(EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the fourth of a five-part series written by Thomas M. "Tom" Saltsgiver, the president of Muncy Homes Inc. and Wirerope Works Inc. He has been involved in philanthropic giving and Christian ministry since 1985, when the Lord touched and changed his life. He has served in various positions on advisory boards of his local church, Prison Fellowship Ministries, Episcopal Renewal Ministries, Acts 29 Ministries, Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship International, The Sentinel Group, Regent University and The Christian Broadcasting Network. Tom teaches the adult Bible study at 9 a.m. Sunday at the G.A.P. Fellowship, 312 Maynard St., corner of Third and Maynard streets, in Williamsport.)
The parable of the sower and the seed is in all four Gospels and tells of the same four positions of mankind. If you read the parable of the sower and the seed, it will read:
Luke 8:5-8 (NIV) (5)"A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. (6)Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. (7)Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. (8)Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown." When he said this, he called out, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
Then Jesus interprets:
Luke 8:11-13 (NIV) (11)"This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. (12)Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.
That first group is in Egypt. Notice that it says they could not believe and be saved. All those who do not come to faith are lost.
Luke 8:13 (NIV) (13)Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.
The second group is everyone in the wilderness. That's what happened to the nation Israel. They crossed the Red Sea by faith and were delivered from bondage; but, they then fell into disobedience and unbelief when God told them to go in and possess the land. Seeing trouble looming, they disobeyed because of their unbelief and they lost their salvation.
Luke 8:14 (NIV) (14)The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.
The third group is those who are baptized in the Holy Spirit but are more concerned with the problems of this life and their desire for material things. They do not mature and become fruitful.
Mark 4:20 (NIV) (20)Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop - 30, 60 or even a hundred times what was sown."
The fourth group is those who are baptized in the Holy Spirit and live a life pleasing to God. They are mature Christians who are proclaiming the gospel in word and deed and demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV) (22)But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (23)gentleness and self-control.
God says it another way in Revelation 22:11.
Revelation 22:11 (KJV) (11)He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
Again we see four positions before God:
If you are unjust, it means that you are not justified. You have not come to faith. You are lost in Egypt.
If you are filthy, you have not been washed by the blood of Christ You have eaten Jesus' flesh but you have not drunk His blood and therefore do not have Life in you. If this group continues in their faith, they are saved, they are justified; but, they are not in the body of Christ.
1 John 1:7 (KJV) (7)But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
Hebrews 9:14 (NIV) (14)How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!
Revelation 1:5-6 (KJV) (5)And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, (6)And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
If you are righteous, you are in Christ and He is in you. You are righteous, but it is not your righteousness. It is Christ's righteousness who is in you.
If you are holy, you are in Christ and you are living a life worthy of your calling.
Ephesians 4:1-6 (NIV) (1)As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. (2)Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
1 Peter 1:15-16 (NIV) (15)But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; (16)for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."
So, there are four groups. My concern for the churches is that they are hearing that there are only two groups - you're either lost or you're saved - and they figure, if I believe I'm saved, I'm going to heaven, but that is not what I see the Scriptures saying. Even on who's going to heaven, everybody is not going to heaven. Even of those who are saved, everybody is not going to heaven. I say that because of the parable of the 10 virgins.
All 10 of them are virgins and, if you do a word study on virgins, you are going to find out that virgins are saved. But, five had oil and five did not. When the bridegroom comes for his bride, as in the parable of the 10 virgins, who is it that goes? The five with the oil. The virgins without oil remain. Who is it that goes to Heaven? Those with oil, the Holy Spirit, those who are in Christ and He is in them. Who are the virgins that remain? - those who are in the wilderness and have remained faithful.
Again, speaking of foreshadowings, another foreshadowing: At the end of Chapter 16 of Matthew, Jesus said to his disciples: "I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before you see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom." Chapter 17 begins: "After six days, Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves," speaking of the Mount of Transfiguration. Why does it say "after six days?" Again, one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years is as one day to the Lord. So, after 6000 years, here's the picture of the Son of Man coming in his kingdom. Jesus is in a glorified body; Moses and Elijah are in glorified bodies, representing the church which will rule and reign with Christ, all in glorified bodies. One had died and one had not. One was a Jew and one was a gentile. The mountain represents Jerusalem. You always go up to Jerusalem. Peter, James and John represent the nation Israel who will be in natural bodies occupying Jerusalem and the territory that God promised Israel. And the nations around the base of the mountain representing those who are saved (not the church) all in natural bodies. We are getting close to Christ coming for his bride.