Archive for the ‘Bible Studies’ category

A Gracious Wake-Up Call!

March 24, 2020

With the appearance of the coronavirus COVID-19, many are beginning to realize just how fragile this physical life actually is.

The silver lining is that it is providing everyone in the world an opportunity to take pause and reflect on what really matters in this world.  Life and death matters. One way to look at it is that it is in effect a wake-up call by God to all of humanity (because this is a truly global pandemic) to turn to God before it is too late!

Why can that be said?  Because there is a disease that is far worse than anything you can imagine from the corona virus.  Please read the following below, reposted here from Truth in Grace: https://truthingrace.com/2020/03/17/worse-than-covid-19/

The corona virus threat provides every true believer an opportunity to witness to everyone in the world, including family, friends, and strangers… the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It provides the opportunity to discuss the fact that we are all infected by sin, and that we will ALL ultimately die from the curse from the original sin one way or another (irregardless the corona virus).  Moreover, we can offer the joyous hope of the promise of eternal life to those who seek peace with God through Jesus Christ.  Jesus, Alone, Is the ONLY hope that there is for peace with God and for eternal life with God.

We should also be reminded of these passages…first in Ezekiel, Chapter 3:16-21:

And it came to pass at the end of seven days, that the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling-block before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.

And then in Mark 16:15-16, we read where, after the resurrection of Jesus, Jesus appeared to the eleven believing disciples as they sat at meat and instructed them with these words, “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

May those who read this and all the studies here in be blessed with salvation from God through Jesus Christ and His perfect sacrifice for sin.  As we read in Jonah 2:9 “…Salvation is of the LORD

 

Worse Than Covid-19

Before you read any further, stop and take note of the time.

Write it down if you have to in order to remember. It is important because the next week is going to change the lives of millions.

1,209,600

This is the approximate number of people who will die from something worse than Covid-19. The coronavirus has nothing on this disease. There is no human cure or government intervention that can change what is going to happen. Not one single medical mega-corporation will ever find a cure to this deadly disease.

In fact, the number above is a close representation of the number of people who died since this exact time last week and the week before.

The Spanish Flu took the lives of approximately 50 million people in the three years between January 1918 and December 1920.

This disease I speak of is even worse.

The Black Plague or Bubonic Plague that ravaged the world from 1347-1351 took the estimated lives of 25-200 million.

But the disease I speak of is even worse.

If you had paid close attention to the news, you would still have missed the reality that in the last eight weeks, almost 10 MILLION people have died around the world. This is more than the population of New York City, New York. It is more than the population of Mexico City, Mexico. Actually, the approximate number of people who have died from this disease is the same as the population of Seoul, South Korea.

From March 17, 2020 until March 17, 2021, approximately 63 MILLION people will die from this ancient disease.

That is the combined population of: Tokyo, Japan; Jakarta, Indonesia; Beijing, China; New York City, New York; and Sao Paulo, Brazil!

Here is the worst news anybody in the world could ever read. Forget all of the statistics. This disease has a 100% mortality rate to anybody who contracts it. The news channels, magazines, government organizations, and not even the United Nations wants to talk about this because it is so scary.

Tragically, the news DOES get worse.

Everybody in the world has the disease and there is NOTHING that can be done about it from a human perspective. My friend, you have the disease in your body and you may not even know it. However, it is not a respecter of persons. I have it on perfect authority that you and I WILL die from this disease, although we do not know when death will visit us.

The symptoms are horrible and at the heart of each symptom is the brutal reality that the underlying issues are too blatant, gross, and vulgar to even print. The symptoms of this disease grow worse with each passing day, but are so subtle at times that the overwhelming majority of the world will never stop to think about what is happening in their body.

The disease I am speaking of is SIN.

Sin is a curse that has come upon all of mankind through the disobedience of Adam and Eve. Regardless of what modern psychology, humanistic philosophies, or even government mandates may try to dictate, they cannot stop the 100% mortality rate from taking place.

The effects of sin are evident all around for those with eyes to see. What seems like tragedies, illnesses, terrorist activities, natural disasters, and rampant disease are all the result of sin entering the world.

Further, because the disease of sin has entered the world, there is an even greater problem. Man has been separated from a holy God. God cannot bear to look upon sin and yet, man thinks he can become like God. This is the lie that has been the longest in existence and it comes from Satan.

Satan blinds the eyes of men, women, and children around the world. He does not want them to see the wonder of who God is. He does not want them to hear the good news that there is but one escape from this dreadful disease that has killed more people than all the wars and plagues to ever befall mankind.

Satan wants people to think that they can believe what they want, do what they want, live how they want, and then eventually die with no fear of eternity.

The Bible is clear though that there is a time that is appointed for ALL to die, and after death will come the judgment.

