A farmer sows wheat and, granted that the soil is fertile, his harvest will be only what the seed was, allowing for the slight natural retrogression that usually follows each careless planting. Is it not plain that the quality of the seed is what matters most" Would it not be folly for the farmer to grow more and more and poorer and poorer wheat" Let him look to his seed if he would improve his harvest.
Should someone object that the seed is the Word and that since the Word remains always the same it will produce the same effect wherever and by whomsoever it is preached, I would reply that the first is true but not the second. Verily God's Word is ever the same, but what it will do at any time in any place depends largely upon the moral purity, wisdom and spiritual power of those who preach it. There is nothing automatic about the truth. To do its most effective work it must be incarnated in the church.
Look at Acts 18,19. Apollos, a man mighty in the Scriptures, for all his faithfulness to the truth as he understood it, could produce only imperfect converts. Suppose Paul had not arrived when he did. It is not hard to imagine an immature, weak and ineffective church propagating itself in Ephesus.
So vitally important is spiritual quality that it is hardly too much to suggest that attempts to grow larger might well be suspended until we have become better.
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I think all of us meet Christian men and women who always seem to look on the gloomy side and are never able to do anything with life's problems but grumble about them! I meet them often and when I do, I wonder: "Can these people be reading and trusting the same Bible I have been reading"" The Apostle Peter wrote to the tempted, suffering and persecuted believers in his day and noted with thanksgiving that they could rejoice because they counted God's promises and provisions greater than their trials! We do live in a sinful and imperfect world, and as believers in Christ we acknowledge that perfection is a relative thing now-and God has not really completed a thing with us, as yet! Peter testified that the persecuted and suffering Christians of his day were looking, in faith, to a future state of things immeasurably better than that which they knew, and that state of things would be perfect and complete!
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