Seek the Lord, Search the Scriptures; the Importance of Faithfulness

Without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing to him, for he who comes to God must believe that he exists, and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him. (Heb 11:6 WEB)

Many of us spend so much time doing our jobs, and taking care of families, houses, transportation, and entertainment that the Lord’s time gets squeezed. We certainly don’t want to be the thorny ground in this parable.

On that day Jesus went out of the house, and sat by the seaside. Great multitudes gathered to him, so that he entered into a boat, and sat, and all the multitude stood on the beach. He spoke to them many things in parables, saying, “Behold, a farmer went out to sow. As he sowed, some seeds fell by the roadside, and the birds came and devoured them. Others fell on rocky ground, where they didn’t have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of earth. When the sun had risen, they were scorched. Because they had no root, they withered away. Others fell among thorns. The thorns grew up and choked them. Others fell on good soil, and yielded fruit: some one hundred times as much, some sixty, and some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mat 13:1-9 WEB)

This looks like farming advice as much as anything but Jesus explains the meaning below.

“Hear, then, the parable of the farmer. When anyone hears the word of the Kingdom, and doesn’t understand it, the evil one comes, and snatches away that which has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown by the roadside. What was sown on the rocky places, this is he who hears the word, and immediately with joy receives it; yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while. When oppression or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. What was sown among the thorns, this is he who hears the word, but the cares of this age and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. What was sown on the good ground, this is he who hears the word, and understands it, who most certainly bears fruit, and produces, some one hundred times as much, some sixty, and some thirty.” (Mat 13:18-23 WEB)

Here we have an explanation that says it’s all about what people do, and how they respond to the word of God. When someone hears the word of God and doesn’t understand it the evil one, the adversary, comes in and just snatches it away from that person’s heart. A person without any depth, without roots, a person who is shallow hears the word with joy and goes a little while with it but when a problem comes up they give up and they lose the word of God in their hearts. A person who is so involved with his life in the world, the job, taking care of the kids, taking care of the property, trying to maximize their income, trying to live the good life to the point that that’s their priority all or almost all 0f the time, that’s ground with the thorns. And the good ground is the person who hears the word of God and acts on it, producing varying yields. The Scripture says, “some one hundred times as much, some sixty, and some thirty.”

The parable gives an account of all kinds of ground; bits of ground in the road, rocky ground, thorny ground, and good ground. Of course, we believers want to be a good ground. But the parable is a warning against how the adversary works to steal the word of God from our lives. This warning is to us for the rest of our lives.

The adversary doesn’t stop when we accept Christ. There are warnings all over the Scriptures to not be deceived. Here’s a giant warning.

Be sober and self-controlled. Be watchful. Your adversary, the devil, walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Withstand him steadfast in your faith, knowing that your brothers who are in the world are undergoing the same sufferings. But may the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. (1Pe 5:8-10 WEB)

Now I want to make a point here. And the point is this, this parable is about hearing the word of God, not about church activity although certainly, part of having the word in your heart is interacting with other members of the body of Christ. Activity in the church is only fruitful to the point that it increases the word of God in your life.

It needs to be said and often repeated, that we’re talking about the rightly divided word of God. There are a lot of Christian philosophies out there, some righteous and some not.  There are a lot of movements that are called Christian. In relatively recent centuries we saw the Reformation movement, the Restoration movement, the Anabaptist movement, the Unitarian movement, the Fundamentalism movement, the liberal Christianity movement, the Holiness movement. the charismatic and Pentecostal movements, the house church movement, the lesbian and gay Christian movement, the new thought movement, the Word of Prosperity movement, and more.[1]

Just because it’s a Christian movement does not mean it’s part of God’s plan. And, even within a movement that is moving people closer to the true faith, there may be some error in what is taught. That’s why it’s so important that we just don’t follow any movement that appears to be Christian but we make the word of God as is taught in the Scriptures our focal point.

Test all things, and hold firmly that which is good. Abstain from every form of evil. (1Th 5:21-22 WEB)

We are to evaluate whatever comes our way. If it’s right on with the word of God we do it. If it’s not we abstain from it.

How do you evaluate whether something is righteous? You have to know the word of God. You have to know Scripture.

Search the Scriptures

So, we study Scripture. We search them.  Jesus said to search them.

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. (Joh 5:39 KJV)

The prophets searched them.

