The minister and the soap salesman

A minister and a soap salesman were walking down a city street, when they chanced to pass a drunk down in the gutter.  The salesman commented, “The gospel you preach isn’t very effective.  There are still so many wicked people in the world.”
Walking still farther, they passed a man who was, in the politest words, filthy dirty.  “The soap you sale isn’t very effective,” remarked the preacher.  “There are still so many dirty people in the world.”
“Yes,” came the salesman’s reply, “but you have to apply the soap before it cleans.”  “And so it is with the Gospel I preach,” said the preacher.  “It too must be applied to be effective.”
Jesus taught two distinctly different kinds of hearers, ones who were willing to apply His Word to their lives and others who willingly refused to make the application.  He used his parables in one sense as a testing ground for the sincerity of the hearers.  In another sense he used these same parables so that honest hearers would be able to see through true-to-life experiences many wonderful lessons concerning the Kingdom of Heaven.
In Mark 4:11-12, He talks of this separation of the sincere from the insincere hearers:  “And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:   That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.”
The Lord knew there would be certain individuals who would make no effort to perceive or understand the spiritual truths behind the parables.  These choose not to be saved.
The Gospel is for all, but many reject the cleansing stream.  As with Jerusalem of old, so sadly it still is with the masses today: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” (Mat 23:37 KJV).
Speaking to the Jews who sought to kill Him, John 5:38-40, Jesus locates salvation in Himself as revealed to them in Scripture.  “And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.  Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.”
May it be far from any of us to reject the words of our Lord that make us wise unto salvation.       (II Timothy 3:15).  We must apply the cleansing power of His Word and of His saving blood.

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