YOU CANNOT ESCAPE! The ravages of this death stare at you every day in your bathroom mirror, but you are ignoring them. Yet, they will not go away. Your flesh will decay until your body becomes dust in the grave.

But, there is a beacon of hope. It does not require hoarding toilet paper or food supplies. It does not require that you self-quarantine yourself in your home and hope for a better day.

The ONLY beacon of hope that you can escape is found in Jesus Christ ALONE. The Bible says ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Further, it proclaims that the wages of your sin is death.

Tired of the bad news, then hearken to the words of the apostle Paul in Romans 5:8, “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Do you realize what this means?

For those who place their faith in Christ alone and plead to God for mercy, He will not reject them. He will grant forgiveness to those who ask for their sins to be forgiven. His love will and does extend to all who realize that Christ is the only escape.

John 3:16, 17 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

The ravages and effects of your sin will still end your life one day. It may not be this month, this year, or even this decade. But death is still coming and it comes to all.

However, for those who become true believers in Jesus Christ have the promise that there is NOTHING to fear when death comes. We will pass from this life into eternity where we will forever be with the Lord.

If your name has been written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, then rejoice in this truth.

Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Today is the day of salvation though. Tomorrow may be too late. Over the next week, another 1,209,600 people will pass from this life into eternity and you may be one of that number. The results for those without Christ will be far worse than Covid-19, the black plague, or anything found in a chemical warfare lab.

Come to Christ while there is still time. Do not worry about the effects of Covid-19 if you have a right relationship with God.

If you are a true believer in Jesus Christ, then rejoice and lift up your eyes for our redemption draws near. Our Lord is, has been, and always will be sovereign and in control of this world. If we get sick, or grow old, or die in an accident, death has been swallowed up in victory because Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose again so that we too can have the eternal hope that we will be raised to newness of life when this life is over.

 

 

 

The Parable of the Talents: “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required”

August 5, 2018
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Among the parables spoken by Jesus, which have been given varying explanations by various theologians, is the one that we find reported in both Matthew 25:14-30 and Luke 19: 12-27 (with additional insights provided in Mark 13:34-37).  Before expounding on the spiritual meaning of this parable, let us review each of the verses in full, as found in the King James Version of the Bible.

Matthew 25:14-30

For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Luke 19:12-27

He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us. And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities. And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin:For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow. And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow: Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury? And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds. (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.) For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him. But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.”

Mark 13:34-37 “For the Son of Man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.

Expositions of the Parable of the Talents…What Others Have Said

Anyone can now search the Internet for the meaning of this parable, and as might be expected there are differing explanations as derived by persons with varying viewpoints.  One such explanation begins by claiming,Jesus told this story to represent the gifts that we have been given by him to further advance His Kingdom on this earth. While that explanation is certainly valid as far as it goes (there is indeed more to say as will be detailed below), the expositor then goes off on a tangent to discuss earthly talents like “playing the piano” which if one doesn’t use one will lose through neglect.  Is that really what this parable is about? Earthly talents?

Other expositors suggest that the lessons to be learned from this parable are:

  1. Success is a product of our work,
  2. We are given all that we need to do that work,
  3. We are not all created equal,
  4. We work for the master, not ourselves,
  5. We will all be held accountable

Another explanation posted on the Internet is that the parable provides an exhortation to Jesus’ disciples to use their God-given gifts in the service of God, and to take risks for the sake of the Kingdom of God.  Moreover, that these gifts have been seen to include personal abilities (“talents” in the everyday sense), as well as personal wealth.

While all of these explanations seem to have some validity, they miss some critical points such that it is necessary for us to take a closer look to see what we can find from the Bible and… “not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” (1 Corinthians 2:!3)

What is a Parable?

Before we begin we must remember what a parable is.  A parable is the method that Jesus used to tell an earthly (material) story that conveyed a heavenly (spiritual) meaning.  Some parables are easier to understand than others, but Jesus provided the key to understanding “all” parables with His own exposition of the meaning of the Parable of the Sower (Please see the the separate post: https://bereansearching.com/2018/03/20/the-parable-of-the-sower-the-bibles-rosetta-stone/).

The Kingdom of Heaven

Remember also what Jesus said regarding this comparison in John 3:12, “If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?” In the Matthew version of the Parable of the Talents, Jesus begins the parable by describing the “Kingdom of Heaven” in a simile. Jesus begins by saying that the Kingdom of Heaven “is like”…and then He immediately provides an earthly story.

Who Do the Persons Mentioned In the Parable Represent? 

