Other seed fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seed sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plant soon wilted under the hot sun, and since it didn’t have deep roots, it died. (Mark 4.5-6 NLT)
The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. (Mark 4.16-17 NLT)
This is a parable that we all know and are familiar with. It is a very popular parable in the scriptures—the parable of the sower. The sower’s seeds fell on four different kinds of soil but I am dwelling on only one today.
To succeed in your Christian walk, you need depth or deep roots
A shallow or superficial walk will not lead you to the heights that you desire. The theme for the Church of Pentecost for the next five years is “Possessing the nations” and this year our theme is “A glorious church possessing the nations.” But the kind of Christian who is able to make impact in his environment and community is not a shallow Christian. You need to have depth and to be deep in the things of God to be able to impact your world. This year, I want to encourage you to take on another gear. If all your walk with the Lord has been around the surface and you have been going and coming for many years and you don’t have deep roots and you know your Christian life has not been the best, I came to encourage you to go deeper than where you have been.
We have to dig deep to find most precious minerals
Some of the best natural resources God has endowed us with are not got on the surface. Some of the resources that make some countries colonize others are only got deep underground. In those days when the Europeans came for the resources of African countries, sickness like malaria killed them but because of how precious those resources were to them, they stayed. Resources like gold are not found on the street. You have to go deep underground. I am told that for some mining operations they go 2,500 feet underground. I am told when you are looking for uranium you may have to go up to 6,500 feet underground. There is a resource called the black gold. For many years Ghana had looked for oil but at the time we found it we had to go deep down in the sea because the rocks in which the oil was hidden were under the water. Sometimes they had to go as far as 9,800 feet to bring the oil out. But God has used this to demonstrate to us that to be able to scale certain heights and to be able to access certain things in life you need depth.
Tall buildings have very deep foundations
If you have the opportunity to travel around the world, in some of the advanced nations some of their buildings are very tall. They call them skyscrapers. I once went to such a building that had 87 floors. The 87th floor was a restaurant. When you are there, every other building looks small and you se you are high up in the sky. But to build a building that is 87 floors high, you cannot put it on an ordinary foundation. You have to excavate deep into the ground and hit a rock and anchor the building to it so the wind and tremors don’t make the building tumble.
Child of God, to scale certain heights you must go deep on the rock of ages so that when all the winds blow around you they don’t make you tumble and fall like a deck of cards. In this year you need depth to scale certain heights. To do that we will need strength, skill, and we also need to serve. What gives us strength? What endows us with skill? And how do we serve?
Our strength as believers is derived from the Lord. God will always remain the source of our strength. You can only be strong in the Lord if you build a relationship with him. And that relationship is built through prayer. We often talk about prayer but we don’t pray. When we were younger we used to visit one of our elders. He would invite us to his house to pray all night. He had a friend who could talk all night but the moment we started to pray he would take a cloth and cover his head. Many of us have that life. We can talk all the talk. We have time to do every other thing but pray; but if you will have depth in the Lord and scale certain heights, and win the battles in which we are engaged, you will need strength from prayer.
So you need to make time for prayer. Certain things are not moving; you have hit on them and done everything; you have spent sleepless nights thinking about them but haven’t found a solution. It is because you have neglected the source of strength—prayer. Jesus in his ministry on the earth prayed all kinds of prayer. 1 Thessalonians 5.17 says to pray without ceasing. If it was not important the apostle wouldn’t have said to do it without ceasing. I have seen so much not to neglect this fact that there is strength in prayer. It is not only when we come to church that we should pray. This is about praying on your own when no one is there. If you don’t have a personal prayer life, I would admonish you to try it this year. If Jesus the son of God in his ministry on earth had to do all night then those of us who are fallible and full of sinful thoughts and deeds need all day and all night.
Prayer gives you strength to do things you wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise. Jesus attained great heights because he prayed. There was a time when after he had prayed, he came to meet the disciples struggling with a demon. The father of the demon-possessed boy complained to Jesus about how the disciples had not ben able to heal his son but Jesus just commanded the demon to come out of the boy and it did. Later, when the disciples asked Jesus why they could not cast out the demon, he replied that that kind only came out by prayer.
Many people who have attained great heights in the Christian walk have emphasized prayer as an indispensable tool. We cannot be a great church with the power of God at work, with miracles flowing and healings everywhere, with deep problems that defy solutions being solved, if individual members are not strong in prayer. When we come together, it is the strength you have through prayer and the one I have through prayer that comes together to heal the sick and perform wonders.
