Monday Minutes With Pastor Chris McCool (May 17, 2021): The Key to the Kingdom, Part 2

Last week, we began looking at the parable of the Sower and the Seeds found in chapter four of Mark’s gospel. We determined that the four categories of hearers of the word, represented by the four categories of ground described by Jesus, were ALL children of God. Rather than differentiating between those who are NOT children of God and those who ARE children of God, we learned that this parable teaches us about who different children of God react to the gospel message. It truly is the “key” to the Kingdom of God, because it gives us insight into the responses to the gospel and how to deal with each category of hearer.

Today, we want to talk about the first category of children of God discussed by Jesus: those on the “way side.” The term “way side” refers to a well-traveled path or road, and represents a course of conduct of a child of God – i.e., a lifestyle – that is contrary to the teachings of the Kingdom of God.

Does “way side” remind you of anything else Jesus talked about? In Matthew 7:13-14, He instructed His disciples to enter into the Kingdom of God via the “strait (narrow) gate”, for “wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leaders to destruction. . . .” This “broad way” sounds a lot like the “way side,” doesn’t it? Indeed, they are one and the same!

In order to properly understand this “broad way” and “way side,” we need to understand that Jesus is not talking about a pathway that leads us to eternal heaven or hell. Rather, He is instructing those who are already His disciples in how to maintain their walk, and enjoy the blessings in obedience here and now. Once again, I emphasize that the people who are the target of His teaching are CHILDREN OF GOD, and He is instructing them on how to be better disciples!

So who are the ones who are on the “way side,” or in the “broad way”? These are children of God who are actively engaged in open and continuous sin. I realize that we are all sinners, and that we sin constantly, but these are they that are living a lifestyle of flagrant sin. Perhaps they are engaging in open and continuous fornication in their lives; perhaps they are involved in deceitful business practices; or possibly addicted to drugs or other substances. Maybe they are like Samson, with both feet in the world and seeking to fulfill the lusts of the eyes, and the lusts of the flesh, and the pride of life! Whatever the circumstances are, the “way side Christians” are not seeking to do right, but following their carnal nature and feeding it to the exclusion of the spiritual man.

So how do we deal with children of God like this? Engaging them in a debate about the finer points of theology would be fruitless – how can one hear the word of God when they are actively engaged in a lifestyle totally contrary to the word? I have known people like this; often it is a child of God who has moved away from the flock (church) and is neglecting the body of Christ, and pursuing worldly lusts and desires.

Our message to the “way side Christian” should be simple: STOP! A deep doctrinal discussion would likely be fruitless; instead, our message should be “Stop what you are doing, turn from your wicked ways, move from the broad path that leads to destruction and get on the narrow way that leads to life!” Before we can help them discover the deeper and finer points of theology, we must help them recover themselves out of the snare of the devil.

The best way to approach a message of repentance is by reminding them about the great sacrifice that Jesus made for us on the cross. He walked the awful path to Calvary to accomplish our salvation. How can we neglect to serve Him, seeing He has served us so completely by saving us from the eternal penalty of our sins? The cross still points us to repentance; when a child of God is on the way side, running from God and His Kingdom, pointing him or her to the cross is the starting point for turning them around on that destructive path.

As the “way side Christian” begins to turn from the broad way back to the narrow way, he can then begin to see the cross more clearly. He can learn of Him, and in so learning learn to love Him more.

Next week, we will look at the “stony ground Christian.” God bless!

Eld. Chris McCool, Pastor