1) The Man/Nobleman

We know from the Bible (e.g., Mark 13: 34-37) that the man/nobleman in the parable who traveled to a far country is Jesus Christ Himself.  Jesus was raised from the dead, spent 40 days on this earth, and then was taken up into a cloud (and by implication, to Heaven, where Jesus currently sits at the Right Hand of God the Father) according to Acts Chapter 1, verses 1-9 together with John 20:17 and Acts 2:32-34. We also know that Jesus, like the man/nobleman, is also going to return as He left…as we read in Acts 1:9-11 (but Jesus’s return will be on Judgment Day, which will occur at some point in the future, perhaps very soon). “this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

2) the Servants

It is clear from the parable that there are two different types of servants. The servants, as a combined group, are those who identify themselves as servants to Jesus Christ, hence, at least outwardly, they are all people would appear to be “Christians”.  However, as the parable goes on to show, there are “faithful” and “profitable” servants (or true, saved Christians), and “unfaithful” and “unprofitable” who identify themselves as Christians but who are not really saved.

3) The Rebellious Citizens 

The citizens who hated the nobleman (in the Luke version of the Parable of the Talents), “…sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.” But we know what the nobleman did to those rebellious citizens, because the nobleman said, “But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.”  In Psalm 9:17, we read, “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” Those who are not God’s servants are opposed to God, they hate God and therefore are the open enemies of God.  Their end will be the same as for those who were described as the enemies of the certain nobleman who we read about in the Luke account of the Parable of the Talents.

What Do the Talents Represent?

In the English language, the use of the word “talent” usually is taken to mean a natural innate ability or skill, for many people immediately think of earthly skills.  But that is definitely not the kind of talent that Jesus was describing in the parable, because it is clear that the items mentioned, which were identified as “talents”, related to a monetary exchange of some type (specifically “money”) as is indicated when we compare the accounts of Matthew and Luke together (e.g., gold, or as in indicated in the King James English translation in which the translators interpreted the money as being equal to the English currency of a “pound”).  What is also significant is that those talents were never a possession of the servants, but rather they were counted as the possessions of the man (Luke describes the man as a “nobleman”) to whom the servants were responsible.   The talents were only entrusted to the servants until such time that the man/nobleman would return from his excursion to a far country, and, according to Luke, where he would “receive for himself a kingdom.”

But we must step back a moment and ask the question: if the talents are 1) not earthly talents, and 2) the talents are equated to money that can be increased through investment, then what is the spiritual meaning of the talents in the parable?  If Jesus Christ is spiritually represented in the parable as a nobleman, then we have to ask what is spiritually represented by the talents, exemplified by money that should be increased? 

Moreover they were entrusted with the talents “according to his several ability”, e.g., based on their individual ability as servants to handle the talents.

We are reminded that Jesus made it clear that if we have the Gospel of salvation as specified in the word of God, the Bible, we are to share it and multiply it. The idea of multiplying the talents through investment is similar to bearing fruit. We must be fruitful branches of the Vine (Who is Jesus). As we read in John 15:1-8 where Jesus said,

I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.”

The Monetary Connection: God’s Word is Precious Beyond Measure!
 
In Proverbs 2:1, we read where God says, “My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;  So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, [and] apply thine heart to understanding;  Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, [and] liftest up thy voice for understanding;  If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as [for] hid treasures;  Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.”  We also know from Colossians 2:2-3 that in Jesus Christ are “hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” 
 
Also, regarding this spiritual wealth, we read in Isaiah 55:1 that it is clear that these treasures are freely given by God, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

Hiding the Talent or keeping it in a napkin…What does that mean?

God expects us to share the Gospel message as found in the Word of God (the Bible) such that many might be saved through the hearing of it.  We are not to keep the Word of God locked up within ourselves, we are to proclaim it so that others can be saved through the hearing of it.   Romans 10:17, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Matthew 5:15,  “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.”
 
Mark 4:21:  “And he said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick?”
 
Luke 11:33: “No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light.”
 

Ephesians 2:10, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

We must allow the light of the Gospel, Jesus’s (the Saviour’s) Words, shine forth from us into this darkened world. We are not to keep it to ourselves, as though it were money to be buried in the ground, or wrapped hidden in a napkin, to keep it from being productive.

“Austere Man” and “Reaping Where He Did Not Sow”…What does that mean?

We also learn from that parable, as both the wicked servant and the nobleman knew, that the nobleman was an “hard/austere” man who could reap where he didn’t sow.

We read in Matthew where the wicked servant said, “Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:” whereupon the man replied, “Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.”  and we read in Luke where the wicked servant said to the man, “thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow.Whereupon the man said to the servant,And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow: Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?”  