In this year may the Lord endow you with great skill. Skill comes from his word. In Psalm 119.130 the Bible says the entrance of his words gives light and understanding to the simple. In Psalm 119.105 it says his word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. For you to understand why you are here and what God wants you to do you need to have depth in his word. It is deep understanding that will give you wisdom. It will stop you from sinning and making certain mistakes that will draw you back. It will equip you for the journey for this year. These days you can browse all the sites around but because the devil wants to hide it from you when it comes to be Bible it is difficult. If you want to remain a worldly person you are ok as you are. But if you want to make progress, things must change.
When Jesus was tempted, anything the devil said, he had a counter scripture. Certain things look harmless but if you have depth in the word of God, when the devil comes quoting scripture, because you are deep, having understanding, you show him by the word of God that he is wrong. Because Jesus was deep in the word, he was able to respond to the tests. How much of the word, child of God, do you have in you? To go certain heights you must also go certain depths in the word of God. Jesus being the word of God was full of the word. He defeated the devil by the word. The apostle Paul was full of the word. He had so much understanding of the Old Testament and was able to expound on it. Peter even testified that sometimes Paul wrote certain things that we difficult to understand. But because of his depth, his words have become a standard for us; his words have endured till now. Your Christian life will endure because of the depth you have. This man was so deep that, by his own testimony, he once knew a man who was whisked into the third heaven and saw things he was not permitted to talk about. Where do you want to go in the Lord? Many have walked on the earth and have seen God in three dimensions. Maybe you are just satisfied with coming and going on Sunday but there are certain depths in God that when you attain you will go certain heights.
Moses wrote Genesis when he was not there when God created. He received it so clearly that he could describe completely how heaven and earth were created. That man was so deep that up to today we don’t know where he was buried. His face could shine so that he had to cover it with a veil.
Finally, God called us to serve. We have a responsibility to serve humanity. Many are perishing, dying, and languishing in places where human beings should not be. Many have become drug addicts because those of us who were called to reach out to them are only comfortable with our own salvation but God has called us to greater service. After David had served his own generation by the will of God, he fell asleep. I am interested in how he did that.
This year I will implore you to serve God with your time. We have everything but time for God. We have time for all other things including football but God is looking for people who will serve him with their time. It is time to serve God with your resources. Many of us are laying up our treasures everywhere but when it comes to the house of God, we have no seed to show. Some of you frown when we talk about offerings. What are you using those resources for? In Matthew 6.21 it says where your treasure is is where your heart will also be. How do you serve? Do you just come to church and go? Is there anything you can put your hands on as something you do for God? Is there anything you can call your contribution to the kingdom work and kingdom business? Think about this because for us to be able to scale certain heights we have to present ourselves as servants and ministers of God. Those who have made money and great impact are those who have served the world with a service.
We know about Mother Theresah, this catholic nun who dedicated her life to poor Indians. She served and gave all her life. When we mention her name many years after her death, people talk about service. Those who have made money are those who have provided unique solutions to the problems of this world. It is time to serve. These are not the days to live only for ourselves. If we are going to make a great impact as a church, then we must have members who are serving others in the world. Do we have time for him? Are we willing to serve him? Those who serve scale great heights.
The founder of our church left the comfort of the western world. They developed many years ago. If you go to a village in the west, even when there are only a few people there, you see well-developed structures, some from even the 1500s. Yet, he left the comfort of that place and came here, and not to Accra but to Asamankese. Many of us would not be willing to go to Asamankese even today so you can imagine how it was in 1937 when he came. He came and served. At a time he nearly died from malaria. They took him to hospital and he was excommunicated from the church because at that time they believed it showed a lack of faith in God. After this experience he was not embittered but stayed on; and today we have the Church of Pentecost. That height that man achieved came from the depth of his service. The sacrifice that built this church was so huge. That is why no matter what happens the Church of Pentecost keeps scaling heights. It is now our time. It God were to rely on you to build the church, where would the church be?
The Bible describes the realms in God as unsearchable. There are great things God wants to do but he needs available people to serve. Some of you have not seen wealth. What you are enjoying is not wealth. It is only the tip of the iceberg. If you were to serve God you would see wealth in this year. Things you don’t need will be given to you. Solomon asked God for wisdom to govern Israel but God added wealth to him. The Bible says in his days silver was nothing. People brought gold from overseas and he himself was a tourist attraction. People came to add to his wealth.
God is calling us to greater heights and he says to scale those heights we need greater depth—depth in prayer to give us strength; depth in his word to give us skill and wisdom; and he needs us to serve our generation and make an impact.
Mark 4.5-6, 4.16-17