weeds they spread and grow at incredible speed, where useful crops are slow growing and sensitive to weather, disease and competition.
The sluggard or lazy farmer fully intends to attend to his field and till and cultivate it, however the temptations of sleep, ease and the obstacles of weather and working conditions rob him of his slender resolve. So in the mean time his farm goes to rack and ruin and becomes an object lesson to others of the dangers of laziness and neglect.
Spurgeon points out that in our lives there are areas which need constant attention or the weeds of sin and sloth will rob us of fruitfulness and usefulness in God’s kingdom.
Likewise in the church and in the world there is work to be done for building up the brotherhood and evangelizing the “wilderness of this world”.
There were times in the history of the church, especially at the beginning, when it was “missionary” by definition; however in Spurgeon’s time and certainly in ours it was left to a dedicated few.
It does seem that very few have very much concern for the furtherance of the gospel. We want to see numbers in the church but we are more concerned with adjusting the message to the world rather than bringing people to Christ. Instead of proclaiming the same message of salvation which has always been the task of the church we are tweaking the gospel to worldly perceptions and standards.
It is no wonder there is so little sense of “mission” in the church when no one is quite sure what we should be preaching. True also, because we no longer believe in hell we have no sense of urgency about saving anyone from it.
This does not excuse us.
I remember a story of a famous missionary looking at a map of the world and pointing at a continent or country and despairing of the lack of gospel preaching and missionary work there.
Maybe some “Christians” are so busy striving for the good things of this world that they forget the whole of it is lying in the “evil one”. The world by and large is a howling wilderness spiritually.
There are great tracts of it untouched by the message of salvation by Jesus Christ. Many countries that had a real Christian witness have very little true Christianity left.
True the work of evangelism is beyond mere human effort but nevertheless it is part of every believers calling to share the gospel.
What I write to you I say to myself.
First be sure you know the real gospel yourself.
Second do what you can to reach others with the same blessing you yourself have received.
2 Corinthians 5:14-15English Standard Version (ESV)
14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
The question is what does newness of life mean to each of us.
In one of his sermons John Macarthur said that the Jewish Pharisees believed in the resurrection of the dead but made the resurrection life little more than a life the same as here. They spent their time speculating what sort of clothes the resurrected person would be wearing if any. Would he have the same clothes he was buried in or would he have new clothes.They had interminable discussion on trivial ideas regarding the afterlife.
So we today seem intent on making the new life we have in Christ as being ” our best life now” and heaven as well. According to some the christians word has power to overcome obstacles, bring healing and fulfill our wishes and desires.
Looking at the images we see projected by some “Christian teachers” we can have it all and be saved at last.
A bit odd when the Great founder and example of Christianity had no where to lay his head half the time. Jesus it seems, had little more than what he stood up in.
He suffered rejection and ultimately crucifixion and called on his followers to walk the same path. True it leads to glory and eternal joy but not by a easy or always pleasant route.
There is not a lot of room in todays’ church for suffering or poverty. Self denial has certainly been left out of our message today.
We are so concerned to bring people in we run the risk of losing them again if we return to the teaching of way of the Cross.
The newness of life which Christ brings is joy in the midst of trial, sorrow and suffering. It brings living fellowship with Christ who walked this path before us and has taken on himself the worst of the way so that we will not have to.
To Him be the Glory.
Many people ask “What would Jesus do?” Without really understanding what Jesus did.- Paul Locandro