What did it mean to reap where he did not sow?  It is clear that God can save anyone He wants, regardless of the means by which that person is saved.  While it is outside the power of any one person to save another… as only God can do the saving, it is still a command that believers pass along the Word of God and the gospel message it provides (which each Christian have themselves individually received) along to others.  Yes, while indeed we do know that God can save anyone without any particular individual’s help (God can indeed reap where He doesn’t sow), we can NEVER be presumptive (never second-guess God) that regardless of whatever we do, all those who God plans to save will be nonetheless still be saved.  We therefore are instructed from this parable that we cannot remain slack in sharing the gospel, despite being given the knowledge that God is Supremely Sovereign and will save those who He intends to save.  By being slack we will thus be considered “wicked servants” and destroyed (and sent to Hell just like an unbeliever…and worse still we know that according to Luke 12: 47, Jesus said, “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.”

And here we are reminded of another of Jesus’s parables discussing a disobedient “servant” as found in Luk3 12: 36-4: “And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not. Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or even to all? And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath. But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripesBut he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”

The Unprofitable Servant was “Afraid”…What Are the Implications?

Isaiah 51:7,8, “Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings. For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool: but my righteousness shall be for ever, and my salvation from generation to generation.

Note that this is also entirely consistent with what Mordechai (an allegorical type of Jesus) told Esther (an allegorical type of the Believers) in Esther 4:14 (Please see: https://bereansearching.com/2009/09/19/an-exposition-of-the-book-of-esther/), “For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”  By implication, if Esther had not faithfully taken up the instruction to go forth to the king as Mordecai had commanded, she would have been destroyed as a wicked and unprofitable servant. And note what kind of destruction is reserved for the wicked and unprofitable servant as we read in Mark’s version, “And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”   We know from elsewhere in the Bible that outer darkness is equated to Hell.

Moreover, God warns us very clearly.  There is no reason to be afraid of what mankind might say or do to us when we stand up for the Truth through the sharing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but rather we should fear (show reverence and obedience to) God.  In Matthew 10:28, Jesus proclaimed, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul andbody in hell.”  That latter “him” is God Himself!

We also know that as we share the Gospel, we are not “to be afraid” of how it might be received by the hearer, because as we read in Isaiah, 55:11, “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”

“Occupy til I come”: Spreading the Gospel Message So That The Seed Continues To Be Sowed So To Bring About A Great Harvest of Souls

As we have been shown elsewhere, the seed of the sower in the Parable of the Sower is (just like the talents in this parable) the Word of God…through which the Gospel Message of Salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ Alone is preached. To be a profitable servant, the Gospel Message must go forth from each and every believer!  We must also hold fast to that which we have been entrusted.

Revelation 2:24-26, “But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. But that which ye have already hold fast till I comeAnd he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:”

As a Believer, I am convicted to say, Dear Heavenly Father, in the Name of The Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Beloved Son, have mercy on me, for I am still a most unprofitable servant.  Please bless me with the Holy Spirit (Thy Anointing Oil) that I might be profitable for Thee in sharing the true Gospel of Salvation through Jesus Christ to multiply the talents given to me for Thee in using Thy Word to bring many others to salvation (as bountiful fruit into Thy harvest house) before that Great and Terrible Day of Judgment at the end of the world.

 

 

The Parable of the Sower: A Biblical Rosetta Stone

March 20, 2018

The Parable of the Sower provides the Key to solving all parables.  It is Both a Biblical Rosetta Stone and A Proof-Text for Typological Interpretation

(Note: This study is excerpted from another longer post: Exalting the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ: The Key of Knowledge for Unveiling the Mystery of the Bible)

Introduction

The Parable of the Sower is quite unique in a number of ways.  Discussion of it can be found in three places in the Bible….Please see: Matthew 13:3-23, Mark 4:3-20, and Luke 8:4-15.   What is unique about the Parable of the Sower is that we not only read about Jesus speaking the parable (essentially a riddle), but then we also learn how Jesus expounds on the meaning of it (Jesus solves the riddle for us).  Moreover, Jesus goes further to provide the reason why He spoke in parables, and in the process then makes it clear that He did not intend to make it possible for everyone to understand what He was saying.  Jesus clearly states that it was not His intention to save “everyone”.  Jesus also seems to have somewhat upbraided the disciples for not being able to understand the parable on their own, when in Mark 4: 13, Jesus said to his disciples, “Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?  (We will look more into this point in the course of this study.)

In Luke 8, verses 4-8, we read that Jesus spoke the Parable of the Sower, and his disciples question Jesus about the meaning of the parable. Then Jesus answered them first by saying, in verse 10, “Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.”

In Mark 4: 11-12, Jesus is quoted saying the same thing, but with some additional information highlighted here in bold, “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.” 

In Matthew 13:10-16, we read the same thing, but with a cross reference from Jesus back to Isaiah 6:9-10 (see also Ezekiel 12:2). And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parable? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias (Isaiah), which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.