Concerning this salvation, the prophets sought and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, (1Pe 1:10 WEB)

The believers searched them.

Now these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. (Act 17:11 WEB)

We hide the word of God in our hearts.

I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. (Psa 119:11 WEB)

Believers who seek the Lord with all their heart find him.

And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. (Jer 29:13 KJV)

More than just studying the word of God,  we are ready to speak it when challenged in defense of our faith. We are ready to speak the word of God in defense of our faith.

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts; and always be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks you a reason concerning the hope that is in you, with humility and fear: (1Pe 3:15 WEB)

I have known people who spent a lot of time in churches going to services, maybe growing up in a church, maybe volunteering, helping with things, being involved, never growing to know Christ, or just abandoning the faith after years because it became fruitless to them. Or maybe, they continued going to church services, but were always on the fence, never really quite sure of what they believed, and never fully committing.

Faith vs Activity

There is a difference between having faith and maintaining a level of activity in a church.

For the promise to Abraham and to his offspring that he should be heir of the world wasn’t through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. (Rom 4:13 WEB)

The above verse from Romans contrasts how the Law in the Old Testament works versus how true faith works.  The law is a complex system of activities. There are regular rituals in the law. There are a number of festivals like Passover, the feast of unleavened bread, the feast of weeks (Pentecost), and more.  There were tithes, sacrifices, and all kinds of religious activities. And of course, there was the knowing of and obedience to the Law with all of its ordinances.  Anybody following all the things in the law is doing a lot of activities. But the above verse gives a difference between just being active in the Jewish faith and receiving righteousness from the Lord. The above verse talks about how righteousness comes from faith.

So faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Rom 10:17 WEB)

There’s that phrase again, “the word of God”. Faith doesn’t come by being born into a church, attending a church, or volunteering at a church. Faith doesn’t come by studying philosophy, or even catechisms, or counsel decrees unless  those  philosophies, catechisms, or decrees  agree precisely with the word of God. Faith comes by hearing the word of God. Here are some scriptures that talk about how that works.

For Moses writes about the righteousness of the law, “The one who does them will live by them.” But the righteousness which is of faith says this, “Don’t say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down); or, ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead.)” But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth, and in your heart;” that is, the word of faith, which we preach: that if you will confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart, one believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Rom 10:5-10 WEB)

“The word is near you, in your mouth, and in your heart;” that is, the word of faith, which we preach: that if you will confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” These verses say that people are showing faith when they confess with their mouths that Jesus is Lord and believe in their hearts that God has raised him from the dead.

For this cause we also thank God without ceasing, that, when you received from us the word of the message of God, you accepted it not as the word of men, but, as it is in truth, the word of God, which also works in you who believe. (1Th 2:13 WEB)

This verse talks about the continuing nature of that faith. Faith is not a one-time act. With faith, the word of God works in us as we continue to believe.

The Importance of Faithfulness

Do you see the continuous nature of faith? Look at these verses.

So let a man think of us as Christ’s servants, and stewards of God’s mysteries. Here, moreover, it is required of stewards, that they be found faithful. (1Co 4:1-2 WEB)

Faithfulness is a requirement in the Christian walk. Perseverance in the faith is also a byproduct of the love of God in our hearts.

[Love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1Co 13:7 WEB)

So, the walk in Christ is one of continual faithfulness. The walk in Christ is also one of continuously renewing the mind.

Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God. (Rom 12:2 WEB)

Renewing the mind means putting on the mind of Christ. Putting on the mind of Christ means going to the Scripture regularly and often so that as we do our daily endeavors we will have in mind what is godly and what is not so that we can more effectively seek the Lord not only in our life with believers at services but in our everyday activities too.

Have this in your mind, which was also in Christ Jesus, (Php 2:5 WEB)

And all of this brings us back to the first verse in this article. Seeking the Lord isn’t something that we do once whereby we get saved and we’re done. Seeking the Lord is something that you, I, and all believers do minute by minute.

Without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing to him, for he who comes to God must believe that he exists, and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him. (Heb 11:6 WEB)

When does Scripture say we are to seek the Lord?

Seek Yahweh and his strength. Seek his face forever more. (Psa 105:4 WEB)

Scripture tells us to seek the Lord forever more.

[1] Wikipedia has quite an interesting list of movements at,with%20the%20word%20of%20God.

©copyright 2023 Mark W. Smith, all rights reserved. last revised 6/17/2023

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