“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord GOD, “when I will send a famine on the land — not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD." (Amos 8:11)
These are hard teachings indeed, for as prophesied long ago, a famine of the Word of God is fast approaching... lest any man may become rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, whereby we may be saved.
“How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 12:14)
John 6:66: "After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him."
And they returned to their quondam teachers, the Scribes and Pharisees, and to the law of works, and to seek for righteousness by it; setting up their own righteousness, and not submitting to the righteousness of Christ; and thus to look back and draw back, is a sad case indeed:
They never returned to him, or went with him from place to place as before: never more attended on his ministry, or had any intimacy and fellowship with him: and so it commonly is with apostates from the profession of Christ; they seldom or ever return, or are recovered; it is difficult, if not impossible, which is sometimes the case, to renew them again to repentance.
Matthew 13:20-22: "As for what was sewn on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy,
21 yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away.
22 The seed sown among the thorns is the one who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful."
Such a hearer, who is like the stony ground on which the seed fell, is not an accidental hearer of the word; not one that is careless and negligent, but diligent and attentive, and has some understanding of what he hears;
He is one that not only constantly attends upon it, but he receives it; he gives an assent to it, he believes in it historically, makes a profession of his faith in it, and holds it for a while, being under some convictions of the truth of it: and having some speculative notions of it, and light in his understanding and judgment in it, he has some flashes of natural affection for it, and delivers some outward expressions of pleasure and delight in it; but has no heart work, and so is like the rock in stony ground; the natural hardness of his heart continues, it remains unbroken by the word, without any true sense of sin, and repentance, and destitute of spiritual life, and of true faith, love, and joy: as his profession of faith has been taken up in haste, upon a flash of affection, and too little head knowledge, it does not last long, nor prove honorable.
Yet hath he not root in himself; Nor in Christ; for the word is not rooted in Him, or the truth of grace in himself:
He endureth for a while; but when tribulation or persecution ariseth, because of the word; which must be expected by those who embrace the Gospel, profess the name of Christ, and are willing to live godly in him. Tribulation for the sake of Christ, and his Gospel; such as the revilings and reproaches of men, loss of character, and trade, and persecution may design something more public and vehement; such as confiscation of goods, imprisonment, and danger of life, the most exquisite tortures, and death in the most cruel form and shape; things very disagreeable to flesh and blood, which cannot be endured, and submitted to, by persons without a principle of grace from God, by one that has no root in himself.
Luke calls this a time "of temptation", or trial, as it is either way, both by private troubles, and more public persecutions: these try men's principles and professions, and whether the truth of grace is in them or not; at the cross; he shrinks back from it, does not care to take it up, and follow Christ; but drops his religion, and the profession of it; apostatizes, falls away, and comes to nothing.
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