What do you believe?
The bible says just one person in eight who hear the word of God will take it to heart and act on it. Are you that special person? If you are not sure or don’t know what I am talking about, read on.
There are many people in this world who claim to be Christians, but not all of them are “active.” Statistics indicate in excess of 1.5 billion people in the world are followers of Jesus and Christianity. Furthermore there are many who say they believe there is a God but do not follow any specific faith.
Do you think it is enough just to believe there is a God? In the book of James you may be shocked to find that the answer is clearly that it is not enough. He said that, “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe–and shudder” (James 2:19). So faith by itself is not enough, as we know that the demons believe, but are doomed to damnation. There is no doubt that you must believe God as a starting point but then it is important for you to build on that first grain of faith and grow. So faith that is not acted upon is of little value, and this was the thrust of James’ teaching in chapter two of his letter.
So what is the point of this? Of the 6-7 billion people on earth, including those who claim to be Christians, how many will be saved?
The parable of the sower; the first four types of people
In the bible there are many times you will find proportions are mentioned and some of these relate to this matter. Do you recall the parable of the sower? (Matthew 13:3-9) In this teaching the Lord is showing us that there were four classes of people who hear the word of God and how they responded to the word. In brief the parable goes like this:
A sower went out and sowed the seed. Some fell on the path and was immediately snatched away by the birds. Some fell in the shallow soil of rocky ground and sprang up, but as it could not take root it dried up and died when the heat of the sun hit it. Some seed fell amongst the weeds and grew for a while until the weeds overcame and choked it to death. And finally some fell in good soil and produced good crops.
You can see there are four types of people who receive the seed, which is the good word of the gospel. Which one of the four types are you?
The first type – don’t even make first base!
You are clearly not of the first group who have the seed snatched away immediately by the birds, otherwise you would not have read this far. The birds in this parable represent Satan who takes away the word (see Matthew 13:18-23). At the first mention of Christianity you would have switched off, deleted this information and moved on to something else. The sad thing is that if this is you, you will never even know it and I will be writing these words to someone who will never even read them.
So if you got this far, you are not of the seed taken by the birds.
Second type – When the going gets tough…they go away!
If you are of the second group you will read this and say, “This is fantastic! Just what I have been looking for!” You will take the seed and begin to grow, but then adversity or trouble will hit you and…Bam! You go down for the count never to rise again. Make no mistake; you have to be tough to be a Christian. The representation of Christians as weak and timid is pure fallacy and lies of the devil.
I’m sorry did you say adversity? I thought being a Christian was supposed to take away my troubles and life would be easier! Well, just like everyone else, we Christians still suffer in this world and sometimes more. After all if you are not a Christian, you don’t get picked on for being a Christian! But you should not be surprised at this as we are told many times that we will suffer for being Christians. Peter said, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal which comes upon you to prove you, as though something strange were happening to you.”
But what you have which the rest of the non-Christian world does not have is an escape clause. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” As a Christian you have the means of escape to be able to endure the trials and tribulations of this world. But if you are part of the second group you will not have the intestinal fortitude to stand the heat and will get out of the kitchen.
Third type – I’m sorry, what was that again?
If you are one of the third group you will get distracted. The weeds represent all of the other things you will get involved with that will squeeze out your commitment to Christ. These may be pleasant things or unpleasant things, but whatever they are, they will take up your time so that you will just fade away. There may be too many problems and you say, “I can’t be a Christian until I can sort out my life!” Or there may be too many other things you are interested in and you say, “I can’t be a Christian, I don’t have the time!”
If you are one of those people from the third group you will go along for a while, but you will always find a reasons or excuses preventing you continuing on. Other things will always seem to get in your way. It might be problems or a family function or friends drop in as you are about to go to church or your favourite TV show comes on or anything else.
The crunch point for this group is…priorities. Being a Christian just isn’t their number one priority. The old saying, “Always the bridesmaid and never the bride,” applies to this group. We have been called as Christians to be the bride of Christ, but if you don’t make this a priority in your life, then you have chosen second best and there is no second place in the race of life.
Fourth type – winner takes all!
The fourth group are those where the good seed falls and it takes root. If you are part of this group you will hear the word and take hold of it and begin to grow and mature in Christ. This is the best place to be because you receive all of the promises and benefits of Christianity as part of this group.
But hold on a minute, there are only four groups and the heading of this article says, “Are you that special one person in eight.” So what is this one in eight all about?
The ten maidens – 50/50, which are you?
There is a story in Matthew 25:1-13 about ten maidens who were invited to a marriage feast and took with them ten oil-fired lanterns. Five of them were wise and took extra supplies of oil but the other five were foolish and did not. As the bridegroom was delayed they waited outside the gate of the property and slept. At around midnight the announcement came saying the bridegroom was about to arrive. Their lamps were running low so the wise maidens trimmed their lamps and added oil so they would burn brightly. The foolish maidens had no oil and asked the wise if they would give some of theirs. But the wise maidens answered that there may be insufficient for their own needs let alone for the foolish maidens as well, and so they suggested they go to the merchants to buy more oil. While they were away the bridegroom arrived and those wise maidens went into the feast with him and the gates were closed. The foolish maidens returned and sought to get into the feast but the lord of the place told them to go away saying, “I do not know you.”
This story is a powerful warning to you about being prepared. You will note that all ten of the maidens were invited to the feast. But only half of them were found prepared and ready to enter. In the same way, you may have been invited and you may go to church regularly, but if you do not learn, grow and apply his teachings to your life, you will not be ready.
The oil in the story represents the teachings of the Lord and it is these teachings that allow you to “burn brightly.” But if you do not continue to learn and grow, your light will fade and eventually go out, like the lamps of the foolish maidens.
So of the seed that fell in the good soil, that is, those who first received the word and took heed of it, only half will enter the Kingdom. Thus they are the special one person in eight.
Do these proportions hold true in the real world? I really don’t know. However I do know that the numbers who will be saved are many times fewer than those who will not. So my final question to you is this: Are you striving to be one of the eight who will be saved?
I hope that you found something here to help you or add to your own knowledge. If you have any questions, then please feel free to contact me.