In Mark 4:10 we read that Jesus, when He had just finished telling the parable of the Sower, was asked by His disciples what the parable meant; “And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable.”  In Mark 4:13, Jesus gave the following response, “And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?

Why did Jesus imply that His disciples should have known what the parable meant?  Could they have known before Jesus explained it to them?  Also, He indicated that if they did know the meaning of this parable, then they would be able to know the meaning of all parables.  What did that mean?

When we do a word study of the parable of the Sower, using a concordance such as Strong’s or Young’s (or even better yet… a personal familiarity with the Old Testament), comparing scripture with scripture (“comparing spiritual things with spiritual things” as we are instructed to do in 1 Corinthians 2:13); we find that if we search just the Old Testament (the only scriptures available at the time of Christ) we can derive essentially the same meaning of the parable as Jesus gave His disciples.  By applying the same principles to the rest of the Bible, trusting God’s Word, by faith, being led by the Holy Spirit, it would seem to be consistent that we ought to be able to learn the meaning of “all” parables.

However, please remember that the information in this Bible Study Help is not to be viewed as some kind of a cookbook “recipe,” by which we can automatically come to truth.  God is Sovereign, and in complete control of the revelation of saving truth from His Word, the Bible.  Intellectual knowledge will never save anyone (it could actually add to his greater condemnation).  May we never be as those God describes in II Timothy 3:7, “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”   (Remember also that Jesus is The “Truth”)

Word Study, Parable of the Sower

The following explanations in this study of the various parts of the parable are provided directly to us by Jesus himself (who is the Word incarnate), but they potentially can be understood through diligent searching the Bible to see how the key words are used elsewhere and thereby derive identical meanings that Jesus interpreted for His disciples.

The Sower and His Seed: (the meaning is by interpretation: God and His Word)

Isaiah 55:10&11 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper [in the thing] whereto I sent it.

*II Corinthians 9:10 Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for [your] food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;

The  Wayside: (The World, that which is not in “the Way”.  Remember Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life)

Psalms 140:5 The proud have hid a snare for me, and cords; they have spread a net by the wayside; they have set gins for me. Selah.

*Matthew 20:30  And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, [thou] son of David.

* New Testament, only shown to reinforce illustration.

Fowls of the Air:  (Forces of Satan)

I Samuel 17:44 And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field.

I Samuel 17:46 This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.

Job 28:21 Seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living, and kept close (concealed) from the fowls of the air.

Devour: (Destroy or Consume)

II Chronicles 7:13 If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people;

Isaiah 33:11 Ye shall conceive chaff, ye shall bring forth stubble: your breath, [as] fire, shall devour you.

Jeremiah 51:34 Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon hath devoured me, he hath crushed me, he hath made me an empty vessel, he hath swallowed me up like a dragon, he hath filled his belly with my delicates, he hath cast me out.

Zephaniah 3:8  Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the LORD, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination [is] to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, [even] all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.

Stony: (Hard Hearted)

Psalms 141:6 When their judges are overthrown in stony places, they shall hear my words; for they are sweet.

Ezekiel 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

Root: (Jesus Christ, the Root of Jesse)

II Kings 19:30 And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall yet again take root downward, and bear fruit upward.

Isaiah 11:10  And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.

Withered: (Dried Up, Scorched, as in the Fires of Hell)

Isaiah 27:11 When the boughs thereof are withered, they shall be broken off: the women come, [and] set them on fire: for it [is] a people of no understanding: therefore he that made them will not have mercy on them, and he that formed them will shew them no favour.

Ezekiel 19:12 But she was plucked up in fury, she was cast down to the ground, and the east wind dried up her fruit: her strong rods were broken and withered; the fire consumed them.

Joel 1:12 The vine is dried up, and the fig tree languisheth; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree, [even] all the trees of the field, are withered: because joy is withered away from the sons of men.

*John 5:3 In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.

*John 15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast [them] into the fire, and they are burned.

Thorns:  (Cares of This World, and the Snare of False Gospels)

Genesis 3:18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;

Judges 2:3 Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be [as thorns] in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.

Proverbs 22:5 Thorns [and] snares [are] in the way of the froward: he that doth keep his soul shall be far from them.

Isaiah 32:13 Upon the land of my people shall come up thorns [and] briers; yea, upon all the houses of joy [in] the joyous city:

Isaiah 33:12 And the people shall be [as] the burnings of lime: [as] thorns cut up shall they be burned in the fire.

Jeremiah 4:3  For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.

Ezekiel 2:6  And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns [be] with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they [be] a rebellious house.

