Devotional Thoughts for This Morning
Matt. 13:24-30: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field,  but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away.  So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also.  And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’  He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’  But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them.  Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”
During my morning jog in Villahermosa, Mexico, I slowed down to share the gospel with a young man coming my way. After a few minutes into the conversation, he said he’ll return to his former church—“Kingdom Hall.” Then I realized that he was a backslidden Jehovah’s Witness, but knew very little of its teaching (See Lunch Break Study 1/23). So, I was in an awkward position of having to inform him of their beliefs, and then to refute them afterwards.
“Why bother,” some would argue, especially those who agree with this megachurch pastor who once quipped, “I’m too busy preaching the Gospel to split hairs. . . . Many . . . are dying . . . not . . . for the lack of theology, but for lack of love.” But I think John, though known as the apostle of love (1 Jn. 3:11), would disagree. Pointing to those who denied that Christ came in the flesh, thereby diminishing his humanity, he called them “the deceiver and the antichrist” who “do not have God” (I Jn. 1:7-8). Folks, doctrine is serious business.
In the parable, which Jesus himself explained, (Matt. 13:36-42), “the good seed is the sons of the kingdom” while “the weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil.” More precisely, the seed is God’s word (Mk. 4:14) that produces the sons of the kingdom, while the weed is “a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all” (Gal. 1:7). The one who stands behind the false gospel is “Satan himself [who] masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14). What then will be the final outcome of “sincerely” believing in a different gospel? Jesus said, “At the end of the age . . . [the angels] will throw them into the fiery furnace.”
It seems that many who “love” theology (e.g., “I’m a 5-point Calvinist”) lack love, while others who promote love find doctrine not as essential; yet instead of an “either/or” attitude, we should be balanced and have both doctrine and love: “Speak the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15). So, in love, I shared with the young Mexican some guidelines to find a church that preaches the true gospel.
O LORD, You are the God who saves, and I am eternally grateful for your truth and the gospel! Forgive me for keeping the truth of the gospel to myself, rarely sharing it with anyone. May the Spirit stir my heart and sharpen my mind to earnestly and accurately share the good news with those around me, in love. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 30
Lunch Break Study
Read Acts 18:24-26 (NIV): “Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures.  He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John.  He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.  And when he wished to cross to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed,  for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.”
Question to Consider
- What made the situation very sensitive between Apollos and Priscilla/Aquila?
- How did Apollos respond to what Priscilla/Aquila tried to do for him? What does this suggest about the manner in which this couple approached this sensitive matter?
- Is there something really important (spiritually or otherwise) that you have been wanting to share with this person whom you care about but have been putting it off? What is keeping you? What do you need to do?
- Although Apollos was a formally trained teacher, this lay couple knew more about the actual life and ministry of Jesus Christ. Apparently, while Apollos knew all about the Messianic prophecies, he didn’t know that those have been fulfilled in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.
- Evidently, Apollos received the correction since he immediately applied it to his ministry. This suggests that Priscilla and Aquila spoke the truth in love, meaning they avoided insulting their teacher (“You don’t even know this”) while maintaining respect.
- Once, I corrected this godly Mexican pastor who made a mistake. It was on my mind for a while but I finally decided to address it. Having said that, no one should rebuke or correct anyone unless he is praying for that individual. I guess this man thought that I did that in love; we still keep in touch.
Throughout the day, we have many different conversations. Today, did anyone share a truth that you needed to hear (hopefully in love)? How did you respond? Perhaps, it was you who did that for someone—was it truthful and done in love? Review your day; ask God to sanctify you with His truth (Jn. 17:17).