We studied the parable of the soils in Mark 4:1-20 tonight in our Bible Study Group. In these verses we see three groups of people who listened to Jesus. There were the disciples, the resistant and those who were spiritual slow starters. I want to speak today about those who were totally resistant. These are people who resist God’s free offer of the Gospel to the point of no return. The point of no return comes as this type of person resists and resists and because they are so adamant, God hardens their heart so that they cannot hear the Gospel call and repent and believe.
Yesterday morning, Jenny drew my attention to a mess on our bedroom side house wall. At first glance, it looked like mulberry bird mess, but on closer inspect I felt this was something else … what, I did not know. I took a picture of it and, using Jenny’s phone with the street’s WhatsApp group, sent it out with a query to the people in our street. A number of people responded saying that it was mulberry bird mess, but it was not. Then the neighbour’s wife responded saying that their son was playing with paint ball bullets. She would send him to clean the wall.
This is the neighbor that refuses to talk to me, although his accusation that I threw a palm branch into his drive on 29 January was false as we were 240 km away. You might recall me saying that I tried to explain to him that we were not at home … he walked off using a swear word. This is the man who “gives me permission only once” to cut back the branches of his tree that are a nuisance, dropping leaves all year round, especially in winter. When I tried to talk to him a few weeks ago (and said as I did in January), saying I wanted to be friendly and neighbourly, he responded, “I don’t have time for chit chat” and walked off. Well, his son came to wash the wall. I told him I wanted to talk to his father first before he cleaned the wall, thinking by now the father would listen to me regarding the false accusation he leveled against me.
We had an appointment last night and needed to leave home at about 5.30pm. He and his son arrived at the fence around 5pm wanting to clean the wall. I requested that he and I speak without his son present. The son stayed. I said I want to be friendly and neighbourly to which he said, “I am not here to be friendly”.
I responded negatively to this, saying, “Then in that case I’ll be like you and say … I don’t have time to chit chat and will walk away as you have done twice.” (I have asked God to forgive me for this ungodly behaviour.)
He then said that I refuse that he and his son cleaned the wall. He took a photo of his son at our fence and … although I did not know it at the time, put the photo and a “terrible message” about me on the street’s WhatsApp Group. When I returned home, I spent a long time drafting a letter of response in an attempt to clear my name, describing the events from January, coupled to various Bible verses. Did I have an awful night! Terrible dreams and a lack of sleep.
This morning, I wanted to visit the local police station and make an affidavit about us being away in January (the period I am unjustly accused of doing what he believes I did). After devotions and prayer (including for him), I felt the need to first send the letter to my other neighbor whom I am friendly with. He read it and responded, saying, “The letter is a good one. It will clear your name in the street but I would not send it as this is exactly what he (the other neighbor) wants. On top of it all, no one responded to the message and picture he put on the group.”
I thought this through and agreed that he was right. I would rather remain silent as my identity is in Christ. God knows everything! He knows what happened in January when a storm knocked down his palm branch and caused it to land in his driveway, whilst we were far away. God knows how he refuses to talk to me, be friendly and neighbourly and that Jenny was in direct firing line of the paint ball bullet as I was working in the garden when it happened.
We did not see or hear it happen, but the neighbour’s sons were playing in their backyard, every now and then crying out in Afrikaans, “That was sore.”
Like I said before … Jesus says:
Mat 5:44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
This needs to be a regular activity for me, because my neighbor’s heart is hard … terribly hard. Remember:
Ex 9:12 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said to Moses.
Although Pharaoh had every opportunity to respond favourably to God because God’s servant spoke to him … yet he refused and rejected God’s Word and eventually God hardened his heart to the point of no return. In this incident, God’s plan was Israel’s deliverance! Look at another passage:
Ro 1:21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires … 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. 28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.
(Read the whole passage Rom 1:18-32). This is the reason you need to love and pray for those who persecute you, for should God give them over to sinful desires, shameful lusts and a depraved mind … they have reached the point of no return and damnation will be theirs for all eternity! They will die unable to repent!
Dear God, even though I feel so hurt when people treat me unjustly and pull my name through the mud publically, help me to love and pray for them for they do not know and understand what they are doing in the greater scheme of eternal matters. Thank You that my identity is found in Jesus Christ my Lord. In Jesus Name, Amen.