Fruit: (Good Fruit, is the Evidence of True Salvation…and that fruit should be manifest in the winning of souls for Jesus Christ, see Proverbs 11:30)

Deuteronomy 11:17 And [then] the LORD’S wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and [lest] ye perish quickly from off the good land which the LORD giveth you.

Leviticus 26:4 Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.

Deuteronomy 22:9  Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds: lest the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard, be defiled.

Psalms 1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

Proverbs 11:30 The fruit of the righteous [is] a tree of life; and he that winneth souls [is] wise.

Proverbs 12:12 The wicked desireth the net of evil [men]: but the root of the righteous yieldeth [fruit].

Isaiah 4:2 In that day shall the branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth [shall be] excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel.

Isaiah 27:6 He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.

Jeremiah 17:8 For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and [that] spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.

Ezekiel 17:8 It was planted in a good soil by great waters, that it might bring forth branches, and that it might bear fruit, that it might be a goodly vine.

Ezekiel 34:27 And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I [am] the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them.

*Matthew 3:10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

*II Corinthians 9:10 Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for [your] food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;

Other verses to ponder:

Romans 15:4, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

I Corinthians 10:11, “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

Psalms 19:11, “Moreover by them is thy servant warned: [and] in keeping of them [there is] great reward.” (please, if at all possible, read all of Psalms 19 and 119)

Psalms 37:30, “The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment.

Ecclesiastes 8:5, “Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man’s heart discerneth both time and judgment.”

Hebrews 12:25, “See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more [shall not] we [escape], if we turn away from him that [speaketh] from heaven:  Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more (Judgment Day) I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.”

Ecclesiastes 1:18, “For in much wisdom [is] much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.

Galatians 1:12, “For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught [it], but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

I Corinthians 13:1&2, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity (love, “agape” in the Greek), I am become [as] sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.  And though I have [the gift of] prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity (love, “agape” in the Greek), I am nothing.”  If we don’t have the Godly love (agape) of Jesus Christ in us (which is synonymous with true salvation), we are nothing.

POSTSCRIPT:

The following is a poetic note by another author that was found on the Internet about “Fruit” and “Winning Souls for Jesus Christ” that is also known as: Evangelism

Winning souls begins on our knees
Crying out to God to hear our pleas.
O’ Lord, we pray save those who are lost
Send us near and far whatever the cost.

Can we not pray but only one hour?
Rescuing the dying in God’s holy power?
It is appointed unto man once to die
O’ for lost souls we must cry!

Will a man be willing to lose everything
For one to repent and the angels to sing?
O’ believer, the day of their salvation is at hand
What will you say to the Lord when you stand?

We are bought with a price and we’re not our own
The orders have been given and we’re not alone.
God is with us wherever we are
To be a soul-winner must be our par.

Some say that soul-winning isn’t in their DNA
Tell that to Jesus, what will He say?
Brother and sister what about you?
Remember Jesus died for you too.

jimanthonykelley

Isaiah Chapter 29: “A Book that is Sealed”

February 16, 2018

Let’s take a look at Isaiah 29:10-12.  There we read, Isaiah 29:10, “For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered.  And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which [men] deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it [is] sealed:  And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.

Isaiah 29 is primarily a testimony by God against the prophets, seers, and rulers (the Priests and Pharisees, the “learned ones”) who claim to understand the word of God, the Bible, but who really have no true understanding at all.  To them this “book” is “sealed,” even though they are “learned” men.  They are blind guides and the Light of Christ is not in them.  They do not have the Holy Spirit to guide them to the truth that leads to eternal life.  They do not want, nor seek, righteousness by grace through Jesus Christ alone, but rather through their own efforts through the keeping of the Law.  As a result, they are “spiritually blind” and therefore still dead in their sins.

As for the “not learned” one, there is no implication that he can do any better.  All he can say, and rightly so, is that “I am not learned.”   Moreover, regarding the “not learned,” the Bible has only unpleasant words to say.  Turning to II Peter 3:16, for example, we’ll find that regarding the understanding of scripture by such a one, “As also in all [his] (Paul’s) epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as [they do] also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

So who then can understand this sealed book, the Bible?  The believers can.  We know this from Isaiah 8:13-16, “Sanctify the LORD of hosts (Jesus Christ) himself; and [let] him [be] your fear, and [let] him [be] your dread.  And he (Jesus Christ) shall be for a sanctuary (to the believers); but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem (those who claim to have fellowship with God, but really do not).  And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.  Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples (the true believers).”  Also in Isaiah 8:20, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, [it is] because [there is] no light in them.”  (Matthew 6:23, “But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great [is] that darkness!“)  Finally we read in Romans 11:8, “(According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.”

