Many Christians have heard a watered-down version of the Gospel of the Kingdom that Jesus preached. They have been told “just confess Jesus as Savior” or “just say you believe in your heart”. These are true sayings but, they are only part of the story! Jesus also said, “When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” (Mark 8:34) and “Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” (Matt. 19:21).
The fear of the Lord is seldom taught because it is foreign to the “seeker friendly” movement. Many preachers want numbers, they want to grow their congregations, which is not wrong in and of itself but, they want large numbers for their fame and for the money they generate – this is wrong. They seldom preach Jesus’ words – “For many are called, but few are chosen.” Matt. (22:14). There were many Hebrews in bondage in Egypt who wanted the freedom from slavery that Moses offered but, they complained in the wilderness, “And the children of Israel said to them, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” (Exo. 16:3). They may have left Egypt but Egypt was still in their hearts! And not many of them made it to the Promised Land.
Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom in parables to separate the called from the chosen. To the crowds around Him, who were just there for the benefits Jesus gave, He gave the truth in parables but, to those who chose to truly follow Him, He explained the truths hidden in the parables.
“But when He was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable. And He said to them, “To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables, “so that ‘Seeing they may see and not perceive, And hearing they may hear and not understand; Lest they should turn, And their sins be forgiven them.’ ” – Mark 4:10-12
He came to fulfill the Word of God and (Isaiah 6:9, 10) says, “And He said, “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; Keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ Make the heart of this people dull, And their ears heavy, And shut their eyes; Lest they see with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And return and be healed.“ Why would God want to do that? I thought He wanted everyone to be saved? The answer lies in the parable that Jesus told about the Sower.
““Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it. Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away. And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred. And He said to them, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” – Mark 4:3-9
Jesus’ words are truth and some who hear them are listening too much to the world and they judge truth by what CNN, ABC, NBC, or MSNBC are saying is the truth and the truth is snatched away like birds snatching the seed. Some hear the word and in their emotions gladly receive it but when the sun rises with it’s hard choices they shrink into their closets and quietly deny the truth. Then there are some who make a beginning with the Lord but self interests and allurements of the world choke their commitment to take up their cross and follow the Lord. But, there are some, likened to good ground, who receive the Word and make the commitment to fully follow the Lord in every area of their lives. I do not say they are perfect but, they are steadfastly committed to follow. These are the ones who are chosen.
Paul writes about this as he explains the actions of the Lawless One.
“The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” – 2 Thes. 2:9-12
This Lawless One directs the ‘birds that snatch away the seed in Jesus’ parable of the Sower. He turns up the heat on new believers and keeps them from hearing the Word that will deepen their roots. He entices with the temptations of the world to drown out the Word. And most of all, he deceives by twisting the Word of truth and keeping it from being heard. If one responds to the Call, he will get them into a church that waters down the Gospel and doesn’t preach against sin. Or he gets them into a church that preaches a ‘comfortable’ word, one that takes a tithe offering every Sunday but only has Communion once a month. Or one that preaches pro-abortion, pro-homosexual, pro-BLM type messages.
But, I pray that you will receive the Word in good ground and I leave you the words of Peter-
“Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy. . . . Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, because “All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, And its flower falls away, But the word of the LORD endures forever.” Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.” – 1 Pet. 1:13-25
Those who do these things will be called chosen.