Now getting back to Isaiah, chapter 29; if we go to the next two verses, verses 13&14, we read, “Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near [me] with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:  Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, [even] a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise [men] shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent [men] shall be hid.”  To understand this passage we don’t go to men, we go to God through His Word the Bible.  In Matthew 15:7-9 (and Mark 7:6-9), we read where Jesus was rebuking the Pharisees and scribes (the learned ones, the prophets, rulers, seers of that day whom God had blinded referred to in Isaiah 29:10&11) and God records for us, “[Ye] hypocrites, well did Esaias (Isaiah in Greek) prophesy of you, saying,  This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with [their] lips; but their heart is far from me.  But in vain they do worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men.”  Jesus also said in Matthew 23:27, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead [men’s] bones, and of all uncleanness.

A Marvelous Work and a Wonder?

As for the “marvelous work and a wonder,” God is declaring that despite the fact that so many “learned” men of Israel (who intellectually knew what the Bible says) are so blind to any understanding of what it is really talking about, God would save a remnant of all humankind (both Jews and Gentiles) for Himself.  We are told this in the concluding section of chapter 29, beginning with verses 18 and 19, where God capsulizes the essence of salvation, “And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book (the “sealed” book, the Bible), and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness.  The meek also shall increase [their] joy in the LORD, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel (the Lord Jesus Christ).”

God tells us that He would effectuate His salvation program first, marvelously (from the Hebrew word ‘pala’), by the redemptive action (the work) of the Lord Jesus Christ (as the Passover Lamb at the cross) and then, wondrously (from the related Hebrew word ‘pele,’ identified as a name for Jesus Christ in Isaiah 9:6), by “the opening of the blind eyes” (spiritually speaking) through the pouring out of His Holy Spirit on people from every nation (not just Jews) beginning at Pentecost.  Almost no learned Jew who was familiar with Old Testament would have been expecting salvation via the Messiah (Who is Jesus Christ) to be provided for anyone other than just the Jews (Gentiles are non-Jews). This knowledge was kept hidden from them (the book was sealed, they were blinded) until the era of the New Testament (even though God had spelled it out clearly in many places in the Old Testament). For proof that this is the only correct interpretation, we must first turn to Isaiah 42:6&7 where we read, “I the LORD have called thee (Jesus Christ, as the servant) in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, [and] them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.”  Then in Luke 2:30-32, we read that the devout Jewish man, Simeon, upon seeing the child Jesus in the temple at Jerusalem, declared to God under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,  Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;  A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

Finally, in Acts 13:38-41, we read that (after Pentecost) while Paul and Barnabas were preaching the gospel of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ in Antioch in a Jewish synagogue, they said, “Be it known unto you therefore, men [and] brethren, that through this man (Jesus Christ) is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:  And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.  Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets;  Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.”  Because many of the Jews did not believe, they were rebuked by God as we read in verses 46-48, “Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you (the Jews): but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.  For so hath the Lord commanded us, [saying], I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.  And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.”  This is the true meaning of a “marvelous work and a wonder”.

                          Summary of Isaiah Chapter 29

In conclusion, we can see that the “sealed book” referred to in Isaiah, chapter 29, is the Word of God, the Bible.  We can see that the “learned one” is anyone who claims to have Biblical authority in his doctrinal pronouncements, but who is really preaching a false gospel because God has blinded him to the truth concerning salvation only through the Lord Jesus Christ.  As for the “marvelous work and a wonder”: it is God’s magnificent salvation program for “the elect of God” who are chosen by God from out of all mankind (not just the Jews).

That salvation program was wrought by God the Father through Jesus Christ His Son in the power of the Holy Spirit which effectively began in earnest about 2000 years ago (but was predetermined from the foundation of the world, and therefore covers the Old Testament believers as well, see Revelation 13:8).

Let us always remember that God is glorified by the Son, Jesus Christ.  It is Jesus whom we should believe in and come to know as our Saviour and Lord.  He is the One we should worship and honor, as saith the scriptures:

John 3:35&36, “The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.  He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

II Peter 1:2&3, “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,  According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that [pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

II Peter 3:18, “But grow in grace, and [in] the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him [be] glory both now and for ever. Amen.

Finally, I Peter 4:11, “If any man speak, [let him speak] as the oracles of God; if any man minister, [let him do it] as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever.


     *  Note the intimacy between Jesus and The everlasting Father that is reiterated later in: John 14:9, “Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou [then], Shew us the Father?”  John 10:30, “I and [my] Father are one.” I John 5:7, “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

 

(This lesson is taken from another longer blog post “Exalting the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ” and is also placed here as a stand-alone study)

 

The Truth Can be Difficult to Hear, but it is Always Good to Hear!

January 1, 2018

When we read the Bible, there are a few verses that we can come upon that can stop us in our tracks and cut to the bone (Hebrews 4:12).  They are not always easy to hear, even for those who know God, but they nonetheless are always True and Good. Some verses that hit home recently include the following:

John 2:15-17, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

In this world, when things are going well, we can so easily get caught up in the love of the things of the world, the material world, and all of its material enticements.  We can easily forget how ephemeral they all are, and how these things can so quickly pass from us apart from the good grace of God Who provides them.  We can easily take them for granted, and not focus on the God (the God of the Bible) Who is the Giver of every good and perfect gift (and the eternal “good and perfect gift” from God is the salvation of souls that only comes through Jesus Christ).

James 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
The truth is that we are all earthly by nature, but we must focus on the heavenly, just as we read in 1 Corinthians 15:47-49,

The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” 

We must catch ourselves and repent (turn away) and hate and forsake the world and its enticements and remember that it is really all so much vanity and indeed it (along with our physical bodies) will soon fade away.   Just as we read in Eclesiastes 1:1, “The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?”  

When we stop to consider God’s Word, and what the Book of Ecclesiastes tells (along the same lines as we read above in John 1:15-17), we come to the end of that book and read in Ecclesiastes 12:13, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
Ecclesiastes reminds us of what Jesus said in Mark 8:35-37, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
(see also Matthew 16:26 and Luke 9:25)
The bottom line is that we are instructed to take up our cross as Jesus commanded in Luke 9:23, “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”
Let us all pray that God will be merciful to us who are unprofitable servants (as to one degree or another we are all unprofitable servants).  Please Dear God, grant us the desire and the ability to take up our crosses daily, and follow Jesus and deny ourselves in Your service. Help us to hate the world though we remain dependent on the material sustenance that God allows it to provide to us.  Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!
Let us consider, and never forget, the message given in the “Sermon on the Mount, in Mathew chapters 5:1-16,  and 6:24-34, where we read where Jesus is described and quoted as follows:

And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:

And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

 

And later in Chapter 6:24-34, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

 

But please remember this…If all of this is too difficult to hear, beg God for mercy, because as we read in Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” and in Psalm 51:17, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”

So here is a prayer for all of us who read these Bible Studies in Bereansearching.com…

Dear Heavenly Father, Lord God, please give us the ears to hear, the eyes to see, the hearts to receive, and the willingness to be obedient to Thy Word.  In the name of Jesus Christ, thine only begotten Son, we pray.  Amen

 

Proverbs 30:4; A Rhetorical Question,Canst thou Tell?

September 2, 2017

Proverbs 30 is a bit different from the other chapters in Proverbs, and sometimes a bit difficult to follow the thread, but verse 4 stands out as unique because it asks five questions that might be hard to answer.  That is unless you know God, and His Son, Jesus Christ.

“Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell?”

Let’s look at each question in order.

“Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended?”  Who do we know who has descended and ascended up into Heaven?  Jesus is the only one to come to Earth from Heaven and return to Heaven to sit at the Right Hand of God the Father.

“who hath gathered the wind in his fists?” Jesus, as God the Creator, is the One Who can do this, and only Him! In Genesis 1:1 we read, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

“who hath bound the waters in a garment?” Once again, only Jesus can bind the waters and say no further…and this reminds us of what we find in Job 38: 8-14

Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb? When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it, And brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors, And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed? Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days; and caused the dayspring to know his place; That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, that the wicked might be shaken out of it? It is turned as clay to the seal; and they stand as a garment.

Genesis 1:9 tells us, “And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.”

“who hath established all the ends of the earth?” Notice how Job 38:13 (above) uses those same words, “ends of the earth.”  In both cases, these rhetorical questions do have an answer…God, Who is Jesus, is THE ANSWER! Remember in John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Jesus is the Word made flesh. John1:14, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

“what is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell?” The answer to this question is derived from what we are informed of from throughout the Bible… that the Name is God: The Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ. and let’s not forget that we “canst tell” the answer by being blessed and informed by God’s Word (the Bible) by the Power of God, the Holy Spirit (Who testifies only of Jesus)!

There a lot more similarities with Job 38, but let’s leave it at that for now, simply remembering that, when in doubt, JESUS IS THE ANSWER.

 

 

Proverbs Chapter 8, Who Is It Really All About?

August 31, 2017

This is short for now…Please read Proverbs chapter 8 …I was awed by how clear this chapter points to only One Person.  Wisdom is the theme, and “she” speaks truth and dwells with prudence. Wisdom was there with God at the beginning of the creation of the Universe, and rejoicing always (daily) before God.

Note that it says that we can sin against widsom (How can we do that)?  And who hates wisdom? (We are told that only those who love death)

Please check this chapter out…read it for yourself and think as you read…Who is it all about?  You will be blessed for doing so.